The masters of the universe were getting worried
The day after he escaped from Esther Green’s flat, Inspector George ‘Abdul’ Mohammed was hovering outside the entrance to the House of Commons wanting desperately not to be there. Tubs had contacted him the previous evening, sent him a load of Headhunter stuff that wasn’t generally known and then, at midnight, knowing he’d still be up, had grilled him for an hour.
His big shot, quizhead mate was setting him up, he was sure of it. He wasn’t even comfortable speaking up in front of his superiors at the Yard, let alone snooty Westminster types. Abdul trembled at the thought that some pinstriped Minister might be waiting for him but, after looking at his watch one last time, he took a deep breath and sidled up to a suspicious-looking armed policeman. Apologising for the intrusion, he showed his ID and said he had an appointment. After his right to be there had been confirmed, he was ushered into the building. Moments later a beaming Transport Secretary came bustling towards him.
“Abdul!” he bellowed, drawing a deal of unwanted attention to the reluctant Inspector. “Glad you could make it. Come on, there’s someone I want you to meet?” Abdul immediately suspected the worst and asked who it was. “Oh, some minor functionary. Worry not, you’ll be fine.”
Tubs had been burbling away as they strolled through the halls and it came as a surprise when he opened a door and beckoned his friend inside. When he saw who was waiting for them, he turned on his heel and lost himself in Tubber’s bulk.
“Not so fast, brave Bobby!” chortled Tubs, wrapping his arms around his reluctant chum and shuffling him backwards towards the waiting Prime Minister.
“You swore you wouldn’t do this,” he stuttered, his head still buried in Tubber’s chest.
“Politicians lie, Abdul, my dear. Bright bloke like you, I thought you’d know that by now.”
The Prime Minister who, at Tubber’s behest, had stripped off his jacket and tie in an effort to look as unintimidating as possible, stood up and welcomed his guest, offering him a drink in the process. As he stuffed Abdul unceremoniously into a swivel chair by the side of the desk, Tubber said the Inspector would have whisky and he’d have a glass of red wine. Alan returned with the whisky, looking concerned.
“Are you all right, my dear chap?” he asked. Abdul, who was shaking like a leaf, didn’t reply but grabbed the proffered tumbler and downed it in one. The Prime Minister looked at his Transport Secretary, who nodded. “Allow me get you another, Mr Mohammed,” he said, patting him on the shoulder. “I’m sorry we surprised you like this. You should have been warned. Bad form really.”
Abdul stammered an apology, looking down at his feet as he did so. After handing him his second whisky and Tubber his first glass of red wine, Alan took Abdul’s hand in his and apologised again before gesturing towards Tubber and whispering conspiratorially:
“Would you like me to boot the deceitful beast out of the Cabinet, Mr Mohammed? I’ve been looking for an excuse to replace him for quite some time?” Abdul raised his head a little and earnestly replied:
“I’d rather you locked him up in the tower and tortured him, your highness.” Alan and Tubber looked at each other. Tubber squealed and went red in the face. Alan’s shoulders shook and, hard though he tried, he just couldn’t hold it back. The PM kept reaching out to Abdul to apologise but one look at the horrified bafflement on his face only served to set him off again. Tubber was in Bunteresque hysterics.
“Your effing highness,” he screamed.
“Torture in the tower!” Alan screamed back.
“Oh Abdul,” howled Tubs, clapping him on the back, “you are priceless, my son! Absolutely priceless!”
“I’m sorry, Mr Mohammed. I’m so terribly sorry,” wheezed the Prime Minister before setting off again. It was all of two minutes before both men tearfully regained their composure. Meanwhile Abdul was, at one and the same time, agitated, bewildered, concerned that he would be held responsible for both men having a heart attack, gulping nervously at his drink and, belatedly, seeing the funny side himself. Anyway, it served to break the ice and, a little while later, he was quietly letting the Prime Minister know what he did.
“The gentleman in question,” said Abdul, who was still shaking, “is fifty two years old. No record of prior criminal behaviour has come to light.” Alan nodded and looked at his watch. Tubber interrupted saying that they already knew most of the obvious stuff. He wondered if he had thought of anything, off the record, that might help them nail him.
“Well,” he replied, swallowing hard, “there is this one thing that I haven’t passed on. I was a bit worried the idea might get dismissed out of hand. I haven’t checked it out properly yet.”
Alan leaned in and asked him what it was. Tubber shuffled closer.
“I’ve just got this idea that, being the sort of person I think he is, he might be one of these people who would find it difficult not to do the right thing by his mother.” Both politicians were staring at him fixedly now. Abdul hurried on. “Yes, like putting flowers on her grave. Sitting with her now and again. That sort of thing. I think he might find it difficult to keep away. She’s buried with his father in a graveyard in Nottinghamshire.”
“So you think it might be a good idea to have a man posted there?” wondered Alan.
“I do, sir, yes. Several men would be better. Armed and good at keeping a low profile. And, perhaps, on anniversaries and such, more men could be posted.”
“Anniversaries? I hope there’s one coming up, we need to get this guy.” He told them that his mother’s birthday was on the 26th of September and suggested that someone might pay a visit to his family before then.
“Yes, good idea, Mr Mohammed. Please let me know what you find.” Alan rose from his chair and offered his hand. As they shook, he sensed Abdul was holding something back. “Was there anything else?”
Abdul said he wasn’t officially on the case and the Prime Minister would need to get in touch with the Operation Bogeyman people. As he put on his jacket and tie, he turned to Tubs and asked him to fix it with the Yard. “Now, Abdul,” he said, putting an arm around his shoulder and smiling as he walked to the door. “I really wasn’t such an ogre, now was I?”
