Joe Malone, Part Twenty-Nine

Joe Malone has escaped a police raid on his office in The Swarbrick building. He only just made it out, and away across the city.

Ch 29 – Malone makes the news.

I was sitting on the wall of an NCP car park, not nearly as far away from my office as I’d like to be. Japan wouldn’t be far enough away for me.

The sun was coming up now, but the chill was still in the early morning London air.
I winced each time a siren went by, which was often. Guy’s Hospital was less than a quarter mile from here and the ambulances were coming thick and fast. Another round of stab-your-neighbour playing itself out in the metropolis.

I wasn’t worried about the teenage drug mules today. I was worried about me.

I hadn’t had a chance to look at my ear yet. Worried it might be shot in half. But gingerly teasing with my good hand, it seemed to be mostly intact. The 9mm round Police officer Ansell had fired, unprovoked, at me, had taken the sideburn hair off that side. And just the very top of my ear.
Which really stung but wasn’t a serious wound at all. It had bled a lot and I’d need some new clothes. My right side was soaked with blood. Though early morning in this city that look wasn’t unusual. I could just be a drug dealer or a mugging victim.

My wrist had a bruise on it. Big, and very black and long. A ricochet in the basement, was all. Felt like nothing broken. Just muscle damage, but very painful. I couldn’t grip very much at all with my left hand. Even holding my phone had seemed to weigh a kilogram. I’d only rested the phone in my left hand when I’d stopped a few blocks after escaping the basement to catch my breath and to call Dacia.
She’d answered with a very angry tone. I was ruining her evening with, whatever his name was.

“Now you piss is take! Joe! You..” She’d started to yell angrily.

Before I’d cut her off with “Valkyrie! Valkyrie! Valkyrie! ….You got that?”

A beat as she processed. Then, “Yes.” was all she had said, before disconnecting the call.

That was the codeword. I’d drummed it into her ever since she was a teenager and my informant from my Department days. When she was selling illegal scented candles and black market barbecue charcoal briquettes. And those lawn sprinklers, during hosepipe bans. Ruining the mayor’s zero carbon-carbon minus clean air initiative.

“Valkyrie,” was the signal for immediate burn. Destroy all phones and all digital devices and bug out at once. No delay. Code Blue.
I didn’t even know where her safe house was. Nor her mine. And she wouldn’t contact me again for any reason, until I called her never-been-used-before, never legally registered mobile, which she would have stashed there.

I had then gone up the A3 and over Tooley Street, and north to the river. In the morning light I could clearly see the world war two cruiser, HMS Belfast. It was moored, up the river. Though its wartime purpose and historical memorial status was somewhat diminished by all the rainbow pride flags covering it. I could faintly hear “In the Navy” being played over the ship’s audio system.

The sun had come up. Today was #FFriday.

The mud flats that were often visible for a long way out at this spot, were covered by the river water, flowing down to Essex. So I tossed my phone in. And my wallet and cards. And then took off my lifestyle watch. The one with the inscription,

“To Joe. 15 years service. From all the guys in The Department. Keep it clean”

I had tried.

But for now, I was dirty. And I didn’t even know why.

I threw the watch after the other items, into the grey water.
Everything had a tracker in it these days. And I didn’t want to be tracked.

All I kept back was a preloaded, unused, Bank of Armenia card, with around three hundred euro-pounds on it. And my gold, counterfeit, Department Inspector’s badge.
It was a counterfeit only in the sense that it wasn’t really issued to me. And I was no longer an Inspector for The Department.

But it was a genuine card. Genuine numbers and hologram. And genuine thumb print that could activate the I.D. gif to show anyone who was foolish enough to query the legitimacy of the holder of a Department Inspector’s badge; that they were who they said they were.

It’s just that if I did activate the Holo-check on this badge, someone might suspect that I wasn’t actually,

Inspector Amber Rudd. Fresh produce and allergy division.

I needed to find out what was going on. Then I needed to disappear. As I didn’t know what was happening I didn’t know who to trust. So I wouldn’t contact any of my old Department associates just yet. Though a few would always be glad to help out. And others would too, for a price.

I headed back, away from the river. This wasn’t far from the spot where the riot kicked off. When the T.Robinson-Not-His-Real-Name, snatch had been so badly bungled. A large Vid’Screen had been put up as part of the regeneration program for the area. On the side of the White Tower at the Tower of London.
I wandered down to have a look at it.

The news was running, as was required by the law. All news, all the time. Pay attention serfs. Politicians are speaking. And what they say is so much more important than Celebrity Love Island.

The item that was ending was something about an Iranian threat of sanctions on Europe had ended. Rory Stewart was going to challenge Wee Nippy for the leadership of the SNP.
Then the usual puff for some inane new BBC virtue signalling community show.
This one was “Lets Recycle Our Street!”

