"Den's back" shouted Pony-tailed-Pete, a grey haired ex-hippy that had clung to the hairstyle of his youth through four decades of his misspent life. The four poker playing overweight friends in the function room of the Unicorn pub looked up in joint and silent incredulity. PTP made the message unnecessarily clearer: "DJ, Coops . . .Dennis. He's come back. He's on his way here from Heathrow" The poker players looked at each other for a moment. Cards slipped out of most hands. Cigar smoke was exhaled simultaneously. A bottle of lager was knocked over and fizzed into life on the green baize of the card table. Nobody looked at the spillage. Instead all eyes but his own turned to Harry Simmons - usually called plain 'aitch. H looked at his watch, wiped some lager from his lips and uttered his considered assessment of the turn of events. "Fuck my ol' boots".
H sprung to his feet and barked instructions. "Pete, tell Mike to get some bubbly on ice and get ready for a lock-in. Wolf, get some Charlie sorted in case he's into that these days. Al you'd better tell Rossi to stay open in case he needs some grub - good pasta, not pizzas. Gazza ring round some decent brass agencies and get company sent over - top class - no rubbish. Make sure they send some Orientals - he always liked them. This is going to be big boys. The return of a legend, a true leg-end"
PTP coughed meekly and was pushed aside by the solid frame of Mr DJ Cooper. "You won't need any of that stuff Harry. I'm a changed man - although you're right about one thing - I even married a Chinese girl." Dennis looked around the room at five former associates. "Stone me fellas, you are looking old and fat!"
Everyone laughed. DJ, PTP, H, Al, Gary and Wolf. Mike the landlord brought in some more cold beers and they sat and exchanged tales of the last twenty years.
One thing that had changed in twenty years was the introduction of facial recognition technology. It didn't matter that wealth had enabled age reducing plastic surgery - a nip here, a tuck there to repair a broken nose or to hide a scar or three. It didn't matter that the name on the passport was different and time had not diminished the vigour of the hunt or the patience of the hunter. In Victoria, South West London, at the very moment the lager bottle stained the card table, a report whirred off of a laser printer in an office on the 6th floor of New Scotland Yard.
DENNIS JAMES COOPER
Wanted for armed robbery 1985.
Value of non-recovered property: £17.4m
Arrival point: Heathrow Airport
Match analysis: 98.2% probability