Brother’s Keeper: Episode 30

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Natalia’s smile broadens and she scrolls through the contacts on Alan’s phone to “SUPERMAN”. She calls “SUPERMAN”.

***

Jay calmly steps into Palm Palace Shisha bar – seemingly forever busy – and walks to sit on the empty chair opposite Robert. He places the envelope – containing the M9 – on the table.

Robert gently strokes his half empty glass of gin and sprite as he stares intently at Jay. He is tipsy – he’s had four glasses of gin and sprite – and is battling severe anxiety as he questions his decision to instruct Jay to kill Fyodor – his 2 years old half brother – and ponders its unavoidable far-reaching consequences.

‘I added sprite,’ he says, gesturing to his glass. ‘It tastes much better.’ He pauses and vacantly scans the bar. ‘I like sprite.’

He downs the rest of his drink and remains silent as he continues to people watch, and Jay stoically stares at him.

He turns back to Jay and asks, ‘You want a drink?’

Jay doesn’t respond.

‘I can’t imagine it’s easy to kill a kid,’ Robert says flippantly, in an effort to disguise his true sentiment.

Jay instinctively shakes his head as a response to the comment – “it’s certainly not easy,” he’s thinking.

‘You did it, right?’ Robert earnestly asks.

Jay doesn’t respond.

‘I know,’ Robert says, hiding his resignation. ‘I got your text. Well, not me per say. I’m professional.’

Jay pulls out Cameron’s wedding ring and places it on the envelope.

Robert reaches for the envelope and drags it to himself. He stares at the ring for a moment and nods.

‘Where’s the money?’ Jay asks.

‘I don’t carry that sort of cash around. It’s very conspicuous. I like that word – conspicuous.’

‘Where is it?’ Jay sternly asks.

‘It’s in my office … back of a little butcher shop where I lay my head during the day. It’s close. Might even pack you some fucking tasty sausages to take with you.’

Jay calmly stands and says, ‘Let’s go.’

Robert leads Jay out of the bar to a black Range Rover Sport parked in front of the bar. He turns to Jay with a smile and says, ‘I didn’t think my man in the brown leather jacket needed to hide any more.’

Jay hides a smile; when he was approaching the bar, he’d noticed Samuel – the man in the brown leather jacket – sitting confidently in the driver’s seat of the car. He follows Robert’s lead and steps into the back seat.

Jay slots his hands into his jacket pockets and clutches Slim Charles’ gun – tucked in his waistband – through the large hole he’d cut in his right pocket earlier in the day.

‘Captain,’ Robert says to Jay, and gestures to Samuel. ‘Meet man in the brown leather jacket.’ He turns to Samuel. ‘Brown leather jacket man …’ He gestures to Jay. ‘Meet Captain.’

Samuel and Jay acknowledge each other through the rear-view mirror.

‘I tried to get him to wear another jacket,’ Robert says. ‘I thought it had become too conspicuous.’ He laughs for a moment. ‘But he didn’t listen. Stubborn fucker, he is.’

Samuel exaggeratedly nods.

‘To the office,’ Robert instructs.

***

They are ten minutes into the journey to the butcher shop and the car is silent; you could cut the air with a knife.

‘So, Captain, you have a family?’ Robert asks.

Jay turns to Robert, but doesn’t respond.

‘I thought so,’ Robert continues. ‘You strike me as one of the no attachment types – nothing you can’t leave in thirty seconds flat and shit. You have it right; family is fucking overrated.’

With that, the car returns to silence.

***

The Range Rover parks by the back entrance of a high-end High Street butcher shop and Jay, Robert, and Samuel step out of the car. Robert leads Samuel, and Jay, who still has his hands in his pockets and is firmly clutching the gun, to the back door.

Samuel does his best to act cool, but is evidently on edge.

Jay, on the other hand, appears absolutely calm but his mind is in overdrive working out the smoothest way of eliminating them both, disposing their bodies, cleaning up the scene, and escaping in just over an hour – which is all the time he has left from the three hours of silence he’d requested from Cameron.

Robert stops by the door and stares expectantly at Samuel, but Samuel doesn’t react.

‘The key?’ Robert asks, and gestures to the door.

Samuel pats himself, searching for the key, and then has a moment of recollection. He forces an apologetic smile and walks briskly back to the car.

Robert turns to Jay and exaggeratedly shakes his head in disappointment. Jay sees through their elaborate charade and has the urge to put a bullet through Robert’s eyes right there and then, but no, he’ll wait till he gets the money.

Samuel steps into the driver side of the car. He opens the glove compartment with one hand and surreptitiously opens a secret compartment underneath the steering wheel with the other. He quickly picks out a matte black sawed off shotgun and tucks it into his jacket before he picks out the back door key from the glove compartment.

He shuts the compartment, steps out the car, and walks briskly back towards Jay and Robert.

Samuel opens the back door and Robert leads through a small hallway into an expensively furnished office. Samuel waits at the door, and Robert walks round to the front of his desk.

Jay glances back to Samuel at the door before he walks up to the desk.

Robert picks up a duffel bag from the floor and dumps it onto the middle of the desk.

