Coasting Chapter 8
Dave and Paul watched as the Bentley was loaded into the back of Abdul’s truck, there was a mixed feeling between them but ultimately one of relief, their little scam had worked and soon they could enjoy the fruits of their labour, but until they parted company with the Arabs there was still an air of uncertainty and a feeling that anything might happen, but as the ramp was stowed and the back doors of the truck were closed, they started to feel that first touch of elation that come’s after a job well done, a feeling of satisfaction.
“Hey Abdul,” Paul called surprising Dave, “Would you like a two year old Jag?”
The Arab looked at it, not for the first time. Abdul wandered across, and gave it a quick three sixty.
“How much d’you want for it?” He asked.
“What’s it worth?”
“In the Middle East nothing, but I have other markets, I can certainly move it; a grand?”
“OK,” agreed Paul and he tossed the keys to the little Arab, who inturn pulled a roll of fifties from his bag and handed it to him. The two men shook hand signalling the end of the days business between the two men, even Dave, who had softened his opinion of the Arab offered his hand and Abdul smiled, pleased that Dave had accepted him as a genuine if not a very crooked business associate. Abdul’s crew mounted up and as the engines started the brothers looked at each other as if to say “Lets get the fuck out of here” and five minutes later they were in Springwood going south on the M1 bound for the Gold Coast.
It was starting to rain when they reached a small service station just past Jacob’s Well and Dave phoned Gavin, while Paul filled up.
“Gav its Dave. Can you meet us at Coolangatta Airport? Get a taxi; I’ll pay…..about six, six thirty. I’ll explain when you get there.”
Gav was an easy going sort of bloke and true to his word appeared in a black and white at just after six. Dave paid the taxi off and then turned to his mate.
“I need one more favour Gav. I haven’t got a credit card, neither has Paul and we can’t hire a car here without one. I’ll give you a grand if you put your card down for us and if the bill comes to more than a grand, which it won’t I’ll pay the difference.”
“Where d’you get a grand from?” Gav asked, but didn’t expect and honest answer, and the ever amiable Gav put his card across the desk, and ten minutes later he was heading back to Southport in his truck and the Williams boys were on their way to Sydney with a hell of a lot of money; two million, two hundred and eighty five thousand, nine hundred and eighty two dollars to be exact.
The Bentley GTC is fitted with a top of the line GPS satellite navigation system and unbeknown to the boys the car could be tracked and had Charlie gone straight to the police it could have been recovered almost immediately, but because of Charlie’s reluctance to use the law and utilise his own people, getting the information he needed would take a little longer, but he would get it. As soon as the car and the money had been stolen he had his team of minders and extended family on the job; a quick phone call to his son John in Melbourne got them moving and he then contacted his local minders in Brisbane.
Charlie had two lieutenants; Brad Jacks a big bull of a man who could have played in the front row for any NRL team, and Darren Rickard or because of his initials was called the doctor or Doc. There wasn’t much that Doc couldn’t do; he was a skilled in a couple of Martial Arts, could drive or fly almost anything and basically he was very handy. Charlie was on the phone to the two of them and before eight o’clock they were heading up the Bruce Highway, a third member of Charlie’s firm was a bit of a surprise.
A couple of years earlier Charlie had a barmaid working for him, she was an Irish backpacker who had over stayed her visa and Charlie, who spent a bit more time in the pub in those days was aware of the situation and tried to help her through the immigration maze without getting her locked up or deported. He succeeded and she became a legal pint puller, but she had another string to her bow and one afternoon when his accountant failed to show Lora explained that she could probably do that job as well; and he found that she was more than a little useful on the computer; he was impressed with her computer skills, he wasn’t difficult to impress because as Lora soon learned, there were things growing in her boyfriends refrigerator that knew more about computers than Charlie, she was a very competent operator and soon became an invaluable part of his crew and she could always pull pints when there was nothing else to be done.
“Give Lora a call, I want her here too.” He shouted down the phone, he had lost a lot of money and he wasn’t even slightly amused, but something about the situation had him motivated more motivated than he had been in a long time, and if the truth be known he was starting to enjoy himself.
