The Fall Guy Ch. 05byThe 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.
The beginning of the end.
The two gorillas and my friend left the office. They went over to the Merc, opened the cars boot and dragged a terrified looking Curtis out of it.
My friends had come up with what I thought was a pretty strange plan on how to get the information we wanted out of Curtis. But I should imagine that the experts at the Met, at one time or another during their lives, had questioned them all; so those experts had effectively trained them. Only normally they'd have been on the receiving end of the questions.
"Okay, arsehole, where is he?" Gorilla one demanded.
"Who? I don't know who you're looking for," Curtis blurted out.
I could see that the guy was shaking with fear. He didn't know who these guys were, but one look at them told him they were in a different league to any criminals he'd mixed with in the past.
My friend, who had had his back to Curtis, turned now and looked him in the eye.
"Where is Johnny Carpenter?" my friend said with real venom in his voice.
Curtis was physically taken aback by the question. He'd obviously expected that he was going to be asked about Simmons. But these guys were asking him about me. A look of complete confusion came over his face.
"John Carpenter? I haven't seen him since his trial!" Curtis eventually lied.
I don't think Curtis even knew where the blow came from. I only just caught sight of gorilla two's quick movement. Curtis doubled up on the floor, the breath knocked out of him by the punch to his stomach.
"Don't you fucking lie to the boss!" Gorilla one said, "Carpenter was at your office the other day. What did he want?"
Curtis, who had been staring at the size nine boots that were only a couple of inches from his face, looked up at the Gorilla.
"I dun'no what he wanted. I didn't speak to him."
"Then why was he there?" the boss asked.
"I dun'no, I told you. He's probably after me because I grassed him up in court."
"No fucking chance," gorilla one said, dragging Curtis from the floor by his lapels. "You'd be floating in that bleedin' river by now, if Johnny Carpenter was after your blood. Now tell us what did Carpenter want with a little shit like you?"
The plan here was for Curtis to get the idea that these guys weren't looking for Simmons at all. If he thought that they were looking for me, Curtis might be more likely to let slip where Simmons could be found and get himself out of the obvious jam he found himself in.
"I don't know! I told you, I just gave evidence against him in court a few years ago. I figured the guy was gonna work me over. I got out of there as quickly as I could. I ain't seen the bugger since."
"Bollocks. If Johnny Carpenter were really after you, you wouldn't be alive for us to talk to. Johnny Carpenter doesn't play games. So what did he want you to do for him and where has he gone now?" the boss asked the now quivering Curtis.
"I told you, I never spoke to him. I fink 'e was trying to put the fright-ners on me."
"Why would he want to do that?" the boss asked.
"I'm not sure. Perhaps he's looking for his missis. She ran off on him, you know!"
"Tell me more. If he's looking for her, then that's probably where we'll find him. But why would he think you knew where his missis was anyway?"
"I dun'no where she is. I fink she's shacked up with the husband of the woman Carpenter knocked off. That's all I know," Curtis gasped out.
Curtis was sounding even more desperate now. As gorilla two had produced a jemmy from somewhere and was taping it against the palm of his hand. Curtis was eyeing the thing thoughtfully.
"I think he knows a lot more than he's telling us, boss," gorilla number two said. "Let me teach him a little respect."
"What? Like the last time? That little shit was too busted up to say much at all once you'd finished with him," gorilla one commented.
"Ah, I got carried away. I'll only break a few bones 'ere and there. E'll still be able to talk. Bring 'im over 'ere where I got some room."
"No, look, I don't know nothing, I promise." Curtis almost screamed, he was in panic by then.
"Don't fucking lie to me, kid!" the boss said in a very calm but firm voice. "You obviously know about Carpenter's wife and who she's shacked up with. Now that ain't exactly common knowledge so tell me how the hell you know about it, or you and that fucking car of yours is gonna rot away in the bottom of that dock out there. No cunt will ever find you down there."
I really thought Curtis's eyes were going to pop out of his head as he looked at each of the three men in turn and then he just fainted.
They let him fall to the floor but quite gently. Then whilst two gorillas stood over him, the boss came and joined me in the office.
"Every time the little shit opens his mouth, he tells us a little bit more," the boss said to me. "By the time we get out of here tonight we're going to know everything he does. I think it's best we try to find out where Simmons is holed up first and then we'll see what he says about your frame up. Sound good to you?"
"I'm surprised you've only hit him once!" I commented.
"Ah, kicking the shit out of them is quite satisfying, but fear is a far more useful tool. Once you start knocking them about, there's a chance that you do the buggers a serious injury then they go unconscious on you and you're fucked. Bernie only gave him one little tap and the rest is down to the little shit's imagination."
The boss picked up a chair that was in the office and carried it back out to where Curtis was laying. The two gorillas picked up Curtis and sat him in the chair; then one of them slapped him around the face a couple of times. Curtis opened his eyes and looked around as if he didn't know where he was, then suddenly it dawned on him he was still in his worst nightmare. Just for a moment I thought he was going to try to make a run for it, then he seemed to change his mind.
"Right, you were telling me about this guy that Carpenter's old lady is shacked up with. Where can I find him?" the Boss demanded menacingly.
"Honest, I don't know. Down near Southampton somewhere, I think."
"And what makes you say that?" the boss asked in a much more gentle tone of voice.
I got the idea of what he was up too, when Curtis was answering his questions the boss sounded quite amicable. If Curtis didn't come up with the answers the Boss and the two gorillas sounded quite terrifying.
Curtis didn't answer for a few seconds; I believe he was thinking whether he dared lie to this man. Then after looking at the two gorillas again he explained.
"Every so often Simmons calls me and asks me to steal a car for him. I don't think he's got the guts to nick one for himself. I nick one from in town somewhere and then leave it in a car park down in Southampton for him to collect."
