This is the twentieth part of a fiction serial, in 764 words. It may contain some swear-words.
Alan goes to ground.
From his overcoat pocket, Alan removed the supermarket carrier bag he had brought with him, and placed the jiffy bag inside it. Only two pieces of the padded envelope wrapper had been blown away by the gunshots, and he picked those up and put them into the plastic bag. There might well be much smaller particles that forensics would find, but by then it would be long gone anyway. Unable to risk taking a taxi or public transport, he had a long walk back to Gloria’s, using small side streets to avoid the CCTV cameras outside most of the shops and larger buildings.
In the flat, he packed away the rest of the money into his case, and took the things he had bought in the Londis shop together with the duvet and pillows down to his car. One last trip back to lock up, and grab his case, and he was gone from the estate.
As he was driving to the warehouse in Leyton, a phone was ringing in a house in Bishop’s Stortford, north of London in Hertfordshire.
Detective Superintendent William ‘Chalky’ White hadn’t gone to bed yet. Just as well, as he was soon to be back out of the house, and driving down to Islington. Someone had shot Frankie Toland and his bodyguard, and the bodies had been found by a bloke coming home from a late shift and finding a fancy car parked across his space. On inspection, he had found two dead men inside. The first officers on scene knew full well who they were.
With less than nine months to go until he retired, Chalky wasn’t about to make much of a fuss over a couple of dead gangsters. Someone else would soon step into their vacant territory, and by next week, Toland would only be a memory, with old criminals boasting about how they knew him back in the day.
The crime scene was a nightmare. A detective inspector met his boss at the opening to the garages. “It’s a mess, guv. The local kids have been in and stripped everything portable. The wallets have gone, watches if they wearing them, and both mobile phones that they were probably carrying. If the driver had a shooter, that’s gone too. I reckon he did, ’cause we found a spare magazine in his inside pocket. Looks like a nine-mill. The car is covered in fingerprints, and there are footprints everywhere too. The scene of crime lot are shaking their heads already”. Chalky shook his head too. He needed a coffee.
In Leyton, Alan switched on the electric heater in the office. Then he walked into the staff toilet and knocked the smoke alarm off the ceiling above the door, using the handle of a mop he had found propped in the corner. Once he was sure he would not have the Fire Brigade calling, he burned the jiffy bag in one of the sinks, using some of the fuel for his Zippo lighter. When the office was warm enough, he used the built-in compressor to inflate the camping mattress, then made himself a cup of tea and some toast with the new kettle and toaster he had left there. There was no fridge, so he left the four-pint container of milk outside, where it was cold enough for it to stay fresh.
Sitting at the small folding table on one of the camping chairs, he opened a bottle of Black Label, poured a good slug and drank it from his tea mug. After returning to the toilet to brush his teeth, he got undressed and slipped under to duvet onto the squeaky and crackly plastic mattress.
Surprisingly tired, he fell asleep almost immediately.
At the three in the morning briefing for the murder squad, Chalky White surveyed the bleary-eyed group of police officers sitting around the table. He kept it short. “This is one hundred percent a contract killing we’re dealing with here. You will have to do the usual round of CCTV checks, black cabs, minicab firms, bus companies, traffic cameras, you know the drill. Check your informants, grasses, snouts, whatever you call them these days. But I will bet my left bollock that it will be an unknown hitman. Even if he’s smiling at the camera, we won’t have a fucking clue who he is”. He sat on the edge of the big table, and rubbed his wrinkled face.
“Our biggest problem is going to be the turf war, when they all try to claim Frankie’s territory”.