Another person who wasn’t exactly as happy as Larry on that Sunday morning was Peter Dawson; Dolly was becoming increasingly aware that Paul Williams had done a runner. He wasn’t answering his phone, he had moved out of the flat and he wasn’t at any of his usual watering holes; this was ominous he had ten grand of his money but he was also driving a fairly new car that wouldn’t be too difficult to trace. Gary, Dolly’s brother and another of his offsiders had scoured the coast again and done a second sweep of the usual haunts because for some reason Dolly believed he was still in the area.
“He’s scarpered,” Gary told him, “he hasn’t been back to the flat, it’s been cleared out, and there’s no sign of him anywhere Dolly; no one has seen him.” Gary said cringing expecting a mouthful down the phone, and he wasn’t disappointed.
“With my money and my fucking car! Put the word out if anyone see’s him I want to know.” And he hung up. But Dawson had other things on his mind. He’d met with that raving faggot Russell Cooper last night; Dolly had gone to Melba’s, a night club on Cavil Avenue in Surfers, there was a waitress working there he had met and he was keen to see a bit more of her and out of the blue Russell Cooper turned up looking like Peter Allan on his way to Rio.
“Peter can I have a word?” He had asked.
“Here? Now? I don’t think so.” Dolly had told him as his waitress approached.
“What’s it about?”
“What sort of business?”
“I want someone rubbed out, and I was told you might know someone, who might know someone.”
“Well I might, but not here.” He was interested and thought for a second, “I’ll meet you tomorrow morning outside here on the beach at midday, and don’t come dressed like that, wear something a little less obvious.” Russell was hurt; he’d spent hours getting ready, but he nodded his understanding and left Dolly to his waitress who was hovering and went off in search of that young lad he’d seen earlier.
It was a bright morning, but the wind had a bite to it as it whipped off the Ocean across the Esplanade where Russell was waiting. The previous night hadn’t been as good as expected; his usual haunt ‘The Back Door’ had been unusually quiet and the young lad he’s seen earlier had become elusive and he’s ended up going home on his own, but sleep wouldn’t come; ever since he had been confronted with the photos by Charlie Jennings almost a week ago he hadn’t slept well at all. Who took the photos, and how had they found their way into Charlie’s hands? Was he so despised, so disliked, but more important than the photos was the money it had cost him; that had kept him awake more than anything else: The money; how was he going to get his money back? And after another sleepless night he had come up with what he thought was the answer.
Cooper owned a waterfront home on the Isle of Capri which was only a ten minute walk to the Surfers Esplanade and he was surprised to find Dawson waiting for him as he crossed the road. As instructed Russell wore jeans and a black bomber jacket, and looked almost normal. Dawson headed towards him and they walked down the steps to the beach. The tide was out and the beach was practically deserted, it had been a beautiful morning but as the wind got up dark clouds skidded across the slate sky causing families to hurry for alternative entertainment.
“So tell me who you would like to get rubbed out?” Dolly asked as soon as he was sure that they were out of ear shot.
“Do you know a villain by the name of Charlie Jennings?”
“I know the name, I don’t know him. What’s he done?”
“That’s my business; let’s just say he’s blackmailing me.”
“I’ve paid him, but he keeps coming back,” Russell lied. “I know what his movements are and I know how to get him on his own. No witnesses nice and simple.” Russell added trying to sweeten the deal. “How much will it cost me?”
“I’ll talk to someone and get back to you. I’ll have an answer this evening. OK?” They headed back across the beach, as a light drizzle started and returned to the steps and climbed back up to the Esplanade.
“I’ll meet you here tonight at six,” Dolly told him and they went their separate ways.
It was just after midday when everyone was gathered at Charlies place; Doc and Brad had picked up Lora and headed up the Coast, when they got there Charlie was not in the best of moods.
“Where the fuck have you lot been the days nearly over.” He fumed.
“It’s Sunday Charlie, there’s hardly…”
“I know what fucking day it is Brad; what I don’t know is where the fuck is my fuckin’ Bentley?” Charlie snapped
Charlie kept his home life separate from business and it was rare that anyone from work was invited to his home. It was the first time that Lora had visited.
“Where can I plug this in Charlie,” she asked holding up her computer LAN line connection. He took her through to his office and she got set up.
