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   Chapter 16 CRAZY DAVE, ST. DAVID’S

Dead Centre By Owen Jones Characters: 24321

Updated: 2018-02-09 19:01


When Gareg estimated that Bob was back in Wales, he phoned him.

"Hey, Bob, how do you fancy lunch in the 'Happy Cockle' while it's still mine? It looks like Juan has raised the finance, so it's just a matter of days now. There's no mortgage, he's found a partner."

"Yeah, sure, that'd be great. Everything went well in Exeter and I could do with a bottle of Rioja. I'll be there in about an hour."

"OK, I'll have a shower and go on in. We'll have a couple of bottles open for you. See you later."

When Bob walked into the 'Happy Cockle', Gareg was sitting at his favourite window table watching people passing by.

"Have a glass of red, my old friend. So, you have put that very successful mission to bed then?"

"Yes, no probs. DC is becoming quite popular, isn't it? We're making money hand over fist and clients are giving us bonuses just for completing our contracts. It's crazy!!

"We offer a unique service and we never fail, it's a winning combination. We picked up another definite today. We do still have that South African, don't we? Is he the last one?"

"Yes, for the moment. We lost that flake in Milan a couple of weeks ago. We might be a bit low on part's at the moment, but that's only because the workload has increased so dramatically. Maybe we should start advertising?"

Both men chuckled.

"Yes, we could do with a few more. We don't want to have to step into the breach ourselves, do we?"

They laughed again.

"The guy who contacted us this morning says it's a rush job."

"Where is it?"

"We don't know exactly yet, but it is in the Torremolinos area of the Costa del Sol, in southern Spain, as far as I can make out. I have to go and see him at a hotel down there tomorrow. Will you need to go and see your man or do you want to come with me and get him to meet us in Spain?"

"Yes, I know the area. Benalmadena, Los Boliches, Fuengirola, Marbella, Estapona, Gib… I know the area well. However, to be on the safe side, I had better go and get him, but I'll take him to Spain in a couple of days and meet up with you there."

"OK, sounds good."

Bob took out his phone and called his favourite on line travel agent to book a single first class flight from Heathrow to Johannesburg and a single from Rhoose to Heathrow. Gareg had already booked his flight from Rhoose to Malaga for the next day.

"Why don't we get a taxi down to Barry early and have breakfast in the C?m Ciddy before flying out?" suggested Bob.

"Good idea. It'll save us cooking and the food is much better than in the airport."

"Or the plane, " they both said together.

Gareg was met at Malaga Airport by an old British expat, who was the colour of a Brazil nut, in a Mercedes that was being driven for him by an employee if not a dedicated chauffeur. He wound the window down and called Gareg over as soon as he saw him emerge from the airport with a large DC sticker on the side of his small leather suitcase.

Gareg had advised him what to look out for.

The driver pulled the boot release to open it for him but did not get out to help Gareg or close the boot again, so he guessed that the driver was probably the old man's nephew or grandson.

The old man opened the door next to him on the back seat and Gareg slid in and checked his watch.

"Good morning, sir. My name is Gareg Morgan."

"Yes, it is still just about morning, Gareg. Nice to meet you. My name is John. Shall we go for lunch? I have to eat quite regularly. My blood, you know."

"Certainly, I love Spanish food, it is one of the things I am looking forward to."

"Good, so do I."

They drove in almost pure silence except for a few pleasantries and Gareg suspected that was because there was no partition between them and the driver.

They left Malaga, Torremolinos and Benalmadena behind them and pulled into Los Boliches and a beautiful, old style restaurant called the Sandpiper.

"This is one of my favourites, Gareg, I hope you like it."

"I'm sure I will, John."

The driver helped the old man inside and to a table of his choice. Gareg assumed that it was his favourite table and followed on.

"Anything else, uncle?"

"No, thank you. You go and sit over there. Get yourself something to eat and drink and put it on my bill while I talk with this young man here."

Gareg was older than the driver, but about twenty years younger than John, who insisted on ordering for them although Gareg knew his Spanish food as well as anyone, including many people who lived in Spain.

"My problem, Gareg, is that I am a dying man. I have lived the high-life here as an expat for almost forty years, but now the doctors are telling me that the party is nearly at an end. That is a real shame, but it had to happen one day and that day could be as soon as tomorrow. However, I may have up to a month."

"I see, John. How can we help you?"

"I heard of you late. I wish that I had known of you months ago, but that cannot be changed either.

"If I said that I needed a very brave man for a hopeless mission, do you think that you would be able to help me?"

"Yes, sir, that is what we specialise in."

"Good. I was hoping that my information was correct. I cannot divulge my source you understand"

"I wasn't asking."

"No, that is true. How much are we talking about?"

"How long is a piece of string? What do you require us to do exactly?"

"Very good. OK. Thirty-five years ago, not long after I moved out here, I had a beautiful young wife, whom I adored. In those days I worked all the hours that God gave and I guess she got bored waiting for me to come home. I don't suppose I was all that faithful either, to be honest.

"Anyway, my partner and best friend at the time, took her from me and has tried to ruin me ever since. Of course, he tries to pretend that he has nothing to do with it and I pretended that I did not suspect him. He failed to damage me financially. In fact, I fared very well, because I was more focussed than ever, but I have never forgiven him for what he did to me, and tried to do to me.

