Italian Job 7/Dawn 2 – Dozing In The Car

The rest of my meal passed without comment.  Hawthorn chatted away in a more relaxed and amiable way than he had done before.  Despite this there was a cold edge to him which did not endear him to me.  We were having a second grappa before hitting the sack when my mobile rang, it was Dawn the SIL.

“Norman, I cant go I have to tell him” She blurted out.  She sounded pissed, but I wasn’t sure that she was.

“Hang on a mo chicken, I thought we had a deal” I said sternly

“Oh Norman what am I going to do?” She said with that desperation people have in a tight corner.

“If in doubt do and say nowt” I said “Thats the deal for the moment.  Sit tight and I will come straight down to see you as soon as I get back, which will either be tomorrow night or first thing the morning after”

“Promise” she said sort of coyly

“I promise” I said reassuringly “Now then do as I say, sit tight and dont do anything until we have had a good chance to talk OK”

She sniffed but sounded brighter

“Yeah OK…Thanks”

“No problem, no off to bed and get a good nights kip, the sooner you get to bed the sooner tomorrow will come and we can chat, I will ring you in the morning to check in  alright”

“Yes thanks I’m good now I have talked to you”

“Speak tomorrow”

“Norman” she said urgently

“Yes?” I said

“Thanks, I err …love you”

She rang off before I could say “You do!”

The next morning was clear and bright but a fresh breeze was blowing.  Hawthorn and I checked out of the hotel and headed back towards Rome.  All I had to do was pick up the works of art and then get to the airport.  In theory it would take about an hour or so to fet to the outskirts of Rome and then round the Grande Roccordo Anulare GRA for short till we were sort of North before heading to Oligata.  The GRA masquerades as the ring road around the city.  In truth it switches from car park during rush hours to race track at other times.  We hit it about 10.30 and it was not too manic.

We got to Olgiata which is what you would call a sort of exclusive housing estate.  There is a golf course/country club in the the middle and there are some quite swish gaffs.  Apparently the king of Afghanistan lived here when he was in exile.  The houses are a mix of styles and size.  Some are mini palaces others are modest unassuming villas.  I spoke to the security bod at the gate house and he gave me directions to the address.

The house was a reasonable sized, light pink villa covered in ivy and set in about an acre of garden.  The short drive to the house was lined with olive trees and there was a kidney shaped swimming pool in the garden.  It was pleasant and affluent feel without being ostentatious.

Fucking hark at me, through the bloody keyhole or house hunting with Norm!

Hawthorn had been quiet for the last half hour and sat there looking more or less straight ahead.  I stopped the car in front the of the house and he gave a little nod I think he was dozing in the morning sunshine.

I got out saying I would be about 10 minutes if that.

I had the front door key and was a bit surprised to see the shutters upstairs were open as security in Italy is a big thing.  Burglary is a big problem in Rome and here the burglars often inject sleeping gas into bedrooms to stupefy the occupants before they do any thieving.

The front door opened into a large sort of hall with steps down into a large living room.  At the far end directly opposite the entrance was a large set of patio doors.  In fact they almost made up the whole wall and must have been about 4 m in length.  As soon as I was in I could smell something.  Cannabis, stale alcohol and something else, something sweeter.  One of the paintings and the sculpture were ij the living area and as the place was pretty devoid of pictures or nicnacs, they were not oo hard to find and the other painting was in the dinning area to the right.  In fact with hindsight the place was rather bare.

I had just got the bits together when I heard something.  I dont know what it was but I knew I was not alone in the house.  I listened again, and I could hear something upstairs.  I went up the open plan marble stairs and just at the top I saw a shadow of somebody moving in a room to the right.  I walked very quietly toward the room and I heard the unmistakeable click of safety catch coming off.  I reached into my pocket for my knife.  There was a shuffle from behind a door to the left.

The place was dead quite and in these circumstances the silence is deafening indication of human presence.

“COME OUT ” I shouted. They didn’t but my reaction caused a slight shock and I could see from the shadow to the right that it was something they were not expecting.  I moved forward quickly and quietly and I could see the vague shadow that the person was unsure about what to do.

He who hesitates is lost and whoever was in the door hesitated.  I didn’t.  In the seconds of their indecision I was into the room.  They were in the middle of the door way as I went through.  They were shorter than me maybe 5’6 tall, longish dark hair and not very heavy.  The instep of my right foot crashed into their left knee and the down the shin.  I powered forward and simultaneously pushed the open right hand into the throat and then upwards.  This  combined movement caused the ambusher to crash to the floor in a howl of surprise and pain.  I moved forward and my left foot was in contact with their body almost before they hit the ground.  The wind left them and the gun clattered to the floor and across the marble tiles.  I grabbed their hair with my left hand and yanked them up to their feet and took their right hand in “approved hold” They now stood on tip toes and howled in pain.

I turned to face the door just as a man appeared pointing a Berretta 92 pistol at me.  This gun is used by many police forces throughout the world.  It is a good gun.  A quick glance at the weapon on the floor confirmed that it too was a Berretta.

“STOP POLICE” The man shouted with a strong Italian accent.  That confirmed my suspicion “PUT HER DOWN”.

I didn’t.

“Who are you and what are you doing?”  I asked

“Police we ask questions.  Put her down”

I had half twigged it was a young woman when I picked her up by the hair so easily.  This was due to her lack of weight and abundance of hair.

This had all the hall marks of something going badly wrong if you hadn’t guesses that for yourself!

“If I let go of her she will hit the floor and hurt herself even more” I said “Why dont I move her to the bed and put her down gently over there”

He blabbered something in Italian.

“Do you want me to drop her on the the floor that’s fine by me, but she wont thank you, its up to you”

I could see he was unsure now.

“I will put her over there”.  Three steps and I was by the bed and I dropped her down on to it.  She was not going to die but she was not feeling so hot.

I moved away.  “Do you want to check she is OK? I wont do anything I promise”

He kept the gun on me and shouted something to the girl. She croaked a response.

“Put you hands up” he shouted and I did as asked as I coiuld hear footsteps echoing through the building and sirens in the distance.

“What’s going on?” I asked

“You know” he spat back

“No actually I dont.  I came here to pick up some things for the owner and there you are hiding and ready to ambush me”

He moved forward quickly and I knew he was going to try to hit me.  I dropped into a crouch and pitched forward.  He fell over me and hit the marbled floor chin first like a sack of spuds.  I stood up and he went base over apex.

I sat down and waited for the rest of the police to arrive.  When they di they were slightly taken aback.  I was sitting on a chair the female officer was on the bed groaning like a porn star and the other geezer was picking himself off the floor.  Two guns lay at either side of the room.

The first policeman was a uniformed senior officer and the second some kind of detective.  They looked around and said something in Italian then the uniform bloke said “What is going on?”

“I just asked him that and he tried to knock my head off” I said pointing at the prostrate plod.  There then followed a lot of yabbering in Italain and to cut a long story short they had been tipped off that an English art thief was going to break in and steal some works of art.  Apparently he had already stolen several pieces and this was to be his last pickup.  Guess who they thought was the Pink Panther.

I was in the middle of my explanation when another uniformed Police officer came into the room and something to the two senior blokes.

“Signor Norman I have another question for you before you go any further” said the Uniform man

“Yes what is it?” I asked

“Why do you have a dead man in your car?”

One Response to “Italian Job 7/Dawn 2 – Dozing In The Car”

  1. Sally says:

    Happy christmas Norm!

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