Chapter 10 (part 1)
Everything went as smooth as silk. The family would still be in chaos while I was pulling into the car park of the Esplanade. I went to my room, changed and decided to go for a walk. Pescara is a very attractive place and in the current weather very relaxing. I found a café on the waterfront and made like a tourist with my coffee and camera. I was looking around at the restaurants, trying to decide which I would eat in this evening when……..
“Good afternoon Patrick san!”
“Konnichiwa Sumisu san!” I sighed.
He was wearing pale beige slacks, brown sandals and a Hawaiian style shirt.
“Congratulations! An almost perfect job,” he stated.
“Almost!” I shot back.
“The bodyguard died. Choked on his own blood I believe!” he continued tersely.
“Really?” was the only pathetic answer I could come up with.
I was flabbergasted. Torino’s body wouldn’t be cold yet and Sumisu knew everything. He smiled at my frustration.
“Do not worry Patrick san. I have contacts, and mobile phones are quicker than Alfa Romeos. From here I want you to return home and resume your training. Although I must say that your level of control is improving. I will come and see you in a few days and let you know what we need to do next!”
“Next?” I asked. With the Torino family?”
“We have inflicted grievous harm on their organisation both personally and fiscally, but we still do not know which way they will jump. It would be naïve to assume that they will withdraw. They must be making a lot of money and so it may not be that easy to push them out of the UK,” he said.
“I see,” I remarked blandly.
“Your flight is booked for tomorrow morning. Enjoy the rest of your stay. Make sure you don’t sleep in!” he smiled knowingly, shook my hand and left.
I strolled round the town and looked at souvenirs, clothes shops and vintners. I made a few expensive purchases and returned to the hotel where I ate dinner and returned to my room. She was waiting in bed for me! So that was what Sumisu meant. Sly old dog! What a perfect job and home tomorrow!
I woke early! It was still dark. A noise had disturbed me. I kept very still and listened. I thought it was Misaki’s breathing but she wasn’t there next to me. Perhaps she’d left early again maybe. Then I felt the pressure of something cold and sharp against my neck. I lay very still.
“Put on the light!” the weapon holder commanded.
This was an obvious instruction and then the main light in the room being turned on blinded me. There were two men as far as I could tell. They were vague shapes; my eyes had not adjusted to the glare.
“Get up! Get dressed!”
As there was only me in the room in a state of undress, I did as I was told! The two large serious looking men watched me the whole time. They had left me the black gear I had been wearing earlier the previous day and then packed my bags for me. There was no sign of the weaponry. I wondered if Misaki had packed it up and taken it before these two had arrived. Or maybe she had called them! I didn’t know what to think but one of the guys was vaguely like the one who had opened the main gate for the older Torino’s a couple of days before. When I was dressed I was marched out of the hotel through the reception, which was deserted. Conveniently! There was a large bronze Mercedes right outside the door. They held the back door for me – very polite – and one guy got in beside me, while the other drove. I had a feeling that I knew where we would be going.
We drove for an hour and a half towards Jesi but we didn’t go to the villa. Dawn was beginning to break as we drove into what looked like an industrial park. We pulled up alongside a building not unlike the one I was purchasing back home. I was aware that there was a gun at my side throughout the drive and now it was at my back as I got out of the car. Nothing had been said on the journey and now I was being shepherded out of the car and into a door, which led to a comfortable office. I was sat in a chair in front of a desk. There were no bindings or violence – as yet. I didn’t know who these people thought they had, but it was imperative that I didn’t divulge who I was working for. No one had ever told me this was necessary but it wasn’t rocket science. Most important of all was that I get away as quickly as possible. Up to present all they would have is my name and the fact that I am stupid to the nth degree. Of all the cars to hire, a red Alfa! Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I would have been wiser to hire a small grey Fiat Panda.
I sat still and shook slightly. It would not look good if I was too cool. God knows I didn’t feel cool. The efforts I had made at protesting and questioning had gone nowhere so far. I had to keep trying.
“Who are you? What do you want with me?” I asked in a steadily rising tone.
No response. I sighed and sat back in the chair for a moment. I would have to escalate my efforts and take whatever opportunities arose. I was also hoping that Sumisu would be aware. His contacts were very sharp. I stood up and turned to face the guy stood by the door.
“You can’t do this to me. I am a British citizen on holiday. I insist you take me back to my hotel. I have a plane to catch today.”
“Sit!” was the snarled response.
