A Kid Named Joey - A Novel

Chapter 18 - The final chapter

A Kid Named Joey

by Nigel Gordon

Chapter 18

"Morning Nadia," Edward said, his hand sliding into his trousers pocket to get his phone.

"You don't seem surprised to see me," Nadia stated, taking a position facing the desk, but far enough away that there was no chance of Edward pushing the desk over into her.

Beneath the desk, Edward flipped the phone open, pressed the mute button, then the speed-dial button.

"It had to be one of three people, and you were number one on that list," Edward replied as he pressed the second numeric button on the phone. Five miles away, DS Conner's phone rang. He checked the caller ID then answered it.

"You see Nadia I knew you were lying from the start," Edward continued. "Amir could never have given you those CDs to give to me. Writable CDs did not come out until nineteen ninety and Amir was dead by then. The only way you could have got those files was from Amir's server, so that put you on the list."

"Who were the other two?" Nadia asked.

"Hari, clearly, though I somehow doubted that from the start, and then there were his brothers. Though I was fairly sure they would not be involved unless Hari was."

"That lot," Nadia sneered. "They are a bunch of nobodies. Kutrum kept them out of all the illegal stuff just so there was no chance of them going to jail. He was always too soft on those boys."

"Not like you and Hamit," Edward replied, glancing down at the phone on his lap and seeing that the call had connected. "The moment I had discarded Hari from the list, it only left either Kutrum's sister or his brother. My guess was that they both had to be in it, but who was the boss? By the way, do you know how to use that gun."

"I can assure you I am quite good with it," Nadia responded. "I shot pistol at county level until they changed the law following Dunblane."

Edward glanced towards the door.

"If you are waiting for your bodyguard to come and rescue you, Hamit has taken care of him," Nadia stated. "Now where's my money?"

"Your money," Edward replied. "Don't you mean the Provos money? I suspect they will be rather unhappy to find it has gone missing."

"Not as unhappy as you're going to be if you don't tell me where it is," Nadia announced. She moved the gun slightly, so it pointed at Edward's shoulder. Edward noticed the door to the corridor from the granny flat, which was behind Nadia, move somewhat.

"How come you were working with the Provos?" Edward asked. "It is a hazardous field to play in."

"Pat worked for them, I was his courier, got to know them well," Nadia replied. "When that stupid brother of mine would not take over that part of Pat's business, I decided to take it on."

"Using your brother's operation as a cover," Edward pointed out. "Quite clever as if anything had gone down, everything would have pointed at Kutrum and not you. It was all going so well for you until Kutrum decided to get out of the business."

"How did you know?" Nadia snapped.

"Kutrum told me," Edward replied. "He wanted to let me know that he had no interest in getting in my way as long as I stayed out of his."

"You were talking to Kutrum?" Nadia asked.

"Of course, that's how I knew he was not trying to kill me. I suppose you expected me to kill Kutrum?"

"That or you would use those files to get him arrested," Nadia answered. "Why didn't you?"

"The question is, why didn't you?" Edward replied. "You must have had a good idea of what was on them. Amir told you, didn't he?"

"Yes, but we couldn't read them, they were encrypted, and we had no idea what the password was."

"So, you passed copies of them to me in the hope I would do your dirty work for you," said Edward. "Sorry I could not help, but I really wanted to find out who killed Amir. My guess it was Hamit. Am I right?"

"You're never going to know," Nadia said, moving the gun to point directly at Edward.

There was a loud phuft sound. Nadia screamed as her gun hand was knocked sideways. The gun fired before it fell on the floor and the window behind Edward shattered. The door at the rear of the office burst open. John launched himself through it and on top of Nadia, knocking her to the ground. She was trying to scramble for the gun; John was doing all he could to hold her down. Edward came from behind the desk and kicked the gun out of her reach. He looked across at the side door. Joey stood there, holding the Crossman. Suddenly Hamit was behind the boy, gun in hand. He grabbed Joey and pulled him close to him, his gun pointing at the boy's head.

"Let her go," Hamit instructed. "I've got the boy."

"Fuck! I thought I'd knocked him out," John exclaimed.

