The Art of the Deal

Just a quick little piece I ran off one day.


Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.  – Sun Tzu.

Traditionally, when preparing for a battle, the desire is for it to occur on the ground of your choosing.

Derek sits in the driver’s seat and turns back to me, grinning. Dieter is sat next to me, behind Derek. Typical early-to-middle aged drug dealers, looking for a deal, and bringing me on as muscle. Derek is a city wide boy of the 90s, in the dark teatime of the soul which comes after burning out too early. He’s not desperate for money, but is desperate for a thrill I think, hence playing faster and looser than I’d prefer.

They’re playing with their shooters while winding up to make the trip, Derek has an old school Browning Hi-Power, probably with some form on it, but he’s clueless enough to hang onto it with that history. Dieter has a more modern Glock 17, probably filtered down from the German military, of which he used to be a member. He’s checking the action with the mag out, which makes me vaguely confident he isn’t completely stupid, but he has got the itches, which makes me think they both did at least a line before they picked me up. Derek has an adidas rucksack with fifty grand in it, in the passenger footwell.

“So what have you got then?” Derek asks me, with the bated breath of a boy racer hoping he has the biggest exhaust, and praying that the pro he’s parked next to doesn’t actually have a bigger one than he does. I ignore him.
“What are you carrying? Huh?” He fidgets, but turns back to the steering wheel, and switches off somewhat.

Dieter shrugs his shoulders, trying to loosen up, hands me a folded up wad of a post-it note. “That’s the address.”
He tears the plastic strip of some cigarettes, and lights up, winding the window down.
“So what can you tell us, what’s the best way of playing something like this? How do you set the odds in your favour?”
“just like anything,” I reply, “you always remove all the unknowns from the equation.”
“So how are you planning on doing that then?”
I don’t reply, but I do draw the silenced Ruger .22 from my jacket, and shoot both of them in the head. That’s a good start, I think.

My only problem now is the two policemen with binoculars in the treeline who are now wondering how pear shaped this op is now going to go. But I do have time at least to ditch the bodies and clean the inside of the driver’s window before I take the Discovery they picked me up in and move out.


Losing a tail is easy. There are enough car parks and roundabouts to dump a single car. The only problem is when it’s a police op, and they have multiple cars. So, plan for it, dump the car you’re being followed in somewhere you know they can’t get adequate surveillance on in a short time, switch cars, and do the same again, before you feel comfortable. London and its surroundings are great for this, shopping malls, tightly packed streets, complicated one way systems, basement car parks with multiple entrances. The discovery was a stupid choice, a 4×4 in London is just asking for trouble, bland and mass produced cars are preferable, company vehicles, like the VW I pick up to round off the cabaret.


So, a drugs buy. If you know you’re walking into an ambush (and I do know), what do you do?

First thought, get somewhere with a good overlook in advance of the buy, watch the principals assemble, take them out at leisure from a distance.

But if you’re being set up, they have someone else doing exactly the same to you, identify the best spots to watch from, then watch them. So it’s a surveillance arms race. Round and Round the bush we go.

So if they expect you to be in the business of taking them out from a distance, or even, horror of horrors, actually turning up to the buy in the first place, don’t bother. There’s no point playing against a stacked deck.

So, if the location for the buy is a spot of open ground, visible from the motorway, give them time enough to assemble for the buy, and get in your car, and take a spin by the location.

At the right time, dial the number which triggers the plastic explosive in the dealer’s car which you put there a week ago, and enjoy the fireworks. Being there to see it come off is simply vanity, if you have any sense, you wouldn’t be in the same county when you dial, but what’s life without a little adventure?

“All Warfare is based on Deception” – Sun Tzu.

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