Too much red wine and S & I invent a character, Serge “the blur” D’Beville – get away driver extraordinaire.
I will have to persuade S to share his story here too, just for purposes of comparison and hilarity.
This is my take on a character with such a splendid name.
The habit is too ingrained now, he couldn’t change it, even if he wanted to, green cigarette paper, the smallest amount of tobacco, every spare shred carefully collected up and returned to the packet. A prison thin roll up, 3, 4 drags and it is gone, leaving behind just a hint of tobacco and smoke.
Harry “the hat” is still talking between bouts of coughing and gasps for breath, Serge tries to ignore the oxygen cylinder that sits between them and the ache in his own knees, tries to pay attention, to drown out the over loud television, the clattering of a tea trolley and the bird like chirping of Mrs Wright, who has , as speech deserts her, developed an arsenal of noises which make Serge simply want to walk over and smash her face in.
“One last job”, Harrys’ tone is wheedling
“One last job, get us out of here, get us set up somewhere warm, sit on a beach, watch the sun set”
Serge looks around, takes in what here is, the high backed, wipe clean seats, the television, switched on at 7am, switched off at 8 pm, the ever-changing ranks of pinnied girls and the underlying smell of bodily functions masked, badly, by industrial strength lavender air freshener. As institutions go, and Serge has spent time in a lot of institutions in his life, it’s in the middle – better than the Scrubs, not as good as Broadmoor [ very good class of biscuit there], but he understands Harrys’ hunger to be somewhere else, somewhere better, so, he leans forward, tilts his head to make sure his best ear can catch all of the conversation.
Harry has a plan and for a moment, Serge is taken back to the 60s, meetings in upstairs rooms in smokey pubs, sharp Italian suits and sharper cuban heeled boots and downstairs, waiting, the girls, posh tottie, drawn like well spoken moths to the East End bad boys. it was one of these girls who gave him this name, said that Stephen Derby was boring, that he needed a name with more glamour.
At the beginning, the name felt like his first ever Saville Row suit, seemed to be more than he could ever be, but he grew into it and was always surprised at court appearances when they called out the old name, the other name. Somehow, he felt diminished, made smaller, more ordinary.
He realizes that he is wool gathering, drifting back into the past, something he finds himself doing more and more and hates himself for. He leans forward, ignores the familiar twinge in the small of his back and starts paying attention. He knows that Harry is just playing, passing the dead time between lunch and the afternoon tea trolley, but then he starts actually listening and gets that feeling, that little lurch deep in his gut, the one that says that this plan could actually be a go-er, that they could do this.
Harrys’ plan is simple, once a month, all the salaries for the 9, 10 care homes owned by Mr “we’re trying to create a home from home” Simpson, come here to be sorted before being dispatched out, wages for 3, 400 staff , there’s no security, Just Mr S himself doing the bank run and the money is left in the back office until the end of the working day, so, Harry reckons, cause a diversion, grab the dosh, into the get away car and off – over 400,00 to the better.
He leans forward, grasps Serges’ knee
“thats where I need you, the best get away driver in the business, this is our last chance, the last job.”
And despite himself, Serge feels the excitement mounting, it could work, they could get away with it. His fingers begin to drum on the chairs’ arms, begins to calculate what they need, tries to push back the excitement.
He nods at Harry
“car, decent motor, bit of muscle, young muscle and a diversion” and the he carefully rolls another cigarette and thinks about Sobranie Black, boxes and boxes of Sobranie Black and decent whiskey and a new suit.
TO BE CONTINUED………………………..