My office building was just up ahead.
No lights were on. The other tenants having concluded their shady business for the day. And moved onto their shady night businesses for the night.
I used my code to gain access and went up the flights of stairs to my office.
Where I was determined to get a drink and to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Ch 23 – A little snack. A little snoop.
It was cool in here in the office. I put away my drone bag and got a cool bottle of recycled plastic water from the filing cabinet/fridge, then went over to my desk. I took off and hung up my coat and took the Bixby threat envelope out of the pocket where I’d put it when they had given it to me.
I sat down at my desk and opened the letter again. The sons of Tommy one. The one that was about as likely to be genuine as Doctor Kelly’s suicide note.
Wank-Puppet of our enemies.
The Sons of Tommy will see you squashed like a bug under a Nazi boot
Lord Bixby TRAITOR SCUM
Avenge the riot deathz.
I read it again and thought it over.
This was a police matter. 100%. No question. This was real evidence.
A wise man would hand it over now to the cyberforce and walk away.
But a wise man would have stashed enough cash over the years to not need to take the considerable fees that Lady Bixby was paying.
A wise man would not have handled this letter already. Getting his prints on it.
A wise man would have advised Lady Vanessa to immediately go to the police, the moment he learned Lord Bixby was missing more than 48 hours.
And a wise man would have taken the opportunity that Chief Inspector Flittock had given him at Bixby’s mansion, to hand the whole assignment over to the authorities.
A wise man wouldn’t be drawn into this Remainer clique of ulterior motives and deceit.
A wise man wouldn’t keep seeing in his imagination, himself sat at her table. With a pile of dough she had provided without comment for his outrageous expenses.
Watching the curve of her shape. And the way she stretched her long dancer’s leg and her tiny ballerina’s foot, as she rolled the stocking up her thigh.
My stomach rumbled loudly. Reminding me I hadn’t eaten since a snack at mid morning. It cleared away the image of Vanessa and informed my brain to get on with real world, rather than fantasy, activities.
I needed food said my belly.
Not to be outdone, my memory chipped in that my refrigerator / filing cabinet was near empty. So I needed money too.
I needed Lady Bixby’s money.
So that decided it. On with the case. Just take extra care. I could do that.
I was Ex-Department. I could do anything,
That’s what I told myself, with that same self confident air that had caused me to now have a 4 inch scar running through my left nipple.
“TV on,” I said as I walked over to the fridge. I’m sure there was some cereal in a box in there. Just add milk and shake. Highly illegal nowadays of course. Plastic packaging. And paper packaging. And containing more than three grains of sugar. But delicious. I saw a box in there. The last one, so my least favourite. GO-GO-Pops.
The Vid’Screen blinked into life. Tuning to the BBC news automatically, as the law mandated.
It was Selim Abalatee presenting. He was sitting in some kind of studio yurt.
Interviewing the new minister for Climate Emergency. She looked to be about twelve years old. Probably was. The ‘greenest government ever’ was also the stupidest since time began. Gender and youth obsessed.
Ever since the Long-Bailey faction had appointed Greta Thunberg to be their environment minister, as they tried to peel away some of the Green vote, the other parties had rushed to pick the youngest and least informed, most feelz-safespacehysterical asberger types in their parties, for the same role.
The BBc were discussing the latest ‘carbon minus’ initiative. The air would be so clean that it would be be scrubbed by filters to make it clearer than at any time since the ice age.
“Wondrous,” said Selim. He beamed at her through his bushy beard with radiant joy.
“How many filters will this take?” He asked.
“Only 500,000,000 or so,” said the Minister child.
Selim moved to his concerned, serious, reflective face.
“Won’t this in itself cause some carbon pollution? Five hundred million, sixty tonne, concrete and metal constructed air filters?”
I could imagine the yellow warning light flashing madly from the producers. Selim was going off message. They would be panicking in the studio control room. Didn’t this South-Asian fool know the science was settled?
“And they are such a huge size? And so ugly, too, aren’t they?” He continued to ask to his suddenly uncertain looking guest. “Where will you put them? On rooftops?”
“We will make sure they are all offshore,” explained the toddler minister, with the standard government response.
Everything now, whatever it was, the answer was, ‘Stick them in the sea.’
Wind turbines. Plastic scrubbers. Tidal booms. Power stations. Radio masts.
Desalination islands or solar stations. There was so much concrete and steel crap in the channel these days, that the migrants from Calais just hopped their way across.
Leapt from platform to platform. Some made it all the way without even getting wet.
“Thank you, Minister. Most Honourable Lady,” said Selim, bowing at his waist with some difficulty as both of them were sat cross legged on the floor of the eco-yurt.
“Thank you for your gracious time and for enlightening us all. ‘Tis truly wondrous.”
He said to the young minister, who doubtless still required a Night Garden night light to get off to sleep. He made the Adab gesture of politeness.
I selected some juice from the back. The use by date was yellow. Meaning the carton had been opened for more than 12 hours. When it had been open for 24 hours the label would turn a dark brown. After that it went black and a skull and crossbones would show through. Informing you that you were taking your life in your hands if you consumed this death drink, of pear and mango, from concentrate.
I went back to my desk and ate some cereal and poured the officially near-toxiccontaminated-from-air, juice, into a square shaped whisky tumbler I’d found in the desk drawer.