“Oh no, sir. It’s just me, I’m afraid. I’m a bit of a nervous Nelly.” Alan smiled.
“Just one more thing before I toddle off. This Blueprint thing, what do you make of it?” Abdul thought a moment before replying.
“Well, I know all the lads on the case are convinced something big is going to happen but I can’t help wondering if it’s a wind up.” The Prime Minister said that the ‘something big’ theory had crossed the mind of the Cabinet as well.
“But you’re not so sure?”
“Well, I don’t know, sir. It’s just that I wonder why nothing ever came to light. I would have thought, you know, what with all the surveillance and everything, we might have heard something before now.” Abdul felt a bit like a specimen in a Petri dish and turned away from the PM’s gaze.
“Interesting, Mr Mohammed,” said Alan, clapping him on the back. “Thank you very much for coming in and discussing things with us.”
And, with a wave, he was gone. Without turning to face Tubs, Abdul told him he hoped he was on the Headhunter’s list. Tubber Loud laughed.
The Blueprint - Stage 1
When the Krays and the Richardsons ruled the east and south London underworlds, they never had more than 30 villains on the payroll. But they lived the high life off the proceeds of their criminality for more than a decade. When Al Capone’s career was at its height he might well have had as many as 1000 people working in his restaurants, clubs, speakeasies and trucking businesses but it isn’t likely that he ever had more than a hundred or so out-and-out villains to enforce his rule. And yet he was Chicago’s number one tough guy for more than ten years. The IRA never had more than 600 active volunteers on the go at any one time between 1971 and 1997 and yet that organisation held the British Government to ransom for nigh on 30 years.
Two sets of 30 or so tough, strong and ruthless men, all of whom were prepared to act outside of the law, ruled the roost at some level in large areas of 1950s and 1960s London. A charismatic, shrewd and fearless bad guy ran Chicago, almost without hindrance, with politicians, policemen, judges and media celebrities at his beck and call, in the twenties and early thirties. And he did this with less than a hundred of his own kind to back him up. And the IRA did what they did with no more than 600 determined volunteers at any given moment.
I put this question to you: what could we do with a thousand or so ruthless and totally committed men and women, all of whom were prepared to fight, to kill, and, if necessary, to die for the cause? We could do a lot, judging by what the Krays, the Richardsons, Capone and the IRA managed to do. But could we take back our country?
Many of the nouveau riche made their money illegally. Many more made their money immorally. The immoral can wait. Let s think about the gangster rich. There are hundreds of bling-laden criminal gangs stalking the streets of England. Many of them would have healthy bank accounts? How difficult would it be to take the gold chains, the gold and diamond teeth and the credit cards off some of these? Not too difficult if we went in mob-handed and tooled up. We could do a few like this. Get some practice. Earn some wages. Then we get serious...
Stowing the van in the lock-up, he gave it a pat on his way out. It had done him proud. He expected them to find it before too long and he was relieved when he hit the A60 and Carlham, Workstone and the van were safely behind him. He stopped to fill the Typhoon’s tank at a petrol station outside Mansfield and took the opportunity to get the papers and some groceries. His image was plastered over all three of the station’s billboards. ‘HEADHUNTER UNMASKED,’ screamed The World’s banner headline. He was named for the first time and the media was unsparing in its condemnation of the ‘failed actor’ revenging himself upon the world, even though it had been twenty years since he last trod the boards.
He was wearing his helmet so he wasn’t worried about being recognised. The Mansfield lock-up was bigger than the one in Carlham and, seeing as he no longer had a van to manoeuvre around, there would be plenty of space. He had earplugs for the radio and TV and knew that no undue sound need ever arouse the suspicions of the locals. Mansfield was, unlike Carlham, a sizeable town and strangers came and went all the time.
Abdul was standing before the desk of Commander Beresford Barnes. Barnes, who was, officially, in charge of Operation Bogeyman, was a tough, methodical, evidence-gathering, uniformed cop of the old school and not much given to oddball detectives.
“So, I’m supposed to make room for an officer whom I’ve never met and know nothing about, am I?” No answer was expected and Abdul didn’t supply one. “The Prime Minister, no less, has instructed me to, now what’s phrase, ah yes, ‘make use of this man.’” Barnes lifted his eyes from the dossier he was studying and looked critically at Abdul. “And what makes Inspector Mohammed so special, I wonder? How did he manage to inveigle himself on to this case?”
“Mr Chalmers just asked me, out of the blue, sir. I said it wasn’t how things were done but, you know, he’s the Prime Minister and there’s only so much you can say.” Barnes wanted to know how he had come to meet the Prime Minister. Abdul had already made up his mind not to tell Barnes about Tubs. “Well, I’ve been following the case for a while, sir and, well, forgive me for blowing my own trumpet but I do have a bit of reputation with difficult cases. Perhaps someone put a word in?”
“Well, it wasn’t me, that’s for sure,” growled Barnes. “Two things, Mohammed: firstly I wish to be kept abreast of anything you and the politicians are thinking and doing. Do you understand?”
“I do, sir. Most definitely.”
“And secondly, keep out of the way. I’m not someone who takes kindly to ill-disciplined officers interfering with honest police work.” Barnes rose from his chair and stretched out a massive hand. Abdul took it and, when he squeezed, did not flinch.
“Make yourself useful, Mohammed,” said the Commander, irritated that he hadn’t reacted. “You may go.”
