Just The Driver: Part Nineteen

This is the nineteenth part of a fiction serial, in 720 words. **May contain swearing!**

Heading south over Blackfriars Bridge, I stopped at the first phone box I saw, and rang Patsy. I told her I had some information about Nicky, and would go to her flat later and tell her in person. On the way, I stopped in Blue Anchor Lane, and bought pie and chips to eat in the car. Sitting there eating, I made the decision not to tell her about Vincent Lombardo. I would leave the trail at The Ship on Stepney Green, and not mention the next place I visited.

The money from Lombardo had covered my expenses nicely, so after visiting Patsy in Thamesmead, I could take the night off. The stress of running around had taken its toll, and I was feeling worn out.

By the time I knocked on Patsy’s door, the kids were in bed, and her mum had gone home. She looked tired and stressed, but made me a cup of tea and we sat in the kitchen. I explained in detail about Nicky doing deals in Dulwich with Toby. How Little Legs had got the truth out of him by breaking his fingers, and that had led me to the pub in Stepney. Then I gave her the wallet, and told her to keep the forty quid in it. I suggested there was no point in her following the lead from Toby, as I had been to The Ship and they were denying all knowledge of Nicky ever being in there.

She took the news reasonably well, confirming my suspicion that she already knew the worst. Nicky was likely to be in a crushed car in a scrap yard, or in the concrete foundations of one of the many new office blocks springing up all over the city. He had made up his mind to move from being a small time thief and drug dealer, to branching out into the world of major dealing, a world already owned by organised crime.

He was completely out of his league.

Patsy thanked me for my efforts, and told me she still hoped he might turn up. “I reckon they are holding him somewhere. Maybe against a debt, or because he’s upset someone, Paul. Nicky’s like a bad penny, he always turns up”. I hadn’t mentioned how much money he had been carrying around in the shoulder bag. In those days, you could get someone killed for five hundred, and he was carrying close to two grand. As Patsy had suggested he would have only had a hundred on him, I guessed she didn’t have a clue that he had been keeping that secret from her.

Her positive attitude was understandable. After all, Nicky did indeed have a habit of going missing, and turning up later with little or no excuse. But I had seen the look on Vincent’s face as he gave me the money, and that look told me we were never going to see Nicky again.

The next half-hour was awkward. I ran out of things to say, and Patsy sat chain-smoking until my tea went cold. I said I had to go, and she walked me to the door before kissing me on the cheek. “You take care, Paul, and thanks again”.

That was the last time I ever saw her.

In my bedroom that night, I found it hard to get to sleep. The events of the past few months were playing on my mind. I had reluctantly become involved with some of the nastiest small-time gangsters in South London, and also been in contact with some more fearsome organised crime faces. This wasn’t what I wanted to be doing with my life. I knew full well I could end up like Nicky if I wasn’t careful

You didn’t have to do much to upset those people.

Leaving the wallet with Patsy had been a deliberate act on my part of course. If she ever decided to seek out some of her criminal contacts to find out what had happened to her husband, Toby would be their first port of call. As for me, even if they asked around in The Ship, or managed to track down Vincent Lombardo in Clerkenwell, I wouldn’t feature, as far as anyone was concerned.

They would be told I was just the driver.

38 thoughts on “Just The Driver: Part Nineteen

  1. It looks like I was wrong about Nicky. I thought he might resurface. If he resurfaces, it will be because he washed up on a beach somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like the driver’s seedy underworld dealings are coming to an end, right along with Nicky’s life. I hope this story has a happy ending, what with the new girlfriend and all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. (1) Paul’s itinerary checklist:
    Pop into the Fox and Anchor
    Stop in Blue Anchor Lane
    Drop anchor in Thamesmead
    (2) Nicky was like a shiny new nickel. He always turned up in the nick of time.
    (3) A photo of Nicky was found crushed in Patsy’s scrapbook.
    (4) Constructing offices out of concrete blocks is a bad idea because when those blocks start springing up all over town, the law of gravity will see to it that they fall on innocent pedestrians and crush their bloody skulls.
    (5) My plane landed briefly in Sydney, and then flew on to Auckland. it was an Auckward flight.
    (6) It was the last time Paul ever saw Patsy. But it wasn’t the last time Patsy ever saw Paul. Patsy went to Paul’s funeral after he got whacked, and gave his corpse one last kiss on the cheek.
    (7) Overheard:
    Spectator #1: “What’s that in the dread river?”
    Spectator #2: “A dead driver.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are lots of pubs with Anchor in the name in the dockside areas of London. Blue Anchor Lane was named after the Blue Anchor pub.. (Which was next to the shop where he bought his pie and chips. ) 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think that if I had 40 quid to spare I would like to try the “Pie and Chips” thing for myself. So you never saw her again? Maybe she went off somewhere and died from all that chain smoking. I am getting a taste for reading fiction …

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh how I would love to spend a week in an English fish and chips store .. we used to have Arthur Treachers’ over here but there are very few of them left now …

            Liked by 1 person

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