Paul Dellit has written some excellent political articles for The AIMN, so it came as some surprise that he is better known for his screenplay writing. Thomas Keneally, in a recent review of one of Paul’s screenplays I wrote: “I liked your screenplay and plot very much” and went on to describe it as “a very interesting and well-wrought script”. This particular screenplay – a spy thriller set in 1992 involving a MI5 mission directed at uncovering the source of stolen Russian radioactive material – has been turned into a novella (with input from Mr Keneally) and prior to publishing in hard copy has been offered to The AIMN.
We are pleased to ‘publish’ Paul’s novella. Being over 40,000 words, it is published in weekly installments.
Today we offer Part 11 (picking up where we left off from in Part 10).
Chapter 5 (continued)
Oliver and Emma are facing each other across the dining room table, the remnants of their dinner evident on used dinner plates. They each have wine glasses in front of them. Jim and Clive are not there.
Oliver looks reflectively into the distance then speaks in a slow deliberative voice: “You know, I spent eight years at a Jesuit boarding school, admittedly one of Sydney’s finest schools, but this kind of thing was virtually unknown – to students and parents, at least. Now here we have a list of – a united nations of socially pre-eminent paedophiles – every rank of Catholic hierarchy from cardinals down – a power structure rotten to its core. Paedophilia must be much more widespread in parishes and schools than people are aware of.” He pauses before continuing with a look of infinitely sad resignation: “So this is the Catholic-Church-in-action – not the message they sell to the faithful, not the message that underpins their power structure, gives them their status and massages their egos and pays for their very expensive fancy dress and fat bellies. Paedophilia must be their in-house secret! It must be systemic! He pauses and then resumes his monologue with rising anger: “What a pathetic bunch of gutless, conspiratorial, hypocritical shits!” He again pauses reflectively before adding: “There must be a way . . .”
Emma turns to Oliver, replying: “Well, we know everything it is possible to know about the orphanage and its inhabitants – at this stage at least. But how do we use it?”
“When Jim and Clive follow the head of the orphanage to his meeting with Oleg . . . I could wait there for the head of the orphanage to return. I could hit him with your tranquiliser pen and bundle him into the car and . . . then . . .”
‘Then’ is right, Oliver. What do you do then? She pauses before asking: “Who was your favourite cowboy hero?”
“You had one. How did I guess. Well, pardner, your ‘knock ‘em out or shoot ‘em up’ strategy has so far had a fifty percent mortality rate.”
“Okay. I’m all ears.”
Emma replies as if thinking aloud: “Sunlight is supposed to be a powerful antiseptic.”
“Yes, though I’m not altogether sure I follow. Are you planning to blind them with your make-up mirror?”
“How about using the glare of publicity as a disinfectant?”
The import of Emma’s words begin to excite his imagination prompting him to respond in a rush: “Of course! How brilliant!” He smiles and says with an affected Australian drawl: “You bonza sheila you!” And pauses briefly before continuing: “We get the media involved, get a team of them to the orphanage and they can do an international exposé on these bastards while we spirit the kids away. Absolutely brilliant! So, how do we get the ball rolling?”
“Well, I do know one or two journalists.”
“Yes, you mentioned that.”
“This will be the story of their lives.”
“Do you mean ‘their unexpurgated lives’?”
“One of them works for CNN and does pieces to camera occasionally. She has contacts at other networks – if she’s prepared to share.”
“I’d forgotten to ask whether you’d ever batted for the other team.”
“And I also know a documentary maker, Jimmy. And, oh, Jerome at Paris Match, and . . .” She laughs before continuing: “Red Sid: very leftwing freelancer; he took thirty pieces of silver from News of the World, as a staffer. After that they called him Sad Sid.”
“I shouldn’t ask about your history with any of these particular characters, should I?”
“Oh, don’t be silly – of course not.”
“So don’t ask?”
