This is the seventeenth part of a fiction serial, in 764 words. It may contain swear-words.
Gloria takes a trip.
Over dinner that evening, Alan had a question for his sister. “Glor, your mate, Angie. Does she still live in Clacton?” Gloria swallowed a new potato before replying. “Yeah. She’s divorced now though. They sold up the big house, and she bought one of those timber lodges on a residential park. Very smart it is, all furniture included, and two nice bedrooms”. Dobbing some mint sauce onto his last lamb chop, Alan smiled. “Sounds nice. I think you should contact her, go down and see her for a few days. At least until your passport arrives. I’ll book a cab to take you there, save the hassle on the train”.
Gloria was no fool. “Is this about Frankie Toland? Is there going to be trouble?” He picked up the chop, intending to bite the meat out of it. “Yes, and yes”.
When the doorbell rang later, he looked out the side of the net curtain hanging in front of the glass panel before opening the door. It was Teddy Henderson.
In the front room, Teddy declined a drink. Maybe he was taking this seriously after all. “Al, Toland has eyes and ears all over, so I have come to let you know what I have sorted. Carl has his two men ready to go. One’s called Panda…” Alan stopped him. “Panda? What sort of name is that, Teddy?” Teddy seemed surprised that Alan didn’t know why. “’cause he has dark circles around his eyes. And the other is Mickey Moon. Remember his dad, Charlie? He was useful in the sixties. Lugs’s boy Kenny got in touch, and he has a straight-up bloke called Duggie as his number two. It’s all in hand, just waiting for the word”.
Alan didn’t remember Charlie Moon at all, but took Teddy’s word for it. He gave him another five hundred. “Thanks Teddy. All quiet for now, but I will be in touch once I have got Gloria off the manor”.
The taxi was booked for the next morning, and Gloria was packed for at least a week away. “Let me know when the passport comes, Alan, and I will come back”. He gave her two hundred extra for food and drink at Angie’s. “I’ll let you know, love. But you’re not coming back until it’s safe, okay?” When her case was in the taxi, and he was waving her goodbye, he felt more relaxed.
He had spotted the teenager sitting on the bmx bike at the side of the flats, and already knew that Toland would be having him watched. That was fine, let him know Gloria was out of the picture now, see what he did next.
Walking to Old Reg’s place, he deliberately didn’t look around, or behind him. He had told Frankie he would be seeing Reg, so it seemed normal enough. In the flat, Reg seemed relaxed. Alan tried to tell if he had maybe had a visit from Frankie, but if he had, he was covering it well. “Reg, it’s all in place. Now I just need a date from your man Graham. I want to be out of here by Christmas if I can, second week of January at the latest. Obviously I need a route to study, and some info from Graham on where to pull the job. I have the bolt-hole arranged, and the shooters can be delivered after one phone call. So get Graham on that as soon as, and no phone calls, okay?”
Pouring some more whisky, Reg nodded. “Leave it with me, Al”. Well, he was still nodding, but at least he wasn’t smiling too.
On the way back to Gloria’s, there was a really cold wind, and Alan was glad of his new overcoat. He had a lot to think about, so stopped off in a pub he didn’t know, ordered a large malt, and sat at a table in the corner. One good thing about all-day opening now, you didn’t have to wait until half-five to get a drink. Halfway down the second double, he had come to a decision. Frankie Toland was never going to let it go. With him still around, the job would either never happen, or go bent after. He swallowed the rest of the drink in one gulp, and left the pub.
It had started raining, and even the rain felt cold. He lit a cigarette, sheltering the flame of his lighter against the gusts on the corner.
He was going to have to deal with Frankie. No way round that.