Just The Driver: Part Two

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”.

42 thoughts on “Just The Driver: Part Two

    1. In those days, if you knew certian people you were in deep as soon as they asked a favour, Pete. It was a way of life, in some London districts. Nobody said no, and nobody grassed.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. (1) Bad citation: “I was 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. However, I had no desire to have children with a Munchkin.” (Dorothy Gale)
    (2) Nicky’s wife was drop-dead gorgeous, but she was nobody’s patsy. (Except that she was.)
    (3) Patsy was jealous of Wimpy Girl, but she was a brave wife, and remained strong in the face of her husband’s infidelity.
    (4) In “Goldilocks and the Three Busters,” the title character, a finicky lolita, turned down Big Buster and Little Buster because they weren’t the right size for her.
    (5) Lord Napier, pub owner: “Listen, Buster! No, not you! The other one!”
    (6) Overheard:
    Policeman: “What’s that noise in the boot?”
    Paul: “Oh, that’s just Puss choking on a hairball.”
    (7) Bad citation: “The cop held out his hand for my documents, but I torched ’em. What did he think I was, a flamin’ idiot?”
    (8) Overheard:
    Policeman: “So you are just waiting for him? What’s he doing in there, just having a drink?”
    Paul: “No idea, officer. I don’t know him, I’m just the driver in this story. If you need more information, ask Pete!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I actually lived in that block of flats in Lebrun Square from 1971 – 1979 with my parents. The estate had just opened and it wasn’t the hotbed of crime in 1971 that it had become by the time I left home. I eventually got my mum to move up to Suffolk with me in 1994. She really didn’t want to go, but was getting on in years and realised she had become needy. She hated Suffolk and always pined for London. I buried her ashes in the East London Cemetery where her mother lies. I think she would have haunted me if I’d buried her in Suffolk!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We were one of the first families to move in and it was okay in 1971. When people died or moved out the council dumped all the work-shy and feckless on the Ferrier. I only lived there for 8 years, but my mum stayed put for 24 years and it got to the point where she was getting old and afraid to go out. It was then we suggested she move nearer to us in Suffolk.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am basing this story on when I was cabbing around that time. If anyone there phoned for a cab, they were told we would meet them on the corner of the main road, by the main entrance to the estate. No drivers from our company would go to any of the blocks after ’74. Too many bogus calls, and cars damaged when we got back to them.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes I can understand that. I have happy memories of my early teenage years there; knocking on doors with a friend getting a petition up for a youth club, and having the good fortune to attend Kidbrooke Girls’ School where I made lovely friends that I still see today.

            Liked by 1 person

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