Books and Short Stories by Lawrence Wray

MM COVER

MONEY MAN

Uploaded to Amazon on 2nd January 2014

MONEY MAN is now available on Amazon.

The new blockbuster novel from Lawrence Wray that the online book retailers initally refused to list due to the revealing content.

Faced with two options that would change your life, what would you do?

When the police raid a house and close down the biggest counterfeit currency operation in Ireland, anyone would think that it’s all over, but it’s only just beginning.

Caught red-handed with over £250,000 of the best fake Euro notes ever produced, Lawrence finds himself with limited options.

While on bail, the distrubutor demands that he starts up again to fulfill existing orders.

The police then offer a deal giving authorisation to set-up and start manufacturing again in order to catch the distributor.

Caught in the middle, what choice does he have? The distributor isn’t shy with his threats, and the police can offer a significantly
reduced sentence for cooperation. But his wife demands that he never does anything like this again.

With the option of doing substantial jail time and offending one of Northern Ireland’s major criminals, or potentially breaking up his marriage, he finds himself torn between the two options. Then he makes a decision.

Using widely available home printers, the money generated by this one-man operation is staggering.

Based on the real life story of the author, this book will give you an insight into just how ridiculously easy and lucrative it is to produce fake currency, and how Northern Ireland’s underworld works.

50% of all proceeds from the sale of the book go to CancerFocusNI

Money Man is available on Amazon.

A short excerpt.

