We went into overdrive that morning, most of the team joining with CID and uniform to carry out a fingertip search of the open stretch of grass that contained the circle, but there was absolutely nothing for us. Candice and Lexie took the lead with the young couple, and then, once the search was done, Jon and Ellen, Blake and Rob, in pairs, went to the hospital. Sammy had been very clear I wasn’t to go anywhere near what we were assuming were the shooter plus two. My boss took me to an interview room once everyone was off and running.
“Just need a quiet word, mate. A few things you should be aware of. Bring your tea”
We took our seats in the little room, but Sammy insisted on sitting the same side as me.
“Feels wrong taking a pew on the punters’ side. Anyway, the Culhwch. You understand the difference between MCCs and MCs? Front patch and back patch?”
“Well, in short, the first may do all sort of things, but in essence they are social clubs, nothing more. MCs are different. Think Hell’s Angels, think Freemasons, think family. Every single one of your mate’s brothers served an apprenticeship”
“Yeah. Brothers is the word he used”
“Aye. Brothers they are, and tighter than that, and Carl Morris is tighter than a duck’s arse with the people he allows to prospect for the club. We know they’ve got the speed and wacky baccy markets sewn up, and I suspect that cannabis farm we raided was hit by them”
“Carl Morris? Spade face?”
“The very same. Goes by the name Pig; supposed to be a joke about his voice and the club colours--- the boar’s head? Anyway, as I said, after the spade, he got an axe handle across the throat. It was meant to be the axe’s head by all accounts, but he’s bloody fast on his feet and naturally he knocked the axe free and it sort of fell onto the head of the man who hit him, purely by misadventure, Your Honour. He admitted to fighting only because he was in the hospital with multiple wounds, but there were no witnesses, so it was left as manslaughter rather than murder. Coughed to that, got ten years, kept what’s left of his nose clean and was out in five.
“Three days after he got out, two members of the Grim Reapers MC were found hacked to death. No convictions. You were lucky he was on your side, mate”
“Didn’t feel like it at the time, Sammy”
“I am sure it didn’t, girl. Anyway: Joe Evans. What, exactly, did he say?”
“Um, something along the lines of ‘Give our regards to that little shit Joe Evans’, Sammy”
This time it was feral Sammy who grinned.
“I doubt very much that Pig said ‘shit’, girl, but never mind. How much do you know about Joe Evans?”
“Apart from the gay bashing shit, Tiff and Charlie? I know he was the one who beat the shit out of Elaine Powell’s sister, then got a kicking. I assume the two events are related, but I suspect it had nothing to do with Lainey”
“You assume right, mate. From his statement, Evans had a knock on his door, and when he opened it he was immediately attacked. Iron bar across the leg followed by a serious and creatively comprehensive kicking”
“You think that was Morris?”
“I don’t really know, girl, but if it wasn’t Pig himself it will have been a couple of his crew, plus an outsider”
“How do you know?”
“Description. Apparently, the bloke made the boys who were absolutely not from the Culhwch look small. Evans said the stranger offered to give him a cock to suck”
“He offered Evans his own cock. Evans’ own cock, that is. Said as he liked having his cock sucked, if he sliced it off Joe Evans could sort of, er, cut out the middle man”
“Jesus fucking Christ!”
“You now know who and what you met the other night, and this is where realpolitik comes in. I predict we won’t have a hope in hell of linking Pig’s boys to anything. I further suspect that the three with the broken legs will be singing their hearts out in quick time. Pig will have communicated very clearly with them despite his vocal problems. Now, I know it goes against the grain, but just this once we will not be looking to find the people with the blunt instruments, because there WILL be no evidence, nor witnesses. This one is a long game”
“So we just let an OCG do their thing? No action?”
“Di, we carry on with what we have been doing for years with Pig, and that is to file away every little bit of evidence they miss. One day, if someone from another club doesn’t get amazingly lucky, we will have him, but until then we simply accept what we can’t change for now, and wait for the day when we can bloody change it. Got me?”
I nodded, somewhat reluctantly, and I got soft Sammy’s smile in return.
“Fine, mate. Now, time to get back into our kingdom. Should be getting some reports back soon, plus three coughs. One will be the shooter, the second his pilot. I’m hedging my bets on number three”
It wasn’t that quick, of course, but three hours later we had our colleagues back. Sammy called a team huddle, and Jon led off, looking nervous until Rhys and Ellen both gave him a nod and smile.
