Tricia’s a fiery one. She’s always getting into trouble at the casino, or trying to start some. Stendhal had to do a lot of favours to get her out of trouble when she was seeing Turner. She got to be an inconvenience. Turner had to end it.
I’m waiting on the side of the road with Arch. It’s nearly midday, no clouds in the sky. The sun is bright and it beats down on us. I check my watch. 11:45. I’m wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and a pair of black combat boots. The t-shirt is thin cotton, which is good for this weather, but I feel a bit nip conscious. I take a drag on my cigarette. I have a pink visor on which helps shield my eyes from the sunlight (or is it the other way around?).
Stendhal’s goons show up around five minutes later. They pull up in this big truck. As it pulls up, Arch leans over and whispers, “Where’s the car?” as if I know. I squint up at Scotty as he rolls down the window. He’s grinning at me. The truck is white and the sunlight reflects off of it, and it hurts to look at him. The visor’s useless when I tilt my head up.
“Hey, boys,” he says. “Where you headed?”
I scratch my ear behind my visor. “Ballarat,” I say.
“Oh,” he smiles, “we were just headed there ourselves.”
We’re in the back of the truck with the others. It’s not as cool as you’d hope it’d be. There’s no air-con. The trailer is made of metal. Arch’s face is shiny with sweat. He’s got the bone structure for it, though. He looks cool. He’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt that I wish I was wearing. It looks very breathable.
“So,” he sighs, “what happened to the car?”
Archie looks over at Turner. “For what?”
“The way back,” he says.
This isn’t a regular job for these boys. Monroe, maybe; she seems to be in her element, but the boys are on red alert. This is new territory. See, Stendhal’s got them doing something special this time.
Up in Ballarat, Stendhal’s contacts have been getting a little greedy. Gold rush syndrome, maybe. The goons say his suppliers are up there trying to cut out the middleman and start up their own business. Turner’s riled up. “The nerve,” I say blankly. I’m not really interested in the troubles of a fucking kingpin. But, what affects Stendhal affects the goons, and the goons are paying me. So I listen, I pretend to care. No skin off my back.
Turner’s a very small guy. Lot of energy in that little frame. But despite what his demeanor might suggest, he’s mostly agreeable. He’s also dark-haired and gorgeous. Scott’s actually the one who’s the worst at handling his emotions. Not that he gets out of control – the problem is he’s too controlled. Half the time none of us even know something’s upset him until days later when he mentions it in passing. Can’t be healthy. But I like him. He’s the one who started this partnership, so we’re on pretty good terms.
Milani’s a beautiful bloke; everyone loves him. Archie actually knew him previously. Every goon or dealer or madam in Melbourne seems to have crossed paths with one another at some point, except me. I mostly keep to myself. Archie’s my only good mate, I’ve known him about as long as I’ve been in this business (nearly a decade, fuck). As for Milani, he’s married a lovely gal up in Brisbane. Says he doesn’t mind the distance ‘cause he’s off working all the time anyway. He’s a sentimental one, though. Sometimes when we’ve done long-distance jobs like these, or even just on an overnighter, I’ve caught him leaving his lamp on way into the night writing her letters. He’s close to what you’d call enlightened. Gives the impression that he knows something we all don’t.