Chapter 9 (part 1)
I waited until after dinner and went to my room, changed into my night work clothes and left when the reception area was quiet. Fortunately, the provincial Italians were not ones for retiring late. All was quiet by 22:30 and no one saw me stroll through the reception and pass out into the street. I strolled around the town in what I hoped was an aimless manner and checked that I wasn’t being followed. I was back at the lawyer’s door within half an hour of leaving the hotel. I hadn’t noticed an alarm system; logic would suggest that one system would be a nightmare to keep secure among at least five lots of office staff. I used my credit card to trip the lock and get in. There was no light or windows so my maglite on a tight beam helped me to see my way upstairs. There were no tell-tale lights shining under the doors. I went straight forward and picked the lock of Julia’s office door. There was a reception area with a desk and filing cabinet opposite the door, and a couple of easy chairs and a small coffee table. There was another door to the left of the desk. I tried the handle and it was open. What did that tell me? That there was nothing to find! The office was immaculate. Ultra-modern and very stark! It took about 30 seconds to work out that there was little I could use as fuel. I had some explosive and lighter fluid but I needed material to slow the initial conflagration to give me a chance to leave. As things stood there was going to be an explosion, admittedly damage, but then nothing. I wanted total devastation. I wanted a fire that would consume the inside of the room. I went back into the outer office and opened the filing cabinet. There was paper in there. I made a pile under the desk in the office and pushed the visitors’ chairs close to Julia’s desk. I planted the charge under the desk and split the furniture and placed the padding round the charge. I set the timer for an hour hence and quietly left the office closing the door behind me. I didn’t want the fire to spread too far too fast.
I was in bed by the time I heard the sirens! So I’d started. I needed to move more quickly for Antonio! I am fairly sure I know where he would be first thing in the morning.
I stood on the corner of the street leading to Julia Torino’s office and watched the family gather for the post mortem. There were 4 of them. Two young fit looking men, I assume Pietro and Gianni; Julia and Antonio. Antonio was greying at the temples but looked bronzed and healthy. They didn’t look upset - rather furious. Understandable I suppose. The fire brigade were damping down. There were others as well – probably workers from the other offices. But it was easy to see who was in control by the body language. The photographs in the file I had made it easy to ID the family so the rest was simple logic. It was plain that I couldn’t hit Antonio here. There were one or two serious looking individuals standing on the periphery that may be hired help! It did help with identifying other staff and their vehicles. I stayed until the Torino family with hangers on moved away. They headed for two vehicles, both saloons and both luxurious but not particularly conspicuous. No large black limos with guys wearing suits with bulges under the armpits! Just two large family cars!
I kept a watchful eye on the party and followed at a discrete distance when they finally started to move away towards the main square. I stayed back, it wouldn’t matter if I lost them – the town isn’t that big anyway. I had my Glock 17 in my waistband so if the opportunity arose I could conclude my business now. The thought set the adrenaline coursing through my veins. Antonio was a thoroughly bad lot who needed to be stopped and that was my contract. That is what I do. I stop people.
The group split up when they reached the piazza. I stayed with Julia and Antonio and the two musclemen. They went to a pavement café and sat. I stopped before them in a smaller establishment and stayed closer to the wall of the building. It was easy to keep an eye on them without being observed. I ordered a coffee and settled behind a newspaper that had been left on a neighbouring table. It was a very pleasant hour or so before they set off again. Unfortunately, they were never out of sight of crowds of people – I couldn’t make the kill here. I would never get away. Back to the drawing board! I let them go and strolled off to my hotel to think. One thing was certain, I couldn’t leave it to a chance encounter, nor could I let time slide by.
Once back in my room my first decision was to raid the minibar. Why should I worry about the cost? I had plenty of lolly! Second, I have to plan do the dirty deed at the villa. How? Well I could break in and shoot him while he slept. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Just the security system, dogs and guards to think about! A walk in the park! I will leave it till after dark and then go up to the villa. I lay on the bed and decided to have a sleep. The whisky helped. When I woke it was around 19:00. I went down for dinner and then returned to my room to get ready. I wore the black gear and took my handgun; my knife and what remained of the C4 and detonators.
At 23:00 I left the hotel and went to the car. My plan was to drive to within a quarter of a mile of the villa and park up then to proceed to the grounds and tour the perimeter. I needed to ascertain the best way into the grounds and eventually the villa itself. Finally, to discover the whereabouts of A Torino and eliminate him! Sounds simple! The first part is quite simple, as for the rest there were a large number of unknowns that would be met and that I would have to deal with. As yet I had no idea how many able bodied adversaries I was likely to come up against. I don’t know about Antonio’s sleeping arrangements. Is he alone at night? I also have to get away afterwards. Not much to worry about!!!!Parking the car was easy. There were a number of tracks and verges that would allow that. I chose one that wasn’t lit and obscured the car to the maximum possible extent. I parked the car facing back into the town and went to the boot. I armed myself and set off. The night was starlit and there was a sliver of crescent moon, which gave some light, but wouldn’t be a hazard to someone wishing to remain ‘invisible’. I had plenty of darkness to play with and approached the perimeter fence very cautiously. I found myself a thick area of undergrowth about 10 metres from the fence and settled down to watch. It was a pleasant enough evening. A little cool but the long sleeves of my black shirt helped and I was wearing a hat also. I waited ten minutes and heard and saw nothing. I remembered my aikido training and slowed my breathing and waited a further ten. Still nothing! I could see along the eastern side of the property and there was nothing but cleared land and windows. Not an ounce of cover for a would-be assassin! I got up and strolled to my left facing southwards and worked my way to the back of the property. There were no other buildings close and the land outside the fence had been cleared for about 20 metres. There were some outbuildings at the back of the house. Not exactly garden sheds, but probably a poolroom and some smaller structures that looked rather like animal runs! Dogs! But I had seen no sign. I waited for a further few minutes. I had to find the dogs. I waited. It was now after midnight and I thought I heard a door closing.