The rain rained.
It hadn't stopped since King's Cross. Inside the train it was close, the kind of closeness that makes your fingernails dirty even when all you're doing is sitting there looking out of the blurring windows. Watching the dirty backs of houses scudding along under the half-light clouds. Just sitting and looking and not even fidgeting.
I was the only one in the compartment. My slip-ons were off. My feet were up. Penthouse was dead. I'd killed the Standard twice. I had three nails left. Doncaster was forty minutes off.
“I looked along the black mohair to my socks. I flexed a toe. The toenail made a sharp ridge in the wool. I'd have to cut them when I got in. I might be doing a lot of footwork over the weekend.
I wondered if I'd have time to get some fags from the buffet at Doncaster before my connexion left.
If it was open at five to five on a Thursday after“noon in mid-October.
I lit up anyway.
It was funny that Frank never smoked. Most barmen do. In between doing things. Even one drag to make it seem as if they're having a break. But Frank never touched them. Not even a Woody just to see what it was like when we were kids down Jackson Street. He'd never wanted to know.
He didn't drink scotch either.
I picked up the flask from off the Standard and unscrewed the cap and took a pull. The train rocked and a bit of scotch went on my shirt, a biggish spot, just below the collar.
But not as much as had been down the front of the shirt Frank had been wearing when they'd found him. Not nearly so much.
They hadn't even bothered to be careful; they hadn't even bothered to be clever.