Money Bags and a Broken Gearbox
One of the
hottest days for years and the air was oppressive. Inside the old workshop
building, with its corrugated iron roof, the temperature was approaching forty
degrees. Even though it was a cavernous space and the doors were open the
static air was overpowering, alive with humidity and energy sapping. Dillon
Walton slid out from beneath the twenty five year old blue Ford rust bucket on
an old battered red creeper with casters squealing and announced to the owner
who stood sweating in a suit and tie. “Sorry mate, it's a total. Needs
thousands of work and the old crate is only worth a monkey at best,” he said,
wiping his face with a damp towel and unbuttoning his greasy overalls.
that but I need it fixed and fixed by tomorrow.” replied the man slightly
exasperated. His hair was matted. He loosened his tie and undid his top button.
“Boy it’s hot in here, how’d you stand it?” He was grinning. He seemed to have
a stuck on grin.
Dillon, then, “waste of your dosh if i were you i’d…..”
“I know all
that,” said the man, getting agitated. Not helped by the heat, “scrap it, dump
it, it’s all been said already. But I need it fixed so how much?” Everything was said with a grin.
gearbox and then some extras. Gearbox about two and a half, labour five hundred
and extras about five hundred,” said Dillon with a shrug of his shoulders.
five hundred then?” the man said hopefully.
“At least but
expect more. All the unseen stuff. That’s just an estimate, have in mind up to
five grand and you’ll be covered.” Dillon looked at the man with a sideways
“When can you get
it done?” the man quick to reply. Too quick maybe. And that grin was
“Busy at the
moment,” replied Dillon, “and this heat is slowing everything down. Say a
“Tomorrow. If I
can pick it up by five you’ve got six grand. I’ve brought a thousand with me
which you can have now as a deposit.” The man is now talking through an
assertive grin with a kind of steely no messing stare and will not be taking no
for an answer.
matey. The grand now and five when you collect and you have a deal. Call in at
four and it’ll be ready. Cash though. Will only take cash. No cards and
definitely no kites. Understand?” Dillon, now really suspicious. “And what’s
called me Vince the Grin at one time but Vinny will do nicely,” he said
smiling. “And I understand your terms perfectly. Until four o’clock tomorrow
With that he
walked out the workshop with the casual swagger of a very confident and capable
straight out of the East End and a full of beans chap. Five feet ten maybe even
nearly six feet if taken to an accurate measuring stick. Long blond hair tied
in a ponytail. Slim but strong. Big arms and hands. Probably does not weigh
more than ten and a half but don’t be fooled. He’s had the occasions and coped.
Good looking. Wears snazzy almost shiny shirts, jeans and black boots with a
low Cuban style heel. Biker boots maybe. Big wide belt with massive metal
buckle. Often mistaken for a rock star. People come up to him and ask for his
autograph “you’re that rock star aren’t you? Can I have....” but his mate Billy steps in quickly with
hands up in front “no pictures, no autographs,'' and shoos them away with a
laughing smile at Dillon.
This is his
workshop. Has been for over twenty years, successful and always busy. He is
popular and fair. Will tell it how it is with no nonsense. No attempt to
intimidate or take advantage. Many of his customers are women which is no
surprise. He has the looks, the charm and humour to melt their hearts. His best
mate Billy works for him, partners really. Dillon’s business but Billy gets
fifty percent of the profits. Tall, dark and just as chirpy. They are what is
normally termed a proper pair.
“He’s a mug, he
is,” said Billy walking up to Dillon and leaning on his shoulder. His overalls
dropped and tied around his waist by the arms displaying a very muscular
physique, “what’s all the must get it done thing about then?”
“Not sure Billy,
“said Dillon rubbing his chin in thought, “one thing I’m sure of though. That
one’s no mug.”
though. Not to be sniffed at. I’ll get it all sorted in a couple of hours. Got
the old Ford outside. Could use the box on that. Easy dosh.”
“I don’t know
about that. The easy money bit. Did you clock his whistle? Well smart and all
snapped up. Church’s shoes. They're worth more than that pile of junk. He’s not
poor and this motor has a reason. Why else keep it alive?”
we don’t want to know. Let’s just get it done sharpish and take the
spondoolies. I’ll have that old box out and first thing get the whole caboodle
in and working.”
Dillon said, “OK but I’m going to look through the car. Check it out. Something’s not right.”
“Billy, look at
this. In the boot. Two bank money bags with this.” He holds up a newspaper
clipping with the headline “Bank robbers escape with over one hundred thousand
“What’s the date
on the clipping?” Billy says.
“Crikey, that’s a
turn up and no mistake. Our man’s a villain.”
explain the car though. Why fix it?” Dillon muses. “Oh well like you say Billy
let’s just get it done.”
walked away from the workshop and headed for the station. A twenty minute walk.
