Bring Out Your Dead - Part 21
Continued from Part 20
Josiah watched the departing policemen with nearly as much suspicion as they were observing him and his party. As the detectives revved their car and headed back down the coast road from whence they had come, he turned to Chantelle and Archibald and observed,
"I know it is unkind of me, but I'm really not at ease in my mind about those two gentlemen"
"How do you mean, Mr. O?" Archibald asked whilst attempting to blow the froth from his cappuccino.
"Well, doesn't it seem strange to you, Archibald, that, wherever we are, they are too?" Josiah mused.
"Ooh! You mean you think they're spocks?" Archibald asked, excitedly.
Chantelle looked to Josiah for some insight.
"I'm rather afraid that conversation with Archibald bears some of the hallmarks of a séance." Josiah explained, "The meaning may become clear, but there is no guarantee" Turning to Archibald, he said, "Spocks?"
"Yeah, you know, MFI and that sort of thing"
There was a silence as Josiah and Chantelle digested this latest nugget.
"Spocks? MFI?" Josiah murmured, "Oh, you mean spooks! You are of the opinion that they might be from MI5, members of the intelligence community?"
"They would be the only ones around here, then" Chantelle muttered into her Cuba Libre.
"Yeah, spies and such. What do you think, Mr. O?"
"I would doubt that. But I must own to a feeling of unease about their persistent presence"
"You said that you knew them from the U.K.?" Chantelle enquired.
"Yeah, they nicked me for…"
"We had occasion to help them with their inquiries on a particular matter" Josiah hurriedly regained control of the conversation.
"Oh well, they've gone now" Chantelle said, brightly, "and I must too. I need to pop home and throw a few things in a bag"
"Of course, dear lady" Josiah rose to his feet, "I must say again how indebted we are to you for your invaluable help in this matter. If there is anything we can do to be of assistance…?"
"Funnily enough" Chantelle started to gather her things together, "I was going to ask if one of you would be kind enough to accompany me home? I know it's something of an imposition, but it would be such a help to me. I need to shut the villa up securely you see"
"I would deem it an honour, Miss Lace" Josiah began.
"Actually, I was going to suggest that Archibald might be my companion. I'm sure you have enough to do, Mr. Oakshott, in relation to finalising the documentation?"
Archibald stood rooted to the spot, his cappuccino entirely forgotten. Josiah was flustered but recovered his composure quickly.
"You are entirely correct, Miss Lace, I should ensure that all is well before we take possession of Sir Lewisham's mortal remains. I am sure Archibald will be more than equal to the task, won't you, Archibald?"
"Urgh" Archibald splutted whilst turning quietly puce.
From their vantage point in a side street, just around the corner from the bar, Detectives Wood and Stone could, with a little difficulty, observe Josiah, Archibald and Chantelle at their table. D.I. Wood was engaged in an apparently heated telephone discussion as he paced up and down the pavement , cigarette in hand, whilst D.S. Stone peered through a miniature pair of binoculars hastily purchased from a beachwear store. The car door swung open and D.I. Wood hurled himself back into the driving seat.
"Well, that's pissed on their strawberries!" He said with some satisfaction.
"What? Whose strawberries?" D.S. Stone took a welcome break from the binoculars.
"That mob in Alicante. Wouldn't have it that there boy wasn't manning the post, oh no! Had to 'phone him, then try the radio, nothing doing, of course. So they're sending a bloke over with a key."
"What do you think has happened to him?"
"Well, there's two possibilities. Either Frankie's done for him…"
"Would he do that?"
"It's not really his thing, to be honest, or two, he's made it worth his while to do one"
"Bribed him, you mean? What with?"
"Well," D.I. Wood drew heavily on a cigarette, filling the small car with smoke, "We never found the proceeds of his last job, and that was a tidy sum. He'd have had more than enough to tempt Senor Plod to take a holiday, I reckon."
D.S. Stone resumed his observation with the cheap, plastic binoculars. He definitely didn't think that bright pink suited this sort of work.
"Looks like they're on the move, sir." He observed, "The tall dense one is getting into a sports car with Miss Lace"
"Miss Lace!" D.I. Wood mimicked scornfully, "don't give her airs and graces, she was plain Brenda Higgott before she came out here. Right Stoney, the boss says, in the absence of Frankie, I've got to stick to her like a used condom"
"He never did!"
"Course he didn't, don't be wet, but I knew what he meant. So, Sonny Jim, you wait here till that bloke gets here with the key, and make damn sure you go over that place with a fine tooth comb. I'm not expecting to find Frankie sitting under a shelf somewhere but see if you can find anything that points to him being there at all"
"Where are you going?" D.S. Stone asked as he reluctantly stepped out of the car.
"Me? I'm following Brenda and Lurch there. See you soon!" The car hurtled to the junction and then smoothly joined the traffic, two cars behind Chantelle Lace's Mazda.
D.S. Stone watched the scene glumly and attempted, not entirely successfully, to hide the pink binoculars in his jacket pocket.