Wynn and Willy started having lunch together and Willy introduced him to other lowenders. They were blacks who had been freed or they were Spaniards who couldn’t return home or Irish whose job was lost. Catholics, Jews, Arab, African, Indian…what they seemed to have in common was being hated by the locals. The jobs were plentiful but each factory had the same issues. Working with something smaller was hard because they tended to be single family – all Irish, all Jewish, all Arab. So at lunches, Wynn asked questions. Locals had taken to roughing up “foreigners”. They responded by forming their own gang. Police would blame the foreign gangs on crime.
Wynn found a place to live off White Chapel Road. He moved his things in from the pub near Westminster. He found a message courier who knew where the cafe was and started sending reports. And at night, he went to the Shiny Boot. News of his altercation with Angus and Jamie had reached the bar on the third night despite Wynn’s pleas for discretion. The bartender, Catarina Montessat, served him a tall ale with being asked. When he went to pay she said, “That is for the man who broke Jamie Wingate’s balls.” She spat on the ground. When he ordered dinner, the Armenian cook served it and refused money as well, “Angus McDougal paid with a broken nose.”
At that Wynn stood on a chair and shouted, “Oy… Oy…you loud bastards.” The room quieted, “Now I know ye all have been stomped on a bit. And see the other side getting a bit back feels mighty good.” Loud cheers. Wynn waved his hands down, “Mates, I knocked two of ‘em down and that is only going to piss ‘em off. So enough o’ this silliness ‘cause you need to be worried.” There was quiet. “D’ya think they’re going to let me show them up for long?”
There was a shout, “We’ll stop ‘em.”
Wynn said, “Defend yourselves, but don’t go beggin for trouble.” He looked around, “Just watch yourselves. Make sure everyone be safe.” He clapped his hands and said, “Enough o’ this dour talk. Get some music going and I’ll sing a tune.” There were shouts begging no and he sat down and started his meal.
Willy came up and sat next to him. “You really worried?”
Wynn took a drink and smiled, “I think I will walk you and your boys back to your shack. Can’t hurt and I need the exercise. Make sure none of you leave without me.”
Willy nodded and left to talk with his friends.
Wynn went to Catarina, “Don’t suppose you have a club or chain I could borrow tonight? I left mine at work.”
Catatrina’s eyes narrowed, “You expect problems.”
Wynn said, “You and I both know the thugs aren’t going to be happy I took out two of theirs. I’m just going to protect mine.”
She pulled out a cricket bat that had some nails on the end. “That will do nicely. I’ll return it tomorrow.”
Later that night, Wynn met Willy by the door with three of his room mates. They were all African of origin but had been raised in London. Willy said, “Don’t see why you need to come with us, Wynn.” Wynn straightened his cap. They walked west on Bethnal Green for a couple of blocks, then turned south toward the river on Brick Lane. It was there that Wynn noticed two men in dark coats following. The group then turned left on White Chapel Road. The street was busier, but the group of two men following had grown to four.
Wynn said, “Lads how close are we to your flat?”
Willy said, “It’s just off Fields up ahead. Why?”
Wynn said, “Don’t turn there tonight. Let’s make a right a bit farther on High.” He came up to Willy and said, “We ‘ave four new friends. I think more are waiting at your flat. I’d rather take this set out first.” He tightened his grip on Willy’s shoulder, “Don’t look back. We need them surprised. Just spread the word. Right a bit further along.”
When Wynn and the group walked past Field street. The group of four stopped for a moment. Willy and the group then turned right on to High street alley. Wynn hissed, “Find cover. I’ll take care of this group coming.” He hid in an alcove near White Chapel Road. Eight men came barreling up the road. Two were holding lanterns. Wynn jumped out moving fast and smashed the lanterns of the two trailing men. They were covered in burning oil and began screaming. Wynn stepped passed the men and smashed the head of one. A second had put his arm up to block only to have it broken in a sickening crunch. The remaining four were now ready and surrounding him. The screaming, burning men had almost doused themselves when Willy and his friends started kicking and hitting them.
The four men looked vaguely familiar to Wynn. He was sure they were from the factory floor, but he couldn’t identify them. Wynn swung the cricket bat lightly, “Run off laddies and I will forget this whole thing happened…Just what I told Jamie and Angus.”
One spoke, “Yeah…well there are more of us now.”
Wynn looked over at the two figures huddled under a barrage of kicks. Willy looked like he was going to stop. Wynn shouted, “Keep those two out o’ this fight. They were going to burn you out. Make sure they don’t.” Willy looked wide eyed and then kicked the down man harder.
At that point, one of the men made a move towards Wynn with a knife. Wynn twisted around the arm, held it and then leaned back until he felt the crack. A second man grabbed his neck. Wynn slammed the cricket bat onto the man’s foot arch. With the pressure relieved, Wynn slammed the handle of the bat into the man’s solar plexus. He then swung blindly up and caught the third man on the chin. The embedded nails tore skin from his face and cheek and teeth fell to the ground. The last man started to run away. Wynn caught up with him easily, tackled him. He slammed his face into the ground twice and then pulled it up. “Here’s the deal, laddy. I was just defending me and mine today. But those lanterns and oils seem right harsh.” He slammed the face into the ground again, “Who sent you?”
The man groaned, “Billy Simms – He’s the clock man.”
“Can’t have coolies riled up?”
“What’s your work?”
“Riveting…up in the …“ Wynn cracked his arm and broke both the radius and ulna. The man screamed and held his bent arm.
Wynn wandered up the alley, on each of the attackers he broke bones – arms, a leg, one hand. When he came to the group, the two men were bloody and broken but breathing. He rummaged around the coat of one and pulled out a rope length of thirty feet. He lifted that man up and shouted, “Bastard. Planning on a little local justice?” He slammed the man against the building. “How did that work out for you?” Wynn quickly made a noose.
The man’s eyes got wide. Through broken teeth he pleaded, “Billy told me to. I’d get a raise…Please…I got young ‘uns.”
Wynn snapped at the four men now panting from their attack. “Get these bastards in a group. Fast Bobbies might be coming with all that noise.”
They dragged them all eight of the attackers into a group. Some were unconscious, others couldn’t move from pain or injuries. Wynn tied up the hands with the rope. He left the noose on the man who held the rope. Wynn leaned down and said quietly, “The bobbies come…you better hope they come before the rats. When the bobbies come, you say you were mugged by a bunch a whities. It was dark. You couldn’t see much.” The man nodded. Wynn patted his cheek, “If I hear a peep otherwise, you will never work in a factory again. Clear?” The man nodded fast. “Good. Willy? Lads…lets head back to the bar for another round. I think we ought to just stay out for a little longer. I’m buying?” They all nodded yes. “Boys…best we not discuss this loudly. If Billy is after us, more is coming.” More nodding.
As they were walking back to the bar, Willy walked with Wynn, “They were down. Why were you hurtin them more?”
Wynn said harshly, “They don’t like you and they don’t fear you. I upset that balance – now they are afraid of you a little. There are two ways to fix that…I could go away – always an option. Or I can make sure they fear you enough not to mess with you.”
Willy was quiet, “They’ll lose their jobs if they can’t work.”
Wynn said, “Now when Billy asks for volunteers to burn you and others out, he is going to have a problem isn’t he. Don’t think too much Willy. It doesn’t get better when you do, I’ve found.”