"As far as I know, he is still perfectly fit and well. He is ten years younger than me, but I don't want him to outlive me. However, I don't want her hurt in any way. That is very important, so underline it. Do you understand?"

"Yes, John. Will you be able to help us formulate a plan?"

"Yes. I see the bastard nearly every day. Los Boliches is not a large place. I think he thinks that I have forgiven him. Access to him will not be a problem."

"All right, John. Tell me what you have in mind and we'll kick the idea about a bit."

Bob arrived in Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo Airport and took a taxi the twenty-five kilometres to the Hyatt Regency Hotel, before phoning his contact.

"Jan? Jan Derks?"

"Ja, wie is het?"

"It's Jim, Jan. Remember me?"

"Yes, Jim. Sorry. I did not recognise your voice. How are you? Are you in Joburg?"

"Oh, I am fine, thanks, Jan. Yes, I'm staying at the Hyatt. Can we meet up?"

"Sure, do you have something for me?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact I do."

Jan started a coughing fit at the other end of the line. It sounded pretty bad.

"Are you sure you're all right, Jan?"

"Well, if we are being honest with each other, I have seen much

for long now."

"No, of course not. I understand."

"OK, well, let's see this bottle off. You open another if you like, but I had better go and have a shower and a rest. I'll be back out at seven when the guests start arriving."

"John, before you go. Could we have a lift to the airport in the morning?"

"Sure."

"I'm not sure which one, but Malaga, if we can get a flight."

"Sure, don't worry about it. The boy will take you to Gib if you need to leave from there. I have left instructions with the staff to get you anything you want, so don't suffer in silence, just sing out and it's yours. That's what you Taffies are good at, isn't it, singing?"

The guests started arriving promptly at seven and the old man was on time as well. He didn't believe in the Manyana Moment even after forty years in Spain. John had been right about the age bracket, Bob was just about the youngest one there, but they didn't mind, because the guests were interesting, just as John had promised. There were all sorts from professed ex-villains to ex-businessmen an ex-servicemen.

Some of the men split off and played poker, some people swam and others just talked, but everyone drank lots and nobody said that Steve's death was sad, no-one even mentioned it at all. It seemed that there were two distinct camps in the area: those that got on with Steve and those that liked John and there was not a lot of overlap.

At eleven thirty, Gareg asked Bob to come to his room for a moment.

"Excuse me, everyone, I am going to retire, but I need a quick word with Jim in private. So, it has been great to meet you, but I am sure we'll bump into you the next time we're over"

The expats didn't really care. They had seen hundreds if not thousands come and go over the years. There were always new faces to tell their stories to and when they had told them their stories they were finished with them anyway.

"What is it, Gareg?"

"I came in here a while ago to swill my face and I saw a picture of you on Sky TV. It was not a good likeness, but it was you, although there are probably not many who would recognise you. It's one of you coming up the escalator after the London bombing – an enhanced security camera shot of your head and shoulders on a packed staircase.

"I just want to check a few details too. Tomorrow, I am going back to the UK and you are going to South Africa, right?"

"Yes."

"How long are you going to stay there?"

"A day going, a day staying and a day coming back should kill it, especially if you have made the money over into that Gib off-shore account."

"I did that when I came back to the room for a wash. I put the TV on for a moment and saw you. The sound was down and it was only on for a second, so I want to sit here and wait for it to come on again. We need to know what they know about you."

"Yes, I see. I have to go back to the party for a little while, but I'll go to my room then and look out for it too and we can discuss it in the morning, all right?"

"Yeah, sure. There's no immediate danger tonight."

"OK, see you in the morning."

"Goodnight."

Gareg looked at his watch, eleven forty-five, so ten forty-five in the UK. He phoned Crazy Dave.

"Dave, how're things? Great, look, I'd like to have a chat with you. Could you come down to the farm tomorrow afternoon or some time soon? I'll be there at about two, or do you want to meet me in the restaurant and I'll spring you lunch? Great. See you then."

When they went into John's room to say goodbye the following morning, he was in an oxygen tent and a nurse was watching monitors.

"I'm afraid he overdid it last night, but it's not the first time. I think he'll be all right. He's sleeping now and I don't want to wake him, so I'll say you stopped by."

"OK, thanks. Say it was nice to meet him."

The nephew took them to Malaga airport and drove off without saying goodbye, not that they cared. Once in the departure lounge bar, Gareg asked:

"Did you see it, Bob?"

"Yes, it was not a good photo but a well-trained, observant officer might spot me with it."

"Mmm, that's what I think too. If I were you, I'd spend a few days in South Africa and then come back to Spain. Not Los Boliches though. You can lie low until we know which way the wind is blowing. How many people do you think would recognise you from that photo?"

"You, Dave, possibly Juan, and maybe two or three more."

"How many do you think would dub you in?"

"No-one."

"No, I think you're right there as well. There are no participants left alive?"

"No, we ran out."

"Good, perhaps now is a good time to call it quits. Anyway, don't come back to the UK until we've spoken about it again. Give me a chance to see the full picture."

"Yes, OK, Gareg."

"Good luck in South Africa."

"Thanks, until we meet again."

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