“Your old boy will no shaft me again. Must think I’m zipped up at the back.” They’re the first words Dave’s said since I picked them up.
“What are you going to do with me? You hurt me, he’ll come after you. He’ll fucking kill you,” Toni says.
“Don’t worry, princess, you’re safe with us. Just sending Frankie boy a message. Just sit tight and don’t do anything stupid,” Dave says while pointing the knife at her neck.
Mad Frankie, that’s what they call her dear old dad. “Mad” doesn’t do him justice, doesn’t come close, craziest bastard in this shite-hole town I call home.
Toni’s sniffing and snorting and bursting out into hysterical sobs. I feel bad for her, but that fades when I see her wiping her hands on my newly upholstered leather seats. That’s when I notice it – Toni looks like shit. She’s usually got a nice colour to her; somewhere between strong tea and a polished penny, but not now. It could be the shock of being kidnapped, but she’s white. No, she’s grey. Her eyes are heavy and dark. She’s aged since I saw her four days ago. We keep driving but every so often I adjust the rear-view mirror to see how she is.
“She’s no looking too clever, Dave.”
“She’s just scared shitless, keep driving.”
“This is worth way more than a twenty quid baggie.”
“Aye, OK, just drive I’ll square you up later. Just drive.”
Then it happens. She starts thrashing. I think she’s attacking Dave, making a bid for freedom. Silly cow, Dave’s a big fella. A big fella with a big knife. She shakes uncontrollably, limbs taking on a life of their own, head twitching and twisting, frothy saliva joining the tears and snots that have already marred her beautiful face.
“She’s fitting! She’s fitting!” Dave screams. The big man is pressed to the passenger door behind me, creating as big a gap between the two of them as possible, trying to keep the knife as far away from Toni as possible. Even a slight scratch would be a death sentence.
It doesn’t last long and I adjust the mirror just in time to see her eyes roll back in her head. For a moment there is complete silence. Dave and me are just taking it in. We’re looking at each other then at her.
“She’s dead. She’s fucking dead!” Dave starts screaming.
“Has she got a pulse?” I ask but he says nothing. “Has. She. Got. A. Pulse?”
Still nothing. I do a quick U-turn and head to Southern General. It’s five minutes away. I do it in three. Dave’s come to his senses a bit and says we should just dump her at the doors and leg it.
I park in the ambulance bay, open the back door and carry the lifeless Toni into casualty. Doctors and nurses are on us in a flash. They talk in a gibberish code. I have no idea what the fuck is going on, but when I hear the words “faint pulse” I breathe a sigh of relief.
“We got to get the fuck out of here, Ricky,” Dave whispers.
I tell Dave there’s no point in running – my car will be on CCTV. The car’s registered to me. They’ll catch up with us.
“You wouldn’t grass me up, though?” he asks.
I don’t answer.
Frankie arrives at the hospital looking more sad than mad. His face is covered in tears and snot. I see where Toni gets it from. He’s escorted into a side room by one of the doctors.
A few minutes later he reappears. He scans the waiting-room until his eyes rest on me and Dave. The tears have stopped. He looks like Mad Frankie again. My arse tightens as he gangster walks towards us. He stands in front of us, just staring back and forth between us.
Then he embraces Dave, except he’s now calling him a “hero”. He’s telling him he was wrong about him, he owes us. Doctors told him she’d be dead if it wasn’t for me and Dave. They say she should pull through. I hope to fuck they’re wrong.