Andrew Maunder

The Italian Job - The Sequel

by Andrew Maunder

 

Before I go on, I have this story written on paper and stored on computer dating back to 1995 so don't even bother trying to claim I've stolen your idea!...

 

The Italian Job - the 'real' version - has always been one of my favourite films and when I was a kid I would lay awake in bed dreaming about what happened next. It just seemed such a tradegy, I really wanted Croker and Co. to drive off over the alps as heros, not stuck dangling like a bunch of zeros.

As I grew up I realised that reality would have to dictate the outcome. Recently (2008/9), there was some newspaper competition trying to decipher just how they would have got out of the mess. Apparently it was all scientific but what a load of cobblers. The winner was some goof who thought they would drain the fuel tank and perform a series of other tasks before escaping etc ...yawn!!

Anyone who has really watched the film would realise that Croker and Co. were not the brightest technicians, that self preservance would have come before all else and the space for rational thought would have been clouded in panic. The simplest thing would have been just to get the hell off the coach!

In order to proceed, its important to realise who a few of Charlie's crew actually were, the most important of them, 'Camp' Freddie.

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Freddie:

Camp Freddie was Mister Bridgers right hand man. Whilst Bridger was in jail, Freddie carried out his instructions on the outside. His authority and ego was severely damaged when Bridger, immediately after instructing Freddie to beat Croker to a pulp, only goes and puts Croker in charge of the job - and Freddie under Crokers instruction! Freddie had shown Bridger total loyalty and this was a major slap on the face.

That would have been a terrible comedown for Freddie and one not many men would  accept, least of all Freddie, whos dislike of Croker was only asurped by his new-found resentment towards Bridger. Freddie wasn't a man without connection either. His years as Bridgers right hand man had laid open opportunities that hitherto he had left unchallenged but that in the wake of Bridgers appauling treatment, he felt obliged to explore.

One of his contacts was Miami based racketeer, Cosca. As the name suggests, Cosca was Italian American, a powerful mafia figure on the other side of the pond.

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Cosca:

Alberto Cosca was Mafia through and through. Personally responsible for over a dozen killings, he had ordered the deaths of dozens more. He had seen off the competition, people like Edwardio Mollevo and Bernard Rulio and ruled Florida with an iron fist, crushing anyone who challenged his authority. Though not the brightest, he was ruthless and willing to go 'all the way' to secure what he wanted.

At the time the Italian Job took place, Cosca had invited himself upon his Italian 'cousin', who frankly, had enough on his plate to worry about entertaining his american guest.

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Lorna:

Charlie's long time, long suffering girlfriend. Much as she realised who and what Charlie was , Lorna was besotted with her beau and forgave him his indescretions as one would pass the salt at dinner. Flighty and dizzy on the outside, Lorna had a deep rooted passion for Charlie and dreamed of nothing more than a life with the man of her dreams. She was distraught when Charlie failed to join her in Switzerland , devastated when he was convicted and her one consolation was the small bundle of joy she unknowingly carried in her womb to safety. A full eight and a half months later Lorna gave birth to Harry, who had the same wavy blond hair, same blue eyes and the same smile that charmed from ear to ear.

 

So what happened?

The coach is hanging precariously over the cliff...

Charlie Croker had an idea!... except one idea after the next almost toppled the coach until all new ideas were banned!

Everyone on board was in a state of rising panic - mounting by the minute as the effects of the alcohol they'd all consumed wore off, leaving only sobriety and the full implications of their predicament...

Every movement caused the coach to sway and everybody could hear the crunch/grind as rock began to crumble underneath. It took Charlie over ten minutes to crawl, inch by agonising inch, back to the front of the coach.

The reality of the situation was that if just one person jumped out the door the coach would go over, along with the remaining crew members so it wasn't surprising that Arthur and Coco began bickering once again until Charlie banged their heads together. Charlie estimated that three, maybe four of them would have time to jump clear through the front door before the coach tipped. He suggested they draw straws (but nobody had any as the odds were too short). Then came the obvious. There was enough room for all of them balance on the front windscreen ledge. Okay, it meant smashing out the windscreen first but Charlie determined that balance would be retained if they all crammed as near to the window as possible. It seemed plausible to Bill, Tony and the others who grunted and nodded their agreement. Only Freddy had reservations.

He (Freddy) suggested someone might come along and save them if they just waited. Charlie said he was probably right - the Police, and besides, judging from the grinding, gnashing sound from beneath the vehicle, Charlie didn't think any of them had the luxury of time. Freddy then posed the question "What if one of them jumped before the others?" Charlie replied "Then he'd be a bloody idiot!"

Freddy however, wouldn't give in and refused point blank to assist with the removal of the windscreen, which was swiftly dealt with by a few taps with a wheel wrench. Even with a clear sill to balance on, Freddy refused to cooperate, insisting they stay put until somebody came to rescue them or they thought of a better plan. Eventually, with everybody losing patience and Croker threatening to jump anyway, Fredduy had no choice but to comply with the others.

Slowly, he climbed into position between Coco and Rozzer until all of them were perched on the window sill like a line of pidgeons. Charlie was to call the three, two, one and of course it was Arthur who asked if they should jump at 'one' - or 'jump'. Charlie just looked at him.

"Three...Two...One...JUMP!"

Whether Freddie slipped or simply didn't have it in him to jump nobody knew. Even as they all jumped the coach began to tip and at first, nobody noticed Freddie wasn't amongst the tangled bodies on the ground. To Charlies dying day he will be haunted by the sound of Freddies howl as the coach began its descent. He blames himself for pushing Freddie too far.

 

It was a long and painfully slow journey back down the route they had come. The gold was lost, Freddie was lost and the future looked bleak. They thought about retrieving the gold but couldn't face the sight of poor Freddie. They eventually reached the mini bus they'd abandoned earlier but were picked up by the Police just minutes later. It had taken them five hours.

Cosca was not known for his patience. His 'cousin' Altabani had cut short the previous evenings entertainment, the power cut having provided the perfect excuse to curtail the banquet. Altabani had more important things on his mind and the Coscas' arrival had been inconvenient. Still, Cosca smiled. Altabani enjoyed a reputation as a shrewd and clever man yet hadn't he, Alberto Cosca, gotten the better of him? He checked his watch for the forth time in as many minutes...where were they? He cursed Camp Freddie silently, vowing to seek vengence should the Englishman have decided to double cross him. Nobody double-crossed Alberto Cosca.

It was surprisingly cold this high up in the alps even in summer, and Cosca was used to Floridian sunshine. He checked his watch again. His man in Turin had radioed hours ago to confirm the cargo was on its way yet it was almost three hours late.

Cosca waited another hour before his patience finally ran out. Calling his men down from their positions hidden amongst the rocks, they slowly gathered around him, tommy guns held loosely by their sides, looks of disappointment all round. The ambush spot had been well chosen and their expectation for some adrenaline pumped action had been running high. Now it seemed, they were not going to get the chance to shoot anybody, bringing their hours of waiting to a disappointing conclusion.

As Cosca climbed into the back of his black limousine