Friday, 24 June 2016

Thirty Pieces of Silver - Friend or Foe (continued)

Dawn found the Ferryman in position, in disguise, and ready for action. It was raining lightly, something which didn't bother him much. The first early morning commuters began to appear and they gave him sideways glances and veered to the edge of the foot path to avoid him. None of them saw the confident individual who had window shopped along Grafton street a few days ago, nor did any of them see the mature student on his way back from a rugby match who had shared a bus with Jimmy Kingston’s bag boy. Today they saw a tramp, a dirty rag wearing drunk, propped against a dustbin, swaddled in a ripped sleeping bag and resting on a mattress of flattened cardboard boxes. Peaking from under the edge of his far too large coat was a near empty cider flagon. The last few mouthfuls of sweet liquid rolled over and back as his body rose and fell in drunken snores. His had the skin of a vagabond, stained the colour of mahogany with years of dirt and too many hours in the open air. Long fingernails were crusted with grime and gnarled from years of neglect. It looked like he was wearing at least five layers of filthy clothes topped off with a trailing rain coat that had been ripped in several places. He supported a chest length beard, matted and flecked with silver, shoulder length salt and pepper hair dropped from under a battered wool hat and dripped enough grease to keep an Italian chipper in business. The look was finished off by a pair of horn rimmed glasses with one cracked lens. To anyone, the snoring man against the bin had to be in his sixties, at least. It was amazing what the liberal application of stage makeup, latex prosthetics and fake hair could do. His own mother wouldn't recognise him, not that he'd ever know a mother.

About twenty feet, up and across the street, was a school gate. The same school he had watched John Griffin drop a small girl at three days last week. On the first day he had followed the dark four-wheel-drive he had expected the Griffin to jettison the kid at the gate like most parents do. Instead Griffin parked up on the street, turned off the engine and walked the little girl right into the playground before kissing her goodbye. Three times he had done the same thing and the ferry man only could assume that the mother had done the school run on the remaining days. Three out of five was good odds.

The Ferryman had stationed himself on the far side of the road so as not to attract the attention of an angry parent before his opportunity presented itself. He was half hidden by a bin and smelled terrible which would be enough to keep most people walking. He had even considered the rain in his calculations. On one hand it would make the taking of prints or fibres much more difficult after the fact which was good, but on the down side Griffin might not get out of the car in the inclement weather.  Only time would tell. If John Griffin didn’t show up, the Ferryman need only stumble off home after the first bell rang and try again the next day. This was a hunt and the name of the game was patience.

Eight thirty approached and the drizzle lifted slightly. The Ferryman cracked an eye open and felt the latex wrinkles and glue tug on his skin. Deep in the sleeve of his coat he balled and loosened his hand, working out any stiffness from the hours of waiting before resting his finger back on the hidden trigger of his beloved two-two handgun. What passersby couldn't see was the way the neck of the plastic cider bottle had been cut to fit the barrel of the gun and the way they had been secured together with duct-tape. Or the holes drilled in the plastic container which would vent the muzzle gas and thus deadening the sound of the shot. The bullet would punch through the end of the bottle, like a knife through butter, before ploughing into John Griffin from no more than a few feet. If this was going to work, the Ferryman had to get right into his face, literally.

Eight forty and the trickle of kids had increased to a flood. Happy shouts filled the air and the road was a morass of parent’s cars, half parked or stopped in the middle of the road, ignorant of any but their own needs. That was when the Ferryman spotted John Griffin rounding the bend. The Ferryman levered himself upright, using the bin for support and hacked up an imaginary ball of phlegm all the time watching the approaching black four by four. For a moment Griffin slowed by the gate and the Ferryman thought he was just going to drop the kid and drive safely away, but at that moment a minivan moved out and left a space just past the school gates. Griffin accelerated and dived into the parking space before killing the engine. The Ferryman busied himself by gathering up his sleeping bag and surreptitiously wiping the bin where he had laid his hand with the elbow of his jacket.

