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Carousel Book Extract

Asiana Exclusive: Read the first chapter of the debut novel by Raj Rana -  a tale of power & passion and secrets & seduction...

Posted: 22.07.13

CAROUSEL
a novel by Raj Rana

CHAPTER ONE
 
 “Fuck!!! Look at the time! Tanya will kill me!”
 Rajesh dived into his Porsche Boxster and tore out of the drive, leaving two
streaks of scorched rubber strewn across the immaculate paving. 
 “Thank God Dad’s left early,” he whispered to himself, knowing full well how
his father would have reacted if he had witnessed his reckless attempt to make up
lost time.  But time was of the essence.
He had to get from Gerrards Cross to the heart of Southall -- a journey of twenty five minutes.
And already he was fifteen minutes late! Not a good start. Tanya hates being kept waiting, thought Rajesh. He floored the accelerator and raced through the narrow lanes, mindful of the reaction he would get if he turned up late.
He had known Tanya since childhood.
Recently things had developed into a full blown Bollywood romance. It was packed with secret rendezvous, cultural divides and smouldering passion. She was now the love of his life, but just lately Rajesh felt their relationship had grown distant. It was his own fault; he had been spending more and more time with his boisterous friends.

Tanya despaired at their juvenile behaviour. ‘Wasters’ she called them. So, knowing he was in her bad books, he had arranged a day out to win her over. He had planned every detail, leaving nothing to chance -- a lavish lunch at her favourite restaurant, shopping at Harrods and a West  End show to end the evening. It wasn’t his ideal way of spending the day with such a stunning girl; an afternoon of passion was much more to his liking. But he realised that Tanya was someone who needed pampering before he could enjoy her delicate fruits. Problem being, patience was not his strong point.
Rajesh wanted everything life had to offer – the cars the girls the clothes the cash, sai rah! -- and he wanted it now. 
Slamming the gearstick into fourth he controlled the speed of the car with the
clutch rather than the brakes, tearing around bends, shooting over level crossings.
He loved being on the edge, that intense feeling of almost losing control. For added
motivation he scrolled through the options on his music system until he came to the
ultimate drive track – ‘No Way Out’ from Rocky 4.
Remembering the emotion on Stalone’s face as he tore apart the Lamborghini in the underground tunnels, he pushed harder and more aggressively on the accelerator, taking careless risks but   enjoying every second of it. This was no longer a question of being on time for   Tanya, this was the thrill of driving fast and beating the clock.........And he was   winning. 

Driving into Southall always unnerved Rajesh. Having grown up on their  
mean streets he was glad to see the back of them. He had long since moved up in
the world and would have cut links with the place years ago if it hadn’t been for
Tanya.  He cruised along Uxbridge Road, shifting down the gears before stopping at a zebra crossing. The Boxter’s engine decelerated from a growl to purr. Passer’s by stared at him enviously. The car, the watch, the designer clothes; here was someone who had ‘made it.’ He gazed down the bustling street, its shops, takeaways and min- marts thronged with people.
It was so different from Gerrards Cross, with its upmarket delicatessens and trendy wine bars. He checked himself in the rear view mirror. A handsome, clean-shaven face stared back -- a regular Hrithik Roshan, even if he said so himself! He studied his reflection for a few seconds. Tanya’s a lucky girl, thought Rajesh. 
Turning off the main road he saw her standing in her usual place at the corner
of the street. His pulse quickened. Even at a distance she exuded a fierce
independence. It was a look that said ‘Don’t mess with me’. Tanya was twenty six
years old – the same age as Rajesh – slim, smartly dressed with glossy shoulder
length black hair framing her pretty elfin face.   
 
Expecting him to be late, nevertheless Tanya was fuming when he finally
screeched to a halt beside her. Buzzing  down  the electric window Rajesh deployed his cheeky  boyish  grin,  as  if  that  would  excuse  him  for  being  late! Tanya stared past him blankly, barely acknowledging his arrival. 
He leaned over to the passenger window, poised to assuage his guilt. “Yaar. 
Sorry, babe. Dad had this huge list of documents he wanted me to deal with.
Couldn’t get away.” He knew Tanya would be happy to hear he was taking more of
an interest in working with his father. She lectured him almost daily about how much she missed her own father since he had passed away, encouraging him to bridge the gap between them before it was too late.
 