This show was even more ridiculous than usual. On it people were ripping out all the metal pipes in their homes. Stripping the plastic coating from electrical cables.
Taking the perspex shelves out of their fridges. Getting rid of garden hoses and gutters. All for ‘Greta Week!’

This Green Goddess had become a freak cult. This clip of this show had a woman trying to disconcert her gas pipe with a set of salad tongs, so she could fling it into the furnace the BBC had built in the street. So they could make tools from the molten metal, to use for gardening and growing food.

These people were insane. And the whole set was a Health and Safety Inspector’s nightmare. You’d think the presenters of this eco-show, Sophy Ridge and Tyson Fury, would have known better.

The Department would be down there instantly this aired to make multiple arrests.

That is if they weren’t too preoccupied with something more urgent.
Something more urgent like removing Lord Marmon-Herrinton Bixby’s body from inside the industrial crusher.

Something about just that, flashed up on the monitor. This was what I had come here to see.

A grizzled looking, plain clothed, Police Chief appeared on the big Vid’Screen. He was making a mini-statement. Was answering questions from the UK press. And looked none too happy about having to do that.
He was my old boss from the Department. McCarey. And he always looked like that. A flat tyre of a face. Glowering from the screen.

McCarey was a tough old bastard who terrified the Common Purpose place-people in government and the civil service and even other police forces.
He was as hard as a railway sleeper. And about as attractive. He was being his usual non-committal self with the media. In his flat voice of indifference he responded to their questions.

“Yes, A body has been discovered….. Yes, this is a potential crime scene…. ….I can neither confirm nor deny the identity at this time….. I cannot rule in or out accidental death…. I cannot comment until a full forensic examination has been completed….I have no knowledge of shots being fired or injuries sustained by any person at these premises.”

A deliberate, affected, stiflingly bored monotone from the Chief, as he faced the flashbulbs in his coat and hat. The zip-zib of auto lenses focusing and the click of camera buttons.

The final question did rouse him though. And did worry me too. It came from the press throng.

“Is it true that a former Inspector of The Department has a business located in the Swarbrick Building. That is the building where a body has been found? .. And is he involved in this incident in any way?”

Stella Arganzia in a striking light purple dress. Her own eyes reflected in the flashbulbs as fellow journalists took the opportunity to snap a picture of Sky’s latest acquisition for their Euro desk team.
Sky was determined to have the fittest line-up of babes and hunks they could. To claw viewers away from the compulsory BBC news.
Murdoch Junior-Junior had bought the company back and fired all the liberal wets from the production teams. He wanted something more akin to Fox News.
Samantha Fox news!

Jack McCarey looked over to the sensual Arganzia. She was not just a Fiona rear.
She was supremely smart too. As many an unlucky politician had discovered when doing one of these briefings and mistaking her for just another bimbo from the media.

His tone shifted from one of a public servant going through the motions of not really briefing the press. To one closer to that of his own, real, iron skin, police chief persona. And although he still only replied to her question,

“I have no knowledge of that…I cannot respond to that at this time,” his deep and grouchy, gravel, tone, unmistakeably registered his words as,

“If you have caused trouble for me or my Department, Malone. I will ram your balls into a wasp’s nest and high kick it until your ‘nads are so swollen you will need a skateboard under them to even go take a piss.”

At least, that’s the way I heard it. And I’d heard him up close before, with his spittle landing on my face.

McCarey wasn’t much of a one for political correctness. And should have been retired long ago. Would have been, if he didn’t know where both the metaphorical and actual bodies were buried. A good, if tough, uncompromising boss. A bad enemy to have.

He was as fair as Solomon. And as ruthless as Saladin.

He wasn’t too bothered how results were obtained. As long as they were. And as long as there were no ‘official’ complaints, he’d stick by his officers if he believed in them. If he didn’t, he’d get rid of them to the Metropolitan Police. They took anybody.

I wouldn’t go near him now, even though he knew me well. Had backed me up fully after the Tommy incident.

But just by his tone, I knew if I showed my face at HQ, he’d arrest me instantly.
And solitary me. And hand me over to whoever asked for me, without even questioning me.

McCarey was about to end his own questioning, turning away from the media scrum, but then he made an uncharacteristic statement of his own.
He faced the reporters and TV cameras and said,

“Rest assured. The Department will use all of its resources and highly capable personnel to ensure that if any criminality has taken place, then those responsible, will be brought to justice. No matter what.”

Then he moved away from the continuing barrage of questions and walked back to his own team of people and squad cars, behind the security tape and well away from the media.

No more guesswork was needed. With that statement McCarey had confirmed my suspicions. That wasn’t a statement for the media. That was for ‘The Elite.’

He was saying he would not hesitate to arrest, detain or whatever, even a former Department Inspector of high standing and ‘semi-impeccable’ record. And the only reason he would say something like that, was if he believed I was as guilty as Nicholas Soames beside an empty family pack of Butterkist.

He would only believe that if he had evidence. So he must have seen that evidence already.

