Chapter 12: Paddy Cleary
Stephen drove deeper into loyalist countryside, getting closer to Lough Neagh. It was dark and raining and to add to the apprehension Paddy had started kicking the door of the boot. They continued to wind their way through the darkening countryside peering through the rain swept windscreen. They were nearly on the shore of the lough when eventually, Stephen saw the small back entrance gate to the big private estate that he had been looking for.
“It’s a lot fucking easier to see in the daylight.” he complained, his nerves on edge.
“Paddy has stopped kicking and is probably lying there, trying to figure out where he is.” Said Gerry.
“Aye” replied Stephen “and probably a plausible story.”
They drove up the mud track, nearly getting stuck in places until they came to the small games keeper cottage. As they pulled up outside of the front door Stephen automatically turned off the lights. They sat there trying to adjust their eyes to the darkness. Paddy started kicking again with vengeance at first, but then more weakly as he tired.
Stephen and Gerry got out each clutching their revolver as they looked around.
“Let’s check the outside first.” said Gerry “You wait here and I’ll circle the house to secure the area.”
Gerry moved cautiously off to work his way around the cottage, the rain still spilling down. Gerry came back to the front of the cottage and started looking under the door mat for the door key. Once he found it he flung open the door and switched on the interior light.
Stephen moved to the boot of the car and carefully opened the door, stepping back with his pistol raised in case Paddy had gotten free and was going to try to pounce him. Gerry came up and peered into the boot at the extremely agitated Paddy Cleary.
“Come on you informing prick.” he said as he dragged Paddy out of the boot his hands still cuffed and rope wrapped around his body tying his legs and his arms together. Once out of the boot Paddy collapsed, with his limbs in pins and needles and cramps. Once again they half dragged and half carried Paddy. They got him into the house and dumped him onto a chair that was there in the kitchen. They tied him to the chair wrapping more rope around him and the chair. Making sure that the gag on his mouth was secured they placed a hood over his head, putting him into total darkness. They then settled down to wait for Sean.
After around an hour they heard the approach of another car. Gerry went out the back to circle around while Stephen stayed, once again with the captive. The car stopped beside their own car and Sean came running up to the door of the cottage shaking the rain off of himself. He had a bundle of silage pit plastic roll and more surprising, he had Barry with him. Stephen looked in amazement and an equally confused Gerry followed them in. Sean was rapidity talking, asking them how they found the journey and other seemingly pointless questions. They answered them still trying to figure out why Barry was there.
Barry was like a pig stuck to the spit, staring petrified at the hooded man trussed up to the chair in the middle of the room. Sean tossed Barry the roll of silage pit plastic and said to Stephen
“Help Barry spread that out on the floor and place Paddy and his chair in the middle. This is going to get messy and I want to keep the place somewhat decent.”
While Stephen and Barry set to work Sean and Gerry went into the corner and began whispering to each other. Paddy, after hearing Sean’s words urinated himself soaking his trousers and leaking onto the floor. Barry and Stephen ignored that and spread out the plastic and then lifted the now whimpering struggling Paddy and his chair onto the plastic.
Barry whispered urgently to Stephen. “What the fuck is going on and who the fuck is this?” nodding towards the hooded captive.
Stephen spoke in a normal calm voice “This here is the informer Paddy Cleary.” He announced “Myself and Gerry caught him listening to our meeting this evening.”
He pulled the listening device from his pocket “This is what he listened with.” Stephen proclaimed. Sean had stepped back to the chair and taking the listening device from Stephen said
“Let’s see how this works.”
Barry started heading for the door but Gerry stepped up to the door, lit a cigarette and offered one to Barry. Barry automatically accepted one and looked frantically around the room. He had to try to get out and get word to Blondie, to tell him what was happening.
Big Gerry put an arm around Barry and whispered to him “We are just going to stand here and help if we are needed, but Sean will do most of the work.”
Barry nodded quietly while looking fugitively around the room he thought desperately “I have to get out to try to tell Blondie. But how the fuck am I going to? I have to try to act normal and wait for my chance.”
The four men examined the listening device and then placed it on the table while they stood around Paddy smoking and saying nothing. Sean approach Paddy from the front and tapped him on the head. Paddy nearly seized with fright completely emptying his bladder.
“Now Paddy.” said Sean “this can be hard or it can be easy. Tell me all about how you became an informer.”
Paddy was gagged and trying to talk, shaking his head frantically. Sean untied and lifted the hood off of Paddy’s head. Paddy blinked squinting his eyes trying to adjust to the sudden light. He started to focus on Sean’s face while the gag was untied from around his mouth. He gasped for air.
“Paddy” Sean said softly “Tell me all.”
Paddy looked into Sean’s face pleading with him “Sean I never told them anything. I swear to God.” Sean nodded at Stephen “Hand me that listening device.”
Stephen walked over and placed it in Sean’s hands so that Paddy could see it.
“Paddy” Sean said “I have looked at this fucking antique oil funnel, since the day that I built that extension. I’ve seen it in your cabinet. Now once again, tell me all Paddy.”