Tanya glanced at him and found it hard not to smile. She resisted as much as
she could, but the soaring butterflies in her stomach caused her willpower to
crumble. His effortless charm, his breezy manner, she adored these things about
him. Although they had known each other since the age of five he was still able to
cause jitters of excitement within her. 
 
Like a mother scolding a much loved child she looked at him and shook her
head. “I think you should buy a decent watch. That cheap crap you call a Rolex
doesn’t seem to be working.”  Rajesh ignored the obvious bait for an argument. “Yaar, come on. Next time  I’ll be half an hour early and be waiting for you with a rose in my mouth. Promise! Now get in so we can eat!  Or I’ll get out and eat you! Unless that’s what you want?” She shrugged. This was the closest thing to an apology she could expect.  Reluctantly she got into the car, sliding the seatbelt across her nubile body. She slammed the door aggressively and tutted, “Smells like burnt rubber.”   “That’s because I drove like crazy to get here!”  “Don’t tell me you didn’t enjoy it, Raj! What was it this time, James Bond? Knight Rider? Miami Vice? Or some other sad Eighties crap? When are you going to   snap out of that era?” “Actually, babe, it was Rocky Four! And if you must know, it’s not crap! It’s a
solid gold classic!”  

Gripping the steering wheel hard Rajesh revved the engine and tore off down
the street. Tanya glanced at him. His face was like thunder. She knew she had
touched a raw  nerve; insulting  his  watch  was  one  thing, but  slating  his  music 
something else! She was determined not to back down, but was all too aware of his
stubborn, childish streak. And by the look of him he was close to throwing his toys
out of the pram! She reached into her handbag and grabbed her mobile.
Discreetly typing out a text message she kept the phone out of sight the whole time. After sending the text she placed the bag at her feet and gazed innocently through the window, secretly hoping her attempt at humour would be enough to lighten his mood. 
 
Seconds later Rajesh felt his mobile buzzing inside his shirt pocket. Sliding it 
open he smiled as he read the text – ‘Jaan  your  still  the  immature  boy  I  fell  for ...I  love  u.’  Such sweet traits made Tanya unique, setting her apart from all the other girls he had known. He turned to her and smiled. She pretended not to notice, but was straining to contain her grin. He gently took her hand and placed it on top of the gear shift, then, with loving tenderness, covered it with his own. He changed gears unnecessarily, each time slipping his fingers between hers. Tanya couldn’t resist. She leaned across and kissed him on the lips, blocking his view of the road for a second. But neither of them cared. Time seemed stand still for those few moments. Pulling away from his lips she placed her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes.

He could smell her delicate perfume, her sweetly lacquered hair.  
Rajesh kissed her gently on the forehead, calling her, “Bhandari?” 
“Yes, Pagal.”
They both smiled. 
Parking was always a problem around the High Street but today kismat was
on Rajesh’s side. He was able to park right outside Madhu’s. Result.
 “Are we going in there?” asked Tanya“
“It’s your favourite restaurant, right?” 
“I’m impressed.”
“Why? You’ve been here loads of times.”
 “Not with the restaurant, Pagal. I’m impressed with the fact that you actually
listen to me and know my tastes.” 
Rajesh turned to her and barked, “That’s easy, yaar! You’re a pindu! We could
have gone to any Mayfair restaurant, but I know madam likes to keep it real.”
 
