Novels‎ > ‎Shot Down‎ > ‎

Chapter Three

8.


Bernard Harvey had pretty much had his fill of tonight.  There was intrusion from the police and the press when all he really wanted was to go to bed.  He wasn’t going to get any kip at this rate.  Various Detectives had questioned him on the security at the event and he was sick of having to explain that this wasn’t the sort of event that attracts gun-toting criminals.  He had even played one Detective a couple of Bright Eyes songs to illustrate his point.

            “What exactly do you need to know?” he finally asked one officer, who was poking around his office for God’s know what.  “No-one’s even taken my fackin’ statement yet!

            “It’s obvious the fruit-loop with the gun killed the guy you just popped in a body bag.  Where’s the mystery?  Where’s the investigation?”

            “These premises have become a serious crime scene.  You do understand what that means don’t you?  We have to look at all avenues – CCTV, any information on the suspect, where the gun originated from.”

            “You ain’t implying it’s from here are ya?” Bernard was out-raged.  “Look, just ‘cos some tragic gobshite decided he wanted a bit more room for himself at this particular gig does not imply that we sell guns.”

            “We have to be thorough, Sir.”

            Bernard climbed out of his ostentatious leather office easy-chair and wandered towards the nearest fire exit.  He needed a cigarette and he needed to get out of the way.  Everything was under too much scrutiny, and he had nothing to hide.  His interest was in the music, the business side had just come naturally.  He knew the reputation people in his line of work had, but he didn’t fancy all the dodgy dealing, nor did he wish to employ stooges to deal for him.  He didn’t really care if people brought their own drugs with them, it was their choice what they did with their bodies – he just didn’t want to make it too easy for them.  In this world, he was deemed rather moralistic.  In reality he was too lazy to make a fortune for himself – he had got where he wanted and he wished to stay there.

            The press office would be busy in the morning, he thought, pulling on the much-desired first drag of his cigarette.  He could see that the crowds were not strictly dispersing, despite the threat of any action being over hours ago.  Blue flashing lights attracted humans like moths to the regular light-bulb.  Some people had no sense of decency. 

            The police had stopped taking statements, more than likely concluding that there was no sense to be gleaned from anyone – and certainly no light to be shed on the incident. No doubt the perpetrator would be getting an immense grilling at that very moment.  Bernard’s thoughts of Ryan’s plight were interrupted by the shrill blast of a particularly hideous ring-tone.  It was his phone.  Dreading the inevitable call from his superiors, Bernard answered sheepishly, relieved when it turned out to be his daughter’s latest fella.

            “Cam, you alright?  Didn’t see you sneak off?”

            “Had to get the story in,” Cameron replied, gleefully staring at the written story with his name all over it.  “Listen, I know this is probably in poor taste.”

            “Isn’t everything your lot do in poor taste?”

            Cameron emitted a fake laugh, as he did every time he heard that stereotype, and then proceeded with his request.  “I need you to ask around, get a name of the killer and the victim.  This could well be the making of me, Bernard.”

            Bernard didn’t really care.  It was his daughter that he was bothered about.  Christina seemed quite keen on the lad and as long as that was the case, he didn’t mind humouring him.  He was the typical protective father, but in his case he was led by the guilt of destroying his marriage when Christina was only young.  It wasn’t so much a deep-rooted motive, he just loved his daughter and put her first.  So if this Cameron needed him to find a couple of things out, then that was what he would do.  Of course, to get a little something back for his troubles would do no harm.

            “How much?”

            Everything had its price, after all.  Cameron was evidently a little taken back.  Bernard had time to pull on his cigarette before a mumbled reply.

            “What was that?”

            “I said, I’ll give you a favourable write-up.  Your job can’t be too secure right now, can it?”

            The little fucker!  Bernard let the cigarette fall to the floor.  He was going to help this upstart out, for a tidy profit of course, and he was resorting to blackmail.  Why did Christina always go for the smooth ones?  He wished it was because she was a Daddy’s girl, but that was bollocks.  Most of her previous beau’s could easily outsmart him, and that always hurt his pride.  So, when they fucked her over, he made sure he exacted his revenge in style.  And this one sounded like he would deserve it.

            “That’s a given, mate,” he bluffed.  “You don’t wanna piss my little girl off do you?  Now stop fackin’ about – how much?”

            More silence.  Cameron was obviously weighing up how much his career meant to him.  “Get me the names and I’ll get back to you,” he said and hung up. 

            “Could we just have a quick word please, Sir?”  Bernard jumped and swung round to look at the latest DC wishing to have a chat.  He had thought that he was alone. 

            “Yes, mate, yes,” Bernard over-compensated, feeling guilty in front of the law as a gut reaction.  “What can I do for you?”

            “We need to check a couple of names on your mailing list,” the DC informed him. 

            “Killer and victim?”

            “Quite.”

            “No problem.  Do you want to come through?”

            Bernard’s chance to get the required information had come sooner rather than later.  A couple of grand and a favourable write-up off Cameron would make the most of a bad lot.  If he could walk out of this one with his job in tact and a few extra quid, then it was probably worth the effort.  He led the DC up the side steps and into his office.  He had to be seen to be helpful, anything damning and he knew his neck was on the line. 

            “Basically we need the names and addresses of everyone who booked tickets to be here tonight.  We have to assume that there can’t be many people from Manchester down here.”

            “Mancs?”

            “We believe so,” the DC informed him as Bernard loaded up his computer.

            “It’s all guns up there though, isn’t it?  Seen stuff on the telly about it.  It’s the answer for everything.”

            “If you could just get the list for me, sir.”

            Too friendly, Bernard.  He had no reason to feel guilty – he hadn’t shot anyone.  He couldn’t help it, though.  Even though he kept his nose clean, he was in charge of a club and needed to at least give the impression that he was dodgy.  It was expected of him, and the police would probably be more concerned if acted straight down the line.

            He hurriedly brought up the list of ticket holders for the evening.  There were ten names from Manchester on there – more than he had expected.  Not that he generally had reason to check these things out.  That narrowed it down, but it was hardly worthy of the four figures he wanted off Cameron. 

            “Which one’s the suspect?” Bernard asked, giving off every aloof signal that he had.

            The DC pointed to Ryan Pendlebury.

            “And the victim?”

            “That we don’t know.  The young man in question was carrying nothing but a kitchen knife and a ticket-stub.  Quite how many people choose to bring weapons to your club, sir, is anyone’s guess.”

            Bernard’s face reddened, flashing-back to his school days and his frequent bollockings from the head-teacher.  The almost stereotypical enunciation you’d expect from a senior police officer added to the effect, and again Bernard feared for his future.  The little bastard had gone and ruined everything.

            “I have to go and attend to the bands,” he excused himself.  “I’d completely forgotten about them.”

            “Mr Harvey,” the DC called after him.  Bernard turned around, waiting for the killer line.  “You are aware that bribery is illegal aren’t you?”