Kidnapped 13 – The Ace Of Spades

After my chin wag with the Belgian I went back to my room. My French guest was well away in the land of nod. I was tired band just needed to review what was what now. I had a long shower and let my thoughts wander. When I got out of the shower I started jotting down the billy basics so I could see what was what.

Objectives

1. Locate and free JR.

2.Locate and free the Belgian on behalf of the insurance company.

3 A bonus would be to get paid or at least cover the cost.

Well, we had found and extracted JR and the Belgian plus we had a bonus hostage and money in the bank. That was it, all three objectives achieved plus one.

Problems

Rogirst the Belgian

Marianne the French Journalist

Arthur Daley the Arab

O’Hara the Yank

1. Well, the Belgian was the property of the insurance company & his employer so they called the shots on what happened to him. On reflection I think it would be better to go to the Insurance company and let them deal. That hand over might be tricky if O’Hara was on the scene. Hmm O’Hara.

2. Marianne, the French journalist. Apart from O’Hara she had no real enemies in the locality that I knew of so she could be handed to the French without any problems. Then it suddenly struck me, what about her family. I bet there’s beaucoup de frogs worrying their little green legs off about her. Maybe it would be a good Idea to get a message to them. I made a note to do this later. But there was no doubt she was a threat to O’Hara because of what she knew and was therefore in danger from him.

3. The wheeling and dealing Arab was easy. He had no real direct connection to our job and unless that changed dramatically then we could ignore him. Irksome bad guy yes, but relevant to us at this point? No, I really didn’t think so, besides which what could we do anyway? I suppose we could launch world war three with his security team, and unlike the rescue of the hostages this would be like fighting ourselves. Bloody and pointless.

4 Last but not least, there was left O’Hara. Now I know O’Hara had been a bit of tosser, but were we really interested in him? Stay objective. Yes I was pissed off that he had put one of our lads in danger, but JR had been an arse for coming here in the first place. Jeeez everyone knows that this part of Africa is up shit creek. As far as JR was concerned O’Hara was not a real risk at the moment. However, as far as the Belgian was concerned, even if only 50% of his story was true, he had to be at risk simply because he knew too much. The same applied to the Marianne. O’Hara would have to ensure that they did not talk. To do this he could either kill them or buy them off. The Belgian could be bought as I am sure so could JR, but what about our journalist friend?

Okay, so Rogirst definitely and possibly Marianne were in danger form O’Hara and whilst they were in our custody that meant we were at risk as well, assuming of course that O’Hara made the connection. I had no doubt that O’Hara would be feeling the heat soon and that would make him a very dangerous beast. He really doesn’t need three freed hostages running around and blabbing to God knows who. His only starting point as far as I was aware was me.

So then the question is, if you were O’Hara what would you do? In the trade its known as clearing, to put it less delicately you eliminated anyone and everyone who could point a finger at you and obviously that would include me.

No point prevaricating about the bush, O’Hara was a problem, and soon to be a very big problem, and this needed to be dealt with quickly.

I dozed off in the chair and was woken by the sound of my mobile ringing.

“Hello”

“Hi Norman did I wake you, its O’Hara, how you doin” He was very very friendly and breezy. Almost too friendly.

“Oh hello, yeah ok” I said dopily.

“Hey Norman I got some great news for you”

“You have?”

“Yeah we have had a communication from the kidnappers and if your ready with some of the money they will release your boy today” He enthused.

“Oh really!” I squawked rather loudly.

“Are you OK you dont sound to happy?” O’Hara asked with what sounded like genuine concern for once.

“Yeah, fine er no sorry er got some er fruit stuck in my throat” I croaked

“Take it easy big fella, don’t want you choking before we done the deal now do we” He laughed, but it sounded a bit hollow and forced. I wonder why!

“Yeah ” He continued “Just got a call a few minutes ago, from their side saying they want to do deal today”

“Oh I see and errr what do we need to do, you know because this has all come as a bit of shock, because I thought they wanted the money paying into that account you gave me” I rambled on.