"What does he want stolen cars for?"
"Dun'no, don't ask. He pays up front; that's all I worry about. But he's gotta live down that way somewhere to pick the cars up. And normally my cash turns up in the mail, with a Southampton post-mark."
"He pays you in cash through the post?"
"Yeah, the money's normally in a cassette case or something, stuffed into one of those padded envelopes."
"How come he's got you nicking cars for him?"
"I done a job for him sometime back and since then he's been getting me to nick the odd car now and again for 'im."
"What job did you do for him?"
Curtis again looked at the three big men standing around him.
"Look, you don't like Carpenter so it can't hurt telling you. Simmons fitted Carpenter up for his wife's murder. I swiped a bottle of Champagne and a couple of glasses from the hotel and gave them to Simmons. Then somehow he got Carpenter's fingerprints on them and put them back in his wife's room the night she was murdered."
"She always had Champagne when she met her boyfriends in the hotel. So Simmons knew she would order a bottle. I delivered the Champagne when she called down for it and told the police I'd seen Carpenter in the room with her."
"Who was in the room with her?"
"No one when I delivered the Champagne. There never was, when she ordered the Champagne." Curtis stopped talking as if thinking about something. "Only, I suppose there could have been someone hiding in the bathroom. She never invited me to stay that night. Normally she would make some suggestion."
"You'd never taken her up on her suggestion then?"
"Only once, when I don't think her fella turned up. Look, I was working; I couldn't disappear into her room all bleeding night. Just one night her bloke never showed and she waited until I was off duty. Christ, the woman was a sex machine."
"What about these boyfriends of hers? Did you ever see them?"
"No chance. I think that's why she used the place. There are no security cameras ... well, not back then. I think her dates came up the fire escape; it was right outside the window of that room she always used. I don't think anyone in the hotel ever saw them."
The boss surreptitiously looked over in my direction. I think he had run out of questions and he was wondering if I had anymore. To tell you the truth I couldn't think of any at that moment; my mind was elsewhere.
I'd been racking my brain some, and I'd remembered that about a year before Mary Simmons was murdered, Angela's auntie - her only living relative, as far as I knew - had gotten so old and frail she'd moved into a Care home. The old girl had a house somewhere down near Dibden, right on the edge of the New Forest; I'd only been there once, but I had a vague memory of where the place was located.
I had begun to wonder whether the old lady had died and Angela had inherited the house. As I remembered it, the house was pretty isolated, just the kind of place to hide out in. No neighbours living close by or anything, to see who came and went. And from there, it was only a stone's throw to Southampton.
Suddenly I realised my friend the boss was in the office with me.
"Anything else you can think of?" he asked.
"No, but I've got an idea where I might find Angela and my kids. Can you sit on the little shit for a few hours whilst I go down to the New Forest to check it out? If he gets to a telephone, Curtis might get in contact with Simmons. Simmons ain't as daft as this little bugger; he might put two and two together!"
"Aren't you going to call the cops in?"
"No, I don't think so ... well, not yet anyway. It's only a hunch, and if they send the local cops nosing around, god knows what Simmons would do. He's killed before; he might panic and use my kids as hostages or something. I wanna go down and get my kids out of there before the shit hits the fan."
"But I thought you said he had a cast iron alibi for his wife's murder."
"Well, he paid that little shit Curtis off; what's to say he didn't pay off the people who gave him that alibi? Then there's my friend's father, and Simmons had a go at me the other night, remember. Sit on this little bugger for a few hours until after I've checked out the place I'm thinking of, at least." Then I noticed that I couldn't see Curtis in the warehouse. "Where is he anyway?"
"The boys stuck him back in the boot of his car; he's safe enough in there for a while. I should think he's getting used to it by now; he's been in there most of the night. But you aren't going down there on your own. Bernie and me are coming along, just in case you get into trouble. Marko can baby-sit laughing boy here."
Ten minutes later we were on the road. I called up Gary after we'd got past Winchester and told him I was heading for the house where I thought Angela and my kids were staying. Gary was not a happy policeman and told me not to do anything stupid. He and Frank were in their car chasing after me, before I'd finished my conversation with him. But I had a good hour or so head start on him and he didn't know what car I was driving, so he couldn't put the local cops onto me.
We parked up about a mile from the house and waited until dark. I'd taken the precaution of turning my mobile off because I didn't want Gary tracing my general location from its signal.
Bernie and the boss sat there taking swigs from a hip flask. They were extraordinarily relaxed about it. They told me that you soon learnt to remain calm after you'd waited for the right time to pull a job (heist) a few times.
Once it was dark we drove the car closer to the house and parked down a track where it couldn't be seen from the road.
I hunted around in the boot for a wheel brace or something to use for protection, since Simmons was a bigger guy than I was. Bernie gave me his jemmy. It was short and heavy, just the thing I was looking for. The boss and Bernie came with me until we got close to the house.
There were lights on, but the drapes were drawn on all the downstairs rooms except the kitchen. There was no one in the kitchen, so I tried the back door. Surprisingly it was unlocked, but then again a lot of people who live in the country don't lock their doors when they are in the house.
I told the boys to wait outside whilst I went in and had a snoop around. Then I crept inside; the house was almost completely silent. The passage that led off the kitchen was in darkness, but I could make out the low drone of a TV or radio coming from a room at the other end of it, that I assumed was the lounge. The door to the lounge was not fully closed, so I quietly crept along the passage and looked through the crack between the door and the jam.
The room appeared to be empty at first sight. So I pushed the door very gently to open the gap a little and enlarge my field of vision. I just got to the point where I could see a man's foot on the floor, when then everything went black.
End of part five.