I hope you enjoy the following excerpt.

I certainly had fun writing this book, and missed my daily adventures with Micky and Carol when it was done. If after reading this excerpt you would like to read more, you can buy a copy for a very reasonable price.

 

The Honey

We rolled into Sydney a few minutes before eleven the following morning. It had taken five hours from Coffs, with a breakfast stop on the way. Carol had been quiet, but not hostile or angry, and I’d tried to keep the peace for the duration of the journey. Things would tense up when we got to the bank.

‘What suburb is your bank in?’

‘It’s right in the middle of town. In Martin Place. I need to go home and get my keys first.’

‘Bullshit. Why wouldn't you have your keys with you?’

‘I just didn't bring them, that’s all. I didn't expect to need them.’

‘So you’re telling me you were going to return to Sydney? To live here amongst people who want you dead?’

She lit a cigarette and drew heavily. ‘I didn’t know what I was thinking.’

‘Yes you did. You’re a strategist. Some would say a cunning bitch.’

‘Nice.’

‘What’s the real reason for wanting to go home?’

She faced me, and said, ‘I want us to talk. I want to tell you what a huge mistake you’ll be making if you give that gun back to them. Micky, please listen to me.’

‘You've just had a thousand kilometres to tell me any bullshit like that. What’s different at home?’

She went quiet as if in thought, smoking her cigarette and staring out of the side window.

‘We can work something out, Micky. Something where we both come out all right.’

‘If you’re so sure, let’s get the gun first, then I’ll listen. I just don’t trust you, Carol. Are the keys at your place, or are you just jerking me around?’

She wound the window down, threw out the cigarette, closed it again, and then straightened her windblown hair. ‘They’re in my bag.’

‘I thought so.’

We were approaching the central Sydney where Martin Place and the bank were located. She pulled down the sun visor and touched up her lipstick. I parked in an underground about two-hundred meters from the bank, then we walked in silence.

It took ten minutes to get access to the safety deposit box. Two minutes later we were back on the street, walking toward the parking lot with the Makarov in my pack. It would have been easy to just walk away, give the gun to Mitchell, and tell them she was dead, but I drove to Turnbuckle instead. Not a word was said, and she didn't seem surprised that I knew where to go.

I followed her inside. She looked around, taking in the missing photograph and the glass fragments on the floor, but all she said was, ‘Drink?’

‘Sure.’

She poured Jameson into crystal tumblers, and handed me one. It was early for me, and I’d no intention of getting pissed and waking up on the wrong side of a .38. When I sat in an armchair, she sat opposite me with an expectant look on her face. I raised my hands palm-up. ‘So speak. I’m out of here after one drink.’

‘What’s the rush? You have the gun. You have me where you want me.’ When I didn’t answer she said, ‘Have you killed before?’

‘What do you want to say? What’s your great scheme where we both come out on top, and Kurt Reed, or Mitchell, don’t chop us into little pieces?’

‘There are ways, Micky, and you know it. We could get on your boat and both disappear.’

‘You’re not my type. Anything else?’

‘I know you don’t want to kill me.’

I sipped my drink and said, ‘What makes you so sure?’

‘I’m not saying you wouldn’t kill, you might, but not a woman in cold blood. You’re not the type.’ She tipped the whiskey back and got up to refill her glass.

‘You don’t know what type I am.’

She gave a short derisive snort. ‘I know men. That’s one thing I do know. And you, Micky Dewitt, are not a cold blooded killer.’

When she emptied the tumbler for a second time in five minutes, I guessed it was fear, not thirst. She’d just said that she knew men. She also knew men that I needed to know about, so I decided to loosen her tongue and see what I could find out. There were three days yet before I had to face Mitchell. I drained my glass and held it out for a refill. Time to play.

‘Do you know men that are? If you know I'm not, then you must be comparing me with someone else.’ I reached forward, took one of her cigarettes, lit up, and then leaned back waiting for her to speak. She had to play along. In her mind, keeping me entertained was all that was keeping her alive. A modern day Scheherazade.

‘Hanging around The Cross, you meet all sorts of people. People come and people go. Some are good, others scum. Sure, I knew of one guy had the reputation of being a cold-blooded killer. I didn't know him, but I’d seen him around. You know how the grapevine works with people like that. Must be the same where you’re from, wherever that is.’

‘London.’

‘Is Soho like The Cross?’