“Well, yeah, they did, but a few things have happened and I sort of managed to get them to change their minds, you know to speed things up. Its sweet, you can get your boy and get out of this shit hole and head for home real soon. I gotta tell you it wasn’t easy but I got them to change their minds and they settle for cash up front.”

“What about the Belgian guy?”

“Well ” said O’Hara in a laboured sort of way “He had some Kinda insurance and they have paid up and he is already free on and on his way back to Belgium”

“Oh right, is he,well err that’s great. So erm do I have to pay the intermediary or you”

“Nah as I said everything’s sweet Norman. You pay me direct and I’ll make the call to the other side and your boy will be on his way. If I have the money that’s good enough for them. Its a shame the way things are here, but good in that there is still some honesty and trust between people. It’s a sad fact Norman but I have to do a lot of business with these guy, but because we do a lot of business together we have a bond, mutual respect and trust. Lord, there has to be some trust, even here doesn’t there!”

“I suppose so” I said, mildly amused not just at his balls for trying this on but for his philosophical and moral observation “So how do we do this?” I asked.

“Well, you will need to pick up the money of course, from which ever bank you are using, and then we need to get together and do the deal. I will make the call and your boy will be released in the next 12 to 24 hours”

“Oh right, that simple”

“Yes indeedy” He enthused sounding like Ned Flanders from the Simpsons. “Oh which bank did you say you are you using?”

I never said which bank I thought quickly

“First Bank on Aba Road I have an appointment for 11” I lied

“Okay great”

This phone call put everything into sharp focus and now I had no doubt that I was in a lot of danger from O’Hara. He must know that the hostages were free, and that he and his chums stood to loose a lot of money. Hence why he was pushing things along. As far as I could tell he still had no reason to tie the escape of the hostages to me – at the moment. However, you would not need to be Sherlock Holmes to work out that he was going to lure me to his place, do me in and pick up the wedge. This would happen whether or not he suspected me of being involved in freeing the hostages. Clearly he wouldn’t doing anything until he knew I had the money. Then I would either be kidnapped en route or as I said before taken out after our meeting. Either way he would be looking to eliminating one problem and picking up the money as well. Of course I might be doing him an injustice, but based on what I had seen so far, I was prepared to run that risk.

“Where do you want to do the deal O’Hara?” I asked

“Some place private and discreet. The company is very aware of the political sensitivity in how we resolve these matters without loss of life, I am sure you can appreciate the delicate nature of it all.”

“Yes indeed, so where would suite you?”

“How about my place about 12.30 , nice and discreet and we could have some lunch and few drinks to celebrate” He said

“If you’re sure that’s not being an inconvenience” I said sounding very British and polite. He laughed and gave me the address and said he would see me at 12.30

I rang reception and said I wanted an executive car for about 4 hours. It was to pick me up at 10.30 to take me to the First Bank on Aba road and then to an address at XXXXX, but I would confirm that later.

I rang Cyclops and told him the news. I asked him to contact Platt at the insurance company to confirm that we had freed JR and the Belgian and to get instructions about handing the Belgian over. I also told him about the third hostage and to see if he could pick up a bonus payment for her. No harm in asking. Cyclops for his part confirmed that BF and JR were airborne and that we were booked to PH the evening of the following day.

As an aside, Cyclops said that apparently BF & JR had had a little problem with either the authorities or the airline who would not let them on the flight until he had been seen by a doctor. The cover story was that JR had been injured in a road accident. The quack who turned up was dubious about how he got his injuries, but a donation to his kids education fund convinced he that the injuries were consistent with an accident and that he was fit to fly.

I told Cyclops to do a ring round with the following information. We needed two OP lads to baby sit the two other freed hostages. Benny the boat could go straight out and watch Arthur Daley the Arab just in case. Scouse Git would take Bob in the 4×4 to the bank and wait for me. Bob is a very similar age, height and size to me. Not as good looking I would say and two years older, but hey who’s counting. He was going to be in the bank before me and would come out of the bank in my place and head back to the hotel. Boris would go to keep O’Haras gaff under surveillance and to cut the power before I got there. SG would then take me to O’Haras for the meet.

