Ch 41 – A walk in the moonlight.
“Where are we?” I asked Gill.
He was resealing his ‘passengers’ back into the thin, false container. Screwing the aluminium into place with a hand drill. I’d suggested to him he drill a few more airholes. It was hard to breath back there. But he had said he didn’t want too. He explained that sometimes, going into Hungary or Bulgaria, they sprayed a coughing inducing chemical into the back of vehicles. Looking for illegals. It lingered only long enough to irritate the throats and reveal the hideaways.
The EU forbid it. But those nations did it anyway, from time to time. Gill said he did a lot of trade with Bulgaria. I wasn’t surprised. It was a major route into the EU from the Middle East. Some smugglers had their cargo wear scuba tanks across any border, he had explained to me. He said he’d never had any trouble with the air. He made sure the cracks in the roof allowed enough in. I left it. It was his business.
He should be well aware that if he was caught smuggling people into the UK or into Scotland, there were enough do-gooder liberal charities that would fund his legal fees and make him out to be a great humanitarian offering a vital service. To the poor of the world. A new life denied them by evil governments.
But if he accidentally killed those same people through negligence, those charities would use that same money to try and get the death penalty for him.
“We’re a’ Bushey. We’re almost ready t’ae be off. Next stop Leicester.”
“I’m going to stay here.” I told Gill. He stopped his work. Alert now. Surprised and suspicious. So I gave him the phony story.
“I just made a call. My contact hasn’t got across. He’s still in Oslo. I need to delay until next week. Naturally I will pay for this journey to here. And I’d like your card.
I’ll need your services then. Where are you next week?”
“Ah’m o’er ta Bosnia. Then bar’ to Birmin’ham. And then Scotland.”
“I can meet you in Birmingham. Same arrangement. Same deal.”
“Aye. OK. So, you pay me now?”
I took a wad of the notes from my jacket and counted out three hundred. Which was generous for a trip of under thirty miles. He took out a wallet and carefully put the notes into it. Then took out his business card which he passed to me.
Gill Jhamat. Import/Export. With a Birmingham address and a mobile number. He looked disappointed. He’d been thinking about drinking that non existent booze. Poor sap.
I looked around at the trees where we were parked. I couldn’t see more than a few feet. We were on Bushey Heath, somewhere. A good stopping place. Good roads and a part of the greenbelt that the Elite had not allowed to be given over to wind farms.
“Which direction is Tesco Express?”
“Tha’s tha way. North Eas’. Elstree Road. Two mile or so.”
I held out a hand, and he shook it. Saying goodbye.
I jumped down from the back of lorry and set off in a the direction Gill had pointed.
I wasn’t going to Tescos. I just wanted him to think I was in case he was stopped. Or he recognised me from the bulletins or something. I always ask for directions to a Tesco. There’s always one nearby.
In fact, once I was out of sight I was going to turn south and head to Lady Bixby’s house. I was close already I could be there in an hour or so at a decent walking pace.
And there were few cameras or drones in this rural part of London.
When the Remainers talk of their metropolitan village, they mean it. Because they live in places like this. As leafy and green and pleasant as the most picturesque Dorset hamlet. But within easy reach of Harrods. Heathrow. And Hamleys. And where a million Europounds wouldn’t even buy you a shed.
If they lived in Barking. Or Tottenham. Or Deptford, they wouldn’t have such a romanticised view of the thirty million occupant city.
The moon was a bright disk now. But the clouds were heavy so they kept obscuring it, and when that happened the darkness was near total. Out here, past the fringes of the city, the street lighting was off permanently. I had to be careful not to trip over a log or fall down a rabbit hole. Thanks Greta! Good job.
No worries. It was still London. Not Devon. I’d find a road soon enough. I turned up the collar of my coat and put my hands in the pockets to pull the front around my frame. My arm throbbed from the wound. My wrist and hand were still mostly paralysed. And my Novazynka headache was really pounding in behind my eyes.
But I was in good cheer. I was near my destination. More by luck than judgement, but about time I had some kind of break.
And I had a plan. Not a great plan, I grant you. But a plan. For the first time since I’d found the dead Lord Bixby, I was going on the offensive.
That always feels good.
I was going to get to Lady Bixby’s house and, if no one was there, break in. That would be easy. I could try and pick her door lock. If I couldn’t I’d just hurl one of her large plant pots through the glass panels at the sides of her front door.
I’d be inside in seconds and I knew the code to shut off the alarm. 0406. Vanessa’s birthday. It had also been on the Sons of Tommy letter.