Tanya leaned over and whispered in his ear seductively, “Jaan, you know you
love the chilli paneer.” 
“That’s me making the best of a bad situation.” Rajesh knew that even though
the restaurant was in a modest location -- the food and the décor rivalled any five
star central London joint -- he still had to show slight disapproval so he could
maintain his superior image.
He always received a warm reception at Madhu’s; being the son of a wealthy
man who enjoyed throwing his money around to impress his friends, the staff treated him like royalty.
The manager came over and greeted them obsequiously, shaking Rajesh’s
hand and smiling falsely at Tanya. “Sir, we have a very nice table over here in the
corner.” 
Rajesh hated the idea of being shoved into a corner. Any corner! He shook
his head arrogantly. “No, I want that table, by the window. That way I can look at her
and keep an eye on my car”.  
The manager chuckled but was not amused; spoilt rich kids made him sick.
He clicked his fingers in the direction of his staff and pointed to the table Rajesh had requested. Two disinterested looking waiters wandered over languidly, pulling back the chairs and gesturing at the couple to take their seats. 

Rajesh settled into his chair and looked at Tanya. “Right. Now we’ve got the
drama out of the way, how are you?”
Tanya produced a half smile. “I’m OK, considering you haven’t called recently
to wish me goodnight.”
It was true, and Rajesh felt guilty. He knew he would have to do some serious
 crawling to placate her. “Baby doll, you know what it’s like. I was out partying with
Jazz and Sunny. Those guys are insane. It takes at least two days to recover.” 
Tanya snatched up her serviette and shoved it into her lap. “You mean it
takes two days to sober up!”
A young waiter interrupted. “Sir, would you like to see the wine list?” 
Rajesh raised an eyebrow. “What! Are you kidding me! Do I look like an
alcoholic? It’s only midday, for God’s sake!! What the hell do I need the wine list for?
Bring us two mango lassis and a plate. In fact, two plates of chilli paneer while we
decide what to eat.” 
“Yes, sir. And for you, madam?” 
“You laan!” snapped Rajesh.”That’s for both of us!” 
“Yes, sir. Very good, sir.” The waiter nodded and scurried off back to the
kitchen.
Rajesh sighed frustratingly. “I hate incompetence. A little common sense goes
a long way. But what can you do when you’re dealing with freshies straight off the
boat.” 
“Rajesh! Listen to yourself! When did you become such a snob? Sometimes I
wonder what happened to that mischievous boy I grew up with. When did you
become so judgemental?”
 “We all have to grow up, Jaan.” 
“Maybe one day you’ll be judgmental about me? Remember, I am not from
your world. What if your crowd thought I was fresh off the boat? How would you like
that?” Tanya paused. She could see that Rajesh was distracted and no longer
paying attention. She banged the table with her fist. “That’s typical of you!! Just
 because you don’t like what you’re hearing you switch off!”
Rajesh karate-chopped the air. “Shussssh!!”
Tanya was shocked. She noticed Rajesh take a knife from the table and slip it
up his shirt cuff. He was staring out of the window, a tense expression etched on his face. “Rajesh.....what’s wrong?”  
Ignoring her he reached for his phone with his free hand. 
Curious, Tanya turned and looked outside. “Oh my God!” There was panic in
her voice. Real panic. “Rajesh! Rajesh! I will deal with this! He’s harmless! Let’s not
create a scene. Please, I live around here. I have to see these people every day. Let it go, baby. Please. For me.” 

Rajesh was oblivious to what she was saying; it was as if a switch had been
flipped within him, altering his entire personality. “Who are you calling Raj? I can deal
with this.” Tanya went to stand up. He instinctively grabbed her hand. “No, Tanya.
Stay here. This will end today! I’ve ignored this prick for too long.” Rajesh switched
the conversation to his mobile. “Hi, Jazz. I am at Madhu’s. Yeah, yeah, in
Southall...... Fuck what I am doing here! Just listen will you! Mac’s outside with four
guys. Vicious looking bastards. They’re waiting for me to come out.” He paused for a response, his whole body pumped with adrenaline. He knew this day was a long time coming, but didn’t want Tanya around now that it had. “OK, OK. I’ll sit tight. But
whoever you send, tell them to hurry. These wankers won’t chill for long.” 
Tanya looked at him with disgust. “For God’s sake! Why are you causing an
international incident? We’ve known Mac since we were kids. Let me go outside and speak to him. This is bullshit!” 
But Rajesh was in no mood to compromise. He tried to calm her, using her 
pet name. “Look, TanJa. Sit tight for a while. This is guy’s stuff. Mac only respects
the rules of the street, so let’s just deal with this today and wrap it up once and for  
all” He beckoned one of the waiters over, the freshie straight off the boat. “Ring a taxi for my girlfriend, will you.”
“Yes, sir. Is everything alright?” 
“Great. Just order the cab.” 
“But, sir, your food is yet to arrive.” 
 Rajesh glared at him. “Just order the fucking taxi, idiot!!” 
“Y, yes, sir.”
Tanya hated his rude, macho side. She rarely got to see it but when she did it
drove her crazy.
Rajesh suddenly sprung to his feet. “You have got to be taking the piss!!”
“Raj, what’s wrong?” 
He stabbed his finger at the window. “Look! The piss taking fuck is sitting on
the bonnet of my car!!!” He darted out of the restaurant and was face to face with
Mac before Tanya could even stand up. 

