Back at the station, they silently took to their respective desks. They sat as if in a daze, not really comprehending what had just transpired. Then Nathan, the perpetual smartarse, wrote a message on a small piece of paper, folded into a small airplane and sailed it to his mentor. Lochlan caught it in mid-air and read,
Do we dare tell anyone?
Lochlan shook his head “No” and wrote a message of his own that read “Never.” Then he sailed it towards an unsuspecting Nathan and it bounced off his forehead. Nathan calmly held up two fingers, tugged on his right earlobe and Lochlan knew what that meant.
Lochlan’s curiosity as a good detective compelled him to enter a name in his computer. Time and time again “Charles Ellsworth Phillips” came up as “Not Found” as if the man didn’t exist. Lochlan really didn’t expect anything more than that, knowing if Mr. Phillips was either MI5 or MI6, he was most assuredly invisible. Lochlan needed a sidebar.
“Time for a cup of tea?” Lochlan asked his partner.
“I was thinking the same thing meself,” Nathan answered. “I’ll meet you out back.”
“Out back” was a small, canopied area behind their station, with tables and chairs set for the employees to gather and talk without the prying eyes and ears of the general public. Not that these people were a threat to anyone, but spies abounded everywhere, especially in a crowd. They sat, sipped their morning beverage and enjoyed what sunlight Scotland had to offer. Lochlan could tell his partner was dying to say something, so he broke the ice.
“My friend. Aren’t you at least a little curious about what may happen in this?”
“Aye. I am,” Nathan said. “But didn’t we tell Mr. Phillips we’d do ‘anything’ to help out his cause?”
“Aye, we did. So we are both in agreement. Whatever his mission is for us, we will accomplish it promptly, without forethought or pending guilt. Is that clear?”
Nathan took a sip of his tea and lit a fag. His momentary silence seemed to bother Lochlan, and Nathan could see it in his face.
“Aye. It tis crystal clear. Pardon me pause, but it’s now sinking in what we may occur. I just … don’t know if I’m worthy of this honor. I do have a shady … past. ”
“Have you ever sexually abused a child?” Lochlan asked quickly.
“Oh Good Lord no! The very image of that makes me want to vomit.”
“Have you ever forced yourself on a lady and committed rape?”
“Then you are a normal human being who now looks out for our innocent ones. As far as I’m concerned there’s no greater honor than to protect these children from harm and I’m perfectly willing to await my fate on Judgement Day. Are you?”
“I am now, sir. My mind and will is one with yours now, and I thank you. I just needed to talk it out.”
Lochlan smiled and took a drag of his fag, but before he could answer his mobile rang. The short conversation went like this.
“Hello. Aye, this is he. What time? We have got a what to catch? I see. Of course we can turn them off. We will be ready. Should we pack an overnight bag? That’s what I thought. Good day to you too.”
“We will be on our way in less than an hour,” Lochlan said as he turned off his mobile. “Turn off your mobile and I’ll do the same.”
Nathan was about to ask a question but thought better of it. He and Lochlan went back inside to their desks sat and waited for a call.
At about noon Lochlan’s landline rang. It was the call they expected and Lochlan told Nathan to grab his coat and follow him. They walked silently two blocks to the right of their station and hung a left. There, at the end of the alley, was the Rolls and Mr. Phillips. The doors unlocked just before their hands reached the handles and they went in, sat quietly and waited for their instructions. Phillips tapped on the window separating them and the driver, told James to go and they started to move.
There wasn’t much informative conversation during the fifteen minute commute. Phillips only asked them if they could tolerate hot and humid weather for a day and they said Aye, but no more than that. He offered them a half-glass of Scotch and at first they declined but Phillips guaranteed them they wouldn’t be driving anywhere, so they gladly accepted. Lochlan saw the Heathrow Exit and knew they were on the M4-M25 interchange, flying to points yet unknown.
As they entered the airport Lochlan noticed they went completely by the main complex and were traveling on a small, neglected-looking road. After a mile or so they stopped and upon their exit they saw what appeared to be a brand new Lear Jet. Lochlan could find nary a bug on it anywhere as they walked the few steps inside and was aghast at the luxurious interior. He counted six high-back, leather seats with small tables and a small vase of flowers on each. It was homey, he thought, but knew this kind of comforting affair came at a price. After Phillips told them to sit and buckle up, they left the hidden runway quicker than either one of them had ever experience. When the G force lessened and they leveled out, Lochlan could no longer hold his tongue.
“Sir. Might I just ask where it is we are going?”
Phillips broke out in laughter. “Why Inspector Kincaid. I’m amazed you waited this long to ask. I would’ve thought you’d say that back at your house. My compliments on your patience.”
Lochlan didn’t appreciate being taken so lightly and it showed on his face and his reply.
“And it grows thinner per each thousand feet… sir. I think we should get down to business now. Don’t you?”
“Uh huh,” Phillips said as he passed each man a dossier. “Take a few minutes and look these over. I must visit the men’s room,” he said after his stomach growled loudly. After he closed the door Nathan had a burning question.
“Sir. When a man takes a dump on a plane, where does it go after the flush?”
Lochlan looked up at his young partner with amazement he’d even think of that at a time like this.
“Well, I believe it’s thrown out the back where a race of birds, who always fly high and we never see, consumes it in midair. I believe they’re called Shitebirds—what the hell are you asking me for!? Now buckle down and read what’s been presented or you may be deep into what just flew by the back window.”
