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   Chapter 5 THE INTERIM

Dead Centre By Owen Jones Characters: 22022

Updated: 2018-02-09 19:01

Genaro welcomed Ron with an out-stretched hand.

"Hello, my dear Mr. Carter, I am so glad you could come to stay in our home. My good friend Gareg has told me so much about you. Call me Genaro, and treat my home as your own. Would you like to freshen up first or have a drink?"

"Hello, Genaro. What a beautiful home you have here. I have truly never seen anything like it. You are so kind to let me stay here. Please, call me Ron."

"Thank you, Ron. What is it to be: a drink or a shower?"

"Oh, my apologies, a drink. Something ice cold."

"Champagne, beer, cocktail, scotch on the rocks, water, lemonade, fruit juice, you name it."

Ron looked at Gareg for help.

"Have whatever you like, Ron, Genaro means it."

"In that case, champagne, please, Genaro, I don't see much of that in my daily life… from one year to the next, in fact."

George, the butler, brought around a tray of champagne flutes.

"To the three of us – Happy Days!" toasted Genaro, and seeing that Ron was nervous, he finished his glass in one, put it back on the tray and took another.

"Happy Days!" repeated the other two and took their cue from their host, downing their glasses in one and taking another.

"Please, sit down, make yourselves comfortable or would you like to go around the back and sit by the pool?"

"The pool sounds good, " said Gareg and maybe you could have a few of your lovelies do a bit of sunbathing for us. Eye-candy, you know."

"Excellent idea. George."


The golf cart took them around the back, just as six beautiful girls were arriving. They took their tops off and arranged themselves on sun beds around the pool. Ron was mesmerised.

"These are some friends of mine, who are also staying here. It is quite normal here in the South of France to sunbathe topless. Not so in America, eh, Ron? Does it offend you? I can ask them to dress again, if you prefer."

"Er, no, Genaro, we don't have anything like this back in the States, leastways not where I live, but I am not offended. When in Rome… Live and learn… I'll get used to it, I hope."

Genaro flashed a smile at Gareg over Ron's shoulder, but Ron did not notice. His attention was elsewhere.

"Gareg, why don't you take our friend to choose a pair of trunks, he'll be more relaxed, then we'll go for a swim and meet the girls. Would you like that, Ron?"

"That would be wonderful."

"Come this way, Ronny, my man, " said Gareg.

They all met up at the poolside a few minutes later and Genaro introduced them to the girls.

"Ladies, could you help my friends with their suntan lotion, they are not from this country and may burn. Gentlemen, which of my lovelies would you like to assist you?"

Ron and Gareg made their choices and then lay down to have the cream applied. Genaro did not need suntan lotion after a lifetime in the Mediterranean and in the tropics. He had a heavily tanned, fairly hairy body, as a lot of men from the area have.

After a couple of hours in the sun and the water, and a bottle of champagne to himself, Ron left for his chalet accompanied by his new friend and they weren't seen again until dinner.

Genaro and Gareg discussed some new developments in the plans for the near future.

"My sources inform me that the target will be making a rare sortie out of his villa on Monday afternoon. He has been summoned to sign an affidavit at the central police station. It will present a good chance of success, don't you think?"

"What, blowing up the central police station when it's full of coppers? I think that would cost you a lot of friends in high places."

"No, I wasn't actually thinking about inside, but when he slows down in his car to enter the police car park."

"That sounds a lot better. Could we go and reconnoitre in the morning?"

"Certainly, although it is Saturday tomorrow and the pattern of traffic will not be the same as on Monday. It will be lighter."

"That's all right, if it looks good with lighter traffic it will be even easier with heavy. Give me a shout when you are ready to go and I'll be ready. What time, nine o'clock?"

"That will put us there for ten, which is about right. Let's ring Wee Willie Winkie and see if he's ready to join us."

When Ron came out with Tina, he looked worse than he had when he went in. He looked as if he had drunk the chalet bar dry and not got a wink of sleep. Tina still looked immaculate though, in a full-length, midnight blue evening dress which had been slashed and cut away to reveal so much of her body that it was a wonder of engineering how it stayed on her. Ron was wearing an open-necked Hawaiian shirt with long white slacks, which he had probably worn in the American Virgin Islands the last time he had vacationed there.

Genaro and Gareg both wore white slacks and a short-sleeved shirt, one white and the other pale blue. Dinner, a four-course affair and entertainment, a local singer of some renown lasted until midnight when everyone was quite happy to go to bed.

In the morning, Genaro, heavily disguised, Gareg and three armed guards got into an old, dirty car with local licence plates and drove into the city centre. They drove past the building on both sides of the road several times. They noted the entrance to the outside car park, where the target vehicle would have to slow down to negotiate the sharp right turn, assuming that they would be on the right-hand side of the road so as to avoid having to cross over a lane of heavy traffic.