The ferryman shuffled unsteadily toward the edge of the road as John Griffin got out of the car wearing a zipped up windcheater over a tracksuit bottoms. He walked around the bonnet and vanished from view. When he reappeared behind the Jeep he was walking hand in hand with a delightful little girl, her blond hair tied up in a neat French plat and her backpack hung heavily on her little shoulders. They reached the gate as the Ferryman staggered across the road toward the back of Griffins vehicle. The first pregnant drops of rain began to fall as Griffin planted a loving kiss on the girl’s cheek and pushed her toward the dry school door. At least she would not actually see what was to come thought the Ferryman. Griffin stood and half jogged back toward his ride as the Ferryman moved between two parked cars and out of the morning traffic. Just as John Griffin approached the drunken wino stumbled and fell into his path. In reflex Griffin reached out with both hands to stop them colliding.

“Hay, watch it!” said Griffin angrily, pushing the man off him. It was as if time slowed down for the Ferryman. His entire focus was concentrated on that plate sized area in the middle of John Griffins chest. The end of the bottle which protruded past the filthy sleeping bag turned and the Ferryman squeezed the trigger. The noise was no more than a slamming car door. Bam, bam, bam, bam. Four slugs ripped into the feather light windcheater, shredding fabric, skin and bone. Griffin’s eyes widened and his jaw hung open with shock but his legs held him a second longer. The Ferryman felt the man begin to topple through the hands still clasping his shoulders. He eased the falling man against the wall and let him slide to the ground. John Griffin’s eyes bored into his face. There was no understanding there, no realisation, just shock. The Ferryman raised the now tattered end of the cider bottle and rested it against Griffin’s Adams apple and pulled the trigger. As the man’s head flopped forward, he rested the bottle against the man’s temple and pulled the trigger one last time before casting the sleeping bag he still held over the dying man. Bottle and gun vanished into a rip the Ferryman had made in his coat’s inner lining and he walked a dozen feet to where a trial bike was parked. With one kick, it coughed into life and the Ferryman pulled smoothly out into the road, not looking back once.

The Ferryman turned off the road as soon as he could, traveling down a ginnel which ran behind a row of terraced housing, into a park and along a wooded cycle path. He stopped the bike on a bend and dismounted. He shoved the motorbike into the bushes and rested it against a tree. The racing bicycle, helmet and petrol canister he had left in place last night were waiting. He quickly stripped off all his filthy clothing revealing a cycling outfit underneath. He discarded the wig and the fake beard, piling them all at the base of the stolen motorbike. He pulled the gun free from the makeshift silencer and stowed it neatly in the food pocket in the back of his cycling top. After taking the cap of the petrol tank, he soaked everything with fuel from the canister and flicked a lighted zippo on the lot.

He was already cycling around the bend, looking every inch a guy out race training when he heard the whomp of the motorbikes petrol tank exploding. He slipped a hand inside his food pocket and felt the comforting weight of the gun. His fingers closed around his riding glasses, the mirrored kind, and he slipped them on. He exited the park just as two walking Garda turned into the park. He smiled and waved at them as he crossed the road and headed back toward the city center. They waved back and continued down the path he had just come from. Soon they would discover the column of smoke and flame coming from the bushes. Would they even remember the cyclist that had waved or more importantly, did either of them notice his particularly long and filthy false nails? 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Thirty Pieces of Silver - Friend or Foe

Joey was about to cross the Hay-Penny Bridge when his phone rang. He'd been in a foul mood since he'd gotten rid of Jimmy’s bag. He knew he was being taken for a mug and was furious with himself for being so dumb. He had let himself be used as a drug mule, which was the most stupid thing that he had ever let happen, including getting banged up for joyriding. It was more than just anger, Joey was frightened beyond words because he knew there was nothing he could do to get himself out of the hole he had dug for himself. Jimmy Kingston was not the kind of man you said no to and expect to get away unscathed. He looked at the strange number flashing on his phone and wondered whether he should answer it or not. With one eye on the screen Joey zigzagged through the flood of corporate minions wearing off-the-rack suits and cheap shoes. He was being jostled and he didn’t like it one bit. This day was going from bad to worse. The incessant ringing was too much to ignore and he pressed the connect button, “Yea?”

