We were waiting patiently for the submarine to arrive with the wine from France. It was late, something must have happened to it. It was a foggy night so it could have missed the landing place. Suddenly a light started flashing, the flashing which proved to be the signal from the submarine.
“Phew. I thought it would never get here.” Pasqualino Lolordo, the Italian, spoke all our thoughts. “Well I’m glad it’s here. Let’s go down and help unload.”
We hurried down to help. There seemed to be a lot of crates.
“It’s a good job you turned up,” said Fred Burke. “We were getting worried in case you’d been caught.”
“Oh no no monsieur, we could never get caught,” said the French captain.
“It’s a good job,” I said. “Now stop talking and get on with unloading.”
We soon had the crates off the submarine and when it had gone we set to work carrying them over to the caves. When everything was done, we got into the rowing boats and went back to Burford and to our homes.
Early the next morning I went down to the beach. When I got there Pasqualino, Fred, Frank Genna and Jamie Wiess were already there getting the motor launch out.
“We’re just waiting for Al, then we can be off,” said Jamie.
Al was the youngest member of the gang and had just recently joined, mainly because he did not have a family so he had wanted to make friends with people. He joined when he was on White Bones Island watching the goings on when he had been caught, so instead of being tortured or killed, he joined the gang.
“There he is,” shouted Jamie. “Come on Al”
Al arrived breathless as if he had just run a mile. “Sorry I’m late, but a policeman asked me where I was going. I didn’t answer him but just ran down here.”
“I don’t suppose you thought he might have followed you and found out about our little game,” said Frank.
“Oh crumbs, no I never thought…”
“Come on, get in the launch,” I shouted, “and hurry up.”
We were soon at the caves on White Bones Island and stacking the crates into the motor launch.
“There won’t be enough room for all of us, so I’ll take the wine to George in the lighthouse. Al can come with me,” I said.
“Gee thanks,” said Al.
“Oh, you need a break kid,” I said. “Come on, get in.”
We wouldn’t be able to get the launch close to the lighthouse, the closest point would be Tunny Point, but George would be there with a van.
We got there and luckily George was there. We soon got to the river Fenn where another launch was hidden in a wooden hut. “Hurry up and get those crates in the launch,” I shouted to George and Al. On the way to the meeting place we disturbed some anglers who only shook their fists at us.
When we did get to where the river Fenn met the river Burr there did not seem to be any sign of the lorry that would pick up the crates. Al and I waited patiently and soon we heard the rumbling of a van. All the crates were off the launch and as soon as the crates were in the van, I sent Al back to White Bones Island.
John Torrio was driving the van and although he was reckless going to the Red House, we got there safely. At the Red House, Big Jack was there, the organiser of this whole business. “You are behind in the schedule, William,” said Big Jack, in his precide manner.
“I’m, sorry, Big Jack sir, young Al was late in coming.”
“Oh, what made him late?”
“He, er, met with a police officer.”
“What? Nothing serious I hope, for his sake.”
“Oh no sir.”
“Good, I’m glad to hear it. Right, you men, stick the labels on the bottles, and be quick!” Big Jack roared out this last order.
The next stage was to load the crates onto the special delivery van. This done, the van was soon on its way to Burford to make the delivery.
In Burford, the van went to a little shop called ‘The Smugglers Paradise’, a daring name by Jack Ouzik, Big Jack. It sold a variety of wines to the inhabitants of Burford and made a tidy little profit. The profit, which would be quite high, was always distributed between the members of the gang.
A few week later, the gang was called to the Red House. “Now is the time to share the profit,” said Big Jack when all were assembled. “With the latest selling we made two hundred and eighty pounds and there are fourteen of us, so quite simply that is twenty pounds each.”
We were all satisfied with our money and we went our separate ways until we were needed for another smuggling adventure.
(c) M. Robert Gibson
First written 1976-01-20
Don’t forget, it was written by a schoolboy.
It is published here for purely selfish vanity reasons.