“We have initial indications of pleas from the three men. Before anyone asks, they all tripped over a loose paving slab”
Alun shouted out “Oh, for fuck’s sake!” and Jon nodded.
“Yup, that bloody silly. We have names, we have addresses. Sammy?”
“I took the liberty of sending some boys off to do section 18 searches at their places. Yes, I know, and before anyone gets clever, all three have been nicked on the strength of what they coughed to”
I gave my boy my own smile of encouragement, just as Ellen mouthed ‘go on’ at him, and he shuffled his notes. My Fresh Meat was fast becoming a bloody good copper, but he was still a nervous one.
“Er, we have three bodies, as you know. The first one is Jordan Bellamy, who has coughed to being at the controls of a certain moped. He is sixteen. Number two, who is seventeen, is Tanveer Mahmood, and he has coughed to firing at Paula, as well as at Diane”
Blake was on his feet as I sat shocked.
“What the fucking FUCK?”
He drew a couple of deep breaths, looking round the room.
“Sorry, all, but, well. What the fucking fuck?”
Once more, Jon looked to Ellen for reassurance, and after her nod looked straight at me. I caught a hint of moisture in his eyes.
“He had two home-made rounds in the gun, Di. His job was to hit both Paula and you, one after the other. The second one didn’t fire”
I felt the room suddenly twist ninety degrees and back again. What the fucking fuck, indeed. Blake was wrapped around me, but for the first time ever I was thinking about my choice of career and, at the same time, seeing Rhod wearing something black. I struggled to find my voice, and it took a while.
I savoured that word for a few seconds, telling myself it wasn’t only Carl ‘Pig’ Morris who had such a family.
“Who is number three, Jon?”
That brought a tight and humourless smile from him.
“That one? Maxamed--- that’s m-a-x-a-m-e-d--- Sharif Elmi. Paula called him ‘Mo’, if you remember. Her owner. He was very helpful. Apparently, he has a couple of wives, three daughters and two sons, and I assume he is concerned for their future health”
“Fuck it. He didn’t say anything other than what he had in the way of family, but I could read his meaning. He was talking about his family’s life expectancy. Di, who the hell are we dealing with?”
“This will sound trite, mate, but all I can say is that they are utterly without limits. What did Mo tell you?”
His mouth twisted, and he waved at Ellen to take over. She gave her own version of his twisted smile, and gave us the rest.
“It’s Paula and you, Di. He sees you as the one who got her talking, then she’s off the game, and Moira’s following, and there’s other girls looking to do the same, so there he is, off his face on khat and cannabis, and it’s all your fault, Di, as well as Paula’s, and it’s like Thomas a Becket”
Lexie made her first comment.
“Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?”
“Absolutely, girl. He does open house for kiddies, grooms the little darlings with dope and booze, gets his gofers and his merchandise that way. Two of the kids offer to sort it out, and he arranges the weapon. He is a complete and utter fucking cunt”
The rest of the team were clearly shocked, as language like that was so untypical of Ellen. Her gaze swept the room.
“No sympathy from me, er, boys and girls. He is an utterly unrepentant predator. I am not one for topping people, but, well, just this once, yeah?”
Her chest heaved a couple of times, and I realised she was going through her own version of ‘Police, professional’, and I resolved to make sure we had that Christmas team piss-up sorted before the end of the shift. I also took a moment once again to look around the room, and especially at the man beside me, just to remind myself of how different we were. At least Carl Morris had some odd system of loyalty in his twisted life.
Ellen shook herself, and continued.
“Rhys said the weapon was unlikely to fire more than one round, and I had a quick look at the firearms team’s report. The cylinder holds two home-made rounds and an empty case, which will be from Paula’s wound. The first of the two live rounds has separated just enough to block the cylinder’s rotation. Locked the whole thing up, in fact. That one was going to be yours, Di”
Candice muttered something very un-blonde, then looked around the team.
“Dunno about the rest of you, but I am not exactly flowing with the milk of human kindness towards the little shit. I hope he’s in a real world of pain”
Ellen’s smile held no joy in it whatsoever.
“Oh, he most certainly is”
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