“How did they take it?” Doc asked.
“I was washing it and they called me, I was only gone a minute.”
“You left the keys in the ignition?” Brad asked wishing he hadn’t.
Charlie gave him a withering look and was about to say something when Lora interrupted him.
“I’ve been in touch with the GPS people; they have a 24 hour hotline for such things and I spoke with someone who waffled on about a Police report, stolen vehicle etc, I fed him a line about one of your children taking the car without your permission and that you didn’t want the police involved, I must have been quite convincing because he’s about to send me a print out of where the car is, well assuming the car is turned on.” She said smiling, her Irish brogue completely defusing Charlies temper.
“I don’t know what I pay you but, it’s not enough.” He said amiably.
A couple of minutes later the map appeared as a PDF file.
“Well according to this the car in Noosa Cove.” Lora told them. Charlie looked at the map.
They took Lynne’s Peugeot, and Charlie, Brad and the Doctor traced the route that the Bentley had taken just a few hours earlier, and found themselves in the maze of unnamed streets; they stopped at the location that the last signal had been sent from. The three of them got out of the car and looked around them.
“It came here and disappeared.” Charlie said.
“It was loaded on to the back off a truck here.” Brad said stating the obvious, “you wouldn’t get away with driving a car like that down the Bruce Highway without being seen. If you had been legit and called the police they would have been nabbed in a few minutes. No this has been thought about.” Brad expanded.
“So I’m not legit?” Charlie asked.
“I didn’t say that.”
“Yes you did.”
“Well I didn’t mean that.” But before Brad could explain Charlie was watching what the doctor was up to.
“What are you doing?”
“When you do a project like this, you know changing the whole landscape; they sometimes capture it on Time Lapse Camera and if I’m not mistaken that over there is a time lapse camera, and if we’re lucky and I mean really lucky, we might have a photo or even a film of the lads who stole your car Charlie.” They walked across to a small tower about six meters high that had a glass bubble on the top of it. They would need a Cherry Picker or at least a ladder to access the camera, Charlie was thinking as he watched the Doctor take off his shoes, and in the blink of an eye he was up the pole and down again.
“It’s a Solex lock; I’ve got a master key in the car,” he said. Charlie looked at him for a second then said to Brad.
“I don’t know what I pay him, but it’s not enough.” Charlie then looked at Brad “I hope I say that to him about you before the end of the day.”
Fifteen minutes later they were back at Charlies, and Lora was downloading the disc, it was surprisingly clear and Charlie commented on the quality.
“These new digital cameras are cheaper and the infinitely better than the old analogue ones,” Doc started and he was about to really bore them when a shot of a truck came into view.
“Here we go.” Charlie announced and for the next couple of minutes they watched in silence as the truck parked up, a big green Hino with a 07 phone number as large as life on the side door and. ‘The Piano Man’ on the side of the box; then a maroon coloured Jag appeared the car done a three point turn and the registration plate was clearly seen. Lora wrote down the number, but it was engraved into Charlie’s memory.
“This is too good to be true,” chuckled Charlie. They watched as the Bentley was loaded into the back of the truck and after a few seconds the truck and Jaguar drove away. They replayed it two or three times. Lora then made a phone call to the number she had taken from the truck’s door and asked Gav a few questions and found that ‘The Piano Man’ was based on the Gold Coast, then after that she called in a favour from another police man and found out that the Jag was owned by a company on the Gold Coast; Rycart Holdings.
“This has got Russell fuckin’ Cooper written all over it.” Charlie said not wanting to listen to any other arguments for or against.
