“Torun originally, but now I live in Lewes,” replied the man smiling, “I have two children who lost their mama three months ago to a drunk driver, but I am still here earning a living for them. I try not to hold the grudges.”
“Oh, how horrible, I had the same thing happen, my mother was run over by a drunk driver a few years ago. It’s a terrible thing.” Tompkins handed the man a £10 note and indicated the man should keep the change. “There is one thing,” he added, “could I borrow your hat and overall, I would like to surprise someone, and I don’t want them to recognise me?”
“I have a spare one,” the man said, and looked down under the counter where he found a hat and overall to match his own, “they are a present from Torun to you – I am sorry about your mama.”
“That is decent of you, old man,” said Tompkins, accepting the sausages and the free gifts, “I really appreciate it. My name is Clifford.”
“You are very welcome, Clifford, my name is Jan. Good luck to you,” replied the sausage seller, before turning his attention to the next customer.
Tompkins began to eat one of the kielbasa sausages and was most impressed at how well it tasted. He put the hat on and placed the overall around him. The hat covered his hair completely. Tompkins glanced at his reflection in a window and thought he didn’t look much like himself. He walked confidently towards the ferry eating the sausage as he went while holding the other sausage in a napkin.
Tompkins looked at the car containing Stalky Stark’s wife and her three friends and noted the police were still in place. He had to get within hooting distance of Filly – he would use the four long hoots to denote danger signal – as her vehicle was driving off the ferry. Tompkins would then have to follow and make sure she wasn’t kidnapped by the four people in the car – the pre-prepared gap in their backseat worried him rather. Presumably, they’d bugged his car to make sure he wasn’t coming down to Newhaven, so the people already here weren’t looking out for him – that was the job of other people now heading up the M1 towards the Watford Gap and points further north.
As best he could given his size and athletic build, Tompkins slouched and walked with a haphazard gate towards the ferry. At some point, the watchers would see him, and he’d have to make sure he looked nothing like his real self, otherwise Filly might be in severe danger. He sagged a little more and began to eat in a rather rough manner, stuffing half the snack into his mouth at once, and throwing away the napkin onto the pavement, in the manner of the worst litter lout imaginable.
The vehicles were moving as Tompkins reached the side of the vessel, He increased his speed as he prepared to provide the four most important hoots of his life so far. Filly was about 10 yards away when his owl impression split the air. Luckily, she had the window down and he saw her look around. He gave the hoots again and saw her speak to the driver, who seemed to instantly speed up. The time for pretence was now over. Tompkins resumed his normal gait and jogged to his vehicle, still enjoying the last of the sausage. Filly’s vehicle had taken the turning for Lewes and Tompkins thought he’d be about four minutes behind her as he left the terminal.
Tompkins tried to get closer as best he could when the traffic allowed it. Up ahead he saw Stalky Stark’s wife and her three henchmen trailing Filly’s minibus. He knew his vehicle would stand out in any crowd, due to the marque and the bright red colour, but it was too late to do anything about that now. The police were also sure to spot his vehicle. As Tompkins trundled along behind a grey car obeying the speed limit, he had time to formulate a plan regarding an escape with his beloved wife. He’d have to wait until the Stark henchmen stopped their vehicle and then intercede on her behalf. When he’d sorted them out, the police would arrest the perpetrators and Tompkins could drive off with Filly into the sunset. Except that the sunset wouldn’t offer much protection or cover, so Tompkins would have to find somewhere else.
All of a sudden, Tompkins slammed the wheel of his car in frustration and howled “How could I have been so stupid to allow Filly to be in this kind of danger??” In doing this, he also hit the horn of his car. The driver of the grey car pulled aside and gestured for Tompkins to replace him in the order of cars. Tompkins raised his hand and smiled a thin smile as he zoomed up to the bumper of a black car. He looked at the occupants and regretted his move. Evans and Ingram were in the vehicle and Tompkins tried to shrink behind the wheel – he pulled out the hat he’d received from the sausage seller and stuck it on his head. He allowed the black car more leeway and hoped they wouldn’t notice a bright-red Jaguar in their rear-view mirror. Luckily, or perhaps because the police were excellent actors, they appeared to concentrate on the Stark vehicle three vehicles in front.