It was just one of those things, thought Abdul, as he held his right hand underneath the cold water tap, somehow he could never drum up much respect for kaffirs. Especially those who had authority over him.
He awoke with a start. Someone was banging on the garage’s shuttered doors. Picking up his pistol, he crept towards the spy hole at the top of the door. The burly, middle-aged skinhead doing the banging didn’t look like a cop. But it could be a trap. A rough voice demanded to know whether he was in there. From the other side of the door, he asked what the problem was.
“What’s all this shouting and swearing about then? What you doing in there? You’re upsetting my mother!” Assuming a diffident tone, he said he was rehearsing a play and hadn’t realised he could be heard. He promised to tone it down.
“Yes, well, don’t let it happen again. My mam says it sounds like there’s a lunatic on the loose.” He asked that his apologies be conveyed and excused himself for not opening the door as he was busy with something.
“Don’t let it happen again. I don’t like my mother being upset! Have you got that?” He apologised once again and promised to whisper his lines in the future. Still scowling, the burly man disappeared.
She would just sit there in his mind, shaking her head. ‘There are more than a million innocent people in their graves in Iraq and Afghanistan! More than a thousand of our soldiers are in their graves as well and the people who got them killed are still with us! Coining it, appearing on chat shows. Ho! Ho! Ho! Look at me being witty on the box! Buy my crap memoirs. I’m the Prince of Darkness. Aren’t I an effing hoot? $250,000 for a 50 minute speech! Kiss my sainted arsehole, I’m the Messiah and you’re just the shit I spin to!’ ‘Someone’s got to make them pay, Ma! That’s why they do what they do to the rest of us! They never get punished for doing it!’
‘Why you, though, Eddie? Why does it always have to be you?’
‘Because no one else is doing it! Are they supposed to get away with what they do forever just because you’re afraid of what the neighbours think? Well, never mind, sweetheart. I waited until you were gone, didn’t I? You never did get to see the curtains twitch because your little boy was bad!’
He’d have to move on again now. He’d gotten carried and been heard ranting. It’d take at least three trips to get his stuff moved. And he’d have to watch out for the bozo. Unnecessary confrontations were out. As he began to pack up, he looked towards the garage roof and winked. ‘Got me there, Ma. It just upsets me that you don’t get it.’ Less than five minutes later he was settled in the car park of a pub down the road. After an hour watching for the cops, he figured he didn’t have anything to worry about yet and set off back to Carlham with the first load.
As he rattled down the garage door for the last time he got the feeling he was being watched and looked around. The burly man was staring at him from a bedroom window a few houses up. An elderly woman was with him. He waved at them and she disappeared. The burly man was still at the window when he eased the van down the drive. He had not been disguised and had been seen in plain view.
He drove round to the same pub, got his scooter out of the back of his other van (which he would now also have to ditch) and, listening all the while, began loading it up. He didn’t have long to wait. After a third patrol car, its siren blaring, faded into the distance, he puttered slowly towards the front of the pub. As those who gave a damn were looking for white van man, no one paid any mind to the middle aged scooterist with the bulging haversack and the black plastic bag between his legs. Using as many back streets as he could to get to the A6075, he was back in Carlham half an hour later minus a ton of good stuff.
“He knows were closing in,” said Det. Sgt. Adrian Holdsworth, with some satisfaction. “We’ve got the place in Doncaster nicely staked out. If he decides to use it, he’s dead meat.” Adrian had been one of those who had been happy to pass Abdul privileged info from the beginning.
“How many likely locations have been found so far?”
“A few. I don’t know the exact number. The boys in blue have been told not to hang around. We don’t want Plod scaring him off before we’re ready to move in numbers. We’ve got a couple of armed plain clothes in place at the hideouts we’ve discovered so far.”
“And this Bill Trotter chap said he sounded like a puff?”
“‘Puffy actor,’ were his exact words. He wouldn’t come out and ‘face the music,’ apparently. ‘All the same these serial killers.’”
“And he got a good look at him?”
“It was his mother who figured out who he was. When she saw him wave, she went to check out The World’s picture. About time we had a bit of luck. By the time she told Billy boy, he was gone.”
“And they were sure it was him despite the beard-growth?” He nodded. “And Trotter ran after him when she showed him the picture?”
“Got in his car and went looking for him even. Model citizen is our Billy. Despite the fact that he’s done time on three separate occasions.”
“Keep me posted,” said Abdul. “Barnes won’t tell me anything.” Adrian winked and lolloped off.
When he was a child the woods had been full of children running, hiding, exploring and climbing trees. Grown ups would stroll arm-in-arm, old codgers would take the air and young lovers would carve their initials into the trees. None of these things happened any more. He had walked the woods many times over the previous forty-seven years and, during the course of the last twenty or so, he had noticed less and less people bothering to do the same. In fact, he hadn’t seen anyone at all the last five or six times he had been here. So, he figured he should be OK for a couple of days at least.
He did his best to camouflage the tent and the scooter but Carlham Wood wasn’t big enough to disappear in effectively and, if anyone came within twenty yards of his camp, it would be spotted. Still, he’d be off down to London the day after tomorrow and, as long as one man and his dog didn’t happen along in the next thirty six hours, he should be OK. Struggling into his sleeping bag, he switched off the torch and fell asleep quickly. Against all the odds, he was still a free man.
It had been three days since he first tried to contact Steve and John and they hadn’t replied. He tried Steve’s ‘special’ phone again. There was no answer but it was switched on at least. He left another message, asking him to ring back. Steve was a scatterbrain, which was why he hadn’t used him earlier. His heart was in the right place, he was committed and loyal but he would fuck up if there was no one there to keep an eye on him. Waiting for him to get his act together wasn’t how you fought a war and won. Surprised at John though.