Samuel reaches into his jacket and grabs the shotgun. His nervous finger is on the trigger and he waits for Robert’s signal to shoot Jay. It’s not his first rodeo, but he has only one shot, if he misses or isn’t quick enough, he knows he won’t live to regret it.

Robert gestures at the duffel bag, which is full of money, and says with a wide smile, ‘You want to count …’

Suddenly, a loudly ringing phone interrupts him.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 26

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Jay walks purposefully along a quiet residential street close to his home and surreptitiously tosses the black bin bag into a skip he’d seen the night before; he then heads off towards Epsom railway station.

***

It’s early evening as Jay steps out of Guilford Railway Station and walks briskly towards Palm Palace Shisha Bar – about 15 minutes walk away.

***

Jay stands across the street from the shisha bar, observing the bar and its surroundings for almost a minute before he chuckles and walks across the street towards the bar.

He walks into the busy bar and immediately sees Robert sitting at the same table as the night before. He walks to the table and sits opposite Robert.

Robert solemnly stares at Jay as he strokes his half empty glass of double gin and soda. There is a thick brown envelope on the table beside the glass.

Jay notices Robert’s bloody lip and makes sure to make it apparent to Robert that he’d noticed it – that usually elicits a verbal acknowledgement; although most times the acknowledgements are tall tales or blatant lies, but he can detect that and it helps him further analyse the person.

Robert forces a smile. ‘You should see the other guy,’ he says.

Jay forces a smile; he knows Robert lied.

‘Want a drink?’ Robert asks.

Jay softly shakes his head.

‘I usually don’t drink, you know,’ Robert says, and glances at the glass. ‘It tastes fucking horrible.’

Jay doesn’t respond.

Robert stares at Jay for a long moment and then laughs softly to himself.

‘Okay,’ he says. ‘Details. You know the TARGET. The address for the safe house is …’ He pauses for a moment to look through his phone. ’23 Westcroft Close.’

He stares at Jay expectantly, but Jay doesn’t react.

‘Want to write that down?’ he asks.

Jay softly shakes his head.

‘Right,’ Robert continues. ‘I don’t know how many officers are in the house. I don’t care. For what I’m paying, it shouldn’t matter.’ He pauses for a moment, expecting a reaction from Jay, but there is none forthcoming. ‘We have a man in the house. At 8:15 – or 20:15 as you military boys say it – our man will disable the alarm. The moment he does that, he’ll fuck with the lights …’

‘Fuck with the lights?’ Jay asks with a raised eyebrow.

‘Switch em on and off a few times, you know. The upstairs bathroom … facing the street, I suppose … I’d hope.’

Jay nods.

‘He thinks you’re going to let him live, shoot him in the arm or something. You kill him.’

‘Okay.’

Robert pulls out a small piece of paper from his pocket and slides it across the table to Jay. Jay looks down to the paper, which has “07776543983” boldly written on it.

‘Send a blank text to that number with the man’s phone when it’s all done.’

‘I hope this isn’t one of your numbers?’

Robert chuckles. ‘No, it’s not. I am a professional too. But thanks for caring.’

Jay slides the paper back across to Robert.

‘You don’t want it?’ Robert asks.

‘I’ve seen it. I’m good.’

‘If you forget it though …’

‘I won’t.’

‘Okay then,’ Robert says with a hint of sarcasm. ‘Anyway, Cameron has a wedding ring. I want it.’

‘Okay.’

‘And the kid,’ Robert says, and pauses to consider the gravity of his next words. ‘You kill the kid too.’

‘That wasn’t …’

‘That is the deal. For the price you’re asking, I’m sure you can do it.’

There is a long moment of silence before Jay nods.

‘Thought so,’ Robert smugly says.

He pushes the thick brown envelope to Jay.

‘I was told the M9 is your weapon of choice,’ he says. ‘With hollow point bullets.’

‘Suppressor?’

‘Yes. I was told that too.’

Jay nods, and there is silence as both stare at each other.

‘Anything else?’ Jay asks.

‘No. We’ll meet here when you’re done.’

‘You’ll have the money?’

‘I always do.’

Robert cracks a distant smile and stares intently at Jay.

‘So, is your dad proud of you?’ Robert asks. ‘Being a serial killer and all.’

Jay doesn’t respond.

‘Not much of a talker, are you?’

‘I listen,’ Jay answers softly. ‘And it seems to me like you want to talk.’

Robert is pleasantly surprised and leans back into his seat with a smile. He opens his mouth to speak, but Jay stands and picks up the envelope.

Jay gestures out the window and says, ‘Talk to your man in the brown leather jacket waiting in the black Range Rover parked outside. I’ve got things to do.’

Robert’s genuine smile transforms into seething rage, but he fights to maintain a forced smile as he watches Jay walk out of the bar. He then slowly takes a sip from his glass and suddenly slams the bottom of the glass onto the table and all the gin and soda left in the glass splashes over him.

‘Fucking hell!’ he mutters, and pulls out a handkerchief to wipe dry his face, but then he smiles – he’s sure going to enjoy putting a bullet through the fucker’s head.