Ivan asks a few questions…
Ivan wiped his forehead with a napkin. The heat in the disused restaurant was stifling. He had bought it a month ago from an old Spanish family. It was prime position on the seafront. The builders had been in ever since. Today it was empty and looked like a building site.
At the end of the room were Nikor and Leonid with two other members of the “family. Between them was Paul Merritt. Paul was Robbie Jackson’s closest friend in Spain. He was strapped to a chair and had tape across his mouth. He had long given up struggling. Ivan walked towards him. Paul could see he was holding something. It was a hammer.
“Mister Merritt we are both mature men and we both know how this works. I will ask you a question and I want you to answer me honestly. Understand?”
Nikor removed the tape from Paul’s mouth.
“Ivan, I swear, I know nothing about what happened to Bepa, I swear it Ivan.”
Ivan put a finger to his lips.
“Ssshhhhh. Ssssshhhhh. I will ask you some questions and then you will answer. Okay?”
Ivan smiled and continued.
“Good man. Now then Mister Merritt, where can I find your friend Robbie Jackson?”
“Ivan, I swear on my kid’s life. I don’t know. Please Ivan, it’s the truth.”
Ivan interrupted him. His voice raised.
“Mister Merritt, my precious daughter Bepa is fighting for her life in hospital. She was found badly injured in your best friend’s apartment and now he has disappeared. He was your best friend. So I will ask you once again. Where can I find Robbie Jackson?”
Paul Merritt began to sob.
“Ivan, I swear, I swear, I don’t know. Please please, believe me.
Paul looked in almost disbelief as he saw Ivan raise the hammer above his head. He watched as it came down hard on his knee. He heard the crunch well before he felt any pain. It must have taken a fraction of a second before his brain understood what was happening and then he realised he was screaming.
Ivan handed the hammer to Nikor.
“Finish it, then get rid of him. He knows nothing.”
Ivan walked to the door of the restaurant and opened it. He put on his sunglasses and adjusted his tie. Behind him he heard a thud. Then the screaming stopped.
The Gables Golf and Spa Hotel was just on the outskirts of Reigate. He booked in for two nights under the name of Paul Redford. He had a thing about names. He liked to mix them up a bit. A film that he remembered as a kid was “The Sting”. Its two main stars were Robert Redford and Paul Newman. The Hotel in Croydon he’d used the name Robert Newman, so this time it had to be the other combination. For the first few months in Spain he was either George Pitt or Brad Clooney. His room was nice. Large double bed, small sofa, table, mini bar, and a good size bathroom. This was the place where he wouldn’t look out of place in Bob’s clothes. He changed into his chinos, cashmere jumper and expensive shirt. He also put on the brogues. He looked in the mirror. He looked every bit the middle class Golf professional. He made his way to the bar. He knew what he was looking for and found it sitting at a table near the bar.
They were a group of thirty somethings, laughing and talking. All women, all looking for the same thing. Two of them glanced over as he walked in, he smiled. They smiled back and then returned to their conversation. He was guessing that he would be mentioned in that conversation. He ordered a large gin and tonic and took a seat opposite the women. There was a newspaper on his table and he pretended to read it. He knew that by now at least one of them would have noticed that he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring, the fact that his brogues were very expensive and of course the watch.
He looked at his watch. It was seven thirty. He knew from experience that these places were magnets for single or divorced middle aged women looking for a man. He was a prime target. He could see that he had at least two admirers. One in particular took his fancy. She had shoulder length dark brown hair. A bit of a tan, probably fake, knee lengthy skirtand matching jacket. Her eyes were brown and he guessed she was probably thirty five or thirty six. He waited.
As soon as he saw her get up to get a round of drinks for the rest of the girls, he finished his drink and followed her to the bar. They stood side by side. The barmen took her order. He knew she would talk to him.
“Haven’t seen you here before. Played golf today?”
Bingo. He smiled at her.
“No, actually I’m a stranger in town. Over from Spain. I’m looking for a property to rent here but not really sure of the area. What’s the best part of town for me to rent a two bedroom flat?”
“Just for yourself, or for you and the family?”