He’d wanted Steve to drive up and meet him but, when he hadn’t got in contact by 1.00pm he decided he’d have to get down to London on the Typhoon. Motoring wasn’t his thing and a three-hour whiz down the motorway was for testosterone-fuelled teenagers. So, it would take him at least five hours. Which meant, if he set off in an hour, he’d be there by seven at the earliest.
He shaved most of his beard off leaving a moustache and Edwardian sideburns, which he darkened with eyebrow pencil and a little mascara.
Packing up the tent and most of his stuff in black plastic bags, he part-buried it and, looking back from the trail, he felt reasonably sure that no one would realise he had been there the night before or that anything was hidden there now. A dog might though. It would be at least a week before he came to collect his gear and, as he didn’t want the cops waiting for him, he spread a pot of pepper in an arc around the area where his goods were hidden.
After taking a deep breath, he held his nose and shielded his eyes before spraying the gorse and bramble with CS gas. It was a mistake. He was coughing and wheezing for ten minutes before he got himself back under control. After washing his face in bottled water and blowing his nose one final time, he put on his helmet, climbed aboard the scooter and set off for London feeling pretty sorry for himself.
After washing his face and rinsing his eyes in the gents at Peterborough Services he felt better but he still looked like somebody off the set of Sean of the Dead. Never mind. It was as good a disguise as any and no one would remember anything but the blotches, red eyes and the Edwardian.
In need of a meal, he resolved to brazen it out and headed for the nearest cafeteria. Luckily, one glimpse was enough for the lady behind the counter and he got his full English breakfast with the minimum of fuss. He found an empty table and made sure no one interrupted his privacy by displaying his face for inspection at regular intervals.
He was wiping his mouth and feeling good for the first time that day when he felt the mobile pulse in his breast pocket. It was Steve. He was full of apologies and excuses, which he cut short. He told him where he wanted to meet up and asked if it would be a problem. Steve, who was eager to comply, said it wouldn’t and they arranged to get together at 12.00 the next day. As soon as he thought Steve was clear on the time and venue, he put the phone down. He spent an hour in an adjacent bar improving his mood before setting off for London once more.
EDM 666 - Hannibal Speaks - Johnson, Sir Roderick
‘That this House commends the courage of The Herald, its editor, Alan Gilroy, and the journalist, Hugh Champion, in facing down those who would stifle free speech and bridle at too truthful reporting. Hannibal Speaks allows us inside the mind of a psychopath, enables us to see what made him the man he is and reminds the Westminster elite that the decisions they make and the policies they impose may have dire consequences if they routinely flout the will of the majority.’
Steve wasn’t looking forward to seeing the big man. He was bound to get told off. He’d missed four e-mails and one of them had been sent three days ago! Off gallivanting with a new tart. Hadn’t got back until yesterday. And then somehow his mobile had switched itself off so he hadn’t heard it. Then it had run out of juice. Then the other one had rung. He’d knocked his dinner all over the floor when he realised it was the special phone. The latest girlfriend wouldn’t stop shouting at him. She’d been an hour in the kitchen making something Italian. Had to take the phone into the bathroom just to get away from her. The boss wasn’t interested in apologies. He just wanted to meet up outside Surrey Quays at twelve.
The day before Belinda Smalls’ head was discovered at Stonehenge, along with those of Michael Cohen, Muhammad Aziz and Jean Armour, most of those ‘in the know’ were still concentrating on Islamic ‘hate-preachers’ and their adherents. The day after the heads were found, the brightest and the best were beginning to think the bad guys were out to destroy the politically correct consensus that had governed the western world for the previous half century. At that point, the establishment, with some relish, began rounding up the most outspoken members of the Nationalist community and clamping down on the rest.
A good few entirely innocent people had by now endured six whole weeks of incarceration and aggressive interrogation at the hands of the authorities. Two of these had had a heart attack and one elderly lady, who had suffered a stroke during a particularly intensive and unrelenting question and answer session, had died.
At first, when it was thought that Islamists were responsible, the majority was content to have the cops and the army interfere with the ordinary progress of their lives. But, as time wore on, the populace began to wonder at all the fuss. Along the way, it had been noted by most that the ordinary citizen did not seem to be at any risk from the killers. The huge level of disruptive and increasingly belligerent security was, as a result, beginning to grate upon those who had to endure it. ‘For the protection of the public’ didn’t wash any longer. Whoever was responsible had no interest in blowing up buses, trains, buildings or innocent people. Corrupt politicians, politically correct zealots and media commentators who patently despised the ‘British dinosaur’ had been selectively done away with. In the minds of an increasingly sizeable minority, such individuals, and the agenda they had for so long embraced and aggressively espoused, rendered them worthy of the fate that had befallen them.
By the time the Stonehenge heads were discovered it wasn’t just the British Nationalist who was chalking off the kills and sniggering. The natives were growing restless and, behind the scenes, the masters of the universe were getting worried.
The first Prime Minister’s Questions after the escape had been the worst he had ever had to face and he desperately needed something positive to report. He didn’t understand how, with all the modern surveillance, all the satellites in space and all the computer systems in place to keep track of just about everybody on the planet, this man had managed to kill so many people without being caught. They knew who he was. They knew everything about him, for goodness sake! And still the police had no idea where he might be!
