DRINKERS in Glasgow's Corinthian bar barely noticed the three men sitting joking and swigging champagne at a corner booth.
The party was in full flow and they were having a laugh at the expense of Thomas "The Licensee" McGraw.
It was literally at McGraw's expense - because the two men now drinking with Paul Ferris had just trousered £10,000 for a contract killing.
Their target - one Paul Ferris.
The hitmen never had any intention of fulfiling the contract. They just took the money and phoned Ferris.
Now the three of them were blowing it and, knowing how much McGraw hated parting with his cash, they were loving every minute of it. Ferris said: "Aye FERRIS ON.. THE PRICE I PAY FOR MY CRIMES
that was a laugh. Hitmen don't tell you they've accepted a contract. You won't know until they pull a gun on you."
Ferris has had a least five contracts taken out on him, mostly by Arthur Thompson.
But more recently, Glasgow east end hardman Mark Clinton warned Ferris that The Licensee had asked for him to be killed.
Jason Vella, the ecstasy-pushing Essex boy, is another who would like to take Ferris out.
The pair clashed in Frankland jail in County Durham when Ferris put the gay bodybuilding bully in his place.
But while the potential target dismisses the death threats with a chuckle, he knows there is a price to pay for his life of crime.
And it's a price he will have to pay until the day he dies.
He has to watch his back constantly. He feels under attack from the police as much as old gangland enemies.
Ferris is security-conscious in a way few of us can understand.
He'll check his back in mirrors, bend down and pretend to tie his shoelaces when he turns a corner .
And the three mirrors on his car are his best friends He actually enjoys the fact that his mobile phone can be traced.
Ferris said: "I've had the same phone for two years. With the technology the cops have you may as well be tagged.
"I want to demonstrate to them where I am and what I'm doing 24/7 because I ain't doing nothing.
"The only way you beat the system is by doing nothing."
Yesterday, Ferris again recalled the night when, in a coke-induced trance, he put a loaded gun against his head.
"That was in 1994, not 2004, thank God," he said realising he had confused September in one year with that of an earlier year.
"It's an easy mistake. Every September is hell for me. It's the anniversary of the murders of my two pals, Bobby Glover and Joe Hanlon, and the death of my old man, Willie.
"Every September I am bleakly depressed. It's just one of the many prices I pay for the life of crime I led.
"Come see me any September, then ask yourself if crime is worth it."
Ferris also states his last pipe of freebase coke was in 1994.
"The cocaine was enough to turn a sad time into a suicidal time. That was September 1994 and it was my last pipe."
Next year will be the 15th anniversary of Bobby and Joe's murders yet they remain unsolved but maybe not for much longer.
Ferris said: "We have unearthed secret material on the killing of my pals.
"That material is revealed in Vendetta. It has now been passed to the Glover and Hanlon families. Let's hope this finally forces the cops to act."
It's probably fair to say Ferris didn't give up crime because wanted to. He gave up crime because he had to.
He said: "In 1997, I was given a dossier by a solicitor. It was from the security services who monitored me.
"I knew I had to give up crime then. You couldn't beat these people.
"Giving up crime wasn't an inspiration that struck me on January 21, 2001, when I walked out of prison.
"In prison I had four years to think about how I let my girlfriend Sandra Arnott down, how I let my sons down.
"I've inadvertently adopted two other sons, Bobby Glover and Joe Hanlon's boys.
"I'd like nothing better than for these boys to grow up knowing what their fathers were, recognising the environment that we were in and recognising the environment they shouldn't be in.
"They shouldn't be stigmatised by the names Hanlon or Glover. My sons shouldn't be by the name Ferris.
"They should be given the opportunity to do better than their fathers.
"I'll actively encourage them not to think that crime is glamorous.
"Crime is not glamorous. It's a f *** ing rat race. You end up doing the best part of your life locked up behind bars."
That's something Ferris has done enough of. His 14 years in jail meant he missed a lot of time with his mother and his boys.
He doesn't plan on wasting any more
Cops must take care where their tips come from
FERRIS ONLAWAND ORDER
FERRIS holds strong views on the criminal justice system. No surprise there.
But when a man who has spent 14 years in jail says crime will only fall if people have respect for law and order, it comes as a shock.
He said: "As long as you have a disrespect for law and order because of what the police have done - individually, not collectively - to tarnish that. "I was told by my dad not to trust the police. That was nearly 40 years ago.
"Here's an example - I've got two pals who got into a bit of trouble with Tam McGraw. He threatened to kill them.
"One of them wanted to get a gun and shoot the guy, the other wanted to go to the cops.
"But his mate said to him: 'How do you know that you're not talking to one of his men. They'll take you for a statement out in some country road somewhere and you'll no' be coming back.' "So that's a dilemma. The police have got to look at their sources of intelligence gathering.
"They can't allow somebody a licence to operate with impunity knowing they will never go to jail.
"It's dangerous. It upsets the balance of law and order.
"The police need to get their house in order.
"That's why I've written two books and that's why I'm not going to keep my mouth shut.
"There are some positive signs. You've young cops coming in for all the right reasons.
"But there are still dinosaurs in there who can lead them astray.
"It'll take at least two generations before there's respect on the street for that uniform. At the moment, there's no respect.
"If you're going to build something, you need solid foundations. If you skimp, it's always going to be suspect.
"There are genuine people in the police who want to make a difference. It's the one's that are steeped in the history and propaganda that cause the problem.
"The sooner they get an independent body to investigate police complaints, the better.
"Just now, it's like asking Al Capone to investigate the Mafia
Dad accused of two murders
FERRIS ONHIS FATHER
WILLIE FERRIS was accused of at least two murders, according to his book.
It's an astonishing revelation from Ferris - and one he didn't need to put down on paper.
Detractors may mutter "like father, like son".
Ferris says he is pointing a lot of fingers in Vendetta, so he should at least try to be honest.
He says his merchant seaman father got into a fight with an older, bigger sailor in the Gulf of Mexico.
The guy had been bullying one of Willie's friends. The diminutive Glasgow hardman decided he was going to put an end to it.
Next morning, the sailor was reported missing.
One conclusion was that he had fallen overboard. Willie was put in front of the captain.
His son said: "He denied being responsible. There was no evidence, no witnesses and no body - so no crime and no charge."
A year later, another sailor was posted missing in similar circumstances in the Far East.
Again, Willie was the prime suspect but was again cleared.
Ferris said: "Word got around not to mess with Willie Ferris."
Old age failed to curb Willie from standing up to perceived injustice.
He was beaten senseless by Glasgow crime lord Arthur Thompson's younger son Billy and his gang after Ferris jr fell out with the Glasgow crime boss.
But it didn't stop Willie tackling Thompson in the street while his son was in jail awaiting trial for the murder of Arthur jnr.
Despite needing walking sticks, Willie confronted Thompson. He thought Thompson had fitted his boy up and was a grass.
He was slashed across both cheeks for his trouble.
Paul Ferris says: "With my dad, a principle was a principle. He was a wee guy but he had the heart of a lion