The year was 2005; Hurricane Katrina had just hit Louisiana, Michael Jackson had been found not guilty of child molestation charges… and I was sat in the car with £5000 in a plastic bag on my lap.
I should probably back up a little… My Dad and his brothers own a few black cabs as a bit of a side business and back in 2005 – for reasons I can’t remember but aren’t important anyway – they decided to sell one. Within a week of it going up on Gumtree a fella, (who my Dad later described as a ‘dodgy fucker from day one’) took them up on the offer.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
So anyway, the day came for them to exchange contracts and my Dad gets a phone call off this fella to tell him that he’s be paying half the amount into his account, but the rest he’d have to pick up in cash.
My Dad was, naturally, fuming at the idea that some ‘bloke on the internet’ was trying to take him for a mug, so after a bit of what my Mum would call ‘argy bargy’ on the phone, they agreed that my Dad would pick up the last 5 grand in cash and the majority would be transferred into his bank.
At this point of the story I should mention the fact that I knew absolutely none of this was going on – so when my Dad asked if I wanted to pop into Costco to get some contact lenses, (they’re cheaper and there’s a lovely woman behind the till who always slips me a few freebies) I went along.
An hour later we were driving down the dock road towards town which, for those of you who don’t know Liverpool, is a pretty deserted road with a load of alleyways connecting to the main road that runs parallel.
Now one of these connecting roads had a sign at the end of it – and I use the term ‘sign’ in the absolute loosest possible sense of the word. It was more like a bit of old driftwood with ‘Car Parts’ scrawled across it in what looked like blood. I mean, it was probably just red paint – but you get the idea of the scene I’m setting for you here. That’s when my Dad tell me he, “just needs to pick something up quickly” and off we swerve up murder alley.
We pulled into what looked like a garage, but actually turned out to be some sort of warehouse. A young lad was sat outside glaring at us and – & I shit you not here – sharpening a twig with a Swiss army knife… and the next thing I know these two figures seem to emerge from the shadows.
In all fairness, these two ‘shadow figures’ probably just looked like your average Joe Bloggs… but in my head, (and for the sake of the story) they looked exactly like the Mexican Twins from ‘Breaking Bad’.
My dad nods at them, they nod at him - all the while I’m looking as baffled as I feel and trying to avoid eye contact with stabby-Joe outside - and they hand him two KwickSave bags full of cash.
I’m not talking piles of twenties stacked neatly in a briefcase like you see in Oceans 11. I’m not even talking rolls of tens, but it was literally random notes lashed into a plazzy bag, without even an elastic band holding them together.
Without even a flinch my Dad takes a look in the bags, nod’s again, hands them to me and goes, “go and count this in the car, check it’s all there.”
“Do you think I’m mad?” I said to him. I mean, not out loud, I’m not fucking suicidal – but with my eyes, as I glared at him, “I’m not getting my fingerprints all over this.”
So there we stood, holding a Kwicky bag full of cash each and eyeballing each other in silence, until eventually I caved and went and sat in the car thinking ‘what is my life?’
That wasn’t the first, or the last time I’ve wondered whether my life is actually some sort of Truman Show experiment… but nevertheless, 25 minutes later my Dad appeared out of the shadows and we left bewildered and unharmed.
Moral of the story… well, actually I’m not sure there is a moral to this story. It was more just another twist in what’s shaping up to be a very strange life…
Until next time… x