The Video Tape Ch. 06byThe Wanderer©
As usual I thank my LadyCibelle and Techsan for their patience, proof reading, editing skills and of course encouragement. Also for the speed in which they both turn around the chapters of this story. As I often play around with a story after they have read it, I take full responsibility for the content and any cock-ups in this story.
Clarification: Garda is the name of the police force in the Republic of Ireland. Its full name is "An Garda Síochána" which in English means "The Guardians of the Peace". May I take this opportunity to say that on my travels I have found the officers of the Garda amongst the most pleasant and helpful police officers that I have come across in Europe, if just a little laid back about things on occasions!
"She's dead!" he announced.
"Teach her to hang around with a slime-ball like this. Get her the fuck out of here," another voice said.
I didn't believe what I had just seen happen. I think I went to move or say something, but Kathy who apparently had been watching me closely, grabbed my arm and stopped me in my tracks. I really hadn't expected anyone would actually get seriously hurt, let alone killed, especially a woman.
"You've killed her!" Peter Garfield exclaimed. The man's eyes were as big as dinner plates as he stared at the inert body of the girl for a few seconds and then he appeared to try and look at everyone else in the warehouse at once. Like me, he was having trouble believing his own eyes and understanding what had just happened.
A man who'd been standing beside Pat went over and joined the one by the woman. He bent down and felt for the girl's pulse, then looked at Pat shaking his head.
Damn it, that was unnecessary." Pat said, "You better get her out of here and put her somewhere where she won't be found. Wait now, you'd better use this bugger's car."
Between them the two men hoisted the girl's body and carried it out of the warehouse. A little later we heard a car drive away.
"Unfortunate and unnecessary, she just had to be patient whilst we had out little chat with you and then the pair of you could have gotten back to whatever you were doing when we disturbed you," Pat said, turning his attention back to the man tied to the chair. "Now let's get down to business. Are you going to be co-operative or do we have to get all unnecessary with you as well?"
"I don't know what you could want with me?" Garfield replied.
"Just the answers to a few questions. A couple of months ago you went to England." Pat said.
"I go there often... to do business."
"Ah, but on this trip you used an alias. You used the name John Carter. Are you with me now?" Pat asked.
Garfield looked like he was thinking for a few seconds and then said, "Um, yes. I went to see my uncle. He's very ill and he asked me to do something for him."
"Nothing much. It's personal family business; it was nothing important," Garfield replied.
"Not to you maybe, but let's say it could be important to me. Now what did you do for your uncle?
"Nothing. I told you I just collected a package for him and had it delivered."
"I don't remember the address. It was already written on the package and I just gave it to the taxi driver to deliver. That's all there was to it."
"What was in the package?"
"I don't know. It could have been anything."
"Now I know you're lying to me and I don't like that," Pat retorted.
Without Pat saying anything, a man stepped forward and to my utter horror, placed the muzzle of the biggest handgun I'd ever seen in my life against Garfield's knee.
"Let's just kneecap the bastard, that'll loosen his tongue," the man said as he did so.
Once again I went to intervene but Kathy held my arm firmly. "They know what they are doing. Leave them to it," she whispered to me.
Don't be so bloody daft, you mad bugger. You'll blow his bloody leg off with that thing," Pat retorted. "Who's got a nine-millimetre? We'll start on his ankles first."
The man with the big gun stepped back making a comment that showed he was disappointed. Then another man went over to Garfield and pointed a much smaller gun at his ankle and I watched him make a deliberate show of pulling back the hammer. But before he fired Garfield began whimpering.
"The bugger's pissed himself!" The man suddenly proclaimed.
"No, don't shoot me! I'll tell you anything you want to know. It was a video tape," Garfield hurriedly blurted out through his tears.
"I don't know. I never looked at it," Garfield mumbled.
To me Garfield looked like he'd suddenly turned into a mental wreck and was completely terrified. Mind you, I can't say that I wasn't near needing a change of underwear.
"Why did your uncle send it?"
"I don't know that either. He just asked me to get it from his office at one of his companies and then have it delivered.
For the next hour or so the questioning went on. Garfield told us that he'd picked up the tape from the premises of a small film production company his uncle owned. This confused me somewhat because, through my investigations on the mainland, I thought I knew every company that the five had connections with. To my knowledge this film company wasn't on the list. I had to wonder if it was the company that had produced the video.
Garfield went on to say that the film was in a safe in his uncle's private office at the company's offices. We also learned that there were many more tapes along with a lot of files in the safe and that he had instructions to post off several of the other tapes after his uncle had passed on. All the rest of the stuff in the safe, he was to bring back over to Ireland and pass on to a man called Harcourt, when he visited Garfield's hotel.
Pat shot a quick look in my direction and I nodded back to him.
"You know this man Harcourt?" Pat demanded of Garfield.
"Yes he's one of my uncle's business associates. He stays at my hotel often and has conferences with some other men.
"List the men's names to me?"
Garfield suddenly turned non-co-operative again. "I can't talk about them! They are powerful men with connections. They could have me killed!"
