This is the twenty-fifth part of a fiction serial, in 754 words. It may contain some swear words.
Things to do.
The following Monday, Alan was at Rupert Pennington’s shop moments after opening time. Rupert seemed surprised to see him. “Any trouble with the goods I sent, old love?” Alan turned the ‘OPEN’ sign, and slipped the bolt on the door. “Nothing like that, I need some information”.
Rupert showed him through to the back room, and poured some whisky from a decanter into two glasses. “I know it’s early, but why the hell not? What can I do for you, Alan love?”
“I am going to need to get something out of the country before Christmas. By boat, for choice. I’m not asking questions about how you get your guns in, but I’m guessing that they don’t arrive by parcel post?” The debonair man smiled as he sipped his drink. “How big might this something be? Are we talking a back of the car something, or a full ship’s hold something?”
Alan put his glass down, and lit a cigarette. “Something square, that will fill up the back of a normal light van”. Rupert relaxed. “In that case, it’s no problem. I have a contact who does reglular runs from Felixstowe to Rotterdam, and he’s sure to be able to fit that in”.
Alan was shaking his head. “Not Rotterdam. I need it to go to Bilbao, in Spain. Can you sort out the customs paperwork too, Rupert?” Waving a hand in the air, the dealer replied. “Paperwork is not an issue, leave that to me. You will be best to put your load into a small container, and hide it under something with a strong odour, in case the cargo is searched by sniffer dogs,. They are trained to smell out all kinds of things these days. Fish-meal fertilizer is a favourite, horrible pong from that, old love. But Bilbao will be a chore for my man. That will double the price, I’m afraid”.
Thinking quietly for a while, Alan risked asking another favour. “Can you do all that arranging for me? There’s a good earner in it for you”. Rupert was shaking his head. “Not all, Alan love. I can get a container delivered, and the fish-meal. The paperwork can be left up to me too. But you are going to have to go to Felixstowe and see my man with the payment. Cash only, and he won’t work for anyone he hasn’t met in person. Even on my recommendation. He will know it’s bent, whatever it is, so I’m sorry to say you are looking at fifty grand for him, old love”. Rupert might well be beefing up the price to get some bunce for himself, but Alan was in no position to argue.
“Okay, write down the contact details for me. If he is going to be in Felixstowe next Saturday, I will meet him somewhere and pay him. The date is not fixed in stone yet, so it will have to be short notice. I will ring you here at the shop and give you the date in some sort of code, like a phone number or something. What do I owe you for your end, the paperwork and such?” He swallowed the last of the scotch and stood up, reaching into his coat pocket.
Rupert shrugged. “Call it fifteen hundred, old love”. Laying the cash on the desk, Alan realised he was going to have to go to his bank again, and get the cash out for the ship’s captain. “I will give you the date when the shipping container should be delivered, and arrange to be there on the day. It’s the same address you sent the vases to”.
The men shook hands, and ten minutes later, Alan was in a taxi heading for his bank. Less than an hour later, he was back on the street holding another complimentary briefcase, this time containing sixty thousand pounds. He had got the extra ten, just in case something came up.
After getting back to the flat and stashing the cash, he got his phone and rang his sister. She was in a cafe, just finishing a late breakfast. “Glor, text me the address of your mate’s place. I will come and pick you up next Saturday. I’ve got a car now, so no need to send a cab. I should be there late afternoon, okay?” She sounded a bit cool, but agreed. “Alright, love. See you then”.
He had the feeling that Gloria was disappointed about having to come home.