Authors: Bill Carson
She was in love with him and maybe it wasn’t that bad of an idea after all. Two ex-coppers working as private detectives, what could possibly go wrong? They went back to the hotel and stayed at the bar until late. Just before they went to sleep Nick turned over and whispered into Anna’s ear.
“Hey, Anna, guess what?”
“OK, I give up, what?” she said half-heartedly.
“I’ve got another surprise for you tomorrow.”
“Can’t wait,” she grumbled, as she turned her back on him and couldn’t be bothered to make any more small talk. She’d had enough of him for one night, and in reality what she really wanted to do was simply tell him to fuck off!
Anna was feeling a little worse for wear next morning, as the small celebration that Nick had laid on had turned into a bit of a binge drink, and she wasn’t used to consuming large amounts of alcohol. Her head was throbbing and felt like it was the size of a football. He, on the other hand, was up and about early. He’d showered and had already been out for some smokes and newspapers, and had also ordered two full English breakfasts which had just arrived.
At breakfast Anna said little and pushed around the eggs, bacon and sausages on her plate. She was still in a massively sulky mood which he put down to the hangover. He, on the other hand, was still very much in high spirits. He eventually stopped reading the paper and decided to kick things off.
“You’re quiet, what’s up?” he asked, as he slipped his arm around her shoulder.
“Headache” she said, without looking up.
“Oh, I see, I’ll get you a couple of aspirins, that’ll sort you out. Don’t forget, I’ve got another little surprise for you this evening, and I guarantee you’ll like this one too, so I hope you’ll be feeling a bit better later on.”
“Yeah, we’ll see,” she said, as she rose from the table and marched off into the bathroom and locked the door behind her.
I don’t know. Can’t live with ‘
and can’t live without ‘
. She’ll pick up, especially after the surprise I’ve got for her,
“Anna, I’m popping out, love, I won’t be long. I’ve got to go and see a man about a bit of business,” Nick shouted through the locked door.
A forced mumble came from the other side.
“Don’t hurry back,” she said.
It was safe to say that Nick, for reasons unbeknown to him, was in Anna’s bad books. He could not for the life of him establish why, as his mind was totally preoccupied with his new venture.
What have I done? Or was it something that I should have done and didn’t do? Was it something that I said or didn’t say? I don’t know, women, what do they really want? Do they know? Now there’s a question,
he thought, as he slid into the back seat of a black taxi. Throughout the journey, his brain began to switch into detective mode, and he started to retrace his steps over the past twenty-four hours to see where or even if he’d put his foot in it.
Now she was alright in the restaurant, and she looked absolutely terrific, all smiles and kisses and compliments, and then bang! An hour later, out of nowhere, I‘ve got some right old moaning minger on my hands, with a face like a well-slapped arse and as hostile as fuck. I need to go back a bit here and look at this from a different angle. I’ve definitely missed something here. She looked great and was as sexy as hell in her best dress and I…
He stopped the self-interrogation, as he’d finally figured it out and the penny suddenly dropped.
Oh bollocks, poor Anna, she was expecting me to be down on one knee with a gold ring in my hand. It all adds up now. All she got was a lousy trip to Hammersmith and a quick waltz around her new place of employment, and I hadn’t even asked her if she wanted to do the fucking job. I can be an absolute idiot sometimes. I’ll have to make it up to her; if I don’t I could lose her. I don’t need that, especially right now, as that would screw everything right up. Mind you, I really don’t fancy getting hitched either, but maybe I can compromise,
“Hey, driver, pull over just here will you, please.”
The cab came to a sudden halt right outside Hemming’s, the upmarket jeweller.
John Kane had decided that it was time to leave his beautiful little cottage and this particularly sad chapter of his life behind, and move on once more. As a light breeze ruffled through his hair like the gentle caressing hand of a loved one, he stopped loading the van for a moment and drank in the spectacular scenery for one last time.
As the dying rays of the huge sinking blood-red sun brought forth the night, he gazed out across the bay. In the distance he could see the tiny coloured lights surrounding the balcony of the delightful little seafood restaurant as they swayed and flickered in the twilight, and recalled the last time he was there with Lynda.
As he stood and gazed out to sea, all was peaceful and still, and the only sounds were the slow distant rhythmic hum of a propeller-driven aircraft and the endless surge of the tide. Half an hour later, he’d finished loading the last of his belongings into the old Transit van, but before closing the van doors he decided to double check the contents of his rucksack.
Black beanie hat – check; large pair of cable cutting pliers – check; large steel cold chisel – check; rubber mallet – check; micro torch – check; knife – check; leather gloves – check; pair of thick woolly socks – check.
He secured the back doors, climbed into the van, and headed for the M4. It’s a long haul from Cornwall to London, the best part of three hundred and fifty miles, and his journey would be a little longer.
