“Take your designer bag and your phone and your card reader and your skinny arse, and piss off. And don’t let me see you here again, you understand?”
The street beggar hurriedly gathered his stuff and made a fast exit from the circle of lamp light, into the peripheral darkness. Glad to have escaped the clutches of ‘The Law.’
I walked on, collecting thoughts again.
A good time to think, the early hours.
A good time to think about the reasons why I was being lied to.
Ch 22 – Night Walk
So, why was I being lied to?
Sir Alan and Lord Peter were professional liars. And I mean that as a complement to them. Those two were world class spin doctors. They could stand in a sewer and convince everyone they were in a rose garden.
But they were really salesmen rather than doctors. They sold lies.
They carefully pitched them to the audience that they wanted to believe them. They constructed an elaborate and convincing narrative for what they wanted you to believe had, or would, happen. And, they were world class at doing that.
I mean, these guys had spun actual, unprovoked, wars, as if they were a necessary and responsible part of everyday government business. They had managed to explain away why donations for a million pounds, followed by an instant peerage, where in way linked.
Telling a few non-global whoppers was as easy as flushing a pan to them.
But, like I said, they were salespeople. Used to dealing with the disinterested, easily bored, inattentive public. Or the even more easily distracted media.
Those two guys were the original squirrel pointers. But they always had to be careful to ensure that what they said on record was not as straight forward as they made it sound.
Government policy changed from month to month as situations changed. With particular incompetents, like Prescott and Brown, it might need to change week by week. With the truly stupid in charge, Long-Bailey or Heidi Allen, it might need to be changed, hour by hour.
So these media advisers were used to prevaricating and equivocating what they said.
Used to having a few contradictions in their statements, because they knew if anyone picked up on that, they would just spin them something else to get worked up about.
That made them careless.
I, on the other hand, was used to dealing with criminals. Guilty criminals. Whose answers would mean they might face a fine. Lose their benefits or ill gotten livelihoods. Even, despite the common purpose jury’s best efforts, go to jail.
So in my work, it was necessary to develop a certain awareness of what, when and how people responded to questions. And, even more importantly, to what they said and did when not responding to those questions.
The Psychologists at The Department called the technique,
Using anterior cingulate cortex and superior frontal gyrus.
The detectives just referred to it as ‘Bullshit Sniffer’ ability.
I walked across the Hungerford bridge.
This used to be a railway bridge. But nowadays, no trains ran at all. So all the Thames bridges were pedestrian. I walked along the tracks that no longer had diesel or electrical trains going over them. Just the commuter crocodiles who walked along the tracks, led by an RMT driver on a little cart.
I crossed over the Thames in the darkness, gathering my thoughts.
Mandelson and Stuart had called me Detective.
I never mentioned being one.
All that I said was I was with Police Scotland Cybercrimes. I could be any rank. And Police Scotland use techi ranks. Senior cybernautic 1st class, Social media monitor 2nd class, and such.
Not a major misstep, granted. A Private Investigator could be a former detective. But they hadn’t known I was.
On its own, not important at all.
I reached the far end of the bridge and climbed over some drunks lying across the stairs. Strong smell of urine. They were too far gone to be any bother to me. I continued walking and thinking.
When we had first sat with Mandelson and Alan Stuart, Vanessa had mentioned she’d been delayed by someone.
“Oh. Anyone I know?”
“Possibly. His name was Flittock.”
“No. I don’t think I do know him. What did he want?”
Flittock was an idiot. But he was a top Police Chief Inspector, who had been in the news for a very long period of time now. For mostly bad reasons. Mandelson would definitely have known who he was. Should have at least have asked if it was the same person as the Police Chief. Flittock isn’t a common name. How many Police Chief Inspector Flittocks could there be in London?
There was a giant, 24 hour, VidScreen on the Southbank. I was passing by close enough to see what was running.
Emma Thompson was standing on the wing of her private jet at the Medellin Anti-Pollution Summit. Lecturing the world about climate change.
There was an A4 sized brass plate on the pavement near here, where I was walking. I could see it quite clearly in the moonlight.
It was laid some years back to commemorate the attempted assassination of President Trump at that spot. Well, not actual to commemorate the incident. More to commemorate the assassin.
A snowflake had run at the President during a summit visit.
His Secret Service people had shredded that idiotic lefty, with 9mm SIG Sauer P229s.
