Frank is disappointed to find there are 3 lorries ahead of him in the queue at Dover docks, especially as he has arrived so early. He recognises Scotty’s rig parked at the front of the line and goes to have a chat.
Scotty is dozing in the driver’s seat and jumps in alarm when Frank bangs his fist on the door. ‘You trying to give me heart failure?’ he grumbles. Frank laughs a deep, raucous bellow, walks round to the passenger side and hauls himself up into the seat. He offers Scotty a Benson and Hedges takes one for himself and lights them with a flashy new Dunhill lighter. ‘Where’d you get that from?’ asks Scotty, obviously impressed. ‘Bought it of course,’ says Frank, ‘At that little jeweller’s shop in the High Street.’ Scotty takes it and turns it about in his hand, admiring the gold-plated casing. ‘Bet it cost you a few quid,’ he guesses. Frank takes it back in case Scotty forgets to give it to him. ‘A ton of onions and ten of those big lumps of cheese,’ he says. ‘His wife runs a B&B in Minster. He often has a few things off me. If ever you want a new ring for your missus just let me know.’
Scotty rolls his eyes. ‘Alright, maybe we’ll get wed one day but why spoil a good thing? Keep her on her toes, that’s what I say.’
They sit and watch as the sun appears on the horizon, filling the sky with red and gold until it is swallowed by a bank of thick grey cloud. Rain starts to patter down on the cab roof, growing noisier until the downpour masks the vaguely musical hiss escaping from Scotty’s cab radio. ‘Bugger, we’re going to get soaked if this keeps up,’ he grumbles. The canopies over the loading bay barely cover half the width of the trailer and they will have to park up before sheeting to allow for the next lorry. Maybe it will stop before they are called.
A blue Vauxhall Victor pulls up alongside, the driver pips the hooter and Scotty winds his window down an inch or two. ‘Alright Ken?’ he shouts across. ‘I want a word,’ Ken shouts back. Neither is keen to get out in the rain but as Ken is the boss it looks like being Scotty.
Grumbling, he winds the window back up and pulls on a donkey jacket before climbing out the cab and getting into Ken’s car. ‘Is that Frank in there with you?’ asks Ken. ‘Only it’s him I wanted to see really.’ Scotty has got rather wet just stepping from his cab to the car and is not best pleased. He gets back to his cab and Frank takes his place in the Victor.
‘I hear you might have a minivan for sale,’ says Ken, ‘I’m looking out for one for Pauline.’ Frank will be happy to oblige if the price is right. ‘It’s being done up at present,’ he explains, ‘been in a bit of a smash. Nothing serious, just cosmetic but it takes time having it re-sprayed and whatnot. Should be ready to pick up in a few days. I’ll let you know when it’s finished.’
Frank is about to leave when Ken catches his sleeve. ‘I never did find out what happened to all that cheese,’ he says, ‘are you sure you didn’t nick it?’ Frank gives him a hurt look. ‘I’ve not had any cheese,’ he insists, ‘anyway, I’m on a diet, what would I be doing with 3 ton of cheddar?’ Ken narrows his eyes and stares at Frank. ‘Look, I know you had it, I just don’t know how. But when I find out…..’
Frank pulls his arm gently away and opens the door. ‘I’ll give you a bell when that minivan’s done,’ he says.