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Chapter 8

The Murder Bag

…Then Fred was there. He took the weightlifter by the elbow and easily turned the far bigger man around. Fred had worked the doors at some point.


‘You don’t have permission,’ Fred said.

Fred was the smallest man in the gym. But in that place of assorted hard nuts – where policemen came to keep fit, and rough boys from sink estates came to learn the sweet science of bruising, and young women came to learn self-defence, and white-collar City types came to push themselves to the limit – nobody argued with him.

The weightlifter got out of the ring.

‘There are many bad things about steroid abuse,’ observed Fred, who was the kind of boxer who is also a philosopher. ‘Shrunken balls. Acne. Hair loss. But the worst thing is that it wipes out the part of the brain that inhibits aggression. In the end they want to kill someone. ‘

There was a heavy bag near the exit door. Just before the weightlifter walked out of Smithfield ABC, he hit the bag as hard as he could.

Fred laughed with contempt.
'It's not about how hard you can hit,' he said. …