This is the second part of a fiction serial, in 816 words.
By the time I left Nicky’s flat it was after two in the morning, and I had agreed to give his plan a go, starting the following Monday. I knew that the only reason I had gone along with it was because I would be seeing much more of Patsy, and to be able to hang around their flat four or five nights a week. Besides, I was drifting through life. Early twenties, unsure of what I wanted to do with my future, and the prospect of being part of that small community appealed to me in many ways.
He wasn’t there when I turned up just after six. Patsy had already fed the kids, and her and her mum were sorting out the dinner for the grown-ups. When Nicky turned up, we had already eaten, and he said not to bother for him, as he had been in a Wimpy Bar most of the afternoon. ” I had a Wimpy Grill about two, and five or six coffees since. I’m fine”. He went into the bedroom and returned clutching an Adidas holdall that only had one handle. “Shall we get going then?”
It was already dark, and raining lightly. He asked me to take him to the Ferrier Estate at Kidbrooke. I told him to sit in the back, so he looked like a cab fare. It was a twenty-five minute journey that took almost an hour in the tail end of the rush hour traffic. I parked in Lebrun Square, and he disappeared into one of the nearby blocks of flats. It wasn’t a comfortable place to be sitting around on your own in. One of the burglary hotspots of London, and home to various teenage gangs that would think nothing of smashing up my car for a laugh, before robbing whatever money I had on me. The telescopic wheelbrace hidden under my seat didn’t exactly make me feel safe.
When he came back, he was accompanied by two men. They had a family resemblance that was undeniable, and both were wearing Fred Perry polo shirts, Farah Sta-Prest trousers, and leather loafers. I was introduced to them as Big Buster and Little Buster. My confusion was immediate, as Little Buster was the son, but was twice the size of his dad, Big Buster. They got in the car with Nicky, and he asked me to drive to the Lord Napier pub in Greenwich. That was just across the road from the office of the taxi firm where I worked, so I parked up the side of the pub so I wouldn’t be spotted.
They were inside for ages, and I was starting to get really bored. Looking in the rear-view mirror I noticed that a lot of the people were going into the pub alone, mostly young men, and they were leaving soon after, hardly time to have drunk one beer. I may not have been a criminal, but I knew enough to guess that Nicky was dealing drugs in there, probably under a table in a corner, or in the Gent’s toilets. The Busters must have been his protection, in case someone tried to turn him over.
It dragged on for so long, I was just about to get out of the car and go into the pub to make sure they were still in there, when a sudden knock on the passenger door window made me jump out of my skin. Two men were standing there, dressed scruffily. One was holding a wallet, with a badge in the flap. He motioned for me to wind down the window.
“Polce, mate. You’ve been here a long time. What’s the story?”
I told him I was a cabbie, and had brought someone to the pub who had asked me to wait for him. I showed him one of the business cards advertising the taxi firm across the road, and he seemed happy enough. But the older one wasn’t happy. He walked around to my side, opened the door, and said, “Let’s see what’s in the boot, and your licence and insurance while we are at it”. I opened the boot to show him a spare wheel, an empty petrol can, and a spare fanbelt. There was an adjustable spanner, a screwdriver, and an empty Tizer bottle. He held out his hand for my documents, and shone a small torch on them to read them properly.
Just at that moment, Nicky and the two Busters came out of the pub by the side door. They took one look at the two men talking to me, saw the torch shining, and went back into the pub. Handing back the documents, the older copper changed his tone to friendly.
“So you are just waiting for him? What’s he doing in there, just having a drink?” I shrugged, and smiled politely.
“No idea, officer. I don’t know him, I’m just the driver”.