“Sean, they gave it to me.” Paddy rasped desperately “but I never used it. I never told them anything.”
“Alright Paddy” says Sean and gave Paddy a back hander across the face. “Let’s start there, when did they give it to you?”
Paddy tried to change the story but Sean calmly slapped his head and kept slapping and asking until Paddy said “They gave it to me the week you finished the extension, and I moved my stuff into the new rooms.”
“Ok” said Sean “now we are making progress.”
This went on for another 2 hours until eventually Paddy was a wretch admitting to everything. He told them how and when he had been forced into becoming an informer. He told them everything that he had told the Brit Intel officer. He told them about the signal system and where they would meet.
He begged Sean for his life, how he supported his sister’s family. How respected he was. How he would do anything to sort this out.
Sean nodded at Gerry who put the hood back over Paddy’s head. Paddy tried to get his cramped exhausted arms and legs to move to run, to do something to get away and still he begged for his life.
Sean lifted the pistol and pushing a cushion from the couch against Paddy’s head, he pulled the trigger two times. The muffled explosion of the shots and the smell of gunshot lingered in the room. Barry looked in horrified silence, whimpers escaping from his throat. Stephen looked on in shocked silence that it could all end like that for Paddy Cleary.
Gerry looked at Sean surprised that he had shot him so fast, without getting permission from GHQ. He bent over Paddy and checked his pulse.
“He’s dead, there’s no pulse.” Gerry said looking down at the blood seeping out from under and through the hood.
Sean turned to Stephen and Barry “Untie him from the chair and roll him up into the plastic. Then put his body into the boot of Eddie’s car. Then come straight back in here to me.”
The lads did as instructed and carried the plastic wrapped body of Paddy Cleary out to place him in the boot.
Once they left the room Sean turned to Gerry “Gerry I want you to drive the car out to Pomeroy to the McGroarys farm. Park the car there in a shed and get one of the McGroarys to give you a lift back into town. We are going to use his body as a lure to draw the Brits to recover the body to ambush them.”
Gerry nodded “You should have waited for permission to execute him Sean.” He said.
Sean looked directly at Gerry “I had to move fast with the execution. That’s why I went outside procedure Gerry, but I can’t explain now. I’ll see you tomorrow morning to explain and to go over a plan. Ok?”
Gerry nodded again “Aye, I know you did it for a good reason but it’s still outside of Army procedures. We could have kept him here for another couple of days till we got permission.”
Sean replied urgently “Swear to God, you will understand when I go over the plan tomorrow.”
Gerry shook his head and said “Aye, you know I trust you Seanie, so there’s no panic. I’m with you kid.” and headed for the door. He met the two lads outside and jumped into the car to drive away.
The two lads were talking about the execution as they came back into the kitchen. Sean hushed them, as he listened for the departing car to go up the lane then he called the two over to him. As soon as Barry got close Sean swung his boot straight into Barry’s groin. Barry doubled over, the wind sucked out of his lungs, vomiting with the pain.
Stephen shouted “What the fuck Sean!” and tried to grab Sean to push him back away from Barry.
Sean stepped back to give Stephen room to bend protectively over Barry. Barry was still rolling in pain on the ground.
Sean calmly spoke, “Do you see what happens to informers Barry?”
He knelt down near Barry and spoke again “Did you see what happens to informers Barry?”
He grabbed Barry’s blond locks and pulled back his head.
Stephen was looking on in shock “What do you mean Sean?” he croaked.
Afraid of what he was going to hear.
Sean leaned in over Barry and lifted him up and placed him on the chair that Paddy Cleary had been sitting on just moments before. Barry was still doubled up gasping with the pain.
Sean said softly into Barry’s ear “Time you told Stephen about you little arrangement with that cunt Blondie bucko.”
He slapped Barry on the side of the head and said “Come on! Tell us all!”
Barry was quiet so Sean looked at Stephen and ordered “Stephen, out in the boot of my car, there is another roll of silage plastic. Bring it in and we can spread it out on the floor.”
Barry looked up pure defeat and self-loathing in his eyes.
He said in a low heartbroken voice “No need Stephen. I’d rather get this over with quickly. Let me tell you my sad, fucked up story.” and tears started to roll down his face.
Barry took a deep breath of air and swallowed hard. He started at the work related visit to Southampton and what had happened there. As he talked he looked at Sean and Stephens faces. Sean looked at him emotionless while Stephen looked at him in shock and horror. Nobody said a thing while Barry spoke, resigned to the fact that his fate laid in Sean’s hands and there was no lying or deceiving his way out of this. He wound his way through to his ignorance as to how he had been set up in Southampton and how Blondie had brought it up with pictures during the night of torture. He spoke with his head hanging low as he told how he had agreed to help set up Sean for elimination, and that the more of the company that was there to be wiped out the better. He told how Blondie had promised him £20000 and a new start in a foreign land. He told them how Helen wanted him out of the army and to settle down as a family man.
Still Sean stood passively, not moving while Stephen was now sitting in shock.