CHAPTER 1
Tuesday, 6th August, 2002 10:02am
The child was sitting beside the window overlooking the front garden. She was curled up on the chair watching TV, still in her pyjamas with her long jet black hair over her shoulders, eating her breakfast of fruit cocktail that she had carefully made the night before. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the bushes move; thinking that it must have been a bird flying out of it, she was about to turn her attention back to the TV when a figure dressed totally in black and carrying what appeared to be a gun burst out of the bushes and ran across the lawn. “Daddy,” she screamed. It was one of those screams and lets you know immediately that something is very wrong.
Daddy had no time to react as the front door came crashing in and several figures ran into the room. Two of them stopped straight in front of him and pointed their guns at his head, apparently ready to fire. Dressed head to toe in black; black overalls, black flak jackets, black helmets with visors down, black boots and black gloves which held what Daddy assumed to be sub machine guns, which were of course, all in the mandatory black. “Armed Police, don’t move,” was shouted simultaneously by the two gunmen, who both kept their weapons pointed at Daddy’s head.
Daddy was the bald man sitting on the settee, wearing nothing more than blue boxer shorts and eating a bowl of cereal. He realised immediately what was happening, as he had always considered it a possibility and had no intention of moving when looking down the barrel of a gun – or in this case up the barrel – as the two stood over him. “It’s okay – we’re cool,” he calmly replied. He could see and hear other police coming in and running all through the house. He continued eating his cereal.
One of the gunmen lifted up his visor, revealing a black balaclava with only his two eyes visible. He was like something dressed up for a bad science fiction movie. “We have a warrant to search these premises,” he said.
The child was crying uncontrollably now and had curled herself into a protective ball on the chair, the remainder of her breakfast spilt all over the carpet.
Lawrence calmly set his bowl on the floor. “I’m going over to my daughter,” was all he said, and the policeman nodded his approval. He lifted her in his arms and hugged her tightly, “Dominique darling,” it’s all right they’re on our side, it’s the police don’t worry.” Although Lawrence was worried himself, he wanted his daughter to know that the police were not coming to hurt anyone. No matter how many times he had played this possibility over in his mind in the past months and weeks, he knew that the real thing would be much worse, and indeed it was. But why this week when Dominique was off summer scheme? If her best friend hadn’t been away on holiday, then she wouldn’t have seen all this.
As there were no obvious weapons and the target was virtually naked, the policemen visibly relaxed. One of them hung his gun over his shoulder and removed his helmet and balaclava to reveal a lean face with protruding cheekbones and closely cropped white hair. He had a contradictory look to the rest of his appearance, as he was probably in his early fifties. He produced a piece of paper out of one of the flap pockets in his trousers and handed it to Lawrence. “This is the warrant to search the house.”
Lawrence took the warrant and threw it down on the settee without looking at it, while still holding tight to his daughter. “Just tell me what you’re looking for and I’ll tell you where to find it.”
“The warrant is to allow us to search the premises for counterfeit money and any equipment used to produce it?”
“No problem, I print it for TV and the film industry, it’s my job. It’s printing in the garage at the minute and there’s loads of it already finished awaiting collection, you can go out and see for yourself.” He pointed to where the garage was.
It makes my job a lot easier when you own up, thought the policeman with a surprised look on his face.
Dominique snuggled tight into her Dad’s shoulder. Looking out the front window Lawrence could see that the street was completely filled with police vehicles: armoured Land Rovers and patrol cars – all with their blue lights flashing out to everyone that something major was taking place – three white vans and a variety of other unmarked vehicles and what he assumed to be CID officers walking around in their shirts and ties, talking into mobile telephones and police radios. The whole road outside the house was completely blocked.
“It’ll be all right.” Lawrence told Dominique, as he finally released his hug on her and they both sat down. “Just look outside at the number of police cars; it’s just like on the TV.” Dominique managed to smile back weakly and shuffled closer to her Dad.
Lawrence’s wife was brought down the stairs by a policewoman. She had been in the bath and was wearing only a dressing gown and was visibly distressed. “What’s going on, what’s going on?” She was obviously in a state of shock.
“Mary love, there’s no need to worry, they’re only doing their job,” said Lawrence.
The policewoman was what people would think of as a ‘typical Irish girl’, with tied back flaming red hair and a freckled face and probably the legendary temper to go with it. She led Mary into the living room to let her sit down on the settee beside Dominique and Lawrence.
“They’re looking for fake money,” Lawrence said. “I’ve told them it’s printing at the minute, out in the garage and as I’ve said to Dominique, we don’t need to panic; they’re the police and they’re on our side.”
Mary’s face asked the question before the words left her mouth. “Fake money? In our garage? You mean counterfeit money?”
“No, no, no, not counterfeit,” Lawrence shook his head, “over the last couple of weeks, I have a good contract going. I’m printing fake cash for TV and film shows, you know, when the baddie drops the case and all the money falls out – that’s my money,” he said proudly.
A sarcastic smile appeared, “Ooh… Well that’s okay then. Nothing to worry about,” then it left just as fast as it had appeared. “You expect me to believe that, never mind the police?”
“It’s the truth. There’s nothing to worry about, it’s all legit. I’m making some right now for The Bill and it’s going to be aired sometime in October.”
“Are you insane?”
“Look, if I thought that there was anything illegal about it, I wouldn’t have done it, and I certainly wouldn’t have done it in my own back garage.”
The policewoman had seen it all before and couldn’t help thinking that another wife was being led down the garden path by her husband, and would probably end up believing him, or more realistically, wanting to believe him, whereas if it wasn’t for the marital relationship, she would never have listened.
Lawrence held his wife and daughter tightly, feeling relief that it was finally over; although he had to admit that the buzz he got from manufacturing the money was something he was attracted to, and the fact that the money was technically excellent and something he took great pride in, did make him smile, but he knew inside that the whole thing was wrong.
