Wednesday 24 July 2019

Episode 98 - Edwina goes to Sykes

Edwina called Sykes first, after finding his card where she had tossed it, in the top drawer of Joseph’s desk, and tried to arrange a meeting outside the precinct.  It was to no avail, Sykes was busy writing reports, and he was in a very bad mood simply because he hated writing reports.

In the end, she agreed to meet him at the precinct and was horrified at seeing some of the people being escorted in, some requiring three burly policemen.  One prisoner glared at her, another tried to spit on her and one of his handlers put him down on the floor with a misplaced elbow.  Thuggery, she thought.

Sykes had watched her expression change as the suspect was restrained, and then came over.

“Come this way.  Busy day, it must be something in the water.”

He escorted her to an interview room and asked her to sit.  “Would you like a glass of water?”

She shook her head.  If something was in their water, she wanted none of it.


“No thank you.”

“Mind if I get a cup?”

“Not at all.”

The door closed and she was alone.  It was quite warm.  There was a camera in the corner looking down on her.  The table was bare metal with a bar to attach handcuffs, yes, she had watched some of those police shows on TV.

She never thought she’d see the inside of one of those rooms.

Sykes came back, a polystyrene cup in one hand, and a notebook in the other.

He sat down, took a sip of the coffee and shuddered, then opened his notebook at a blank page.  He looked up at Edwina.  “Now, what can I do for you?”

“It’s about Joseph?”

“What about Joseph.”

“I think I might know why he was attacked and killed in the street.”

Sykes stopped writing on the page and looked up.  “Why do you think he was killed?”

“He liked young girls.”

“A lot of men do.”

“I mean ‘young’ girls.”

“Oh, underage women?”

She nodded.

“How do you know this?”

“I had a private detective follow him for a few months about six months ago.  After what happened to Cathy.”

“Do you think he had something to do with that?”

“I don't know.  I'd certainly hope not, but it was just something Angela said that set me to thinking that I should tell you about it, in case it has some bearing on his murder.”

Sykes went back to writing in his notepad.  Without looking up, he said, “It has everything to do with it.  A jealous husband, crazed father, and a possible motive for Al if he also thought Joseph had anything to do with the death of his daughter.”

He stopped writing, closed his eyes, and tried to remember what he had read about the Cathy murder case.  He had the files brought out of storage so he could familiarize himself with the Jones brothers.
All it did was give him a headache.

“As I recall," he said, finally remembering, and looking at her, “you said he was with you that night.”
“He asked me, no, forced me, to say that.  You have no idea what he was like.”

“So neither of you have alibis for this murder?”

“I do.  I was with Brightwater that night.  We were having a brief affair.  I have no idea where my husband was that night.  You should ask Angela.  She has a good idea of where he was.”

Sykes shook his head and groaned inwardly.  This case was getting more and more off track and complicated, but it seemed it did have its origins in that original murder.

“You lied to the police, Mrs Jones.  That’s a crime.”

“I know.  And I’m willing to accept the consequences if it will clear up Cathy’s murder case.”

“Fine.”  He passed her a legal pad and a pen.  Please write down the substance of what you just told me and sign it.  After that, you’re free to go, but don’t leave the city.  I may have further questions to ask you.”

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Episode 97 – Edwina has cause for thought

The visit by her daughter, the first in a long time since the death of her cousin Cathy Jones, did not go quite as she imagined it would. She had been hoping Angela would come home, but given the conversation, it was hardly likely.

And that, she thought angrily, was down to her husband, Joseph.

She was not surprised in the least when the police told her Joseph had been shot.  It was likely to be a jealous husband, or worse, an angry father.  She had long suspected he was seeking out the company of younger women, and the revelations Angela had left her with had not been as shocking as she thought they might.

Her first thought had been that Joseph may have had something to do with Cathy’s death.  She knew he had been seeing her; that came from a private detective she had put on his trail to see what he was up to.

That, and a series of ‘secret’ meetings with a group of lawyers, the sort whose offices were in midtown high rises, and cost a fortune.