Edward's hand went up behind his back, he dropped to the floor and at the same time extended his arm towards Hamit. The sound of a gunshot reverberated around the room. A small hole appeared in the centre of Hamit's forehead, a large section of the rear of his skull plus a significant part of his brain hit the wall behind him. Hamit's grip on Joey failed as Hamit fell to the floor lifeless. Nadia screamed.

Joey ran to Edward, who embraced the boy. He then put his gun on the desk and instructed Joey to do the same with the Crossman. Edward picked up the phone from the floor where it had fallen. The call was still connected. He pressed the button to unmute it.

"Mark, you better get here as fast as you can," he said into the phone.

"Already here," Mark announced, and then he appeared next to Hamit's body. "Oh shit. He then looked at the gun on the desk. "Jones, you better call for back up, forensics and the whole damned lot."

"I presume you shot him?" Mark asked Edward.

"Had to; he would have killed Joey," Edward answered.

"You used that gun?" Mark said, pointing to the gun on the desk.

"Yes," Edward replied.

"I'm going to have to arrest you for possession of an illegal firearm," Mark said.

"A moment before you do," Edward said. He stepped over to filing cabinet, opened it and withdrew a folder. Opening the folder, he removed two sheets of paper which he passed to Mark. He read them.

"What the hell?"

"What are they, sir?" DS Jones asked.

"Home office section five permits. He has a permit to possess, permit to carry - it does not specify what -just states firearms," Mark said. "Didn't know these had even been issued outside of Ulster. Even there, they tend to be pretty prescriptive." He stopped as a thought just hit him. For a moment he just looked at Edward. "Fuck it, you're not an MI5 asset, you're a bloody agent."

Edward nodded. "I suppose we better get this lot cleared up," he said, indicating first Nadia, who was now thoroughly pinned down by John, and then Hamit's body in the hallway.


*  *  *  *  *

It was getting on for midnight before everything was finished. The forensics had done what they had to do, statements had been taken, and questions had been asked and answered. Not many it must be admitted. The arrival of two gentlemen from London had seen to that. Not that DS Conner was surprised to find the two gentlemen from London in attendance. What did surprise him was how quickly they had showed up. It had only about half an hour after he had arrived on the scene himself.

Mark informed Edward that Nadia had been taken away and charged with conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm. That was sufficient to hold her for further questioning.

"If you do a bit of digging, you will probably be able to find the evidence to charge her with involvement in the murder of Maria Cunningham and George Meadows," Edward told him.

"You think they're dead," Mark said.

"I'm certain they are," Edward replied. "Amir had to be getting his information from somewhere. Maria could not stand Sonny Bhat, so the idea she was having an affair with him did not make sense. I think both Maria and George realised that Nadia knew they were the sources for Amir and decided to do a runner together. I don't think they got very far."

"So, Nadia was behind the murder of her own son," Mark stated.

"No, Amir wasn't her son," Edward informed him. "Amir was the son of Kutrum's younger sister who died in childbirth. Nadia married Tariq three months later. I don't think Amir ever knew that Nadia was not his mother. When he realised that somebody was using Kutrum's activities to hide their own, he told the person he thought of as his mother, just in case. That signed his death sentence.

"Nadia got Hamit or his sons to kill Amir, then make the phone call to herself from Amir's phone. That gave the Bhat brothers their alibi as they were in the club ten minutes later. However, once Nadia got her hands on the records Amir had kept, it became clear to her that others must know what was going on, at least in part, and she had to get rid of them."

"I am still not certain that I understand why?" Mark stated.

"I'm not sure anybody will fully understand," Edward informed him. "It goes back to O'Neill. He was acting as a conduit for the Provos. Actually not even for the Provos as a whole, but an extreme element within them. Nadia was the courier he used to pass stuff to them and collect things from them. Who would expect a traditionally dressed Indian woman of being mixed up in that sort of thing? 

"I suspect that Nadia was also O'Neill's lover. Can't be sure, but if you accept that, a lot of things fall into place. It was through Nadia that Kutrum started working for O'Neill and eventually became his right-hand man. When O'Neill was bombed by the Loyalists, Kutrum took over. However, he was not prepared to keep supplying the Provos, which caused problems. Nadia, though, had other ideas. She stepped in and offered the Provos a deal and used Kutrum's organisation to run it through.

