This is the twenty-third part of a fiction serial, in 753 words. It may contain some swear-words.
“Before everyone goes today, I want to mention one last thing”. Alan was wondering how much everyone had taken in, and had gone over the details so many times he was sick of listening to his own voice. “On the day of the job, there will be no names used. If you need to say anything to someone else, use a number. That should be easy enough to remember, so get used to it. I am One, Carl is Two, Panda Three. Mickey, you’re four. Kenny is five, and Duggie six. Get those numbers inside your heads, and from the time we leave on that morning, no names at all”.
Panda’s hand was raised, like some kid in a classroom.
“What is it, Panda? Alan was in no mood for his nonsense after the toothache thing earlier. “Well, could I swap with Mickey? Only I don’t like odd numbers. Reckon they’re unlucky”. Alan lit a cigarette, shaking his head with exasperation. Then he shouted his reply. “No! You’re three. Grow up, and live with it! First the teeth, now this! Come on, for fuck’s sake!” He turned to the others. “And while I am talking about people being late and no-shows, remember this. If anyone doesn’t show up on the day of the job, take it from me you will be in deep shit. I don’t care if your old mum has dropped dead in front of you, or your house is on fire. You will be here, okay? Right, that’s it until next time”.
As they were leaving, he pulled Kenny to one side. “Can you get me a parking permit for Gloria’s estate, Kenny? I’m fed up eating toast and sleeping on an air-bed. I need to get back on the manor next week. The reg number is the one on that white Audi parked at the back. It’s a straight motor, so the permit has to be kosher”. Kenny smiled. “Leave it with me, Mister Gill. I will put it in an envelope and post it through your sister’s door on Monday afternoon”. Alan gave him two hundred pounds. “That should cover it, Kenny”.
When everyone had gone, he phoned Gloria. She was at the bingo with her mate. “I will be back at your flat on Monday afternoon, Glor. If you want to come home next week, let me know, and I will send a cab for you”. There was a pause. “Is it alright if I stay a bit longer, Alan? I’m having a really nice time”. He was pleased to hear that. “Stay a bit longer if you want, darlin’. But remember you will have to go to Spain by the end of next month”.
Unable to face any more sandwiches, at six that evening he drove up to the High Road and bought himself some fish and chips. “Stick a wally on that, and two of those big pickled onions please, love”. They were eaten sitting in the car, while they were still hot. Fish and chips had never tasted so good, even though they served them up in a polystyrene box these days.
The last two nights in the warehouse were really boring, but Alan studied Graham’s map until he thought his eyes would bleed, and made a lot of notes so the details would get into his brain. They were all burned in the sink before he left on Monday morning. The packing case with the guns inside was covered with some blue plastic sheeting he had found up the side of the building. If anyone broke in, it should just look like a pile of rubbish in the corner.
Locking up securely, he drove east, heading for the M11 motorway. Before returning to Islington, he wanted a look at the lay-by Graham had marked. Pulling into it less than an hour later, he had to admit he was impressed. It was certainly long enough for three large vehicles, and screened from the main road by some bushes and trees. To the left of it was a field, and the nearest houses were right over the other side of that. Graham had chosen well. Alan had to consider that he had underestimated the bloke.
By the time he got back to Gloria’s and unloaded his stuff, the envelope containing the permit was on the mat. He went straight back down to the car and stuck it on the window.
One less thing to have to worry about.