Authors: Bill Carson
This is all coming together quite nicely
, Harold thought, as he stared out of the window of the snug compartment of the high speed train as it hurtled through the cold dark night toward London,
and that last small piece of information may hold some significance
Now I know that Terry Jackson borrowed a large sum of money from Mr Costa’s brother which he obviously had absolutely no intention of repaying. He probably absconded from the country, leaving his poor dear mother as the guarantor and so Lynda Jackson is left to honour the debt she knows nothing about. She receives the inevitable visit, no doubt, from one of the firm. John Kane now enters the scene, her fancy man, as that annoying Mrs Mac called him, and decides to take it upon himself to assassinate Mr Costa and co, and then run off to the seaside to live happily ever after. Seems plausible enough, simplistic but most definitely plausible.
However, there were half a dozen murders that night, and that does seem like a tall order for just one man, and an amateur to boot, I would suspect. That amount of carnage would be considered excessive even by my standards, and that also doesn’t explain the theft of the money. This part doesn’t quite tally. There is something missing or, more to the point, someone. Perhaps he had an accomplice after all, and they had planned to rob Tony Costa of his ill-gotten gains after the slaughter? No, I think not, Kane was unquestionably there to protect a loved one and I think that Mr John Kane may be simply a righteous crusader. How wonderfully idealistic and what a glorious encounter it must have been, the ultimate struggle of good versus evil.
He may have had a co-conspirator, of course, or perhaps there was an opportunist thief present that night – a light-fingered member of the constabulary perhaps, long after John Kane had disappeared? Yes, now that sounds much more likely; two persons in the same place but at different times with different motives for being there?
I‘ll need to have a quick word with my informant on that one
Harold closed his eyes and reflected on his musings, while the rhythmic slightly hypnotic
-clack of the train against the track caused him to fall into a light and well-earned sleep.
Nick and Anna decided to have a long lie in. She woke first, turned over on her side and watched him as he slept, and studied every line and scar on his face. At around eleven, Nick opened his eyes.
“Bloody hell, what’s the time?” Nick said with a start.
“It’s all right, we deserve a lie in, Nick.”
“What did you think of last night then, love?” Nick said, as he puffed up his huge pillows.
“Best night ever, I really mean it,” she said, as she examined the engagement ring.
“Me too, but I am a little anxious about our new venture and we’ve got a shitload of things to do before we get this office into shape, you know?”
“Well, there’s two of us, so how about if we get something to eat and then get down to that office,” she said, and slapped him across the backside as he was bending over looking for his socks.
It was a bright and breezy afternoon, and Nick felt full of optimism. Anna was trying her best, but was still a little hazy from the alcohol from the night before. They got to the office at around one o’ clock and this time Anna had a different approach and she was all business; after all, she wasn’t just an employee anymore, she was now part of the family and was determined to look after their investment.
“Anna, I need to go out for a while mate so if I leave you my credit card, can you put a few orders together, please? We still need a couple of decent PCs, and make sure you get a big monitor for me. We’ll also need a laptop each, and some new phones. And can you get a couple of good quality office chairs and anything else you feel we need? I don’t want any second-rate rubbish, I want all top notch gear, Anna.”
“You’ve only just got here and now you’re off again! I’ll manage, I suppose. Where are you going?” she said.
have some wheels, love, I can’t be going to meet prospective clients on the bloody bus, now can I? So I’m going to see a man about a car.”
“What about me, do I get one?”
Nick picked up the phone, which had no dialling tone. “Bloody typical, the phone’s on the blink. There’s your first job then,” Nick smiled, changing the subject.
So this is it then, for the near future
, she thought as she looked around the empty office.
Right, I suppose someone’s got to get this place into some sort of shape
. She grabbed her handbag and slipped the credit card into her pocket.
Anna got busy on her mobile and managed to spend a small fortune within a couple of hours; the credit card was starting to get a little warm around the edges.
Oh well, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, as Nick always says. This will be one big fuck-off omelette by the time I’ve finished!
she thought, as she ordered two top-of-the-range computers.
