Jake sat in his Uncle Toms car in silence. He liked his Uncle Tom, he was the “dark sheep” of the family, his Dads brother, but not like his Dad at all.
He had his own painting and decorating firm in Stepney, always seemed to have a few bob on him and was a proper “wide boy”. He was a couple of years younger than Jakes Dad and Jake hadn’t seen him since he went away.
Jake was thinking about the list in his pocket, the list would lead him to the three men that conned him into killing the Russian. The list contained everything he could remember about each of them, funny how you suddenly remember things over the years and Jake had plenty of time to remember, things like accents, accents are very distinctive, for example he could now tell a South London accent from a North or an East, he could tell different dialects as well. When he first went inside, northerners were just northerners; they all sounded the same, but over time he could tell a Yorkshire accent from a Lancashire or Derbyshire one. There were lots of things on the list that he could now pursue and he was confident of a successful outcome. But no one must know, no one.
After an hour’s drive, Tom pulled into a pub car park.
“Come on Jake; let me buy you a pint”
“Cheers Uncle Tom, I thought you’d never ask!”
The two of them laughed as they got out of the car and entered the saloon bar of the pub. Tom ordered two pints of Stella and he and Jake took their seats in a quiet corner. Tom waited for Jake to take his first gulps of beer. Jake didn’t disappoint him. He took the beer to his lips and sank half of it in one go.
“First one?” Tom asked.
“We did manage to get the odd can inside but it was always cheap shit and then you’d probably end up sharing it with two others, so yes it’s my first REAL beer in almost ten years”
Tom put his hand into the inside of his pocket and pulled out a mobile phone.
“This is for you Jake, it’s not top of the range but it’s good enough, it’s pay as you go and I’ve put fifty quid on it so it should last you for a while, everyone has to have a phone these days!”
“Cheers Uncle Tom”
“Enough of the Uncle please; you’re making me feel like an old man, just Tom from now on OK?”
Tom once again took something out of his inside pocket, it was an envelope, he handed it to Jake.
“Ok, no arguments, you’ll need a bit of cash to get you going, we both know your Mum and Dad aren’t in a position to help, so there’s three hundred quid in there, take it and pay me back when you’re back on your feet”
“Thanks Tom, I will pay you back, promise”
Jake finished his beer and Tom went up to get another round. When he returned he sat down and looked at Jake in more of a serious way.
“So Jake, what’s your plans?”
“Not sure really, have to report in to my case officer in two days, he said he would try to get me work, not confident of that though, so will try to find something myself, can’t exactly go back and try for my old job back can I, not after shooting their biggest client!”
Tom didn’t want to laugh, but couldn’t help himself, then Jake started and it ended up with them both roaring with laughter. Tom composed himself.
“If it’s any consolation Jake, from what I’ve heard, that Russian was a nasty bastard, responsible for all sorts of terrible thing back in Russia, so he had it coming, if it wasn’t you it would have been someone else, trust me, no one mourned his death”
“Thanks Tom, but it still gets to me, you know, how it all happened….”
Tom interrupted him.
“Listen, what’s done is done; we can’t turn the clocks back, so just move on, OK?”
“Look as far as a job is concerned, if you can’t get anything let me know, as long as you can hold a paint brush you can work for me, it will only be £50 a day but that’s what I pay my other non-skilled guys, so no preferential treatment for you, take a few weeks then let me know and if you fancy a few days in the sun, we've still got the apartment in Spain, we don't use it as much as we should so it's yours anytime”
Jake nodded and thanked Tom, then the two of them got back into the car and headed back to East London.
It took them another half an hour before Jake started to recognise his surroundings, a lot had changed in ten years, some pubs that had been landmarks back then were now either mini markets of flats, the local cinema was now a “Religious Healing Centre”, he had no idea what that meant.
Suddenly they were turning into his street and pulling up outside his house. Tom looked at him.
Jake was suddenly nervous, what he’d dreamed of for all those years was now here.
“Yeh, let’s do it!”