The payphone smelled of stale cigarettes.
“Black? Never mind who this is, I have information for you man.” Francis’ Caribbean lilt was very convincing.
“ I sold a gun to a girl called Sue. The word is man, she did something silly with it.” He hung up while Black was still stuttering.
You’ve got the gun Sue, not me. His mind was razor sharp now. He felt jubilant. The clouds of the last few months had well and truly parted. His perspective was clear, his memory complete. That last decision had been a masterstroke. Sue was holding a murder weapon and it was covered with her fingerprints. She worked for a bank that had been robbed. Good luck to her when Black started nosing around asking where she had buried Francis and his wife. Pick the bones out of that lot, he smiled wryly and set off on foot for the car park.
Francis swung his old Ford out of a nondescript South London long term parking lot. He gunned it across Waterloo Bridge and headed west out of town. It was a cool, late October afternoon and he rolled down his window inviting in the chill breeze to keep him awake.
He drove through Knightsbridge, Kew and Twickenham in twilight before reaching the Motorway and building to a comfortable cruising speed. Illuminated blue signs slid overhead, “Hampshire and the West.” Every mile pushed his old life further behind. He glanced at his watch, it would be dark when he reached his old father’s farm.
Checking his pocket for the twentieth time, he felt his passport and wallet. He settled back and summoned thoughts of a far-flung continent, imagining a palm-fringed beach with the whitest sand, the bluest sea and an impossibly tall glass of iced water.
Steppenwolf thundered from the stereo:
“Get your motor running, head out on the highway,
Looking for adventure in whatever comes our way.”
Behind him on the back seat a shovel rolled in time to the beat.