The pals are enjoying a festive drink at the Bay Club, which is jam packed due to the booking of a pop group which had number one hits in the mid 1960’s. The evening gathering is in happy mood after each enjoying their ‘complimentery’ hot mince pie and glass of punch. Frank can’t resist pointing out the spelling error on the posters, also the unnecessary apostrophe in ‘member’s’ but his comments meet with blank looks from behind the bar.
Goodness knows what is in the punch but it hits the spot and most of the crowd insist on singing along to all the band’s old hits, drowning out the efforts of the band members themselves, but they are not bothered because this is the first paying gig they have done all year and they are convinced this is the start of a comeback.
Harry Tobin pushes his way to the bar and manages to attract Frank’s attention above the noise. He gestures for him to move somewhere quieter so they can talk and Frank reluctantly follows him, closely watched by DC Staples and his mob, who are sitting round a table by the stage. ‘Sorry to drag you away,’ says Tobin, ‘but I need a driver for a run to Liverpool on Sunday night. I’m one short since, you know, Ginger went.’ He seems a little embarrassed to be asking but goes on to say that he is offering twice the usual rate as he needs a man he can trust. Frank is rightly suspicious but he is already bored with the work Buddy Flowers has had him on and if there is a chance to make a little extra for the holiday then he is up for it. He agrees to be at the yard at 9pm Sunday and works his way back through the throng to where Scotty is waiting, eager to know what Tobin wants.
‘Buddy won’t like you nicking off like that,’ says Scotty as they are driving home later, their ears ringing from the racket issuing from the band’s speakers. Frank gives him a withering look; ‘I’m freelance, remember, if I want to do a favour for Harry Tobin there’s nothing he can do about it.’ Scotty can’t stand Harry Tobin, having worked for him in the past and had to wait several weeks for his pay. ‘Well you wouldn’t catch me helping him out,’ he grumbles, ‘he’s up to something; you can bet your life on it.’
Buddy is fuming when Scotty turns up Monday morning without Frank. He tells him that his pal is unwell but can see he doesn’t believe him. ‘Well I had a special job for him today but you’ll have to do it,’ says Buddy, ‘and don’t muck it up or we’ll both be for it.’
Scotty is shaking with fear as he drives the loaded lorry away from the bonded warehouse, glancing nervously in his mirrors. Five miles up the road he turns off onto a disused industrial site, where a van load of men are waiting. They approach the cab and gesture for him to cut the engine and get out, which he does without a word. ‘Don’t look at me,’ growls a huge man in black, his face covered by a balaclava and a scarf.
Before he has time to react, Scotty feels a stinging pain as something hard whacks the side of his head. He wakes up some time later, trussed up in the back of a van, gaffer tape round his mouth. His head is throbbing painfully and his trousers are wet. He tries to make a noise and struggles to free himself but his efforts just cause him further pain and he blacks out again.
Early the following morning Scotty comes to again, freezing cold, to the sound of voices. He tries to make a sound but manages only a muffled groan. The door of the van is wrenched open and Scotty has never been so glad to see two uniformed police officers at such close range.