The Fall Guy Ch. 04byThe Wanderer©
I thank my LadyCibelle and Techsan for their patience, proof reading, editing skills and of course encouragement they always give me. As I've been known to fiddle with stories, after they've seen it. I take full responsibility for the content and any cock-ups in this story.
While I'm at it, I think from now on I'm going to thank all my friends out there, who write to me and encourage me to continue writing and posting these demented ravings of mine. Your emails are greatly appreciated.
Whilst, there some sex in a couple of the chapters, this is not a stroke story. So if you were looking for one of those kind-of tales, I would suggest you'd be better served looking elsewhere.
Clarification: Casualty = the emergency room. Special constables = Part-time police officers. A car's boot = its trunk. Bristol's = Bristol City's, which is of course rhyming slang for a ladies breasts.
I got friends in low places
The car was maybe fifteen or twenty yards away and coming straight at me. As I turned, I'd realised that there was nowhere for me to go, a blank wall beside me with no doorways or anything to dive into. Any second now that car was going to hit me and there was nothing I could do about it.
I'm not sure whether it's the sudden burst of adrenaline hitting your brain that causes it, but in situations of danger like I'd suddenly found myself in, everything appears to go into slow-motion. I could see the car coming straight at me, I can even remember thinking that I couldn't see who was behind the wheel because it was so dark.
Just for a millisecond the thought that I could dive to the side, just before the car struck me, entered my head. But at the same time I realised that this wasn't an accident; the driver could just turn the wheel slightly and run over me whilst I lay on the ground, or even stop and reverse the car over me.
Where the hell I got the idea of jumping over the damned car from, I really don't know. But as the car got close, I took a step or two towards it and then launched myself into the air. Then things get a bit hazy in my memory. I'm pretty sure I landed one foot on the bonnet with the intention of pushing myself higher, but the car was travelling so fast that I was thrown into somewhat of a spin. I can remember striking the car's roof with my shoulder and rolling onto my side; then slipping off the rear end of the roof and bouncing off the boot lid as I did so.
The next thing I was aware of was laying on the ground looking up at Jenny crouching over me.
"John, how badly are you hurt?" Jenny asked, with a very concerned look on her face.
I can remember lying there wiggling my toes and fingers. Everything appeared to work, as it should do, but I knew I'd given my shoulder one hell of a bang somewhere along the way, most likely when I first hit the car's roof. I was aware of nothing that appeared to be broken. Carefully I lifted myself to the sitting position, with Jenny trying to persuade me to stay lying down.
"Christ, Jen, I think I got away with it," I said to her, in astonishment. "You know, for a minute there, I thought I was about to meet my maker. Where's Bert?"
"They went after the car that hit you. Ah, here's the ambulance now."
"I don't need an ambulance. I'm fine; just a couple of bruises, that's all."
"John, you were unconscious for about five minutes and you've got a nasty looking bump on the back of your head. You're going to casualty whether you like it or not."
Jenny was definitely in mothering mode and I really wasn't in any condition to argue with her. There is also the possibility that I passed out again, as the ambulance ride is a very hazy memory.
The next thing I remember I was in casualty. I expected Harris or some other police officer to turn up in casualty, but for a long time the only people I saw were a couple of part-time Specials and Helen. Jenny of course had come in the ambulance with me. Poor Helen had trouble getting past the Specials until Jenny had intervened. So I gathered the Specials were supposed to be my bodyguard.
Christ, the hospital staff went through the book on me. X-rays and just about everything you could think of. After much pulling and pushing me around they treated the few minor grazes I had and diagnosed concussion, to be precise, mild concussion they said.
"What the hell happened?" I asked Jenny when I finally began to get my head together. "I thought Harris said that car didn't move."
"Apparently it didn't," Jenny replied. "It was a different car completely. From what the Special Constable says, just about every available policeman in the county is out looking for it now."
"What! They lost the bleeding thing?"
"Well, we assume so; it was out of sight before Bert got his car out of the pub car park," Jenny replied.
Helen, who had said nothing, was sitting on the other side of the bed and I suddenly became aware that she was holding my hand. Actually it was only when I went to scratch my nose that I realised that I didn't have a free hand to do it with, Jenny was holding my other hand.