As he exited the motorway he headed away from London and joined the M25 and travelled towards Watford. He specifically sought out a small engineering factory on the outskirts of the rural town because of its use of highly corrosive acids. At precisely 2.45 a.m. John Kane pulled the weary van over to the kerb and parked at the edge of the town. He grabbed his rucksack and made his way across country on foot.
Fifteen minutes later, he stopped on the corner of the crossroads and quickly checked the signpost for the industrial park: it was pointing dead ahead. He had a quick surreptitious glance around and all was quiet. He then crouched down and, under the cover of the darkness, he crept toward the high chain-link fence that surrounded the small industrial estate.
He made it to the fence undetected and slipped on his gloves and then he sat, watched and listened for a moment. He pushed back the sleeve of his tight fitting black compression top and checked the luminous dial on his large-faced diver’s watch. It was now exactly 3 a.m. At this time in the morning it was a good bet that the night security guards would be at their lowest ebb, as they were generally nine hours into their insanely long twelve-hour shifts. From his position the theory was proven as he could just make out the bulky shape of an overweight security guard who was slumped inside the little white hut, which was situated to the left of the main entrance gate.
thought John, as he slipped the razor sharp lock knife into his back pocket.
He knelt on the dew-soaked grass, unclipped the plastic clasps on the rucksack and placed it beside him. He opened the zip and pulled on the black beanie hat, and then took the pair of large cable cutters from the side pouch of the rucksack and snipped the thick strand of wire that ran along the bottom of the fence. He then clipped two more sections of the wire fence which ran vertically, and grasped the bottom part of one of the wires. With his right hand he began to slowly unwind it in an anti-clockwise direction. As if by magic a gap in the chain link fence opened up like a giant zipper and he crawled through the opening, unheard and unseen.
The factory was at the very end of a row of similarly constructed buildings, except that this one was older and had old-fashioned wooden double doors. Thankfully the place had a little less lighting, due to some bulbs that had blown. Only one camera pointed in the direction of the doors, which was of no consequence as the guard in the box who was supposed to be watching it was still snoring.
He quickly removed the rucksack and placed it beside him. He took out the large chisel and forced the sharp blade into the tongue and groove joint of the door, wrapped his beanie hat over the end of the chisel and clouted it with the rubber mallet. The single, solid blow split the joint open first go.
He managed to lever the plank free without too much trouble, which made the next one easier to remove, and the gap he’d now created was big enough for him to crawl through. Breaking in this way would also ensure that the simple alarm connection top and bottom of the door wasn’t compromised. Before entering, he took another peek at the security box, and could see that he’d thankfully not disturbed the dozing security guard. He then pulled the thick woollen socks over his boots to muffle the sound of his footsteps against the concrete floor of the factory.
John carefully and quietly dragged himself through the gap and pulled the rucksack through after him. Once inside he clicked the button on the micro torch once to turn it on, and then clicked it again to lower the intensity of the beam. He then shielded the beam with the palm of his hand so that most of the light was now deflected toward the floor. He held the tiny torch out in front of him at arm’s length, and inched his way around the unfamiliar layout of the workshop. His steps were slow and deliberate, and at all times he was aware of the fact that the slightest noise could be disastrous.
He eventually found his way to the back of the workshop, where the secure storeroom was situated. It was easy to spot as it had large warning signs plastered all over it and right slap-bang in the middle was the symbol for corrosive acid. He made short work of the padlock by ramming the chisel into the hasp and levering it from the reinforced door. Beyond that was the steel cage he was looking for.
The smaller padlock yielded little resistance. He then stepped inside the cage and ran the torch light along the shelves, stopping at the small, bright yellow bottle with a label of a skull and crossed bones and a melting hand symbol on the front. He carefully slipped the rucksack from his back and slid the bottle gently into a small, tight fitting side pocket. He then picked up the rucksack and retraced his steps back to the fence. As he reached it, he took a quick glance over toward the guard’s box which was empty
. He must be making his rounds,
thought John, as he reached for the knife in his back pocket and quickly glanced left and right, picturing the fat guard strolling around the corner at any moment. He crouched down on all fours and kept as low as possible. He crept like a cat, using long silent strides, and eventually made it safely back to the gap in the fence. He stood up on tiptoes and now got a better view of the security box. He could now see that the guard was still in there; he’d just slumped down a little more into his comfy chair as he fell into an even deeper sleep. John pulled the soaking wet socks off his boots, and made his escape back the way he came.
He drove to the next town and parked up in a quiet side street some ten miles away from the factory to get his head down. After two hours of disrupted sleep in the back of the van, he started the engine and made his way back on to the M25 and headed for west London.