The other thing that Nick had overlooked in his excitement to rush off to play with some cars was the fact they hadn’t got a stick of furniture for their flat. It was completely bare apart from some tatty old curtains, and the place clearly hadn’t been touched for years. Luckily an IKEA and a huge DIY store were just up the road, and so the credit card received another beating and went from warm to red hot as she added another two thousand pounds to the day’s spend. At close of play five thousand pounds had bitten the dust in cold blood.
Over the next few days the little office became a hive of activity, and deliveries seemed to be coming in non-stop, one after the other. Anna was darting around all over the place; one minute she was painting the bedroom walls, the next downstairs signing for deliveries and dealing with the engineers who were installing the fibre optic internet and phone lines, while Nick was outside tinkering with his new toy. Nick’s latest acquisition was an Audi A7s, which looked fantastic as it sat outside the office in the afternoon sun like a big black beetle. The car had all the latest gadgetry, and had been fitted with lots of extras. Nick had also paid extra for the black leather trims and sports seats. Anna was a little worried about spending so much money, and wasn’t sure how he was going to react when she gave him the good news of her total spend, but she eventually plucked up the necessary courage and told him the damage. He was surprisingly unconcerned; she put it down to him being too preoccupied with his new car.
Anna stood at the small window of their flat in her paint-splattered overalls and pushed the net curtain aside. She peeked out at the busy street below, and watched Nick as he nonchalantly leant against the open door of the sports car while chatting on his mobile.
Boys and their bloody toys, what a poser
, she thought, and then finished bolting the last sections of the double bed together. All of the orders she had placed had now safely arrived, and the office was really beginning to take shape. Nick’s contributions so far was to supply the money, buy a flash sports car and sort out his own office. However, once he’d finished it, you couldn’t help but to be impressed. While he was downstairs refurbishing his office, Anna was busy creating their little love nest upstairs.
After going flat out for a week they were finally ready and open for business. The place really did look the part, especially Nick’s office, what with all the plush furniture and various
d’art he’d picked up. His specifically chosen dark wood, leather-topped desk and the beautiful old brass banker’s desk lamp he’d bought from Covent Garden market added the finishing touches. For the walls of his office, he had chosen a dark green wallpaper and on one side of the room he’d erected shelves from floor to ceiling, which he had filled with old leather bound books. Either side of the window he’d hung two large, tasteful reproductions of turn-of-the-century portraits of the aristocracy in gilt rococo frames.
Nick stood back and admired his handiwork for a moment.
“Quality,” he said, as he ran his fingertips along the spines of the books.
He sat in the thickly padded black leather executive chair behind his desk and switched on the computer.
“Right then, let’s get some ads out there and get to work,” he said to himself.
He and Anna spent the rest of that day formulating adverts and creating quirky slogans to send to suitable magazines and newspapers.
And in no time they got their first serious inquiry. Nick was a little surprised that their first job was to be a murder inquiry. It was from the son of a woman who had been recently murdered. Apparently he wasn’t happy about how the police investigation was being handled, and decided to try and do something about it himself.
The next day Nick and Anna were watching from the window as the client arrived in a chauffeur-driven Bentley, which dwarfed Nick’s new sports car as it pulled alongside.
“Fuck me, Anna, look at that motor, two hundred mph them, and that one’s brand spanking new. Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? He must have a few quid though. Listen, don’t send him in straight away; these types can often think that they’re better than you if you start fussing around them, you know, just because they’ve got a few bob. Then they start to dictate the terms and begin to push you around a bit, so leave him out here for a couple of minutes, will you?” he said.
“I’ll stall him for a minute if I can, and then I’ll buzz you before I let him in,” Anna said, as Nick gave her a thumbs up and disappeared into his office.
Nick sat down and tidied his desk and pretended to study something on screen, and waited for his new prosperous client. The phone buzzed two minutes later and Anna showed the good-looking young man into Nick’s office. He was a slim man of about thirty with fine blond hair and an intelligent look. He was very smartly dressed in an immaculate dark cashmere suit and had an air of confidence about him.
“Good afternoon, I’m Nick Harland, welcome to the Harland detective agency, please take a seat. Now we’ve only obtained the basic details of the case so far, which I must say I was quite shocked to hear about, and you have my condolences,” Nick said as they shook hands.