The most recent private detective before Walthenson had not found out anything substantive, and, it seems neither had Harry Walthenson.  He had simply disappeared, and no amount of calling the office number had yielded any results as to his whereabouts.

Another dead end.

Of course, she could hardly tell that seedy Detective, Sykes, about the many affairs her husband had because she had reciprocated with their husbands, some of whom would not take kindly to police interviews.

And Angela was also right about Brightwater.

She had been with him the night Cathy died, so in reality, Joseph had no alibi for that night, and if he was still alive, would have a hard time defending his innocence, if he was at all innocent.

What she wasn’t sure about was whether or not Al had shot and killed his brother Joseph.  He probably had every right to, being framed for a murder he didn’t commit.  There was a lot of deep-rooted animosity between the two, and it appeared to have started a long time ago when they were boys.

Joseph was the brains.

Al was the muscle.

Outtel may have started out as a loan shark operation, but it had managed to outgrow its origins and become a respectable financial institution.

Or had it?

She wished now she had actually read some of the documents Joseph had asked her to sign.
Perhaps it was time to have a chat with the seedy Detective, Sykes.

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

Sunday 21 July 2019

Episode 96 – Guns don’t go off by themselves

Felicity was right about her father.

He appeared in her doorway, not more than 40 minutes after she hung up the phone, and his expression was a mixture of anger and concern.

The first question after they sat down was, “Are you alright?”

Perhaps not the best way to express concern for her wellbeing since, in the time between hanging up and her father appearing on her doorstep, her outward calm was in place, but inside she was a mess.
“No.  This is nothing like what I expected would happen.”

There was no ‘did you do it’ with an expected denial or prevarication.  She knew he knew and wasn’t going to skirt around the issue.  It was in her best interests to tell him the truth so that he could work out how to approach the matter with the police.

So far, she had left the scene of a crime, apparently shot an unarmed man, and in the absence of anyone else being in the frame, also accountable for the theft of a phone, wallet, car keys, and his car.

That was her assessment, her fathers would be a long list of infractions.

“Were you injured?”


“Did he attack you?”

“In a manner of speaking.  I startled him.  He was on the phone to someone.”

“How did you shoot him?”

“He came at me suddenly.  I had the gun pointed at him, he scared me, and that’s when I pulled the trigger.  The gun was aimed at his upper check, so the fact the bullet hit him in the midriff area will attest to that.”

He said nothing, perhaps going through the actions in his mind.  She saw him balance over to the weapon now sitting on the kitchen bench on a cloth.

“Only one shot?”


“And there’s a full magazine bar that one bullet?”

“Yes.  I did not shoot him in the head.  I would not shoot anyone in the head.”  Tears were forming her eyes, now the magnitude of her situation was becoming clearer.

He took her hand in his.  “I know you wouldn’t, but the police don’t know you like I do.  They have a victim, and they will have a shooter and a gun.  We are going to have to go to them, you realise that, and it’s not going to be easy.”

“I know.  But it might be an idea to call a detective called Sykes.  He knows all about Harry’s situation, and will definitely want to know about this Blines character because he has to be part of the group that kidnapped Harry.”

“You don’t know that.  What if God’s name were you doing there?”

“Looking out for Harry’s sister, Corinne?”

“And what...”

“We found an address Harry had hidden away, just over the road from the scene, that Harry visited,. And soon after was taken.  I wasn’t expecting anything, but when I heard Blines on the phone, I knew it had to be connected.”

He took a deep breath, and then asked, “Tell me, what were you going to do?”

“I hadn’t got that far.  Most likely I would have called the police.”

“Well, given the track record of this Blines character, anything could have happened to you.  You knew the rules about approaching suspects, especially people of his type.  You know your mother is going to have a mental breakdown over this.”

“If you tell her.”

“It’s a bit late to keep it out of the news, don’t you think?  Even I haven’t got that much clout to keep your name out of this.  It’s a shooting, in a very dangerous part of the city, involving some very violent criminals.  Do you have this detective’s phone number?”

“Harry does.”

“Then call him.  Let’s try and get ahead of this.”

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

Friday 19 July 2019

Episode 95 – Felicity is worried

Felicity finally discovered what it would be like to shoot someone.