An hour later, he spun the steering wheel to full lock and slowly negotiated the old creaky van around the sharp bend into All Souls Avenue in London. He switched off the tired engine and pulled up the squeaky handbrake, parking the van adjacent to a small rundown two up, two down house that he’d inquired about renting the week before.
The place was reasonably priced and was perfectly located for a quick commute into central London. The underground station only a ten-minute walk away, and best of all was the fact that the chap he was dealing with was not overly concerned with too many details. He closed his eyes as he waited for the landlord to arrive, and an hour later a silver Mercedes saloon quietly rolled to a halt opposite him. A smartly-dressed Asian man hopped out of the driver’s seat, and approached the front door of the small property.
“Ah, Mr Terry, I presume?” he said, as John climbed out of the van and casually stepped, bleary eyed, into the bright, clear, cold morning.
“Morning, Mr Shah,” he said, as he strolled up the path.
“Nice to finally meet you, Terry. Now, let me quickly show you around the interior of the property,” he said, as he produced a set of keys and a small red rent book from his briefcase as they entered the dingy living room. The air was musty and the wallpaper dirty and peeling from the damp walls. The furniture was worn out.
Probably infested with bugs, but so what
, thought John as he feigned interest in the conversation.
“As you can see, it is fully furnished with all mod cons, and this property is what I like to call one of my bijou apartments,” he said with a smile. As he opened the curtains to allow in the sunlight, he unleashed a million dust particles which began to swirl around them. After a quick wander around upstairs the deal was settled, and John agreed to take the property, but only on a strictly cash only basis. He agreed to pay Mr Shah two months’ rent in advance, to which there was absolutely no argument.
“Now then, Terry, I need to see some form of ID and I’ll be off, as I have another tenant to see this morning. It’s just a formality, you understand,” said Mr Shah with a big, reassuring grin.
John produced the birth certificate from his inside pocket. “That good enough, Mr Shah?” he said. As soon as he’d handed him the forgery, John drew a large bundle of bank notes from his pocket, and began to flick through them. He was sure that he could see the landlord’s ears twitch at the sound, and his eyes widened a little as he quickly handed back the birth certificate.
“I usually ask for two forms of ID, Mr Terry, but seeing as it’s you, I think I can overlook it this time. I tell you, I wish all my tenants were as prompt and as forthcoming with the rent as you, my friend. Now look, if there is anything you need, call me on this number,” he said, as he handed John a business card and the keys to the property with one hand, and simultaneously relieved John of the two thousand in readies with the other.
“Thanks, Mr Shah, will do,” John said, as he closed the front door.
John had several good reasons for choosing the place, the first being that it had a high sturdy wooden fence surrounding it. It also had side access from the street which led to a tiny garden, just big enough to house his 125cc high performance Vespa scooter. He stopped for a moment and looked down at the name on his rent book and smiled as he let his new title sink in. He then took the Vespa from the back of the van and pushed it into the small yard where he spent the rest of that day giving the bike a much needed tune up.
Next morning he was up early, and the first thing on the list to do was to go for a good long run to clear the mind and blow the cobwebs of fear and doubt away. After a quick shower, he was en route to a small shabby internet café on the Farringdon Road.
John sat at the rear of the untidy little establishment, making sure that no one could see what he was researching. He also reduced the font size to make sure that everything on screen was made as small as possible, just in case anyone took an interest as to what he was looking up. Right out of the blue, you could get all kinds of odd characters accosting you with odd and exotic offers. He scanned through the Old Bailey’s court registry, and after a little digging he found the name of the judge he was looking for. He noted that he was in session and was presiding over a good, long complicated murder case.
On paper, it looked like it would be a straightforward task; the only problem was that the police had insisted that this judge must always have a bodyguard assigned to him during working hours. This meant he’d have to stake the place out, which was going to be a little risky because the place was obviously always crawling with police.
He scrolled down to the bottom of the page and clicked on the jobs section, and his luck was in because there was a vacancy for a kitchen porter in the court’s main kitchen. He clicked on the icon and the site redirected him to the agency that was dealing with the applications.
He quickly jotted down the number and made an appointment. They were willing to see him right away. John had prepared himself for the long haul on this one, as he knew that this task would probably be a long drawn out, complicated and harrowing affair, and he’d planned it so that it would flow with a number of specific increments at every stage. Strokes of luck like this would make things flow a little easier, and if he was successful in getting the job, the first phase would begin immediately.
After half an hour in the café, he logged off and went into the toilet. He ran his fingers through his hair a couple of times and stood in front of the mirror. He practised a few facial expressions and readied himself for his one o’clock appointment at the job agency.
The employment agency was only a stone’s throw from the Old Bailey, and as he sat in the lobby he started to become a little nervous about pulling this one off. At one stage he almost got up to walk out but he didn’t, and in fact his genuine nervousness would actually help a great deal with the credibility aspect of the deception.