The Men In The Shadows ( Part 24 )

Jake. pic

After some gentle persuasion, a bunch of flowers and a large box of her favourite chocolates, Steph agreed that Stevie could have some time with Jake in Spain. But only a few days. They plumped for a long weekend. The outbound flights were booked for Thursday with the return on Monday morning. Steph said she and the baby would go and stay with her Mum for a few days.
Jakes probation officer was fine with the trip as long as he had all the details of where he was staying and who with. Uncle Tom wrote a letter saying that Jake and Stevie would be staying free of charge at his apartment in Benalmadena.
The flight from Gatwick took just two and a half hours and after a twenty minute cab ride from Malaga airport they were sitting on the balcony of Uncle Tom’s apartment overlooking the Marina in Benalmadena, have their first San Miguel beer.
Jake could sense that Stevie was itching to get out and sample the local nightlife.
“So, Jakey Boy, where’s the best place to go round here, did Uncle Tom suggest anywhere?”
“He said there’s a place up the road called twenty four hour square. It’s full of bars and clubs and true to its name, it’s open twenty four hours!”
“That sounds like a bit of us alright Jake.”
It was just after seven o’clock in the evening, and the sun was beginning to lose its burn. Jake couldn’t believe that only three weeks ago he was locked up in a cell staring at a blank wall.
He had a plan in his head regarding Lenny Taylor. If everything went well he would soon be face to face with his old enemy, he couldn’t wait.
“Tell you what Stevie, tonight we’ll go mad, let our hair down, get pissed, pretend we’re a couple of kids again, sound like a plan?”
“Sounds like a great plan Jake.”
They left the apartment at nine and within ten minutes were in the madness of twenty four hour square. The noise was overpowering, different music coming out of each club, people were shouting, singing and dancing in the streets. Jake felt a bit uncomfortable, he wasn’t used to having so many people around him but pretended he was having the time of his life.
His plan was simple. Get Stevie absolutely smashed yet stay reasonably sober himself. That way he could leave the apartment in the morning while Stevie was sleeping it off and make his way up to Mijas. Hopefully Stevie would never know he was gone.
The plan worked. For every five or six drinks Stevie had Jake only had one. It was just after six in the morning when they returned. Stevie collapsed on the bed and was unconscious in seconds. Jake put a bowl beside him in case he was sick.
Jake had a doze in the armchair for a few hours then showered, dressed and popped his head into Stevie’s room. He was snoring the place down. He left a note in case Stevie woke up and wondered where he was. “Gone for a wander.”
There was a cab rank a few minutes away. Jake spoke no Spanish but knew where he wanted to go.
“Mijas Costa?”
“Si”
The cab took him along the coastal road past Fuengirola and Calla Honda then into the small coastal town of Mijas.
“Anywhere along her mate.”
The driver had no idea what Jake was saying but stopped the cab outside a small tapas bar.
Jake gave him forty euros. He wasn’t sure how much it came to, just waited for the response from the driver. The driver was impressed.
“Muchas gracias senior!”
Even Jake knew what that meant.
“No problem, thanks.”
It was eleven o’clock. Jake walked along the sea front then entered a very English looking bar, called The Crown and Anchor. The place was empty apart from a middle aged man standing behind the bar wiping down the counter. He glanced over to Jake and spoke with a London accent.
“Morning mate. What can I get you?”
“San Miguel please.”
“Pint or a bottle?”
“Just a bottle thanks.”
Jake took a seat outside. A few seconds later the barman appeared with a cold beer.
“There you go, one euro please, on holiday?”
“Yeh just for a few days, mates stag do, this is hair of the dog.”
The barman laughed.
“Breakfast? We do a lovely fry up.”
“Don’t think I could face it at the moment, maybe later.”
The landlord went to walk away. Jake was eager for some information.
“Sorry mate, I was here a couple of years ago on another stag do. We used a bar called Lens, but I was pissed most of the time and can’t remember where it was. Is it still going?”
“Yeh, it’s about two hundred yards along the main drag, five minute’s walk, you can’t miss it.”
Jake decided to drop Lenny’s name into the conversation.
“Lovely, I must pop me head in and say hello to Lenny.”
The barman looked surprised.
“You know Lenny?”
“Well, I don’t really know him. He was in the bar some of the time. Always made us feel welcome. Do you ever go in there?”
The man shook his head.
“No, not really my kind of place. I stay well clear of it. All a bit dodgy in there if you know what I mean.”
Jake paid his euro and the barmen went back inside. Jake took his time with his beer then left.
He found Lens Bar easily, opposite was a small traditional Spanish bar, he took a seat outside ordered a coffee and waited.
Lens was a busy bar, people came and went, Jake was intrigued, no one seemed to have a beer or a meal, just went into the bar and came out a few minutes later. Jake counted seventeen people in forty minutes.
Then it all made sense. Lens Bar was selling drugs, had to be, it also explained what the other barman had said about it being a bit “dodgy”.
After an hour and two cups of espresso there was still no sign of squashed nose. Jake decided to take a chance and go over to the bar.
The outside of Lens Bar was warm and inviting. It looked like it had been freshly painted, there were tables and chairs arranged neatly outside and a canopy to keep the sun off, but inside it was dark and dingy. A voice called out from the darkness.
“Be with you in a minute, just changing a barrel.”
Jake couldn’t see anyone so just shouted out “Okay”
A few minutes later Jake was greeted by a middle aged man, over six feet, slim, well-tanned, tee shirt, shorts, bit of designer stubble.
“What can I get you guv?”
“Bottle of San Miguel please.”
“Anything else?”
The barmen smiled as he said it. Jake knew what he meant.
“Not today thanks mate, just the beer.”
“Okay, coming up.”
“What time does Lenny come in these days?”
The barmen gave Jake his beer.
“Whenever he likes, he’s the guvnor, why, you wanna see him about something?”
There was a slight menace in his voice. Jake ignored it and carried on the conversation.
“Only to say hello, I knew him from the Rugby club back in Barking years ago, good player was Lenny.”
The barmen relaxed a bit.
“So I’ve heard, a few of his old pals came over a couple of years ago, great laugh it was.”
“Yeh, Georgie Warren wasn’t it? He died last year.”
“Ah fucking shame, he was a right laugh was Georgie.”
“Lenny wouldn’t remember me, I was just a kid when he was playing, my Dad played with him though, everyone back at the club said I should say hello.”
“Well he doesn’t usually come in till about seven, stays a couple of hours then toddles off home or onto another bar somewhere, so if you come back about eight you should catch him.”
“Cheers mate, will do.”
Jake downed his beer and went to leave.
“What’s your name mate and I’ll tell him you called in.”
Jake hesitated for a second. Then remembered one of the names of the players in the photograph.
“Jiggins, Billy Jiggins.”
Jake left. He took a chance with the name. He hoped Lenny wouldn’t still be in touch with any of the old team. But if he did remember Jiggins, he’d assume that it was his son and not be suspicious.
Jake took a cab back to the apartment. It was after three o’clock. He found Stevie still asleep in the same position that he’d left him, and still snoring. Jake took the note that he’d left, screwed it up and threw it in the bin. Stevie would never know that he’d been out, everything was going according to plan.
As Jake sat in the afternoon sunshine on Uncle Tom’s balcony, he had only one thought on his mind. Lenny Taylor and how he would take his revenge…

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