“Thank you, but before we go any further, Mr Harland, I must know a little more about you and your background as there are so many amateurs and pretenders out there. I’m sorry if that may sound a little offensive, as I am in no way shape or form suggesting that this is the case here, but I must have the right man for the job as I will be offering a very substantial fee,” he said.
“OK, that’s fair enough, I suppose. All of my credentials are on the website home page but no matter, I’ll quickly run through my background with you. I was in the armed forces for a number of years and was involved in many covert operations. I can’t go into too much detail about those as it is still classified information. After leaving the forces I joined the police, and was with them for just over twenty years. I climbed the ladder, and became a detective inspector and worked on dozens of high profile murder cases. I have also headed teams of detectives and at one time had the best clear-up rate in the south of England. Many of those cases were covered by the newspapers and are all archived and can be viewed if you wish to do so. In a nutshell that’s about it,” Nick said, slightly perturbed by the direct manner of the fair-haired young man opposite.
“So may I ask why you decided to leave the police force, Mr Harland?”
Fuck me, what is it with this fella? I’ve told him all he needs to know and he can check all of this out online anytime, which I suspect he’s already done. Well, two can play this game, sonny, and I don’t care how many Bentleys you’ve got, I’m getting the hump with you,
“Well, I suppose you could say that it’s probably for the same reasons that you’re sitting here and not down at your local police station,” Nick said.
“Touché, Mr Harland, and I take your point. So you, like me, became disillusioned with it all, then?”
“Yes, it’s safe to say that I was very pleased to leave it all behind. Now I can strike out on my own and make my own judgments, without the fear of being countermanded and overruled and bogged down with red tape and ridiculous politically correct rhetoric and bureaucracy.”
“Thank you for being so forthcoming, Mr Harland. You see, I have met half a dozen so called private detectives over the past few days, and quite frankly they have all been a bit of a joke and have wasted my valuable time. Most of them were just rent-a-thug wheel clampers and debt collectors. I am, as you understand, very anxious to catch the person who murdered my mother and I need to be talking to the right people. I think that you may be the right man for the job.”
“Well, murder cases are my speciality, but before we go any further I wonder if you could tell me a little bit about yourself, as I haven’t said that I will take the job on as yet.”
Touché that, my old son
“Oh, well, I didn’t think
was going to be interrogated, Mr Harland,” he said, in a slightly agitated manner.
“That’s not what I meant at all, and I have no intention of cross-examining you. I like to know who I’m doing business with. It’s Important to have a little knowledge about who I’m possibly going to be working for, in order to establish a good working relationship.”
Anna was listening at the door.
What did you say that for, Nick? Anymore of that macho point-scoring bullshit and this bloke will walk away, you silly sod.
“In the interests of a good relationship, but against my better judgement, I’ll divulge a little about myself. I’m the CEO of my own software company which I started after I graduated from university back in the early nineties, from the garage of the very house that my mother was murdered in. I was on my own for a year and then I was able to take on three employees. Now the company employs just over two thousand people and is growing considerably. I turn over a great deal of money now and I have contracts with governments in all parts of the world.”
Anna thought it might be time for a distraction to de-charge the atmosphere. She tapped on the office door and then presented her pleasant smiling face through the gap.
“Would you like some tea or coffee, gentlemen?”
“Yes, that would be very nice, a cup of tea please, no sugar,” said the good-looking young man, as he peeked over his shoulder.
“Yes, same for me please, Anna,” Nick said. He started to relax a little now that he’d felt that he’d established an even playing field.
“OK, won’t be a moment,” she said, as she noted the young man’s charming smile.
Anna’s timely intervention had done the trick and the atmosphere returned to normal. As Nick began to elaborate further on his murder squad credentials, the client sat back and listened intently for the next two hours as Nick lectured him on the modus operandi of serial killers, psychopaths and murderers. He was happy with what he was hearing but was giving nothing away, and just sat quietly. Finally he was sure that he’d now definitely made the right choice and he had heard enough. He raised his hand and cut into Nick’s oratory.