The Ghost of Jacob Marley (A Christmas Carol)
Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come
The kids still want it
Cold blast of reality
God allowed the change
©David L Atkinson December 2012
I Have To Get It Right
Chapter 13 (part2)
Initial observations suggested that there was only the parents and youngest child at home. They were the only individuals I saw. So what to do? Thompson was obviously still up to something. He needed some serious discouragement or maybe a spell in prison! That may not solve the problem of the Italians. In fact I’d go as far as to say it definitely would not. I could involve Janice, and perhaps shame the guy into behaving. Also I could seriously, hurt or kill him. I have the skills! Whatever, I have to decide soon, and it needs to be planned for maximum effect. Maybe a bit of pain and some shame! Yes. That should get his attention. But will it separate him from his Italians? Perhaps I should recruit him. Now there’s an idea. Have him supply me with information towards getting rid of the Torinos. Ask him for written proof of what was going on. Point out the actions taken against the Mafia family so far. I could empty his bank account and put pressure on the family. If I was a real bastard I could frighten his daughter. Take something from her bedroom and present it to him with a message. That did not involve hurting anyone initially. If he called my bluff how far am I prepared to go? Abduction is a serious crime and I have no intention of hurting the child that would never be an option for me. I saw Jim go into his office and over the next two hours his child then his wife said goodnight to him. Two hours later he was still there on his own. I slipped out of the house I was occupying and round to my target abode. I passed on the opposite side of the street and the front of the house was in darkness. I crossed back and went straight to it. On a hunch I tried the front door! Seems rash but obvious. Everyone leaves security to the ‘man of the house’. I slipped quietly inside and stood for a few minutes in the hall. There was a few night sounds and only Jim’s office light was on. His door was closed.
I crept upstairs keeping to the outside edge of each tread – less likely to creak! I looked round the landing for signs of life. There was only the one light on and I knew whom that belonged to. What I wanted was the child’s bedroom door. It turned out to be obvious. There was only one door with a name on it – Jackie. It wasn’t the front bedroom either. I eased the handle and kept the door as closed as I could while still moving gingerly inside. You never know what could be lying about on the floor of a child’s bedroom. I slipped inside and stood very still until my eyes adjusted, the shortest possible time spent in here the better. I was looking for something precious! Something Jim would recognise immediately. There it was on the dressing table! A doll on a stand, expensive looking, dressed as a Victorian lady. I took it and left the room closing the door. The child never stirred.
I went back to the office moved in swiftly behind Jim, clamped my hand over his mouth and pushed the doll in front of his eyes with the hissed instruction to keep very quiet. I put the doll on his desk while still holding him so he hadn’t seen me directly. I took out my knife and held it against his throat hard enough so that he could feel the cutting edge biting into his skin.
“Now then Mr Thompson I notice you have not listened to my warning a few weeks ago. You are still trying to hide money from me!” I whispered. “Nice doll!”
I felt him stiffen.
“Don’t worry. She is fast asleep - for now!”
I left the threat hanging in the air.
“What do you want? Who the hell are you?” hissed my captive.
“Remember this Jim. I can get to you and your family wherever you are. The Torino family have suffered some serious losses in the last couple of weeks. I know about your link with them and I want them out of the UK. You think about it. You have children, the Mafia may start with extortion or fraud but they soon will move into drugs and the sex trade! It would be ironic if one of your children became a victim!”
“What do you want?” he said more chastely.
“I want two things. First paper proof of your under the table transactions that gave the contracts to the Italians. Dates and minutes of meetings, amounts of money and signed agreements. Don’t worry about fine details of the money; I have your account information, unless of course you want to be kept out of this, in which case I will need to see money coming to McSwanns’ from Italy and then on to any other planning people who could have facilitated this move by the Mafia.”
He didn’t respond immediately. He was trembling ever so slightly.
“How long?” he stammered.
“It shouldn’t take longer than a week. As its Monday I will expect it completed by Friday. And I want a progress report on Wednesday night. Oh don’t worry; I will not come back here unless I have to!!” I left that hanging in the air. “If I am not completely satisfied… well I will not go into what could happen, I’ll leave that to your own imagination. I will expect you to take Janice and Jackie out for a meal at Ramside Hall Hotel, near Durham on Wednesday night 7.30pm. The reservations have been made in your name. Leave your briefcase in the car with the evidence in it that you have collected so far. I will check what you have and leave instructions. If everything is ok you may never see or hear from me again after Friday. Now surely that makes sense Jim!” I concluded.