“Joey, it’s Frank.”

“Frank who?” snapped Joey, dodging around a camera toting Chinese tourist.  

“Frank, Frank Jennings. Jesus, it’s Scobie, alright?”

“What do you want Scob, I’m flamen busy?”

“I’m in deep shit, Joey,” he said in a whisper.

What else was new, Scobie's entire life was a shit-storm if the truth be known.

“What’s happened?” Joey asked as he paused at the end of the bridge. Trying to get through the crowd was too much bother while he was being distracted by the phone. The flow of people broke around him as if he was nothing more than a boulder in the middle of a river. 

“I got nicked lifting a few Tommy Hilfiger tops from TKMax.”

“Jesus, Scobe, you’re a right dick head.”

“I thought I could knock them out on Henry Street and make a few quid. The thing is, Joey, they are going to send me back inside straight away unless can prove where I'm living. They won’t give me bail if I have no fixed abode.”

“Your fucked so.”

“I know that, which is why I said I was living at your gaff.”

“You did what?”

“I had too, Joey, I'd no choice.”

“I’ll kill you when I get my hands on you. The last thing I need is the coppers up my arse because of one of your fuck-ups”

“Fair is fair, Joey. I came with you when you needed a bit of help, all I am asking for is a dig out.”

“I paid you for that, not that you were any use in the end.”

“I had your back, Joey. I wouldn’t have let you down and you know it.”

“Whatever, Scobie. There's stuff going on right now you know nothing about and I really can’t have the coppers getting interested in me, sorry.”

“Please Joey, I’m desperate. I can’t go back inside, not yet anyway. I swear, there’ll be no bother. I won’t be staying at your gaff or anything, you just have to say I am, and bring an electricity bill or something down to the cop shop.”

“You’re really pushing it, Scobie.”

“I won’t ever ask you for another thing, I swear. I owe you huge.”

“I should have my head examined. What station?”

“Store Street.”

“Alright, but it will take a few hours.”

“You’re the best, Joey, they broke the mould when they made you.”

“Save the flannel for my sister. If she finds out she'll kill the two of us.”

Joey stabbed the disconnect button. Everyone thought he was a soft touch. He had a good mind to let Scobie stay exactly where he was. After all, he wasn’t Scobie's keeper. His black mood was now positively thunderous. He skipped between the traffic and took a back lane toward Templebar. Half way along the dark passage he saw a pair of dirty runners sticking out from behind a wheelie bin. A filthy young woman was hunkered down in the middle of the trash, injecting herself. She was rake thin, nothing more than skin and bone, her face was so hollow she looked like the walking dead. Joey kept glancing back at the girl and realised this was where Scobie was going to end up, if he wasn’t already there. Nobody could ever really help Scobie, not for long anyway.  Joey reached the end of the alley and looked back at the girl. Her head had flopped back and her eyes were shut. Joey knew the first atoms of brown were hitting her brain and the rush was starting. The needle was hanging from her arm, not that she cared. Joey felt sick to his stomach and promised himself he would never end up like that, never.

If it only took a copy of an electric bill to keep Scobie out of the big house for a few days longer, then an electric bill he would get. Sarah didn’t need to know, it would only be one more thing for her to bitch about. Joey waked on but this time he passed easily through the throngs of tourists in Templebar and was surprised to find he was whistling to himself as he strolled. Somehow the fury he felt earlier had evaporated all because he was helping someone out. The day seemed warmer, the crowds less suffocating and his outlook much brighter. Now that he had something to do his mind was at peace. He’d get Scobie out of the slammer and worry about Jimmy tomorrow. Joey vanished into the crowd with a grin and a jaunty step.


As soon as the detectives were out Emma's front door, Darren rang John and told him what had happened. They arranged to meet at Darren’s place in case the cops were still hanging around. By the time Darren got to his apartment John was already waiting there with Clare. She stood up and gave him a kiss on the cheek. She had a worried look in her eye and Darren whispered, “Give us a few minutes, Babe.”