"And you think we won't kill you if you don't tell us what we want to know?" Pat asked. "Look, we've no interest in hurting you if we don't have to. Unless you tell these people, they will never know where we got the information. So they will have no reason to kill you. We on the other hand have reason to make your dying very slow and painful if we don't get the information we require."
Again without Pat's prompting the man with the nine-millimetre had stepped forward and even through the balaclava we all could see the smile on his lips as he bent down towards Garfield's ankle and pointed the gun.
"All right, all right, I'll tell you. But no one will ever know I told you?"
"You have my word as an Irishman," Pat replied.
Garfield went on to list the other three men who been in that interview with Emily. He claimed he had little knowledge of their business dealings. He did volunteer that he thought that amongst other things, they had some connections with drug smuggling. Sometimes people from certain South American countries visited the hotel at the same time as the four men. And they were often in private conference with each other.
Somewhere during Pat's questioning, Garfield had mentioned what he called the women.
"Tell me about these women?" Pat suddenly demanded.
Garfield looked confused, as he obviously thought the women were pretty unimportant. "They're just women that they bring along, you know, for entertainment."
"What? Hookers? Prostitutes?" Pat asked.
"No, I wouldn't say that they were on the game. I'm pretty sure of that. They're not the type. And besides I don't think any of them wanted to be there or be treated as they are."
"You're not explaining yourself very well," Pat said.
"Look, they weren't tarts. They were ladies, housewives and the like. They don't normally dress like tarts or behave like them until they are made to."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, the women - sometimes they have their husbands with them - would turn up at the hotel on their own. You know not with Harcourt and his crowd. They even pay for their own rooms. Then when those four and their associates turn up the women would be sent to whoever wanted them. One night I heard one of Harcourt's men order one woman to strip naked in the bar and then he had some other woman's husband fuck her from behind whilst she gave her husband a blow job. The poor woman was devastated and so was her husband, but they did as they were told. They do that sort of thing all the time."
"What? Are they perverts or something? Why would they degrade people like that?"
"Because they can. That's what you've got to understand about these people. They are very powerful people and they get their kicks out of making people do anything they want them to do."
Pat turned and looked at me, but he didn't say anything. We both realised how close Emily had come to becoming one of their victims.
"Is it always the same women?"
"No, I'm not sure how many different ones I've seen. Certainly I've seen over fifty and could be as many as a hundred. They aren't all English either. There have been Americans, Germans, and French; well, I think they've come from just about every country in Europe and Scandinavia. But there's been no Irish that I have noticed. Although it isn't always obvious who is one of their victims, if you understand me. They don't wear a badge or anything and often the husbands are with them. Or someone who purports to be the husband anyway."
Pat looked at me again. I think he was wondering if there was anything else we needed to know. I thought we had just about all that Garfield could tell us and shook my head.
Pat looked over at one of the other men, gave him a nod, then turned and walked away from Garfield. As the other guy went up to Garfield, I could see the look of concern come back onto his face.
"Now we did this one earlier, so you know there's no need to get overly concerned," the man said, showing Garfield the small bottle and cloth he was holding. "You will not tell anyone - that includes your four friends and the Garda - what has happened here this evening. Your going to have a little sleep now and you will wake up safely in your car a little later.
"Just to ensure that you don't forget to keep your mouth shut, when you're asleep we are going to put the gun that killed the little slut in your hand and fire it. That will leave evidence that you've fired a gun on your clothes. We'll make sure yours will be the only fingerprints on the gun and the ammunition inside it. If you decide to forget what I've told you and talk to the Garda or anyone, then the tart's body and the gun will turn up somewhere where the Garda will be sure to find it. And you, my friend, you will go to prison for a very long time. The boys used your car to take her body away from here, so I suspect there'll be some of her blood in there as well, so you might want to get rid of that car."
"One more thing," Pat said. "If we need anymore information from you, we'll call you. Don't be going telling us any lies now, or the girl's body will show up. Do you understand?"
Garfield nodded at Pat to affirm that he did.
"Okay, put him out," Pat instructed.
The man put the cloth to Garfield's nose and in a few moments he was unconscious.
With a gesture of his head, Pat told Kathy and me to follow him. He led us outside, where we got directly into a waiting car.
"Well, you know what you're dealing with now. I should think that all you need to know is in that safe in that office in London. Are you going to tackle it yourself or let the police deal with it?" Pat asked.
"The police I think. But, Pat, was shooting that girl really necessary?" I asked. To be honest I was feeling very uncomfortable and guilty about that.
I didn't like the slight smile that came onto Pat's face. "Yes and no, but we really needed your reaction to it, to convince Garfield that we were serious. Don't worry; he saw the way you reacted and that scared the shit out of the bugger."
"It scared the shit out of me as well, Pat; I'm responsible for that girl's death. I'm not sure I can live with the memory," I replied.
"Ah, now, don't you go worrying yourself about that girl. The memory will soon fade. That I can promise you," Pat commented in an off-hand manner.
"Father! That's not...." Kathy began to say, but Pat interrupted her.