He nodded vigorously.
“And I would get that cut on your neck sorted as soon as you can!” I stated. “And, by the way make sure you lock your front door.”
Two minutes later I was on the street walking towards the supermarket car park. No need to go back to my hiding place. I was relying on Thompson’s common sense to make the job easier! I returned to the hotel on the sea front and to what I felt was a well-earned rest. I decided to stay until Friday morning so that I was in the area to collect my evidence.
Wednesday I was at The Ramside by 18:30. I was not prepared to risk being caught with my pants down! JT might change his mind and bring in the Italian troops! It was a fine night, warm and clear. The sun wouldn’t set until around 21:45 tonight so it was normal daylight and would be for the time I needed to check what JT brought with him. I was beginning to wonder if he would turn up. I checked the other cars in the car park and the surrounding grounds but there were no suspicious characters lurking in the bushes or anywhere else. I went back to my innocuous little car and waited.
They arrived at seven dressed very smartly and seemingly quite happy to be eating out. Jim looked around nervously as he strolled behind his wife and daughter into the Hall. I watched for any cars coming into the car park after the Thompson family. Just other punters! At eight, when I assumed that the family would be eating, I went across to their car and let myself in using my recently acquired skills. I opened the boot and accessed the briefcase and took out the papers that were inside and strolled back to my car to check what he had brought.
He had supplied dates, times and sites of meetings with annotated lists of who was present. The names were mostly Torino and McSwann workers. What I needed next were the amounts of any bribes given out and the recipients and how they were paid. I also wanted the names of any other local authority officers who were involved. I wrote this on a notepad I had brought with me and put it back in his briefcase with instructions of where to leave the information on Friday. I decided that he could take a seat on the promenade at 12.30pm for 30 minutes ostensibly to eat before returning to work, where I could observe him and then leave a bag with the information I had requested. If he did as I asked he would never hear from me again. I also told him that if I was satisfied I would leave him alone but if not I would find him within the weekend!! I extended my stay at the hotel!
I took the paperwork into the Seaburn and studied it carefully to see what impact it would have on its own and was satisfied that it would support a court case but was insufficient on its own. The amounts and recipients of bribes were essential to discredit McSwann and Torino. From what I could glean so far McSwann was, as I thought, a front for the Torino mob. The latter chaired most of the meetings! I needed the link to Italy and that was what I hoped J Thompson would provide. I also wanted to take the opportunity to weed out any rotten eggs in the local authority barrel. Of course Jim Thompson could lose his job as well. Did he deserve anything less? He should be in jail!
I put on my jogging gear around noon and set off along the beach ensuring I passed the allotted bench and feeling certain he would not be there but also checking that no other ‘observers’ of the Italian variety were about. Call it neurotic, obsessive compulsive, or what you will, but you can never be too careful. It was a warm late spring day and I was soon warmed up. The beach was quiet, I suppose because kids were still at school. In July and August you won’t be able to put a foot down on the sand. I jogged back from the Roker end of this section of beach and climbed up the steps on to the promenade about 100 yards from the target bench. I walked on the landside of the promenade road observing all of the time. There was no one there as yet but it was still early. I found a café ordered a coffee and sat and observed the sea front. I supposed that there was an outside chance he may not turn up and in that case I would have to hurt him in some way! Then continue on my own. I hope that Sumisu has come up with the necessary to link Torino with the UK.
There he is! Panicking! He is ten minutes late and there is someone else sitting on the bench. The uncertainty in Thompson was in his body language as well as his facial expression.He sat, perched on the end as far away as possible from his unwanted companions, a mother and son, and proceeded to eat a sandwich studiously gazing out to sea. He nervously checked his watch and at the allotted time started to clear away his lunch. He put the carrier down by the end of the bench. I left the café and approached the bench steadily Thompson moved away and I walked in to where he had come from. He kept looking straight ahead and I passed by his bench and picked up the anonymous plastic carrier he had left and walked obliquely across the road and into my hotel, keeping an eye on Thompson. When I was walking into my room I had this nagging sensation that something was wrong. A feeling rather than anything concrete! Had I been careless in concentrating so hard on Thompson?