Nathan immediately put his nose in the paperwork and didn’t look up till he was done. Lochlan began his read with one question in mind. Why this man? He looks like a respectable businessman. Could he be a danger to anybody? Yet, the more he read, the more sense this mission acquired.
Yut Anantasu was a fortyish, Thailand national who ran three brothels in the red light district of Bangkok. He looked to be respectable with a charming, but probably superficial, smile, black glasses and sporting a hairstyle that said, “I cut this myself.” Wearing a blue suit and accompanying tie, he looked to be the boy next door you hoped your daughters would marry but later wished they’d shunned like the plague. In each one of his whorehouses was one area where only the young ones were kept for their adult “clients,” usually the basement. Phillips cleared his throat and brought them to attention.
“Inspectors. You are going to Bangkok, Thailand for a very brief visit. There you will be led by one of my most trusted drivers to the seamier side of that once great city. A man of great wealth and importance to the pedophile community awaits your arrival, although he doesn’t know who you really are. He’ll be expecting a Mr. Brown and Mr. Stewart to discuss the expanding of his influence throughout the United Kingdom. This, just won’t do. Yut must be ‘surgically removed’, so to speak, and you’ll be supplied the proper tool for the operation. Security there will be light; maybe one or two guards.”
“Why the lack of armed guards?” Lochlan asked.
“He needn’t any. The local police force is in his pocket and none of the usual thugs would dare interrupt the free flow of his business.”
“Sounds something like when the American Mafia ruled things. Especially in Las Vegas.”
“Aye,” Phillips replied. “Yet, we can all learn a thing or two from that group. Any other questions or comments?”
“Just two more,” Lochlan said. “I’d like this to be as silent as possible, if that can be arranged.”
“Consider it done. And the other?” Phillips replied.
“I’d like to call my wife and tell her I won’t be home tonight. Can I do that?”
“Not from here. You see, this plane, and us, don’t exist, if you get my drift. She has already been notified of your absence by your Chief Constable.”
That soothed Lochlan’s mind but Nathan had one burning query.
“And me?” Nathan asked.
Phillips turned in his seat to face Dunbar. “I trust, after seeing your grand entrance in the car that you’ll supply your own tool. Capisce?”
“Capisce,” he answered, now comprehending the seriousness of their mission.
“Capital then,” Phillips said as he closed his briefcase. “It ’ll be at least eight more hours before we land. There are two bedrooms in the back of this plane, and one common bathroom, for you gents. Get some rest. I can assure you that you’ll need it.”
With the meeting over, they retired to their bedrooms that consisted of a single bed with one night stand. Not exactly the Ritz, Lochlan thought, but they’ll have to do.
Lochlan removed his coat, tie and shoes and laid spread out on the firm bed. He knew it was useless to try a slumber, as his mind was awhirl with questions of “what if’s” “why now’s” and “can we be charged?” He had things he wanted to say to Yut before he acted but as usual, they conformed to his hidden passion of Senryu poetry.
But what if Yut doesn’t understand the Queen’s English? How can I convey this?
He wrote six lines of prose, re-wrote four of them and settled for draft two. He leaned into the vinyl partition separating him and Nathan to ask him something, but the lad was fast asleep already. How the hell can he sleep at a time like this? Bullshite! I must arouse him.
“Nathan, wake the hell up,” he said in as low a whisper he could.
Nathan’s legs kicked like he was practicing karate and then he sat straight up.
“I need to pick your brain,” Lochlan said calmly. “Isn’t there one of those thingy’s that you can put in your phone that’ll translate English into any other language?”
“Aye, Guv. It’s called Maumee and the ’thingy’s’ called an app.”
“App, smhapp. Can you put it my phone?”
“You mean install it?”
“Aye. Whatever you call it … smartarse.”
“Gimme it,” Nathan said in desperation, needing to go back to sleep. “This’ll take a while. Can’t I do this later. I needs me sleep.”
Lochlan sat up in his bed and without thinking said,
“Install the app … before you nap. That is an order.”
Nathan sighed, but got to work with Google and then had what his boss ordered. He handed it to his mentor with a parting statement. “It’s installed. Now leave me be for a few hours.”
Lochlan played around with the new thingy, got the proper translation, hit Read Aloud, shut his mobile off and laid down for quick snooze.
It was around two am, Bangkok time, when their plane landed. Mr. Phillips was still wide awake and busy making tea for all. They composed themselves and sat for some final instructions.
“You will be driven to Yut’s finest establishment by our driver, who’s waiting outside. He knows the best route to that hellhole and will deliver you to the back alley. Inside the limo is a box. Open it and make good use of its contents, for you’ll only have one chance. When your mission is completed you’ll be escorted quickly back here. Good luck and be very careful. Do not, I repeat do not allow any of his guards to frisk you. If they do, your mission, and maybe your lives, will be null and void. Your chauffeur is here,” Phillips said as he peaked through the small curtain.
There was total silence between the mates as they left one luxurious vehicle for another. Sitting in the back seat, they hadn’t met their driver yet but probably never will. That was sufficient, because the less face time on something such as this was best for all.
As they started to move Lochlan noticed the “box”. It was a striking shade of red oak with brass hinges and handle. Lochlan carefully opened it to find a Walther .22 long rifle caliber automatic, with a ten-shot clip and a silencer already installed. Nathan looked at it, gave it two thumbs up, pulled up his right pants leg to show his small armory and smiled.
Lochlan smiled back, but his was as nervous-looking as Nathan’s.