Marianne had been woken by the telephone and had gone to the toilet. She was perturbed that I was talking to O’Hara but I explained I was under contract to the Insurance company and we were going to make arrangements for the safe hand over of herself and Rogirst. I reassured her that we would not hand them over to O’Hara, but I explained that we needed to protect our own security interests which is why we had none handed either of them over just yet. She was too done in to care really.

I told her I was going out and that somebody would be coming down to sit with her while she slept. She seemed a little anxious but when OP1 came in she relaxed. He is a pleasant friendly looking bloke with a ready smile and disarming charm. His exterior belies the touch man beneath. She went back to bed and was soon asleep again. OP1 settled down read his book, which reminded me I still had my Lisa Jewell book to finish. Tonight maybe.

Everyone went their separate ways and anyone watching would have had difficulties to establish any association between us. I went down to the reception with an attaché case under my arm and passed Bob carrying a similar case in the lobby, we exchanged pleasantries as one does but that was as far as it went. I had about a ten minute wait before the car arrived, a black Merc with tinted windows. Perfect. The receptionist said it would be added to my bill, I said that was fine and that I would probably be leaving the following day.

The drive to the bank was uneventful. I had no appointment with the bank but was sure I would be followed or ambushed after I left. I was fairly sure I was not being followed but it was hard to tell from the back of the car and I did not want to draw the drivers attention to myself by peering out of the back window every 10 seconds.

Aba Road is one of the main roads through the city. Its a busy, chaotic African mish mash, where the Western world collides head on with Africa. It is sort of like a motorway or freeway, but then again it is not. Its sort of like an African Oxford street. There are beggars and robbers, street markets and traders as well as flash office blocks and hotels and shanties and market stalls. It is typical of the country.

Today it was busy, although to be honest its always busy. It was a really hot and muggy day and the place was like a heaving, crowded, smelly sauna of humanity. We were able to park almost outside the bank. As I got out of the car I saw a NIssan bluebird or something like that, two white blokes inside gave me a good once over as it drove slowly past and parked up. I saw a second car, a red Toyota pull up about 20 m behind my car. I could not see very well but it looked as if there were 2 or 3 blokes in the second car. I went into the bank and saw Bob already there. I rang SG and told him about the cars, he knew what to do. I caught Bobs eye and nodded. He saw me and we went through a routine of old friends not having seen each other for awhile and in conversational tones I was able to tell him about the cars. Exactly 5 minutes after speaking to The Scouse Git my phone rang. Bob picked up the attaché case and walked out of the bank and towards the merc.

I gave Bob about 5 seconds start and then went out through the main doors. There was thick orange and white smoke pouring from from two smoke canisters SG had dropped between the Merc and the red Toyota before walking casually back to his 4X4 which was parked in front of the Nissan. People didn’t know what the hell was happening. People wwere shouting and yabbering, dogs were barking and beast bleated. Instant mega chaos was breaking out as people unable to see stopped their vehicles and honked their horns and shouted. Then there was a flash and a very loud bang, SG had let off a diver recall flash. People screamed and those vehicles that had stopped were hit by the thickos who didn’t think to stop. People were running about like headless chickens and there was the sound of vehicles crashing into each other. A policeman went running into the smoke and there was more excited hollering and all in all it was a right to do.

As all this was kicking off Bob simply got into the back of the Merc as if there was nothing wrong. The driver fearing for his valuable jam jar and no claims bonus was off like a long dog with the nissan following. Bobs instructions were to go straight back to the hotel pay driver a good tip and then await any further instructions.

