The escape plan was formulated whilst we slunk in a coffee shop that served flies in the nineteeneighties newspaper smothered window and greasy toasted cheese sandwiches so bad that a nearby concerned mother got up angered to complain about halfway through. The triple chinned manager had a trembling look of terror in his eyes and her screams of sanitation safety seemed perfect to cover the most fiendish parts of what we were discussing. Recently I had inherited a sum of money, that whilst not enough to cover any kind of house, sports car or retirement, would be enough to finance atleast the setting up of a small cleaning business in a much nicer town than this one.
My accomplices would be Phil Frankel, renowned for keeping his mouth shut, the precision execution of anything criminal and being a sucker for the one armed bandits. Japan Jimmy, who was not really Japanese, but had been married twice to Asian ladies who had sucked him dry. He was also the oldest, wisest and most scarred of us all. And finally, Wayne Katriakis. Wayne was known as somebody who managed to live like a rockstar on a tight budget and was always up for another adventure to tell to his non-existent friends. Phil had just finished dry retching his cheese sandwich when Wayne had the idea that we should wear space suits. That way we’ll look like aliens, or some kind of fucked up astronauts, think about it, it’s never been done before. Jimmy’s eyeballs bulged heavy, and with a string of tasty suspended between lips and wholemeal, singularly brought the idea down with his booming silence. Well, like, how about we, like I don’t know, like…then Wayne went into a spiel about something nobody paid much attention to cause we could all see he was smoked off his face. While he was talking Phil stretched out and grabbed a napkin. Despite being new, it already had stains on it. How about this? In the background, the mother was finishing her rant now, pulling her embarrassed on the verge of puking child out the door. Phil pulled a pen out of his pocket. It didn’t work so he drew some scribbles on the napkin, which quickly tore. He threw the pen down. I give up.
So it was up to Japan Jimmy to finish the final details. We can run the money through a baker I know. Wayne came back to our parallel conversation. Matt Baker? Shut up Katriakis, the guy owns a bakery up on that strip along South Spring Street, you know the one? Phil had soft recognition in his eye. Yeah I know the one. Yeah well he’s pretty dirty, knows a whole lot of people who can run this cash clean once we get it. Yeah! Wayne sparked a cancer stick. The manager eyed him off but was not keen to cop another earful so sat tight behind the counter continuing with the daily paper. Ashing on the floor, Wayne was not to be swayed. Can you trust him, huh, can you trust this baker? Well I can trust him more than I trust your choice of eating establishments. This joint wasn’t my idea, it was his. They all turn to me.
Being new to the criminal game I thought this place would be suitable. Seems not. Why did you pick this place, Paul? Well I thought it would be suitable. Why? Not sure, just I’ve heard bad things about it, so I thought no one would come here. And you want to kill off your recently recruited gang in the process? No, not really. Phil waved Waynes’ smoke from his face. We should have met in a titty bar? Thought about it, but none are open during the day. What about night? Japan Jimmy pursed his lips before he spoke. I need to be home early. Why? It’s personal, Frankel. Go on tell us. No. Goooo on. Alright if you must know I need to talk to my next wife on the internet, she’s over on the Phillipines…the time difference. Where did you meet her? On a site, some find a wife site. You pay for it? Monthly, yeah. You seen a picture? Yeah. Any good? Yeah, fuckin’ model. And she speaks perfect English? Yeah, so? You’re being stooged, man. What? Some nerd fuck in Albania is dick teasing you via horny e-mails and a pic he probably stole offa Google. Jesus…nah she’s real! When she coming over? Next year, she just has to look after her sick fath-fuck you’re right, you prick. Can we get back to the plan?
Sure sorry Paul. Yeah, sorry mate. It was around this time that Wayne spun quickly to a spinach shade of green. He ran to the toilet. Jimmy looked concerned. He might be lactose intolerant? Phil believed it may be possible. How about we meet again to discuss this another time? Both said yeah, yeah, sounds good. Suddenly I decided to take the money for the plan, and blow it on black at the casino a couple of towns over. Seemed a lot safer, and least I had a chance. I won once, twice, three time, then lost the fourth time. But for a few manic minutes I was rich, which was a nice change.