London Games, Excerpt From Chapter 22
DS Evans delivered Clive’s firearms certificate personally and at the same time he returned his father’s rifle. Clive had installed a steel firearms cabinet with two massive locks and the detective waited until he saw the gun locked away before he said his goodbyes and left. Clive wasn’t at all sure now why he had wanted to keep it. He’d told the firearms officer who had interviewed him that it was a family heirloom and that he was keeping it as a collector. There was no ammunition on the certificate which meant that if Clive ever wanted to use the gun he would have to apply for a variation. Then he would also have to explain where and when he wanted to use it and prove that he had permission to do so from the landowner concerned.
He hadn’t forgotten the cartridges which Mr Thomas had found and which were still in the glove box of his car. He hadn’t mentioned them to anybody.
The initial euphoria at getting the building work underway had now worn off. There really wasn’t very much for him to do on the site anymore. Max was well in control. Even Simon Bristow had taken a back seat as all the construction work was finished. Now there was a small army working on the finishing. The decorators had started in some areas and Clive was trying to focus on marketing. He’d had a series of meetings with estate agents, all of whom were eager for his business, all of whom had sent along their most attractive female negotiators in their smartest business suits to try and convince him. He was none the wiser and really couldn’t decide between a local agent and the sort of prestige international outfit that also sold country estates and private Caribbean islands.
This morning then, with DS Evans gone and the rifle safely locked away, he was rattling around in his own modest, rather grubby little flat near Battersea Park. He was bored.
Life was no longer a struggle. His new bank had taken an entirely different view of his circumstances. Once they’d seen the cash deposit of £150,000, a manager had been sent to visit him at the development and had then updated his file and credit status. Although Clive didn’t know it, the bank now saw him as a high net worth individual and he had a notional limit of £50,000 against his name. He could ask for any type of borrowing up to that level and it would be granted immediately without any further question. In fact, on paper he was probably now worth around £5 million so he didn’t need to worry about paying his bills anymore.
What the hell! He was going to enjoy this morning. It was a beautiful day. Strong sunlight was dappled through the leafy trees in the park. It was half-term so there were kids and their scantily clad mothers everywhere. He sauntered along the Albert Bridge Road enjoying the sunshine and wondering whether perhaps he should invite Mark for lunch at Vermont – or somewhere else. His money was good anywhere.
Next thing there he was on Albert Bridge – again. How long ago was it now since that evening before he’d first met Mark? It was just a matter of weeks. How things had changed since then.
Another morning at the library was over and Sir Damian was enjoying the very much more relaxed lifestyle of a worker. After being let back onto the wing he was free to wander around and chat until lunch was served. Then he was expected to go back to his cell and push his own door shut for the lunchtime lockdown.
There was loads of noise coming from the servery but they clearly weren’t ready to start yet so he went back to his cell. There was one letter and a slip of paper that had been pushed under the door. He knew straightaway that the letter was from Barnaby Evans.
He ripped it open and scanned the contents quickly. His appeal against sentence was to be heard in two weeks time. The slip of paper told him that he was to be transferred to Ford prison in a week.
He was elated and angry, surprised and shocked, relieved and frustrated. He almost shouted out aloud.
He barely noticed lunch although he ate it hungrily. He didn’t want to leave Brixton now. Why would they move him just when his appeal was coming up? He was just a few miles from the Court here. In Ford he would be half a day’s travelling away. He started to write an application requesting that his transfer be cancelled. Everything in prison is accomplished by “app”. He’d learned that very quickly and it helped to be literate although it was best to word everything in very simple and direct language. The officers themselves weren’t the most highly educated of people.
As he was drafting he realised that the prison probably didn’t even know about his appeal. Even if the governor’s office had been informed he recognised that usually one hand didn’t know what the other was doing. Everything happens behind closed doors in prison. The administrative and management methods were like something out of the 19th century with an unhealthy dollop of union demarcation rules thrown in. He decided to mention his job in the library as another reason he should not be moved.
The spectre of Andrew de Boer fluttered briefly across his mind but he dismissed it. He knew now that he could cope with a couple of years. He’d be out and rebuilding his life sooner than he’d expected. The last thing he needed to get involved in was any sort of escape plan. That was an absurd idea.