That was a big problem for me; which hand did I release to scratch my nose? After thinking about it for a couple of moments, I decided to let my nose itch. It was taking my mind off of the other aches and pains and the dammed headache I had; I wouldn't want to upset either woman. Thoughtful bugger, ain't I?
Then a doctor and nurse came in. I think the doctor was the guy who'd been in-charge of my treatment earlier.
"Sorry, ladies, I'm gong to have to ask you to leave the patient alone. The best treatment for concussion is rest and sleep. So we're going to administer a sedative now."
"Great!" I thought to myself "I'm the bleeding patient and he's telling the girls what he's going to do before he even asks me whether I want a sedative." I discovered later that I'd been more out of it than I thought and had been what that medical staff kindly refers to as a "difficult patient." Apparently I'd assured everybody that I was fine and that I was going home.
I'm not too sure that the sedative worked that well at first. Perhaps there was a lot of adrenaline still in my system and interfered with the result the doc was expecting. During the night, I woke up several times when the nurses came in to check on me. And that damned beep, beep, beep of those machines that they'd apparently hooked me up to got really up my nose.
At one time I thought I heard raised voices. I believe they were Helen's and Jenny's and I got the distinct impression they were putting Gary Harris through the mill. But then I heard a female voice tell them to be quiet, and after that there was silence and I must have fallen into a deeper sleep.
I had strange dreams about that car coming at me, during which I tried again to see the driver's face, but it was just too dark. Then I had the strangest dream that I was moving; I mean, my bed was moving and I could hear people talking, but nothing of what they said made any sense to me. There were bright lights and strange humming noises, things that I could hear and I was aware of through my eyelids, but I couldn't open my eyes to see.
When I finally awoke, I was immediately aware that I was in a completely different room. Just to make life more interesting, hovering in front of my face were the biggest pair of tits that I'd seen in years, all nicely wrapped up in a nurse's uniform. That's possibly a lie - Jenny carries one impressive pair of Bristols.
Anyway you don't wake up to that kind of view every morning ... well, not when you've just spent seven years in the pokey, you don't. The nurse was fiddling with something above my head on the bed's headboard.
I'm not sure why I did it, maybe devilment or it could have been that I wasn't thinking straight from whatever drugs they'd put in my. That's my excuse anyway! I lifted my head just slightly and it brought my mouth close enough to just give one of those beauties a little nip.
"Ouch!" The nurse shouted and jumped back from the bed.
"Ah, he's awake," Jenny's voice came from somewhere in the room at the same time as the retreating body of the nurse allowed me to see Helen sitting in a chair by the bed. "Oops, very bad timing, John. There's only two women in the world who give a damn about you at the moment and they are both here in the room when you take a nip at another woman's tits," I thought to myself.
"Mr Smith!" The nurse said, with what I took to be a chastising, but at the same time laughing tone to her voice.
"That's our John! What did he do ... bite you?" Jenny said.
"Saucy bugger sure did," the nurse replied with humour in her voice.
"That'll teach you to put temptation in John's way. With a figure like you've got, I'll bet a lot of the patients appreciate them," Helen said to the nurse.
That struck me as an out-of-character sort of thing for Helen to say, somehow.
"They normally try to grab them, not eat the bloody things," the nurse replied still laughing.
"I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else," I said, trying to placate everyone.
"If you think we're going to believe that, you're very much mistaken, you randy little bugger!" Jenny replied to me. "You'd better warn the other nurses to watch themselves around this one," she directed at the nurse.
"How are you feeling, John?" Helen was by now standing over me.
"Like shit! What in the hell happened?"
"Your brain swelled up because of that bump you took on the head. You've been unconscious for over a week," a very concerned looking Helen informed me.
I looked over at Jenny who was by now standing close to the bed as well. I had the greatest difficulty in understanding what Jenny was trying to tell me with her eyes and eyebrows. She seemed to be looking in Helen's direction and raising her eyebrows at the same time as her mouth went into silly contorted little smiles. There was a message there somewhere, I knew it. But I was buggered if could understand it.