It had not been in the job description her father had given her, but he had said, sooner or later there would be a situation where, if she had a gun, she would have to use it.  There had been a lengthy debate before her father would so much as agree that she should have access to a weapon, for dangerous cases, which, up until now, there hadn’t been any, and provided she had the proper training.

There was, she thought, no ‘proper’ training for shooting people.  The best she had done, until confronting that man in the doorway, was shooting at targets at the shooting range.

And it was a moot point whether she was ready for what happened, simply because it happened so fast, and there had been no time for hesitation.  Was he going to attack her, or something else?

A thought about how gunslingers in the days of the wild west coped popped into her mind.  It was not just having a quick draw, you had to be able to aim at and hit the target.  It was not the same, she was already pointing the gun before she ran into him.

She was, she knew, still skirting the real problem.  Having to report it, whether it was to her father or the police, it was going to be messy, and she could be in a great deal of trouble.

Was the man OK?

He didn’t look very good when she left him, there was a lot of blood in his midriff section, and he was incapacitated, and in a great deal of pain.  The fact she hesitated to call for help until he gave her a name, a name which might be something he made up in the moment, was the action of a moral person.

Still, it didn’t sit right with her, and she knew at some point she was going to have to face up to her conscience.

But, she had since weighed her actions up against the fact he was more than likely part of the organisation that had nearly killed Harry, and in being one of them, didn’t deserve any consideration.  She also knew there had been no CCTV in that particular part of the street so neither she nor Corinne would be ‘caught on tape’.

But, that was only that small area.  There could be other cameras there, ones she hadn’t seen and she knew the police would acquire feeds from every camera nearby t5o study comings and goings.  She could still be identified, and quite possibly Corinne too.

She also decided to discreetly try to find out where the ambulance had taken him, what his condition was, and the interest the police were taking in the event.

She had scoured the morning newspaper which had nothing, the newspaper web sites which were more up to the minute, but they only had a bland paragraph about a shooting at the docks, one saying it was the fourth in that area in six months, and then she had tuned into to the 24 hour news channels, but all that reached the news desk was that there had been what appeared to be a random shooting as a result of a suspected mugging down at the docks, and judging by the dismissive tone of the newsreader, it sounded like it was a common occurrence and hardly newsworthy.

Of course, the police could be deliberately keeping it low key whilst they conducted their investigation.

Then, when her nerves had finally got the better of her she rang her father and made a roundabout reference to a shooting, or what looked like shooting down at the docks, and her interest, when he asked, was that she was driving by and was curious.

She tried very hard to make it sound offhand.

About an hour later her father called her back.  There had been a shooting, what the police were treating as a violent mugging. And the victim, a relatively low level criminal by the name of Theo Blines, had died just before the ambulance had reached him.  Oddly enough, he said, Blines had been shot twice, once in the stomach and once in the head, at close range.

That news made her blood run cold, and she hung up before her father could start asking difficult questions.    She had told him about Harry’s brush with death, and what Harry suspected precipitated the torture, and it wouldn’t take him long to put two and two together.

Someone else had been there, seen both her and, more than likely, Corinne, silenced Blines, and as she suspected, it was anything but a random shooting or mugging.

If only she hadn’t taken the gun with her.

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Episode 94 – Angela is in trouble

Angela Morrison was slowly being caught up in a web of lies that had to be hastily put together because of her own mistakes.

Al had once told her that liars need to have good memories, and hers was terrible at best.  She had got to the point where she couldn’t remember what she said to Harry, and she knew, now that Harry had latched onto Al’s disappearance, it was only a matter of time before he worked it all out.

Before all of it had turned into a mess, Al had told her to tell the truth wherever possible, so that it was less difficult to get tripped up later.  That was fine until Al changed the story and nothing like the truth, nor did it have any elements of truth.

She had written the story down and memorised it, but with everything that had happened, particularly to Harry Walthenson, she began forgetting details and then having lost her transcript of events, she was faced with having to go to Al again.

