Jack Rydell drove through the late Saturday morning traffic. He had
been on so many assignments, that every undertaking had become a
mission, though tolerance behind the wheel of a car, was not one of
his strong points.
“Bloody Christmas Shoppers!” he spouted under his breath. Never
once thinking for a moment that if he'd left earlier that day, he just might have avoided the nose to tail traffic.
When Jack finally arrived at his office, two flights up in the big old
Victorian building, his secretary Marianne who was a sixties hippy,
now twenty five, she was still living the hippy dream.
She had tried to get Jack to become a vegetarian, but without much
hope, it made him mad the way she would go on and on about how
his quality of life would change, if only he would change his eating
habits, but Jack was a meat man through and through. “Give me a
nice juicy steak any day of the week,” he would say to her. But she
was a damned good secretary, so he put up with the nagging.
“Hey Jack! You got a mountain of messages...people to phone...
places to be. Where you been babe?”
Marianne had been with Jack two years and even at the interview,
she had called him babe, he didn't mind...in fact he thought it was
kind of endearing.
She was a sweet girl, with long dark hair. Still clinging to her hippy
gear of Indian skirts and bangles, Jack couldn't understand her, but
she seemed happy enough.
“I've had a seriously long night, standing around in the cold, so I'd be
grateful if you'd get me a steaming hot coffee and some toast.”
“Coming right up babe,” she replied...”Oh! By the way, there's a
brown package on your desk, that Madam Lilly delivered it personally,
she also said to meet her tonight at 7pm, in the Golden Horse Hotel,
she might have another job for you.”
Jack took out a cigarette as he walked into his office, as per usual
there was a mountain of mail on the In Tray. The package sat on the
table. Lighting his cigarette and taking some satisfying puffs, Jack
made smoke rings...which he found so amusing.
His office was quite simple, he had a desk, of which was bought at an
auction, it was in mahogany and quite expensive, but it was the only
thing he had of any value. There were four filing cabinets filled with
He stared at the package, thinking of Madam Lilly, savouring the
moment, of opening it, like a kid on Christmas morning, with
Madam Lilly always paid by cash, she ran a brothel in town and
liked to keep her business dealings quiet, but she always paid up
on time and now he would be meeting her tonight.
As Jack was deep in thought, Marianne came into his office with
his coffee and toast. “You still staring at that package...when you
going to open it babe? Looks important. Oh by the way, do you
mind if I put a tree up in my office? I know it's not your scene, but
I thought it would brighten up my office.”
“Of course I don't mind, but leave my office out. Thanks for the
coffee and toast, that'll be all now.”
“Okay babe, just call me if you need me.”
It had been a long afternoon, Marianne had gone home. It was 5.30pm,
he decided he would finish up. Lighting another cigarette, he finally
opened the package, it was as he expected his payment due.
Inside was a thick bundle of crisp notes. Jack counted the money out carefully, one hundred pounds, 'not bad for a surveillance job,' he thought to himself.
Deciding not to place the notes in the cash till, Jack placed the money
in a brown envelope and put it in his jacket pocket, then locked up and
made his way down to the car. Driving home wasn't so bad, luckily the roads were clear, so the drive was easy.
His flat was a mess, there were papers everywhere, the dust clung to
every piece of furniture, unlike his office, which Marianne kept clean.
Jack didn't have a cleaning lady, liking the muddle, because then he
knew where everything was, though Jack hated the dust and cobwebs,
but was not prepared to have someone poking around his flat.
Walking to the bathroom he ran a bath, before going into his bedroom
and undressing, Jack looked through his wardrobe and sorted through
his clothes, picking out a black jacket and black flares, nothing to
flashy, but the Golden Horse Hotel, was quite posh, so he took that
Soaking in the bath, Jack decided to hide the money somewhere in his
flat and take it back to the office on Monday, ready for Marianne
to bank up, he just didn't feel it would be safe, leaving it at the office
It was 7 pm as he drove into town, there was a light rain, which didn't
do much for his spirit. Lighting up another cigarette, Jack looked in his rear view mirror, he felt he was being followed, but then again, in his line of work, you spent your life being suspicious, always one step
ahead...planning, being aware and open to the dangers of being a
Jack drove into the hotel car park, it was quite packed, but then it was
a Saturday night. As he stepped out of the car, he looked around...
everything seemed normal, 'perhaps it was my imagination,' he thought.
Walking in through the main door of the Hotel, he noticed it was very
plushy and old-world. The smells coming from the restaurant, made
his mouth water, Jack wished now he'd made a reservation to eat.
There was a bar to his right and then the lounge to his left. Opening
the door and walking in, Jack was amazed at how packed it was,
then he saw Madam Lilly, she was sat talking to a man.
Madam Lilly noticed Jack and waved him over. “Ah! So you made it Mr Rydell, I'm so pleased you came. Please sit down.”
Jack walked over wondering if Lilly had another assignment for him.
To be continued ….....