This is the twenty-second part of a fiction serial, in 774 words. It may contain some swear-words.
Saturday, 11 am.
First to arrive that morning were Kenny Allison and his mate Duggie. Alan had the shutter open, and waved them in. They had turned up in a newish Range Rover, and he was straight on them. “Kenny, this motor better not be bent mate. I can’t have you fucking this up before it’s even started”.
Kenny looked offended, but replied respectfully. “No chance, Mister Gill. This motor is pukka, registered to me at my business. You can think of it as a company car”. Duggie looked useful. Young, but then Alan guessed he might be. “You up for this, Duggie? Tell me now, no shame son”. The young man nodded. “One hundred percent, Mister Gill”.
Five minutes later, Reg drove in with Graham in the passenger seat. Alan had set up the six chairs in front of the folding table, and told them to take a seat. “Just waiting for Teddy and his crew now”. They had to wait for another fifteen minutes before Carl drove in. He was driving a campervan of all things, and Teddy got out with another bloke. As he didn’t have dark circles around his eyes, Alan presumed he must be Mickey Moon. He walked up to Carl sitting in the driving seat. “Where’s the other one, this Panda geezer?”
Carl looked sheepish, and his voice was squeakier than before. “Sorry, Mister Gill. He’s got toothache, abcess or summat like that”. Unable to contain his anger, Alan shouted loud enough to make the others turn round. “Toothache? What have you got a note from his fucking mum? Go and get him, and don’t come back without him. Or I will find him and knock all his teeth out with a fucking hammer. Then he won’t have to worry about them aching”.
The campervan reversed out at speed, and Alan turned to Teddy, shaking his head at him. “Go and make the teas, Teddy. All the stuff’s in the office over there”.
They had to wait a full forty minutes until Carl returned with Panda. Despite the size and build of the man, Alan was openly sarcastic. “Where do you live, Panda? Fucking Southend? Or did Carl have to get you from London Zoo”. He wanted to tell Alan that there are no Pandas in London Zoo, but instead just replied, “Sorry, Mister Gill”.
Once everyone was sat down, except Carl and Alan, he closed the shutter.
“Right then, we all know why we are here. More to the point, I want everyone to take a good look at everyone else. This is it. The crew, the team, whatever you like. Memorise everyone’s face, because if anyone grasses, you will know where to find them and what they look like. Graham, get up here and tell us us something. Like a date, a location, stuff like that”.
Graham stood in front of the table, holding a folded map. He was so nervous, you would have thought he was addressing a crowd of thousands, rather than a small group of disparate criminals in an East London Warehouse. “We have a run to Debden, before Christmas. They issue a lot of new notes for the Christmas season, so usually get rid of a lot of the old ones beforehand. The date is almost four weeks from now, on a Thursday morning. As for the place, I marked it on this map. It’s a lay-by, so there’s no address or postcode”. He unfolded the map, showing them a small area outlined with a yellow highlighter pen. Then he continued.
“We go up the M11, then turn off. On the London Road, a few miles from the works, there’s a lay-by. I will tell my number two I need a piss, and stop in there, leaving the door open for a while. I can switch off the tracker/locator, but that would alert security. Best to leave it on, as they won’t query me being in the same place for at least twenty minutes. Could be stuck in traffic, something like that. Your vans should already be in the lay-by. When I get out, you jump us. Threaten me with a gun, and I give you the code to disable the alarm when you open the back. But you will really only have about fifteen minutes to be safe. Then when you’ve gone, we can call it in as a robbery, on the radio in the lorry. I will be in the shit for that, and might get sacked. But there’s enough money in it for me to take my chance”.
Reg was nodding, but fortunately not smiling.