Dominique looked up at the police woman and asked, “Are we going to jail?”
The policewoman smiled back and shook her head in a ‘no’ gesture, again feeling sorry for the wife and now the daughter. The child shouldn’t even be here for something like this, it could scar her for life and kids are so impressionable, and even though she was getting cuddles from both her mum and dad, they were just physical, but the damage being inflicted here would be much deeper.
Other police – about eight that Lawrence could see – all dressed in the same way, were now entering the living room, removing their helmets and balaclavas and reporting to the one who had the warrant. They were all a lot younger than the leader, and it was clear that they took everything seriously as they were all carrying the same guns hung over their shoulders. “Everything’s all clear outside, all clear upstairs, kitchen secure,” were some of the reports given, and after they had finished, they left the room and went outside, leaving what seemed to be the leader of the raid and the redhead policewoman.
“So, what happens next?” Lawrence asked him.
“Well, we now start to search the house, room by room.”
“You’ll pull everything out and leave the house a total mess,” Mary cried, her anger now surfacing.
Lawrence was having visions of everything pulled out and left on the floor and Mary not only blaming him – and rightly so – but maybe even leaving him as a result. “Will everything just be pulled out and left?” Lawrence calmly enquired.
“No, we leave everything as we found it. You won’t even know we’ve been here.”
“I can give you everything you want and show you where everything is. I’ll even explain what everything’s used for and how the notes are made.”
“All in good time if it comes to that point. We’ve got to do it ourselves, that’s the way it works.” He was thinking that it would save a lot of time if criminals were allowed to show them everything, but what was the angle here? A guy making counterfeit money not only admitting everything from the out, but even offering to show how it’s made.
More police starting coming in, some of them in white overalls with hoods up and aluminium cases, and they must have been told that everyone was cooperating, as most of them nodded their heads as they met the family. If it wasn’t for the fact that they would be looking into everything that the family thought of as private, it could even be described as amicable. They started upstairs at just after twenty past ten.
Lawrence was sitting quietly thinking about the situation as everyone scurried around him and decided that now would be a good time to ring his solicitor. He picked up the phone and was dialling the number when he heard, “Sorry, no telephone calls allowed,” just as the phone was removed from his hand.
“What’re you doing?” He asked the leader, who was now holding the phone.
“Sorry, just following orders. If you want, you can take it up with Terry Delaney, he’s the senior officer in charge, and it was him who told me that no phone calls were allowed,” he frowned, “its standard procedure.”
“Surely I’m allowed to call my solicitor for advice, I’m not under arrest, am I?” He looked at the leader. “Nobody has read me my rights or anything.”
“No, you’re not under arrest, but like I said, I’m just following orders. I’m only an ordinary policeman, you really need to speak to Serious Crime; they tell us what to do.”
“Serious Crime?” Lawrence looked puzzled. “Not CID?”
“No way, this is major league. All counterfeiting is dealt with by Serious Crime.”
“Can I ring my work?” Mary enquired.
“No. No one can make or take telephone calls at this address until I‘m given the all clear by Terry Delaney. I’m sorry but that’s the way it is.” He did the shoulder shrug thing.
“We can’t take phone calls in our own home? Did I hear you right?” Mary asked in disbelief. “Who answers it then?”
“I think Serious Crime will nominate someone to take the incoming calls, but again, you’ll have to ask them.”
“Mary,” Lawrence said, “just relax and forget about it, the situation’s outside our control, so don’t panic, or argue with anyone, it’ll just make everything worse.”
“I don’t have a choice, do I?” Her look betrayed her innermost feelings, as her eyes were full of pure hatred for Lawrence.
“He’s right you know, we’re only here to do a job and as difficult as it is for you right now, it can be ten times more difficult for us. We don’t know what we’re opening the door to, I’ve been shot at with a crossbow, attacked with a knife and caught people trying to flush all sorts of things down toilets, and we’re always who they take it out on, that’s why we’re armed and ready for anything.”
Lawrence stood up from the settee and offered his hand to the policeman. “Lawrence Wray, pleased to meet you,” he smiled, “but I wish the circumstances were different.”
“Doug, and I wish they were different as well, you’re not the usual type we deal with.” He looked at Lawrence in amazement.
Mary cringed as Lawrence carried on indifferent to his wife’s feelings. “Tell me, Doug, what’s on the agenda for today, what normally happens in a case like this?”
“Well, we only do the search and report our findings to Serious Crime, it’s up to them how they handle it from there, and it’s largely dependent on what’s found.”
As if on cue, two well dressed men in suits came in behind Doug. They were obviously in charge as he immediately stepped to one side. The larger of the two, or to put it another way, the seriously overweight one said, “Good morning Mr Wray, Mrs Wray,” he looked over at Dominique, “and who’s this young lady?”
Dominique looked over at her mum, who said, “This is our nine year old daughter Dominique, maybe you can tell her why a load of policemen are going through our house and even her bedroom?”
He ignored the outburst. “I must say, I like your pyjamas,” he waited for a smile, but none came. “Anyway, we’re here to look for something that we think your dad might know about, and I promise that we will leave everything as we found it – and especially your room. I’ll tell everyone to take extra special care when they’re in there, okay?”
He turned to Lawrence and Mary, “I’m Detective Inspector Terry Delaney and this is Detective Curtis Cranston, we’re from Serious Crime C12 counterfeiting branch.” He turned to Doug, “We can take it from here and can you close the door tightly behind you on the way out?”
Without another word, Doug and the redhead, immediately turned and left the room.
Terry took in every detail of Lawrence’s appearance and decided that due to the shaved head alone, he was probably dealing with some sort of football supporter hooligan mentality, although no tattoos were visible.
“Nice view from up here,” remarked Curtis, looking out of the window.
“Yes.” Lawrence replied, “but you don’t appreciate it, after a while you get used to it.”