“Just stay jealous, Darling.” She smiles. “It’s very sweet.” And continues with more serious intent: “We need a sizeable team of international media on the scene. If the CIA or 6 find out what we’re up to they’ll do all they can to stop us, but they won’t once they know the media are all over it. They couldn’t risk being cast in the role of collaborators with a gang of paedophiles.” She takes Oliver’s hand, adding: “We don’t have any time to waste.”
“And we need somewhere to take the kids!” He squeezes her hand then releases it, stands up, and begins pacing, speaking his thoughts aloud as her traverses the room: “I’ll lease or buy a resort and turn it into the kind of place they need.”
“We only have a few days . . .”
Oliver turns to Emma with a steely look of determination and replies: “Watch me.”
Emma and Oliver are speaking animatedly on their mobile phones.
Oliver is pacing up and down looking into the distance as he speaks: “George! . . . Going well, with one dramatic change in direction, which is why I’m calling, oh, not to mention that I just couldn’t go another day without hearing the sound of your dulcet tones. . . . I’d forgotten what a smooth bastard you are . . .” Oliver laughs, the continues: “Serious now, I have thirty two orphans to find a place for – victims of the Balkans War. . . . Yes . . . . what I said. . . . right . . . They’ve suffered physical and psychological abuse – don’t want to go into details right now. George, my involvement is a bit complicated for the phone – I’ll tell you in person . . . soon. They need a place where they can be rehabilitated – medical care, psychological care, education, everything you can imagine that these kids might need. . . . in two or three days time . . . . George, that’s why I thought of you . . .
Emma is sitting back in her chair, a pad and pen on the dining room table beside her. Her face lights up when there is a response to her call, and she becomes animated by this reunion with an old friend as she replies: “Jimmy. . . . Emma. ‘Sony’ Emma! . . . No, it’s really me. . . . Well, it got a bit much for me when Karl died. . . . Yes . . . I had to get away . . . where nobody could find me – on my own for a while. Yes. . . . Well, I’ve been working on a kind of novel . . . no . . . nothing to do with pornography, Jimmy – a novel based a lot on actual events but with names changed, and so on. Okay . . yes, well, have it your way, I am back making up stuff for the print media, but I have something for you – the absolute truth . . . well, let me tell you. You will be able to make a documentary – the documentary by which you will be remembered forever. . . . Okay, well first I’m giving you this on one vitally important condition: you can’t tell anyone that I am involved because I will be pestered relentlessly for my source and someone might be able to work it out. . . . Well, if you’re pestered, that’s your price of admission, okay. At least if you keep your trap shut about me, they won’t be able to work out where the lead came from. I’ll be introducing you to a colleague – he stays secret, too. Okay. . . . Well I can’t tell you everything yet, but I can say it involves the Vatican in the worst kind of corruption imaginable – worse than the Rat Lines and it’s happening now . . . yes, live and ongoing. . . . Jimmy, you have my word. My source is impeccable. . . . I need you to contact network people, and print media . . . no, their coverage will become promotional hype for your doco. . . . Make the phone calls Jimmy. It won’t work unless we have a sizable team. . . . Good. Yes. . . . If it’s just one or two we could be stopped. . . . Yes, very powerful people. . . . Right, it’s got to look like the international media are on to this. So, our first priority is to get everybody to assemble at Castello Dei Martiri in northern Italy . . . okay. . . yes, that’s the right spelling – by day after tomorrow – and you can’t tell them about Vatican involvement – just say a major international scandal which will run as a lead story, internationally, for weeks. Tell them it could be completely shut down if anything gets out. Right. . . . We’ll leave, en masse, for our target destination from Castello. Full briefing for you at Castello – you have to get there well before the others so that my colleague and I can leave before they arrive. . . . Right, and then you can tell the others. . . . Thanks Jimmy . . . yes. Here are the people I’ve thought of but I’ll leave it up to you . . .