Entrance to the car park was guarded by two sentries, who checked for permits and a crash-barrier of the counter-weighted scaffold-pole type. It was hoped that the car would not get that far anyway.

They took dozens of photos with small cameras that were disguised in pens. Then four of the men got out, leaving the fifth to park nearby and walked up one side of the road pretending to look in shop windows and back down the other side to the waiting car. They had all the information they needed, now they just needed some luck and not even very much of that.

Back in Genaro's, the two men collated all the footage onto a computer and then manipulated it so that it was more useful. They made a detailed map, with actual photos of some buildings and then printed off A2, A3 and A4 sized copies. They were the only ones who knew the plan and had to keep it that way until the last moment. Ron would have to be told earlier and so would Bob, but none of Genaro's men.

There were spies everywhere in Genaro's world.

When Bob arrived on the Saturday afternoon, Gareg and Genaro explained the pla

od and they may become suspicious. Go up and ask them the time or something.

"I will have to go now, Ron, but Gareg will keep you informed about the whereabouts of their car, so concentrate on his voice, but don't try to talk back, you can't, you don't have a mike and it will look suspicious if you are seen talking when there's no-one with you. Goodbye, Ron, it has been a pleasure to know you."

"Go get 'em and go with God, brother!" said Gareg.

They shook hands with Ron and a tear formed in his eye.

Bob pushed the PP9 battery into its holder in Ron's top pocket.

Ron looked him in the eye and knew that he was a dead man for certain now. Gareg slapped him on the shoulder and they walked away.

Fifty yards further, Bob turned to look over his shoulder.

"He's crossing the road, waiting for a clearing in the traffic on the island, as planned. In here, sir."

Bob nodded at the old lady at the desk, said 'Bonjour, madame', and they both took the stairs two at a time. Once in the room that he had rented the day before, he locked the door and withdrew the case from under the bed, while Gareg opened the window. Bob assembled the L115A3 sniper rifle in seconds and set it on its tripod on the table that he had put in place the day before. It was well back into the room in the shadows.

He watched Ron through the sights. Ron is in position, Gareg, presumably awaiting contact with us. Gareg could see him quite plainly a hundred and fifty yards away. He scanned the traffic and said, "That's it, Ron, you're doing fine. Walk to the gates of the car park and then on for fifty yards against the flow of traffic."

Ron stopped outside the gate and looked around and then walked on.

"That's it, Ron, nice and easy, slowly does it. Don't go too far, because if the target comes from the other direction you will be out of position. That's it stay there, admire the architecture. I think I can see the target approaching. You are in the perfect spot… Move to the inside of the pavement and walk towards the car park again… slowly. Don't turn around, I'll be your eyes.

"The target is twenty-five yards behind you and approaching slowly, walk a little faster, fifteen yards… it is alongside you now. That's it, let it pass you, you want it to be about five yards ahead of you when it crosses the pavement and the guard approaches it. There it goes…

"Look annoyed that it has cut you up, the window is going down, now forward to speak to the driver and now!"

There was an almighty explosion and they watched the car fill with fire, just before it flipped over and over up the street away from them and then the petrol tank exploded too.

"Well, that went as well as could be expected, " said Gareg closing the window but not completely. "Come on, Bob, let's get out of here. Put the rifle back under the bed, Genaro's men can pick it up later."

Bob opened the room's door and they hurried downstairs. The old lady was not at her post, she and everyone else in the vicinity were on the street wondering what the hell was going on. It made it easy for Gareg and Bob to slip away to one of Genaro's cars that was waiting not three hundred yards away. They got in and the car departed at the normal speed of the traffic.

They made a short tour of the city just to check that no-one was following them and then returned to Genaro's villa.

Genaro was waiting for them on the verandah with champagne on ice, and grilled lobsters, barbecued prawns and salad.

"Congratulations, gentlemen, on a very successful mission excellently carried out. I saw everything up to the point of the explosion on CCTV, but I heard that there were no survivors on the local TV and radio.

"It seems that there were five in the car, your man, Ron, and the security guard were killed. The other guard was slightly injured and so were a dozen or so others by the car as it rolled down the boulevard and then exploded again.

"I'm free of that bloody thorn for ever, although they are sure to suspect me of having organised it, but there is no evidence linking me to it. Anyway, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, if I ever have to.

"Eat, drink and be merry, gentlemen."

They clinked glasses and downed them in one.

"I'm glad you are satisfied with our work, Genaro, " said Gareg. "We'll party tonight, and fly home tomorrow to start on your next job."

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