Ken Chapman is eager to speak to Frank and Scotty without being overheard so he parks outside Scotty’s house until the pair show up. He gets them to sit in his car as he needs to speak to them in private.
‘I need you to do something for me,’ he begins, noting the look of scorn on their faces, ‘I don’t want it getting out that there were any problems with the lorry.’ Franks lights up a cigarette, knowing that Ken hates the filthy habit. ‘It won’t look good for you if the truth comes out,’ he says, ‘but how do you think Barry’s family are feeling right now? Or doesn’t that matter to you?’ Ken, as usual, is thinking only of himself, and reminds the pals that if the business goes down then they will be out of work. Frank argues that he can get another job today if he wants to but for Pat’s sake he won’t say anything. Scotty agrees but they let Ken know they are not happy about the situation, especially as they had continually warned him of the problems. Nothing can bring Barry back to life so what good will revenge be?
‘You will be going to the funeral, I hope?’ asks Frank. Ken assures him that he and Pat will be there and the pals will be going too. Changing the subject, Scotty asks if Ken has heard about Ginger Jarvis. ‘What a shocker that is,’ lies Ken, ‘I wouldn’t have thought he was the type. Just goes to show, you never can tell.’
Frank detects a note of sarcasm in the man’s voice. ‘They say these things come in threes,’ he observes, wondering what reaction this will bring. If he suspects Ken then the man gives nothing away. ‘That’s just an old wives tale,’ he says, ‘I don’t believe in that sort of thing.’
The men say their goodbyes and Frank follows Scotty into the kitchen, where they make themselves comfortable by the coal fire with good strong mugs of tea. Frank is thoughtful, staring into the flames and lighting a cigarette. ‘Do you think we’re doing the right thing keeping quiet?’ he asks. Scotty shrugs his shoulders, ‘no point in getting involved is there?’
Dawn and Mavis arrive fresh from their afternoon bingo session, where Mavis has won ten pounds and spent the lot on a pair of shoes. ‘Hello, what are you two up to?’ asks Dawn, noting the suspicious look on Scotty’s face. ‘Just having a cup of tea,’ says her husband, ‘and contemplating a bit of gardening.’ Dawn looks surprised, as she usually has to nag him to get the lawnmower out and her suspicion grows.
Frank finishes his tea and is about to rinse the mug under the tap when Mavis stops him. ‘Here, give me that,’ she says, snatching the mug from him. She swirls the dregs round and tips the mug upside down before returning it to an upright position and studying the pattern in the tealeaves. ‘Ooh, you’re going to be a daddy,’ she coos. ‘That must be mine,’ laughs Scotty, ‘considering Dawn is in the club again.’ Frank scowls and says he doesn’t believe in that nonsense. ‘What can’t speak can’t lie,’ Mavis continues, ‘oh dear, there’s also some bad news coming your way. You’d best be prepared for a bit of a shock.’ Frank decides it is time to leave, thanks Mavis for brightening his day and leaves them to it. Silly old fool, just trying to wind him up for a bit of sport.
Frank wonders if he should go and pay his respects to Barry’s family, after all it was his fault Ken gave him the job in the first place. He walks round to the shop, which is shuttered and locked, the family being in mourning, and rings the doorbell. Barry’s sister comes downstairs from the flat and opens the door. She is pale faced and dishevelled, squinting up at him into the sunlight. ‘Hello Frank,’ she says in a hoarse whisper, ‘good of you to call; come up.’ He follows her up the stairs to the living room, which is in semi-darkness and sees that Barry’s parents are sitting stone-faced staring into the empty fireplace. ‘I wanted to pay my respects,’ says Frank, ‘Barry was a good friend. I’m so sorry for your loss and if there’s anything I can do just tell me.’
Barry’s father looks up, blinks away tears and motions for Frank to sit. ‘Shirley,’ he says to his daughter, ‘get our visitor a cup of tea.’ Frank says he’s only just had one but sits down, wondering what to say next. ‘Why did it have to happen to our boy?’ Barry’s mother is rocking slightly in her chair and Frank is wishing he had stayed away but that would be cowardly. He feels it would be of no help for them to know the truth about the state of the lorry Barry was driving. He asks if they have arranged the funeral yet and Shirley writes down the details for him. There is nothing more to say, so with a heavy heart Frank bids them goodbye and walks up to the promenade for a dose of fresh air, cursing Ken Chapman and his miserly ways.