Del fits false number plates to the white Volvo, stolen to order for the job, in the early hours of the Friday morning, from Bearsden. Dougie lounges against the wall smoking a Woodbine at the door of the lock-up on Kirkoswald Drive, keeping an eye out and looking into the smirry rain. But there’s nothing to see. The council lock-ups are built tight together, shaped like a communal magnet, with a narrow entrance. Only one car can squeeze through at a time. They’re well hidden from the high flats beside the garages, the main boulevard runs parallel and it’s five minutes from their house in Drumchapel. It’s perfect. Del gets a bit soppy eyed with a love song on Radio 1, but gets back to work quickly, tuning the scanner into police frequencies. The Irish boys are dressed in military fatigues and an Armalite assault rifle sits on the back seat and each of them are armed with a Starr pistol. When Del is finished his job they laugh as they put on wigs and false moustaches and each of them has a beard, Dougie’s more straggly and peppered with grey. They weave bandages over their fingers and palms to avoid leaving prints. Jaz is the exception, his hands are left unbound. He sits in the grey gloom on the floor of the garage with his shoes off.
‘I canny pull,’ he says, grunting in the dust, his bum sliding along the floor, trying to fit his legs into a pair of acrylic, dark trousers.
‘Canny pull, whit?’ Dougie says, pale blue eyes brightening and winking at Del.
‘You might want a hand with that pullin’, son,’ Dougie says, chocking with laughter. ‘It might get sore.’ He slaps Del’s shoulder as he passes him and sits in the driver’s seat, his pistol in his lap. Adjusting the rear-view mirror, he smiles at his reflection and how ridiculous he looks.
Dougie checks his pistol before sliding into the front seat, keeping it tucked between his legs, out of sight. Their good humour spills over to Jaz who settles into the back seat, dressed in the livery of a postman, a cap pulled down over his forehead, his eye showing as slits. He adjusts the postbag so the sawn-off shotgun cannot be seen.
Jaz is dropped off first on the hill at Apsley Street, beside the post-box. And he checks his canvas sack as he meanders along the pavement towards the Post Office where the Securicor van makes the last pickup. Partick is busy with shoppers and pedestrians and he nips in and out of them without any bystander giving him a second look. The Volvo turns the corner and overtakes him. The boys have put down traffic cones on the road outside the Post Office, leaving a bay into which the car edges into the pavement and parks near the double doors. They cock their heads, curly wigs touching, listening to the police channels, the engine ticking over and smell of diesel fumes hanging in the air. In the rear-view mirror Del watches Jaz walking with purpose as the Securicor van comes along Dumbarton Road to pick up the last money- bag of the day. When Jaz stands beside the Volvo, not looking at them, but once more inspecting the contents of his sack, the Irish boys are wired with energy and ready.
The Securicor van double parks, as it usually does, with hazard lights, holding up traffic. The beefy security guard jumps out, leaves the van door open and car horns start tooting. He hurries through the double doors, almost home, job done for the day. Jaz sticks a sawn-off shotgun, both barrels in his face, finger on the trigger, as he comes out. ‘Give me the bag or I’ll blow yer fuckin’ head aff.’ An older women with a blue turban thing on her head looks over and stumbles on in long black coat and white blouse hurrying like a penguin with the wrong shoes on its feet.
‘Get out,’ Dougie says to the driver of the Securicor van. He points the Armalite rifle at his face. ‘And leave the keys on the seat,’ he tells him. Wild-eyed the driver’s hand shake so much the keys jangle and chime as he tries to separate himself from them and drops them onto the worn-out passenger seats. He falls out the door, almost getting hit be a Corporation bus as he scrambles across the road and onto the pavement on the other side of the road. Dougie boosts himself up, lays the rifle on the floor, picks up the keys, checking the side mirror, before turning the key in the ignition barrel, starting the engine.
Del waits for the engine to start before slapping the security door three times in quick succession, a code the workers use to indicate the coast is clear. The door springs open and a white face looks into a Starr pistol. Del reaches in and pulls the older man by the scruff of his collar out of the van, sandbags him to the ground and kicks him in the ribs. ‘Move from there and I’ll shoot you.’ The older man holds his arms out, shielding his face, and begins sobbing
Jaz runs behind Del’s back and jumps into the back of the security van. The Irishman bangs shut the security door with Jaz inside. A man in a Ford Cortina two cars back in the queue of traffic gets out of out his car and stands leaning his elbow on the driver-side door to get a better view. Del points the gun at him and he skulks down, behind the open door. He jumps behind the wheel of the Volvo and drives off, the Securicor van tucks in behind him and traffic begins to flow and car horns stop tooting.
Twelve minutes later the Securicor van is parked on Cochino Road near the woods. A red BMW is waiting. They unload the bags of cash and their guns into it wrapped in towels and torch the van with their disguises inside it. Nine minutes later they swap the red BMW, outside Drumchapel Baths, for a lime-green Volkswagen. Four minutes later they are in the bedroom of the house off Kinfauns Drive, counting the loot piled up on a double bed. It takes them a while. £38 882. It’s the largest cash robbery they’ve ever pulled.
‘We’ll need to celebrate,’ says Del, punching the air.
‘Fuckin’, too right,’ shouts Dougie. He lets himself be hugged by his Irish partner and sticking a hand out, pulls Jaz across and sweeping him into the embrace of the Irish brotherhood, jumping and jigging together. ‘Think how many weapons we can get with this fuckin’ haul.’