The problem with that idea was, Al had disappeared again, this time for real, he was not at the address he said he would be, nor was he answering his cell phone, it finally registering this morning with an ‘out of order’ message.  It only meant one thing; his phone was lost, dead, or cut off.

Whatever the reason, one thing was for certain, he had cut her off.

Talking to Corinne had also been a mistake.  That Corinne was no fool, and she already suspected Angela of not telling the whole truth.  Angela could see it in her eyes.

And that thing about being Harry’s girlfriend almost made her laugh.

He was nothing like her type.

But, that didn’t explain why she went to get him from the hospital, and worse, bringing him home.  That was a mistake, a huge mistake.  Luckily she had managed to evade any questions that might cause a serious problem, and even if it was possible she said something she shouldn’t, she could always convince him it was a product of his fertile imagination fuelled by hospital grade drugs.

Asking her if Al was still alive, that had shaken her.  The scheme he had devised for an investigator he thought, at best, and rank amateur, had certainly since proved otherwise.

And as for Al, maybe his paranoia that someone was out to get him was true.  She had told him that pretending to be dead, with or without witnesses, was a dangerous idea.  If she could see through the plot, then she was not surprised Harry managed to as well, despite how long it took for the penny to drop.

Now, she hoped she didn’t have to silence him.

But all the other revelations, those that Al had hinted at, and had come out in the wash, were staggering, particularly that of her father and his involvement in Cathy’s death.  So many had kept such a secret for so long.

Angela had always known that Cathy Jones was not Al’s daughter.  Cathy had known it herself because she had learned at a very early age that Brightwater was her father, simply because he had told her.

Of course, her mother, Jennifer Jones, had known all along, and kept it to herself, in fact, she had kept her affair with Brightwater very secret for a long time.

Angela’s mother had only learned of its existence by chance, running into her sister in law near Brightwater’s apartment not realising then, the significance of the encounter.

Armed with this knowledge Angela had intended to confront Brightwater, going around to his apartment, only to discover the front door bashed in, and Brightwater lying in a pool of his own blood, dying.

She called an ambulance, knowing it was too late.  He had lost too much blood.

She then sat with him and held his hand as she watched the life drain out of him.  In the few minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive he had just enough time to tell her the truth finally, about Cathy’s death and those involved in it.  It was not necessarily directed at her and sounded like a deathbed confession.

At least now it verified everything she knew about her father’s involvement.  And, the other piece of the puzzle, who he thought killed Al’s brother,  more the fool her for believing Al when he said he had no interest in revenge, just knowing the truth was enough.

It was time to confront Al; sending him a message by the only other channel she had available to her, to be used in only an absolute emergency, to meet her ‘at the usual place’.

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

Sunday 14 July 2019

Episode 93 - Angela comes out with a revelation (muddying the waters)

“How should I know?”

“I think the answer to that is rather obvious.  He was there, he called you, you came, you were there, we both saw what we saw, and it stands to reason you created a diversion, while I held what was supposed to be a murder weapon, worrying about the consequences of being caught with it, and in the time I took to hide the weapon, you and he made off.”

“I never said it was the murder weapon.”

“It was inferred, particularly when you were in such a hurry to offload it.”

“You’re imagination is running wild.  It must be the pain medication.”

Harry smiled.  “Of course it would be if I was taking it.”

“Where did you hide the gun, if that’s what you did?”

It was an innocuous question, but there was no doubt in Harry's mind she, too, was on a fishing expedition   She needed that gun back.  The question is, how hard was she going to try before it became obvious.  “Good question.  It was dark, and I was unfamiliar territory.  I can’t remember.”
“But it is somewhere in the Outtel office?”

“I don’t think so.  I don’t remember leaving it there.  I was too disorientated, and the police were coming, I could hear the sirens in the background.  I think it was likely I went outside and threw it in the dumpster out the back.  I figured by the time anyone realized where it was, the dumpster would be taken away.”

“I don’t believe you.  You didn’t have time.”

“You could only say that if you were still in the building monitoring my movements?”

She stopped and took a breath.  This was a rabbit hole she didn’t want to fall into because the questions only got harder from here on.