In a desperate panic she shouted to the restaurant manager as she ran out of
the door, “Call the police...Call them...or they will kill each other!!”   
When she got outside Rajesh and Mac were squaring up. They were both of
similar height, though Mac had the edge when it came to sheer physical bulk. He
had short cropped hair and an acne scarred face. What he lacked in the looks
department he more than made up for in muscle. His four cohorts were just as ugly,
a tightly packed retinue of baseball-capped, tracksuit-wearing thugs. Tanya rushed
over and tried to get between them. Mac extended his arm to stop her. 
 
Rajesh grabbed it and shoved it away. “Don’t touch her!” 
Mac’s cronies stood to attention; as far as they were concerned the first move
had been made and everything was legal from here on in. Rajesh gritted his teeth in utter fury but Mac simply smiled back at him. After all, this was his town; he was
surrounded by his own people and he was playing to the gallery. Rajesh let the knife slip from the inside of his cuff so that the blade was exposed. He griped the handle firmly, ready for action. He was totally outnumbered but figured he could take Mac out and worry about the consequences later. The pair eyeballed each other like two ancient warriors ready for a fight to the death, both oblivious to the black Range Rover speeding towards them. 

Slamming on the brakes the Range Rover stopped inches from Rajesh’s
shoulder. The driver revved the engine to get the warriors’ attention. Confused,
Rajesh and Mac stared at one another, both thinking the worst, both expecting the
mysterious Range Rover to be reinforcements for the other. The windows of the car
were heavily tinted and impossible to see into. The passenger window slid down to
reveal a bulldog type thug at the wheel. Bald, his arms covered in tattoos, he was
around thirty years old and resembled a football hooligan. He looked at Mac,
nodding his huge cannonball head. Mac breathed a sigh of relief. He recognising him from a white East London firm he had used as a go between when they were dealing with Indian gangs in Southall. 
The bulldog gestured at Mac to approach the car. Mac did as he was told and
walked over. The bulldog handed him a mobile phone and said, in a thick East End
accent, “The boss wants a word.” 
Mac took the phone. “Hello...Oh, it’s you, Boss.” Mac winced as a torrent of
abuse poured into his ear. 

Relief flooded through Rajesh’s body; whoever it was on the other end of the
phone was giving Mac a real bollocking. He smiled at Tanya to calm her down. 
Mac went deathly pale. He began to stutter into the phone, “B, Boss... this is
nothing to do with business... this is personal... the cunt’s had it coming for ages.”
He paused for a reaction, but realised he was fighting a lost cause. Bollocking over,
Mac handed the phone back to the bulldog, staring him straight in the eye. 
This show of defiance enraged the bulldog. For a split second he considered
getting out of the car to enforce his boss’s message. But just considering it did the
trick, as Mac’s expression changed instantly from defiance to puppy dog deference.
“Are we savvy, Mac?” snarled the bulldog.
Mac nodded his head. “Savvy.” 
The bulldog gave a sarcastic grin and spoke into the mobile, “Sweet, Boss.
He’s got the message.” He put the Range Rover in gear and glided past Rajesh,
giving him a cold hard stare. 
Humiliated, Mac turned and signalled to his cronies to follow. All five of them
trudged back to Mac’s car. It was such an anti-climax Rajesh felt like calling him
back. Maybe now was the time to challenge him and end things once and for all. But he froze. Why tempt fate? He wasn’t sure why Mac had had such a dramatic change of heart, but had enough common sense to know when he should put his head down and ride the wave. 
Mac opened his car door and looked at Rajesh, “Next time, sunshine...Next
time.” 

