Authors: Joe Thompson-Swift
For my children: son Joe, and daughters
Nicola, Kerry, Lucy and all those who like to
contemplate the possibilities of what this story
could mean if it really happened!
If you enjoy reading the children’s adventure stories from Joe and Lucy’s story box by Joe Thomson-Swift, then follow their other adventures and read:
THE TWIG PEOPLE FROM MOSSDOWN WOODS
THE GIANT, THE ANTMAN AND THE MERMAID
THE MAGIC STONE (a trilogy of 3 adventure stories)
THE MONKEYBOY AND THE GRUFFITS
THE ADVENTURES OF PRIMROSE PERFECT (received, accepted and appreciated by H M Queen. (UK)
A former thief with a long history of selectively stealing possessions from the rich and famous decides after three decades of doing so to hang up his gloves. Having become familiar with the UK justice system and acquainted himself with numerous solicitors, barristers judges and prisons but not to his advantage, he finally realises he has been in the wrong profession. Now he likes the idea of becoming a writer of books and decides to write his autobiography. By doing so, it gives him the opportunity to recount his illuminating and daring experiences and how he first started into his life of former crime.
His story exposes the way he operated and the techniques he used to steal from the rich and famous. It has been read especially by a very interested Dr Ahmed an Iranian, who makes contact with him. After a few social meetings between the two of them, Dr Ahmed puts a proposition to Jack the thief that he finds irresistible and a challenge to his past experiences as a thief. He agrees to carry out a daring theft for the secret XP42 formula he is told will benefit all of humanity. His seductive reward is to be £100.000.00 paid by Dr Ahmed. But as the plot to obtain it unfolds, it becomes more complicated than simple and escalates into an intense psychological drama for him that expands into the physical murky world of spies, murders, double crosses and a real life terrorist plot. The British intelligence services are on to him and eventually lure him in by the seductions of a beautiful woman. Now they have full control of him and he has to co-operate and do exactly as he is told. The alternative is he will be charged with numerous offences against the state and prison is not a part of his retirement plan. He agrees to co-operate now realising that there is no way out of what is to become a horrific nightmare for him.
The thief now accepts he is compromised, cornered and compelled to get the XP42 formula. That he is being controlled by MI5/6 who utilise him to flush out a network of terrorists. What turns out as a simple ‘steal to order’ proposition ends in blackmail, espionage and ‘official’ executions. He learns that British Intelligence has been 10 steps ahead of him all the way from the very beginning. Also he learns at the end of his mission, that he has been chasing a fake formula from day one. He experiences one shock after another until the saga comes to an end with dead bodies and a trial at the Old Bailey where he is to be a witness. Having had enough of involvement in crime again, he goes back into retirement and writes a book about his experiences titled, A CHOICE OF EVILS.
It was not a long journey for Dr Ahmed to get to London from Cambridge city centre. We were to meet at the London Park hotel at 8pm. Our meeting was bang on time. He was always prompt and reliable as proved by our previous three meetings. This was to be our fourth and each one intrigued me a little more than the previous one. I suspected he was sounding me out for something that he had in mind.
As things were, I had been a thief for the past thirty years although I considered myself retired now. My pickings from the rich and famous had been acquired by my learned skills. Experience was something that professional thieves obtained along the way. I was not proud of having been one. It was a way of life that had developed from childhood. The modus operandi’s I had used had been honed to an art of perfection and perhaps my autobiography was testimony to that. It was entitled ‘The Mind of A Thief’, and was a real life expose’ of a thief ‘at work’. I knew when I wrote it, that it would make a fascinating read. But who could ever foresee the type of people that would read such a book?
It was one of the first things Dr Ahmed had said, when first he telephoned me. But I did hasten to tell him, I had retired from that kind of activity now. There was no doubt it had left me with the hallmark of experience. And this was what he was interested in.
On this occasion of our meeting, there was something personal he would like to discuss with me over a drink, he had told me. Out of curiosity, I had agreed. So our meeting was taking place at the London Park Hotel.
Dr Ahmed told me he was a biologist. A genetic scientist, as he liked to call himself. He was working on a cloning theory for genetic intelligence. It was important for science and governments to harvest and clone the very best of academic ability. It could be done he said, now that the gene responsible had been identified in the structure of human DNA. It would be a great achievement if they could isolate it, he told me. But for the time being, the experiments had come to a halt. This was because his colleague Dr Bruce had defected to another laboratory for his own selfish reasons. He had also taken the unique XP42 formula with him, which he had pioneered by himself. Dr Ahmed told me, that nothing could entice him to divulge the formula. But now he was desperate to continue with the research, and desperate enough to abandon all his heavenly virtues in order to get it. It took four meetings for him to feel secure enough to tell me this.
I knew what his line of questioning was leading up to on this occasion. I looked at him closely through his gold spectacles. His brown smoky eyes had a definite look of determination there was no mistaking that. Apart from this, he outwardly appeared a well groomed middle aged man in a brown tweed coat and cavalry twill trousers. He also wore a Cambridge university tie. A neat side parting in his black trimmed hair, gave the impression of a business-like person who was a well organised meticulous man. One who engaged his mind before he opened his mouth.
As we stood at the bar, I caught his fleeting look at me through the optic mirrors. A clinical smile spread across his eastern face asI turned to look at him.
