Action adventure stories are my favourite, I love reading them, and recently I discovered I love writing them!
What's going on? can they get to the truth?
From the Author
We left the last episode where the team had names for the men who tried to Ambush them in Bristol, and it's time to start the 'payback'.
'Billie' the cop investigating the murder knows she was attacked for the information she was given, trouble is, she doesn't know what the information is, and can't be sure whom she can trust!
Let's take the story from there and see what happens
From the previous
“We’ve already got some stuff from Smithy’s photos” she replied, “you’re gonna love this” the sarcasm coming through strong, “recognise this one?” she threw the first photo, a slightly fuzzy image, but there was no mistaking the features, a long scar down the right side of the face, running from the temple to the mouth. “Or what about this guy?” the second picture, someone more stocky, yet not an ounce of fat, short black hair.
“The first ring a bell” Jacko picked the first photo up, brow furrowed, “is that?” he began.
“Patrick O'flanagan” Sandy finished off, “one time IRA trigger man, and just about everything else” she turned towards the laptop. “Finished a ten year stretch in France two years ago, for drugs and extortion, and a few kneecaps removed from people.”
“A nice guy then” Joey chipped in.
“Keep him off your guest lists, that’s for sure” Mac piped up. “Then again, maybe we need to send him a calling card?” He was hitting his left fist into the palm of the right hand.
“But first” Sandy spoke again, “we’ve got a bit of a doozy for you, this you’re gonna love” she placed the next photo down so that they could all see it, obviously enjoying the suspense she went on, “O'flanagan will be next to impossible to find, at least with our resources, and time, “ she handed a piece of paper to each of them, it was a fact sheet for the other guy. ”This boy took the trouble to let us know where his boss works, not just that, you won’t have to kill the swine, just hand him over to the Ukrainians, they’ll do with a smile in their faces” she was actually smiling, it wasn’t often you got carte blanche to send a scumbag down a very deep and very dark hole.
“This ‘Pietr’ Gromatski clown” Joey spoke up, “says he’s also known as ‘Igor’, he looks a real nasty piece of work, what is it,” he was looking at the Interpol ‘rap sheet’ with the photo, “suspected of three gang-related killings in Kiev, one where an innocent kid was gunned down. He threw the paper back down onto the table, raising his head he looked Jacko right in the eye as if asking the boss what he thought.
“You’re right” Jacko spoke softly, every syllable deliberately chosen to drive home the emphasis, “killing this piece would be too quick, a few years in a Ukrainian gulag first would be more fitting.”
There are some places where prison is real harsh punishment, then there are places where its a fate worse than death, Ukraine, while not the worst, it is enough to strike terror into the heart of the hardest criminal, and Gromatski would have reason to fear, in their eyes he was a child killer, the worst punishment was reserved for them.
One by one they replaced the photos, Sandy gathered them up, shed shred and incinerate them later, but for now, she had a briefing to run.
“Gromatski works for Alexei Serkov, the ‘businessman’ in the East end” she passed a piece of paper round, nothing in this briefing was going via electronic channels, there was no way of knowing how much was being passed to the other side, especially when they couldn't be sure exactly how much information the mole had access to.
“I take it you've got an address then?” Jacko was all business.
Meanwhile, 'Things to do'
“Thanks for picking me up Jimmie, I owe you one,” Billie struggled to stand, she wasn't entirely sure discharging herself was her brightest idea, the doc had made it plain she didn’t think it a good one, ‘but doctors are like that’ she thought.
“Don’t talk soft boss” Jimmie reached out to help her, she brushed him off, if she was going to do this she had to do it herself. “you’d do the same for us.”
“Nah” she replied, “I’d tell you not to be such a bloody idiot” she laughed and turned to him, “but don’t you even think about saying it!” her face looked stern, but there was a mischievous twinkle in her eye.
Jimmy might be the youngest on her squad and the keenest, but he was reliable and could keep his mouth shut when he needed to, right now she didn’t know who to trust, but Jimmie had been trustworthy in the past.
