Jaz sits in his usual table in the corner of Maggie Scott’s, with a view of the door, nursing a pint. He’s been reduced to mooching about in his Y-fronts, four-day beard, watching telly, cashing his Giro and smoking shitty roll ups. Even Karen has been giving him snash about needing stuff for the wain starting school and he had to give her a slap or two. He takes a sip of his beer. Work can’t come quickly enough.
He’s nipping into the toilet when Del comes in. Caught on the hop on the weekend dance floor between table and chairs in an almost empty bar, he waves his hand in greeting and doesn’t offer to buy him a drink, hoping he doesn’t notice, because that would mean sifting through silver and pennies.
When Jaz ambles out, checking his zip, Del is sitting waiting for him. No drink in front of his companion and he stands up, a man in a hurry.
‘I only drink that stuff so I can get a good pish,’ Jaz joshes him, keeps him waiting, pointing to his pint on the table, lifting it and swilling it about before finishing it off. He checks his pockets for his pouch of Old Holborn, rattle of Bluebell matches and the weight of the gun and ammo.
Del shrugs and makes a face, waiting for him. The car outside is a blue Volvo. Leather seats, radio blaring and ashtrays that aren’t filled with gunk. Usually that’s enough to get Del excited and talking about cars, but he answers questions in monosyllables and smokes one cigarette after another. They pass through Dunbarton Town Centre, the hollow bump over the bridge, the taste of water and the dull bronze of sunlight coming off the embrace of cool green hill. They’ve done the journey stacks of times falling a Securicor van, moving easily with the flow of traffic.
‘I meant to say to you,’ Jaz licks the edge of his roll-up paper to seal tobacco inside and tamps it before he’s satisfied, ‘close one, eh?’ He searches his side pockets for matches, putting the cigarette behind his ear, before realising the car lighter is right in front of him. ‘We nearly caught them at it.’
‘Yeh,we nearly did.’ He slaps the wheel and grins like a little boy. ‘She’s some girl.’
Jaz lights his cigarette and puffs contentedly and squints sideways. It’s not hard to figure what he’s thinking. Del’s eyes are chock full of Lizzie, even though she’s not here, he chuckles happily and turns the transistor up to be alone, some torch song, a bit of Diana Ross warbling ‘I’m Still Waiting.’
Just before Balloch they double back on themselves and follow a single line track. Dougie is waiting for them, sitting in the cab of a flatbed truck with a metal girder welded onto the back and shaped into a V, a lance over the top of the cab, the engine idling.
‘Whit’s that for?’ Jaz jokes. It looks like something out of a Judge Dredd comic strip.
‘To ram into the back of a Securicor van and open it up like a tin opener.’
‘When?’ Jaz asks.
Del leans across, pops open the glove compartment. Pulls out two orange wigs and two pair of tights. Fiddles about and pulls out a pistol and puts it on his lap. Stretches the denier on the tights and pulls it over his face. Plonks the wig at a raffish angle on is head. ‘Round about noo,’ he says, laughing.
‘You should have told me.’
‘You never asked.’ He drives towards and the flatbed truck and looks over his shoulder as he reverses back. It guns its engine and the flatbed truck follows at a steady pace behind them.
Jaz pulls the tights over his head, and puts on the wig. He checks to see the gun is loaded before sitting it in his lap. ‘I didnae think you had any guns.’ He sounds peeved.
‘Don’t be so fuckin’ stupid,’ Del says, keeping the Volvo at a steady thirty, following the windy roads. ‘Nearly every lorry driver that comes across can be leant on to bring us what we need. We’re not going to fuckin’ advertise the fact now, are we.’
They sit in silence for a bit, following the road. ‘How is this gonnae work?’ Jaz asks. ‘I mean it seems a bit slapdash for our Dougie.’
‘Ours not to reason why.’ Del takes a gloved hand off the wheel. He taps an index finger off the side of his temple. He’s got the smarts. This is a big job. Straightforward, estimated, one-hundred grand. Maybe more. And it couldn’t be easier. In these wee roads there’s only one place to pass. We overtake the van with the money in it and park in the middle of the road. It can’t get past us. Dougie’s waiting with the lorry behind it and comes up and smashed right into its shiter. With all these back roads we can be back in Drumchapel within half-an-hour and we’ve got a lock up ready.’ He puts his foot down and speeds up. Over the hump of the hill they see the white of a Securicor van lower down, green fields and empty space either side of it.
Jaz starts laughing and snorts. ‘That’s fuckin’ brilliant. To think about an hour ago I was a worthless piece of shit that was thinkin’ about a spot of burglary to keep me goin’. Noo I’m gonnae be loaded again.’
‘Too right,’ Del says.
The Volvo darts forward and overtakes the van.
Later that night Jaz is so drunk he doesn’t realise he’s peed the bed. When Karen wakens up in the morning and pulls away from him, points to the stain in the mattress and stain on her nightie, he sniggers, flings his arm around her shoulder, rubs his chin against her cheek, and includes her in his good humour. ‘We’ll buy 100 mattresses. Who gives a fuck?’ His head swivels from side to side. ‘Where’s Angela?’
‘She’s away out.’ Karen tries to smile. ‘Don’t you remember? You hurt her. We might need to take her to a doctor.’
‘No fuckin’ doctors, yah stupid cow.’