Clare didn’t say anything, she just walked down the hall toward the bedroom and closed the door behind her. When the soft sounds of a TV drifted up the corridor Darren sat beside his brother and said, “The coppers are trying to pin anything they can on us.”

John smiled, “Of course they are, but nobody is going to talk and Jimmy is sure as hell not going to turn tout any time soon."

“That's not going to make doing business any easier. Every time I turn a corner I've been running into the filth. It’s like they're everywhere, or at least everywhere I am. “

“Not just you, they pulled me over earlier and searched the car from top to bottom. I rang Tony as soon as I was out of there and told him to ditch anything he was carrying. They're will pounce on any little thing so we have to be extra careful for the next few weeks.”

“Are the coppers doing all this just because of a few dust-ups or is this Jimmy Kingston pulling strings to get them to do his dirty work for them,” asked Darren, his face as stiff as concrete. 

“Jimmy has plenty of bent Guards on his payroll but I don’t think they'd be stupid enough to get involved with anything as blatant as that. I think the dust will settle after a few days, Joe public will see the Garda out in force and everything will be forgotten. If we keep our heads down for a bit and don’t get caught with anything stupid, they will lose interest and move on to someone else.”

“Jimmy won't forget as easily as the Garda no matter what. You know he's planning something.”

“Yea but we’ll be ready.”

"Because you got a man on the inside?"


“It’s about time you told me who it is.”

John smiled, “Fergal Collins. Don’t tell the lads, they’d let it slip to someone.”

“Collins? Wasn’t he one of the guys we turned over at the Red Cow?”

John laughed, “Yea, sure was, how do you think I knew where the handover was happening?”

“I nearly battered his brains out,” said Darren remembering the guy trying to crawl under the car to get away.

“It had to look real, no point in telling you to go easy on him was there? Anyway, he got his wedge from that job and he came out looking clean as a whistle. He’s a greedy weasel who deserves a kicking if you ask me,” said John, who could not hide his distaste for Fergal Collins. The only thing lower than a grass was a kiddie-fiddler, but it was a close run thing. 

Darren felt John was being far too casual about things. Jimmy Kingston was no pushover. He was going to make a move against them and soon. It was better to know what was coming so they could be prepared. Fergal Collins might be a rat and a traitor but he could well be the one thing that would keep them one step ahead of Kingston’s wrath. “I think you should give him a call.”

John took out his phone and a second or two later, the sound of ringing filled the room. Darren sat back and listened while John paced up and down, holding the phone in his hand. Eventually the phone was answered and a gruff voice emanated from the speaker, “What yea want?”

“What do you think I want, Fergal? I want to know what the hell is happening over there.”

“You can fuck right off, I told you I was finished with your lot.”

“And I told you that you’re finished when I say you’re finished, not before.”

The silence hung in the air until the voice on the end of the line said, “I want a grand.”

“That depends on what you have to tell me. Is it worth a grand?”

“Damn straight it is.”

“Alright, a grand. What is Jimmy planning?”

“I got a call from Pete today, he is rounding up at least three crews. They are going to hit as many of your dealers as they can find tonight. They are going to take as much cash and drugs as they can, but that is not what they are really after, they are going to beat the shit out of them until one of them gives up the location of your warehouse. That's what Pete wants to find. The mother load he called it. It’s payback for the gear you robbed off me.”

“I think you mean the gear you robbed, don’t you? Is that it?”

“Isn’t that enough?”

“I thought he would be planning something a bit bigger. Going after a few dealers is nothing.”

“Pete said they are going to keep after you until you go broke, that you won’t be able to shift as much as a dodgy box of fags by the time he’s finished. He said the way to stamp you out is by hitting you in the pocket.”

“If you hear anything else, I want you on the blower tout suite, you got it?”

“What about my money.”

“I will leave it at the bookies, you know the place.”

The connection went dead without the nicety of a goodbye.

“You’re right,” said Darren. “He does deserve a good kicking. Do you buy what he said?”