‘Not even close. What happened to the guy?’

‘He got whacked. I heard he'd crossed Brookes over money….’ Her words trailed off as she realised what she’d said. As she recognised the parallel, and how she was destined to end up getting whacked for the same reason.

‘He doesn't like to be duped over money, does he, Carol?’

She hung her head, her arms resting on her thighs. ‘Fuck.’

She sighed and stood wearily, looked down at me, and then walked into the kitchen returning a moment later with a bag of chips and a pack of cashew nuts. She poured herself another, and then held the bottle out offering me more. I accepted with a shrug. She poured until my tumbler was nearly full, and then stood the bottle between us. I could feel the alcohol, and guessed she could as well, which was why she’d gone for food. She tore open the pack of nuts, put a big handful in her mouth, and chewed.

‘Why do you want to stop Reed from expanding?’

She held up the index finger of her left hand as she finished eating, and then washed it down with a mouthful of whiskey. ‘Like I told you, he’s a complete arsehole. Kurt is the worst of them. There’s lots of bad bastards hanging round The Cross, but Brookes keeps them in line to some degree. If the Reeds ever take over, it’ll be a free for all.’

‘Why do you care?’

She drank again, and then reached for chips. ‘I just do.’

‘Enough to risk getting killed it would seem. So why did you try to extort him? Surely if you’d recovered the gun and taken it to him, there would have been some gratuity? Yet you spent ten grand on me, plus whatever else, to achieve what?’

‘You could fake my death.’

‘Say what?’

‘You could fake it. How would they know?’

‘How about if they want your head as proof, how am I going to fake that? Anyway, after you screwed me like that, maybe I want to kill you anyway.’

‘If you wanted to, you would have done it already instead of sitting her drinking whiskey and looking at me like you want to fuck me instead.’

‘You’ve well and truly fucked yourself; nothing I could do would top that.’

‘I have money. I’ll—’

‘Then why did you try to blackmail Brookes? Or is that how you got money in the first place?’

‘I’ll give it to you. You could sail away and never come back. I’d disappear. We could fake a car crash, which is plausible given how you drive.’

‘So now you want to insult me?’ Despite the seriousness of the situation, the banter was taking on a comic surrealism, and I found myself enjoying it. I held out my glass for a refill which she was quick to oblige me with, refilling her own at the same time and taking another handful of nuts and scooping them into her mouth.

‘Okay,’ she said tipping her head back to stop the nuts spilling out as she chewed and spoke at the same time. ‘What will it take?’

There was no pout now, no sign of fear, just a hard and knowing look as she locked eyes with me as she probably had a hundred other guys.

‘Let’s just say for arguments sake, that I was prepared to consider one of your hare-brained schemes, I’m not, but let’s just pretend that I am. What have you got to offer?’

‘Money. Contacts. Information.’

‘Okay, tell me about the information. Information about what?’

‘I hear a lot of things. Things that a dishonest person could use.’

‘You mean you used to. You’ve lost your Kings Cross privileges. You’re persona-non-gratis, and on your way to becoming the recently departed Carol Todd. And the only thing you’re going to hear is the racking of a 9mm slide.’

‘Not if we play it smart.’

‘We? What the fuck are you talking about? There is no we.’

‘We, you and I, Micky, can both get out of this sweet. If you’ve got the stones for it.’

She was almost cocky now as she slopped more whiskey into both glasses. Her speech was becoming slurred, and her face carried a loose smile. I sat back and swallowed whiskey and chips as she told me her plan. Just like last time, it sounded simple enough.

All we had to do was find a fall guy who we say was holding Carol and forced her to call Brookes with threats. That she was a square gee all along, and would never cross him.

The more whiskey we drank, the more plausible it sounded.

‘Who’d you have in mind?’ I asked, as she lit a pair of cigarettes and handed me one, the tip imprinted with her red lips, which I could taste as I placed it between mine.

‘Hedges. He’s one of the few who knew about it. He’s known as a grasping arsehole with few, if any, ethics. If somebody told me he’d done that, I’d have believed them.’

‘But he’d be afraid of what happens when he gets caught. And getting found out would be inevitable in the long run, unless he was going to kill you.’

She thought for a moment, ‘You lifted his gun from the nightstand, didn't you?’

I smoked, and waited for her to continue. She had it all planned out, which made me wonder if she was playing me again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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