The nurse had left the room, but she very soon returned accompanied by a doctor, who chased Helen and Jenny out before he and the nurse put me through the ringer. Both mentally and physically!
"Okay, Mr Smith, I should think you better spend another day or so in bed, just to make sure things have settled down alright and then you can go home. But take things quietly for a while please," the doctor said before he and the nurse left the room.
Almost immediately Helen and Jenny returned, accompanied by Ronny. Ronny was the first to speak.
"What the hell did you think you were playing at, John, letting yourself get set up like that? You know, I'm sure; we've got a pretty good claim against the police for conning you into a stupid arraignment like that. Should be worth half a mil at least, more if you play the injured soldier bit long enough." Ronny's solicitor's mind had been at work.
"No, Ronny, no one is getting sued over this! It was partly my idea to try to draw whoever it was out anyway. Just bad luck that they lost the damned car, that's all. What's the story on the car anyway?"
"The thing turned up burnt out just like the others," Helen replied. "John, it looks like someone was preparing to do you an injury anyway. Gary thinks the Ford Mondeo that was stolen in Richmond was a blind to keep the police occupied. The car that ran you down had been stolen several weeks ago, before you got out of jail. You're not going to believe this but it was clocked by a speed camera on the A40 the morning you were released from prison."
"That's interesting. Does Gary think they were intending to have a go at me outside the Scrubs?" I asked.
"He hasn't actually said, but it would be a bloody stupid thing for anyone to try, what with all those reporters who were hanging around outside there," Helen suggested.
"Maybe that's why they didn't try that day," I observed.
"Anyway Gary arranged to have you moved into this private wing and there's two armed policemen on duty outside all the time," Helen informed me.
"Would that have anything to do with why everybody is calling me Mr Smith?"
"Yeah, sorry, it was the first name that jumped into my mind that night of the accident," Jenny said. "I was trying to think ahead, I'll admit I was thinking about reporters to start with, but Gary said it's probably best to keep you incognito. You know, just in case Simmons tries to find you."
Between Jenny and Helen, who apparently between them had been doing the bedside vigil bit whilst I'd been sedated, told me that Curtis had been under police observation at the time the attempt on my life had been made, although the police were convinced that he stole the Mondeo Gia that they had been watching that evening. So the police, in the form of Gary Harris and his sidekick Frank, thought Curtis was aware that the attempt to kill me was planned for that evening.
Harris had questioned Curtis about his movements that day, but they had no evidence against him at all; it was just speculation and suspicion. The guy hadn't been fazed in the slightest when they pulled him in. Curtis also claimed that he hadn't seen me outside his office.
I don't know why it hadn't occurred to Harris that Curtis must have been in contact with Simmons somehow. I thought it was most likely by mobile phone. I know that Harris had arranged for Curtis's registered mobile to be tracked. Whenever he made or received a call on it, records of whatever cell he was in were being kept. But back at that time it was quite easy to lay your hands on an untraceable mobile; come to think of it, it still is if you know how. So there was the distinct possibility that Curtis had a second one
Harris and Frank came in the following morning and confirmed the tracking. They still hadn't been able to locate where Bill Simmons, Angela and my children were. They didn't think it was a good idea for them to go public with missing persons' appeal on Angela and the children because we still didn't know how Simmons would react.
"I think we better have him have another go at me," I suggested.
"Not a chance in hell. Christ, you only survived by the skin of your teeth last time," Harris said.
"Well, the bugger was one step ahead of us last time; this time I'll be better prepared. Anyway if the car that ran me down was stolen before I got out of the Nick that suggests to me that he was going to have a go at me anyway. I'm buggered if I'm spending the rest of my life looking over my bleeding shoulder."
"You have a point," Harris said. "I can only keep these guys on you for a finite period of time. Someone will start asking questions about the amount of overtime before long. What have you got in mind, John?"
"The same as the first time but under my rules. I'll lean on Curtis but without you lot looking over my shoulder."
"What do you mean when you say lean?"