“It makes sense. If Pete tried to get at us where we live, we’d know about it before he got within an asses roar of the place. That’s the joy of living in the flats, they are easy to defend. It would be a disaster if he found the warehouse, Pete is right, if we lost that much it would break us. How many of the lads know where we are working from?”

“Four, could be five.”

“Round them up, I don't want them on the streets tonight. I think we need to move houses, don’t you?”

“Yea, I have three backups ready for use.”

“Cool, you pick one, don’t even tell me but remember you can’t do it yourself with all the heat on us. Use Sean, only him, and tell him that if Jimmy Kingston ends up finding the stash, I will use his head as a bowling ball.”

“He’ll get the message and I'll let the lads know to bring all the toys with them tonight. If Pete Byrne thinks he is going to catch us with our pants around our ankles he has another thing coming.”

The Ferryman never felt as calm as he did on the night before a job. Like any good pro he had his rituals, and the night before a hit was armoury night. He had a special relationship with his guns, they were his tools and he knew them inside out. The weapon a hit man favoured said a lot about the man. Far too many amateurs were opting for 45’s, an Uzi or even AK47’s. The Ferryman shuddered at the thought of those jackasses rushing in, spraying bullets all over the place. If they actually did manage to hit the intended victim, it was more out of luck than anything else.

If he could, the Ferryman always took the long kill. He was an expert marksman, and had notched up a dozen hits with his current favourite rifle, a GA Precision Gladius 308. Where a long shot wasn't possible he preferred to use a smaller calibre handgun, the twenty two was the best. The ammo was easy to get and hard to trace, but mostly they were quite. Another great reason to use a two two was that they didn’t blast the mark off his feet, meaning you had time to get in three or four good body shots in before the guy went down. That dramatically increased the chances of a kill. The other advantage of using a small calibre is that the bullets tend not to go straight through a body and kill someone half a mile away, particularly when the bullet was notched. A notched bullet was one which was split on the tip. When a notched shell hit a body they literally shredded the internal organs of the victim. 

The Ferryman was not concerned with innocents getting caught in the crossfire but when they did it tended to make things messy. He didn’t like messy. Why increase the chances of being caught for nothing. The gun he had in mind for the Griffin job was a Ruger 22 revolver. The Ruger held nine shells and being a revolver the spent brass would not go flying all over the place. It was a very tidy little gun and more than enough fire power to do the job. The problem was fitting a silencer. Any silencer would be far longer than the gun itself. The gun wasn’t that loud to begin with but it would still attract unwanted attention. The Ferryman had a plan, it would work out just fine. He had cleaned and loaded the gun, set out his props and had run through the set up in his mind for the thousand time. Tomorrow would be the day, John Griffin's last day, not that he'd know it.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Thirty Pieces of Silver - Chapter 12

Adams had his work cut out trying to negotiate the back streets of North Inner-City Dublin. The lanes were tiny and clogged with parked cars, unloading vans and builder’s skips. He could see the top edge of the Croke Park looming over the low-rise, low-rent, flat complexes. Even though the people here had lived within spitting distance of that great stadium, Adams doubted any of them had ever seen a real live match.  

Only a few hundred feet away was one of the busiest streets in the country, but from where Adams sat, it was hard to believe. This place had a hushed air about it, eerie even. Sims had her window down and Adams could hear the noise of his tyres reflected back at him by towering walls which flanked the tiny roadways. 

This was a village within a city, where a strange face was regarded with suspicion, and every movement was noted by an army of silent witnesses. Few cars stirred, and the unusually bright mid-day sun made it seem like a scene from a western. A western where a town slumbered until jolted awake by the jangle of a gunslingers spurs as he strode into the middle of the street. Adams thought it was a very fitting image. The first draw had already been made and while the shots were still echoing among the buildings, the lawman were riding into town to quell the trouble.

“Alright there, Partner?” asked Adams, doing his best impression of John Wayne. Sims crinkled her brow and gave him a bemused look.

“You’re weird, you do know that?” she said, only half joking.

“Better weird than boring, Partner,” he said, staying in character and flashing her a smile.

