Year 18

Chapter 13
Excuses and lies

by E.Escher - 16th Jan 2017
'Colin, mate! What happened? I think we got split up in the traffic, I was onto the M60 before I realised the black car in my mirrors was some dick in a beemer.'

Colin listened to the phone in stark disbelief. 'You what?'

'I thought you were right behind me, I swear. Where did you get to? Is the car okay?'

'I... no. The car's gone. I had to leave it and walk.'

'Shit. Well, okay, it's insured.'

Colin gaped. 'You mean that was your car? I thought they were stolen.'

'Well, yeah, they were stolen, but I stole 'em.'

'How do you get insurance for stolen cars?'

'Is that seriously what you want to ask me, on today of all days? You want to ask me about car insurance?'

Colin frowned. It was a good point. 'Honestly, no, but I'm so beyond livid right now I don't even know where to begin asking the questions I really want answers to.'

'Does it go something like "Hey Brian, why did we rob a bank this morning, and then make a getaway in expensive sports cars"?'

'Something along those lines, yes. Have you completely lost your mind?'

'Not a bit of it, mate, but seriously, I can't tell you this stuff over the phone. Especially not a mobile, y'know? Anybody could be listening in.'

'I want answers Brian. Don't make me come looking for you.'

'I wasn't planning to. Tell me where you are and I'll be right over.'

'I don't think so. Not over the phone, eh? Besides, I'm still on the move. Let's meet up somewhere neutral.'

'Neutral?' Brian's laugh was a distorted gurgle down the phone. 'What are we, secret agents? I'll tell you what: meet me at Hannigan's tonight.'

'Hannigans? The pub?'

'Aye, the shite one. I'll explain everything when I get there.'

'You damn well better had, Brian, and it'd better be good.' He ended the call, and glared at the phone for a few seconds more, seething. Something in Brian's glib tone sounded off, like he was hiding something, but Colin didn't care. He was angry, angrier than he'd been in years. Colin had worked for decades to build himself a nice quiet life, out of everybody's way, and now whatever Brian was trying to do, his stupid stunt had undone it all.

He didn't know for sure that the police were after him, but they were definitely going to be after somebody to blame for the bank raid. Colin hoped his strange anonymity might shield him from recognition, but Brian had no such protection, and there was sure to be some CCTV footage of them both without the wooly masks. If the police got Brian, there was no doubt he'd give up the identity of his "accomplice". In fact, the wretched cur would probably try to pin the whole thing on Colin, paint him as a criminal mastermind.

The police would buy into it, too, of that he had no doubt. A loner, with no friends, no identification, no job. He was exactly the sort of weirdo people loved to blame, as though the human condition subconsciously closed up against the cursed, the socially deviant and the unnatural.

That wouldn't make much of a difference at Hannigan's, though; the entire clientele could be charitably labelled as 'socially deviant' and nobody would think the worse of you for it. It was a fair choice as a safe place for a meeting, despite being moderately unsafe for anyone that didn't like bar fights.

Colin wasn't afraid of the clientele, and Brian was a complete nutter who didn't seem afraid of anything. At least he could be sure they weren't walking into a trap set by the police - any uniformed officer setting foot into the pub would start an immediate riot. Colin smiled grimly; he was uniquely equipped to survive any madness he might run into tonight.

That said, he was still quietly fuming as he walked the rest of the way home.
The curious tale of Colin Campbell
Part One - How did it come to this?, Chapter 1, Earlier that day
Chapter 2, Earlier still
Chapter 3, Making a withdrawal
Chapter 4, August 18th, 2362
Chapter 5, Angel of Death
Chapter 6, Welcome to 2016.
Chapter 7, Denmark, July 2358
Chapter 8, After the crash
Chapter 9, Music of the Spheres
Chapter 10, Denmark, July 2358
Chapter 11, Harbinger FM
Chapter 12, Denmark, July 2358
Chapter 13, Excuses and lies
Part Two - So here we are, Chapter 14
Chapter 15, Quite a ride
Chapter 16, Talking the talk
Chapter 17, Leisurely pursuit
Chapter 18, Dinner Date with Destiny
Chapter 19, Chips with everything
Chapter 20, Harbinger
Chapter 21, Time to leave
Chapter 22, Manchester
Chapter 23, Colin's House
Chapter 24, On the road
Chapter 25, Chateau Harbinger
Chapter 26, Showdown
Epilogue, Debriefing
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