To read the first eight chapters, please click here. For the first section of chapter nine, please see the post below this one.
Monday 4th November 1985: 18.05 – 18.30
‘Still see ’er, Dazza?’
‘Yeah, Dad. She’s jus’ crossin’ the road. I’ll wait for ’er to get to the other side, then follow ’er over. Here y’are, that’s it. I’m jus’ crossin’ now.’
Ronnie Chafford risked a glance round the corner of Dunmoanin, the bungalow whose side wall he was currently hiding behind. Fifty or so yards ahead, he could see Darren similarly peeking out from behind a tree as he followed the Asian copper woman. Doin’ a good job, he thought. A might too close if he had to be ultra-picky; but the copper seemed intent on where she was heading for, and Dazza was hitting the hidey-holes nicely, albeit in a Rowan Atkinson in Never Say Never Again kind of way.
They were well and truly into old fogey territory here, an area he’d cased before. Loads of street lighting, which was a curse. But at least in a place like this the council kept up an every-few-yards tree-planting regime which provided handy shelter if the quarry should happen to glance round.
The lights were on a timer, of course, and Ronnie knew exactly when they went off. The only bugger was that most of the places around here were wired up to the hilt with burglar alarms. Ronnie hated burglar alarms more than he hated Alsatian dogs; at least with a dog you could slip it a Mickey Finn on a lump of steak. He’d never tried doing that to a burglar alarm, but he was reasonably sure it wouldn’t have the same effect.
He’d arrived back in Camtown not quite an hour before, still high from the killing he’d made on the church silver. He’d stopped by home to stash the proceeds and grab a sarnie, then hurried out after his son and the copper. He blessed the fact that he’d thought to take the two-way with him to his fence’s. When Dazza had radioed to tell him about the copper’s visit, alarm bells had rung. A couple of mates down the Rat and Ferret had warned him there was a woman detective in town who had a bit more nous than the average plod. If she was sniffing around the St Marmoset’s case it mightn’t be long before the whatsit hit the whirly blades.
He was also glad Darren had said, ‘I’ll go an’ follow ’er, Dad, see what she’s about.’ At least that meant he hadn’t had to sit around in a freezing car for hours, estimating the time of the late train from Glasgow, before going indoors and grabbing his sandwich and a warming cuppa.
Darren would have been gobsmacked to know that Ronnie wasn’t up in Scotchland getting rid of the gear. In fact, Ronnie had never been to och-aye parts in his life. His fence, a weaselly octogenarian called Gerry Batrick, lived no more than thirty miles away, a short hop in the old but extremely souped-up Morris Oxford he kept in a rented garage just round the corner from the flat.
He still didn’t know how Dazza hadn’t sussed he was joking when he called his fence ‘McPlank’. Okay – the lad was proving to have more about him than Ronnie had ever suspected before; but honestly…
Mind you – an old geezer called Gerry Batrick was just as believable, if you thought about it.
The two-way radio crackled. ‘’Ow’s things goin’ up there, Dad?’
‘Fine, Dazza, fine. Still followin’ that copper?’
‘Yeah – ’course, Dad.’
‘Good lad. Don’t get too close, mind.’
‘Don’ worry, Dad. I’m way be’ind ’er.’
Bless the boy; Ronnie could see that if anything, Darren was almost treading on the woman’s heels. It looked like she was about to turn left; where the hell was she going?
He supposed that he could have left Dazza to his own devices; but despite the surprising competence his son had displayed earlier in the day, Ronnie wasn’t a hundred percent confident the lad wasn’t going to make some sort of ricket and get caught up in the brown sticky stuff himself.
He waited till they’d turned the corner, then left his hiding place. As he crept forwards, he studied his mental map of the area. This road was one of them long, straight, avenue types. No turn-offs, just a cul-de-sac at the end of it. Name of…
Oh yeah – Diamond Crescent.
Turning the corner himself, he saw the woman copper and Darren still ahead. Still walking; still stalking. Carefully, he set off after them.
Interestingly, there was somebody else in the distance, heading in the same direction. And – yeah, even further down, somebody else.
And somebody else even further on?
Odd. This wasn’t the kind of area he’d expect to see so many people out after dark.
As he was part-way down the road, a car passed him.
A couple of minutes later, another car passed him.
He stopped dead. That was definitely too many bods out on the street.
What the blue bloody blazes was goin’ on?