Saturday, 1 December 2012

I Have To Get It Right - Chapter 12 (and a Scifaiku)

Christmas SF
Christmas is coming
Hot goose is getting fatter
The commune will eat
©David L Atkinson December 2012

Chapter 12

I heard a noise as I was pondering my getaway. Sounded like someone walking up the drive. I concealed myself in the hall beneath the stairs with a good view of the main entrance. There were just the occasional gentle footfalls. Whoever it is was not advertising their presence. It didn't sound like three or four angry Italians. I waited with bated breath. The door handle was tried and, because I was supposed to be under the control of the residents, it was unlocked. The door swung open quietly and in stepped Takuo Sumisu followed by Misaki! To say I was gob smacked is an understatement.
“What………?” My voice trailed away as Sumisu san held up a warning hand.
He beckoned me to follow him. Then I heard a car coming down the drive. My mentor slipped the door closed and waved me to get back into my hiding place. Sumisu took up a position behind the door and Misaki had disappeared! I had my weapons available but favoured the knife. My two allies carried nothing that I could see. I knew the Torino family would be armed I just did not know how many of them there would be. I would imagine Pietro, Gianni plus thugs. Sumisu held a restraining hand. The family trooped in in line and went straight towards the room where I should have been held. One of the bodyguards was bringing up the rear and as he turned to close the door he spotted Sumisu but had no chance to react. There was a blur of movement and the big guy hit the floor. The second received a blow to the back of the neck, which felled him. While this was going on Misaki had hit the brothers simultaneously, or so it seemed and we were out of the door and strolling purposefully down the drive.
We got into an anonymous silver Fiat and Misaki took the wheel. I sat in the back. We left the town and Italy behind within three hours! As we travelled conversation was limited. Misaki said nothing and I was too dumbfounded over my rescue to comment. I ordered my thoughts while we travelled.
“How…..!” I started, but got no further.
“Patrick san. you are a very difficult man to find!” sighed Sumisu.
“I was avoiding the Torino bunch,” I countered. “And we had no arrangements for emergency contact. I could have been killed,” this came out rather petulantly and not a little pathetic.
“You did well. It is difficult to cover your steps when the country you are in is locked tight the way the Mafia has Italy. You achieved your goal with some extras and I have no doubt would have got out of the country almost as quickly as we did. You have shown great resourcefulness and have escaped twice, however it would be better not to get caught in the first place!”
There was the rebuke! It was gentle, firm and straight to the point. Not a wastrel of words our Sumisu san.
 “Planning your escape is essentially the first part of the process. You need to have an anchor point that is efficient as it is unexpected. From there you plan your task knowing that you have a fail-safe route away from the site of your action. This makes everything easier,” Sumisu san had spoken in a matter of fact manner as if to a student who had made an error with his homework.
They had supplied bottles of water and food so I was soon feeling better. That’s the nature of dehydration. The body recovers very quickly once fluids are re-introduced. However, after the night I had just gone through I was exhausted as well. So I fell asleep very quickly. We drove into France and I woke when the car stopped. We were on the tarmac outside the hangar on a small airfield parked near a Leah Jet. We got on board and were soon underway. I was too tired to ask where but I assumed that would be somewhere in England. Wrong again! It was Schiphol in the Netherlands and we were heading to the departure gate of a flight to Osaka. It’s a long flight and I achieved a high level of recovery in the comfort of the business class seats with the personalised service that included kimonos and tabi socks. When we arrived I was feeling pretty well rested?
We were collected at the airport and transported in a black limousine to a house on the outskirts of the city. It’s a bustling teeming web of humanity. A businessman’s city with perpetual traffic jams and pavements crammed with pedestrians and cyclists. How there weren’t copious numbers of accidents I have never understood. Having walked these pavements once before I had never witnessed a problem. The cyclists wearing facemasks against the pollution and detachable sleeves, against the sun make a startling and somewhat puzzling sight. Progress through the city by car is slow and it took nearly an hour and a half to travel about 20 miles.