The house was a chalet bungalow high on a hill, and had spectacular views overlooking Belfast, and in particular, Belfast Lough. You could see all the boats coming and going on their crossings to Scotland, or sometimes farther away when the cruise ships stopped by. They had bought the house over fifteen years ago, just before they were married, and the two reasons that they picked the house were the fireplace – which was very modern – and the view; the rest of the house was just a bonus.
Terry was a large man by any standards and had a belly that was stretching the buttons on his bright yellow shirt. A round smiling face sat atop a large chin, or to be more accurate, a series of chins, which completely covered any signs of a neck.
Although Terry’s initial assessment of Lawrence had given him cause for concern, on reflection, he was well spoken and his tone and lack of aggression in his voice, gave Terry reason to reconsider his initial impression.
“Can Dominique go to her room or somewhere else while we talk?” Lawrence asked.
“Yes, of course,” replied Terry. “Your wife and daughter are free to leave the premises at any time, or stay in any of the rooms; once they’ve been searched.”
Lawrence sighed and looked over smiling at Mary who asked. “Can we take the dog for a walk?” Mary had decided that she needed to get Dominique away from all this and who could object to walking a dog?
“Yes, I don’t see anything wrong with that,” Terry said with a confirming glance at Curtis who nodded back in agreement.
Mary noticed that Curtis had a lived in kind of face; craggy and friendly, but his eyes indicated that he was not to be taken lightly. A tall skinny man with salt and pepper hair and a permanent smile; an interesting façade for someone in his line of work, she thought. The two of them together reminded her of Laurel and Hardy. “Dominique love, can you put the lead on the dog and meet me at the front door?”
Dominique wiped her eyes, said nothing, and walked out past Terry, who bent down and whispered to her. “Don’t worry love; it’s going to be all right.”
Mary stood up and as she walked out the door turned around and in an angry voice said. “You’d better get this sorted Lawrence.” She closed the door gently behind her.
“Not a happy camper your wife,” said Terry.
“No, she doesn’t know anything about any of this, and you have to admit that seeing raids like this on television doesn’t quite prepare you for the real thing. It’s frightening with those guns and masks.”
“Yes, but it’s necessary to protect the officers involved,” Curtis informed Lawrence.
“Yea, the big guy with the warrant explained that. Can I go upstairs and get dressed now? It’s a full house and I’m naked?” He pointed to his boxers.
Curtis turned towards him. “Yes, but we will have to assign an officer to accompany you at all times throughout the search.”
“Look, I want this thing over with as quickly and easily as possible, so anything you want me to do or tell you, just ask.”
“That’s good to hear,” Terry said. “Makes our job easier, and the saying ‘you help us, we help you’ holds true. The more you can help us, the easier the courts will go on you when this thing’s over with.”
“You made very good quality notes,” said Curtis, handing over two notes he had pulled out of his wallet.
Lawrence took the notes and inspected them. A twenty pound note and a fifty Euro note, both of which had been made by him. “How’d you know these were mine?”
“We didn’t, until now. We have, however, known for quite some time that high quality notes were coming from this area, we just didn’t know who was making them,” Curtis replied. “Can I just ask how you did the watermarks?”
Ahhh, that’s a trade secret,” Lawrence said with a smile.
“We’ll find out anyway once we analyse everything.” He wasn’t taking Lawrence’s answer as humorous.
“I’m just messing around. I’ll tell you. On these notes the watermarks were hand drawn, then enlarged and made bolder, scanned into the computer, reduced in size, then tinted to a very light grey and printed onto one side, flipped sideways and aligned up with the other side. It’s all easily done with Photoshop.”
“Photoshop?” Terry looked confused.
“It’s a computer program for retouching photos, or in this case, currency artwork.” Curtis explained.
“Sounds easy when it’s explained like that, but I don’t think many people could do it to your standard, Lawrence. The watermark was hand drawn?”
“Yea, it doesn’t scan from the original note, so I put one on a light box and traced it out.”
“Very clever, who taught you all this?”
“I’ve been involved with printing all my life and it’s just common sense when you’re dealing with artwork.” Lawrence smiled. “I know most of the tricks of the trade by now. When I started, everybody used light boxes, now everything is done by computer; it’s much quicker and better quality.”
Curtis looked over at Terry who said. “I think you’re going to get through this alright Lawrence.”
Terry went out the door and returned in seconds with a new policeman. “I think Mr Wray needs to go and get dressed, so you’re assigned to him until we wind things up here.” He turned to Lawrence. “Mr Wray, this officer will need to accompany you anywhere you go today until we clear this operation, is that understood?”
“Yes, that’s okay.” He looked over Terry’s shoulder into the hall. “Did they break the door when they crashed in?”
“Normally we do, yea, but yours was open. They probably pushed it a bit hard, but didn’t use the enforcer.”
“Enforcer?”
“It’s used by the Rapid Entry Team, sort of like a two handled pole with a weight on the end, instead of the old sledge hammer method, but I’ve already checked for damage for our records and it’s perfect.”
“That’s one less thing to worry about today. If it was broken, Mary would have a fit.”
Lawrence and his new shadow went upstairs to the bedroom just as everyone from the search team was coming down. “Find anything?” Lawrence asked as they filed past.
“No,” was the simple reply.
“It’s all in the garage, like I told Doug.”
They carried on without a reply and a quick count confirmed that there were indeed eight policemen who had just searched the bedrooms, bathrooms and presumably the attic and were now going to search downstairs.
Lawrence started to dress while his minder waited outside the door. As he put his trousers on, he glanced out of the window and saw Mary and Dominique at the end of the street with the dog, just about to turn down the hill. The dog was Lawrence’s and was a variety of breeds. He just appeared one night, all bloody, with cuts all over his nose, head and ears, looking sorry for himself after being presumably run over by a car. His collar was so tight that it had to be cut off. Somebody had just decided to throw him away. Lawrence fed him, took him to a vet and got him fixed up, and after christening him ‘Rascal’, he just became part of the family. Lawrence smiled at the thought – maybe he wasn’t all bad after all. He had nearly finished dressing and was in the bathroom putting on the one extravagant expenditure he had made as a result of the counterfeiting – Chanel Platinum Égoïste deodorant and aftershave. He had spent just over £300 and bought the complete set of everything they had out of Debenhams. Then he heard shouting from downstairs. “We’ve got something.”