"Inspector, you put me inside with some right dodgy buggers. Well, I made myself a few friends amongst them whilst I was there and I did some of them a few of favours. Now I'm thinking I might collect, but I'll need to know you guys will not be looking over my shoulder."
The two officers looked at each other, but didn't actually speak for some time. Then Gary Harris asked Frank if he would prefer to leave the room. Frank said he'd stay, but he needed my assurance that Curtis would walk away from any interview I had with him. I told him that I'm not a killer, but whilst I'd been inside I'd come to understand what fear could do if it was applied correctly.
"If I can help it, Curtis might piss himself, but I don't intend for him to get injured," I told them. "Well, not seriously anyway; that's all the little shit would need to get sympathy from a jury. I'd much rather see him rotting in a jail cell for a good few years than have him get off because he was busted up too much."
"I can't give you carte blanche to do anything you feel like, John," Harris warned me.
"Gary, you wouldn't be giving me carte blanche; you'd just be keeping out of the way. If the guys I'm hoping will help me smell a policeman, they'll disappear. I'll call you before the shit hits the fan."
There was certain reluctance on both Gary and Frank's part, but they eventually agreed to call the hounds off, although they insisted that the police guards stayed on me whilst I was in the hospital. They also insisted that panic buttons were installed at the cottage. I didn't bother to inform them that I wasn't going back there for a while.
After Gary and Frank left, Jenny came back into the room. I realised I'd been thinking of myself a lot and neglecting her a bit.
"Jenny, have you been here at the hospital ever since I got knocked down?"
"Most of the time, yes. I had to make sure they were looking after my boy properly," she replied.
"What about your husband? Surely he must be pretty pissed off that you've spent so much time here?"
"Fuck him! He's history. I caught him with that little slut in my bloody bed. I hope you don't mind; I moved into one of the spare rooms of the cottage for the time being, Helen and... um, Helen helped me. Mr Macintosh said it would be alright."
"Of course it's alright. Sounds to me that you're well shot of the bugger anyway. Now, give us a kiss then call Ronny and tell him to get his arse up here. I've got some things for that bugger to do before I get out of here."
Helen popped in later but she couldn't stay long because she had work to do. Ronny turned up about three. I asked him to drum up five thousand in cash and another car. Then I asked him to write me a will. Well, not exactly a will; remember on paper I was virtually a bankrupt. But I let him know that should I not make it, he was to split my money three ways, one third each to Jenny, Helen and my kids. After he'd taken his commission of course, and the children weren't to see a penny until after there was no chance Angela could get her hands on it.
I also asked Ronny to make a few calls for me, suggesting they should be made on a secure line. Ronny got my meaning so I knew that the calls would be made on a phone that couldn't be traced back to either of us.
It was another three days before the doctors finally deigned to let me out of the hospital. I left in the comfort of a laundry van. Although the police were convinced that there was no one watching the hospital, I didn't think it was worth taking any chances. Helen and Jenny picked me up at a prearranged place on the road. Then they dropped me at a different and rather grand hotel.
Later that evening after I had insisted that both women leave, I had visitors. Three rather large guys joined me in my suite. After discussing my problem for a while over a few drinks, the guys came up with a simple plan to get Curtis alone. They'd simply hire him to drive them somewhere and then grab him when they were somewhere quiet. After a phone call or two, they even came up with a good place for us to have our little chat. A warehouse in east London down by the river.
"There's a doorway right over the river," one of the guys said. "All you got to do is talk about tide times and bodies getting washed out into the channel and the buggers shit themselves."
"You've done this sort of thing before?" I casually asked, more out of making conversation that anything.
"Yeah, not clever dropping bodies in the Thames though. The damned things hang around too bloody long. They keep washing backwards and forwards with the tide. Anyway the idea is to clean the Thames up nowadays, not drop shit-heads in it. You know they found a salmon in the river the other year, and the boffins are hoping they'll breed in the river again one day."
Rather a surreal conversation to be having, I thought - the disadvantages of polluting the River Thames by dropping dead bodies into it. But it turned out the guy was a keen fisherman. I did wonder, though, just where these guys did dispose of dead bodies; they certainly appeared to know the ins and outs of doing so.