The house was a stereotypically Japanese high-class residence set in a traditional garden. It exuded peace and tranquillity amazing when considering that a teeming and vibrant city was just outside the gates. There was even a separate Tea House for the tea ceremonies that I had a feeling still were carried out even in the 21st century. Everything was order and discipline and gave a feeling of security.
We showered and changed. A kimono was set out on my futon for me along with tabi socks. I felt human again now that I was dressed and felt clean. We ate and then turned in for the night. I was half expecting, hoping, to be joined by Misaki but I would have been no good to her. As soon as I lay down I fell asleep.
The following morning it was quite warm and humid. A foretaste of the baking weather due to hit in summer! At this time of year humidity usually presaged thunderstorms! We ate breakfast, which was the usual Japanese fayre of rice pudding, not the sweet kind, and various dishes containing vegetables and fish washed down with green tea. Unusual but rather tasty! Once the dishes were taken away we were in a position to have a meeting whilst drinking our green tea. There were the three of us that had travelled halfway round the world and another very elderly gentleman. The servants, for there was no other way to describe the girls that had set the food out and then cleared it away, returned and had changed into dark kimonos stood round the room. It is hard to describe but the atmosphere was suddenly oppressive. Everyone else in the room was instilled with a calmness that seemed unnatural while I was sat like a cat on a hot tin roof!
“Patrick san. The gentleman sat opposite you is my link to another and more influential cell of our organisation. I need to update him on what has been occurring and shall speak in Japanese. With your permission!” he smiled benignly.
“Of course Sumisu san,” rather hesitantly.
There was a long description, I assumed, by Sumisu with only minor interruptions from our guest. When he had finished, his superior spoke at some length and I could tell that he wasn’t pleased by his body language. Sumisu remained silent head bowed and the rest of us kept quite still. At the end of this truncated discussion our guest stood and left, being escorted out by Sumisu. It was just a very strange feeling. I suddenly was quite sure that I didn’t belong! A few minutes later, which was spent in silence, Sumisu returned. He resumed his seat and sat in silent contemplation before he turned to me and spoke.
“Patrick san. You are to be congratulated on your efforts so far. However, the results have not yet achieved the aims that we originally hoped for.”
Sumisu was speaking rather stiffly as if reading from a script. He obviously held the old guy that had lectured him in very high esteem. I should have been able to tell that from the depth of his bow to our erstwhile guest! He went on in the same vein,
“The situation in Gateshead hasn’t altered dramatically. In fact a security firm is now patrolling the building site where the work is all but complete. Also, projects that had been planned are still proceeding as if nothing happened. Torino is supervising with the aid of a couple of walking sticks and two bodyguards. All we seem to have managed is to harden their attitude. This suggests to us that the Torino family are simply the operatives for a larger organisation. The people on the ground so to speak!”
I had an uncomfortable shiver running up and down my spine brought about by the premonition that more work was required. At the moment I feel that I need to recharge my batteries. I have a diverse skill set but a lack of experience in more complex operations than single kills. My sensei continued,
“Your other skills in the financial world may be of assistance in furthering a successful conclusion to the task ahead.  It is essential we cut off the head from the body of the snake. To find the head we must follow the money. Your first task Patrick san, if you choose to continue with us, is to get into Torino’s bank accounts and trace the source of funds he is working with. The funds for their building projects are local authority money so there will be no success there.”
From his expression I guessed the ‘should I choose to continue’ was not a choice! It made me also think that I had become ensnared in a significant organisation that would always be able to reach me. He continued,
“For now you are to return home and look up Jacomo Torino, bringing all your skills to investigating his fiscal history. It also might be worth paying Jim Thompson a visit to ensure his continued cooperation and perhaps interrogate him further, in case there was something we missed. You will leave tomorrow. Time is of the essence.”
“Yes sensei!” I confirmed with a slight bow.
The rest of the day was spent walking in the beautiful formal garden and relaxing with Misaki who explained the reasoning behind the various designs and patterns I could see. She took me through a formal Tea Ceremony and gave me the complete Japanese relaxation experience. She is a true artist in the field of massage!
God Bless