The streets were full of cops and, with great reluctance, he’d given the order for the army to make its presence felt discreetly wherever it was thought racial tensions might be about to flare up. The press, the opposition and the civil liberties crowd were having a field day but it couldn’t be helped. This Blueprint business had everyone’s nerves on edge. He looked at his watch. In less than two hours his accusers would nail his balls to the carpet all over again.
Alan was nervous. He was due any minute and he had nothing more to tell him. He had a country to run, didn’t they know that? For God’s sake, he had to prepare for PMQs and yet, here he was, wasting his time with this nonsense! His secretary knocked on the door and quietly let him know that they had arrived.
“Show them in please, Annabelle,” he said, a little too loudly. He stood up when they entered and moved to greet them. They shook hands and both sat down before being invited to do so. The Baron got straight to the point.
“What news on our man, Alan?” he asked.
“He’s gone to ground, I’m afraid,” he replied. “The police don’t seem to have much of a clue as yet.”
“Has anyone been sacked yet for letting him get away?” growled Jacob Ratner. Masking the irritation he felt, Alan told him that he hadn’t felt the need to fire anyone as the man in charge of the operation had lost his life during the course of it.
“No great loss,” opined Ratner. “I’m all for employing faggots in the entertainment industry but I wouldn’t have one as top cop.” Alan pushed a copy of The Blueprint towards the Baron. He hoped that, in giving him access to such sensitive material, it might temper any annoyance he might feel at the lack of progress. He leafed through a few pages before putting it to one side.
“Yes,” he said, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you about this. I must say I’m surprised you didn’t see fit to bring it to our attention before now.” Alan was horrified.
“You’ve already seen it?” The Baron smiled.
“Of course. Did you imagine that you could keep us out of the loop, Alan?” The Prime Minister was dumbstruck and did not reply. “Knowledge, particularly that which is not generally known, is our business. It has been for thousands of years. We certainly know as much about this matter as you do and, probably, rather more.”
“Well, perhaps you could fill me in then, seeing as you know so much.”
“There’s no need to be snide,” replied the Baron. “Information keeps us ahead of the game, that’s all.”
“And as you know,” added Ratner, looking the Prime Minister straight in the eye, “we do need to be ahead of the game. History tells us that, if we take our eyes off the ball for one moment, Jews die.” Alan didn’t like the squat, little boss of the Secure Communities Council. He could stare a goat to death with those dead, black, Ronnie Kray eyes.
“So what are your plans? Please do not keep anything from me.” The Baron’s even gaze was, if anything, more unsettling than Ratner’s cut-your-throat-for-a-fiver glare.
“I have a man in place,” Alan heard himself say. He had no idea why he said it but he was clutching at straws now. “Yes. There’s this policeman, not at all like your run-of-the-mill type; he’s got some interesting ideas. He’s fairly sure our man will visit his mother’s grave on her birthday, for example. He thinks he won’t be able to stay away.” Ratner and the Baron exchanged disbelieving looks.
“Oh right. The serial killer who loved his mum.” He laughed contemptuously. “Sounds like a Janet and John book to me.”
“Well, Mr Mohammed believes it to be an avenue worth pursuing.”
“Mohammed? As in the prophet?” Ratner and the Baron exchanged another look. “Let me get this straight. You’ve got some Paki on the job who isn’t much like a cop. And he’s of the opinion that the bogeyman loves his mum so much he’s going make himself available on her birthday? And when is this birthday? This time next year?”
“No, it’s next month, actually. Can’t do any harm to post a guard there, can it?”
“Post a guard? And they’ll all be standing around the grave doing Mr Plod impressions, I suppose?”
“They would be out of sight,” replied the Prime Minister, testily. “In hiding. In disguise or whatever. And please don’t speak to me in this way. I am the Prime Minister after all.” Ratner laughed again.
“Do you forget how you came to be Prime Minister?” asked the Baron quietly. “Surely you know who the Kingmakers are?” Alan felt weak and trapped and didn’t reply. “This man must be stopped and quickly. He slaughters the country’s finest with impunity and tells too many tales.” The Baron rose from his seat. “Remember, you must keep us informed.” He fingered the manuscript. “This is a blueprint for revolution. I do hope you are taking it seriously. If you don’t, I can assure you that there are others who will. Meanwhile, we shall be following our own lines of inquiry.”
Ratner, who had once been done for a top-of-line fraud and had served a year in an open prison, as well as having to cough up £5,000,000 in fines, smiled nastily.
“We’ll get him for you, bubeleh. We’ll hand his prick to you on a fucking plate. You can bank on it.”
Alan wiped the sweat off his upper lip with a sleeve. Once again, they hadn’t bothered to shake his hand on the way out. For which small mercy he was grateful.
He bent double over the bathroom sink and vomited. Watching the videos made him feel nauseous. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for and hadn’t found much out. The man was pretty obviously a sadistic psychopath but as for clues that might help catch him, well, there weren’t any. He wasn’t impressed by the confessions either as the victims might just be saying what they thought he wanted to hear.
Most of the interrogations, punishments and killings had been carried out in the basement of the house in Kilburn. The exceptions had been those dispatched in their own home and the few shot by sniper.
The MP, John Ball, had been killed whilst standing on a soapbox in his constituency’s town centre. The Russian Oligarch and owner of two Championship football clubs, Sirius Erlich, was leaving the BBC Television Centre after taking part in an edition of Question Time when a bullet entered his open mouth and removed the back of his head. The Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Holly Chamberlain, and her husband, former Union leader, Seamus O’Driscoll, had been shot dead outside their home as they returned from the Music of Black Origin Awards. Ball was the first leading politician to die and Chamberlain and O’Driscoll, were the first non-Jewish, non-Muslim notables killed.