Oliver is on the phone, still speaking to George: “How can you ask about the book? . . . Well, George, this is related to the book, and you needn’t worry. I’ll have all we need for the book and more, and . . . Well please tell Sam and Heinz that the Bank’s image will be enhanced considerably, and this thing I’m asking you to do now forms an essential part of the narrative. I really don’t have time to think about business now, George. We really have to crack on. Thirty two damaged kids to look after, remember? . . . Right, well this might be a good project for Carl and Julia to cut their teeth on . . . I said I’ll fund it all . . . that’s right . . . as a charity would be the best way, obviously . . . George, I really appreciate your concerns to optimise my tax position, and I am really relying on you to manage this because my hands are pretty full here at the moment . . . Mate, I would tell you if I could . . . later, I promise, but right now . . .”
Emma is on the phone, finalising her call to Jimmy: “Oh, thank you Jimmy. . . . Yes, I’m pleased to have those times to remember. . . . No, I think we all must be different people now. . . .” She laughs before adding: “No. . . . No, we have different lives. . . . Oh, I am flattered, but I have someone. . . . No, he’s a keeper. . . . So, we have the right people, you know how to get there, and they will all be there by no later than.
Emma, Oliver and Kleinsdorf are sitting at the dining room table. They have pads and pens in front of them. Kleinsdorf is finishing up a phone call on the mobile phone provided by MI6.
Kleinsdorf begins: “Okay. So Oleg will arrange for the orphanage priest to deliver two suitcases to me in three days at the usual place. This means that Oleg must deliver the suitcases to the priest in two days so the priest can be at the usual place in three days. This also means that Oleg must leave now to his place where he keeps his radioactive dirty bomb stuff. If he does not leave now, he will not be able to return to meet the priest in two days. So now my job is done, yes?”
Emma replies: “Almost, Klaus. We have to wait here for a day or two to make sure that there are no last minute calls from Oleg which require your attention. Once we know that your involvement is no longer required, you will be taken to the British Embassy as arranged.”
“So, that is okay with me. You are very good hosts, but I think that you cook very rich food. I think also you do not cook like other English people. But I also do not like your English cooking. I think I must find an old oma to cook for me when I live in England.”
“Just so. Well, I’m afraid you will be even more disappointed with tonight’s fair. Mr. Darcy is preparing this evening’s meal, very rich and very French. Mr. Darcy loves to experiment in the kitchen.”
Oliver turns to Kleinsdorf. “Just thinking about your needs for a domestic when you’re set up in Britain – you’ll have to advertise. You could do worse than use Miss Bennett here as the blueprint for your ad, except . . .”
“Except he wants the old oma type.”
“I was going to say ‘except for your cooking’.”
Emma playfully throws her pen at Oliver.
Oliver is opening the front door of the safe house to Harry Glenister, First Secretary, British Embassy, Berlin, also an undercover MI6 officer.
“Harry Glenister.” He walks into the entrance hallway, turns and offers his hand to Oliver. “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Pymm.”
They shake hands and Oliver motions in the direction of an open doorway. “We’re in the lounge room.”
They walk into the lounge room where Emma and Kleinsdorf are drinking coffee. Emma stands to greet Glenister. Kleinsdorf remains seated. Glenister walks over to Emma and they shake hands.
Glenister smiles. “Harry Glenister. Your reputation precedes you.”
Emma smiles, her head to one side. “Julian?”
“Julian.” Glenister smiles and turns to Kleinsdorf. “And you must be Mr. Kleinsdorf.” Glenister holds out his hand to Kleinsdorf, Kleinsdorf stands up, and they shake hands. “Harry Glenister. How do you do.”
“I am very well, Mr. Glenister. You are from the Embassy?”
“Yes, Mr. Kleinsdorf, and that is where I will be taking you.” He turns to Emma. “Emma, might I talk to you privately.”