Barry explained that he had agreed to set up Sean and the other evening, when they blew up the RUC patrol, he had nearly lost all sense of reason knowing that Blondie would have a fit over him not reporting the ambush. He spoke about how the MRF had turned up the next day at work and had brought him to the barracks. He had nearly died of fright and how Blondie started beating him and then one of the Brits had stopped Blondie.
“Why did he stop Blondie?” asked Sean.
Barry gulped “Because I told them that that’s how I would set you up, by finding out where you would set up an ambush and that they would lie in wait for you and the company and wipe out whoever was there with you.”
Stephen gasped at how close the company, all of them Barry’s friends had come close to being murdered.
Barry continued “That’s all he wanted. He never wanted anything else from me, except to set up Sean.”
There was a pause, Barry sat there exhausted from the shock of witnessing Paddy Cleary’s ending and his own confession, knowing that the same was in store for him.
Stephen looked at Barry with loathing and disgust, while Sean looked straight through him into his heart. Sean suddenly wished that Bernie, with her intuition was there. Could he trust this fucker or should he just end it now with a bullet to Barry’s head he wondered?
Barry was speaking again. “I see the way you look at me Stephen, but I want to ask one favour as a lifelong friend and comrade. Please.” he pleaded.
Stephen just stared at him like he didn’t know what he was looking at.
Sean said softly “What traitor?”
Barry’s heart sank hearing that term.
Barry continued to beg “Bring me to where you are going to shoot me. Shoot me and just leave me there as an unclaimed killing. Don’t do to me what you are going to do to Paddy. Dumping his body with a note “Informer” pinned to his chest.”
He looked pleadingly at Sean.
Sean paused again staring at Barry,
“I will chance it.” He thought. “I have the chance to wipe out the MRF. That is too tempting to refuse.”
He swallowed and watching Barry’s ever reaction he said “Would you help me to set up that bastard Blondie?”
Barry froze, he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Another chance. He might get out of here alive after all.
He calmed himself down “How do you expect me to do that?” he asked.
Sean walked over to Stephen and they both walked over to a corner out of earshot of Barry but close enough to grab him should he try to run.
Sean barked at Barry “Don’t you be moving. I’m keeping an eye on you, bucko.” Sean pointed his pistol at Barry with a steady hand. Barry looked over and nodded.
Barry thought to himself “From the frying pan into the fire, but at least I am breathing, still with a chance to get me and my family out of the country.”
He started cheering up believing that there was a sliver of light, but he was careful not to show it.
In the corner Stephen was asking Sean “Are you sure about this? He has admitted to being a Brit agent. Trying to kill you and the rest of us, for fuck sake.” Stephen shook his head “I still can’t fucking believe it.”
Sean whispered “Look I’m not sure, but the MRF are waiting for me to set up an ambush and him to report it to them. And then they plan on ambushing us. Why don’t we go along with it? But we ambush them on their way to ambush us?”
“Ah Jaysus” says Stephen “it sounds like a riddle, not a military plan and operation. Plus, we are relying on Barry. Sure his nerves are shot, you can’t count on him for anything. Never mind being the lynch pin in a double deal! He will never pull it off!
Sean let Stephen rant for a while keeping an eye on Barry. He saw the confidence grow and Barry’s shoulders straightening briefly and then how Barry deliberately adapted a more submissive body language stance.
“Listen” Sean said quietly “We use Paddy’s body as a lure. Barry tells them that we are all set to ambush them by the body. They will then set up an ambush for us, by the body, but we are waiting somewhere else and get them on their way to set up for us.”
Stephen thought about it “Its way too risky and complicated. What if Barry double crosses us and the Brits hit us in the real ambush site? We could get wiped out then.”
“No” says Sean “I have a plan to cover that.
Stephen sighed “When do we act out this riddle?” he asked.
“In two night’s time.” Sean replied “We need to prepare the lads. But we also need to keep this fucker on side and move quickly so that he doesn’t have too much time to change his mind.”
He walked back to Barry “Tomorrow you are coming to a meeting to discuss my plan. We do not mention that you are involved with the MRF, this is between us three. After we wipe them fuckers off the face of this earth, you are going to vanish immediately afterwards, Helen and the kids can go with you if they want.”
Barry looked at him “Why can’t I stay?” he asked “I will stay out of the Army’s way.”
Sean glanced at him “Because you are a traitor and should be shot right now. The only reason you are getting this chance is so that we can rid the world of your buddy scumbags.” he answered.
“How will I survive?” Barry asked “I have no money saved.”
Sean hunched down beside him “The Brits offered you £20000. I’ll match that money. I’ll give it to you straight away after the ambush, but not sooner. You carry on the same way that you would have under your sell out plan. But this time you vanish with our blessing, not the Brits.”
Barry looked Sean in the eye “Thanks Sean. I’ll do this for you. I’m so sorry that I was so weak and got sucked in.”
Sean nodded and Stephen looked away, still not able to look at his friend and comrade, traitor and tout.
“Right” says Sean “let’s clean this place up and get the fuck out of here.”