Were the chopper and the sniper one and the same? Almost certainly.
He turned to the Sayeeda Hussain video once again and stared at the still frame. He had switched off and run for the loo as the hooded man was carving the ‘H’ into her forehead. Her head was tilted back, her mouth was open at the scream and her eyes were screwed shut against the pain. Abdul fast-forwarded until he was back once more behind the camera. Hussain was tied to a chair, white-faced, dishevelled and shaking. The blood streaming from the seeping wound in her forehead was pooling in her eyes and she was unable to blink it away. He was asking her if she could remember what she said in on London Politics.
‘No. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.’
‘Jesse Cherner put this question to you: ‘What have you got against white men?’ What was your reply?”
‘I don’t remember, really. Please, I’ll do anything. What do you want me to say?’ Abdul shook his head and reached for the remote control. He fast-forwarded a few more frames and pressed the play button again. There was no hint of malice or triumph. The voice was measured, robotic. It had been imposed upon the recording after the event but he felt sure the questions the voice was asking, and the tone in which they were put, would be pretty similar to the original.
‘Answer, please.’ Hussain’s head fell onto her chest and she sobbed.
‘I don’t remember,’ she wailed.
‘I will remind you. In answer to the question, ‘what have you got against white men,’ you replied, ‘I loathe them. I want them gone by the turn of the century.’
‘No! Please, I didn’t mean it!’
‘You remember now?’
‘It was a joke! I was being silly. I didn’t mean it!’
‘You thought let’s get rid of the white people would be a funny thing to say on national television?”
‘I shouldn’t have said it. Oh God, please, my husband will give you any money you want. He can get it. Please don’t hurt me any more!’
‘All over the western world, Mr White is in prison now for telling a light-hearted joke in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why do you think Mrs Brown didn’t go to jail’? Hussain was hysterical now and her reply inaudible.
‘Were you ever interviewed by the police for preaching the genocide of the white race?’
‘I wasn’t doing that!’ she screamed. ‘My husband is English!’
‘And yet you would be happy to see Mr England disappeared.’
‘No! Please stop twisting my words!’
‘‘I loathe them. I want them gone by the turn of the century.’’
‘I don’t remember saying that!’
‘You have said many similar things since you arrived here from Kenya seeking sanctuary.’
‘I’m so sorry!’
‘You weren’t sorry when you said you wanted people like my father and mother erased.’
‘Please, I didn’t say that!’
‘Would you care to see the video? The look on your face at the time was half way between a smirk and a look of distaste.’
‘Please, I’ll do anything. Anything!’
‘Then tell the truth. Why do you hate those who gave you sanctuary, a nice home, a rewarding career and the right to sneer at the finest people on the planet?
‘I don’t hate them! I’m sorry. I’ll never do it again, I promise, on my daughter’s life.’
‘If you don’t hate the white man, why did you say you wanted him gone by the end of the century?’ Hussain threw up in her lap. ‘You have never said you wanted the black, brown or yellow man gone. Not even as a joke.’ She was groaning now and shaking her head. ‘What did I say would happen to you if you lied?’ Hussain screamed and a hooded man was seen moving out from behind the camera.
Struggling frantically against the ties binding her to the chair, it toppled sideways and she disappeared from view. Ignoring her, the man reached into a bowl on the workbench and held several strips of maggot-infested bacon towards the camera. Then, as his victim continued to scream and plead for her life, he bent down and righted the chair. Reaching behind for the bacon, he demonstrated it to the camera once again and, jerking her head backwards, began stuffing it into the journalist’s open mouth. Finally he wrapped a length of silver duct tape several times around the lower half of her face. Struggling for air and choking as she was, what he did next wasn’t really necessary.
It was a regular game by now. After a bit the cops had him in asking what he’d got to hide. So it was you following me, was it, cuntstable? I thought it was a felon! My lawyers will be in touch for police harassment! He’d rehearsed that last bit and was pleased at the way it’d come out. Anyway, they couldn’t do much more than grumble. There wasn’t any law about giving the cops the slip when they weren’t supposed to be following you in the first place.
Steve walked up to one end of the carriage and peered through the glass doors to the next one. Empty. He did the same at the other end. Two wogs and a Darby and Joan. They didn’t look much like MI5 but he wasn’t taking any chances. He’d get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way. He waited until the last moment before jumping through the doors as they closed. Just like the bad guy did in the French Connection, except the other way round.
He was the only person who got off at Canada Water. As he left the station he took a bobble hat out of his pocket and pulled it over his head. Then he hunched his shoulders up and looked down at his feet. A hundred yards down the road he stopped and looked up. Shading his eyes and squinting, he searched the sky for helicopters. He would pop into a café when he got to Surrey Quays. Steve wanted to be on time.
Police interview - 13.40 hours - 29 September.
Detective: You have no regrets?
Detective: I’m sure that, if no one knew what you had done, most people would believe you to be a reasonable man. What do you say to those who describe you as a monster who knows neither mercy nor compassion?
Suspect: Our enemies have done their best to see the British people relegated in the country their ancestors built for them. And yet, the politician who encourages and promotes the foreigner here, makes war upon him in his own land. The global elite are happy to murder and disenfranchise innocent millions. We are content to revenge ourselves upon the guilty few. Do you spot the difference, Inspector?
“Phone,” said Adrian, pointing. Abdul picked it up. “Someone asking for Mohammed Mohammed.”