“Sorry, I heard the police sirens also and took off.  I wasn’t going to hang around and get caught.”
“I did, unfortunately.  Sykes and his mate got there before I could leave.”

“Inside or outside the building?”

Time, Harry thought, to take a punt she wasn’t there.  “I was outside after dumping the gun.  I was coming up the alley towards the front of the building heading for my car.  Sykes got there first.”
No change of expression to alert me to the fact she knew I was lying. It was a relief to know she wasn’t there.

She got over the revelation quickly and moved on.  Another question: “Did anyone, like Al as you seem to think, also leave the building the same time you did?”

“I didn’t see anyone else, inside the building of out of it.  The building had been quiet as a graveyard, and so was the surrounding area.”

“But you are now saying he might not be dead, and got up and left on his own?”  Past you, as you say.”

“It’s more likely an explanation than the dead walking.”

From the blank expression on her face, Harry assumed she was taking the time to reassess her position in light of what he’d told her.  He had a feeling the gaps and half-truths would soon disappear.  Except if it incriminated her, or Al.  There was clearly something else bothering her, whether it was about him, or about Al, Harry was not sure, but she was holding something back.
“What is it?” he asked after waiting a minute or two.

She took a deep breath.  “Have you ever considered the possibility there might be a third brother?  If there is let me know if or when you find him. ”

Then she left.

Harry shook his head.  He would stick to his original conclusion.  Al was still alive, and Angela was helping him.  That meant she knew where he was, and knew how to contact him.  Good thing then, he had put a tracker in her phone earlier that morning.

She definitely shouldn’t have taken him home with her, and he was surprised with himself for doing such a thing.

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

Tuesday 9 July 2019

Episode 92 - Angela visits Harry

If Harry's father hadn't been a large enough handful to contend with, it must have been his afternoon for problematical people.  After Harry's father had left, he actually escorted him to the door to make sure he left; Harry had sat back down and put his feet on the desk.
Angela was next, and Harry suspected she had waited outside until his father had left.

She sensibly knocked on the door and let herself in.  Harry had considered getting up but the knock on the door told him it was someone he knew.  If it was not, they would be crashing through the door at full tilt, and in his condition, there was probably nothing he could do about it.

She put her head in the door and leaned against the door jamb.  Maybe his assessment of her had fallen short of the mark, that she might not be complicit...

Except, she was in his office, talking to him, after undoubtedly realising she had made a mistake when they had spoken that morning.

“How’s the case coming along?”

And there it was.  Not directly asked this morning, but now it was out there.

“Sadly I’m greatly behind on the paperwork.”  He held up the thin file that Corinne had put together.  “Pages missing, details omitted, work to be done.”

She came in and shut the door behind her.  “Do you think it’s a good idea getting back to work so soon?  I mean, last night you looked pretty beat up.”

She had injected just enough concern in her tone to catch Harry’s attention.

“The villains don't take time off to be sick, and I’ve been missing for so long, I’m not sure where I’m at.  To what do I owe the honour of his visit?”

“I was hoping you could give me an update.  I’ve seen both your sister, and some other woman in here and they had a few interesting ideas.”

“You know I’m not in a position to yet, so what's the real reason you’re here.”

A frown, as if she had been found out.  “I wanted to see if you were alright.  It seemed a bit silly to ask you over the phone so I called in.  I was on this side of town.”


“Why what?”

“Were you on this side of town?  It’s hardly your stomping ground, is it?”

She gave him a peculiar look, this one bordering on annoyance.  “Did you go bonkers when you were in that coma?”

“No, it just heightened my curiosity factor.  You don’t have to tell me, I don’t really want to know, but it amuses me that you are so touchy on the subject.”

She took a deep breath.  “I am not being touchy about anything.  I came here to see you.  It looks like I was wasting my time, you’re fine enough to be throwing accusations around like confetti.”

She is upset, he thought.  He’d touched a nerve.  And a point just remembered then from a previous experience with her, she could handle random questions being tossed at her unannounced.  “Come into the office and sit.”

She did.  “Are you going to interrogate me?”

“That would require instruments of torture.  No, I’m just going to ask a few simple questions.”