She was fishing. He liked her style.
“No, just for poor old me. Doesn’t have to be that big really. But just want it in a nice part of town.”
“Round here is nice. Very countrified if you know what I mean, but not too far from the main town. You drinking on your own?”
“Yeh, just me and a gin and tonic to keep me company.”
“Why don’t you come and join us? The girls won’t mind, in fact they’ll be delighted to have some male company for a change.”
“No, really, I don’t want to intrude.”
“Nonsense, you’ll be doing us a favour.”
“Okay, on one condition. You let me buy you all a drink”
“It’s a deal.”
He ordered his drink and pulled out a large wad of notes from his pocket and paid for everything. He was sure she had noticed the amount of money he had. The plan was working a treat. She grabbed his arm and led him to the table.
“Ladies, let me introduce you to… Sorry, I don’t know your name.”
He smiled at them all.
“Paul, Paul Redford, pleased to meet you all.”
He pulled up a seat and listened as they all introduced themselves. He couldn’t help thinking just how easy this was.
D.I John Morgan was sitting at the bar of the Hilton in Mayfair waiting for Demetri Radchinski. He was nervous and kept stroking his chin as though he had a beard. He hadn’t had a beard for over ten years.
He first met Demetri when he was first assigned to the Specialist Crime and Investigations Department of the Met some years back. It was a chance meeting a at charity event for Great Ormond Street Hospital. They’d spoken, introduced themselves and had a beer. He later found out that nothing Demetri ever did was by chance. He had been chosen because he was an up and coming young Detective. Before long, Demetri was helping him with some unsolved crimes. Demetri always seemed to know what had been stolen and where it could be found or dealers who had been under the radar for years. The arrest rates were getting noticed and he moved quickly through the ranks. Now, as a Detective Inspector he was almost at the top of the tree. All thanks to Demetri. He also had links to the Russian mafia, known as “the family”. Demetri was a man you didn’t cross and certainly one you never said no to.
“Ahh, Mister John, thank you for coming.”
He was a tall man, very broad with a thick neck. Quite a weird shape, John was sure he would have to have all his clothes made to measure. Nothing off the rails would fit this guy.
“Nice to see you Demetri, what can I get you?”
John already knew the answer. No matter what time of day it was, Demetri only ever drank pink Champagne.
“I think you know the answer to that question Mister John.”
Demetri laughed. A big, over exaggerated laugh.
John ordered a bottle of Laurent Perrier pink Champagne and two glasses. The waiter took it to a table by the window. They both sat down.
“Let me come straight to the point Mister John. One of my family over in Spain has had a personal problem. His daughter has been hurt by a man who used to live in this country. We know that after he hurt the girl he travelled back here to England. So, I need to find him and you need to help me.”
“Of course Demetri, we’re already on it. Robbie Jackson arrived at Gatwick two days ago. My team are looking at the CCTV footage of the area as we speak, we’ll soon know where he went after he landed here. Don’t worry, we’ll get him.”
Demetri leaned closer and spoke quietly.
“Mister John, please do not misunderstand what I am saying. My men are already looking for him, but we need your help as well. So, as soon as you have any information you must give it to me before you do anything with it yourself. I need to find this man first. Understand?”
“Of course Demetri.”
“For this favour Mister John, you will receive a very generous line of credit for all your habits.”
He smiled and raised his glass. John Morgan did the same.
The news from the hospital was encouraging. The scans on Bepa were all okay. It was looking like she would have no long term damage. But she was still in a coma. The Doctor told Ivan that this was the body’s way of dealing with the trauma. It was helping her body recover. But there was no guarantee when she would come out of it. It could be days or even weeks.
The doctor had said that she had traces of cocaine in her system and large amounts of alcohol.
Ivan poured himself a glass full of his favourite vodka and replayed the scene in his head. Robbie Jackson had got Bepa drunk at his apartment, then encouraged her to take drugs. He tried to force himself on her and she had refused him. He was a strong man and very useful with his hands and feet. He had over powered her and smashed her head against the table. He needed to die. But not before he had felt incredible pain for a very, very long time.