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Bespoke Assassins (Part 5)

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 will need be published in weekly installments.

Today we offer Part 5 (picking up where we left off from in Part 4).

Chapter 4 (continued)

IV

Emma, dressed to look like a property agent, is carrying a soft leather attaché case under her arm as she knocks at the door of an apartment. It is opened by a large, overweight man in a bathrobe. She says good morning and begins to introduce herself in German, and, appearing to notice that the man does not understand her, apologizes in English with a German accent.

“I am sorry. I forgot you are from the USA, Mr. Venner. I need you to fill out a form that was not given to you when you picked up your keys. Our omission.”

The man in the bathrobe beckons her to enter and immediately walks in front of her to his bedroom. He speaks as he hurriedly closes the bedroom door. “I’ll be with you as soon as I change.”

Emma is suspicious of the way the man moved so quickly to his bedroom. She walks up to the bedroom door and places her ear against it. She hears the click of a gun being cocked. She takes out her gun, silencer attached, and quietly opens the door. The man is about to dial a phone number and has a gun, silencer attached, on the table by the phone. He sees her enter the room and immediately picks up the gun. He swings around to fire at her. She shoots him and he fires after being hit. His bullet misses. He sinks to the floor but is not dead. He is unable to fire again. He is bleeding profusely from a wound at the base of his throat. Emma walks up to him and shoots him again in the forehead. She then searches among his things for the key to the apartment; she finds it, the car keys, and his wallet, and walks out of the apartment, checking, as she closes its front door, that it is locked.

Emma arrives back at the car where Oliver is waiting in the driver’s seat. She knocks on the passenger side front window and Oliver lowers it. She leans in to talk to Oliver. She speaks with a sense of great urgency. “You have to come with me.”

She stands up and takes a couple of deep breaths then leans in through the front passenger side window again to speak to Oliver. “Quickly. We . . .”

Emma throws up three times onto the front passenger seat. Oliver jumps out of the car and comes to her aid. He places his hand on her back, gently rubbing it, and waits for her to finish throwing up into the car. While she is still leaning inside the car, he hands her his handkerchief and speaks in a matter-of-fact, reassuring manner. “Rest on the door and make sure you finish before you stand up.”

Oliver waits beside her without speaking while she coughs and settles herself and then stands up. He takes the handkerchief from her and wipes around her mouth and flicks some specks from her chin. He smiles at her, again reassuringly. “There now. How do you feel?”

Emma takes a wallet from her attaché case and hands it to Oliver without speaking. He opens the wallet and looks back at Emma. “Mayfield, not Venner?”

“He’s dead. The fax said . . .” She begins to cry in sobs between trying to catch her breath and speaking. “I . . . killed . . . him. Oh God! I killed him!”

Oliver draws her to him and embraces her. “Tell me what happened.”

Emma pulls away from him, now with a determined look, her composure regained. “We don’t have time. Come with me. Bring one of the video cameras. And wear gloves!”

Emma walks quickly back to the apartment entrance foyer and across to the lift, with Oliver catching up to walk beside her. He has a small video camera in his hand. They enter the lift and press the button. They stand side by side, initially in silence, and then Oliver speaks without looking at Emma. “I thought you said you were on some kind of health kick to stay fit.”

Emma shoots a puzzled look at him. “What?”

“Healthy diet, and so on.”

Emma is at a loss to know what he is talking about. “What?”

“You had chocolate rice bubbles for breakfast!”

The lift door opens and Emma walks out first, shaking her head, smiling so that Oliver cannot see.

Emma begins speaking as they walk to the apartment. “Focus, Oliver. We have to gather up all of his possessions and take them to his car. Remote keyless entry so it should be easy to locate. First we have to film the body, the room, everything in the room. Then I want to leave nothing behind but the corpse, stripped of all clothing, including shoes – everything.”

She opens the door and continues talking. “It will slow the process of identifying who he was. All the property agents have is a false name and address. There will be a writing pad somewhere over there in the writing desk. Find it and write in large capitals ‘CIA’.”

She opens the bedroom door and Oliver follows her into the room; she stares at the body but continues to speak. “We’ll leave that on the naked body. The Polizei will immediately involve the German secret service which will keep it out of the press. That will slow the process of 6 and Feint finding out and give us some breathing space.

Oliver stares at the body. “Will I film before we start packing up?”

“The fully clothed body first, position of his gun – we’ll take that with us of course – then the bullet hole in the doorframe.”

She pauses and then speaks distractedly. “I don’t think he was a trained hit man.” and then resumes giving orders to Oliver. “Then pan around the room to give the position of the body its context. Make sure you get the phone in relation to the position of the body. I’ll get the writing pad.”

Emma places the writing pad on the naked body, with ‘CIA’ visible in large letters, while Oliver closes Mayfield’s large suitcase, and places beside it the large attaché case and laptop carrying case.

Oliver lifts the cases onto the floor. “That’s the lot.”

