‘Open it up.’
The command Sonja Borski had been dreading. The Customs officer, a large florid-looking man, was pointing to the back of her HGV — Tulips from Amsterdam emblazoned on the side. She glanced into her rear-view mirror. In her lane, a long queue of container trucks, transit vans and minibuses were lined up behind.
Headed by Davros and three of his comrades.
He would be watching her. They had chosen the Easter bank-holiday weekend when traffic returning from Europe would be high and UK customs would be stretched. The odds of being searched were minimal, but they had prepared for the “worst-case” scenario. The cargo was too valuable to lose. She opened the cab door and climbed down into the spring sunshine to the ozone smell of the sea, and the sounds of shrieking seagulls. She crouched, to tie-up her shoelace. That was the signal.
Behind her, she heard a minibus door open; curses, a shout of alarm, and the sound of breaking glass. The diversion: a sprawling, drunken fight that heralded the sweet-sounding symphony of vehicle horns as patience gave way to panic.
The Customs officer looked startled. He began to jabber into his mobile, calling for back-up. He thrust Sonja’s documents back into her hand, pointed towards the Exit sign, and shouted at her to move on.
‘Shift yourself into gear, lady … go, go, go.’
Music to her ears. She was through. So was her cargo.
But she wasn’t only carrying tulips…