I’d seen her use it when I first went round there. She’d set the house alarm before she’d driven us both to the Reform Club. And I’d noted it. Noted it was the same as her birthday. Which I knew form my research.
I could have that alarm deactivated quicker than using a door key. Even if she did have a glass sensor system, that notified the security company of a break in windows, they would ring first, and I could try and bluff it.
“Oh so sorry..A nephew kicked a ball through the pane. The naughty little scamp!”
If that failed, by the time they sent a drone, I’d be long gone. I only needed to get to the Med-Doc. The numbers I wanted would be on the screen if it was switched on.
If they were not, or I couldn’t get them from the Med-Doc, then the safe. I had a way of getting into that bedroom safe. The one I’d looked in when she had sat on her bed and told me to come and lie down next to her, in her flirty, husky voice. When she’d been all stockings and silk.
I’d be gone before anyone showed up. And CCTV of me wouldn’t matter. I couldn’t become any more wanted than I already was.
It was going to be more of a problem if people were there. At the house. That was very likely. Lady Vanessa, wife of Lord Bixby, had just become Lady Vanessa, widow of the late Lord Bixby.
Family and friends would be consoling her.
The press might be camped outside the gates waiting for a comment or a picture. And Flittock and the Metropolitan Police would be out in force. And all the remain campaign people. Sir Alan. Sir Peter and such. That was a likely scenario. I was hoping to get lucky and that she had gone with Flittock to identify the body and make statements. That would be a lengthy process. So her house could be empty. And I hoped she’d complained about the media. Chief Inspector Flittock would have shooed them away.
He had the power to do that. If he dared use it. And he would dare. Because he had fucked up when she had first called the police to report Bixby missing.
I realised I thought of the Bixby mansion as Lady Vanessa’s house. Though, in reality, it had been owned by Lord Bixby. But, I reasoned, all husbands live in their wives homes. And it was her home now, by right. What with Lord Bix being all compacted and all.
I wondered again if she had killed him. And why. She had plenty of standard reasons.
But no real motive. Unless there was a boyfriend who had a hypnotic hold over her and wanted the old goat out of the way. Though that didn’t feel right.
I wouldn’t have been surprised if Bixby hadn’t minded her having an affair. She was much younger. He would have known she had desires.
And even if she hadn’t wanted him to know about another man, a rich and clever women like Vanessa could have had a love affair and made sure Bixby never knew. It wouldn’t be hard. They both had demanding jobs with deadlines and all hours media appearances and such. Both had a wide circle of friends. In many different countries.
She could easily say she was with her girlfriends, if she needed an excuse for an absence. No need to bump old Bix off.
No real point wondering about it. Except it helped pass the time as I walked towards Stanmore. On the pavement of a road now. That allowed me to avoid slipping over in the woods. And to see the street signs, so I could tell I was heading the right way.
Perhaps it was a Leave group that had done him in. He’d been really pushing it with his third referendum motion. It had failed by only two votes. Was due back in the House for another attempt in a few weeks time.
With the vote splitting options of,
2. Remain and join the Euro
3. Trial separation.
4. Leave. But the EU gets half of all our stuff and we only get access to Spanish holidays for one weekend in four.
The commons had filled with remainers again. Even after the Boris clear out of the super wets. Plenty more had taken their place over the years.
Now, using the tame speaker to bend all manner of conventions, Remain were back in the driving seat. Since Hoyle died, Speaker Bryant had got up to all kinds of Bercowesque mischief. So that even the highly supported ‘More money for the victims of domestic abuse’ Bill, had had, “And a second, third referendum, on Brexit” attached to it in the committee stage.
Bixby had been cheering for Caroline Lucas to be Speaker. She had missed out when the House insisted a woman got the position. And Lucas had already come out as a man. To the surprise of no one. In the end, Bryant had got the job. And he was as effeminate as it was possible to be , while retaining a penis, so all were happy.
Except the Leave voting public.
Bixby was loathed by leavers as much as he was lauded by remainers. It was fractious times. Maybe that Sons of Tommy letter I’d been so sure was a fake, had been real. Maybe leavers had had enough. The long avoided moment of civil war was on the way?
I didn’t know.
I only knew I was cold. And aching. And had a king size headache. I’d like a good rest in Lady Bixby’s emperor sized bed. Preferably resting my head on her chest.
Even if she had framed me for murder, she was still soft and warm.
I continued that happy fantasy, which was partly a hangover from that drug Nina had given me. I could tell, from the happy glow feeling that came as it wore off. I’d taken
it before. I knew how it worked and was aware that it gave the user a euphoric feeling of invincibility. Which was possible why I was feeling so confident that this stupid
plan might just work.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file