Emma picks up the attaché case and computer case and walks towards the front door of the apartment. Oliver follows her, wheeling the large suitcase. She speaks as they walk to the lift. “I gave you his wallet and car keys. There should be a plastic card to place against a sensor at the carpark exit gate. Check that when we get to the car. You’ll drive his car.”

They enter the lift.

“Why did you say he wasn’t a trained hit man?”

“He would have killed me or at least overpowered me as soon as I entered his apartment. I called him Venner. Venner and Mayfield were travelling separately as strangers. He knew immediately that his cover was blown by a badly briefed operative of some kind. He was terrified when I entered his bedroom holding a gun. It was all new to him . . . which suggests Venner and Mayfield working on their own account, unbeknownst to the CIA.”

“How do you feel?”

“Fine.”

Their lift arrives at the single level carpark. Oliver begins walking around, pressing the car key button. Car lights blink and they hurry over to it and load the bags. They both get in, Oliver driving. Oliver presses a plastic card against a sensor and they drive out and stop adjacent to their hire car. Emma gets out and speaks as she does. “We’ll go straight to the safe house. Stay close behind. Follow me into the garage.”

Emma drives off with Oliver following close behind.

As they arrive at the safe house, Emma opens the garage door with a remote controller, drives in, Oliver following her in Mayfield’s car. The garage door closes.

Inside the garage, two cars are parked side by side. Oliver gets out of Mayfield’s car and Emma opens the front passenger door of their hire care and calls to Oliver. “Get in.”

As he settles into the passenger seat he says, “I’ll take this one. You’ve done your share of property management for one day.”

“I’ll be okay. You don’t know how to use the tranquilizer.”

“I will if you show me.”

Oliver is standing at the door of an apartment wearing a heavy fur lined jacket with the collar turned up, a German style town hat and glasses; his facial features are largely obscured. The door is opened by a man of medium height, slightly overweight, balding, with a red pudgy face. Oliver addresses him in German at first then corrects himself. He speaks in English with a German accent.

“Mr. Venner. I had forgotten that you are one of our American tenants. There is a form which our staff forgot to ask you to complete.”

Venner smiles. “Come in.” and then waits for Oliver to walk past him into the apartment.

Oliver walks over to the dining table in the middle of the room, places his soft attaché case on the table, takes out a closed file and places a pen on top of it. Venner follows him to the table.

“I regret to interrupt you, Mr. Venner. I have filled in some information from our records, but there remain some details . . .”

Oliver pulls out a chair for Venner. He stands back so that Venner cannot get a good look at him. Venner sits.

“If you could please check and . . .”

Oliver stabs the tranquilizer pen into Venner’s neck. He attempts to turn and stand up but Oliver places his hand on Venner’s shoulder to prevent him. Venner succumbs to the tranquilizer.

Oliver arrives back at their hire car and as Emma gets out he reassures her: “Like clockwork.”

The two of them enter the apartment and immediately lift Venner so that they can support him between them.

Emma smiles. “At least he’s not as big as Mayfield.”

“His feet will be dragging all the way. We’d better find his car first. Let’s put him down.”

They lower him to the floor and Oliver says: “I noticed in the lift that there are three levels of car parking. We don’t want to be dragging him in and out of the lift while we go looking. I’ll be back in a flash.”

Oliver takes Venner’s car keys and quickly exits the apartment.

Oliver and Emma, now in the lift, are supporting Venner between them. The lift stops on the next floor down, the door opens and an elderly couple enter. The old lady, a very large German woman with a high-riding, elaborate hairstyle in strawberry blond, is carrying a very small, long haired dog. The dog begins to bark at Venner. She looks a little dismayed and tries to silence the dog: “Nein, Schatzi! Nein!” She looks at Emma with some embarrassment. Emma looks at Venner and then speaks to the old lady in German. “Very drunk. Poor man . . . his wife has left him.”

The old man, diminutive in comparison to his wife, has been observing the unfolding comedy. When he entered the lift he was wearing a German town hat but immediately removed it to reveal male pattern baldness, the perimeter of which was populated with very long hair which seemed incongruous until one realised that it proclaimed a very full head of hair under his hat. The lady seems animated by the revelation that the supported individual before them was drunk because his wife had left him. She has a point to make and conveys it to her husband. “You see how lucky you are.”

The old man’s long perimeter tresses flail as he turns suddenly to address Oliver, smiling. “When he wakes up tomorrow he will have freedom, and a headache. When I wake up tomorrow, I will have a headache only.”

The lift door opens at the foyer level. The couple exits, the old lady speaking as they do. “And I will have a spoilt old dog . . . and my darling Schatzi.”

The lift door opens on the car park level where Venner’s hire car is parked. Oliver leads them to his car. The car lights flash. They open the back door and lay Venner down on the back seat. He is still unconscious.

Oliver asks: “How long will he be out to it?”

“Long enough.”

They hurry back towards the lift to return to the apartment to collect the rest of Venner’s things.

Oliver drives the two of them out of the apartment block carpark. He pulls up beside their hire car. Emma gets out and into their hire car and drives away at speed with Oliver following close behind.

To be continued . . .

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