Emma and Harry walk out into the entrance hallway for a brief conversation before returning to join the others. Harry says his goodbyes and leaves as quietly and unobtrusively as he arrived. After the front door closes, Emma reveals to Oliver what Glenister told her in private: “Jim and Clive are currently following the head of the orphanage to his rendezvous with Oleg. Shouldn’t be long before they have him. So now I should call Julian and promise him our mission report within, say, a week. He’ll accept that we need a bit of R & R to properly gather our thoughts.”
“Okay, so let’s pack and hit the road. We’ll have to hire a bus for the kids . . .”
Emma, driving their hire car, followed by Oliver in their hired bus arrive at Castello Dei Martiri during the early morning. They pull up outside a small restaurant and bar, the only one visible in the main street. A tall fair-haired man walks out to greet Emma. Oliver gets out of the bus and walks over to join them.
The man speaks with a cockney accent: “‘ello Sony. Just the same as always.”
They embrace warmly.
“Hallo Jimmy. And very pleased to see you too.”
Jimmy turns to Oliver and speaks as he shakes his hand: “This must be ‘the keeper’.”
“Jimmy Crago, and very pleased to meet you.” He turns to Emma. “So, luv, what ‘ave you got for us. Beda be good. Should be about twenty or more people turning up this afternoon, five or six different organizations represented . . .”
“A paedophile brothel, set up by two Vatican cardinals to appear to be an orphanage for orphans from the Balkans War.”
“You can’t be for real! No! Shit! Come on Sony! – what’s the real story. This can’t be . . .”
“It’s the real story, Jimmy. Oliver and I will wait to see the head of the orphanage drive by, fairly soon, we expect – he’s on his way back from Croatia. We’ll follow him and then bring things under control so you can . . .”
“Not often I’m lost for words, Sony.” He looks down the road. “How will we be able . . . they’re not gona just let us walk in and start filming.”
“They won’t have any option by the time you arrive.”
“Shit, Sony!” He laughs. “We all knew you was tough as nails, but are you now armed and dangerous?”
“Don’t worry about how it will happen, Jimmy. Just believe it will happen.”
“Is he . . . sorry, Ollie, right? Are you some kind’v ‘ard man?”
“One condition of this deal, Jimmy, is that neither our names nor pictures must appear anywhere – if you value our lives.”
“Understood! Understood! I can’t even pick where you’re from. It’s not quite English, or Australian? – could be Nu Zealand? I don’t know any Kiwis . . . but, no, not Kiwi, is it?”
“Perhaps we leave it that way.”
Jimmy turns to Emma. “You were always full of surprises, but this . . .”
Oliver places his hand on Emma’s shoulder. “You are full of surprises. I didn’t know you were called Sony.”
“Just a nickname. It’s no longer relevant.”
Jimmy smiles at Emma, then laughs. “Darlin’, to me you’ll always be Sony. It was the Wiz, wasn’t it?’ He turns to Oliver. “We was in this bar, very late, rough day, and this Yank started to pull ‘er chain. Jimmy attempts an American accent: ‘What’s a cute girly like you doin’ with all these rough gentlemen? This is no place for you, you bein’ so refined. Why don’t you let me take you somewhere where we can share some quality time?’” So she comes back, all posh: “‘Well, I don’t mind f*cking ugly guys, but from the look of you, you probably have a dick the size of your brain, and as you have just demonstrated, that’s the size of a pea.’ So we sit there, stunned, when this Aussie guy, the Wiz, pipes up: ‘Yeah, ‘ssoff or she’ll ‘sonya.’ which is Australian for: ‘piss off or she’ll piss on ya!’ So after that we called her Sonya, which became Sony, right Sony?”
Oliver buts in, smiling broadly. “You must have a whole shit-load of stories like that, Jimmy. When this is all over, what say we have a night on the piss together?”
“So you are an Aussie. Well, as the Wiz would say: ‘Blood oath!’” and he begins to laugh.
Emma, deliberately ignores the rapport developing between Oliver and Jimmy. “Did you bring that set of two way radios, Jimmy? I don’t think there will be mobile phone coverage here.”