Which, apart from a tiny wave of the gun, was the only sign that he was alive. It would be difficult to get to the ice cold, emotionless bastard without getting shot. I would have to make a move while I was being shepherded around. All assuming they didn’t kill me where I sat! All was quiet. I was beginning to wonder! That could be their plan – to make me nervous – then I would be a pushover to question. What could they possibly know? No one had any idea who I was or what I was doing in Italy. I had done the tourist thing and even had a business meeting with a local financial bigwig. So how did they get to me? As I thought it must have been the car. Jesi was a small place with few real sites of interest, but picturesque. My car would stick out like a sore thumb. They knew nothing really! So I have to be as pure as the driven snow.
“I want to speak to the English Consulate. I have my rights!” I persisted.
I had raised my voice a notch. Still no reaction! Shit! How long is this going to take? I had been in this room for an hour! I was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Their ploy was working. I have never liked waiting around. I don’t do queues! Silence! I stood up slowly and turned to face my guard.
“Sit!” he said again.
No snarl or grimace, just a simple command backed up by his handgun.
“I need the bathroom!” I squeaked.
He was like the proverbial ‘wooden Indian’ totally impervious to anything I said or did.
He took a step forward and raised the gun a fraction. Before I had to make a decision as to what to do next the door opened. In walked quite a little group. I knew most of them. Julia, Pietro and Gianni Torino led the way. Another bodyguard type brought up the rear.
“Sit down please Mr Steele!” said Julia with a sweet smile.
“Who are you? Why have I been brought here? What do you want with me? I have missed my return flight.”
“All in good time Mr Steele. First of all we have a few questions.”
Her English was very good almost accent less. She is very attractive. Dark hair and thick eyebrows, olive skinned and quite tall emphasised by the high heels she was wearing. She was slim and smart which the grey business suit supported. Every inch the lawyer and in control of herself and the situation!
Her brothers were far more predictable. They had the same dark looks but were obviously disturbed and, in my judgement, had not decided how they should be reacting at the moment. They looked nervous and volatile.
“Why are you in Italy?” she asked.
“I don’t have to answer your questions I don’t even know who you are and why I have been abducted,” I retorted.
I didn’t see the blow coming so its force was magnified by surprise. One of the boys had slapped me round the side of the head. My face stung and I was deafened temporarily. Some rapid fire Italian followed this from Julia and I heard the name Gianni mentioned.
“I am sorry about that Mr Steele. My brother is a little upset. You see my oldest brother was killed last night.”
“What has that got to do with me? I am a banker. I have done some business and had some holiday and now I am going back to work in the UK. I would appreciate it if you would take me back to the airport,” I had tried to sound slightly nervous but assertive.
“All in good time Mr Steele. You have been to our town and have been seen in your little red car near our home. Now why did you come here?” her cool was turned back on!
“I still do not see why I have to tell you but I have never been to the area before and have done some touring round. I liked Jesi and have visited a couple of times. I tried a route inland on one of my trips and turned back because the route didn’t seem to be leading anywhere different. As for your brother! I am just an ordinary man. I haven’t hurt anyone in my life. (If only they knew!!). So I insist you let me go,” quite a speech! Was it convincing? I had said the right things and that was about all.
There was a degree of hesitation about Julia. A hurried conversation between the siblings, and from their body language, suggested that the boys wanted to skin me alive, whereas Julia was providing the voice of reason. If I made a move too soon it would tip my hand and elicit a violent reaction. I waited. It was full daylight outside now and promised to be a warm one. I could hear the sounds of people moving around elsewhere in the building. For others it would be a normal days work. The family left me with two bodyguards and went out of the office. What was going to happen? I wouldn’t stand a chance with the two gorillas guarding me. What to do next?
To hell with it! I am sick of waiting for them to do something to me, time for some precipitate action. So it will make them focus on me but I’d rather go out like a lion than a lamb! The chair I was sitting on was a basic upright wooden dining chair. They hadn’t tied my hands. I surreptitiously gauged the position of my two opponents. The one with the gun in his hands was the obvious first target but I would have to hit them both almost simultaneously. I had no weapons but the chair so I would get hold of the left hand side of my chair back with my left hand; get up and swing the chair with my left hand into the armed guard and hit the other guy with my right hand or foot whichever is nearest. I had to ensure that the second guard was incapacitated so that I could totally disarm guard no.1 so a hard blow to the nose with the heel of my palm would fit the bill.Then it would be a case of how would I get away? The three Torino’s, sounds like a troop of circus acrobats, were still about somewhere. I would need a car. I knew I was on the outskirts of Jesi but without wallet or passport. My first move once I get away would be to head for the airport at Ancona. On the other hand they would probably expect me to do that. Moving from here is going to be tricky. I need to buy myself some time. Perhaps I needed to get hold of the family members and incarcerate them in such a way as to guarantee myself 24 hours to leave Italy. A bit far-fetched!