She relaxed in the chair, leaning back, arms folded.  “Fire away.”

“Can dead bodies get up and walk away?”

“Not that I’m aware of.”

“Yet, Al and I were in that room, you were in that room, we both saw a body, and then minutes later, after you left, I went back to the room and it was gone.  No body, no blood, nothing."

A momentary change in her expression, confirming what he already had surmised about her, that she was not telling the truth.  Her eyes were avoiding his,

“There must have been someone else in the building,” she offered by way of explanation.

“Possibly.  But they had to drag the body past me to get it outside.  There was no one dragging a body, nor were there any signs of a body being dragged, as eerie as that might sound.”  Which it was, making him shiver.  “And you didn't see anyone when you were leaving?”


“Which means the dead body got up and walked out of its own accord, or you’re lying to me.”

Hooded eyes and a flash of anger.  If she could blink and make herself disappear, Harry believed right then she would.

Crossed arms, uncrossed arms, crossed arms, the signs of nervousness brought on by a guilty conscience.

Now for the whammy.

“Is Al still alive?”

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

Monday 8 July 2019

Episode 91 – Not necessarily an explanation

There were a lot of secrets Harry didn’t know about his father.  They were kept secret intentionally because of that age-old excuse, ‘I was protecting you from ...’ and fill in whatever you think will work at the time.

That his father knew the Jones brothers, not heard of, or was acquainted with, came literally as no surprise to Harry despite the initial shock of hearing his father use the name.  That he knew they were also Harry’s clients was interesting.

So much for client confidentiality.

His father also revealed, right after that revelation, another, that he had told Jennifer Jones that if she needed a good investigator, Harry was the man for the job.  Harry’s mind immediately crossed to the wrong side of the tracks, because Jennifer was definitely his father’s type.

Perhaps after what had happened to Harry, his father was now regretting the wisdom of that recommendation.

Harry didn’t tell him he had cases on the go for Al, Joseph, Jennifer, and Angela.

”How do you know the Jones brothers,” Harry asked.

“I’ve been dealing with Outtel for a number of years.  Aside from the brothers, the company is well managed and reliable, at least until up to a month or so ago when rumours began circulating there had been a case of embezzlement under internal investigation.  Quite a large sum of money had gone missing.”

That his father had more of a finger on the pulse of financial affairs was undoubtedly true, much more, in fact, that was in the open.  It was why it was so hard for Harry to discover anything of importance about the brothers from his usual sources.  The fact they were part of the underground economy meant he needed someone like his father who knew about that sort of information, working with him.  It irked him, then, that his father was the only one he might have a chance of pressing into service.

Harry’s two mainstays for murder, money and sex, were harder to investigate than he thought.  But, Harry was willing to bet that even Sykes didn’t have the news Harry just learned. 

“From what I learned asking around, it was a cowboy operation, starting out as a loan sharking business, with Joseph managing the money, Al collecting it, and he was very good at his job, and, at the same time, made a lot of enemies.  Ten years later they began Outtel, and instead of lending money to fools, they started lending it to bigger fools.  When you can’t get a loan anywhere else, was something of a motto.  How far off the mark am I?”

“Not very.”  And a look of satisfaction on his father’s face.

A little respect, or too little too late?

“I’m not going to find your name mixed up somewhere in all of this am I?”

“I should think not.”  Almost peremptory, accompanied by a horrified look, as if Harry could think such a thing.

The problem was, Harry was not sure what his father was capable of.  Like many father’s whose business comes first, and family second, Harry had seen little of him, except for the handing out of punishment, or a wad of money when Harry was sent back to boarding school.

It was, his mother said once, a product of his father’s upbringing, and the lack of love and consideration that had existed within his family.

“Good.  Now, I have a question for you.  Does this deal you say you are brokering have anything to do with a certain vacant block of land down by the docks?”

Harry noticed his father turn a shade paler.  It was clear he was very aware of the address, and probably knew of its significance.  That momentary look of fear disappeared, and the stony poker face reappeared.

“I cannot divulge details of any ‘deals’, Harry.  But, theoretically speaking, if it was, what’s your interest in it?”

