This story of the relationship between an ageing boxing coach and a female juvenile delinquent takes place in southeast London in the 1950s, when butch girls needed to punch their weight or go under.
Judy Smith, on release from a detention centre, is advised by her probation officer to contact Apeman Harry O'Riordan her former boxing coach. Ape, needing the money and recognising Judy's ring potential, agrees to give her one last chance.
That Judy is an odd lot Ape accepts, but when he finds that she has stolen not only goods but also the woman he loves, he walks away in disgust. A crack on the skull, however, received in his night job as a bouncer, leaves Ape floundering: no work, no woman and no money. Can he rescue himself from depression and the booze? Or Judy, his last hope, from the seedy underbelly of illegal boxing and the life of crime to which she is inevitably drawn?
'Feet on the floor, fat slob, or my stick'll fly!'
Sergeant Kyte leans down and puts her lips close to the ear of the inmate, bellowing, 'Are you hearing me,Smith? DO YOU HEAR ME, SLOB?'
No response from Judy, so the officer lifts a corner of the blanket and flicks it off with one jerk of the wrist. She sniffs, poking her baton into a crevice between the inmate's legs. Which is one poke too many for Jude 'Slugger'Smith, who is on her feet in a flash, and laying into the officer with head, knee and knuckle.
Suddenly the room is in turbulence, with cheers, beds askew and folded blankets toppling as the contestants grapple on the floor. Two orderlies attemp to prise Judy's fingers from the officer's throat, but the fearsome gurgling continues. Eventually the girl rises to her knees, picks up a studded boot and attempts to hammer the head of Serjeant Kyte to a pulp. A torn beret lies on the floor by a spot of blood.
The list of charges read out to the girl before her confinement to The White House seemed endless. As did the reports delivered by Senior officer myra Channing, the matron and guardian of Scott House. Capital punishment at Greenways having been temporarily suspended, Prisoner Judith Mary Smith, also known as the Slugger, Seb Smith or The Butcher, was awarded ten days in solitary confinement, together with restricted rations, loss of privileges and suspension of all visitation rights. Not that Judy had ever had any privileges or visitors since her three month sentence had been handed down. People were not stupid. She was trash and she'd ended up where she belonged - in the waste bin. You don't wash trash; you bury it and try to forget it.