It’s weird how criminals can spot one another. We both knew the other had done something crooked in the past, it just kind of showed.
Anyway as you might have guessed I soon started driving for him. I told him it would only be a short term thing, and I meant it in the beginning, but I'm not that smart. I'm not being self-deprecating or humble or anything silly like that. I just am not as smart as a lot of people think I am. I've always been good at getting people to believe what I tell them. I don't know what it is, they just do. Most of the time anyway. And I had Dante around for far too long. I miss her. Awesome, amazing Dante.
Anyway when Martin told me he had something legal he wanted me to do I took it with several pinches of salt; a whole cruet in fact. I’d been driving for a couple of years and I hadn’t made a single completely honest taxi run yet. There was always something or another that someone or another would pay massively to obtain. He started off by assuring me that it wasn't criminal, just had to be kept intensely secret. That raised an eyebrow. He also said it was vitally important.
He said he needed me to help him pick up a young girl somewhere in Peckham, and get her to Lewisham.
"But that's hardly worth my time!" I said, incredulous. "She could just hop on the bus!"
I didn't work for him any more. I now had my own fleet of taxicraft. I wasn't rich, nowhere near as wealthy as Martin, but I was doing well on my own, and he didn't begrudge me my independence. He was a good friend. The only one I had really, now I didn't have Dante any more.
"I know," he said, his voice smooth. Too smooth if you ask me. But you won't and he didn't, so my opinion counted for nix right then. Unless I said I wasn't gonna do it. But he knew I eventually would.
I did make him sweat for it though.
"I ain't doing it." That's what I said next.
"Why not," he said, pretending to be taken aback even though he knew I wouldn't be fooled, just like he knew I couldn't refuse him.
"Because if it were that simple, you bloody well do it yourself, wouldn't you?"
"Yes I would," he said.
I shut up. I hadn't been expecting that. I thought he would make up all kinds of excuses and give reasons why he 'honest to God' couldn't go. But he'd admitted without much fuss that I was probably getting myself into something more than it seemed or just downright dangerous or worse. I paused, waiting to hear what he'd say next.
"You can take my car."
"No, not the Rolls. The MXT."
"Yes for real."
So I agreed.