Brother’s Keeper: Episode 32

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Robert pulls open a desk drawer, picks out Slim Charles’ knife, and hands it to Jay.

***

Natalia parks her Mini Cooper in the empty driveway of the Matthews’ home and intently scans the house, searching for any sign that anyone’s home. The lights are switched on in one of the upstairs rooms facing the street, but no other lights are visible from the house.

She opens the glove compartment and picks out a pair of black leather gloves. She takes her time to wear them as she continues to scan the house. She reaches underneath her seat and pulls out a small Walther P22 pistol. She deftly unlocks the safety and checks if there is a bullet in the chamber – there is. She places the P22 in her Givenchy shoulder bag and steps out of the car.

She confidently walks up to the door and pushes the door buzzer. She stares up at the room with the lights on and waits for a long moment before she pushes the door buzzer again and firmly knocks on the door twice. She turns around to scan the quiet upscale residential street for a moment before she turns back to the door and picks out Alan’s house key from her handbag.

She unlocks the door and quietly pushes it open. She steps into the dark hallway – there are no lights switched on downstairs and no lights are visible from upstairs either.

She gently shuts the door behind her and calls out, ‘Jay.’

There is a moment of silence.

She switches on the hallway lights and walks to the open doorway of the living room; she looks in and its dark, quiet, and empty. She walks to the kitchen doorway and looks in; it’s also dark, quiet, and empty.

She walks quietly up the stairway and then stops at the top of the stairs. She remains motionless as she stares down the hallway to Alan’s bedroom, which has its door ajar and its lights switched on, and then to the closed door leading to Jay’s old bedroom just ahead of her, and lastly to the closed door leading to Jay’s present bedroom at the other end of the hallway.

She slots her hand into her bag and clutches the P22. She walks to Alan’s room door and pushes the door further open with her foot.

She steps into the aptly lit, flamboyantly furnished, but very untidy bedroom. She scans the room and notices a small framed picture on a chest of drawers – the first picture she’s seen in the entire house. She walks to the chest of drawers and stares into the picture – teenage aged Alan and Jay in loving embrace with their parents on a sunny holiday.

Her gaze remains on the picture for a long moment, focused on the mother, and then she suddenly shuts her eyes as she fights back memories of her dead mother. She opens her eyes and turns away from the picture to walk out of the room.

She opens the door leading into Jay’s old room and briefly stares into the dark and untidy room before she shuts the door and walks to Jay’s bedroom.

She pushes open Jay’s bedroom door and, even in the darkness, notices that the room is very tidy. She switches the lights on and is utterly surprised by how meticulously clean the room is. She carefully scans the room as she walks around. She stops at his travelling bag and stares at the baggage label attached to the handle – it reads from HAV to LHR via CDG. She takes a moment to ponder, and then, suddenly, runs out of the room.

The flight was from the Havana airport in Cuba, to London Heathrow, via Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. Jay is the man from Cuba.

Natalia, holding her phone to her ear, frantically races to her car.

‘Come on, ring!’ she exclaims, as she unlocks the car.

She dials another number for Robert as she steps into the car, and returns her phone to her ear as she quickly reverses out of the driveway and into the street. She speeds on, steering the speeding car with only one hand while listening to ringing tone of her call. She then loudly curses as her call is sent to voicemail.

‘Roman, be calm,’ she says frantically. ‘But as soon as you hear this, you kill the man from Cuba. He is Jay – Alan’s brother. Jay is the Captain.’

***

Robert’s Range Rover Sport parks beside Alan’s silver Mercedes in the small car park behind Sophia’s place. Robert, Samuel, and Jay step out of the car and Jay successfully hides his recognition of the Silver Mercedes, but it confirms to him that his brother is in the restaurant, and, if still alive and he dearly hopes so, gravely needs his help.

A phone begins to ring, and Robert quickly pulls out the phone – a different phone from the one he’d shattered in the butcher shop – and stares at the caller ID; it reads “Natalia”. He hisses and rejects the call and switches the phone to silent.

He leads Jay and Samuel to the back door and taps the door twice.

Gennady opens the door. He nods at Robert and steps aside to allow Robert and Samuel through, but he then stops Jay and attempts to frisk him.

‘He’s with me,’ Robert sternly says to Gennady.

Gennady hesitates for a moment before he steps aside.

Robert leads Samuel, Jay, and Gennady who is a couple steps behind, in a single file through the large kitchen full of men who don’t look at all like chefs or kitchen staff. Eight men in total, and they all look mean and readied for a fight – they are henchman, and all look of Russian descent.

Jay, with his hands in his jacket pockets and clutching Slim Charles’ gun in his right and Slim Charles’ knife is his left, keenly observes the men and his surroundings. He follows the train into a hallway and then past two sturdy henchmen, who are heartily eating, but they abruptly stop eating and follow behind Gennady.

The restaurant phone begins to ring loudly, but no one cares.

Robert leads to another large square jawed henchman, with a Desert Eagle prominently tucked in his waistband, standing in front of a sturdy door. The henchman taps the door behind him twice and steps aside as it opens.

Robert steps through the door and Samuel and Jay attempt to follow, but are stopped by the square jawed henchman. Jay stares into the room just as its doors close and his eyes light up. He saw Alan tied to a chair, lifeless, and bloodied. He becomes visibly enraged and struggles to regulate his breathing.