CHAPTER 2
Tuesday, 6th August, 2002 11:23am
Lawrence, still buttoning his shirt, came down to be greeted by Terry and Curtis standing at the bottom of the stairs. Curtis was holding a handful of syringes. “Can you explain these?” Curtis asked.
“Yea man, I’m into recreational drugs. You know, they help me relax. Heroin and a little crack cocaine – only the best.” He drew it out in an exaggerated American accent.
Terry frowned. “You realise the seriousness of this?”
Ever think to read the labels, Lawrence thought. “Try cancer.”
“Huh?”
“They’re for cancer. I’ve got cancer. They’re injections to boost the white blood cells after chemotherapy. You ever see junkies shooting with needles packed like that? Read the instructions or check it out with my doctor. You don’t think that at my age I cut my hair like this on purpose, did you?”
“You have cancer?” Curtis asked.
“Yup.”
‘I’ve got it wrong,’ Terry thought. ‘Not a hard man or hooligan at all, just an ordinary Joe with cancer.’ “Are you all right? Do you need a doctor?”
“Yes, I’m all right and no, I don’t need a doctor. I’m into my third week after chemo. Last week was my bad week, so I get more on Thursday.”
“This Thursday?” Terry’s brow wrinkled. “As in the day after tomorrow?”
“Yea, I get it every third Thursday. It takes a week for it to work, then a week sick – usually in hospital – then another week to get ready for the next Thursday, then it starts all over.”
“What kind have you got?” Curtis asked.
“Lymphoma, it’s a cancer of the Lymph nodes, plus it’s affected the liver, spleen and heart.” Lawrence shook his head. “Damned thing’s grade four, high risk and aggressive. It’s as bad as it can get, but I’ll beat it.”
“Sounds serious,” said Terry.
“Good cure rate though. I researched it on the internet and it’s one of the best cancers to get – if that’s the right way to put it.”
“OK, well sorry to hear about it, I hope you beat it,” said Curtis, thinking that his brother-in-law had died of the same thing just two years ago, but he decided not to mention that. “You’ve a good attitude anyway.”
“I’m sorry to hear about it too,” said Terry, shaking his head. “If you need any medication or a doctor at any time, just let us know and we’ll organise it for you, Okay?”
“Yea, appreciate it.”
“Guess you can leave these back where you found them,” Curtis said, handing the syringes back to one of the search officers, who Lawrence assumed must have been an under-cover-cop as his arms had tattoos, and he had long straggly hair tied back in a ponytail. He was extremely suntanned, had small blue eyes and a wrinkled face like a prune, as if he had recently lost a lot of weight.
“You want to go in and sit down, and we’ll carry on and give you a bit of peace?” Terry asked.
“Yea, I’m fine, but I usually get a sleep about lunchtime.”
“Not a problem, just do it when you feel you need to. But don’t forget to tell Mike here where you’re going.” Mike smiled at the mention of his name.
First name terms, thought Lawrence. ‘Wonder if every raid they do ends up this way?’ He could feel the atmosphere get calmer as Terry and Curtis went out, no doubt to decide his fate between them.
.
.
Curtis and Terry stepped through the patio doors into the garden. “Well, what do you make of him?”
Curtis frowned as he lit a cigarette. “He’s obviously a cool customer, especially after that crack about the syringes and the American accent, and he’s very keen to co-operate – almost too keen. It’s unusual to say the least.”
“He seems almost proud of it, especially when he talked about making the watermark.”
“Not often we meet a criminal who takes pride in his work,” Curtis said. “When did you forget everything about Photoshop?”
“Doesn’t do to let him know that we know as much as him. Let him tell us and we might discover something new.”
“We could – if we wanted to – make notes every bit as good as him,” said Curtis, “But not with the hologram or silver lines, or that they would pass the pen and the ultra violet light box.”
“No, he has it down to a fine art. He says everything’s in the garage, so we’ll finish off the house and then hit the jackpot. What’s your take on the wife?”
“She doesn’t know ‘Jack shit’ about it.”
“He says that she knows nothing about it, but make sure we check everything. Could be he’s prepared to take the rap for anything just to keep the wife out of it. It’s not like he has much to lose in his condition.”
Curtis shook his head. “Na, don’t think so, she seemed genuine enough and she gave him a hard time, which I don’t think she faked.”
“I wouldn’t have figured him to have cancer. He looks healthy enough. I just thought he was a skinhead.”
“Yea, that was my first impression as well. Didn’t like to tell him, but my brother-in-law had the same thing and died. He looked healthy as well, right up to the last couple of weeks and then he looked awful with big black rings around his eyes.” Curtis flicked ash off his cigarette and then on reflection decided to stub it out altogether.
“Bit late for that!” Terry chuckled and shook his head. “Poor bastard. So we might not even get this one to court?”
“Possible we might, possible we might not. But even if we do, medical records and recommendations from his doctors will have a colossal effect on the outcome. Wait and see what we find before we convict him, eh? Do we go easy on him, considering?”
“No way. Fuck him; he’s a criminal like all the rest. No special treatment required.” He paused. “Well, not much.”
“There’s just something about him; even before I knew about the cancer. He’s not the normal criminal type that we deal with. It’s like he’s – I don’t know – just naïve.”
“Well, we’re here to do a job, so let’s keep it professional.”
.
.
“Mike, if I need to wee, do you come in with me?” Lawrence asked.
He shook his head, “No, I just wait outside.”
Terry came back in again. “Lawrence, can you come through to the back room with me?”
They must have found the real money, Lawrence thought. How was he going to explain it? It was hidden below the computer desk, all stacked in one thousand pound bundles. He had only just been given some of the cash the day before for the last print run, and as usual, had hidden it from his family. It was all genuine money, as he had checked each note himself. He had looked at the watermarks, checked the texture of the paper, used the counterfeit pen and finally put each note under the light box. All he had to do was explain it – and that would be the hard part.
On top of the dining room table, there were eighty three bundles of cash, all neatly laid out in eight rows of ten and one of three. Eighty three thousand pounds. Eighteen eyes staring at the cash and no one even looked away as Lawrence and Terry entered the room.
“Some savings you’ve got under the table Lawrence, care to explain it?” Terry asked.
“It’s not what you think. It’s all real money, check it yourself. I’ve saved it up over the years.”
“Savings? Why didn’t you save in a bank like everyone else?”
Lawrence shrugged. “It’s not money that the tax man knows about. I couldn’t just put it in a bank.”
Turning to one of the cops Terry said, “Count it, bag it, and tag it, its evidence.”
“You can’t do that, its legal money not fake,” said Lawrence.
“I don’t even think it is fake. I think its proceeds of crime and until you convince me otherwise, we’ll keep it safe for you as evidence.”
“Not much choice, have I?”
The answer was an unarguable ‘no’ as expected.
As they started to count it, Lawrence decided that it was no good worrying about it now. Surely they couldn’t just make an assumption and keep it. They would have to prove it. He made a mental note to talk to his solicitor about it and went back into the living room.
.
.
Hunger pangs started at about ten past one, so Lawrence went into the kitchen to make something. “I’m making tea, anyone want some?” He asked, expecting that no one would take up his offer.
“Plenty of milk, no sugar,” Terry said, starting an avalanche of orders from everyone else.
It turned out that the police had ordered sandwiches and they just happened to arrive as the tea was ready. Most of the police went into the living room at Lawrence’s invitation and had their lunch with him.
“So, is this a normal raid?” asked Lawrence, to whoever wanted to answer.
“No, this is definitely not normal,” one of them replied, and some of them laughed. “Normally we have screams, shouting and threats”
“And we’ve never got tea.” Said another one.
They talked between themselves with Lawrence picking up on the odd reference to the raid and possible outcome. Some of the comments referred to a potential waste of their time, to the effects of the cancer on the outcome, and possible jail sentences if they did actually find counterfeit cash.
After a time, Terry stood up. “Thanks for the tea Lawrence. Okay everybody, have we finished?” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. “Okay, let’s get this show on the road and finish up then.”
.
.
The garage door had a coded number lock and one of the policemen was getting ready to use the enforcer on it, when Terry said, “Why not ask him for the code? Just go in and ask him.”
One of them went in and was out again in seconds with Lawrence behind him.