Rajesh went to react but Tanya squeezed his hand as if to say, ‘Leave it,
babe.’ Rajesh nodded in agreement. Instead, he turned towards Mac and blew him a kiss. Enraged, Mac dived into his car, simultaneously starting the engine and
slamming his foot on the accelerator. Smoke billowed from the tyres and he was
gone. 
“Rajesh? What the hell just happened?” 
“I don’t know, Jaan. But I am guessing it has something to do with Jazz.”   
She gripped his hand tightly.“I’m scared. Let’s get out of here.” 
“Relax, babe, if something was going to happen it would have kicked off. He
obviously backed off for a reason. Let me call Jazz and find out what he knows.” 
“You can do that from the car. Please, Rajesh, I just want to go!”
He was desperate to keep his cool; the last thing he wanted was for Tanya to
see how unnerved he was by the whole episode. “OK, TanJa, let’s go, I’ll run you
home and call Jazz later.”
 
The car was silent on the journey to Tanya’s house.  Rajesh felt anxious. He was
desperate to make a few calls to find out what had caused Mac’s sudden U-turn.
 “Jaan, should I drop you outside your house or around the corner?”
 “No. Mum is home today. Drop me by Fairways Road and I’ll walk from
there.” 
What was he, an Untouchable? “Your mum loves me, babe. What’s the big
deal?” 
“Idiot! The big deal is, good little Indian girls shouldn’t be dating naughty little
Indian boys, however rich they are. Now drop me at the corner.” 
That suited Rajesh just fine. He wanted rid of her anyway so he could jump on
 the phone. Careful not to make it too obvious, he pulled over and gazed at the road ahead.
Tanya sensed he was in no mood for an emotional goodbye. “Go and clear
your head. You don’t need the hassle. You’re better than this. Look at the sort of
family you belong to. Your Dad is always banging on at you about family pride and
your standing in the community. How would he have felt today if he saw his precious
son brawling in the street?” 
“Nothing happened, Jaan,” he answered wearily.  
“You know what I mean, Raj. Stop avoiding the facts.” 
Rajesh refused to make eye contact. It was his way of saying, ‘you’re wasting
your breath’.
Tanya signed with frustration. “I’m going. Listen, don’t call me for a few days. I
mean it. Take some time to grow up.” She leapt out of the car without kissing him
goodbye. 
Normally Rajesh would have done all he could to prevent such a sombre
parting. He knew that if a girl was upset there was only one remedy --you should
hold her tight, not speak, just hold her. And the more upset she was, the closer you
held her. Eventually everything would work itself out. But on this occasion Rajesh
didn’t hesitate and sped off as soon as Tanya slammed the door. 

