21 July 2009

Unholy Crusade, part thirteen


Gretl pulled up in the car park outside a large supermarket and finished her cigarette as she watched people going in and out of the giant building. She needed a change of clothes after last night's escapades and in the early evening, most shops were closed. This place sold clothes that looked cheap but at least she would not stand out amongst the regular crowds. It would do, for now.

She tossed the cigarette butt out of the car window, checked herself in the passenger side mirror, and climbed out of the car.

The choice of clothes was surprisingly large and better than she had expected. She selected three black trouser suits, blouses is a variety of colours and two pairs of decent, black shoes with low heels. The idea was to look like she was an average office worker; the kind of person one would not think was out of place where she would be hanging out. If she wanted to look like a street urchin or a student, her current clothing would serve perfectly well.

With her outfits chosen, she headed for the hair and makeup aisle and bought tanning lotion, makeup to suit a darker complexion and hair dye in as natural a red as she could find. She passed by the optician then stopped, turned around and headed back. She had never needed spectacles but they helped change the face enough that anyone not paying real attention might mistake her for someone else. Every little helped.

On her way to the checkout, she picked up more orange juice.


Jeremy sat in the King's Arms, nursing a pint of Sovereign ale and waiting for Reggie to show his face. He had been there for almost twenty minutes, which was par for the course for the old bastard, but tonight he was not in the mood to be messed around. If he didn't turn up in the next ten minutes, there would be hell to pay.

'Jeremy my old son,' Reggie called from across the room. 'It's good to see you looking so well.'

'I've been better,' said Jeremy. 'What did you want to see me about.'

Reggie took a seat across the table from Jeremy and leaned in close. Horton, his stocky minder took up position watching the crowd.

'Someone set us up last night,' said Reggie. 'And I think I know who.'

Yeah, I bet you fucking do, thought Jeremy.

'Oh yeah?' he said.

'There's a guy in Broughton called Simon Trafford. You know him?'

'Can't say I do.'

'No, I thought not. He's small time, but he makes a little on the side as a police informer. I've had my eye on that little shit for a while now, and he's been good for me; telling the rozzers what I want them to know and all that.'

'What's this got to do with last night?'

'Hold your horses, old son. I'm just getting to that.' He nodded to Horton, who passed an envelope to Jeremy. 'That was on my desk this morning.'

Jeremy opened the envelope and pulled out two photographs. Both showed a middle aged man with receding hair and very little chin talking to a short woman in a long coat.

'I assume this bloke is Trafford,' said Jeremy. 'The woman looks like the bitch from last night.'

'Right on both counts.'

'So what do you want from me?'

'Isn't it obvious? These two wronged us last night, old son, and if we are wronged, should we not be avenged?'

Reggie stood up and made to leave. 'Give me a call when this is sorted out.'

Jeremy looked at the photographs again. This made no sense to him. Reggie had been the setup merchant. He had seen that, had he not? So what was this?

He downed his pint, stuffed the photographs and the envelope in his pocket and headed out into the street. He needed to think this over.

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