“Nineteen sixty’s the code. It’s the year I was born.”
Terry keyed in the number, turned the handle, and on opening the door, the sight that awaited them was not what they had expected or seen before. They were assaulted by the smell of ink and the noise of paper being churned out by the ink jet printers. Purpose built shelving from floor to ceiling housed computer screens, keyboards and printers. There was a large guillotine in the right hand corner along with a shrink wrapping machine, a hot foiling machine, and screen printer sitting opposite. On the left hand side was a table with a mangle mounted on it, a bank note counting machine and what looked like piles of cash, all shrink wrapped in plastic and ready to distribute. It was an Aladdin’s cave of Sterling, Euros and Pesetas. All in all, the most professional set up they had ever seen. The whole place was immaculate and designed for just one purpose – the manufacture of counterfeit notes. The printers that were still going, were printing out sheets of the counterfeit money. Some of them showing three twenty pound notes to a page, but most of them having three fifty Euro notes to a page. There were piles of paper in various stages of completion stacked neatly below each printer.
“Feels good to be right.” Terry smiled, as he let the rest of the team file in past him.
Curtis said “Jesus. He’s fucked now.”
“Not with his cancer.” Terry shook his head. “The judge won’t even want a custodial sentence. It’s too much of a problem when a jailbird has any kind of major illness. I’ve seen it before, and the guy only had a dodgy ticker. A good solicitor and medical reports and he’ll get a suspended.”
Curtis cut open one of the piles of cash and sampled a twenty-pound note. He let out a long low whistle. “Best I’ve ever seen in all the time I’ve been doing this.” He brought one over to Terry, “Look at this, it feels right, it’s watermarked, line foiled, colours are perfect and it even has the hologram; which, by the way, everyone said couldn’t be copied.” Shaking his head he commented. “I’ve never seen better, I could be fooled by these. He even has a roll of the holograms made and sitting on the table ready to be put on the next batch. It seems that he constantly improves them. These are a lot better than the samples I already have.”
“We obviously arrest him then?”
“Fuck no, I want to employ him.” Curtis said with a grin.
“Okay, let’s caution him and organise everything.”
They were walking in the back door just as Mary and Dominique were walking in the front door with the dog. “Hello Mary,” said Terry. “Would you like to let Dominique take the dog and come with me to see Lawrence?”
“He’s in trouble, isn’t he?”
“I’m afraid he is in a bit, but don’t worry too much. He’s been very helpful and that will go a long way in his favour.”
Mary told Dominique to take Rascal into the back garden and play with him.
They entered the living room to find Mike and Lawrence playing chess. Turning his eyes up to heaven, Terry said, “Mike, if you can tear yourself away from your game, we need to talk to Lawrence.” Mike hastily left the room – a bit like a dog being told off by its master.
“Lawrence, you know what we found in the garage, so I’m going to have to arrest you.”
“I know. You have a job to do, so let’s get on with it. It won’t be a problem.” He turned to Mary. “Sit down and don’t worry, and keep Dominique out until this is finished.”
Mary wiped tears from her eyes and just nodded.
Terry started. “Lawrence Wray, I am arresting you on the charge of counterfeiting. You do not have to say anything, but I must caution you that if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court, it may harm your defence. If you do say anything it may be given in evidence. Do you understand?”
Lawrence nodded his head.
“Do you have anything to say?”
What can I say? Thought Lawrence. I should have had something prepared for this moment instead of playing chess. Shaking his head, Lawrence replied “I didn’t hide anything. I helped you from you arrived ‘till now. I told you it was in the garage, and I even offered to show you exactly how everything was made. I will help you all I can.” It was all he could think of.
“Good enough answer,” Terry said, while writing it down in a little black flip-over book.
“What happens next?” Mary asked.
“We take him to Antrim Road, Police Station, question him and he’ll be bailed tonight.”
“Lawrence, why did you do this to us? Why, just tell me that?” Mary cried. “We didn’t need any more money. Why’d you do it?”
“It’ll all come out in the wash, don’t panic.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means don’t panic, nothing’s what it seems.”
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The search team had emptied the garage and everything was now in the vans, ready for further examination.
“Right folks, nearly four o’clock, we have to get cleared up here, so it’s time to go.” Turning to Mary, Terry took pity on her and said. “Don’t worry. He’ll be bailed tonight and back home before you know it. It’s not as if there are drugs or guns involved, and between you and me, there was no victim, except the government, so we won’t oppose bail.”
“Will I have to wear handcuffs?” Lawrence asked.
“In your condition? Bracelets? Na.”
“Can I drive myself down, or do you take me?”
“Come on, do you really need an answer to that one?” Terry smiled.
“Marked or unmarked car?”
“You think this is a taxi service? Maybe you’d like us to lay on a limo for you.”
“It’s just that the neighbours will give us hell if I’m taken off in a car with blues and twos.”
“Okay. I’ll organise an unmarked car just for you.”
“Seriously?”
“Yea. Either way the cars will be going back to the police station, so it’s not a problem.”
Terry left the room and Mary and Lawrence spoke alone for the first time that day.
“It’s not as bad as it looks, Mary.”
“It can’t be as easy as you make out.” Hatred burned in her eyes. “You’ve ruined us. Dominique at school, me at work, and the neighbours will have a field day with this, and you’ll end up in jail.”
Lawrence held her by the shoulders to steady her. “Forget all them, love. Listen to me. I need you to ring our solicitor and get him to meet me at the station.”
“What’ll I tell him?”
“Tell him what’s happened, don’t hold anything back.”
“Anything else?”
“Yes. After I’m taken away, jump in the car and go somewhere, anywhere, so that the neighbours won’t quiz you on today’s events. Now go and get Dominique for me.”
“No way. She’s not being dragged into this.”
Lawrence rubbed his head in frustration. “Just get her, they’ll be coming back shortly and I’ll have to go. I really need to see her before I leave.”
Mary shook her head, as if to say no, but in the end it only confirmed that she conceded.
Dominique came running through the door and flung herself into her dad’s waiting arms. “Hi babe.” She looked flushed and had obviously been crying. “It’s gonna be alright. I’ve just got to go with them to answer a few questions and I’ll be home before you know it.”
“One of the policemen says that he has a dog just like Rascal and he was hit by a car as well.”
“Did you make a new friend then?”
Dominique made a face just like her mom. “Sort of.” She smiled a heartbreaking smile.
Dominique didn’t get the chance to say anything else, as Terry and Curtis opened the door and gestured that it was time to go.
Lawrence hugged Dominique so tight he feared he might hurt her and eased off. He turned to Mary with one arm outstretched, so that he could hug both of them, but she wouldn’t come.
He turned from Dominique after kissing her forehead and started slowly out the door.
“Daddy.”
“Yes.”
“I love you.”
A smile lit up his face. “I love you too darlin’. See ya later?”
Just like her mum, Dominique started to sob and Lawrence watched as they hugged each other.
Tears filled his eyes as well, as he turned away to go outside to the waiting car.
Without a word, Terry took him by the arm.
A lot of the neighbours had gathered to watch. Two of them waved to Lawrence as he got in the car. He waved back, recognising that one of them would scurry back and spread the word to everyone else. Terry got in beside him. “I thought you were organising me an unmarked car?”
Terry closed his eyes and screwed up his face. “Sorry, I forgot. We can change now; it went clean out of my head.”
Lawrence shrugged, “Damage is done now. They’ve seen everything they needed. Let’s just go.”
As the car moved off, Dominique and Mary ran onto the road, crying and waving. Lawrence had turned around in the hope that they would be there, but immediately regretted it. As he waved back his emotions took over and the tears streamed down his cheeks, then they turned the corner and he felt like he was alone in the world. He thought that even after the helping the police in every way possible and after being promised the unmarked car, this was how it was going to be – empty promises. He would have to be careful about handling this whole thing, as he could find himself in a very difficult position if he said a wrong word. It wasn’t anywhere near over yet, it was just starting.
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Lawrence Wray The Briefcase A short story