As Bon was getting into the Merc I walked purposefully from the bank and got into the Toyota 4×4 and the Scouse Git did what he is good at. I rang Bob to tell him he had a tail but he knew that. It was not long before I got a phone call from Cyclops to say Bob was back at the hotel safe and sound and I confirmed we were en route to my meet with O’Hara. This would Boris some time to work his magic with O’Hara electricity supply and security.

The team all knew where O’Haras house was and the layout of the area etc from from their previous sorties earlier in the operation. It turned out that O’Hara’s house was on a sort of executive estate. IT was a very pleasant place to live. The houses were large bungalows of different styles and very spread out. Each sat in its own large plot which I suppose were about 130m X 130m. At a guess I would say there was maybe 50m of garden between the house and each boundary fence, so there was at least 100m between houses. The gardens were landscaped and full of shrubs and bushes which meant they were very private and more often than not it was impossible to see the houses themselves from the road. Of course they all had their security cameras, but in O’Haras case Boris would have dealt with those and sorted the electricity.

I called Boris up on the radio and he told me that O’Hara was in the house and that as far as he could tell he was alone.

SG dropped me a few houses away from O’Haras house and I walked up to the gates. It was hot really hot and I had some difficulty putting on a pair of latex gloves. In the distance I could hear the shouts of children somewhere and the splash of water in a swimming pool. From the sounds of the voices I would have said they were White kids, no doubt familly of some of oil company executive. I pressed the buzzer at O’Hara gate. Nothing happened. I tried again. The main gates were locked, but I tried the side gate and found it unlocked. What is it with people? they spend a bloody fortune on security and then leave the gate unlocked. Mind you, don’t know why I am complaining because often it makes my life so much easier.

I walked up the drive with the attaché case under my left arm and my right hand by my side holding my new best mate Mr Glock.

I clicked off the safety and approached the house. The front door was open. I glanced tentatively in. I could see a large hallway which appeared to open out into a big airy living room. I could hear someone inside moving about. Boris had said he thought O’Hara was alone, but I knew he would not take offnce at me checking this out for myslef. I did a very quick tour of the house to see if I could see of hear any signs of life. There was nothing. I went back to the front door. Fuck me it was hot and my hands were sweaty in the latex gloves.

I walked silently into the hallway O’Hara was standing at a dinning table with his back to me and he appeared to be looking at a map. He dressed in a white short sleeve shirt and dark blue light weight trousers as if he was on his way to work, apart form the fact he was also wearing a shoulder holster which contained what looked like a fairly hefty automatic. On the table apart from the map there were loads of papers scattered about with papers around him. He was shuffling through the papers and looking at the map as if desperately trying to find something.

The place looked a mess with papers all over the place and clothes on the floor. On closer inspection they were ladies clothes and I tell you something, she most have been a trim craft to get in to the skimp panties that were abandoned on the rug. O’Hara had clearly being having fun with a young lady. So where was she? had she left before Boris got here or was he still in the house?

It was a very nice house both in its style and how it was furnished and decorated. It was stylish and expensive without being flash, but more importantly it was comfortable, a house meant for living in not just showing off. There was other evidence of a woman or women. The lingering smell of perfume and a hairbrush on a hall table near a mirror. The hair brush had long blonde hairs on it.

“Hello O’Hara have you lost something” I said brightly

He spun round and I am sure his hand started to go for the gun, but stopped just in time.

“Jeez Norman you gave me fright!” He said with visible disbelief and stood up “What are you doing here, how the fuck did you get in?”

“We have an appointment remember, surely you hadn’t forgotten” I replied all sweetness and light “I rang the bell, but nobody answered, so I came in through the side gate which was unlocked. I hope you don’t mind”

“Err no I er just thought erm you had been held up” he stammered.

“Why on Earth would you think that?” I asked. He suddenly got all excited.

“Gee I dunno ….hey the powers out, its always goin’ out” then he shouted ” FUCKING CHRIST ALMIGHTY WHY THE FUCK DOESN’T ANYTHING IN THIS GODAMN AWFUL MOTHER FUCKIN COUNTRY WORK AS IT FUCKIN WELL SHOULD”

The glock in my right hand stayed down by my side just behind my leg and I think O’Hara was too preoccupied to notice it.