Feeling the adrenaline pumping he hurriedly called Jazz. “Hey. What’s the
word?” 
The voice on the other end of the line was stress city. “Shit, Rajesh! What
took you so long to call? Are you alright? Tell me you’re out of the hood.” 
“Yeah, yeah. Relax, man. I’ve just dropped Tanya off. I’ll drive over. Where
 are you?” 
“At the tennis club. Lick it down.” 
“Did you send the Range Rover? Who the fuck was it?” 
 “Take it easy, man. What have I told you about talking on mobile phones?” 
“Jazz! You’re hardly Bin Laden!”
Jazz didn’t like Rajesh’s mocking tone. “What’s that got to do with the price of
rice?” 
“Meaning, who the hell would want to bug your mobile?” 
“Brother, I am one seriously connected individual. You’ve just seen an
example of my connections, right?  So get your ass down to the club and buy me a
mojjito. And maybe......just maybe, I’ll consider filling you in.” 
Rajesh was frustrated as hell at Jazz’s arrogance, but he knew it was
necessary to massage his friend’s ego. “Word, you’re the man. I’ll be there in fifteen.”
Rajesh loved the feeling of arriving at the Stoke Poges Tennis Club. The
ambience was five star the moment you entered the car park. Pulling up outside the
19th century manor house always put a spring in his step. He felt relived having left
Bosnia behind (his pet name for Southall). He was amongst his own, and it revived
him. 
A parking valet opened the car door and welcomed him with polite deference.
“Afternoon, sir” 
Rajesh ignored him. Leaving the engine running he hurried up the ageing
stone staircase into an impressive marble reception hall. The atmosphere was
refined elegance, like an Edwardian gentleman’s club. He mentally undressed the
blonde receptionist whilst giving her a cheeky grin. Rajesh had a weakness for girls in tennis skirts; it was one of the reasons he joined in the first place, that and the kudos of being a member.   
“Afternoon, Mr Thakral. Will you be needing your locker key?” 
“No thanks, hun. I’m joining some friends on the terrace.” He glanced at her
perfectly shaped legs, lingering momentarily to imagine stroking her inner thigh in
that pristine white skirt........ 
“Snap out of it, man!” Jazz broke his concentration, ruining the fantasy.
“You’re love of pussy is going to get you into deep shit one day, bro. Even I won’t be able to bail you out.” 
Jazz was standing at the entrance to the Members’ Bar dressed in his tennis
gear. He was shorter than Rajesh, thicker set, and a lot less handsome.  
“Cut the crap, Jazz. What happened out there? Mac was ready to kick off and
suddenly he turned into a shit out. Who was in the Range Rover?” 
Jazz put his arm around Rajesh, manoeuvring him towards the garden area.
He needed somewhere secluded; somewhere quiet where they could talk openly.
The conservatory was perfect. 

Rajesh wanted answers. He had no time for games. “Jazz, what’s the dance?”
”Bro, you don’t want to know what level I had to go to today to deal with your
situation.” 
They sat down on a wrought iron bench next to a plashing fountain. The air
was cool and moist. Through the luxuriant foliage the soft thud of tennis balls could
be heard drifting from the nearby courts.
“Jazz, all I know is, Mac was going to get knifed today. That Range Rover
saved his ass.” 
 “Shut up, fool. That Range Rover stopped you getting the crapped kicked out
of you in front of that precious girlfriend of yours.” He tutted sarcastically, “Man, when are you gonna learn? If you lie down with dogs you wake up with fleas. Nothing good can come of knocking around with that girl. She’ll drag you down and hold you back. You shouldn’t have even been in Southall today.” 
“Kill the lecture, Jazz, and stop slating Tanya. Just tell me the score.”
“I’ll tell you the score! I’ll fucking tell you the score!! Mac only fears and
responds to one guy, right.” 
“Who?” Rajesh’s patient’s was starting to wear thin. 
“Regan.” 
“Which Regan?” 
“Joey Regan!”
“What are you talking about, Jazz? Why would a Gee like Regan have
anything to do with a piece of shit like Mac?” 
“Fool, even Dons like Regan need foot soldiers on the street. Mac did a few
one two’s for him recently and now he is on the payroll.” 
“What! Mac’s connected to Regan!! Great! That’s fucking great! As if Mac
wasn’t cocky enough, now he has got East London’s biggest gangster on side.” 
“Relax, bro.” Jazz pulled out a Cohiba cigar, bit off the end and lit it up. A
band of thick blue smoke enveloped his podgy face.
“What are you doing, man? You can’t smoke here. The whole damn club is no
smoking.” 
“I said relax. Ain’t nobody gonna say shit to us. We’re with the heaviest party
around.” Jazz didn’t really enjoy cigars, but they gave him a sense of importance -- a kind of Mafioso vibe.
 “What’s that supposed to mean? And who was in the damn Range Rover?” 
“That was Regan’s right-hand man. The guy’s an absolute psycho.” 
“Why the hell would Regan’s man get Mac to back off?” 
Jazz tilted his head back, exhaling a ring of smoke and watching it rise
towards the conservatory’s glass roof. “To be honest, bro, I can’t work that one out
myself. I called a few doormen we know in Southall that look after the night clubs in
Mayfair. Next thing I know I’ve got Regan’s PA calling me asking me to confirm who
you are, where you’re from and what the problem is. I explained the score. He said
he’d take care of it and not to call anyone else. Fifteen minutes later you call and tell
me it’s all good.” 
Rajesh hated mysteries. “Why the hell would Regan’s man be so interested in
helping me out, especially if Mac is working with them?” 
Jazz smiled. “All I know is, you’re one lucky ghandu/  Somebody somewhere
is looking down on you.” 
“Have you still got the number stored from the guy who called you?” 
 “Yeah. I think so. He didn’t call off a private number, why?” 
Rajesh sat forward in his chair. “Right, give me your phone.” 
“You’re not planning on calling him, are you? Are you fucking nuts! This is
Joey Regan we’re talking about.” 
“Just give me the phone!” 
Jazz looked at him in disbelief. “You don’t learn, do yah. This is not your
plastic gangster stuff, this is the real thing.” 
Rajesh had a mocking look on his face. “Grow some balls, Jazz. It’s good to
 keep people like this on side. Now give me the phone.” 
Jazz was pissed off big time. Rajesh had always been a spoilt brat. Well fuck
him. Let the brat learn the hard way. He tossed him the phone. 
Rajesh went to ‘last received’ calls. “Is this the number?” 