“Is that Chief Inspector George Mohammed Mohammed I am speaking to, please?”
“I’m only an Inspector, Ahmed.”
“Only an Inspector? When every cat and his dog knows you should be a Squadron Leader by now?” Something must be up for Ahmed to call him at work, to call him at all in fact. “Are you sure you don’t want me to sue Scotland Yard for racism, which can be the only reason for your disgraceful lack of progress!”
“Ahmed, stop, please! Why are you phoning me? What’s wrong?”
“A cousin cannot phone without there being something wrong?”
“Your Uncle Anwar is dead.”
“Uncle Anwar?” He couldn’t remember an Uncle Anwar.
“Yes. He was run over by a most negligent Polish immigrant bus driver, who, it must be remembered, often drive on the wrong side of the road whilst blind drunk. I have lodged the papers this morning and intend to take the bus company to the dry cleaners. If Allah wills it, Auntie Aisha will have something nice to remember Uncle Anwar by.”
“How old was Uncle Anwar?” asked Abdul, who couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Ninety-four and fit as a fiddle, if visually challenged in a very small way. I have reserved a place for you at the funeral.”
“I’m very busy, Ahmed. It’s this mass-murderer. I don’t know if I can get away.”
“Tell them your family insist and the Metropolitan policemen will be sued for racism if they object!”
“It’s not like that Ahmed. It’s just that I’m needed, you see.”
“What? You are the only intelligent policeman on the case? I will complain to the Home Office! This is why the most wanted serial killer in all human history has not been caught! The lazy, racist boys in blue are getting you to do their dirty jobs for them! Please tell these absolute boneheads you are in desperate need of a some down and up time in the highly intelligent bosom of your family!”
‘Down and up time’ with the ‘family’ was the last thing Abdul needed. But, in the end, he gave in and agreed to go to the funeral just to get rid of his cousin. And besides, he had three weeks to figure out a suitable excuse. And if he absolutely had to attend, he consoled himself with the thought that women were not allowed at Muslim funerals. So his Auntie Najibah would not be there. And Ahmed hadn’t mentioned a reception. If he hadn’t been told about it he could say he had an appointment. The phone was ringing again. He let it ring. Adrian gave him a funny look and picked it up.
“It’s for Mohammed Mohammed again,” he said, passing it to him.
“You will, of course, be expected at the reception,” said Ahmed.
“No!” yelled Abdul. But Ahmed had already rung off. “No! I have no details! I don’t know where the funeral is! How can I be there if I have no details?” Abdul looked around for a way out then hurried off to get his coat.
“Fax coming through,” said Betty Turner, the duty Sergeant.
“It’s not for me,” yelled Abdul as he ran out of the door.
“Is it for Mohammed Mohammed?” asked Adrian.
“Chief Inspector George Mohammed Mohammed,” replied Betty, looking perplexed. Adrian winked at her and said he would leave it on the newly promoted fellow’s desk.
Steve got to Surrey Quays with half an hour to spare. He hung around for a bit, smoked a fag and tried to look as though he was waiting for a bird. He’d passed a little café round the corner about 50 yards down. They didn’t have much. A few bits of cake, that was all. Still, he hadn’t seen anything better since so he decided to pop back. When he got there he walked in and asked the nog behind the counter for a cup of tea and pointed to the bit of cake he wanted.
“That bit of cake, mate. There! In the window! Look!” The black fucker was staring at him like he was a Martian or something. That bloody awful hip-hop crap was banging away in the background too. No wonder he couldn’t hear. What a bleedin’ dive. “Can I have it? That cake,” asked Steve, raising his voice. “And a cuppa? Please!”
“Dat cake be plastic,” said the black man, looking fierce. “Dis be a chicken shop.”
“Fuck me,” said Steve. “What kind of a café is this anyway? Plastic fucking cake? Where’s all the regular cake?” Steve waited for a reply but didn’t get one. “Jesus! Give us a box of chicken, then. And a cup of tea. Come on, ‘urry up, I’ve got to be somewhere in ten minutes!”
“Got no tea, ‘ere, man. You best be off.”
“You what? No tea either! You’ll be tellin’ me you’ve got no bleedin’ chicken next!” The man continued to stare. Steve didn’t want any trouble, he knew he had to meet the boss but this rude bleeder was beginning to irritate him.
“We got chicken. And ‘den we got chicken. If you get my meanin.’”
“Yes, well, gimme a piece of chicken then, for fuck’s sake, and then I’ll fuck off.”
“No need to swear, man. No need for dat. I tink you best be leavin’ now.” Steve swore again, under his breath this time, and looked at his watch. He wanted to pursue the matter but he was running out of time.
“You ain’t heard the last of this, mate,” he said turning to leave.
“Ain’t ‘eard the last of what?” asked a surly-looking youth, who’d materialised out of nowhere and was now blocking Steve’s path. Two others sidled up beside him. He looked at his watch again.
“I needs me a watch,” said the first youth.
“Give ‘im the watch, man,” said the second. Steve grinned.
“He laughin’ at us, man,” said number three
“What you laughing at us fo,’ man? We don’ be comedians.”
“You de fuckin’ comedian. White shit comin’ in ‘ere, not ‘earin’ de last of it.”
“You come in our territory widout permission, you got to pay a fee.”
“You gots to pay de price.” Steve looked towards the man behind the counter. No help there. Watching the proceedings with a mouth full of gold on show. Thinking it was funny.
“Told you to leave, man. It ain’t healthy for mouthy white shit round ‘ere,” he sniggered.
