Tricky Dicky Very Sticky

Written by: Ray Stone

The sign was old, but the wording could be read. SPARKS QUALITY REPAIRS. A smaller sign hung at an angle at one end. MOT Specialists. The two main doors had once been painted dark blue, but the paint had cracked and peeled down to the bottom where lumps of the wood panelling had broken off due to weathering. A poster on the wall advertised a ‘Cliff Richards’ concert at Wembley, sixth of August 1974.

A young man arrived on an old BSA motorcycle and parked it just outside the main garage entrance.

“It’s about bleedin’ time you got here, Tanner.” Sparky shook a finger at Tanner as Doyle and Sam finished their tea. “Today of all days as well. Hurry up and get changed. We have a very important customer due in an hour. I want this place looking spick and span.”

“Who’s he rabbiting on about,” said Tanner, yawning while trying to put his overalls on. “I wish he’d have a day off. He’s always having a go at me.”

“Well, mon, you bein’ late every day don’t help at all,” answered Sam.

“You ain’t got nothin’ to shout about,” retorted Tanner. “Your lot back in Trinidad don’t start work until the bleedin’ sun has been up four hours.”

Sam grinned. “We is very productive, mon, and that’s before we go to work.”

Doyle shook his head and mumbled. “They’re all in bed - sharing the led. They were like it when I was there in nineteen fifty-eight. The place was empty until after ten.” He poked Tanner. “ That’s why you’re yawning. Too much sharing.”

“Will someone tell me whose comin’ that’s so important. Royalty is it?” asked Tanner, picking up his tea.

“Oh mon, better than that. The king himself be comin’ today. The one and only Tricky Dicky.”

Tanner choked on the tea. “Blimey, no wonder Sparky’s jumpin’ about.”

Doyle tossed the repair sheet to Tanner. “He just bought a second-hand E Type with a few minor scratches on the paintwork and somethings wrong with the front brakes. He wants it done today, and Sparky said yes – bleeding idiot.”

‘That’s because Sparky’s scared of Dicky. He does a lot of business around here,” said Tanner. “I heard he makes his money runnin’ butchery shops.”

“He owns the club I take my girl to,” said Sam. “Must be making a fortune.”

They all nodded as Sparky came running out of the office, waving a warning hand at them.

With a roar, a red Jaguar drove into the garage and stopped beside the boys. A tall, well-dressed man with a moustache stepped out and grinned at the boys.

“Hi lads, I’m Dick, and this is the car you’re going to help me with.” He patted the paintwork. “Beauty, isn’t she? Nice to meet you. I like meeting the guys doing work for me – just in case anything goes wrong.”

A large man appeared next to Dicky. “This is Joe. He helps me when anything goes wrong.”



As usual a gripping starter from Ray. There is always so much going on in your opening chapters Ray, which is a good thing because it gives readers so many things to ponder over. This preface seems like a gangster kind of story and would love to see how it develops. The dialect is very peculiar (especially Sam and Doyle), one which requires adequate research to continue the tone of this preface.
A nice premise for the continuation of Tanner's apprenticeship. I did notice the lie printed on that sign - "... quality repairs" - I wonder if anyone else noticed.If I know Ray, there will be a body in one o them butchery shops, waiting to be discovered ...