Lawrence Wray
The Briefcase
A short story

THE BRIEFCASE
This was the first short story I uploaded to Amazon and has been a best-seller ever since.
It’s a about a guy who gets on a London bus for the first time in ages and leaves it with a briefcase. Nothing special really, but you have to think to yourself, what’s in it?
Does he keep it or hand it in?
As the story progresses you’ll find yourself wondering; why does he do it?
What’s in it for him?
Ultimately, what would you do?
The story has a very unique twist, which, when I uploaded it, challenged anyone to guess the ending, but so far all the reviews have said that they would never have guessed.
Will you?
As I said it’s a short story, but judging by the responses so far, it has proved to be entertaining, which is really the whole point of reading a book in the first place.

5 STAR REVIEWS
Very hard to say anything and not give too much away but thoroughly enjoyed this. Very short but very clever. With hindsight there are clues but the very brevity means that the ending does catch you by surprise.

A clever and amusing short story. I believe the author defies you to figure out the ending. Although a very short story, it is well worth the 99 cents or 77 pence. I’m still smiling.

I really enjoyed this short story, well written and executed I won’t spoil the ending for you but will say it has a great little twist. I will definitely be watching out for more from this author.

An ingenious short story which involves the reader immediately, with a small number of characters and a good twist, definitely worth a read!

A quick read while I was waiting in line at the Post Office. Very clever plot, and an ending I never saw coming!

Wonderful, gently droll story about a mysterious briefcase found on a London bus. Plenty of humorous asides as the narrative perks along. Things aren’t what they seem, though, and if you can guess what they are, you’re more perceptive than I am. Nice little literary snack, well worth 99 cents or 77 pence. Quick, satisfying read, highly recommended.

I love stories that keep me intrigued, that are well-written, that surprise me, that make me think and feel. And that’s what this one does. I really enjoyed it and recommend it highly.

‘The Briefcase’ is available on Amazon.

A short excerpt.

Now to be honest, I don’t usually ride on the bus; but just this one time and for a very good reason, I decided to hop on the 124 to take me to my destination.
I hadn’t been on a bus since I left school and as I normally drive a red Ferrari – which is never more than two years old – bus passengers wouldn’t by choice be my ideal company, but time to mix with the hoi polloi of London for the purposes of my ride.
When I was a kid coming home from school, we all took over the back seats of the bus and were extremely rowdy and abusive, causing the other passengers to sit near the front, however, now that I was in my forties, I was one of the front passengers who would sit anywhere but at the back, so I took a window seat two seats behind the driver and watched the world pass me by; or me by it, as it were.
It was only a couple of stops before I realised that sometimes people decide – for no apparent reason – to take the seat beside you, even when there are other seats available to them. The man who decided that he had no reason to sit anywhere else, asked me if the seat was taken. “No, it’s free.” I replied. Of all the people that he could have chosen, I was the lucky one.
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Lawrence Wray A Five Star Experience of a Lifetime A short story

Lawrence Wray
A Five Star Experience of a Lifetime
A short story

A FIVE STAR EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME
Laura and Michael check into a five star hotel for a short break. The hotel promises them ‘A five star experience of a lifetime’, but Michael isn’t happy. Sharp eyed and critical, he soon spots things that aren’t up to his high standard and feels that he simply has to complain about certain short-falls that no-one would expect from a five star hotel.
However, as with all short stories, everything isn’t as it seems and of course there is a nice little twist at the end.

This was originally uploaded to this blog so the comments below are from the people who took the time to read it there.

Comments

Entertaining short story. Glad the nasty guy got what he deserved. Pleasant change.

I related to the buildup having stayed in a few nice places staffed by horrible help. The end was a joy of poetic justice. Thanks for sharing.

It should be entered in a short story competition, Lawrence…Raggsy.

Really a marvellous short story! Thanks for sharing.

I clicked through from Twitter, because I wanted to give your story a try. I read it right through, and found myself getting involved, wanting to know what was going to happen, and if the awful manager was going to get his come uppance! It was fun. I thought your dialogue was a strength.

I enjoyed it – and I can see how you would have started writing it with the twist.

Wasn’t sure where you were going with this, but it turned out ok. Liked it.

‘A Five Star Experience of a Lifetime’ is available on Amazon.

A Short Excerpt

I parked my Mercedes at the bottom of the steps and opened the boot. Laura reached in to lift one of the suitcases but I stopped her. “They do all that for us, remember?”
She smiled. “When I met you in the first hotel, I wasn’t used to being looked after this way.”
That had been over twenty-five years ago. She was working on the front desk of a small two star hotel, running after everybody and organising things, so that the customers had an enjoyable stay. It had been so long since we had stayed at a British hotel that she seemed to have forgotten that it was a five-star establishment.

