This is the eighteenth part of a fiction serial, in 791 words. It may contain some swear words.
Alan gets mobile.
With the rented warehouse in Leyton not easily accessible by taxi, Alan reluctantly decided he would need a car. He could have gone to see Lugs and sourced a motor that would pass muster for a couple of months, but he wasn’t going to chance having moody wheels while driving around getting things in order for the job.
Using the Internet on his phone, he checked out some car sales places, settling on one just outside Chelmsford, in Essex. He packed some things into a holdall he found in Gloria’s hall cupboard, and added a wad of cash too. Then he flagged down a cab at Highbury Corner and went to Liverpool Street Station where he caught a train to Chelmsford. Outside the station there, he took a local taxi to the car dealership.
He had deliberately chosen a rather downmarket place, as he didn’t want to be seen in one of the main franchise dealers, or the huge car supermarkets nearby. The car he had spotted on the website was still on the front. It was a six-year old Audi A4 in white, and the basic model. Marked up at a quid under four grand, it showed fifty-four thousand miles on the clock, which Alan didn’t believe for one second was genuine.
Seeing him walking around the car, a man quickly exited the blue-painted portakabin that served as an office. “Lovely little car there, sir. Full service history, all the papers in order, and it has been checked for oustanding finance. Ten months on the MOT, and immaculate inside. It’s ex-company, and nobody has ever smoked in it”. As if on cue, Alan lit a cigarette. “Drive me round the block in it, and if it doesn’t fall apart, we can talk a deal”. The car ran well enough, and sounded nice and quiet. It was a common model, in an unobtrusive colour. Just what he wanted.
Back at the portakabin, the salesman started to talk about finance, stopping when he saw the raised hand. “No finance, it will be cash. I am not interested in your extended warranty, or servicing deal. Three two for cash and I will pay you now”. The young woman sitting at the back waiting to answer the phones that didn’t seem to ring raised her eyebrows, and stopped filing her nails. The sound of Alan’s voice had thrown her. He sounded like someone not to mess around with.
The salesman tried to counter. “It has got five months remaining on the road tax you know, so how about three and a half?” Alan lit another cigarette, despite the sign on the desk that indicated no smoking. “Three-three, or I walk up the street and buy someone else’s car”. He reached into the holdall and dropped three one thousand pound piles onto the desk, adding six fifty-pound notes from inside his wallet.
With both keys, and the owner’s folder containing the MOT and service paperwork, Alan checked the registered keeper. It was a company name in Solihull, in the midlands. Ideal. He wouldn’t register it in his name, and any grief would go to the company. The man wrote him out a receipt. “Just your name and address for my paperwork, please sir?” Alan smiled. “Francis Toland, number eight Stonefield Street north one”.
He had given Frankie’s name, and his home address in Barnsbury. Outside sitting in the car, he rang Rosa in Spain. He gave her the registration number of the Audi, and told her to add it to the company insurance, making sure it would be noted that it was being driven in England. She should also email him a photo of the certificate.
Then he drove out onto the main road, in a completely legal vehicle.
After filling the car with petrol in the first garage he saw, the A12 road took him to the M25 motorway, and from there he turned off into Lakeside Shopping Centre. On a trading estate nearby, he parked outside a big camping shop. In there, he bought an inflatable mattress, some gloves, and a camping table with six folding chairs. On the way out, he stopped at the Tesco supermarket, buying a bulk pack of bottled water, some hand soap, shower gel, toothbrush and toothpaste, and toilet rolls. In the grocery area, he bought a box of tea bags, a jar of instant coffee, packet of sugar, and some biscuits. It was a really big Tesco, so he was happy to find he could get an electric kettle, a toaster, six mugs and plates, and some teaspoons and knives.
With the boot of the car full, and two of the folding chairs on the back seat, he headed for the warehouse in Leyton.