“You got nuffin’ to say for yourself, white shit?” asked the youth at the back. Steve made to go but again his path was blocked. “You wants to leave ‘ere in one piece, you gots to pay, man.”
“You gots to pay all of us,” said the first youth slowly drawing a kitchen knife out of his waistband. “What you be tinkin’ about, man? You be ‘tinkin evil toughts?” All four were grinning now.
Steve reached for his wallet. The leader moved in, immediately suspicious. “What you doin,’ man? You shanked up, yeah?”
“Dat cracker ‘bout to stab you, man. I see it in ‘is eyeballs,” said number two.
“Evil. ‘Dere be pure evil in dat devil gaze,” agreed the third.
“You gonna kill me, man?” Steve smiled, easing his wallet back into his pocket.
“That cracker be laughin’ at us again, man,” protested number three.
At which point the first youth lashed out with the knife.
Steve leaned back and grabbed his wrist. Pushing it to the side, he whacked the knifeman hard in the throat with the heel of his hand. Turning away, he kicked out at the youth’s knee. Then the others were on him. A quick fist slid by his ear and, as the second youth followed through, Steve stuck a thumb in his eye. He took shelter from the third’s blows behind the second, whom he’d managed to get in a stranglehold.
When he bit into the second youth’s ear, he screamed and pushed against the counter with both feet, which sent him and Steve flying backwards. Steve spat out what he’d bitten off and continued to apply his full force to his adversary’s windpipe. The third youth kept trying to stamp on him but Steve was pretty agile and managed to dodge most of his clumsy efforts as he kicked out at his shins.
The mouthful of gold yelled at the stamper to ‘get the knife and stab the fucker’ as he ran from behind the counter towards the door. The first youth, who was still on the floor, eyes bulging, coughing and holding his knee, held out the knife to his pal.
‘I’m going to be late,” thought Steve. “The boss is going to think I’m a right tart.’
The door burst open as the proprietor fiddled with the key.
“You can’t come in ‘ere, Mister, we closed.”
Number three giggled as the blood blossomed on Steve’s shirt. He had hold of his wrist but there was only so much you could do with one hand when the opposition had two to push with. Then the giggling and the pushing stopped and the giggler looked a bit overcome. As you would if your lower lip had just been ripped off. Then his head exploded. Some of the resultant debris spattered over Steve’s new jacket.
“Shit!” he said. “I just bought this special!” The first youth looked up and saw the silenced pistol.
“We was only kidding,” he croaked, still massaging his knee. The man shot him in the eye and instructed Steve to let number two go. Steve wasn’t too sure who was giving him orders but the authoritative tone made him stop trying to choke the life out of his adversary. The man took hold of his arm and helped him up. Steve knew who his saviour was now.
“Sorry boss,” he said plaintively. “They started it.” He noticed the blood. “It’s only a scratch, honest.” He heard the door creak and looked around. The chicken shop proprietor, who didn’t look the least bit happy now, was persuaded to stay.
“Nothing to do with me, mister,” he said, echoing Steve. “It was them. Dey niggers did it.”
“Did you try to stop them?”
“Dey be armed, man,” he said fearfully. “Armed and ‘stremely dangerous. All de youf be de same dese days.” He was told to lock the door and pull down the blinds.
“Anyone else in here?” He shook his head. “Let’s have a look at it.” Steve lifted his shirt.
“It doesn’t hurt, boss,” he lied. The proprietor pointed towards the back of the shop when asked for the bathroom. They disappeared leaving Steve feeling a bit anxious. The boss usually saw the funny side but hadn’t smiled once yet. He came back alone, still looking a bit upset and asked him if he had ever killed anyone.
“I’m not sure, boss. I’ve left a few in a heap.”
He looked towards the second youth who was gasping for breath and massaging his throat. Steve said nothing. The man walked him to the back of the shop and handed over his silenced pistol.
“Take aim, put a bullet in the middle of his back, wait a second and then do it again.” Steve did as he was told and handed the gun back. His hand was shaking. The man led him through the shop to the bathroom to where the terrified proprietor was seated on the toilet. He washed his hands and began to clean the hole in Steve’s side. He had found some antiseptic and plastered the whole tube over the seeping wound. After pronouncing himself satisfied, he told him he’d sew it up later and told him to keep the black guy covered.
He spent the next ten minutes cleaning up the blood Steve had shed. There wasn’t much, his shirt seemed to have soaked up most of it. Then he washed his hands again and had a look around. When he got back he took a brightly coloured kaftan out of his pocket and told him to put it on over his jacket. Steve was horrified.
“It’s been worn by a wog this, boss.” After the boss gave him a look he put it on, complaining as he did so. “You wouldn’t catch me dead in this bollocks. Shit, I feel itchy already. I mean look at it. I look like Nelson bleedin’ Mandela.”
“So, what about him?” he asked.
“‘Ow do you mean?”
“What do you want to do with him?” Steve looked at the proprietor.
“Please don’t kill me, man. I’ll say it was niggers that did it, honest.” He remembered the mouth full of gold and him telling one of the others to get the knife.
“In cold blood?” he whispered.
“We’re at war, son,” replied the man quietly. Steve looked down. He still held the gun. He lifted it quickly and put two bullets in the proprietor’s chest.
He knew he should torch the place but there were flats above and on both sides of the shop, so he put it to the back of his mind. Before they left he flushed the drugs he found under the counter down the toilet and stuffed the contents of the till and the proprietor’s wallet into the pocket of Steve’s pants.
Steve, who was in shock, didn’t notice.
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