Returning to the apartment Veronica found Big Al pacing the floor.He glowered at her as she hung her coat in the cupboard.
" Mr. M’s been on the phone and he wants me to come up with a million quid, otherwise he’s going to make life very painful for you and me," he whined.
" I’ve heard just what he does to people who cross him, especially women, and it isn’t very nice."
Damn, thought Veronica.Now I’ll have to tell him what I’ve found out. I don’t want Mr.M coming after me! She was just about to tell Big Al what she had discovered when he surprised her by tenderly saying,
" Look Veronica, I don’t want you getting hurt because of this mess. Take the car and disappear for a couple of weeks. I’ll phone you when this has all blown over."
He handed her the keys to the Daimler, and she breathed a sigh of relief. She smiled at him and told him what a lovely caring man he was. He shrugged her off, and told her bashfully to, " Get going." She packed her suitcase, and kissing him lightly on the cheek, she thankfully hurried from the apartment.Now she was free to track down the elusive Kit Daemon!
She spent the whole of the day phoning and visiting car-rental businesses before she found the company that had hired the Mini to Kit.He had been confident enough to proffer his genuine driving licence to the company, and with a little gentle feminine persuasion she discovered that he had arranged to leave the car at the company’s Carlisle depot, saying that he had a job there and wouldn’t be returning to London.The informant also said that there was no definite return date on the hire form, so they couldn’t supply that information. Well, thought Veronica, if I have to stake the place out all day,every day, that’s how it will have to be done, but for the chance to get her hands on that three million pounds once again, she was more than prepared to do just that.
She stopped at a service station and filled the tank of the Daimler.
With a determined look on her face she headed Northwards, Carlisle bound.
On my last day in Carlisle I had returned the mini to the hire company and said it had performed well. No thanks, I won’t be needing another car as I had found a good job on the building site and I would be here for some time.
I walked around the city for a couple of hours and had a meal. While eating my meal I put the finishing touches to my next plan. Reading the local paper I made a note of the smaller car-hire firms addresses. After finishing my meal and paying the bill, I strolled down the main street until I eventually came to the first firm on my list.
Looking around at their stock of cars I wasn’t impressed with what they had to offer. Moving on to the next on my list I was happy to see a gleaming Mercedes parked in the parking bays. Entering the reception I was greeted by a brassy-blonde.She eyed me speculatively and slowly approached me.
" Good morning Sir, can I help you?
" Yes, I want to hire that Mercedes for a couple of weeks, what’ll it cost?" She beamed, “A couple of weeks, you must be intending to impress someone with a car like that,” she said.
" No, I just want a big powerful car to do some touring around Scotland, and small cars are too uncomfortable for such long usage," I replied.
We went to the reception desk and she made out a total cost sheet. I agreed the price and signed all of the neccessary paper work. Paying her in cash, I could see she was impressed at the size of my bank-roll" Travelling alone?," she asked suggestively.
" No, I’m expecting my wife to turn up any-time today, and then we are off touring for two weeks in the Highlands."
" How nice for you both," she said as she handed me the keys to the Mercedes.
“Some women get all the luck,” She turned on her heel and went back to her magazine.
Driving the car out of the lot I headed back to the hotel, but this time I parked about a mile from the village, and continued on foot to the hotel.
The manager greeted me as usual, but his face fell when I said I was checking out right now. I’d met friends in Carlisle and I was going to stay with them for some time, I explained. I went to my room and collected my already packed cases. The manager was waiting with my bill when I once again descended to the foyer.
" Sorry to see you going Mr.Smith," he uttered.
" Don’t worry, I could be back in a wee while, I don’t intend to outstay my welcome with my friends." I was laying as many false trails behind me as I possibly could.
" Oh, could you call ma a taxi please, I’m meeting my friends in the city centre in Carlisle."
" Certainly sir, I’ll do it immediately," which he did.
Inside ten minutes a taxi rolled up to the front of the hotel.
" Where to sir, Carlisle? "
" Yes please, let’s be off."
I shook hands with the manager of the hotel, and off we drove. After leaving the village I spotted my car in the distance. I told the driver to stop as I had changed my mind. I alighted from the taxi, along with my two suitcases and handed the driver a ten pound note." Thanks for your trouble mate," I told the driver, and he drove off shaking his head in disbelief.He sped off in the direction of Carlisle and as he disappeared I headed for the Mercedes. Hoisting my suitcases into the boot, I slammed the lid tight. I jumped into the car and gunned the motor. Next stop,Southampton.
Heading down the motorway the big Mercedes was a dream to drive. I listened to the radio and smoked endlessly. Deciding to stop for a break I pulled into one of the motorway service stations. As I was walking across the windowed walkway my attention was drawn to the speeding Daimler heading Northwards. At the wheel was Veronica, alone. I smiled to myself as I imagined the effort that she had gone to in tracing my whereabouts, and how furious she would be when she reached Gilsland only to find that " the bird had flown" yet again.
I wondered just how long she would sit watching for my return to the hotel . She’d know about the hotel because that was the address that I had let slip when I returned the mini.
The hotel manager would assure her that I was definitely returning in a " wee while", and she’d just have to sit it out.
Big Al would have his hands full trying to scrape together the million quid for Mr. M.
I ditched the Mercedes some miles outside of London and took a taxi to Southampton. I proffered my boarding card and walked quickly up the boarding gangway.
Once inside my upper-deck cabin I slid open the panoramic windows and stepped onto my private patio. It was 7 p.m. exactly when the two huge tugs gently towed us from our docking berth, and the Arcadia majestically headed out toward the open sea.
I bade goodbye to England, Veronica, and Big Al. I had no idea where I would jump ship, but I was certain it would be somewhere warm and sunny.
Would I ever return to England again? I really don’t know, but watch this space, you never know.
Kit. THE END. (How about a comment or two? Did you enjoy it, or not?)