There he got a taxi to take him the ten miles to his brother-in-law's house
which was about a ten minute walk from his house. Vince obviously well to do.
His appearance gave that away. One look and you knew. Expensive clothes with
neat dark hair and a youthful face although it was clear he was getting on.
“Come in Vinny.
Did you get it?” said his brother-in-law on answering the door.
Vince replied, “Yes, still in the lockup. Bit of a mission but got it going.
The gearbox was the same. It would drive but what a row. Definitely on its last
legs. Took it to the garage. That one in the centre of the industrial estate.
They did not want to fix it but a bit of monetary persuasion and they’re doing
“Don’t know why
you keep it. Has it got an MOT?”
“Yes but only
just. Needs doing in about two months. Last time it cost a fortune so hoping
that this time it will not be so expensive.”
“Why do you keep
it Vince? All that money for what?”
“It’s the one we
used, isn't it. All those years ago. Don’t want to let it go. Without it we
would not have got where we are. Would we?”
It’s your money. You can afford it so why not I suppose.”
“You come with me
tomorrow? We can give it a spin, make sure it’s up to the task.”
“Sure Vinny would
love to. Tell you what I’ll pick you up and we can go there in my car then
drive about a bit in the Ford and you can drop me back. It’ll be ready for the
next day then.”
In the morning
Vince went to the bank and withdrew the five thousand. In the afternoon Stan
picks him up and they get to the garage at three forty five.
“All done and
running smooth,” said Dillon. “Gave it a service. Changed the oil, filters all
that sort of thing so it’s all up together. Should be good for a while and the
next MOT shouldn't be a problem.”
“Thank you,” said
Vince, genuinely pleased. “By the way, what's your name?”
Walton and this is Billy. He did most of the work.”
Much appreciated,” Vince said grinning at Billy and shaking his hand. “All
right if we leave Stan’s car here a while, just want to take the Ford for a
spin, make sure it’s alright. Big day tomorrow and it needs to be right. Pay
you when we get back?”
“Sure no problem.
Leave Stan’s keys though.” Vince was still a bit suspicious.
They drive out
the workshop and head for the dual carriageway where they can open it up a bit.
well Stan. They’ve done a good job fixing it up. Worth the money. You all set
for tomorrow. We’ll meet you at eight as we said. I’ve sorted everything so
there should be no problems.”
“Let’s hope so.
Can’t afford any slip ups.”
Back at the
workshop Vince has the bonnet up talking with Billy who is explaining what they
have done. Stan is talking with Dillon.
“So Stan, what's
with this car? Why get it fixed? Saw the money bags and a news clip in the
boot. About a robbery.”
Dillon. Twenty five years ago Vinny was Detective Inspector Vince Johnson
Flying Squad. He caught the bank robbers after a shoot out and kept the bags as
souvenirs. The car he bought new from a garage on the coast. There was a lady
who worked there, part of the sales team. My sister Jane. Vince took a shine,
they went out and then got married. Ten years later Jane persuaded Vince to
leave the police and start his own business in security which they have built
up to be very successful. He has kept the car in a lock up away from home.
Could not part with it. Jane doesn’t know. Thought it went for scrap years ago.
They had a special place on the coast. A restaurant that had since closed but
has just reopened. Tomorrow is their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and Vince
has planned to pick Jane up in the car that introduced them and take her to the
restaurant. Their first date place. It will be the first time there for over
fifteen years since it closed and became a clothes shop. She will be really
surprised. I know because I know her so well. My wife and I are going to be
there waiting for them”
“A good story
Stan. A good story indeed,” said Vince smiling.
over and said with a genuine grin, ”Well Dillon all is good. You have done a
great job. Here’s your money,” handing over a large envelope.
“No more to pay
Vinny,” said Dillon, “The gearbox is out that old wreck out back so only a
small cost. The labour was three hours and all the bits adds it up to a touch
over the grand you have already paid. So we’re quits. No arguments please. Oh
and have a good day tomorrow.”
After they had
left Billy is standing next to Dillon. “What’s up with you then Dill,” he
says,” you just done us for five grand.” So Dillon told him Stan’s story.
“Yeh, that’s all
great and good and all that. Isn’t It?” said Billy with a bit of a disappointed
look, “but it does not pay the bills. Does it? In my book a deal’s a deal and
that’s all there is about it.”
“You're right of
course Billy,” replied Dillon, “but sometimes, just sometimes there are
“Not when they
cost us five grand,” said Billy.
“I don’t know
Billy. I sometimes think one of your problems is that you just simply don’t
have any romance in your soul.” said Dillon looking at Billy and then turning
to close the door.
“Pub time Billy.
It’s been a hell of a couple of days.” he said as the door clicked shut.