McCarey had known I’d been involved. So that meant he had already had the stage one forensics report. Fingerprints, of course. My prints would be all over the building, naturally.

I had been renting there for years. My lawyer might even be smart enough to suggest a reason for my having previously been in the basement. And for having touched that Baling machine and compactor that was down there. A good enough reason for explaining why those prints of mine were on it.
I had less of an explanation for why my prints would be on Bixby’s shoe. Or his wrist. Or on the fire exit railings and the door push bar leading up from the basement.

McCarey would know by now that the DNA from the blood where the bullet of the police officer took off the top of my ear, was a perfect match for someone from his own records files. One former Inspector of The Department.

Malone. J. 564534.

He would have a physical description from those officers involved in the basement shoot out. Footprints of mine in Bixby’s black blood. Fingerprints on the light switches. The doors. The dumpster I had pulled in front of the fire exit as I escaped the building.

I had made it all to easy for them. Though in my defence I wasn’t expecting to have been considered a suspect as Bixby’s killer.

Anyway, the information that Joe Malone had murdered Marmon-Herrington Bixby had come to McCarey before any of these forensic reports reached him. From some other source.

The Police had come in, armed and ready, for an assault. They had burst in and flanked out like they were taking on an armed gang. They had moved up to my office immediately. Without deploying a building perimeter guard. Only a lobby squad.
Which meant they knew there was just the one staircase. They had behaved badly from the start. Been really twitchy. That officer accidentally letting fly with live ammunition up in my office. They must have been told something to make them so itchy on the triggers like that.

Someone had told them I was in the building and was a substantial threat.

I wondered who that person was.

* * *

I moved away from the Vid’Screen. Knowing the hunt would be on by now. I needed to get out of sight of all the cameras and drones. I also needed a change of clothes. Quickly.
I headed off down a small walk. It was a road that accessed parking for the luxury flats in the gated area. Only very rich people who could afford vehicles.
The flats were really pricey along this part of the river. With its amazing views and even more amazing crime rate. I could follow it east for a little way. It wasn’t used by pedestrians very much.

I wondered who that somebody was.

I walked away from the Vid’Screen. Heading for a place I knew where I could hold up, just for a bit. Without any questions about who I was or what I was doing there.

But I stopped at the first intersection. I could see a Robocop up ahead. These were the Mayor’s latest high-profile policing idea. And so typically, they were rubbish.
Waiting at the corner of xx and xx, the police Android was on duty.

These things weren’t much of a bother to anyone. More of a nuisance for drug gangs, flashers and moped muggers than a threat. They spent most of their duty time attempting to stop cycle couriers jumping red lights., {They were unionised and had mandated breaks and rest periods and even holiday pay. The brief period of the Unions backed McDonnell Rainbow Coalition of lunacy had seen to that. }

They were neither fast, nor particularly threatening. But they did have powerful sensory scanners that swept their patrol zone rapidly. And that data went back to one of several central monitoring stations around the capital. The nearest one to here was at xx street. Up the river.

If there was an alert out for me, which I strongly suspected there was, then my image would flag up as priority arrest. And that skinny bank of electronic junk Robocop would run it’s ‘stop and await arrest’ protocols. More worryingly, a quadsquad of rapid deployment vehicles would descend on the area in moments.

This was just how policing worked. Allocation of resource to priority.

Been mugged and had all your stuff stolen? Call your insurance company, lady. Don’t waste our time. We are seeking the killer of the Head of Remain, And all resources are dedicated to that business. So buzz off.

I turned away from the policebot, heading east. I didn’t have far to go to get where I was wanting to go. I just needed to stay out of the sight of the surveillance cameras.Which was pretty tough, in this, the most CCTV monitored city on earth.
There were more cameras in London, watching our populace, than there were in Beijing, watching theirs.

If I headed east, I would soon be out of this, the fringe area of Tower Hamlets, and into the better borough of xx.

I thought as I walked.

I didn’t want to go down into the underground. One reason was there were no trains down there any more. Being solar powered and all. The other was the cameras were very sophisticated down there. And numerous. The London Underground was the safest in Europe. And only partly because there weren’t any trains.

It was better for me to be above ground. But only relatively. If I didn’t get off the streets soon, I’d be image-checked and tagged and have facial recognition scanned for sure by one of the many mast cameras.
Everywhere there was a camera. Traffic. Tolls. Pollution. Speeding. Shops. Business CCTVs. AmarZrone cameras. Or just by some tourist uploading a selfie which I inadvertently photo-bombed.

Another question to worry about later. As it got lighter, my blood soaked shirt and jacket would be more noticeable.

I could see a church spire up ahead. Excellent, I thought, as I made my way across the street to the church.

“The Lord Will Provide” the noticeboard proclaimed.

And He did.

© Bill Quango MP 2019 – Capitalists @ Work

Ed. I still haven’t found a new free text to speech mp3 generator.