• Dexter Hastings

Saturday Book Club - Fear No Foe Chapter 17


CHAPTER 17

Fear NO Foe

Shay started to make all the arrangements for his big move to New York; he was really looking forward to it now. He was a bit nervous, but knew he would be stupid not take this great opportunity to be trained by Paddy Martin. Shay had packed his bags already and sorted his visa, he also had gone and seen all his old Newtown mates to say goodbye as he didn’t know how long he was going to be away for.

Since the incident in Kingstanding Shay had hardly touched any alcohol, he would only have a few pints if he went out which wasn’t that often. He did have a good drink with the Newtown lads, but nowhere near the excess had he used to.

There were a few days left before he left and Shay had asked his Mom, Kenny and Kelly to come out to dinner with him. He had booked a table at the newly opened restraint in the Jewelry Quarter of Birmingham called Marc De Paul’s. The restaurant had been highly acclaimed by loads of food critic’s for having the best cuisine in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. It was near imposable to get a reservation there and the first thing Kelly asked Shay when she got there was how did he manage to get one? Shay who was waiting at the plush bar area in the restraint with his Mom told Kelly that he knew the owner well, Kelly looked at him thinking he was joking.

She said inquisitively “You know Marc De Paul? How do you know him?”

Shay smiled at Kelly and replied “I said I know the owner, but yeah I’ve known Marc De Paul for years, I do know people outside of boxing Kell”.

Kelly smiled and said “O.k fair enough, it’s just that it’s imposable to get a reservation here”.

Shay smiled and replied “Yeah Kelly there something like a 2 month waiting list”.

Kenny arrived soon after and they were seated in what looked like one of the best tables in the restaurant, this made Kelly think that Dexter had organized this night out for Shay and his friends.

Shay told them to order whatever they liked as the night was on him, everything on the menu was in French and really expensive.

The waiter came over to take their order; Shay ordered the same wine he had ordered at the Savoy as it was the only one he knew on the wine list.

His Mom and Kenny were just looking at the menus with blank expressions; they didn’t know what anything was on there. Shay asked his Mom what she fancied.

His Mom just shook her head and replied “I don’t know son, can you see any chicken on the menu?”

Shay asked Kenny the same question and he replied “Where are the steaks on here?”

Shay smiled and said “O.k I’ll order he looked up at the waiter and said “Right mate we will have the Marc De Paul soup to start then can you ask Mr De Paul to make 2 sirloin steaks both medium and a nice breast of chicken for my Mom please”.

Shay then looked at Kelly and who was in complete shock at what Shay had just said and asked her and what she was having? Kelly was dumb struck they were in one of the top restaurants in Birmingham and Shay was talking like they were in T.G.I Fridays.

Before Kelly could answer him Shay said “you like chicken as well don’t you?” he then turned to the waiter and said “so make that 2 chickens then mate and ask Marc to work his magic on them”.

To Kelly’s surprise the waiter write down the order and walked away.

They enjoyed a lovely meal, the steaks were done to perfection and the chicken was seasoned exquisitely, they all had something from the sweet trolley and finished the meal with a coffee.

Shay asked them what they thought of their meals, his Mom and Kenny said they loved them and Kelly told him it was the best chicken she had ever tasted. Shay asked them if they wanted to meet the Chef, and called one of the waiters over.

Kelly tried to tell Shay that chef’s like Marc De Paul wouldn’t come out and talk to them just because he asked, but Shay ignored her.

Shay asked the waiter “Can you tell Mr De Paul that we loved our meals and that Shay Dempsey would like to thank him personally”. The waiter nodded and walked towards the kitchen, Kelly was shaking her head thinking it was going to be a bit embarrassing for Shay when he said No.

The waiter came back a minute later and told Shay in a fake French accent that Marc De Paul would be out in a few minutes to see them.

As promised Mr De Paul came out of the kitchen and walked towards the table they were sitting at.

As he got closer, Kelly got the shock of her life; she leant over to Shay and asked “Is that Mark Murphy from Newtown?”

Shay just smiled and when the master chef arrived at the table Shay said “Kelly, Mom, Kenny I’d like to introduce you all to Marc De Paul”.

Mr De Paul then turned to the dumb struck Kelly and said in a deep Birmingham accent “All right Kell how yah doing bab?”

Kelly could not believe it Mark Murphy one of her and Shay’s old school mates was a Michelin star master chef.

Kelly said to Mark “I can’t believe it’s you Mark when did you learn to cook so well?”