“We’ve got some digs arranged for you, wanna go there first?”
“Maybe second, take me to my place first” she replied, “there are a few things I need to get”
“You sure about that?” he came back, “it’s pretty rough”
“I can handle it” she wasn’t offended that he’d asked that she would be asking the same thing if it was anyone else, actually she’d probably be forbidding them from even going near, using the excuse of ‘not wanting to tamper with the crime scene’ even though everyone knew that the Crime Scene forensics unit had finished with the scene. “Besides, what I need isn’t actually in the flat!”
"A little girl crying in the dark?"
Portobello Road, where Billie’s ‘flat’ had been was well within the boundaries, it was also ideally located for working in central London. Just north of the world famous tourist mecca of Hyde Park it was in an area known as Notting Hill, a working-class enclave within what had become middle-class inner London, a vibrant and colourful community from just about every nation on earth, it wasn’t uncommon to go about your day speaking Swahili with the Africans, Hindi, Punjabi, Hindi or Gujarati with the Indians, or any one of the hundreds of languages from the subcontinent, not to mention Arabic, Farsi or even Aramaic to name a few of the languages, sometimes using two or three of the languages mixed with English in the same sentence, Billie loved it, it made her feel at home, ‘Just like Moss Side’ she thought.
“I need to pick something up from the old place first” Bille spoke up as she gently eased herself into the car, “then I need to go get a cheap laptop, then you can take me wherever the new place is”
“Guv” Jimmy began, “We took everything we could from the flat” he tried to reassure her, thinking she was wanting to go and confront the demon of fear, “It’s all at the new”
“It wasn’t at the flat” she cut him off, “I knew something was off, so I hid it before I got there, it’s what those creeps were looking for,”
“Scuse me?” he started to form a question.
“When I got dropped off, the lights were out in the entry, broken,” she began, “Five years I’ve lived here, and they’ve never once been broken at night, the folks in the flats value their safety too much to leave them that way, someone had just busted them, I knew something was coming down, so I hid what I’d just picked up.”
“Then why the hell didn’t you call and?”
“And sound like a little girl crying because of the dark?” she shot back, Jimmy was taken aback, “not to you maybe” she went on, “but to the likes of that prick Townsend, that’s exactly what it would sound like, and get me busted out of the position for wasting police resources, I didn’t have any proof, just a gut feeling.” her face was a picture of determination. “Nah, I wasn’t going to give him the pleasure. Now take me there so I can get it.”
“But what’s so important about this whatever it is?”
“That: she replied, “we’ll only know when I get it, and a cheap laptop, one that doesn’t have an internet connection built in, so I can open the file without them being able to stop me”
“So it’s a computer file then?”
“Guv” they’d stopped at the car park barrier arms, they were rising, but he took the opportunity to give her an enquiring look, “how can you not know?”
“Bloody easy,” she replied sarcastically, “someone with enough clout to find my number, not the one you guys have, but my personal phone, hell only my Mum and sister have that number! It's not even in the phone book, but they got it and wanted me to have some pretty serious information about our body in the river,” she shifted in the seat as Jimmy accelerated away, she was still nervous, trying to see if they were followed, “somebody else doesn’t want that information getting out,” she stopped for a moment.
“And?” Jimmy asked.
“And they’re prepared to kill to stop it getting out”
"No one ever said criminals were smart! but this must be hellishly important to them!"
Notting Hill is northwest of the famous Hyde Park, it’s a multicultural area with a large Jamaican and Caribbean community, but there are also Indians, Africans and dozens of other nationalities living in that area and it's all working class, just Paddington that sits just to the east of it, the North and South of the park are just like the famous horror novel “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” with the North being whichever you think the working classes should be.
If Dr Jekyll’s opposite was a ‘Mr Hyde’ then the opposite of Notting Hill and Paddington would be Knightsbridge and Chelsea.
Knightsbridge looks just as multicultural until you look beneath the veneer, that is the Middle Eastern oil money being spent in places like Harrods, Chelsea is just rich, with even the smallest place fetching five or six million pounds sterling, and that’s the starting prices, they’re like to different planets, yet only a couple of miles apart.
