Jim ‘Fizzy’ Watters was a big man who sat behind an even bigger desk. He was a Mr Fix It in the area. If you wanted something done, from an old score settled to a few strings pulled in high places, Jim Watters was the go-to man. To those in the community who had his ear he was simply known as “Fizzy”.
On this occasion Stanley just wanted a few strings pulled to advance his career. So he stood before Fizzy in his plush office making his case.
“I really want in on this Fizzy. I’ve been working at my style all summer. I’m ready. I can do good work, know what I mean. I’m hoping you could have a word to get me in with the right people” said Stanley.
“Stanley you didn’t make the call. In your line of work you’ve got to show some initiative, you’ve got to be a bit a networker. But here you are gurnin’ in my office when you should have been banging on doors yourself. This doesn’t create the right impression with the right people.”
“I know but I was busy. I was practising. You can’t practise & still be out and about. What do they expect?” said Stanley
“There you have hit the nail on the head, Stanley boy. Multi-tasking is the name of the game today. You’ve got to able to juggle a few balls.”
Stanley smirked. Thought of making a smart remark, but then changed tack. He knew smutty humour wouldn’t work with Fizzy. So he got arsy instead in an effort to be macho and impress.
“So it’s a juggler they want? That’s shite if you don’t mind me saying Fizzy.”
“Hey hey, mind the language. These walls are thin and my niece Chanelle’s next door feeding the wean” Fizzy began to point at Stanley. You didn’t want Fizzy pointing at you with his big sausage fingers. “That’s where you go wrong. You’re too lippy. These people don’t like that Stanley. It doesn’t fit with the image. ‘Juggling’. It’s a figure of speech. You should know that with all those qualifications you’ve got. You’re the one that’s good with the words.”
“I’ve got 2 GCSEs” observed Stanley sadly.
“English and Psychology”
“Ha! So you’re well set up for this line of work, Stanley. You’ve got words and you can figure people out” said Fizzy. Stanley couldn’t tell if he was being serious or ironic.
He fidgeted. Hands in pockets, waiting for Fizzy to agree to put in a word for him.
“What have you got in your pocket, Stanley?” asked Fizzy suspiciously. “Are you carrying?”
Stanley took his arms out of his pockets and folded his arms self-consciously.
“Right let’s see what you’ve got” demanded the Fizzy.
Stanley produced his piece reluctantly. It was impressive. A classic piece carefully maintained by Stanley. All shiny and black with a chrome finish to the tip and a lovely pump action mechanism.
“Give it over. Where’d you get this Stanley?” asked Fizzy in awe. “Wait a minute. This was Mickey the Mullet’s piece. Did you nick this from old Mickey?”
“No. Mickey left it to me after he …..” Stanley’s voice tailed off.
Fizzy knew old Mickey had befriended young Stanley; taken him under his wing so to speak. That’s why the boy was so good.
“They say he used it just before he ….”
“He did. I saw him,” said Stanley getting emotional.
“Nasty business. Still if you’ve got to go you should go out in style with a piece like this in your hand. God Bless old Mickey.”
Stanley wiped away a tear and sniffed. Fizzy turned the bright, polished piece over in his hand like admiring a rare work of art.
“Quality. You’re a lucky boy, Stanley. You could go far with Mickey the Mullet’s piece to work with. Look at that pump action. You keep it well, Stanley”
“They don’t make them like that anymore, eh?”
“They certainly do not. Pieces are all light handled things now. Feel the weight in this!”
“It got great balance too” said Stanley.
“Mickey did his best work with this. But it’s all in how you use it. Mickey had style. He could carry it off. He instilled respect with this piece. That’s half the battle in your line of work, Stanley. How you going to live up to Mickey’s expectations?”
“That’s why I need this break Fizzy. With that piece I can really show them, if I’m given a shot.”
“’Given a shot’?” exclaimed Fizzy in a whisper. “Keep your voice down, you young eidjit! Where’s your respect? You need to watch your mouth Stanley with talk like that! Did you ever hear Mickey talk like that? He let this do his talking. You need more class when you’re packing this piece.” Fizzy waved the piece at Stanley which Stanley felt was far more disrespectful.
“Just saying I need a break so I can live up to Mickey’s expectations. He would have wanted me to be there front and centre with his piece doing my talking for me.”
“You use this piece too often and you’ll get the wrong sort of attention, know what I mean?” warned Fizzy with a knowing look.
Stanley nodded. He knew what the Fizzy meant.
“This is for special jobs where you need to make a statement and you want to show a bit of style to the high rollers. Mickey didn’t use it for every job. You need to be careful with this piece. Don’t be flashing it around, Stanley. Keep an ordinary piece for the day to day work. That way if you lose it, it can’t be traced back to you.”
Fizzy handed the piece back to Stanley who put it back in the zip pocket of his shell suit, zipping it up carefully.
“OK, Stanley I’ll have a word for Mickey’s sake to get you a place. It’s what he would have wanted after giving you his best pen. What night is this writing class on anyway?”
“Great so you’ll be ok for my dance classes on Thursdays?”
“No bother, Fizzy.”