“The people who kidnapped me tortured me and left me for dead in a dump asked me the same question.  I have no interest in it.  It was something I overheard that I shouldn’t have, but it seemed like something bad was going to happen and I had to check, just to make sure.  Beyond that, to me, it’s just a vacant block of land.  But now I know you have an interest in it ...”

“I said theoretically speaking.  Do not infer anything in that.”

“You have a theoretical interest in it that might make you an accessory to attempted murder.”

“Then since I have no interest in it, I have nothing to worry about.”

He stood.

The meeting, interview, fishing expedition was over.

My mother always got the last word; he always got the parting shot across the bows.  “Try to keep your head down, and out of trouble.”

With that, he was gone.

No doubt about it.  His father was mixed up in both the Jones business and the vacant block of land.  All Harry had to do was find out what it was before the proverbial shit hit the fan.

If it hadn’t already.

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

Episode 90 – Revised - A visit by an enigmatic father

Kids are always scared of their parents, no matter how nice they seem or act.  Harry was told once by his aunt it was a parent’s job to be mean and scary.  Harry would be the first to attest that his father took the job very seriously.
Another angry rap on the door and he took a deep breath and opened it.

“Where have you been?”  Not so much as a how are you, or how glad he was to see his son.
“Here, as always, unless I’m out on a case.  Except of course, if I have to spend some time in the hospital recovering from nearly being killed, but I’m fine by the way, thanks for asking.”

Harry’s father gave him a long measured look. “You don't look like anything is wrong with you.”

“Appearances can be deceptive Dad, you taught me that.  Come in.”

Harry stepped to one side, let him pass, and then closed the door behind him.  His father stopped several steps in and looked at the room.  There were still signs of the break-in, but you had to be looking for them.  Another thing about his father, he never missed anything.

“What happened?”

“Not only did I get turned inside out, so did my office.”

“What were they looking for?”

Yep, that’s his Dad.  More interested in what was missing and not how Harry was feeling.

“I have no idea what they were after.  Do you?”

It was tossed in as a joke.  To his father, no doubt it was anything but.  “What?”

“I said ...”

“I know what you said.  Why do you think I might know?”

“It was a joke, Dad.”

“It’s not something I would joke about.”

Harry sighed inwardly.  This was going to go from bad to worse very quickly.

“Follow me.  My office is slightly more liveable, and there’s a chair you can sit on.  Then you can tell me why you came.”

His father glanced at the sofa, Harry had no idea why, but it seemed to capture the attention of everyone who came to the office, then another glance around the outer office, and then walked slowly towards the door to Harry’s office, which worried him, and then Harry’s father seemed satisfied and followed him in.

They sat.  His father had not closed the door behind him.  Nor did he take off his coat or hat.  It was not going to be a long visit.

His look of contempt, disapproval, or more likely, disdain, hadn’t lessened when he walked into the office.  A cursory glance around the room before his eyes returned to Harry.  As always, it made him uncomfortable.

“What have you got yourself mixed up in?”

“Nothing I can’t handle.”

“You almost got killed.”

At last, he finally remembered what had happened to Harry.  Perhaps that was more likely due to Sykes.

“I’m surprised you had time in your schedule to find out what happened to me.”

“Some policeman by the name of Sykes called on your mother.  Said you’d been in an accident.”

Good for Sykes.  He’d have to thank him for not making the details of what happened available to anyone, including his parents.  Not until he could talk to them personally.  Which might have been now, but Harry quickly reconsidered that idea as being a little risky right then  His parents could wait for the truth a little longer.

“In a manner of speaking.”

“Were you careless or at fault?”

Always considering how much trouble Harry could cause the family.  He’d once referred to Harry as a ‘black sheep’.  Harry doubted he was joking then, and that there was an ulterior motive to it now.
“Nothing to worry about.  It won’t reflect on the family.”

An interesting change in expression.  Maybe his father thought it would.

“Where’s your sister?”

Harry looked around the room.  “Unless she’s hiding in the cupboard, she’s not here.”

“Don’t be flippant with me.”

“Then, she’s not here.”

“Is she working with you?”

