The Men In The Shadows ( Part 23 )

Jake. pic

Two days later Jake was walking up the path of a small council house in Dagenham. The garden was unkempt and overgrown. What had once been lawn was now knee high weeds. The paint on the window frames was flaking, the windows were filthy and the net curtains behind them that were once white were now a yellowy grey colour.
There was a small note on the door. “Bells not working so use the nocker.”
He did as the note said.
There was the sound of dog’s barking from inside, then shouting, “Hold your horses I’m coming, shut up you noisy mutts.”
The door opened just a few inches. He heard a woman’s voice.
“Yes love, what do you want?”
“Mrs Warren?”
“Yes love. Now what do you want?”
“Sorry to disturb you Mrs Warren, but I’m going over to Spain next week and I wanted to say hello to Lenny Taylor. The problem is I’m not quite sure where abouts in Marbella he lives. The boys at the rugby club said you might know?”
“Hold on. Let me put the dogs away.”
She closed the door, a few seconds later she re-opened it. She was a tall woman, late fifties maybe sixty with short grey hair. Jake thought she was probably a looker in her day. But too many sunbeds and cigarettes had taken its toll on her face. It was dark and lined but her smile was warm.
“My Georgie went to see him a couple of years back, don’t think it was Marbella though.”
“I spoke to the barman at the rugby club, he thought it was Marbella. It’s just that it’s my Dads sixtieth birthday and I’m treating him to a few days in Spain. He used to play with Lenny, thought it would be a nice surprise for him if they met up again.”
“Ah that’s a nice thing to do love, come in and I’ll see if I can find something.”
Jake went inside, the house was a tip. It had an overpowering animal smell of stale urine and pet food. There was a stair gate on the door of the kitchen, Jake could see three Staffordshire Bull Terriers and thought he could see another one outside in the garden.
“Don’t mind the dogs love, they’re okay. You’ve gotta have em round here or the bloody place would be burgled within hours.”
Jake thought that unlikely, there was nothing in this place that even the most hard up burglar would ever want.
“Take a seat love. Did your Dad know my Georgie?”
“I don’t think so Mrs Warren, Dad played for East ham. He played against Lenny a few times and they became mates. Dads not seen him for years.”
“My Georgie couldn’t stop talking about it when he got back. He said Lenny had a big place out there and he owned a bar in the local town as well, but I’m sure it wasn’t Marbella.”
Jake was intrigued.
“Really? Didn’t know he had a bar.”
She started shuffling papers that were on top of what looked like a broken chair, either that or it was a small coffee table, Jake wasn’t sure, with all the mess it was hard to tell.
“Here we are, knew I had it somewhere.”
She held up a postcard.
“My Georgie was old fashioned, always sent postcards. Rang me everyday as well while he was out there.”
She handed it to Jake.
“That’s Lenny’s bar on the front.”
It was a photo of a traditional looking Spanish bar called LENS. On the bottom it said Lens Bar, Mijas Costa, Spain. Jake turned it over and read the message. “Hi Den, great time so far, Lennys bars a right scream, massive place hes got out here, miss you love, Georgie.”
He gave her the postcard back. She read the message out loud. Jake thought she was going to cry as she slowly read the last four words. Then she took a deep breath as though composing herself and changed the subject.
“That’s the place, I bloody knew it wasn’t Marbella, Georgie kept telling me off for calling it Meejas, said the Spanish don’t say their jays, said it was called Meehas.”
“And he said Lenny’s place was close to the bar?”
“Yeh, he said they walked there every night, kept saying the walk back sobered them up a bit.”
This time she laughed as she said the last few words. Jake felt sorry for her. It was obvious she’d let herself and the house go since her Georgie died.
“Well thank you very much Mrs Warren, we’ll find the bar I’m sure.”
Jake stood up.
“It’s a nice thing you’re doing love for your Dad. You only get one and you should treasure him while you’ve got him.”
“Very true Mrs Warren, if we meet Lenny I’ll say hello for you.”
“No don’t do that love, I couldn’t stand him. He was a friend of Georgies not mine. I always thought he had cruel eyes, never trusted him.”
Jake left, he knew exactly what she meant.
Eight days later Jake’s passport arrived, Stevie booked the flights on his credit card. They were all set.
Jake was heading for Spain.
As he sat there in his bedroom waiting for the cab to take them to the airport. He looked at the rugby team photo of Lenny Taylor and Paul Barrett.
“I’m coming for you Lenny. It’s taken ten years, but I’m coming.”

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