It all started in Venice – Episode

An interview with Jaime Meyers

I went in and closed the door, leaning against it.  She glared at me, for a moment not recognising who it was, then the expression changed.

And it gave me a tell.

“You’re supposed to be in Venice,” she said, with a hint of amusement in her tone.

“You’re not supposed to be in here, and yet here you are.”

“It’s all part of a witch hunt.  We’ve been down this road before, and like the last time, and the time before that, they’ve got nothing on me.  They know it and you should know it too, but if you’re retired, why are you here?”

“Your new best friend forever, Larry.  You know he wants me dead.”

“He says you killed his brother, but he’s never said anything about killing you, just getting justice for his brother.  Through the legal system.”

“Of course he would say that.  I assure you I had nothing to do with his brother’s death but that’s another story.”  I crossed to the chair and sat down taking a moment to look at her.

Drugs, alcohol and stress had taken the shine off what had once been a stunningly beautiful young woman.  The loss of her father and betrayal of her husband had taken their toll.

“If that’s the case perhaps you should tell me what happened so I can make up my own mind.  After all, there are always two sides to a story.”

I shook my head.  “That would be a pointless exercise.  Let’s talk about you instead, and the reason why you’re sitting in that chair.  Larry.  Until you took up with him, we had no idea who you were or what you were doing and had no reason to find out.  Larry, on the other hand, well, he’s shoulder deep in a shit pile of criminal activity, and my old boss, when I used to work for him, is very interested in everyone who even looks sideways at him.  So, bottom line, you’re only here because of him, and because of him I know everything there is to know about.”

“So you say, but there’s nothing to know.  Never was, and Larry is just a friend who’s going through a rough patch.”

“If you mean losing out on a fifty-million pound inheritance because he killed his brother is a rough patch, then your right.”

“I don’t know anything about that.  All I know is his wife is being difficult.”

“That’s the same line all married men use.”

Her expression sharpened conveying annoyance.  “It’s not that sort of relationship.” 

“Not what his wife is telling his mother back in Sorrento.  And that’s saying something considering how much Brenda hates his mother.”

A change in expression.  Another tell, a nerve hit.

“How do I know this?”  I asked the question for her.  “Simple, and perhaps I will give you a side of the story.  His mother crossed paths with one of my investigations back when I worked in intelligence as an analyst and I got to know her quite well.  As a favourable, knowing I was in a position to help, she asked me to watch over his brother, her youngest son.”

I could see the question before she could ask it.

“Before you tell me I didn’t do a very good job, I was at the handoff Larry sent him to that went bad, one he was told would be a simple briefcase exchange, and ended up having to defend him in what became an impossible situation.”

“What was in the briefcases?”

An odd question but I could see from the furrowed brow that she had seized on a significant detail.

“I don’t know and didn’t ask.  In my position, it was better not to know, but you can guess.  I’m sure you are aware of Larry’s interests.”

She didn’t say, but she knew.  My guess had been drugs on one side and money on the other.  It was anything but a simple job and my reasoning was Larry tried to keep it low-key using a lesser-known courier without backup, and someone found out.  With drugs and cask on that scale, it was too much of a temptation to pass up.

“Anyway, he was shot, not fatally, I patched him up, he called Larry and I stayed with him until Larry arrived, but left before Larry saw me, for obvious reasons.  If you talk to his mother she will verify everything I said.  She was still talking to him after I left and up to the point where he could see Larry coming.  After that. He was DOA at the hospital.  You can draw your own conclusions but 50 million is a great incentive to use a particular situation to get rid of a problem.”

“An interesting story, as you say, but I’m not likely to be asking anyone anything because I’m just not interested, in you or him.”

“As I said before, a pointless exercise.  But, interested or not, you will be helping us with our problem with Larry and his explosives.”

“‘I know nothing about that.”

“Well, let’s talk about something you do know about.  Emily Broadhurst, or to Wendy, Aunt May.”

The look on that fraction a second was both malevolent and fearful.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I shrugged.  “I thought you might say that.”  I took out my cell phone and dialled one of the two numbers displayed.  “Let’s bring them in and have a chat, see what they have to say.”  A voice answered on the other end.  “George.  Bring them in.”

“Stop.”  She glared at her lawyer.  “Give us the room.”

“I strongly suggest…”

“Give me the room.  Your objection is noted.”

Her lawyer reluctantly got up and left the room.  She glared at the policewoman standing by the door.

“Pretend she’s not here,” I said.  “She has to be here for your safety and is the very soul of discretion.”  I looked up at the camera.  “This is not to be recorded or observed, so camera off.”  I waited until the red light below the camera went off.

I could see she was about to say something, more than likely regrettable, but understandable.

“Let me say this before you say something you will regret.  You’ve been lying to me.  I don’t ask questions I don’t have answers to.  Because you started working with Larry, we went the extra mile on your life and operations.  You were there when the crates were delivered, as was Larry himself and he told you what was in there.  So, where there’s one lie, what is there you can say that cannot be taken with a grain of salt.”

“Be that as it may…”

“No.  You are the head of a criminal organisation.  It might be dressed up very cleverly to look like something else, but we have a very clear view of what goes on.  To be honest, we don’t care.  You’re not the focus of my ex-bosses obsession.  And, believe me when I tell you, I don’t like being Larry’s target.”

“Then make him disappear.”

“Unfortunately, despite what you and others might think, we did not unilaterally kill people for no reason, and, even if I still worked for that organisation, I wasn’t able to make people disappear.  The paperwork would be horrendous, along with endless external, internal and government reviews.”

“Then what do you want me to do?  I’m not an informer, nor will I become an informant.”  Spoken by a person who still thought they had a choice.

“You’re going to do what you negotiate with the police, who, despite your endless denials, are aware of the truth.  So, first things first, you are going to ignore Larry, and not proceed with any of the arrangements you may have agreed with him..  You can do that with plausible deniability, telling him leaving C4 in your warehouse was not an act of good faith since the police now want your hide for it.  Once again I will reiterate, I’m not interested in you, and nor is my ex-boss, so you are in a unique position to use whatever knowledge you have as leverage for your freedom.”

“And the matter you brought up?”

“Will never see the light of day, or be mentioned by anyone ever again.  Unless you break our agreement.  I used to have the best investigative team on the planet, and they can find anyone or anything, so if you’re thinking of running, don’t.  My ex-boss will have no hesitation in destroying you and your organisation.”

“And yet you say you work for no one.”

“Haven’t for years.  I retired and hope to stay that way, but my wife died, and Larry decided to come after me.  At the moment I don’t have much to live for, so if you want to get in my bad books, believe me you’ll not live to regret it.  When I walk out of this room, don’t get in my sights.”

“And why should I take you at your word?”

“I swear it on my wife’s grave.  Good enough?”

It seemed it was.

© Charles Heath 2022

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