The Devil's Interval
not recently, by the time he turned up. The bouncers didn’t dare to laugh, though, which made her feel a bit better. At least they were still scared of her, and not just because of her mad hair.
     
    Farmer was sitting at a table in the furthest, darkest corner of the club. But he still wasn’t hard to spot, because he was the only customer in the whole place.
    ‘I hope you haven’t got shares in this one, Alan,’ said Pepper, sitting down opposite him. ‘Because I’ve been to livelier autopsies, honest I have.’ Copeland sat next to her, and took out his notebook. A thin hostess in hot pants came over, saw what was in Copeland’s hand, and veered away.
    ‘I’m mainly in floating rates notes, at the moment’ said Farmer, and Pepper shook her head. She had no idea what he meant, and it didn’t matter. Cons were all such fantasists. ‘Do you want a drink?’ he asked.
    ‘No, you’re all right. Let’s get on with it. I need to get back.’
    ‘Lover boys let you down tonight, did they?’
    ‘Don’t piss us about, Alan. You’ve got two minutes to interest me, because this whole Terry Maxwell story is just a wind up, I reckon.’
    ‘You do?’
    ‘Aye. Word is that he’s dead. He was sprung all right, but not by his mates.’
    ‘Bollocks.’
    ‘That’s what I heard, from the officer investigating.’
    ‘He would say that though, wouldn’t he? He hasn’t had a sniff of Tel, not since he first went over the wall.’
    ‘All right then, you prove him wrong. But a word to the wise before you try. DC Copeland here says that you’ve been hinting at having an informant of your own, on our side of the fence. Is that true?’
     
    Farmer laughed. ‘Whatever gave you that idea, love? Could it have been the fact that two of your lads are just about to go down for corruption?’
    ‘Two?’
    ‘That’s what I heard, like. Why, are there more? Anyway, do you want an update on Maxwell, or not?’
    ‘Go on then.’
    ‘It’s soon, a matter of days. He’s in the county right now, like, I know that. They’re moving him in a hire car, and I’ll get the registration, or at least the make and model, in a day or so.’
    ‘Route?’
    ‘M6 northbound. Coming on near Kendal somewhere. It’ll be through the night too, I know that.’
    ‘Can’t we take him at the safe house?’
    ‘No. That’s not on offer. And the car will be easier, trust me. It’ll just be him and the driver, see.’
    ‘Why isn’t he driving himself? He’s hardly like to go off piste, is he? Not with a fifty grand reward on his head. And I expect you’ll be claiming that after, like?’
    ‘Aye, that’ll be right,’ said Farmer, laughing again. ‘I wouldn’t live to spend a fucking fiver.’
     
    ‘So that’s it, is it? You bought us out on a dark and stormy night just to tell us that it’s soon, did you? A bloody text would have been more than enough for that, like.’
    ‘No, not just that. I thought you might have your doubts about why I’m doing this, Pepper. Because we both know that the reward may as well be ten million fucking quid, for all the difference it makes.’
    ‘Don’t tell me, you’re doing it out of civic duty. I’ve heard that old bollocks recently from another con, and I didn’t believe a bloody word of it then.’
    ‘No, don’t be daft. I’m doing it to drop Dai Young right in it. End of, like. I need you to understand and believe that. When Maxwell’s crew find out that their man’s been nabbed while Young was supposed to be doing the business they’re going to come looking for him, aren’t they?’
    ‘Are they? I’d have thought that the informant would be much more likely, Alan. They’d want a quiet word with you, wouldn’t they? Although the word would only be ‘goodbye’, like.’
    ‘But they won’t know who I am, will they?’
    ‘So you’re really doing this for Porter? Is that what you’re saying to me?’
    ‘I’m saying nowt. You draw your own conclusions.’
    ‘Don’t worry, I

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