A stilted walk to the car, flared denim flapping in the wind, guns pressed one-handed, hard, against their bodies, but concealed in their coats. Del tosses the shotgun in the back seat, takes of his jacket and flings it over it, slips into the front seat and starts the engine. Jaz shrinks into the passenger seat beside him, picking goo from his hair. The Jaguar built for speed flirts with second gear and they tail behind the bubble of a red Volkswagen, before taking a right at Clydebank College and getting off the main roads.
‘That wiz a close call, eh,’ Jaz says, squinting sideways at Del, listening for sirens and wondering why he doesn’t put the boot down as the car coasts past church and school. He reaches into his inside pocket and pulls out his packet of Silk Cut, tamps out a cigarette and sticks it in his gob and searches his other pockets for his lighter.
Del’s fingers brush lightly against Jaz’s lower lip as he swats the cigarette from his mouth. ‘Are you fuckin’ crazy,’ he says, checking the rear-view mirror. ‘Yer covered in petrol, ya daft cunt.’
Jaz startled, frowns, a hangdog look at his right shoulder and then his left and sniffs the air, as if checking it’s not somebody else been talked about. ‘Yeh,’ he says. ‘That fuckin’ smokin’ is bad for yeh, anyway.’ He rolls down the top of the window and stuffs his packet of Silk Cut out, caught in the slipstream and bounces along the road, as the car makes a left turn towards the motorway and heads towards Drumchapel.
Del fumbles for his cigarette packet in the glove compartment and, leans forward using the car lighter. He blows smoke sideways in the direction of Jaz. ‘We fucked up there, bigtime. I fuckin’ love this car, but we’ll need to ditch it. In fact, Dougie will be fuckin’ pissed, bigtime, wae the hassle and so many bizzies floating about. And there’ll be hell to pay.’ He hits the horn with the heel of his hand as a young boy on a bicycle coming from the swimming baths dashes across the road in front of the car and mounts kerb and pavement, and, stands upright on the pedals, coasts down the hill in front of them, looking neither left nor right.
‘Aye,’ Jaz says and nods in agreement. ‘It’s just one of these things, I suppose.’
‘Aye, I suppose,’ Del says, eyeing him. ‘I’ll drop you off at the station. You can get a train home.’ Del sneaks another look at him. ‘You missed a bit there.’ He tilts his head and taps his own cheek below his left eye to act as a mirror, to show his passenger where to wipe away the smear of blood beneath his eye. ‘No doubt we’ll be on that fuckin’ Larne ferry, tonight.’ He mashes his cigarette out in the ashtray. ‘And we’ll be in touch.’
The engine idles and the car is parked at the back of high walls the church grounds outside the station. Jaz reaches for the door handle.
‘Hi,’ Del says, tapping him on the shoulder. ‘Yeh, cannae go with that jacket on.’ He laughs and jokes. ‘And anyways, it’ll save me fuckin’ lookin’ for petrol to torch the car.’
Jaz wriggles out of his jacket, reaches for the handle of the gun and holds it in his hand. Tries stuffing the barrel down the front band of high-waisted denim. ‘But I’ll have naewhere to hide it, noo,’ he complains.
‘Och, don’t worry about that,’ Del says. ‘Fling it in the back seat.’ He jerks his head towards his jacket and the shotgun beneath it. ‘And I’ll get rid of it. You’ll no’ be needin’ it, anyway, will yeh.’
‘Don’t suppose,’ Jaz says, tossing the gun into the back seat and getting out of the car. ‘I’ll catch you later.’
Del mouths something but Jaz isn’t really listening, waving his arm in farewell. He hears a train speeding towards the station and he makes a run to catch it, dodging past the guard trying to usher him into buying a ticket before getting on the train.
Back in Dalmuir he knows he’ll need to keep his head down and get cleaned up, get himself tooled up with a replacement gun and go looking for Rab, but coming out of the station he heads in the opposite direction toward and Maggie Scott’s pub. Most of all he needs a couple of pints to settle his head.
A wee girl with blonde hair and dressed bright as a butterfly runs up the Cressie stairs ahead of a brown-haired boy in a tan duffle coat, shrieking and laughing, ‘What you want!’ in a game of chases, the rules of which only they know. For a second Jaz thinks it’s Angela, but the girl is older and taller.
Across the road from the hairdressers he is walking down the hill when a dark-coloured car overtakes him and brakes suddenly. The wind whips against Jaz’s face as he spins to the left to make a run for it as doors in the car open like shields and big men emerge onto the pavement. But he sees a flash of hazard lights, a Ford van parked further up the hill, back door open. Jaz feints to go right as rough hands grab for him, and he turns to his left into a mass of hard faces, cold as statues, blocking his way. He feels himself being torn one way then another, lifted, his face rammed again and again against the rough stone walls of Dalmuir Primary school. He fights against nausea and unconsciousness, his body being dragged and flung into the back of the van.