Copyright© 2012 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
It was a week or so after the demise of J Kite esquire, the kids were back in school and I was looking over my teaching material when the doorbell rang. The gates had malfunctioned again, probably because Tom had bumped them once more, so we had to leave them open.
Being closest I answered the door, and was surprised to see Andy Bond there. He was out of uniform and it took me a moment to recognise him. “May I come in?”
“But of course, I’ve just boiled the kettle—tea or coffee?”
“Either,” he followed me into the kitchen where I made two cups of tea and invited him to sit at the table. I collected up the notes I’d been reading and placed them in their file with the textbook of ecology we use as the standard text.
“Work?” he commented nodding at the pile of papers.
“Yep, corrupting young minds: I’m actually teaching two classes this term because the applications were so numerous.”
“Because of your film?”
“Possibly, I’m doing a programme on mammals on Radio 4 with Professor Harris from Bristol, he’s an expert on foxes and badgers.”
“We each recorded a bit for them to play, Harris did a fox watch in Bristol and I took them round one of my dormouse sites checking the nest boxes.”
“Did you see any?”
“Yeah, one, but several are building nests in them.”
“Yeah, it was so warm in March, it woke them up.”
“I see they released that one they found in a restaurant in Lyme Regis.”
“Did they? I hadn’t seen that yet.” See? I don’t know everything. I sipped my tea, ”So are you off duty?”
“Yeah, was on my way home.”
“So why have you come?”
“I was just passing and thought I’d cadge a cuppa.”
“Andy, that is total codswallop, now why are you here—Kite and co?”
“Okay, this is off the record, okay?”
I shrugged, I wasn’t going to tell them anything I hadn’t already said.
“I was looking at the engineers report on the RTA that killed Kite.”
“Well, all the wheels came off his car.”
“The significance of which is?”
“It’s so unusual it’s hardly ever heard of.”
“Perhaps German engineering isn’t as good as we like to believe?” I tried to distract.
“It’s like they’d all been loosened.”
“One of his underlings didn’t like him?”
“C’mon, Cathy, that’s nonsense—they were all terrified of him.”
“Perhaps one got brave or desperate?”
“Did you loosen them?”
I shook my head, “I can say hand on heart that I didn’t loosen anything, although I did chuck a rock at Ditchley and hit him on the side of the face.”
“You told us that.”
“We saw the three of them talking and heard that they were going to kill Jim, so we waited until Kite went, and as far as I know he drove off okay; then we tried to rescue Jim, which nearly worked, and I’m extremely grateful to your colleague who shot Ditchley, because I think he was going to kill me.”
“So did my colleague.”
“You know if one of those wheels hadn’t come off, we could have seen they’d been tampered with, but because they all did, we can’t—so you’re safe.”
“I didn’t do it, Andy. I promise you I didn’t. I’ve only seen Kite’s car once, the day he came here to harass me with spurious law suits.”
“I said it was off the record. Otherwise I could have been investigating a manslaughter.”
“Don’t cars all have locking wheel nuts, these days? I think my Jag does, but I’ve never tried changing a wheel.”
“The wheels wouldn’t come off, would they, they’d be locked on.”
“His only had one locking nut per wheel.”
“Well shows how much I know, doesn’t it?”
“I’m surprised that someone who is so into bikes doesn’t know anything about cars.”
“Why? I enjoy riding and tinkering with bikes, but cars leave me cold. I have an old Jaguar in the garage. Simon drools over it, Danny has asked me to give it to him when he can drive. I’d rather drive my own car and I’d prefer to cycle if was more feasible—but it isn’t. I’m just not interested in cars except as a means of carrying things or people. I wouldn’t know a locking wheel nut if you paid me. I mean if they’re locked on, how am I supposed to change the wheel?”
“Get Simon to show you.” He was accusing Simon, was he?”
“You’re joking, he couldn’t work out how to open the bonnet on one car he had. He was pretending to check the oil but he had no idea what was what. On another, he didn’t realise how to open the fuel cap cover—there was a pull switch by the driver’s seat. He couldn’t see it.”
“So you worked it out for him, did you, being a bit more mechanically minded?”
“No, I had no more clue than he, we called the garage and they told us what to do. Locked filler caps are not an issue on most bicycles.”
“Yeah okay, look if you think of anything, however small, we could be dealing with a case of manslaughter or even murder.”
“But there are thousands of his victims who could have done it?” I lied.
“But they weren’t at the warehouse, were they? You were.”
“Andy, I told you, we found the warehouse by getting the network to triangulate it for us. I don’t necessarily remember seeing Kite’s car there. If I did it wasn’t important.”
“But it would have told you he was still there.”
“The van that Ditchley used apparently was parked round the back, we saw that so we knew someone was there. Kite was leaving when we arrived, hence the photo of the three conspirators.”
“Okay, Cathy, I’ll believe you had nothing to do with it. I suppose it could just be a coincidence.”
“I once saw a wheel come off a caravan on the flyover on the M5 over the river, near Gordano services.”
“Yeah, your guys told me that only one of his came off, the others presumably came off in the impacts with the lorries.”
“Did it do much damage—the loose wheel?”
“No, but the guy pulling the caravan wanted to walk across three lanes of fast moving traffic to get it.”
“Absolutely, they had to call you guys to close a couple of lanes to pick it up. He’d have been dead long before he got to his wheel.”
“Probably. Thanks for the tea, see you around.”
“Any time, Andy.”
“Oh, wasn’t there some guy who tried to cross the New York freeway and got hit by about seventy cars before the traffic could stop?”
“Ugh, minced jaywalker.”
“Oh that was something they never pinned on Kite.”
“It was alleged he dropped some kid on the central reservation late one night. The kid was pissed and of course walked out in front of an artic. I’m not sure if they found enough to fill a shoe box for the funeral.”
“So Kite’s demise was poetic justice then?”
“In a philosophical manner of speaking, in legal terms it’s homicide.”
“Oh, yeah, I suppose it was if someone loosened the nuts deliberately.”
“I’d better go, my wife will kill me.”
“Not by loosening your nuts, I hope?” I joked, though I felt little in the mood for jocularity. I wanted to call Simon, but if Andy’s visit was undercover stuff, then they’d be waiting for me to do that. I cleared up my kitchen table, rinsed out the cups and went to check on Catherine who was having a nap.
Jeremy Kite was killed, but we didn’t kill him, just contributed somewhat. Because he was threatening my family and me, I feel no remorse—it was a pest control exercise, like poisoning a pesky rat—only I’d have more sympathy for the rat than I would for a shit like Kite.
There’ll be an inquest at some point for both of those who died. With a bit of luck, some of those he hurt or killed directly or otherwise, will have a chance to have their say.
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