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getting in and getting out – 1

The Plan, stage 1

‘ How do I get in? ‘
‘ Wait for a car to go in through the garage doors at the back of the building, they’re automatic and take a while to close. Slip in behind it then go through the inside door onto the mezzanine floor. ‘
‘ What’s a mezzanine? ‘
‘ That’s the floor where the lifts are. Once you’re there you’re into the building.’

‘Sweet!’

Michael (Mick) Dixon and a middle-aged man were sitting in a booth at the back of a small café in Alexandria. Mick was a fifteen-year-old heroin user. Callouses on his hands feet and brain.

‘ Then what? ‘
The older man lit a cigarette and watched two big men enter the café and sit at the counter. One of them looked over at him. The middle-aged man was called Dell. The two men looked as though they had just left a road gang.

‘ Then what! ‘

Dell blew smoke into the air between them. ‘ Don’t get f.cken anxious son, plenty of time for doin’ that later. What you do is get into a lift and get out at any floor. Then when you’re out you can go either right or left and you’ll find a fire-escape door. There’s two on every floor, Ok? ‘

Dixon began gnawing his thumb.

Dell continued. ‘ Six floors to the building, two escape doors for each floor. That means you’ve got to choke six locks. ‘
‘ Choke? What’s that supposed to mean? ‘
Dell blew a little more smoke and nodded at one of the men at the counter.

‘ Jam up the slot where the latch slips in, stops them from locking when they close. That way’s nice and quiet. No tools, no mess. Excuse me for a moment. ‘

Dell rose from the table and approached the counter. He spoke to the men and handed one a slip of paper. As he came away they got up and left.

Dixon sat with a deeply furrowed brow. ‘ What do I stuff them with?’
‘ Toilet paper. ‘
‘ Where do I f.cken get that from? ‘
Dell looked at the boy and exhaled, softly.

‘ Every floor has a toilet next to the lifts. There’s paper in all of them. Grab a handful, stick it under a tap so it’s a wad and then that’s what you use. OK? ‘
Dixon looked up at the ceiling.
‘ Six f.cken doors, I’ll be all day. ‘

‘ Only if you’re careful, son. ‘ Dell muttered. He lit another cigarette and watched Dixon resume chewing his fingers.

The two sat in silence for a minute. Dell raised his finger to the counterman for another coffee.
‘ Somebody will see me for sure. ‘
‘ So what? ‘
‘ What am I supposed to be doing? I’m not working there. ‘
‘ Sure you are. ‘ Dell smiled for the first time.
‘ Doin’ what? ‘
‘ Doesn’t matter. Go down to Vinnies and bludge a good coat and some dacks, tell them you’ve got a job to go to. Pinch some folders from the supermarket and stick ’em under your arm. ‘
Dixon put his elbows on the table and his head into his hands.
‘ F.ck! ‘ He said.
Dell’s coffee was delivered.
Dixon looked up at him. ‘ Couldn’t you slip me something now? ‘
‘ When was the last time you saw me giving anything away? ‘
‘ When we first met. ‘
‘ Yeah. Well now that we’re friends things aren’t that way anymore. ‘

Dell left the table and went out a back door to the toilet. A small oily-haired man who had been sitting in a booth behind them got up and followed him.

Header pic Daniel Peci

to be continued

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