This is the thirty-third part of a fiction serial, in 811 words. It may contain some swear words.
Awake just after nine, Alan had a lot of time to kill, and not much to do. With his flight departing after six that evening, he planned to get there about three. So allowing at least an hour to get to the airport, he would grab a cab just before two that afternoon. Five hours. Not too long, in the grand scheme of things.
Before ten, he was in a favourite cafe on the Essex Road, ordering a full English breakfast with extra black pudding and fried bread, and a mug of tea. He hadn’t bothered to get anything in at Gloria’s as he would have had to throw away whatever was left.
The weather was like he remembered it in London in mid-December. Very cold, but dry. There was no snow forecast, but it would start getting dark just after two, and feel like night by three-thirty. One of the things he liked about Spain was that it was rarely that cold on the coast, even though the Spanish locals complained about winter.
The big breakfast warmed him up, and filled him up too. Walking back to Gloria’s, it didn’t feel as cold as on the way there.
It seemed sensible to turn off Gloria’s electric before he left. She wouldn’t be back for some time, if at all, and it would keep any bills at a minimum. If she stayed on in Spain, as he hoped she would, she could phone the local council and give up the flat in due course. If she wanted Angie to stay with her for company, he could buy them a nice villa near his.
It wasn’t as if he would be short of money, after all. He might even give the business to Rosa. She had worked hard enough, and deserved it.
The next forty-five minutes were spent doing some cleaning up at the flat. When that was finished, he put on the sealskin gloves, so he didn’t leave any prints around if the cops broke in at some stage. Then he sat waiting for the time to leave.
Chalky White wasn’t talking to anyone. He was sat in his office pretending to drink coffee that was ninety percent scotch. There wasn’t a single lead so far. The two blokes from the lorry had had to be released without charge, after spending twenty-four hours in custody and sticking to their stories. Teddy Henderson had a cast-iron alibi, and was tight-lipped about anything else. Searches of various flats and houses had turned up ziltch. Chalky took a couple of paracetamol for his growing headache, and wondered what he was going to say to his boss at the midday briefing.
Sitting in Gloria’s now cold flat, Alan suddenly thought of something.
The Ruger.22 was still in the supermarket bag in the wardrobe. How had he forgotten that? He would have to dump that before leaving, as ballistics would undoubtedy match it to Frankie’s shooting, if it was found during a search. Before he left that afternoon, it would have to be disposed of. There were no prints on it, so he didn’t have to go to too much trouble to get rid of it.
The playing fields nearby called Highbury Fields would be good. Lots of rubbish bins, and they might well have already been searched by the cops, even though they were a long way from where Frankie had been shot. That would do nicely.
Francis Liam Toland was only a few days short of his sixteenth birthday. Despite his age, he looked younger, and could have passed for twelve or thirteen. His mum didn’t really know who his dad was, so had christened him with the first name of her uncle, Frankie Toland. After that, he was always called Little Frankie. He had no male role model, other than his great-uncle Frankie. He wasn’t that well-behaved, and had been expelled from two schools before the authorities more or less gave up on him.
Little Frankie adored his uncle. He gave employment to his mum, in an amusement arcade on the Holloway Road. And he eventually gave employment to Little Frankie too, running messages on the bmx bike he had bought for him. Old Frankie Toland believed that everyone should work for their money, even a teenage nephew. If his mum was working late, Little Frankie could go to his uncle’s house. Aunt Mary would cook a dinner for him, and if his uncle was there, he would give him ten quid, and tell him he was a Toland, through and through.
The last time he had seen his beloved uncle was a few hours before he got shot. Little Frankie had worked it out. The bloke from Highbury Grove must have done it.
The smartly-dressed bloke who had given him a fifty as if it was nothing.