The Grifter by Ali Gunn and Sean Campbell was published by Partners in Crime on 15 August 2021.
Couldn’t disagree with him there. I wouldn’t be his mate if he paid me. I met his stare as best I could. He towered over me, easily six foot tall. I used to be taller. Before the accident, anyway. Now I hobble along like Quasimodo. Ain’t easy to stand up straight on one leg.
My back screamed out in agony. Pain radiated out all over my body. Even my missing leg hurt. Bloody phantom pain.
Kent Bancroft will never see him coming.
‘He forgot his–’
And he’s going to get it.

About the Book
And he blames Kent for everything.
The click-clack of my crutches on the cobblestones made him look up. He flicked the stub in my direction.
Before I could say “wallet”, the men grabbed me under the armpits. My crutches fell to the ground as they dragged me towards the road. One shove later, I toppled backwards over the low wall that divided the offices of Bancroft, Tomlinson and Co from the public road beyond.
Time to make the bastard pay.
I limped along, crying out with every step as I made my way back to the doorway across the street. I collapsed down onto my sleeping bag and looked for the flask I kept hidden in the pile. I twisted off the cap and glugged down a few mouthfuls, the burn of cheap whisky coating my throat.
The two suits ran at me. As if I could escape.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to go far.
I looked around, hoping someone might help me up. The City’s always busy in the morning so there were plenty of people to see me strugglin’. One woman managed a half-smile as if she weren’t sure if I deserved the ordeal I had just endured. Nobody helped. Nobody noticed the wallet in my hand. I slipped it into my pocket.
He wants revenge.
One will rise. The other will fall.
‘And second,’ he continued, ‘I won’t spare you anything. I earn my crust, and you should too. Scum, that’s what you are. A blight on our streets. You lay around all day, drinking and smoking, and then have the nerve to ask hard-working people like me for handouts. Get off my property.’
‘Spare a couple of quid, mate?’
‘Yours, is it? I’d have thought you wouldn’t begrudge a man a bite to eat when you’ve got your own skyscraper.’
He turned, still yabberin’ into his phone, his eyes momentarily narrowing as if to ask how I knew his name. He looked over to two security guards who were standing one either side of the revolving door into the lobby, and then, real subtle-like, he jerked his head towards me.
But his success has come on the back of those he’s trodden upon to get there. Among them is a man whose fall was as swift as Kent’s rise. He used to be a sparky, honest and hard-working. Now, he’s homeless, drunk, and down one leg.
Fuck it. I’m done.
This is a victim who won’t stand idly by.
Forget forgiveness. Forget turning the other cheek. And forget waiting for karma.
Enough is enough. I’m tired of giving Bancroft second chances. By now, he’ll be back in his office. Had he noticed his wallet was gone yet? Would he realise where he’d lost it? Would he finally remember me?
After the crowds began to move on, I hauled myself up onto the wall. My back twinged again as I bent forward to pick up my crutches. By the time I could stand up, the pain was too much. I needed something to take the edge off.
‘Oi, Bancroft!’ I called out. I stumbled after him, my stump swinging wildly between my crutches.
Minister, eh? Mr La-de-dah. He turned away from me, heading back towards his office. Then I saw it. There, on the ground. A sleek leather wallet. I picked it up, it was much heavier than I expected as if it were stuffed full of cash.
‘First of all,’ he said, his nostrils flaring angrily, ‘I’m not your mate.’
As I sat up, the shadows of the security guards loomed over me. One of ’em had picked up my crutches. He threw ’em down on the ground at my feet without saying a word.
I was saved from a retort by the ringing of his mobile. He answered at lightning speed.
Today I have an extract to share.
‘Hello? Ah, Minister, yes, yes…’
I’m done playing nice. He’d refused to spare a cripple one little human kindness. I just wanted him to talk to me, to put things right. Instead, he’d insulted me and assaulted me.
People usually ignored me. It was easier than lookin’ me in the eye. But Mr High and Mighty couldn’t take the easy road. He had to say something.
Kent Bancroft’s rise to fame and fortune was nothing short of meteoric. Once a simple teacher in London’s East End, he’s now on course to become Britain’s youngest billionaire.

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