At the mouth of the Brisbane River is a small industrial estate that sits on a chain of canals, most of the businesses that operate out of the sheds there are associated with fishing and marine enterprises and the road that links the estate to the outside world is O’Keeffe Street the area is known as ‘The OK Canals.’ Number 26 was a brand new Colorbond shed that Abdul and his company rented, convenient and discreet it served it purpose adequately; and on Sunday afternoon after a short drive from Morningside Abdul and his crew arrived with their truck and its discount load. The Bentley was started up and reversed out of the truck it rolled down the ramp and across the bitumen and into the shed, a trip that lasted less than a minute and a journey of about twenty metres, but enough to be picked up by a satellite hovering above Australia and within a few minutes the movement was relayed to a monitor which relayed it to a station that sent it to Lora’s computer. Earlier Charlie’s crew had learned that the car was in Morningside, and with that knowledge the four of them drove down to Brisbane in Doc’s Mercedes; they went to the ‘Wheelbarrow’, Charlie’s pub in the Valley where an update informed Lora’s computer that the car was now in a place called O’Keeffe Street, Lytton. Brad and Doc went upstairs to the attic and selected a couple of sawn off Winchester pump shot guns, Charlies weapon of choice, a couple of Scorpion machine pistol’s and an AK-47 just to let people know he had such a thing, they were thrown into a hockey kit bag along with enough ammunition to keep the Taliban pinned down for the weekend, and they were down stairs and in the bar in no time. Charlie sat in his office reading the Referdex and as soon as they were ready they set off to Lytton.
The drive across town from Fortitude Valley to Lytton took a little more than ten minutes. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon and the traffic was light, they crossed the river over the Storey Bridge and followed Lytton Road through East Brisbane to Morningside, and inspected the area that the GPS had picked up the second last signal; the area was deserted, but there were a lot of tyre tracks in the dirt. A light rain was turning the dirt to mud.
“There was quite a bit of activity here,” Doc said confirming their idea that they had transferred the car to another truck. They spent just a few seconds surveying the park then pushed on to Lytton. The afternoon had turned quite wintry, the light rain came down a little heavier and the breeze picked up as they approached the last GPS location.
“Drop Brad and I off here,” Charlie said to the doctor as they approached a small parade of shops. “There’s a café over there. You and Lora find the location and give it a quick eyeball, nothing clever, and come back and meet us in there. If anyone should see you they won’t think of anything suspicious, just another couple on a Sunday drive,” Charlie explained. Doc nodded and Lora jumped out of the back and got into the front. A minute later the Mercedes was cruising along O’Keeffe Street.
“That’s it,” indicated Lora pointing to grey Colorbond shed, set back behind a gated fence, a dark blue box truck was parked on a piece ground beside the shed and a closed circuit TV scanned the complex from on top of the shed. They drove past the building and turned around at the end of the road and drove past again
“Someone’s in there.” Doc said to himself.
“How can you tell?” asked Lora
“Locks on the inside.” He said as he gunned his car back to the main road.
Russell’s not-so-obvious look had reaped dividends after leaving Dawson at the Esplanade he had walked through Surfer’s and snapped with a little slut called Wesley, and by the time Dawson had got back to his car Russell and Wes were riding the elevator the 14th floor of the Watermark Hotel.
Dawson made two phone calls and neither gave him the answer he wanted. The word was leave Charlie Jennings alone, he surrounds himself with some very nasty offsiders, but instead of scaring Dolly off this revelation encouraged him. He’d do it himself he decided; he’d take out Charlie Jennings, and the price would be half of whatever it was costing that poofter Cooper. Dawson returned to the Esplanade at six and waited for Cooper to show. He arrived just after six reluctantly leaving Wes with a promise that he would be back. A breathless Cooper skipped down the steps feeling very pleased with himself.
“Sorry I’m late,” he wheezed, had a bit of business I couldn’t get away from,” He explained. Dawson didn’t care and told him he had found someone to knock off Charlie Jennings, but it wouldn’t be cheap.
“How much?” Asked Russell
“A hundred thousand,” Dolly told him.
Russell shook his head, “No, no way I’m not paying that much.”
‘That’s the price Russell, he’s not an easy mark; no one wants to touch him.”
Russell was bitterly disappointed; a fifty thousand, seventy five tops, these were the numbers he was prepared to spend to get his money back, a hundred thou was way over the top.
“Seventy grand is my top price Dolly. No more.”
“No one will touch him for that.”
Russell grew impatient, he had hot little Wes waiting for him at the Watermark, and this interruption had dragged on too long. “I’ll get back to you,” Russell said, “but I’ll tell you now, I’m not paying a hundred k.” He said walking away.
“If you want him dead that is what it will cost you.” Dawson shouted probably a little louder than was discreet.