"All was fine until Amir stumbled across something. He found out that there was another party in the game. I don't think Amir intended to expose Kutrum.  I think what Amir was doing was collecting evidence that would show his uncle what was going on. The problem was, he told Nadia, the person he always thought of as his mother. I don't think Amir knew that she wasn't."

"How did you find out?" Mark asked.

"When I was speaking with Kutrum, he referred to Amir as his youngest sister's son, but Sid Jones told me that Nadia was the older sister. That got me thinking, so I had some checks made. Once I found out she was Tariq's second wife, a lot of pieces fell into place."

"Did you tip Kutrum off about the raid?" Mark asked.

"Yes, I had to speak with Thames House about it, but we agreed that it was for the best if Kutrum got away," Edward replied. "If Kutrum had been in custody, whoever the third party was could just have taken over and carried on running things. With Kutrum free, most of his organisation would remain loyal to him. Although he is not in a position to operate it, he can still give the instructions that will close it down."

"You know I could arrest you with assisting an offender," Mark said.

"Yes, I know, which is why I had to get Thames House to sign off on it," Edward informed him. "Anyway, it's not as if Kutrum would ever have got to trial."

"Why not?" Mark enquired.

"He's got advanced prostate cancer," Edward told him. "As it is, he probably has no more than six months to live. That is why he was closing things down. He did not want to leave any of the illegal stuff for Hari to deal with. Kutrum's aim was that Hari would always be legit, and he is."

"So, what happens now?" Mark asked.

"Well, my cover is pretty well blown once this all comes out, so for me it is retirement," Edward replied. "Fortunately, I have built up a pretty nice retirement fund, so I am not going to be badly off."

"At least it's over now," Mark stated.

"It'll never be really over," Edward replied. "The Provos have long memories, and they like to set examples. I'll always be a target for them."

Mark looked at the man sitting opposite him and shook his head.

*  *  *  *  *

It was a couple of weeks later when Mark brought the news to Edward that Nadia had been found dead in her cell.

"I'm not surprised," Edward replied. "She knew far too much, and there were certain parties which did not want her trying to make a deal. How are the Bhat brothers doing?"

"Singing like birds," Mark informed him. "They are blaming Amir's murder on Hamit. They also say he killed George Meadows, though they've said nothing about Maria. According to them, Hamit buried George out by the Galveston Quarry. We've got a forensic team out there now seeing if they can find anything, but it is a big area.

"I'm fairly certain if you find George, you'll find Maria," Edward stated.

"But Maria's note," Mark mentioned.

"Oh, that was genuine," Edward replied. "George knew that somebody was onto him and he wanted to get away. By that time he had broken with Darlyn and was in a relationship with Maria and asked her to go with him. I've no doubt they were together when the killer found George. The fact that they were getting away probably triggered their death. If George had sat tight, I suspect nothing would have happened to him."

"The Chief is not happy about all of this," Mark stated. "He's got one mess of a trial with some notable locals on child sex charges including his own Chief Superintendent. He would love a good murder trial to distract attention, but we have lost our leading suspect. You shot one, and the other gets killed in custody. It doesn’t look good."

"Hope it is not causing you problems," Edward stated.

"Not really," Mark replied. "Looks as if I am something of the flavour of the month at the moment. I'm being promoted."

"Good, when?"

"In the New Year. The promotions are effective from the first of January," Mark replied. "I'm to be Detective Inspector. Going to make getting the place round the corner easier as the salary rise just about covers the mortgage."

"That's going ahead then?" Edward asked.

"Yes, we’re due to complete just after Christmas," Mark informed him. "Got a good offer on our place, but the buyers do not want to move till after Christmas."

"In that case, I better make appointments for the boys and your Chris to take the entrance exam at St Martin's," Edward stated.

"Look, I may be getting a rise, but I still can't afford their fees for one boy, let alone two," Mark replied.

"Don't worry about that, I'm sure Danny and Chris will do well enough to get scholarships," stated Edward.

"What are you up to?" asked Mark. Edward just smiled.

The lead up to Christmas was, to say the least, somewhat hectic. For one thing, Mike's arrival on the fourth was delayed. His meeting in Amsterdam turned up an unexpected opportunity for him, so he stayed there an extra two weeks. That resulted in him arriving on the eighteenth. Only five days before Ben's mother.