“Good question O’Hara and if I was in your position this morning I would probably be thinking the same thing” I commiserated “Now then, why don’t you stop shouting and sit down before you give yourself a heart attack”

He looked tired and rather troubled pulled a chair out from under th table and sat down side on to the table so he was facing me.

“Now lets start again shall we? Why did you think I wasn’t coming” I said quietly.

“Well…as I said the powers out ….and you know …with the traffic an all” He said more normally.

“Oh I see, It wasn’t because the blokes you had follow me thought I had gone back to the hotel after being to the bank did you?”

“I dunno what you mean” he said in a slightly bemused tone but still fronting me out. “Okay so you been to the bank and got the money” He said regaining some composure and trying to regain the imitative. I had to admire his front if nothing else. I said nothing.

I put the attaché case on the table in front of him and he looked at. He was tense and he knew all was not right, but I don’t think he had put two and two together at this point.

“Open the case O’Hara I have something in there for you”

He smiled and opened the attaché case but as soon as it opened his smile dropped of his face and a deep angry scowl took its place. Instead of the money he expected he took out a single playing card and a mobile phone and looked at them.

“What the fuck! Is this some kind of Joke Norman because it aint going to help your boy?” He said crossly

“O’Hara, I asked you if you had lost something but you didn’t answer me” I carried on

“Like what?” He snapped aggressively.

“Like three hostages, a tin hut, one boat, three vehicles and about 10 black henchman”

“You….”

“Press the call button on the phone please” O’Hara pressed the call button.

“You….”

“Press the call button you slag or I will blow your fucking face off”

If this had been a cartoon I am sure a light bulb would have come on over O’Haras head. Unfortunately for O’Hara it wasn’t a cartoon, it was real life and he was now looking at the wrong end of the Glock which was level with his face. He pressed the call button.

To my delight and relief a mobile telephone on the table started ringing. Its electronic chirruping was piercing. O’Hara jumped from his chair and almost fell over. He looked at the telephone and then at me. It carried on ringing

“Its not my phone” He bluffed “Its my girlfriends”

“I know it not your phone you lying cunt, its my boys. Why has it been in your office the last few days and what the fuck is it doing on your table?”

He addressed his answer to Mr Glock

“I can explain”

“Look at the card O’Hara, what is it?”

The Ace of Spades was face up.

“Looks like you’ve got the dead mans hand”

His face drained of expression and colour and his hand dropped and fell open.  The telephone clattered on to the table and then fell to the floor.

If you like to gamble, I tell you I’m your man
You win some, lose some, it’s still the same to me
The pleasure is to play, it makes no difference what you say
I don’t share your greed, the only card I need is
The Ace Of Spades.

Playing for the high one, dancing with the devil,
Going with the flow, it’s all a game to me,
Seven or Eleven, snake eyes watching you,
Double up or quit, double stake or split, it’s
The Ace Of Spades

You know I’m born to lose, and gambling’s for fools,
But that’s the way I like it baby,
I don’t wanna live for ever,
And don’t forget the joker!

 

Pushing up the ante, I know you’ve got to see me,
Read ’em and weep, the dead man’s hand again,
I see it in your eyes, take one look and die,
The only thing you see, you know it’s gonna be,

The Ace Of Spades

5 Responses to “Kidnapped 13 – The Ace Of Spades”

  1. dl says:

    Wow!

    Gripping as ever. Can’t wait to read how you wound it all up…

    Cheers,
    D.

  2. John Humphries says:

    I never thought I would think of Lemmy and Motorhead lyrics in such a context. As dl says I really want to know how it all finished up.

  3. Oh you have aced it here, Norman.
    Fucking brilliant!!
    What a romp.
    What a game!

    Loved the Ace of Spades!!

  4. Uncle says:

    Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate them.

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