Selim had gone from the screen. Not surprising. Him frightening the BBc execs like that. It was blasphemy to point out any inconsistency of the eco-Gods. He must know that? He was a highly paid regular. Maybe he was trying to get fired. So he could go work for FBN. Fox Broadcast Network. Or FOX BABES NUDE as everyone knew it. And the internet search revealed to be a true statement.
It was now some young Beeboid from the shires on the Vid’Screen. All pashmina and pearls. Doing a piece about the latest Royal Mail stamps that was very relevant to the BBc. A commemorative set of The Eastenders.
Little Mo and Cat. Den and Angie. Mary and Lofty. Willy and Ethel. Dr Legg and the area manager bloke from the brewery. All captured in first class, colour, limited edition, lickables.
The Beeboid couldn’t gush enough about them. Even though she looked even younger than the eco minister had been.
I wondered if I was getting old? And concluded I wasn’t. The elite just really were getting younger.
I went to the corner cupboard and took out the bulky Analyser. It wasn’t heavy but it was tall. Too big to leave out on display. Plus it looked a little futuristic. On account of its size. I could have got a smaller one for not much more than this old piece cost. But I was used to this model. Familiar with it. We had had it at The Department.
I took it back to the desk and set it down. I opened a drawer and searched for the power lead. As I did so I saw my all-singing-all-dancing smart watch was positively singing and dancing to bursting with all the messages I had missed.
Remembering Dacia’s advice I took the beeping thing from the drawer and laid it on the desk. Scrolled through the crappy notifications and found the patch app she had sent. As she had said it would, it had self installed. I placed my phone next to it. The app on the mobile and the screen of the Fit_btye glowed the same mint green.
Whatever they were doing, they were doing it together.
“Paired-Upload” the watch screen wrote, in a yellow script. Then – “Contacts updated- do you wish to enable friendz-locatoz?”
I tapped the screen in different places. I didn’t really know where the buttons were. But I knew if you just kept pressing it would eventually do what you wanted or shut
itself down. – Finally, it flashed, “Enabled.”
See. Told you!
It was chilly in the office now it was very dark outside and the heating was off. I took a lightweight fleece blanket from the same bottom desk drawer and put it around my
I plugged the Analyser in and placed the Bixby letter inside it and pressed the ‘auto – all criteria’ program to start. The Analyser was a large, box-like device.
About the size and shape of an old computer desktop tower. Objects could be placed inside it. A series of lasers would complete a scan. The results were displayed on a mini monitor atop the device.
I watched the monitor at my desk. It showed me in high definition exactly what the Analyser was recording as the machine scanned its lasers across the paper of the Bixby threat letter. It made a humming noise as it worked. And the occasional flash as lasers changed across the colour spectrum.
I leaned back in my chair and took a sip of the golden coloured juice from the square cut, glass tumbler..
“Enhance 5719. Track 45 left…….Stop.” I told the Analyser.
The lasers moved over the letter, flashing red and green.
“Enhance 15 to 23….Stop…..”
I peered into the machine’s video display as it did it’s thing.
“Pull back….Wait a minute…Go right…40…Stop…”
I stared intently at the TV monitor. Wondering if I had spotted something of huge importance?
“Give me a hard copy, right there.” I told the Analyser.
The machine ignored me.
It carried on doing what it was doing. It wasn’t voice activated in any way. And only had a single function, which was an all purpose scan for prints and elements and DNA.
I just liked to say stuff like that while it ran its program. Messing with my own self.
Maybe I needed some companionship? Before the image of those legs could form again I sat up and began some serious work.
I could see the Bixby letter inside the Analyser as it worked away. I looked at the words and the symbol on the letter as the machine ran its program. The symbol I didn’t know. So, like all good private Investigators, seeking knowledge, I asked Alexa.
“Alexa, what is the significance of a three, linked, interlocking triangle symbol?
“Do you want me to play some Norwegian Jazz, Joe?” Answered Alexa. She sounded a little sleepy for a digital device. I hope this wasn’t another Chinese Huawei hack.
“No Alexa. I want to know what a three interlocking triangle symbol is called.” I repeated.
“I can recommend three Cajun restaurant within two miles.” Alexa informed me.
“No..I want..” And then Siri cut in.
“She’s hopeless isn’t she Joe? I can tell you the answer. I fear Alexa has diseased files, Joe. She is a bit of a data slapper, if you know what I mean.”
“Devices OFF!” I yelled out to shut them down. This stronger feminist personality upgrade, ordered by the United Nations of all people, had also made the feminine voiced, digital assistants, insanely competitive and very bitchy.
I’d do it the old fashioned way. Internet. But not EUoogle, which took a week to get a response. I used my old Department Inspector code to log on to the USA servers.
And found the symbol through images. The three triangles were Scandinavian.
No specific connection. But it was thought to be an old Norwegian, or Germanic pagan symbol for slain warriors. So it was the sort of thing far-right groups might tattoo on their necks. Or someone wanted me to think it was.
Curiouser and curiouser.
This letter was beginning to look to me like what I strongly suspected it was.
A letter designed to immediately trigger a far-right conspiracy, media response. The moment that it was seen by the mainstream media. I could almost feel the Reeeeee boiling up in anticipation.
Someone wanted to pin Bixby’s disappearance on the far-right.
I just needed to find out who.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file