Sons and Daughters

Sons and Daughters by Mary Jane Staples

Book: Sons and Daughters by Mary Jane Staples Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Jane Staples
said Michal.
    ‘What is it, judo?’ asked Tommy.
    ‘Karate,’ said Jacob.
    ‘Well, good on yer, lads, I like it,’ said Tommy,and went back into the factory with Eli’s stepsons, where Gertie and her girls received them like heroes, and the younger ones asked if they could feel their muscles.
    ‘Would they like some more tea, Mister Tommy?’ asked Gertie. ‘With a slice of cake?’
    ‘If I might speak for them, yes,’ said Mr Greenberg. ‘A celebration, ain’t it?’
    Tommy phoned the Camberwell office after Mr Greenberg and his stepsons had left. He spoke to Sammy, giving him details of the incident. Sammy listened with a happy ear to Tommy’s description of how Michal and Jacob had dealt with the opposition.
    ‘I’m admiring of that kind of talent, Tommy,’
    ‘I liked it meself,’ said Tommy, ‘but don’t let’s start laughing yet. Just in case.’
    ‘Got you,’ said Sammy. ‘Just in case the Fat Man thinks of something different.’
    ‘Right,’ said Tommy, ‘so talk to Boots.’
    ‘Listen, I can handle problems,’ said Sammy. ‘Not like Boots can,’ said Tommy. ‘Talk to him.’
    ‘Now listen—’
    ‘Talk to Boots.’
    Sammy put the phone down, sat back and rubbed his chin. Enter, a lush-looking lady with magnificent black hair, melting brown eyes and what some poetical wallahs would have called a form divine.
    ‘Sammy?’ said Mrs Rachel Goodman, a wartimewidow and the mother-in-law of Lizzy and Ned’s younger son Edward. She was also the company secretary. ‘Deep in thought, are we?’
    ‘It’s like this, Rachel,’ said Sammy, giving her a thoughtful glance and noting that, at forty-six, she was still a fine figure of a female woman. ‘The Fat Man’s bounced back again.’
    ‘Yes, Sammy, I know,’ said Rachel. ‘You told me this morning what happened at Edmonton yesterday.’
    ‘I’m talking about today,’ said Sammy, and quoted from what Tommy had told him over the phone. Rachel laughed.
    ‘Mr Greenberg’s boys saw them off, and the Fat Man too?’ she said. ‘And they used what?’
    ‘Tommy said feet and fists, and they called it katari,’ said Sammy.
    ‘I think you mean karate,’ said Rachel.
    ‘No difference,’ said Sammy. A grin showed. ‘Well, not to Fat Man’s gorillas. Point is, is he going to try again?’
    ‘Not if Michal and Jacob are close by,’ said Rachel.
    ‘I think I’ll talk to Boots,’ said Sammy.
    ‘Yes, do that, Sammy.’
    ‘Of course, I could handle it myself,’ said Sammy.
    ‘Still, it won’t hurt to talk to Boots,’ said Rachel, ‘especially as he knows about yesterday.’
    ‘What we need is an answer for tomorrow,’ said Sammy, and went to see Boots.
    Boots listened, and his smile, that still seemed tobe permanently lurking, came to broad life at hearing how Michal and Jacob Greenberg had performed, and how they’d acquired their punishing expertise.
    ‘Did any of us know they were in a Commando unit, Sammy?’
    ‘I didn’t know meself,’ said Sammy, ‘but there you are, nobody ever tells me anything.’
    Boots laughed.
    ‘Watch out, Sammy,’ he said, ‘you’re sounding like Chinese Lady.’
    ‘Who’s laughing about that?’ asked Sammy. ‘I’m not, I’m fond of our dear old ma and her sayings.’
    ‘Join the club,’ said Boots.
    Sammy fidgeted, but there it was, you couldn’t shake Boots, he took everything in his stride, good news, awkward news and serious news. The Fat Man could get spitefully serious, and he’d be boiling and steaming after watching Michal and Jacob wipe the floor with his heavies.
    ‘Come on, Boots, what’s the right answer?’ he asked.
    ‘Talk to Eli,’ said Boots. ‘Find out if he can release Michal and Jacob. If so, take them on. It’ll be the factory the Fat Man will go for.’
    ‘Blind Amy,’ said Sammy, ‘he did that years ago to our original factory. He torched it.’
    ‘It’ll be a night job again,’ said Boots, ‘but my old Great War West Kents are past active

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