“Sure. So you will call me when it’s right for us to come up? And where will you be so that you don’t end up in somebody’s frame?”
“We’ll stay out of sight until we can leave with the children on that bus.” She motions to the bus Oliver was driving. “Make sure they deal sensitively with the children, Jimmy. No pictures of faces. We’re going to take them to a safe place where they can receive treatment and be looked after. If you can, take everyone to film the children first. There is an older little boy there who acts as an interpreter for them. We will try to have him lead them onto the bus after you spend your five minutes filming them – and Jimmy, please do make sure they’re filmed so that their faces can’t be seen and they don’t have to look at people filming them. They’ve had a rough enough time without us turning them into a sideshow. After that you can film their quarters and the members of the clergy who are running the place, any of their clientele present, and gather up the videos and photos.”
“They’re flogging porno as well?!”
“You can see how important it is that the world knows.”
Jimmy looks directly at Emma and pauses before saying in a soft voice: “You know Thierry is coming.”
“He was on my list.”
“Let’s have a coffee.”
They walk into the cafe, sit at a table and order breakfast.
“Why did you call me instead of Thierry? You could trust ‘im as well as me.”
“I thought you would be more reliable. Anyway, he will get his story the same as everyone else.” She pauses before asking: “You didn’t tell him about me, did you?”
“No, but ‘e ‘as been lookin’ for you.”
“What on earth for?”
“‘e went looking for you – a couple of months after Marguerite died – no luck. ‘e said it was like you disappeared off the face of the earth.”
Their breakfasts and coffee arrive. Jimmy takes a sip of coffee. “‘e lost the plot, ya know. ‘e was a real boozer after that – only got it back together in the last couple a months. I think you should see ‘im, luv. I don’t know wha’ ‘appened between you two, but I think you owe ‘im that.”
Emma looks shaken. “How did Marguerite die?
“She’d been in remission for quite a while, but it came back suddenly and spread quickly. Nothing they could do. She was dead a few months after they found out.”
“When did she first get cancer – it was cancer?”
“Well, when Thierry left, when you . . .” Realisation dawns on him. “Oh, ‘e didn’t tell you, did ‘e. . . . ‘e wanted to give you a clean break. Oh, I’m sorry luv.”
Emma gets up and walks to the café counter and buys a packet of cigarettes and a lighter and walks outside, trying to remain calm but visibly upset, lights a cigarette and begins smoking in an agitated manner. Oliver and Jimmy remain seated in the café without speaking for a few moments more, and then Oliver gets up and walks slowly out to Emma. He is about to speak but Emma speaks first: “Do you mind if we don’t talk about this now – until we finish this mission – not about anything but the mission – we have to get these children away from here and make sure this place is closed down and the people responsible exposed. That’s all that’s important now.”
“And after that?”
“Not now, Oliver, please.”
“Sure. . . . Look, if it helps, I have no expectations – we’ve only known one another for a very short time, so . . .”
Emma looks at him with fire in her eyes. “What makes you think you even crossed my mind? Why would you . . . ? You can be so . . awfully . . stupid!” She throws the cigarette down and storms off to her car, gets in and lights another cigarette.
Oliver walks back into the café. The three breakfasts are sitting on the table untouched. Jimmy begins eating his. Oliver sits down. He doesn’t eat.
Jimmy looks up from his meal. “It was a few years ago, now. When I met them they’d been together for about seven or eight months, as an item I mean. Then one day he leaves, doesn’t tell anyone ‘e’s going, just there one day and gone the next. We asked Sony why ‘e’d gone. She said ‘e left ‘er a note and didn’t want to talk about it. Someone went to see him at his apartment in Paris and that’s how we found out that ‘e’d gone back to look after Marguerite because she had cancer. She was ‘is wife – separated. Two kids to look after, as well as ‘er when ‘e went back. I thought ‘e’d told Sony in the note.”
To be continued . . .