"Not now, Kathy. There's a right time and place for everything," He said to her.
From then on, the journey back to the farm was quiet until Pat said, "You'd better give me that gun now. I'll arrange to have it well cleaned. We can't have your finger prints all over the place, can we?"
Few moments later the car pulled into the farmyard. The three of us got out of the car without speaking and the driver drove off again.
"Well, did I do well?" A female voice asked as we entered the house. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to see the young woman who'd been shot earlier sitting at the table drinking tea.
"You deserve an Oscar for that performance, Margo! Your timing was perfect," Kathy replied. "You didn't hurt yourself when you fell, did you?"
"Well, I could have a couple of bruises and the boys weren't too gentlemanly when they carried me out. I slapped Billy for having a little grope, the little pervert. I was more worried that I'd made a convincing show of it."
"You had Tony here convinced," Pat said. "When Garfield saw his reaction, he was totally convinced."
"Did you find out everything you wanted, Tony?" Margo now turned her attention to me.
"Sorry, I'm still in shock, young lady. I thought you were dead. But, yes, thank you, I think we know all that we need to."
"I'm sorry, Tony," Pat said. "We had to have you convinced that there could be some violence. That was why we played out that little charade with the gun this morning. Garfield saw how you reacted to Margo apparently getting shot and took his cue from you. If you hadn't been nervous and shocked, he might have not fallen for it."
"Shocked! I nearly had a nasty accident."
"Don't worry. Garfield did have an unfortunate accident. You didn't have to stand as close to him as I did," Pat said, grinning from ear to ear. Then he went on.
"Tell me, Tony, how are you going to tell your inspector Morris about that safe at the Film Company. Don't you think he's going to be interested in how you got hold of the information?"
"I haven't worked that one out yet. But I'm going to have to do it quickly. There's nothing to stop Garfield from flying over there and emptying the safe tomorrow."
"Oh, he won't be leaving the country for some time I can assure you. But if you'd like, we can get the information to your police inspector first thing in the morning and it will not be traceable to you."
"How could we do that?"
"Well, one of those guys in masks - the only one with a gun loaded with live ammunition - actually was a detective with the Garda. He was just there as an observer and to make sure we that didn't actually injure Garfield. It pays to stay on the right side of the Garda. He can contact your inspector and tell him that he had picked the information from an informant if you'd like. It would keep you right out of it."
"Go for it, Pat. It would save me answering some very awkward questions."
Pat picked the telephone up and walked out of the room with it. When he'd gone Kathy spoke.
"Now, Tony, I'm sorry but its payback time. Margo here would like to move to London. Do you think you can find her a decent job in that big company of yours? I think she's earned that much, at least," she explained.
"Of course I'll find you something, Margo. But what about you, Kathy? Didn't you say earlier that you were thinking of moving over as well? You'd be closer to your father."
Kathy's eyes lit up. "Yes, I've been thinking about it, but I'll have to speak to Pat."
Pat came back into the kitchen carrying the small travelling bag he'd had with him on the journey over to Ireland. He put it on the table and reached inside.
"Here you go, Tony, your change - £4000," he said, pulling the four bundles from his bag and throwing them on the table in front of me.
"A thousand? Is that all it has cost?"
"Two hundred each for the five guys," Pat replied.
"But what about yourself? And Margo and Kathy?" I asked in astonishment.
"Ah, now, Margo's got a favour to ask you." Pat grinned back at me.
"I've already asked Tony about Margo," Kathy interrupted, "and he's fine with the idea. But, father, Tony's invited me to go over as well. What do you think?"
"That's up to you, Kathy. It would be nice to have you near. We'd see a lot more of each other."
Kathy threw her arms around her father's neck and kissed him. "I'll go and pack!" she said and left the room.
"Just a minute, Kathy," I said. She stopped and looked at me.
"You'll need some money to get yourself set up in London. Here, you need this," I said, throwing one of the wrapped £1000 to her.
"Are you sure?" she asked.
"Of course I am. I expected this little party to cost me much more than it has. Here, Margo, you have this one. You definitely deserve it after your performance. And Pat, you keep the other two. You called in some debts to lay this all on. You deserve your fee," I said, throwing the last two bundles to him.
"I did this for Emily, not for money," Pat said.
"So you did but you shouldn't be out of pocket for doing a good turn."
"Okay, Tony, if you insist. Here, girls, one each, but be careful how you spend it," Pat said as he threw the two bundles to the girls.
Margo came over to me, put her arms around me and kissed me. "If only you weren't married," she said.
"I'm flattered but I'm much too old for you, Margo," I replied smiling.
"I think there's plenty of life in you yet," she replied.
"Hey, cut it out, Margo. I saw him first." Kathy said laughingly, and then she disappeared to pack her bags.
"Tony! Tony, wake up! Where have you been and who are those women in your bed?" Emily demanded, as she almost shook me hard enough to dislodge me from the sofa, where I'd settled myself when we'd arrived at the house during the night.
I sat up to see a very concerned looking Emily, kneeling on the floor beside the sofa.
End of part six.