At the front of the hotel there was an elderly doorman, complete with pinstripes, tails and a top hat. I walked up the marble steps. “Excuse me, but is there anyone who could give me a hand with my baggage, maybe you have one of those trolleys?”
“Of course sir, I’ll organise it for you immediately.” He turned and walked through a glass door beside the revolving door.
On the pillar there was a sign stating that the hotel was five-star and not only that, but you would be ‘Guaranteed, the Experience of a Lifetime’. I waved Laura up to join me.
After a couple of minutes, he returned. “Sorry sir, the trolley is being used and the boy who would normally carry them in, is not answering his pager.”
“So I’ll have to make a couple of trips with them myself?”
“Where are they?” He asked.
I pointed to my car which had the three cases visible in the open boot.
“No problem sir, you just go through here,” he pointed at the revolving doors, “and I’ll bring them into the reception for you; by that time someone will be available with the trolley to take them to your room.”
“Thank you,” I said. He seemed a reasonable type and slightly embarrassed that he couldn’t find the requisite help that should be available in a hotel of this calibre.
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Lawrence Wray Valentine's Surprise A short story

Lawrence Wray
Valentine’s Surprise
A short story

VALENTINE’S SURPRISE
This piece came about as a result of a joke I was told and a challenge to turn it into a short story.
Desi and Jim are enjoying a quiet pint after work when the subject of ‘Valentine’s Day’ is brought up. It’s only a couple of days away and Desi hasn’t remembered to buy anything.
Every year, he tries his best and it’s never enough; he never gets her what she wants, but this year – with the help of his friend Jim – he’ll make it perfect. It can’t fail – or can it?
I don’t think I’d call the ending a twist on this story, but the ending is unexpected to say the least.
Bit of clean fun with a touch of humour.

This was originally uploaded to this blog two days before Valentine’s day, which is when the story actually starts, so the comments below are from the people who took the time to read it there.

Comments

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus (: Fun story, loved it. The store attendant “sales associate” was an absolute hoot. Just as hilarious were Helen and John going right back to square one. They were well matched, weren’t they?

I can imagine this happening for real, which makes it even funnier.

‘Valentine’s Surprise’ is available on Amazon.

A Short Excerpt

Just after six o’clock, Desi walked into the bar to be greeted by Jim, sitting patiently at their usual six o’clock table with two untouched pints in front of him.
“This one won’t touch the sides.” Desi said, picking up the drink and downing well over half of it, all while pulling out the chair and sitting down at the same time.
“You weren’t kidding.” Jim was all smiles. “So; you organised anything for the missus on Thursday?”
“Thursday?” Desi looked puzzled.
“Valentine’s day. The day after tomorrow.”
“Oh that?” He finished the rest of the pint. “Want another?”
“Okay, but just a half-one; I’m driving.”
Desi sat down with the half and another pint for himself. “I’ve tried everything with her over the last couple of years; perfume, flowers, chocolates, meal at a decent restaurant, weekend away and nothing ever works.” He looked down and shook his head. “I even bought her a flat screen for the bedroom and one of those romantic films on DVD, but that didn’t work, so I watched the footie instead.
“Work?”
“You know; put her in the mood.”
“Lingerie?” Jim touched the side of his nose confirming that he knew the ‘big secret’”.
“What? Buy her some new smalls?” He looked at Jim like he was mad. “I can just see the looks I’d get at the checkout at Sainsbury’s when I put stockings, knickers and a bra on the table.”
“Sainsbury’s? Is that all she means to you?”
“Well, where else then?” Desi shook his head in puzzlement. “That’s where she buys everything.”
“How long have you two been married?”
“Ummm.” Desi’s screwed up his face and he looked at the ceiling while the cogs turned. “It’ll be thirty one, no thirty two years this April.” He nodded. “No, make that thirty one; I’d have been out for murder in less time.” Big smile.
“You’re not telling me that in all that time – anniversaries included – you haven’t bought her some fancy underwear? You know; to make her feel special?”
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Lawrence Wray Bill & Ben A short story

Lawrence Wray
Bill & Ben
A short story

BILL & BEN
Sometimes ideas just fly into your head and ‘Bill and Ben’ is a result from one of those times. I started writing it one night at around 8pm and just couldn’t stop until it was finished, which took me up to the 3am mark after a bit of polishing.
Bill and Ben meet when they are only 16 years old and Ben finds himself in hard times. They become best friends and progress through life together; each one relying on the other.
The question is whether or not they are both giving 100% to the relationship they have built up?
I don’t see the point in writing a short story without a twist at the end and I don’t think that anyone will see this one coming. I would say ‘excuse the pun’, but without reading the story, you won’t know what I’m talking about. But as I’ve said it anyway, you’ll have to have a look to see what I mean.

Uploaded the same day this page was uploaded, so unfortunately no reviews or comments yet, but trust me, it’s a good one.

‘Bill & Ben’ is available on Amazon.

A Short Excerpt

1963
They stood in the middle of the floor facing each other. Two innocent 16 year olds. Each one looking directly into each others eyes, each waiting patiently to see if the other would avert their gaze.
Bill had been waiting for the bell and ran across, eager to connect; then the dancing started. They went around one way, then the other for exactly 23 seconds, and then, Bill saw the opportunity he had been trained to look for. Ben had an obvious habit of dropping his right hand and Bill used it as an opportunity to drive a devastating left hook through the missing defence and connecting squarely with Ben’s chin. He couldn’t believe that a trainer would put a boxer into the ring for a championship match with such an obvious tell.
The dancing was over, and Ben dropped to the floor unconscious.
Bill — good sport that he was — turned and calmly walked over to his corner, knowing that the fight was over. He didn’t wave to the cheering audience, he didn’t gloat, he didn’t even smile.
The two of them were made to stand in the middle of the ring with the referee holding Bill’s left hand and Ben’s right. There was no surprise when he raised Bill’s hand as the winner.

“So tell me,” Bill asked, “How come your trainer didn’t tell you that you’ve a habit of dropping your right hand?”
Ben lifted a towel out of the locker. “He’s always telling me, but I’ve always had a bad shoulder.” He rubbed it and wiggled his arm. “I dislocated it years ago and can’t keep the arm up comfortably.”
“You’re two inches taller, 6 pounds heavier and your arms go on for miles, I thought you would beat me for sure.”
“Well, there you go.” Ben shrugged.
Sensing an air of defeat that was more than just about the boxing match, Bill said, “It’s not that bad; it’s only a fight and you’ll be back.”
“It’s not just that; I lost my job today as well as the fight.”
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