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.‘Look, John,’ the brute said eventually.‘You’ve got the shooter.I’m doin’ what you ask.I’ve got me ‘ands up.The weight of this dog’s fuckin’ killin’ me, but I’ve got me ‘ands up.Are you callin’ the Ole Bill or what?’Then he said it before he could think about it.Before he could stop himself, before he could add up the pros and cons, it was out there.‘How would you like to make some real money?’The brute, Darren Mortlake, was allowed to escape.Lime told Tina and the police that the burglar had fled when he entered the kitchen with the gun, and gave a false description, the principal fib being over the matter of skin colour.When the prostitute phoned back, he said he would have the money in two days, and the stupid cow – obviously an opportunistic amateur – told him to bring it to her house in Ilford.He said that as he didn’t trust her not to set him up somehow, he would be sending a friend with the cash.He also said he wanted assurance that she was in this alone, and that if his friend found anyone else in the flat, the deal was off.She reminded him that she would go to the papers, and he reminded her that the papers would pay about a tenth what she would be getting from him if she cooperated.He gave Darren five thousand in cash as an advance, another five to be collected upon successful completion of the task.If he got caught, his silence bought twenty.He was to bring along the cash from his advance to her house in a bag, and open it at the front door for her to see, so that she’d let him in.Darren didn’t get caught.Stephen didn’t get caught.Everyone was happy.Except Julie Marron, who had her throat cut and bled to death on her living room floor.With no evidence of breaking and entering, it was assumed by the police to have been carried out by a client.And all Stephen’s problems went away.Stephen was so happy with Darren’s work that he paid him a monthly retainer to return his calls and have first shout on his services.And a bit of lateral thinking helped Stephen apply similar principles to the problem of getting rid of Tina.He toyed briefly with the idea of paying Darren to kill her too, but decided it was a non-starter.People were always paying to have their spouses bumped off, and they were always getting caught too, because the whole thing was so screamingly obvious.Stephen Lime, Darren Mortlake and Julie Marron were three points on a triangle no one was ever going to draw because there was no apparent connection between even two of them.Stephen Lime, Darren Mortlake and Tina Lime was a different story.But the thought of employing specialist services led him to an idea that offered an equally effective but even more satisfying result.He knew his wife was always screwing around on him, he knew she liked young, athletic, well-spoken (‘posh’) men; he even knew some of their names.He just couldn’t prove anything.So he decided he would pay someone to seduce her and tip him the wink as to when he could unexpectedly stumble upon them.The ideal candidate turned out to be an SHO at St George’s, skint because of a recent divorce, divorced because he was fucking anything in a nurse’s uniform every night he was on-call.Stephen brought Tina along to a hospital ball and let nature take its course.The over-sexed little bastard insisted on getting to screw her undisturbed for a few days before Stephen was allowed to catch them at it, but what the hell, it was the result that mattered.And besides, he also chucked in some highly illustrative Polaroids as an added bonus, which helped Lime slaughter her in the divorce without it even getting near a courtroom.SIXTEENParlabane was steaming around the kitchen, draped in a towel stolen from Le Pare Hotel in West Hollywood, having very recently emerged from a too-warm bath, his white bits pink from the heat.He was about to use his newly-purchased tin opener upon a newly-purchased tin of beans, which he planned to heat in his newly-purchased pot, when the doorbell rang.He was still too damp to be able to throw some clothes on, so he pulled the front door slightly ajar and leaned his head around it.Jenny Dalziel was standing there in the unexpectedly simple garb of blue jeans and a self-coloured green T-shirt, a blue denim jacket slung over her shoulder.He hated the word ‘strapping’ because it seemed to have rather uncomfortable S&M connotations, but there was little other way to describe her.Seeing her divested of her plain-clothes policewoman suits and leisure attire colour schemes that forced Parlabane to avert his eyes, he was able to appreciate Jenny’s athletic shape, but was slightly concerned that – as he was only wearing a towel – his appreciation might start to show.‘I was in the neighbourhood,’ she said.‘Wondered if you fancied coming out to play.And as I can see you’ve just washed your hair, it looks like you might be out of excuses.’Parlabane ushered her into the kitchen and went off to his bedroom in search of another towel and an acceptably clean shirt.‘What did you have in mind?’ he shouted through to her.‘Just the usual.Drinks and scintillating conversation.’‘You might have to just make do with the conversation part.I’m still waiting for a money transfer from my bank in LA, and my credit card is beginning to buckle under the strain.’‘Oh, I’m sure I could stand you a couple of beers [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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