Jazz couldn’t believe it; only an hour ago he’d bailed him out of a potential
beating, and now here he was trying to play the hero! Shaking his head in disbelief
he got up and walked back into the club. 
Rajesh stared at the phone. He knew if he could establish a link with someone
like Regan then nobody would dare mess with him again. But he also knew it was
akin to selling your soul to the Devil. Regan’s firm were as ruthless as they come --
drugs, prostitution, armed robbery, you name it, they controlled it. Still, they had
helped him out, so the way he saw it the least he could do was call and show his
appreciation. 
Eventually he pressed ‘call’. His heart began to pound. How should he
address this person? Would he even know who Rajesh was?
“Yeah? Speak.” 
Rajesh responded nervously. “H, hello?
 “Who the fuck is this!!?” 
“It’s Raj Thakral. You arranged for some assistance today in Southall.” 
“Who? What the fuck are you going on about, kid?” 
“Today, in Southall, you sent someone in a black Range Rover.” 
“Oh, you’re the kid from Gerrards Cross. The one who had a run in with a
prick called Mac.” 
“Yeah, yeah. That’s right. I just wanted to call and say thanks.” 
 
“Don’t thank me, kid, it was the Boss’s orders.” 
“Boss? Do you mean Regan?” 
“That’s Mr Regan to you, son, and don’t you fucking forget it!!” 
“Sorry, I meant Mr Regan.” 
“You learn fast, kid.” 
“Well, I just wanted to say thanks. Can you please pass that on to Mr Regan?” 
“Funny you should say that. The Boss has asked to see you, so I guess you
can tell him yourself” 
Rajesh went pale. His stomach turned over. “Why does Mr Regan want to
meet me?”
”That’s for him to know and you to find out. This your number?”
“No, it’s my mates, Jazz. The guy you spoke to earlier.”
 “Right, text me your number and somebody will call you in a day or so to let
you know about the meet. And listen, kid, don’t fuck this up. The Boss is not a
forgiving man, so don’t be late.” 
“OK. But can you let me know what the agenda is for the meeting is.” 
“Agenda! Agenda! You prick! You’re not meeting a divorce lawyer! This is the
Boss we’re talking about! If he wants to meet you then that’s what’s gonna happen.
Put it this way, you can either drive yourself or I’ll put you in the boot of my car and
drive you across town myself. Either way you’ll be there.” 
“No, no. Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. It would be an absolute honour to
meet with Mr Regan. Please just let me know where and when, and I’ll be there. 
“Like I said, kid, you learn fast.”
 
 © Copyright Raj Rana 2012
Carousel is published on Monday 21st July 2013.
To continue reading, buy the book on Amzon here it is also available for Kindle.

 

 

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