Sunday 30 April 2017
‘Getting close enough to the bitch to do damage was always going to be difficult.’
Roy Mackey locked eyes with Kevin. ‘Then why do you insist on payback, Kev? What’s the point of it’s so difficult to carry off?’
Kevin grinned. ‘Why not, Mr. Mackey? She put me behind bars. I lost my family, my job. My freedom. She has to pay for that.’
‘Correct me if I’m wrong, Kevin,’ Mackey put his feet up on his desk, and leaned back into the chair. ‘But isn’t the reason you went to prison in the first place, because you beat the shit out of the good Detective Sergeant?’
‘Yes, but –’
‘No, buts, Kevin. You’d never have gone to prison if you hadn’t assaulted her in the first place. And now, now you want to beat her to a pulp again because you went to prison. It’s nuts. Do you follow my logic?’
Kevin thought Mackey would have understood his desire for revenge. ‘I have to say, Mr. Mackey, you’re disappointing me at the moment. I thought you’d be the one person around here to get it.’
‘Get what? There’s nothing to get, Kevin. You’re going to war over a tiny, tiny issue. Wars should be fought over significant matters. Everyone here in my employ has been in and out of prison. There’s nothing special about you having gone to gaol. Nothing.’
Kevin looked down at his shoes. He knew how this was going to go. Mackey would give him a fatherly lecture about picking his battles, and then send him on his way.
‘Kevin, listen to me, because I’m going to tell you one last time. If, in any way, shape or form, this gets linked back to me, I’ll hang you out to dry. No, more than that. I’ll cut your balls off, shove ‘em down your throat, and then I’ll hang you out to dry. I haven’t succeeded in this world because I’ve been reckless, which is what you’re being right now. I’m a success because I know when to fight, and when to step back. As for disappointing you, well, my job isn’t to live up to your expectations, Kevin. And if you ever, ever come at me with that attitude again, you’ll regret it. That is a promise. Now get the fuck out of my office.’
‘What about the police?’ Kevin asked.
‘I’ll have to deal with them, won’t I? So that means that you owe me another favour. Fuck off. And go by the side door, not out the front. I’ve got your detective out there waiting.’
Norton, heading for the main office door, changed direction and left via the side office door. Mackey had covered his arse once again, so there was little chance of leaving his employ any time soon. As Norton left, Mackey buzzed the intercom and spoke calmly to his secretary.
‘Sandra, please show the detectives in.’
Within seconds, Fraser and Corbyn were ushered into Roy Mackey’s office. Sandra waited at the office door for further instructions.
‘Detective Chief Inspector Fraser, I’d like to say it’s lovely to see you, but as I recall when you were in uniform, you always brought trouble my way. Can I offer you a tea or coffee?’
‘No, thank you, Mr. Mackey. Was it really that long ago that we last met? When I was in uniform?’ Fraser answered on behalf of he and Corbyn. Sandra smiled at her boss, and quickly shut the door leaving Corbyn and Fraser to do business with him. Mackey was put on the back foot by Fraser refusing to introduce his partner.
‘Yes, it was. Right, well, please, have a seat. What can I do for the two of you today?’
Corbyn flipped open her notebook and prepared herself to take down anything of importance that Mackey spewed out.
‘Benjamin Rowe,’ Fraser said.
‘Is the name familiar to you at all?’
Mackey feigned deep thought. ‘No. Nope. Don’t think so. Why? What’s he done?’
Fraser continued. ‘What about Don Mackey?’
Roy smiled. ‘Yes, of course, I know Don. He’s my nephew. I ask again, what’s he done?’
‘Died.’ Fraser and Corbyn noted that Mackey was unmoved by the revelation.
‘Right. Well. That is a bit of a problem for Donny boy.’
‘Indeed, it is,’ replied Fraser, his eyes never leaving Mackey’s face.
‘And how did he come to be dead?’
‘We can’t discuss an ongoing investigation, Mr. Mackey. We’re here because we need information.’
‘Fair enough, fair enough. So, what information can I give you?’ Mackey liked playing games, particularly with coppers who thought their shit was chocolate.
‘Any information you can give us about your nephew would be of help. When was the last time you saw him?’
Mackey lowered his feet, and pulled his chair closer to the desk.
‘Well, if I remember correctly, the last time I saw him was at the trial where he testified against me. The last time I spoke with him, maybe a month or so before the trial. Haven’t had any contact with him since. Actually, to be honest, I thought someone had already killed him because he just sort of disappeared off the face of the earth. Witness protection, was it?’
Fraser grinned. ‘Interesting you would suggest witness protection, Mr. Mackey. Know anything more about that?’
Mackey shook his head. There was little point in wasting energy to say no.
‘Do you know if he had any enemies?’
‘What? Aside from me?’ Mackey chuckled. Fraser and Corbyn did not. ‘I honestly don’t know, Detective. Look, when we were on speaking terms, I didn’t have a lot to do with the boy. His mother didn’t like me, so she did her best to keep him away from me and anything or anyone I had anything to do with.’ He looked over at Corbyn busily scribbling notes. ‘She ever say anything?’
Fraser threw his gaze over at Ali, a minute smile on her lips.
‘Yes, but if she does, you’re in trouble.’
‘I see. She’s the bad cop, is she?’ Mackey chuckled again.
‘No, Mr. Mackey, Detective Sergeant Corbyn is the reason why my department has such a high clear-up rate.’
Mackey flinched. Just a little, but enough for Fraser to notice he’d possibly hit a nerve.
‘Something the matter, Mr. Mackey?’
‘You’re DS Corbyn?’ He pointed at Ali, who looked up from her notebook.
‘Yes, I am. Is that a problem?’
‘No, no. I, um, read about the assault on you a few years back. Wondered what sort of animal could do that to a woman.’
‘Kevin Norton. Do you know him?’ Ali asked.
‘Heard of him, but haven’t had anything to do with him. Nasty piece of work, is he?’
* * * * *
Mackey waited by the window after Fraser and Corbyn left his office. He wanted to make sure they left before making his next move. He watched as Fraser looked up at the building, watched as Fraser gave a small wave in his direction, watched as the two detectives got into their car and drove away. It was only then that he summoned Sandra, a loud roar instead of the intercom. She rushed into Mackey’s office.
‘Yes, Mr. Mackey?’
He wasted no time or words to make his demand. ‘Get Kevin Norton on the phone, and tell him he’s got ten minutes to be in my office. If he’s not, I’m giving his name to the coppers.’
Sandra rushed out as quickly as she’d appeared. Mackey heard her making demands on his behalf.
A quiet, controlled knock on his office door, and her face appeared once again.
‘He’s on his way, Mr. Mackey.’
‘Thank you, Sandra.’
‘Can I get you anything? Coffee? Tea? Lunch?’
‘No, no, I’m fine, Sandra.’ He looked at the door. She still hadn’t left yet. ‘What is it, Sandra?’
‘Forgive me if I’m being impertinent, Mr. Mackey, but is there something bothering you? Would you like to talk about it?’
Sandra was the only person working for Mackey who would ever dare show him compassion and understanding. She’d been with him since she was seventeen, and had seen other employees come and go; some dispatched in the most unpleasant of ways, but her loyalty to him never faltered.
‘Maybe after I’ve seen Norton again, lunch would be lovely. If you’ll join me.’
She nodded, and then left Roy Mackey alone in his office to ponder the ramifications of Norton assaulting DS Corbyn.
. . . To be continued . . .