This story is completely true. Even my father doesn't know what really happened. I'm not proud of what happened, but I couldn't see real justice prevailing.
I moved to Llandudno in the summer of 1991. I'd always wanted to live in North Wales, and having bar experience meant that this was an obvious place. With nothing but a sports bag containing my entire worldly possessions, I threw caution to the wind and headed up to the Tourist haven.
Arriving in Llandudno, my first port of call was the jobcentre. Being the start of the summer season, the jobs boards were full of vacancies for bar staff all over the town. A quick chat with the pleb on the desk, and I found myself with an interview for that evening in the town's premier hotel, the Imperial. The interview went well, but I'd have to wait a week to find out if I got the job. In the meantime I got a temporary job at the less then prestigious Grand Hotel, now owned by Butlins. Butlins didn't have any live in accommodation for bar staff, so the boss introduced me to a hotel just down the road who had a 2 bedroom flat to let. I needed to share the flat with someone else working, and at the time another new barman was also looking for somewhere to stay. Fitz was a 29 year old scouser who'd just left the RAF. He and I went to meet the hotel owner, and agreed that I'd be the subject of the main agreement between me and the landlord. I'd also have to pay a lot of extra rent for as long as it takes to secure the deposit, which at the time was £600.
A week later and the news I had the job as one of the bar managers of the Imperial came in. I'd be running a small bar that was quieter, and friendly. "Ivories" was based on a Jazz Bar, with a white grand piano in the corner with a real pianist on Friday and Saturday evenings. I'd also help run the main youngster's haunt of "Speakeasy's," another bar in the hotel. I would not have much to do with the running of the main hotel bar in reception though. I was landed. I'd been offered live in accommodation, but having just moved into the flat on the edge of the Great Orme, I declined the offer.
Life was good. I was earning a lot. I was partying a lot. I had free reign over my small bar, a regular customer base of 30 and 40 somethings each evening. They'd chat, do the crossword, and most importantly tip well. My nights off would see me going out and partying with Fitz. We'd normally end up in the Carlton, the main pub full of ex-Liverpudlians, absolutely paralytic. I remember being carried more then once from the pub home. Fitz and all his mates made me an honorary scouser, on account of how much I could drink. The problem was Fitz was crooked. He'd work one job for a week, whilst claiming the dole. He'd then take both incomes and gamble them down the bookies. He didn't care, and the local council were more then happy to pay his rent. If you wanted something slightly illegal, all you had to do is ask. His eyes would light up when he realised he could make some easy money. I never proved it, but I'm sure he'd be out when I was working, burgling or some such. I started to realise that perhaps this charismatic character wasn't such a nice guy after all.
I'd met a delightful girl called Ruth. Ruth was 100% welsh, coming from the small village of Deganwy, just up the road from Llandudno. Her rich Daddy had brought her a bright orange jeep for her 18th birthday, and she had emblazened it with dragons. She was very short, blonde hair, and adored me. I'd catch her watching me like a lovesick puppy when we'd be out with friends. Everyone commented on how good a couple we made.
It all started to unravel just before August Bank Holiday. I'd worked nearly 2 weeks straight, and my office phone rang just before I opened up for the Thursday evening. Ruth was a tearful, jibbering wreck. She kept asking what she'd done wrong, and why we needed to talk. She then hung up. I stood there, puzzled, not knowing what had been said or done. I didn't know what else to do, so I had a quiet word with my boss, explaining that something was wrong with my girlfriend, and I had to go. He was more then happy, and I raced over to Ruth's house. I was greeted by her best friend Kath. Kath said it was better if I left, but Fitz had told her all about my other lover. The one I'd taken away, which is why I'd not seen much of Ruth the past two weeks. I smelled a rat.
I got back to the flat about 6 o'clock. Fitz wasn't in, and my key didn't work. I went to find Harry, the landlord. The second he saw me, he took a swing at me. Dazed, presumably from the punch to the head, I left quickly. I went back to work, to find my boss looking less then pleased to see me. He told me categorically that I was no longer employed by the Hotel. The call from my flatmate explaining that the Police were looking for me, and that this was why I'd hastily left so they couldn't find me. I tried to argue my innocence, but it was pointless. I went to see one of my few friends not associated with Fitz, a trainee solicitor called Martin. We ended up going to his local around the corner for a couple of beers, before he drove me back to my flat. It was now starting to get dark, and after checking the coast was clear, I went to the fire exit of my flat. Looking through the window I could see the flat was empty. I forced open the door only to find that almost everything had gone. The one thing that remained was my sports bag, the same bag I'd arrived in the town with. There were a handful of clothes left in the bottom of my wardrobe, and as I scrabbled to pack them, Martin let me know Harry was back. I ran out the back door, and into the darkness. Martin, meanwhile, asked Harry where I was. Harry told him I'd left because Ruth and I had split up. I'd been so devastated, I'd asked Fitz to pick up the deposit for me. Once he'd got the money, he told Harry that I'd been dealing drugs from my bar, and Ruth had found out. Martin and I met up again for a last pint, where he relayed all this to me.
I took a long walk that night, trying to piece together what had happened. I'm guessing that Fitz had hatched this elaborate plan to ruin my life all so that he could claim back the flat's deposit. What I don't understand to this day is why he had to completely ruin my life.
That night, maybe fuelled by anger, maybe fuelled by 3 pints, I sat outside the Carlton in the dark. Sure enough, just before midnight, Fitz left with his mate John. They walked back to John's flat just behind Llandudno's station, I didn't know where Fitz was going to stay, and presumed it was with John, so imagine my surprise when he turned the opposite direction at the end of John's road. He was on his own. I glanced around, and saw a building being renovated. Outside was a skip, and in the skip was a 3 foot scaffolding pole. I grabbed the pole, and hit him once hard on his shoulder, where he crumpled to the floor. He was screaming in agony, and then he looked up and saw it was me. I wanted to kill him, if I'm honest, but I didn't think he deserved that. He tried to move his arm, now obviously smashed, and wriggled around on the floor like the worthless worm that he was. I can't remember what was said, but I then hit him again. This time both his legs. I wanted him to feel pain, and he screamed like a girl. I threw the scaffolding pole down on him, and ran.
That night I spent on Llandudno's West Shore, in the sandy dunes. The next morning, I walked to Conwy, where I hitchhiked out of the area. I spent many years waiting for a copper to knock at my door, but I'd prepared myself for this. The fact was, a year later I had to deal with the Police on another matter. When I gave them my name, I was expecting to be flagged up for a warrant for my arrest. It never came. I'm guessing that Fitz never went to the Police. I, meanwhile, vowed never to feel that low again. Never to lose my temper like that again. Something I've stayed true to since.
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