“No.  She came to see me because she also heard from Sykes about my accident.  She seemed surprised I could have a life outside the house.”

“This isn’t having a life.  What do you investigate?  Missing cats and dogs?”

So he’d been keeping up with my work, and this after telling his son he didn’t care one jot what he did with his life.

“And a few other cases involving people.  I’m working on three currently, and, no, they were not the cause of the accident.”

“Are you sure?  Because my information is the Jones brothers are not the sort of people you want to be dealing with.  They are very dangerous.”

OK, that came out of left field.  Harry tried to keep the shock out of his tone. “And you know them because?”

“Before one was murdered and the other disappeared presumed dead, I was an intermediary between a client and them for a rather large loan.”

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

Sunday 7 July 2019

Episode 89 - Revised - Harry and the Jones’ file

There were only two people who had cleaned up the Jones file and left it sitting on a clean part of the desk.
Corinne, Felicity, or both.  There were two distinct types of handwriting on various pages of notes that had been added to those he’d made.

As for the other files, some were still on the desk, but the rest were in the filing cabinet, some looking as though they’d been thrown there, an indication either or both either left in a hurry or lost interest. 
Stop analysing, Harry told himself.

Of course, there was no doubt both of them had a tidy streak in them and had rearranged the file in a different order than he had left it.  That, he guessed, had more to do with the fact it had probably been scattered amongst the other paper still on the floor, and on first examination, he considered the file had been re-assembled in much the same methodical way in which Corinne’s mind worked.  He also recognised her handwriting.  It was, he had to admit, more organised, and importantly, more intuitive than he had ever been.

So much for that run through he was going to make, now his father was coming.

It was a moot point whether he’d clean the office up properly before his father arrived.  His father was the one person Harry knew who would look very disdainfully at the office, and more likely than not to blame him for the mess rather than the true culprits.

Somehow his father always managed to turn an argument around and dump the blame on his son.  Perhaps he should not have tried to strike out on his own, and, in his father’s eyes, fail.  And that in itself was an interesting question.  When the going got tough, did Harry get going, or stall?

Would he be any further with the Jones case if he had not been attacked?  It seemed from what Corinne said after her meeting with Sykes, that even the detective was no further advanced made him think that the case, or cases, were stalling.

Had Sykes interviewed Angela?

It was becoming clear that Sykes needed to interview her as soon as possible.

It had been a mistake on her part to come to pick him up from the hospital, and a worse mistake to take him to her place.  Sick or not, it seemed she might not be so interested in his welfare, but in where he was in terms of his investigation.

Was it a case of keeping the enemy closer?

Surely now, after their discussion this morning, she had given him a reason to suspect her of more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It would be interesting to see if she was still available at the end of the day.

Then, on the other hand, Corinne was right that he should start talking to Sykes, and even more so now that he had more information.  For one thing, Sykes needed to know that Angela was in the building the same time as he was, and she had seen the body.  

The thing was, Sykes had not taken his claims that he’s actually seen Al’s body seriously, and, for Sykes point of view, for good reason.  There was no evidence there had been a body.  So, what should Harry infer from that?

There was one explanation; Al was trying to hamper Harry’s investigation, which would be very easy, if Harry couldn’t find him.  And if Harry spun the tale of the disappearing body, then that would confound the police investigation too.

It had certainly worked.

And Angela was his cohort in whatever game he was playing, feeding him information when it suited her, and only where it suited whatever game she was playing.

But, given the number of deaths to the various players who could have been suspects, and were now dead, it seemed to me that she would be joining that list sooner rather than later.  Especially if she was aiding and abetting Al, which, now, given his last discussion with her, Harry thought was a distinct possibility.

But it was the one line written on the last page by Corinne, “Al is still alive,” that made him sit up and take notice.  She, too, thought it was possible, and all she had read was the file.  How come he hadn’t seen it written between the lines as she had?

There was only one reason, and he wasn’t going there.  Not right then.

An impatient rapping on the outside door interrupted that thought.

Harry put the file away, stacking several others on top of it, and went out to the front door.
No mistaking the figure outlined through the window.

His father.

© Charles Heath 2016