‘I recently read your book again Jack,’ he began saying. ‘It must have taken a lot of guts to do what you did for a living?’ he asked, as his gaze fixed firmly upon me. Not wanting to react to his subtle compliment, I told him that I held no opinion about the quality of my nerve as that was for others to decide. All I knew was that I always tried to steal from the rich, having justified myself that they could afford it. I had not too often been wrong in my choices. If police superintendents and judges said I was a professional and prolific thief, then who was I to disagree?
‘Then there is a common thread between us,’ he continued. ‘You were a dedicated thief motivated by reward while I am a dedicated scientist motivated by challenge and recognition for the good of humanity. So you see Jack, we may differ in profession, but we unite in a purpose. Do you agree?’
I found it difficult not to approve of that definition. The aim of any challenge was to achieve the objective. And whatever that amounted to, it justified the means, providing nobody got physically hurt. So I found myself nodding in reply.
‘I think retired thieves are like soldiers,’ he continued. ‘They are always ready for duty, if called to arms. Are they not?’ He enquired. His head tilted slightly, to catch a reflection of light on his spectacles.
I looked into my drink of whisky as if it were a crystal ball. I waited for the proposition to come, enticing him a little. ‘I suppose there is always the right inducement,’ I answered. ‘Doesn’t everyone have a price?’
A flicker of a smile passed his face. ‘To some it is fame, while to others it is fortune,’ he replied. ‘And for some it can be a pure obsession.’
So where did he fit into those descriptions? I asked him. Dr Ahmed took a gulp of gin from his glass, and waited for the impact to arrive in his stomach. ‘Here’s to fame, fortune and obsession,’ he invited, raising his glass.
‘Do let me get you another drink?’ I offered. He shook his head. One of his golden principles was never to accept anything, unless you can pay for it, he told me. I mused over his peculiar logic.Had he forgot he was ready to abandon all heavenly virtues? He smiled, though it appeared to strain his composure.
‘I think it’s about time you came to your point Dr?’ I asked him.
‘Very well, you are experienced enough to know, that my interest is not that of a sociologist? I believe you are the right man to help us if you can obtain a formula known as XP42, then I am sure we can agree on a price?’
His last few words were emphasized crisply in his voice. Eye contact was hypnotic. He searched for a clue to my reaction, but a practice in deception was one of my acclaimed virtues. I remained impassive not wanting to show surprise or great interest. We stood for a few seconds, looking into the optic mirrors in front of us. A look of unanswered anticipation was on his face.
‘Would you like a refill Sir?’ asked the brunet barmaid. She was quite attractive with her hour glass figure. Her cleavage beckoned the eye to inspection.
‘I’ll have a refill….’ I began.
‘And myself likewise,’ he replied. After the drinks returned, I answered him, ‘I’ll drink to that.’
‘Good. Then we have a meeting of minds,’ he asked. I nodded as he continued. ‘If you can get the formula, then a reasonable price will not be too high. Perhaps you have one in mind.’
Already my brain was beginning to work out the equations of risk and reward. The possibilities of genetic advantages to the academic elite, conjured up all kinds of economic permutations. Genetic engineering could eventually eliminate unproductive people, by selection, and save billions in the long term, I pondered. Were we heading for the perfect world? I wondered. This was no quasi ideal that Dr Ahmed was chasing. ‘I can see how important this is for you and the advancement of science.‘ I replied. ‘But there are no guarantees in life. If I agree to get it, what happens if I fail?’
Dr Ahmed smiled almost fiercely. ‘There can be no reward for failure Jack. If you were to be caught, then we will never have met. You will be arrested as a thief. But of course you will not let this happen. You will be well paid. What do you say?‘ This was without doubt, a tall order. It would not be easy, as it would be certain Dr Bruce had taken precautions to safeguard his formula. I would need financing too. It was not a run of the mill proposition. Dr Ahmed waited for my answer. It came.
What is it worth to him? I thought as I suggested a price of £100,000. ‘No one apart from the two of us will know. Agreed?’ I asked him.
A patronising pat on my back was his seal of approval. But as yet it was not cast in stone. ‘What guarantee do I have for the money?’ I asked. A look of incredulity lit up his face.
‘Science is not an enemy of progress,’ he replied. ‘Gratitude is not measured by money but it can do a lot for you. As I am about to invest my trust in you, I expect it to be reciprocated. What guarantee could be better?’
It was perhaps the best I could hope for. There was no way he could put it in writing and neither could I. But then I could always make a contingency plan of my own. The glasses clinked between us. We had an agreement. He let out a sigh of relief.
It seemed strange, standing at the bar talking like this. Surely, I was really no more than a thief! This was the stuff of industrial espionage. But from Dr Ahmed’s point of view, I could see it made sense to engage someone who was independent, and without a vested interest in science. Mine would be purely financial. For me this would be a proposition of stealing to order. However, experience had taught me never to invest in goodwill, unless some of it was already in your hand. With this in mind I came to the point.
‘This will take time and money, Dr Ahmed. As we have agreed on the price, it would inspire me to have a half down payment and the rest on delivery of the formula. This will ensure my personal assets are not depleted. My planning will be meticulous as there is much at stake for you and I.’ He nodded. ‘That is not unreasonable,’ he answered. ‘I shall make the necessary arrangements for payment. Give me a time, date and place that suit us both. Here is a telephone number. It is an answerphone. Leave the details and I will get back to you. Agreed?’