“You love all this stuff. You’re never happier than when you’re about to kick in a door or shake down the bad guys,” she said, leaning her elbow on the open window and resting her head on her hand watching him as he drove. From the corner of Adams’ eye he could see her hair flutter and thought in that moment Sims was beautiful.

“I don’t know about that?” he said, dropping the wild-west accent and becoming cheerfully serous.

“Oh, come on. You love it. You’d never be happy in a safe little nine to five job,” she said flipping her hair in the warm breeze that carried the city smells into the car. Adams indicated and made a turn into an even smaller alley.

“When I get dragged out of bed in the middle of the night because some scumbag has stuck a knife in another scumbag, I pray for a nine to five.” Adams said it because it was true, but it was deeper than that. Some of the things he saw were sickening, and those things made him want to scrub himself until he bled. After one of those days, a boring nine to five job seemed like heaven.

“Still, I think you’d be bored in a day.  I’ve seen you when the shit is about to hit the fan, you get this look, it’s a glimmer in your eye, you look totally alive.” Adams took a moment to be honest with himself, and he had to admit she had a point.

“I guess it’s a rush. In that moment everything else is pushed from my mind, the fight I had with the missus before breakfast, the unpaid electricity bill, the pain in my back from sitting in this thing all day. They all vanish in that instant. It’s like taking a vacation from reality . Do you know what I mean?”

“It doesn’t always go the way it should though,” Sims said, the lightness had vanished from her voice. Adams glanced over and saw she was gazing out the open window, her mind was miles and years away from here. He knew exactly what she was thinking about. She was thinking about Brendan Roche and how close he came to killing both of them.

“You saved my skin, girl. I’ll never forget that.”

Sims sighed, “But would I do it again. I feel different than before, scared I guess. I worry that, when push comes to shove, I won’t dive in and be where I should be, that I’ll hesitate at just the wrong time.”

Adams slowed the pace of the car from a stroll to a crawl, giving more of his attention to the woman sitting in the passenger seat. He knew the doubts she was having, he had similar ones his whole career. But Sims wasn’t giving herself the credit she deserved. She had been rock solid during the Brendan Roach debacle. She had rescued a girl from near certain death, and him from being burnt alive.  

“That case left scars on both of us, inside and out,” he said unconsciously touching the line running down his nose. “I know you Sims and I know that you’ll always do the right thing no matter what. There is no situation I wouldn’t face with you at my side, you know that, none.” She looked over and gave him a sad smile. She didn't believe it, not yet, but time would help and Adams knew that in the end she would find a way through her doubts.

Sims pointed at a gate on the left, “That’s the one.”

The grubby block of flats was ringed by a rusty iron fence. It was a dirty stained concrete cube bedecked with fluttering lines of washing. It looked for all the world like it was trying to set sail.  They parked in the weed strewn yard and got out. Adams noticed black 4x4 parked off to one side with a few likely looking lads inside. Pound to a penny they were John’s men. Sims led the way up a flight of stairs searching for John Griffin’s flat. They eventually found it on the top floor and the noise of kids rose above the antics of SpongeBob Square Pants through the closed door.

Sims knocked and the door opened in a fraction of a second. A hard faced a blond woman with large hoop earrings glared at them and snarled, “Yea?”

“I’m detective Sims and this is detective Adams. We’re looking for John Griffin.”

“Not here,” she said, slipping an expensive looking phone into the back pocket of her jeans. Adams noted the movement and knew now how she answered the door so quickly, the heavies in the 4x4 must have called her.

“Mind if we come in?” asked Adams, expecting to be refused.

“If yea want,” she said walking away from the door leaving it open. As Adams stood over the threshold he know one thing, John Griffin was defiantly not in the flat, he might be scuttling down a back stairway, but defiantly not in the flat. The three of them walked into the tiny kitchen, Adams pulled out a chair and sat, Emma Griffin leaned against the sink and Sims stood inside the door with her shoulder against the wall. Adams saw the look that passed between the women, it was pure resentment.

“Any idea where John is?” asked Adams, trying to be pleasant and official at once.

“No,” Emma said crossing her arms, locking herself down mentally.

