"No?" I offered, my tone taunting. He didn't know it but I was going to shoot him anyway. I'd been compromised and would definitely be on for a capture by the rozzers if I stuck around England for too long after this caper. Fuck the police and their forensics; since I'd blown my cover anyway, putting a nine milly hole in Tom's face wasn't much of an issue. And speaking of issue, there was probably enough DNA around, dollops of semen, most of which had dribbled out of Avril's cunt, and all that evidence meant I'd have to leave the UK for a while.
I fancied a look at Costa Rica.
A shadow flickered across the landing behind Tom. Avril's face, strained and tear-stained, appeared at his shoulder. The woman gasped, her knuckles going to her mouth.
"Oh no," she gasped. "Tom ..."
But Tom didn't even look at her, just kept his gaze fixed on me without a flicker of fear in his expression.
"I'm going to get you," he murmured.
There was more to Tom than met the eye. I'd have expected him to shit himself at the sight of the gun, but all he did was widen his stance and take a firmer grip on the bat.
Avril wasn't as composed, natural I suppose given the circumstances. "Tom, he's got a gun!"
A pointless, even laughable statement in my view. How fucking observant of her.
Avril clutched Tom's massive shoulder. "Oh my God, Tom ... This can't be happening."
The bloke didn't move. He stood there, a great hulking fucking statue, immobile except for his knuckles whitening on the bat's handle.
He was between me and escape, his body all but filling the door frame, and the time for discussions was over. I didn't want to give the cunt any opportunity to play the fucking hero. If, by some lucky break on his part, Tom clipped me with the bat, in my weakened state I'd be fucked.
So I raised the shooter to eye level and squeezed the trigger.
I'd had the misfortune to pick a gangster's bird. Of all the luck, of all the choices I had out there ... I'd chosen a Face's lady friend.
When the shooter jammed Tom had sprung at me like a fucking jungle cat. He was light on his feet for such a big fucker, and before I'd even blurted a curse at the stopped weapon he'd twatted me across the shoulder with that bat.
He didn't lay into me after the gun -- the useless piece of shit -- dropped to the carpet. Oh no, he had another treat in store for me and he wanted me undamaged so he could enjoy his righteous retribution at my expense.
When I say undamaged I'm talking in relative terms.
Tom clenched one huge ham and caught me on the temple with the resultant fist. Even as I winced and clutched my numb shoulder I was on the way down, collapsing boneless to the carpet, a position I'd grown accustomed to over the course of the last few eventful minutes. Then Avril pushed past and got a few more kicks and punches in.
Tom sent Avril down to the Merc. "There's some rope in the boot. Go and get it. I'll watch him." Then came a pause while Avril got all emotional. Tom, it dawned on me by that time, seemed a dangerous bastard, no stranger to violent conflict, and he had his wits about him enough to get a grip of Avril before she came completely unglued. "Get the fucking rope, Av. Stop fucking about. Leave the hysterics for later. I want this cunt ..." he prodded me non-too-gently with the business end of the bat, "... tied up. Just in case he's got any more surprises."
Which is how I found myself bound wrists and ankles and laid on a stained, grubby and, I might add, fucking freezing concrete floor in a warehouse about an hour's drive by Mercedes Benz from Bedfordshire.
Tom knows some sick people, some of whom were only too happy to take turns on my sphincter. While a couple of swarthy-skinned gentlemen abused my, until very recently, virgin arsehole, Tom smoked and watched. Next, while I lay there gasping, my arse burning, he filled me in on a few details, letting me know exactly who he was and just what a fuck-up I'd made.
"Merry Christmas, wanker," Tom said, smiling as he lifted chisels, a hammer and then a fucking soldering iron out of a black bag one of his arse-bandit friends had brought with him.
I knew it would be useless to scream, but I couldn't help it when they started work.