“Will ya look at the bloody money around here” Joey was constantly flabbergasted at the incredible wealth is some places, and the poverty that seemed to exist ‘side by side’, It didn’t help that almost every car in the street they were in was either a high-end Rolls Royce, Ferrari or a Bentley, “Makes yer wanna weep”
“Welcome to the financial capital of the world” Sandy replied almost wistfully, she loved London, but the sheer opulence at times was too much, especially in Knightsbridge where most of the wealth wasn’t even English, it was Arab oil money, very few English could afford to live here.
“Gromatski is in there at the moment” Jacko pointed to the front door of the huge department store that was Harrods, “He’s looking after one of Serkhov’s mistresses, she’s in there buying whatever she wants”
“Sugar daddy?” Jacko asked.
“He’s nearly sixty, she’s nineteen” Sandy replied.
“Talk about cradle snatching” Joey replied.
“Only one he smuggled here that it turned out well for” Sandy came back, “but even she’s on a very short leash, gilded prison if you know what I mean?” it came out more like a question.
“Hence Gromatski” Joey replied as they saw the man leaving, he was looking around, as if trying to spot any unwelcome visitors, like journalists, or cops, no one was looking at a black taxi cab seemingly arguing over a fare, Jacko was decked out as the driver, Joey and Sandy as the tourists, Mac and Smithy were close by, they would be needed for the next part, “I take it, no one ever found any evidence then?”
“Always a whiff” Sandy replied, “Never any proof, and too many friends in the right place to make sure no one asked questions”
“And here we are” Jacko came back into the discussion, “One of his men driving the vehicle that takes potshots at one being guarded by MI6! Makes you wonder at times”
“No one ever said criminals were the smart boss” Joey chipped in cheekily, “But it must be hellishly important to them, whatever they were hoping for”
"About a billion reasons"
"About a billion reasons and I’m talking pounds sterling, not US dollars” Sandy replied, they both turned and stared at her, their jaws on the floor, “What?” she went on, “where did you think the new toys you got to play within Iran came from? You don’t honestly think HM government would put up the money for the Op did you?”
“Sandy” Joey spoke slowly, “we knew that it’s just that the amount, it’s bloody huge”
“And it put a serious hole in the drug trade worldwide” Sandy replied, “we were getting nowhere with the old methods, so we turned things around, we knew we could get at some of the money, but rather than just locking it up in bank accounts, and getting them to freeze the accounts, you freeze an account, all you do is reward the Bankers for being corrupt, take the money and everyone is at each other’s throats, no one trusts the others, that’s what we did”
“And what did they hope to achieve?”
“Simple really” Sandy replied, “They’ve got someone on the inside, once the ransomware got as far as MI6, with Farid out of the way, their person on the inside could send the deactivation code, but with a difference, it would have MI6’s Banks listed, and they’d be able to clean us out, not just of the money we took, but everything, secrets as well, and that means every agent in the field, the motherlode!”
“Here they come” Jacko cut across the conversation, he reached for his phone, tapped in a few letters and numbers, then pressed send.
Joey and Sandy both broke off and walked hand in hand towards the entrance, to the rest of the world they looked like lovers who only had eyes for each other, that was only partly true, both of them were scanning their ‘peripherals’ making sure everything went to plan.
“They're not bothering to watch” Joey whispered to Sandy as they got level, “get ready”
Sandy tripped ‘right on cue’ flailing slightly as she went down, Joey reached out and caught her just as she ‘fell’ against the big ‘bear’ of a guy escorting a young blonde towards the Mercedes, what people didn’t see was Sandy slip a small metal device inside the wheel well at the back, “trackers in place” she whispered into the small lapel mike.
Enjoy the other books in the series/
From the author
And that's all for this week folks. Just what do they have planned for Gromatski? That you'll have to come back and find out next time.
Hope you enjoyed this week's episode, don't forget to drop me a line and let me know.
© 2018 Lawrence Hebb