Just The Driver: Part Twelve

This is the twelfth part of fiction serial, in 827 words. **May contain swearing!**

I knew that it was time to keep away from the area, and made my mind up to do just that. I started to turn down jobs that ended up near there, claiming I needed petrol, or the fanbelt was loose. More and more, I tried to get the longer runs, mostly to airports, or to hospitals in the home counties. And I took on some of the school runs for disabled kids, which meant I had to start much earlier, before four in the afternoon.

All was going well, and for a month or so, life returned to normal. Then one day, I was aked on the radio to call into the cab office. Sue had a message for me.

It was an Inspector John Bromley, from Tower Bridge Police Station, and a contact number. I used the office phone, and spoke to a sergeant who seemed to know why the Inspector wasnted to see me. “Could you pop down to see him later, say six-thirty? He just has a few questions for you”. Of course, I was shitting myself. It didn’t much working out to suspect that I was going to be questioned about the stolen televisions. But it couldn’t be avoided, so I showed up at the cop shop around six-fifteen. The uniformed copper on the desk made a phone call, and five minutes later a plainclothes cop showed up in reception and asked me to follow him.

In a small interview room, I looked across at the man. He was older than my dad, that was for sure. One of those old-school types who still wore a trilby hat and a faded suit. He almost certainly wore an overcoat too, except in the summer. He was okay though, businesslike, and straight to the point. There was no caution read out, and no hint that I was in trouble. He took a statement form from a drawer, and used a pencil to write on it. Back then, there were no recordings or cameras for an ‘informal talk’.

“We have some suspects for a recent break-in and theft of goods. They tell me they were all together in a certain pub on the night, and stayed late. Naturally, that alibi is not much good, as they are bound to say that. However, they tell me you were there too, and can confirm that they did not leave the pub”. As he was talking, he was writing on the form. “You are not known to us except for one motoring conviction, so if you alibi them, that’s good enough for me. But I would be interested to know how you happen to be friends with such characters”.

My story had been concocted on the drive there, and sounded as flimsy as tracing paper to me. I was adamant that I was just a cab driver. I had received a job to pick someone up there, and then they had bought me a drink and not bothered to use the taxi. They were all drunk, and had befriended me, eventually paying me some money for wasting my time. I said he could check with the cab office that I had a booking. Bromley could hardly contain his laughter, but settled for a wide grin as he wrote down what I was saying. Then he slid the statement across to me.

“Read through this, and if you agree it is a true record of what you told me, sign it at the bottom”. As I quickly read more or less what I had made up, other than he had included the names of Mickey, Pat, and Brian, he lit one of those small cigars that come in flat tins. In the small room, the smell of it was overwhelming. I signed the paper, and he picked it up and put it in a file on the desk. Then he leaned forward and smiled. “Might be worth your while to drive over to The Foresters and see Mickey Shaughnessy, I bet he’s expecting you”.

Ouside in the car, I felt more relaxed. Bromley was undoubtedly a bent copper, and on the villains’ payroll.

Given that he had told me Mickey was expecting me, I had to go and see him. I received a warm welcome in the pub, and a drink of course. Mickey told anyone who would listen that I was a stand-up bloke, and my alibi together with Bromley not trying too hard to acquire evidence, had surely got the case against them dropped. Fortunately, Mickey had a date with one of his women, so I was able to get away before nine. He gave me seventy-five quid before I left

As I was driving back to Greenwich, I concluded that I really had to extricate myself from those blokes. And soon. If I ended up in front of a police detective again, I knew I would never get away with saying “I’m just the driver”.

38 thoughts on “Just The Driver: Part Twelve

  1. (1) “I was shitting myself.” Actually, Paul was putting the cart (loaded with fear) before the horse (a corrupt inspector).
    (2) The “uniformed coppper” should have gone for a pee, because he has one too many.
    (3) Paul was questioned about the stolen televisions:
    “Did they come with an RCA remote?”
    “Did you remember to take the rabbit ears?”
    “Did they make you carry the TV sets with the 25-inch screens, or were they kind enough to let you carry the smaller TVs?”
    “Do you prefer to watch ‘Starsky & Hutch’ or ‘Laverne & Shirley’ on your new stolen TV?”
    (4) John Bromley was a big fan of Jacques Clouseau. Thus, the trilby hat.
    (5) Sixty-second interrogation:
    Bromley: “You are not known to us except for one big motoring conviction. What came over you?”
    Paul: “I had a crush on Eleanor.”
    (6) Bromley was undoubtedly a bent copper. You could steel what you wanted without fear of him putting you in leg irons.
    (7) Mickey had a date with one of his women. Wait till Minnie finds out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Police involvement? Glad you liked it Molly. At the time, so many police detectives were corrupt, and as long as they got their payoffs, they didn’t feature much in our lives. Inspector Bromley was just ‘going through the motions’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. How to get away from them? You will fnd out eventually. They were nothing like the Mafia, just small-time gangsters living on a reputation. Their ‘reach’ was very local. Avoid the locality, and you could mostly avoid them.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It had to come early in this episode, during the alibi statement with Inspector Bromley. On this occasion, I didn’t want to repeat it at the end, Don. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  2. I’ve come to this series late, Pete so had to binge the backstory. Very compelling. Why do I get a ‘sticky end’ feeling though!? It doesn’t feel like our cabby is going to end up in the Costas…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for catching up, Geoff. The cabby is ‘based’ on me, and one (real) year of my life from 1974-1975. So no sticky end, but no Costas either. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

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