The Bells Of St. Stephen – Part 5 . . .

Saturday 6 – Monday 8 January 2018

‘Mr Groban, do you want to explain to us again, exactly how did you come to lose your finger?’ DS Sharon James wasn’t sure of the details, but she knew where Anthony Groban’s severed finger ended up – with the forensic team for analysis and identification.

‘Told you, it was an accident. I’m not really a good DIY sort of guy.’

‘Now, Mr Groban, had it not been for the remarkable coincidence of a severed finger being delivered to your boss, Brian Hennessey, this morning, I’d probably be inclined to believe your inept DIY guy story. However, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the finger now with my forensic team, the finger sent to Hennessey this morning, just happens to belong on your hand. Right where your finger happens to not be.’ She hated when interviewees played games and wasted her time.

Groban let the effects of the painkiller wash over him. The doctor tending to his wound had loaded him up on intravenous painkiller while an operating theatre and a hand surgeon were found. He wasn’t entirely fit to answer any questions, but James and her sidekick weren’t going to leave him alone.

‘Coincidences happen, DS James,’ he replied. His voice was barely a whisper.

‘Who cut off your finger, Mr. Groban?’

‘Can’t rightly say,’ Groban whispered.

James was irritated by his decision to lie. She fired off words like a machine gun. ‘Don’t be bloody stupid, Anthony. Can I call you Anthony? If the fella who chopped your finger off was happy enough to take a digit, he’ll be just as happy to take something else belonging to you. Like your life. And mark my words, next time, and there will be a next time, he’ll post you piece by piece back to your Mr Hennessey.

Even in the depths of the painkiller induced fog, Anthony knew what she was saying was right. Dmitri Korsakov would kill him without a second thought.

‘If I tell you, he’ll kill me.’

‘And if you don’t, he’ll probably still kill you anyway. So, it’s sort of like a win-win situation. What have you got to lose?’

‘My life.’

* * * * *

Jeremy made himself at home in Hennessey’s office, and accepted the drink he was offered. Swirling the whiskey and ice cubes around the glass, he relaxed into the chair.

‘What is it this time?’

Hennessey looked from his glass to Jeremy at the sound of his visitor’s voice.

‘First of all, I need you to be extra careful this time. With this severed finger episode, the cops are on my case. Secondly, you need to be aware that Dmitri Korsakov is also on my case, and that means he’ll be on yours if he suspects you’re working for me.’

‘Got it.’ Jeremy sipped the whiskey, savouring the flavour.

‘The blue folder on the table.’ Hennessey pointed in front of Jeremy. ‘It got all the information you need. Take it, read it, and if you have questions, get in touch with me through Bruno.’

Jeremy leant forward and took the folder from the table.

‘Finish your drink and get out of here. I don’t want you anywhere near me or my office if the coppers happen to drop by.’ Hennessey gestured for Jeremy to leave immediately. Finishing his drink wasn’t really an option Hennessey wanted Jeremy to take.

* * * * *

Gina brought mugs of tea out to the conservatory. Anthony and Caroline were admiring the view of St. Stephen’s spire.

‘Help yourself to biscuits or cake . . . or both,’ she said. She laid the tray in the centre of the glass table, and served the tea. Caroline unscrewed the top of a bottle of pills, and handed two of them to Anthony. He chased them down with a gulp of tea and two biscuits. It would take about twenty minutes to feel the effects of the pills. Twenty long minutes before the throbbing in his hand subsided. Twenty long minutes of listening to the inane drivel coming out of Caroline and Gina’s mouths. He smiled at Gina as she handed him a plate with a thick wedge of chocolate cake on it.

‘So, who cut off your finger, Anthony?’ Gina asked.

‘Didn’t tell the cops, not going to tell you. Not worth my life for anyone else to find out.’ He gulped down half the mug of tea.

‘D’you know where it ended up?’

‘What?’

‘Your finger. Do you know where it ended up?’

‘No. Sort of. I have an idea. Shit, Gina, you’re morbid. No other woman wants to know that sort of stuff.’

A mischievous smile spread across her face. ‘Well, I heard that it ended up with Brian Hennessey. In a little box that was delivered by a bike courier.’

‘How’d you hear that? Who told you?’ Anthony demanded.

Caroline chimed in. ‘She would’ve have heard it from Ciaran. He’s never been one to keep his trap shut about things that don’t concern him.’

Caroline’s comment bit Gina.

‘It was my Ciaran and his mates that helped your Anthony. Picked him up from the side of the road, took him home, looked after him. He’d have bled to death if not for Ciaran.’

Anthony nodded. ‘Yes, true, so you shut your trap Caroline.’

He looked at Gina. ‘It really is better if the two of you have no idea who did this. Trust me on that.’

‘My money is on Dmitri Korsakov,’ Caroline said. Anthony’s head snapped back to look at her.

‘Why would you say that? How do you even know who Korsakov is or what he gets up to?’

‘I read about him in the paper. They had an article about him in last Wednesday’s Standard. Big name in business apparently. Russian. Looks like he’d shoot you soon as look at you. Or, you know, cut your finger off.’

‘So, you’ve never met him?’ Anthony asked her.

‘Well,’ she drew the word out, ‘only the one time when he came into Hennessey’s club. He seemed nice enough, but I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. He’s a good tipper though.’

. . . To be continued . . .

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About Danielle

I like to write. What more is there to know?
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