Saturday, 8 June 2019

Episode 85 - A woman on a mission


Hospitals were not places to get rest or proper recovery.  There always seemed to be something happening, and just as he managed to close his eyes, a nurse or a doctor would come and wake him.
This time it was a visitor, his sister Corinne, and he recognised the expression on her face and it spelled trouble.  Mischievous.  That same expression when they were children spelled trouble, particularly for him, because he was supposed to be older and know better.
Despite Felicity’s warning not to return to the office, she had, and found that Felicity had sorted out the mess, and resorted the files, particularly the one she was most interested in, the Jones cases.  Corinne had also made notes of her own, aside from those Felicity had, in her very clear, but distinctive writing.  She was, Corinne thought, thorough, but she was not the sort who could think outside the box.
“What have you been up to?” he asked her as she sat beside the bed.  He saw the file sticking out of her voluminous handbag, a sign she had taken him seriously.
“Doing what you asked me to do.”
His memory was momentarily hazy and he had to think what that was.  Perhaps he should put his foot down and tell her to go away and not get involved.
“Don't tell me you don't remember.”
“I was almost killed and left for dead, this week’s medical miracle.  You could cut me some slack.”
She smiled, one that would strike fear into any other man's heart.  “You asked me to get the information from Sykes on the Jones brother’s cases.  Sneaky on your part, you didn't quite give me all the necessary details.”
“You were not expected to succeed.  I was hoping to keep you out of this mess.  The last thing I want is for anything to happen to you.  I'm in enough trouble with our parents as it is.”
“I can look after myself.”
“Oddly enough I thought that too until I finished up in the rubbish dump.  It’s the bullet you don't see that kills you, Corinne.  That’s why I asked Felicity to keep an eye on you.”
“If that’s the case, where is she?  I don’t think you should put any trust of faith in her.  Where on earth did you find her, or was it the other way around?”
“Her father is a private investigator, a good one, and so is she.  We met at a convention.”
“That sounds interesting.  I’ve heard what goes on at those conventions.”
“From where?”
“Mother.  She said our father goes to many more than is necessary, and she thinks it had more to do with something else than just work.”
Harry got the inference and the cure from their mother about their father.  She always pulled out the affair card when she couldn’t explain his absences.  But, to Harry, his father was the last person to have an affair.  He was not that sort of man.
“You don’t want to believe everything you hear.  Besides, I did a surveillance operation on him a couple of months back, and the only people I saw him with were some characters that looked like they’d be better accommodated in a prison cell, but we’re talking lawyers here, so no surprised there.”
“Well, like it or not you are stuck with me.  You are basically out of action and, even if this Felicity character is working with you, both of you still need someone like me to do the leg work.  Sykes likes me by the way.”
He sighed.  This was not an argument he was going to win.  When she made up her mind there was no changing it.  He would simply have to find a way of limiting the damage.  But, she was stubborn, like Harry himself, and with more backbone and spirit than any of his bothers.
“Tell me the news.”
“In a nutshell, he all but told me his investigation has hit a brick wall and he's been reassigned to a new case or cases.  He had his money on Brightwater but when he was murdered, they are calling it murder, by the way, that was his whole case derailed.”
“Who are the current suspects?  Does he have a suspect list?”
“Yes, he does.  The wives, and everyone at Outtel basically.  It seems that Brightwater had a sometime partner, a model by the name of Angelina something or other but she has an ironclad alibi too.  The others also have alibis but Sykes said he needed more evidence and time to shake the trees.”
Quaint expression Harry thought, but if he needed more time, it was likely it was not one of them, but likely to be someone else, someone they didn’t know about.
But, he thought, at least there was a new person to investigate.  No one had mentioned Brightwater had a girlfriend.  It made no difference to him if she had an ironclad alibi. It was a question, perhaps, for Angela when he saw her next.
If he saw her again.
“Everyone in the company apparently has a watertight alibi, but some of them are not the sort of people you would want working for you.  You know that Al went to jail back in the day, and when he was there he made some friends, some of whom now work in the company headquarters.  The list just keep getting longer.”
No surprises there, Harry thought, and they would be the sort of friends that would watch his back rather than stick a knife in it.  That reason alone made it unlikely it was anyone in the office.  That just left everyone else not employed by Outtel, a rather large suspect pool.
“Sykes is convinced that some or one of them knows something and they're not talking.  Yet.  As for the women in the director’s lives, they all alibi each other which Sykes thinks there will be something he can investigate if he’s allowed to interrogate them further.”
After so long, it might not be possible.  The department might just throw the cases in the cold case but.  After so long, and nothing concrete to work with...
“No mention of an Angela?”
He noticed the change in her expression and instantly knew the two had met.  There was always something going on between Corinne and the women he knew.
It wasn't a look of hatred, but it looked like there was going to be strained relations between them.  The last thing he needed was a battleground where he had no control.  And if there were going to be problems they would be caused by Corinne.  Her expression changed to sulky as she said quietly, “She's not very high on his list, no.”
“I take it you've met her.”
“At your office.  I thought she was your girlfriend.  She said she'd hired you to do a job for her.”
“Yes, she did.  That makes her a client, not a girlfriend Corinne.”
“Your tone suggests otherwise, and looking at her, she could charm a rattlesnake.  Don’t you think she might be trying to use you to clear her own name by pointing the blame somewhere else.”
A rather interesting question in the light of his own circumstances.  Corinne could be a good judge of character sometimes while other times it had led to trouble.
“She might be trouble but I don't think she's a murderer.”
“Or she might be the perfect assassin and she has you under her spell.  You never were very good at understanding women.”
“But I am an excellent judge of character.’
She looked at him with arched eyebrows.  Her brother was a lot of things but not when it came to a pretty girl.  One day, she thought, he might get lucky.  But in the case of Angela, no.  She was trouble.
“Let's just stick to the facts,” she said, conveniently ignoring that statement.  “We need to know more about her.  That will be my priority.  Sykes will be coming to see you.  I suggest you try and be helpful.  It would be useful for you to have a proper liaison with the police.”
“You really should leave this alone.”
“I should but we need to find who did this to you and put them behind bars.”
“It's not that simple.”
“You know who did this to you?”
“No.”
Well, he thought, not exactly a no.  Whoever ‘they’ were, they were somehow attached to that address he visited and when he was finally released from the hospital he was going to find out who owned it, or who were connected to it.
“Then we will find out, and I will be careful.  I promise.”

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

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