A Christmas Haiku
Dear Santa Claus
Please find wrapped in warmth of love
My wish list of gifts
©David L Atkinson December 2012
We drove away from the docks in silence for a full five minutes. The first pale hint of dawn was appearing in my rear view mirror. I went over the plan in my mind.
Step one was to escort Janice to the police station in Sunderland. That’s where the officers were from that had been guarding her house. Step two, and there was the problem, how do we get her to walk in and hand herself over? Obviously, she wouldn’t do that. We were now driving down the coast road with the steel grey North Sea on our left, towards the city from South Shields when Misaki started to speak in Japanese, slowly! She is aware of how limited I am in her native language.
“Patrick san, what are we going to do with this woman?” she asked.
In the best Japanese that I could manage I explained that we would have to leave her somewhere where the police would find her quickly and then start their investigations. I pulled into the small car park facing the sea at the top of the cliffs in Marsden. I found a pen in the glove box and a small notebook and wrote a note to the police. I said who the woman is and where she lives and her roll in drugging/poisoning one of their officers.
“That should keep her in custody for a while!” I stated.
We continued on our way into the city centre and followed the signs for the police station. I drove down a side street round the corner from the Civic Centre where police HQ was based. It was a dimly lit road made up of large Victorian houses given over to student accommodation, dental practices and solicitors’ offices, or so it seemed from the brass plaques on the door pillars. In contrast the Civic centre, where the police HQ was situated, is a bright, modern building with lots of light. There was no one about. We marched Janice to the corner of the road and looked towards the station. There were three police vehicles parked immediately outside and one on the opposite side of the road. We took Janice to the darker side of the street where the single police car was situated. In these days of electronic door locking I knew it would be difficult to do break in quickly. I said to Misaki in a hushed and hurried whisper,
“Are you ready?” I asked.
She nodded. I took out my Glock and used the butt to break the driver’s window. The alarm started to scream immediately. We pushed Janice into the driver’s seat and taped her hands to the steering wheel and legged it back the way we came! Not very scientific but exceedingly effective! We took off our masks and like a couple of nosy bystanders walked arm in arm back towards the road where the police cars were parked to see what was occurring. There was a lot of racket and people were opening curtains and doors to have a look at what was happening. We concentrated on what Janice was up to. She was violently struggling to free herself but without much luck. A couple of policeman exited the HQ and walked across to the offending car, it was easy to spot because the indicators were flashing furiously. Their pace quickened when they saw that there was someone inside the car. After checking that she wasn’t hurt they got Janice out of the car and took her across the road to the station. One either side of her holding her arms! She didn’t appear to be that pleased by the way she was struggling and shouting! So that part of our plan had worked. However, the next part would be very much down to the police! We needed them to investigate the Italian connection.
We decided to leave and head back towards Yorkshire. We planned to stop and call Sumisu to update him with the situation. We strolled hand in hand to the street where we were parked. It was important that we weren’t seen to be in a rush. There were one or two still looking out but we arrived at the car without being challenged and continued unhurriedly to belt up and drive away. We were at the end of the A19 within a few minutes, as it starts right in the middle of the city. After about 20 minutes furious driving we stopped at a pub/café to ring Sumisu when I noticed another vehicle pull into the car park behind us.
“Misaki! I think we may have company!” I warned.
“Where Patrick?” she demanded.
“A spot over there in the corner by the hedge no lights but two men sat doing nothing,” I told her. “Let’s wait for a few minutes. You speak to Sumisu and I will keep my eyes open!”
The conversation between Misaki and Sumisu was entirely in Japanese and although my understanding is improving I stopped trying to follow it and concentrated on watching the other car. They seemed to be mirroring what we were doing! I felt that we needed to move and take some action. We could stay a long time, and wait for them to move but they could be signalling more troops! So when Misaki finished on the phone I told her my thoughts. She related what Sumisu had said and to cut a long story short he wanted us to go back and keep an eye on the building site in Gateshead. He felt that we needed to keep tabs on the McSwann clan and the Torinos.
I suggested to Misaki that we went inside and that she goes to the ladies room and watches my back when she came out. I would go and buy coffee and find a table facing the door and wait for her. With it been evening time the restaurant was not busy in fact it was dead and so spotting other people was not difficult.
I waited for five minutes and there was no sign of Misaki. I was feeling very fidgety. No one else had followed me in to the place and now there was no Misaki. How stupid of me! They must have gone after my partner! I pondered what to do, whatever it would have to be quick. I took a gulp of coffee and rose to leave. I didn’t feel comfortable going into the ladies so I decided to check their car out first. I left around the side of the building and approached their car from a different angle.
Their car had gone! Perhaps they had nothing to do with us! But where was Misaki? I decided to go back inside, but then something pulled me up short. I walked towards my car full of trepidation without really understanding why. I kept my eyes peeled but there was no sign of anyone.
I was very uneasy because when I could see the car clearly she was sitting in the passenger seat! She wasn’t moving and looked unnaturally upright! I moved more quickly towards her. Her eyes were open but they were sightless. She had a dark round mark in the centre of her forehead where the small calibre bullet had entered. I felt cold and empty. She was such a beautiful, perfect doll of a woman but with the heart of a tiger. Yet here she was dead because of my stupidity. I had done wrong but was not in the same class as these criminals. We probably could never have had a relationship in the normal sense of the word but I felt very guilty that she was gone. I had to tell Sumisu and I continued towards the car. Suddenly I stopped. They hadn’t killed Misaki and decided to leave me alive. They had killed her first because she was alone and probably in a deserted place whereas I was in the very public eating-house. There must be a trap of some description meant for me. That the two that I had seen had gone I was certain. The car park wasn’t huge and there were no dark corners. So the trap must be with the car. I decided to go back inside and think. I was shaken! I had returned to my coffee, which was still quite hot, but I was shaking so much I was spilling it. My mind felt numb, literally incapable of coherent thought, and physically I wasn’t fairing a whole lot better. I had to think!