“When will he be back?” asked Sims, opting for official without the pleasant.

“Not a clue. I’m his wife, not his mother.”

“What about you, Emma, where you yesterday evening about eight?”

“Why should I tell you? What’s this about?” said the blond. She was clearly used to being asked about her husband’s whereabouts but when it came to her, her hackles raised in an instant.

“We’re investigating a serous assault and we have reason to believe you may have been involved, or have knowledge of those that were,” said Sims, her words were delivered cold and hard.

“Bullshit, I know nothing about no assault. I’m ringing my brief!” Emma said fishing her phone from her back pocket. Adams sighed and reached behind his back drawing out his handcuffs. He stood and watched the woman’s eyes fix on the black and silver manacles.

“If you want to do it that way, I guess we better slap these babies on you,” he said, advancing a pace.

“You can’t do that! I’ve got two kids in there to take care of,” she said, pointing at the room where the cartoons were playing.

“Child Protective Services will take care of them,” said Sims and it was hard not to notice the lighter note in her voice this time.

“You can’t, there is no way I’m letting you, or those fuckers, lay one hand on my kids!” Emma snarled and jabbed the air with a razor sharp red talon. Adams put the cuffs behind his back again and said in an even tone.

“Why don’t you do everyone a favour and just answer a few questions. That is, unless you have something to hide.”

“I’ve done nothing wrong,” she said, the phone was in her hand still but it remained unused.

“Well?” asked Adams, raising his eyebrows. A few moments of silence passed before Emma let her hands drop by her side.

“I was here, alright. All night and that includes eight.”

“Were you alone?” asked Adams and he could feel the spectre of Sims glaring at the woman over his shoulder.

“No, John and the kids were here, all night,” she said and Adams took out his notebook to scribble down her answers.

“What did you do?” he asked after a pause.

“What?” she said, confused.

“What did you do all evening, you and John?”

“John and the kids watched some TV. I cooked dinner, lasagne if you are interested, then I did a bit of ironing. After that we went to bed.”

“Who went to bed?”

“We all did.”

“What time?”

“I don’t know. The kids about nine I guess, me and John about eleven. Do you want to know if we fucked?” she snapped, looking to put Adams on the back foot.

“Do you think it’s relevant?” he asked the woman in a deadpan voice but she didn’t answer.

At that moment the door to the flat opened and Adams turned. He was greeted by the face of Darren Griffin standing in the doorway staring at the unusual gathering.

“What’s going on Emma?” he asked.

“These two are asking about where I was last night, and whether or not I let John give me one!”


“Yea, and they told me there were going to drag me down to the nick if I didn’t play ball. She was going to have the flamen kids taken into care.” Adams saw a dangerous glow appear in Darren Griffin’s eyes and knew this was one of those moments they had been talking about in the car earlier. The shit could well hit the fan any second and it caused his heart to race. He stood and faced the enraged gangster.

“ID’s both of you!”  Darren knew as much about the law as they did and they had no choice but to produce their warrant cards. Griffin read the name on both in a second then turned his hate filled eyes on Adams. Any headway he had made with Emma Griffin was gone.

“Where were you yesterday evening at eight, Darren?” asked Adams, trying to be as cool as he could.

“Fuck you.”

“Do you want to be taken in for questioning?”

“Knock yourself out,” Darren said, bounding forward and shoving his fisted hands at Adams midriff, wrists up, but his steely gaze didn’t flinch. Adams knew his bluff had been called. He casually pocketed the notebook and turned to Emma Griffin.

“Tell John we were here and we are coming back.”

As he tried to walk out the door, Darren Griffin blocked his path and glared into Adams face from only inches away.

“No need, detective Adams. We’re coming for you.” The threat was clear, and with the likes of the Griffins, one not to be taken lightly. Adams sidestepped the smaller man and joined Sims in the doorway. Adams had opened the front door of the flat when the word, “WANKERS!” rang through the air. Adams felt like going back into the kitchen and slamming his fist into the nose of Darren Griffin, but instead he stored away his hatred for another day and closed the door softly behind him.