When they cleaned the blood and the milkshake off of the body, it turned out he was the ‘Dancing for Europe’ bloke. Intending to splat the President with milk based drinks. Instead he got splatted himself. Permanently.
Poor old fool had figuratively lost his mind when he heard the most evil dictator in the world was coming to London.
And then had lost his mind literally when a highly trained Special Agent shot off the top of his head.
A common failing of the super liberals is they believe their absolute right to behave like dicks, makes them too virtuous to come to harm. Now the European flag dancer, knew different.
Still, on the bright side, the London Mayor had said a few uncontroversial words at the funeral. And the deceased now had a nice brass plaque on the pavement. Which was a shrine other lefties sometimes lit tea-lights at.
And the CyberPolice had been in deep trouble for letting a known nutter get near the President of the United States and making London’s appalling crime record appear even worse on global television.
Hearing how other departments were in the shit, was always welcome news to rival police forces.
And, as a special bonus on that shooting day, one of those 9mm rounds, which, some say, was fired several minutes after ‘Mr Europe’ had done his very last, twitching, dance for Remain, had shot down that risible Trump Baby balloon.
Which had sped off, punctured, up into the sky. Before farting itself back down in a series of circular spirals, to end up splattered on the M.I.5 building across the river. That had set off a major terrorist security panic over there. Which we thoroughly enjoyed.
And much later on, Emily Thornberry slipped over on the brass plaque and broke her hip. And so sued her own Labour council for putting it there. And that council had ignored the safety advice of my old ‘Department’ when they laid it.
So all in all, that was a pretty good day, when President Trump came to London and called the Mayor a ‘Stone Cold Tosser.’
I crossed the street and went down a very narrow, dark, brick alley. I was careful to avoid the litter. And the dumped sofas and mattresses, boxes and white goods. And the vomit. There were a number of bars on either side. So it could get pretty slippery down here.
This was a good short cut to my office, down this alley.
And all though it had plenty of negatives in the dirt, squalor and smell field, it was also the gap between two nursing school residential accommodation blocks. Which sometimes gave a snooper, fringe benefits.
I was a snooper by profession, so I used an upended shopping cart to let me climb the fire escape to the first floor. The metal gangways ran all the way to the end of the alley and saved me three streets. I made way along. Just having the very occasional glance into the windows.
My hands were now dirty and had I rust flakes embedded in my left palm. But totally worth it!
I jumped down from the end of the iron walkway, and walked back into the lamplight of a main street. Thinking about the Reform club meeting.
I’d asked Mandelson who he had dined with when he met with Bixby just five days ago. Mandy had said,
“I think it was just the three of us. Alan and Bixby and myself.”
NC, Nick Clegg was to be there too. Mandelson should have remembered that. He had admitted it smoothly when I’d asked him about it. Not tried a cover up. The expert fibber caught in a little mistake. Deftly extricating himself and wisely knowing not to draw attention to his deception.
Mandy had told me the reason he had had the Bixby letter on him tonight, was he was holding on to the Sons of Tommy letter to give to Clegg. So if Clegg had been there, five days ago, why hadn’t Peter handed it over to him then? The day Bixby disappeared.
And if Clegg didn’t show, for whatever reason, why had Mandy still got the letter on him now? He had told me Clegg wasn’t coming tonight. Why walk around with it? On the off chance of bumping into Clegg?
So, he was intending to show it someone.
A me..sort of someone?
Then there was the inside information in my former role.
“I heard they have Zebra steaks here,” I had said to Sir Alan.
“Oh yes. Delicious with parsnip. The genuine things. Not like some of the masquerades you find these days. People sell all kinds of rubbish and pretend it’s authentic.”
“They do, “I had agreed. “In some places the stripes are only painted on.”
“Well, you would be the one to know! In your line of work, eh Inspector?”
The epicure unable to resist. Big Boy Sir Alan had know I was previously with the Food and Hygiene section, Health and Safety division of The Department.
There was no way for him to guess I would see counterfeit hipster produce.
I had told him I was Billy Rosewood from cybercrimes.
Nothing to do with the wide ranging and all powerful Department.
And he had used my job title. Inspector.
Which I hadn’t told him. He should have thought I was Billy Rosewood, recently of Beverley Hills. If he had made a guess, he’d say Detective. As that is what I had implied. But the department used Inspector ranks. Not Detective.
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 elsewhere.
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.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file