December 1980 Uttoxeter
Central character Nigel Smith, a middle aged professional, loses his job unexpectedly, but rather than tell his fiery and domineering young wife, he keeps up the pretence of going to work, to the extent of renting an office and attempting to run his own business -badly, he mostly reads fantasy novels
He gradually gets deeper and deeper into debt, and remortgages the house without his wife’s consent, redirecting all the mail bank accounts etc to his office. Deceiving his wife is a full time job in itself. Eventually she finds out when she a bank statement arrives at home and she realises that things are not right and explores it further.
Nigel arrives home one day to find her in a rage. She tells him in no uncertain terms that he should leave immediately, she knows what he has been doing for two years! He leaves believing that she will call him back. She doesn’t.
Nigel is now almost destitute as his wife has shut down the joint account he was using. He goes to the matrimonial home to talk, only to find it empty and a for sale sign up outside. In a rage he attempts to break in using a golf club he finds in the shed - the po9lice turn up and he weaves the golf club at them with consequences!
An old school friend has been watching Nigel;s demise with interest. Fabien Boycott is an old school friend - but Nigel let him down badly once, betrayed him. Fabien plots a long cold revenge ... Fabien bails Nigel out and takes him out for a drink and discusses how Fabien can help in these hard times.
Nigel wakes up in Fabien's commercial garage and front for Fabien's underworld businesses. Nigel explains what has happened and Fabien makes a suggestion on what he needs to do – first by signing on at the job centre, something Nigel hates the idea of. After a violent encounter with goons from a rival gang, Nigel is involved. Fabien finds a house, a terraced house in a run down part of the town - financed by stealing Nigel's car and selling it for finances.
Time goes by and Nigel’s life goes from bad to worse, with no money, no job, but beginning to drink and smoke heavily and having the constant drunken attention of Anna Malinowski, a prostitute, who somehow moved in with him when he wasn’t fully awake! He is also vocally abused all the time by the bunch of yobs who live next door (who are actually Fabians pushers but he doesn’t know)
Fabien then intervenes, having allowed Nigel to sink to a all time low, and makes a few suggestions to Nigel on how he can make money by developing his cellar into a Marihuana Farm. They begin small scale and make money, they then expand and break into the cellars of both houses either side and setting up a huge farm.
Nigel’s life becomes increasingly dark and delusional, despite repeated attempts and searching he cannot get in touch with his with his wife and daughter – then he gets a letter for the divorce and it states that his wife will also request full custody – he believes he will never see his daughter again.
Nigel turns to his infatuation with Debbie Harry in his despair; he becomes obsessed until he eventually believes she is talking to him, Ann Malinowski often appears to turn into Harry and speaks to him. He plans to go to New York and see her, actually believing she has invited him personally. He will make a huge amount of money from his next harvest and intends to go to New York and disappear and start some sort of new life as an English Radio Presenter..
His mood, and the mood of the story become darker, his sanity slips away – he is now know as ‘The Man’ when it comes to dealing cannabis, he goes out of his way to punish pushers who smoke his products instead of selling them, or can't hit the target set for them - despite the advice of Fabien – and develops into a dark menacing character, enforcing his control and , as he sees it protecting his dream of going to New York to meet Debbie Harry and having a new life.
One day he is out in town in the evening (drunk with Anna) and is dragged into an alley by a group of thugs who give him a serious kicking and cut off one of his fingers. A one eyed woman steps up, this is who Fabian called ‘Piggy Norton’ a rival drug dealer. Piggy Norton cuts off Nigel’s little finger with branch loppers, which is her trademark warning and hence her name – with the warning that he should get out of the drug business – or else.
Nigel reports back to Fabien. Fabien is in a psychotic mood, he too has an agenda with the cannabis business as he believes he won’t live much longer after hospital reports. The big payoffs from the next crop, will be his legacy for his daughters. Both in a dark drug generated mood, they decide to wipe out the rival gang by cutting off its head - ‘Piggy’ Norton’. Fabien reveals his gun stash and they go and attack the rival gang, Nigel killing Piggy Norton and his whole gang in a heinous way - much to the horror of Fabien.
After the killings, the police interest in the local drugs scene grows. There are numerous close calls with investigators. The pressure ramps up. The maturing drugs crop is now becoming vitally important to both Fabien and Nigel’s futures and the plot becomes tense, their futures on a knife edge. They will stop at nothing to safeguard it and no-one is safe if they know about the growing rooms location. The only person who knows is Anna . Fabien murders her with a heroin overdose.
Finally, they harvest and the crop is sold wholesale out of town. They split up the money and Nigel picks up his bag and passport and leaves the house. As Nigel walks away Fabien pull out a gun and attempts to shoot Nigel in the back, but the old gun misfires. Fabien follows him with a gun to the door, he takes aim again intending to shoot him and take the all money – at this point a taxi arrives at the gate and a girl emerges – it’s Nigel’s daughter with a suitcase. She says she has ‘divorced’ her mother and has come to live with her Dad for the Summer holidays.
Nigel is speechless, he though hew would never see her again, then smiles and grabs her hand and hails the taxi. He puts his hand in his pocket and pull out his passport and his daughters (he had applied for this when he was married and had it delivered to his office, he keeps it with him for her photo as it’s the only one he has) a picture of Debbie Harry falls to the fall. This daughter picks it up and ask who it is. Nigel looks for a moment and then smiles, telling her its no-one important …. And, does she want to go on a holiday to Disney World?
At the door Fabien shrinks to the floor in the darkness, and drops the pistol unable to shoot Nigel and weeps....