Unfortunately, Thursday the eighteenth of December, was the day when Joey, Danny and Chris were due to sit their entrance examination for St Martin's, and Edward had volunteered to drive them to the school for the exam. As a result, it was Ben who picked up Mike from Manchester Airport.

"So, Teddy's moved in with you," Mike stated as Ben drove them towards the motorway.

"Yes," Ben replied.

"About bloody time," Mike responded.

"What do you mean?" Ben asked.

"Well, you two were always so close, I was surprised that you were not living together," Mike said.

A week later, a very similar reaction was obtained from Ben's mother. Upon being informed by Ben and Edward that they were now a couple, she looked at them, then stated. "What took you so bloody long? You two were making goo-goo eyes at each other when you were five-year-olds."

Laura and Jack decided that they would go to Spain for Christmas and Joey had asked Edward if he could stay with him and Ben for the Christmas holidays. However, Joey made it clear that he wanted to move in permanently with Edward and Ben. No doubt the change was prompted in part by the fact that Danny was now living with his father, and would be only a few houses away once they moved in January.

When the results came through, all three boys had passed the entrance examination for St Martin's. An offer of scholarships had been made to both Danny and Chris.

"I'm not good enough for a scholarship," Joey told Edward a couple of days after Christmas. "Both Danny and Chris got one."

"You don't need a scholarship," Edward informed him. "Danny and Chris did. Their Dad can't afford the fees at St Martin's, I can."

Joey looked at him for a second or two, then he realised the implication of what his Dad had said. He put his arms around Edward and gave him a hug. "Thank you."

*  *  *  *  *


"Can't you stop fidgeting?" Edward asked the seventeen-year-old, who was at his side.

"It's this collar Dad," Joey replied. "It's strangling me."

"Let it strangle you for a bit longer. This will soon be over," Edward said.

"I hope so," Ben commented.

Just then, His Royal Highness walked towards where Edward was standing.

"Sir Edward," the prince said as he faced Edward, "my mama regretted that she could not personally undertake your investiture. You did a great service for our country and went well beyond the call of duty."

"Thank you, Sir," Edward replied.

"Mama was aware of the truth of your situation at all times," the prince informed him. "She pressed the PM several times for you to be granted a pardon or something, but the advice that came back was that such a measure would endanger an ongoing operation."

"That's correct, Sir. Her Majesty's offers were made known to me, but after discussion with my superiors, it was agreed that such a move would put too many people at risk."

"That may be so," His Royal Highness replied. "However, one cannot help thinking that at times we ask far too much of those who serve. It was a pleasure to be able to invest you with the honour you so richly deserve.

"I presume this must be your son."

"Yes Sir, this is Joey."

The prince extended his hand to Joey, which Joey took.

"You have a courageous father young man. Not many would have done what he did for his country."

"I know, your Highness," Joey replied. "Though my family have been serving the Crown since the time of Henry the Eighth."

"Really?" the prince asked. Joey nodded.

"You must tell me more," the prince stated. "As soon as the formal reception is over, why not join me in a more private place. I will send my equerry over for you as soon as I can dispense with the formal part of today events."

It was nearly three hours later when the taxi took them back to their hotel. Joey was complaining about being hungry.

"It was your own fault," Edward informed him. "You should not have said anything about Henry the Eighth."

"You must admit though, he was a nice chap to chat with," Joey said.

"Don't know," Edward admitted. "There pair of you were going at it like hammer and tongues neither Ben or I had a chance to get a word in edgeways."

"Well, he went to Trinity to read history, and I've got an offer from them to read history," Joey stated.

"Yes, but did you have to tell him the whole family history from the time of Henry the Eighth?"

"Well at least I got a promise of an invitation to see the Royal Archives at Windsor," Joey said.

Edward looked lost for words. Ben supplied them. "Why couldn't you have been into science and maths, like Danny, rather than all that history?"

"Well, you can blame my aunt for that, she did the family tree," replied Joey.

The taxi stopped outside the hotel, a doorman came down the steps to open the door. Edward stepped out, stood on the pavement and looked around. A single shot rang out. Ben grabbed Joey and pulled him into the back of the cab, hoping in vain the boy had not seen what he saw.