Mark explained that while Shay and the rest of the Newtown lads were running round bashing people up he was busy learning to be a chef, he had went to the collage of food and drink in town, then went to work in London at a top restaurant and then went to France to master his skills at cooking French cuisine.

Kelly then asked “So where did you get the name from?”

Mark replied laughing “My middle names Paul so I just used my first and middle name” he smiled and then continued “who would buy French meals made by someone called Mark Murthy?”

Shay’s Mom then said to Mark “Well Mark the food was lovely and your restaurant is really nice”,

Mark smiled and replied “Thank you miss D, but my cooking isn’t a patch on your coddle. I used to call for Shay round tea time just to see if I could have some. You’ll have to give me your recipe”.

Kelly then said to Mark “Well you must have done well for yourself to get the restaurant up and running”.

Mark smiled again and looked at Shay and said “I had a good backer who helped with the money”.

Kelly looked at Shay and asked “Are you the backer Shay?”

Shay smiled took a drink of his coffee and said “Well you were always telling me to invest my money into something so I did”.

Kelly was impressed that Shay had invested in something so sensible.

Shay then said to Kelly “There is one problem Kell. Mark might be a great chef, but he is shit with promoting and all the paper work and we are looking for someone to help run the place”.

Kelly looked at Shay a bit shocked and said “What you want me to run this place?”

Shay laughed and replied “Well I definitely wouldn’t want you to cook here, Kell you’re great at advertising and promotions and I want to make sure the place runs smoothly while I’m away”.

Kelly replied “But I have got a job Shay, what do you want me to quit my job?”

Shay smiled and answered “Yeah why not, I’ll pay you exactly what you’re getting now and me and Mark have talked and were willing to give you 10 percent of the restaurant, now I can’t say fairer than that”. Kelly just shook her head and said “I don’t know Shay I just don’t know”.

Shay then said to her “Look Kell, we need you, I need you, you will be running something you own a piece of, and you always said to me that’s what you want to do”.

Kelly nodded her head and replied “Yeah it is, o.k I’ll do it, I’ll hand my notice in tomorrow”.

Shay gave her a big smile and said “Well I need you working there by the time I leave on Sunday, so you better make it a short notice”. Kelly laughed and replied “I’ll sort it Shay, you will have no worries about the restaurant”.

Shay nodded in agreement and said “I know Kell, I know you will look after the place, but there’s one more thing I need you to do”. Kelly sighed and said “What else do you need me to do?”

Shay then went into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys and handed them to Kelly.

Kelly asked him “Are these keys for the restaurant?”

Shay smiled and replied “Yeah most of them are, but those 2 there are the keys to my house, I want you to move in while I’m away and look after the place for me”.

Kelly looked at him and asked “But what about my flat?”

Shay replied “Kell your lease is nearly up, so you might as well stop at mine rent free, I’m going to be gone for at least a year according to Dexter, so you might as well use my place”.

Kelly looked at Shay smiled and said “Are you sure?”

Shay nodded his head and replied Yeah; just don’t make it to girly”. Kelly agreed and Shay ordered a bottle of champagne to celebrate his new business adventure.

The next few days flew by and the day had come for Shay to head to The Big Apple, New York.

Dexter picked Shay up early and his driver took them to the airport, they breezed though check in as Dexter had got them first class tickets, Dexter had always joked with Shay that he only turned left on planes.

They had a nice relaxing flight and landed at Newark airport in New Jersey. Dexter had one of his people there to pick them up and take them across the bridge to Manhattan where Dexter had rented an apartment for Shay. They pulled up outside the apartment block in the village part of Manhattan.

Shay looked round as he got out of the car and said to Dexter “I thought you would have lived in a better area than this Dext?”

Dexter smiled and replied “I do Shay, I got a penthouse 5 blocks down, this is your place”.

Shay looked at Dexter thinking to himself it must look better inside, it didn’t as they walked up the stairs, there was a trampy looking bloke passed out on them and you could hear screaming and shouting from the different apartments.

When they got to Shay’s apartment they went in and Shay looked round and said “It’s a bit basic aint it?”

Dexter said to Shay “Son you have had way too much of the good life, it’s time to rough it again, give you that edge back and Paddy wants you stopping here”.

Shay looked around again shrugged his shoulder and said “I’ve stopped in worse” and started to unpack his bags.

Dexter told him to get some sleep as he would be picking him up early tomorrow to take him to Paddy’s Gym.

Shay felt really jet lagged and went to bed early that night, he didn’t have the best sleep, he kept being woken up by shouting from other apartments and yellow cab’s beeping their horns, he was finding out the hard way that this was the city that doesn’t sleep.


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