Jaz panting and out of breath runs uphill, the dark street a whetstone underfoot, and the unexpected urgency of the chase sobers him. It makes him euphoric when he reaches the car as if he’d unexpectedly won the two laps of the end-of-school-track race. The dull thud of Godge kicking the metal panels from the inside makes the Marina rock a little. Del locks the car boot, strides forward, springs open the driver-side door near the pavement. He swings his long legs in and cocks his head to listen as he starts the engine. Dougie doesn’t drive. He is crouched down in the back seat. Only when Jaz gets closer does he spot him winding the window down, but reconsidering, stepping out onto the pavement to meet him, pulling the sleeve of his jacket up and consulting the watch on his wrist. ‘Get in,’ he commands, holding the back door open.
Jaz does as he’s told and slides into the back seat. The dull thumps beneath his comfy seat and his back play out on his body. Del turns on the Morris’s headlights and Dougie walks in front of them, cutting off Rab as he lumbers into view. He’s not sure what Dougie tells him, but his mate’s head drops and he’s sensible enough not to argue. Del fiddles with the radio and turns the volume way up. The frantic babbling of Tiger Tim Stevens fills up the car with overly cheerful gobbledygook of someone that doesn’t have to work for a living. By the time the DJ has morphed into a T Rex number Telegram Sam, Del has a lit fag held between his lips at a jaunty angle, beside him Dougie says something, which Jaz can’t quite make out, and the car is splashing through rain, getting the green light, taking a left hand turn and accelerates up Kilbowie Road.
‘Where do we go from here?’ Dougie turns in the seat and ask Jaz. The bumping from the boot has temporarily stopped.
‘No sure,’ Jaz looks through the window at the La Scala cinema for inspiration. He thought the UDA boys would have somewhere they could take people, his work would be over after delivering Godge to them, but he didn’t want them taking the huff. ‘You could go up here. Up the hills.’ He leans forward his elbows on the headrest of the front seat as he talks them through what he means and gives them directions. ‘Straight ahead,’ he suggests, as they pass Clydebank College and then the Hub. ‘Just keep going and when you get to the roundabout, you go half way around it and take a left up the hill.’ He sits back in the seat, keeping an eye out in case the car makes any wrong turns. Shouting comes from the boot, but muted, and nobody is listening and nobody hears. He feels in his coat pocket for his razor, digs deeper and feels the weight of the axe and untangles it from the cloth lining.
A lime-green Jaguar cuts them off at the roundabout, tooting its horn and overtakes them. ‘Fuckin’ wanker,’ Del spits out, but he keeps the Marina steady, within the speed limits, indicates, and takes the slip road up Faifley Road. It had been a few years since Jaz had been up the hills with his mates, with a bottle of Irn Bru and a packet of sweeties between them, as they went swimming up the reservoirs, and he’s not quite sure of what turn off to take, but guesses keeping left is right. Cochino Road is little more than dirt track crunching under the tyres, the sound of traffic left behind. Del slows and turns the headlights on full beam so they can see where they’re going, picking out trees and overgrown grass and the silence of the countryside. When they could go no further they park and turn the headlights out. Del turns the radio off, hardly a smile, more a quiver at the corner of his lips.
Dougie is quickest out of the car, the others follow his lead. Dougie limbers up, stretching the kinks out of his legs and arms. ‘Time we were getting acquainted.’ His eyes rove around the car, Jaz standing opposite, Del shuffling behind him and the makings of a drystone wall in the distance. The bump coming from the boot makes Jaz jerk backwards, unsettling him, and his slack grip on the axe handle tightens. He’s glad the light isn’t too good.
‘Aye, well,’ Del says, ‘No surrender,’ stepping around Jaz, his coat rubbing against him, the car key in his big mitt. He springs the lock and a bouffant of hair shines in the darkness, and Godge’s eyes glitter like distant stars.
Del picks him up by the collar and neck lifts him out and rearranges a struggling body into the shape of something human.
‘I didane dae anything.’ Already Godge is pleading before his feet touch the ground. He looks around the three of them but his zeroes in on Jaz, the only person he is familiar with. ‘Tell them I didnae dae anything. It wiz you and Rab that did it. No me.’
The blow to his face knocks him off his feet. And Del’s grunt and knee to the groin has him writhing and jerking, trying to cover up his head and body and screaming, ‘Tell them Jaz, tell them, it wiznae me,’ as he falls to the ground. His head ricochets sideways as Dougie kicks him flat and hard against cheek and jaw. And he makes a kind of ‘ow’ sound as if he’s a paper sack and the breath has been forced from his body, and he spits out blood with front teeth. He’s drowning in pain. Jaz comes from behind Del and the axe slices through the air and cleaves his forehead and makes a sucking sound as he pulls it sideways out of his nose and eye.
‘Tell ‘im I didnae dae it, Jaz,’ comes from Godge, the light in his eyes a faded stain.
Jaz wired with adrenalin keeps swinging the axe until he’s sure Godge’s struggle to stay focused and talk through blood and consciousness is a distant dream.
‘That’s enough son,’ Dougie says, slapping him on the shoulder. ‘You’re makin’ hell of a mess of your clothes.’ He extends his the left arm of his pinstripe and shows flecks of blood.
‘Aye, sorry about that.’ He wipes the blade of the axe on Godge’s shirt and looks around him, searching for a place to toss it.
‘No son,’ Dougie shakes his head. ‘Put it back in your pocket. You’ve done a good job here, but wait till you get home and fling it somewhere where nobody will ever find it.’ He stares over his shoulder, listening, but it’s only the wind in the trees. ‘And get a gallon of petrol and burn your coat and everything you’ve got on.’
‘But it’s my good coat,’ Jaz says. ‘I’ve no’ got another wan.’
Del laughs. ‘Fuckin’ shut up,’ he grunts, exchanging a nod with Dougie. He goes into his pocket and Jaz is ready to run, sure it’s a gun, but he pulls out his wallet and peels ten tenners off a wad of notes. One hundred quid and hands it to Jaz. ‘Treat yersel. Get yerself a fuckin' new wardrobe. But hing on a minute.’ His feet slip as he steps around the side of the car and pulls open the driver’s door, his silhouette ducking down and he comes back flourishing a Daily Record. ‘Drag the Fenian bastard over there, behind a bush or something, but make it quick.’ He motions a direction vaguely with a nod of his head. ‘When you come back sit on this ‘til’ we get you hame, so we don’t want to get the seat dirty. Makes sense don’t it?’
‘Aye,’ says Jaz. ‘Perfect sense.’