Gennady and the henchmen surround Jay and Samuel and slowly begin to converge. Samuel is visibly terrified, but Jay calmly shuts his eyes.

Jay takes a deep breath and slowly exhales. Suddenly, he pulls out the knife and drives it into the throat of the square jawed henchman in one swift motion. He then simultaneously grabs the henchman’s Desert Eagle with his left hand and pulls out Slim Charles’ gun through his jacket pocket with his right hand.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 31

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

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

Suddenly, a loudly ringing phone interrupts him.

***

Alan appears lifeless, but he’s still tied to the chair in the expansive backroom of Sophia’s Place. All his toes are smashed and bloodied and the fingers on his left hand are also smashed and bloodied. Vasily stands over him, cradling a bloody hammer and admiring his brutal work.

At the other end of the room, Natalia sits on the desk beside her father, who is evidently anxious and deep in thought.

‘I’m going to their house,’ she says to him in Russian.

‘You want one of the boys to accompany you?’ he asks, also in Russian.

She glares at him with a raised eyebrow, and he nods – almost apologetically.

‘Call your brother before you go,’ he says.

She nods and makes the call. It’s answered after a few rings.

‘Are you done?’ she asks Robert, through the phone.

‘No, why?’ he snaps at her.

‘What do you think, Roman?’ she replies, hiding her annoyance. ‘Alan is here. He has nothing for us.’

‘What’s he doing there?’ Robert angrily questions, and continues fuelled with anger. ‘I gave him till tomorrow.’

‘Calm down, dad wanted it this way.’

‘What the …’

‘Hold on,’ she says, and passes the phone to her father.

‘Why haven’t you called?’ Mr Petrov demands, in Russian. ‘I’ve been waiting.’

‘I was going to …’ Robert begins responding in Russian.

‘Going to?’ Mr Petrov questions with more than a hint of hostility. ‘The Captain has done it?’

Robert hesitates for a moment. ‘Yes, but …’

Natalia watches her father face fill with worry and she as well becomes incredibly worried, hoping its not what she fears.

‘But what?’ Mr Petrov demands.

‘Yes, he did, but …’ he hesitates for a beat. ‘Fyodor was killed. It …’

‘What?’ Mr Petrov screams.

Mr Petrov’s distraught startles Natalia and confirms to her that it is what she fears – Fyodor is dead.

‘It was an accident,’ Robert says. ‘Fyodor was caught …’

‘Bring the Captain to me,’ Mr Petrov sternly commands.

‘I can deal with him.’

‘You can’t deal with anything!’ he screams, and pauses for a beat. ‘Nothing, you fool! Bring him to me, NOW.’

Mr Petrov ends the conversation and stares down at his desk, seething. Natalia and Vasily watch him with deep sympathy as he struggles to fight back tears.

He slowly pulls open a desk drawer, picks out a silver revolver, and places it gently on the desk.

‘I’ll wait with you,’ she softly says.

‘No. You go,’ he says coldly.

Natalia attempts to object.

‘You go!’ he barks at her.

***

‘Fuck!’ Robert yells, and tosses his phone hard onto the ground, shattering it.

The room is silent as Jay curiously stares at the duffel bag, not at all bothered by Robert, although he is somewhat surprised that Robert can speak Russian – he isn’t entirely sure it was Russian, as Russian is one of the few major languages that he doesn’t at least have a passing understanding.

Suddenly, he recognises the bag – he’d seen it in Slim Charles’ house – and it immediately becomes apparent to him that Robert is in fact Roman and “What is he doing there? I gave him till tomorrow,” must be in reference to Alan.

He looks up to Robert and says, ‘I can help you with that.’

Robert stares intently at Jay, unsure of the exact meaning of Jay’s offer.

‘Your problem,’ Jay says, and gestures to the shattered phone. ‘I can help you with that.’

Robert takes a moment to contemplate and then looks to Samuel for approval; Samuel nods approvingly.

Robert takes a deep breath and says, ‘Okay.’

The room is silent as Jay and Robert stare intently at each other.

‘You’re going to need a weapon,’ Robert says, breaking the silence.

‘What about the M9?’ Jay asks.

‘I’ll be using that,’ Robert says, and pulls out the M9 from the brown envelope. He tucks the gun in his waistband and asks Jay, ‘Are you good with a knife.’

Jay nods.

Robert pulls open a desk drawer, picks out Slim Charles’ knife, and hands it to Jay.

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 25

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

The man in the golf attire pulls out a claw hammer from his waistband, raises it high above his head, but before he swings the hammer into Slim Charles’ head, Robert and the large white man with him at the Shisha bar burst into the room.

***

‘Vasily, stop!’ Robert commands the man in the golf attire – whose name is Vasily.

Vasily stops in the middle of his swing and looks at Robert – who’s visibly enraged – for a moment, before he turns to Mr Petrov.

Robert follows Vasily’s gaze to Mr Petrov and his visible rage is immediately dampened when he sees Mr Petrov staring at him with deathly intent. Robert opens his mouth to speak, but doesn’t.

Mr Petrov slowly turns to Vasily and nods.

Vasily turns to Slim Charles, still unconscious on the sofa, and begins to viciously smash Slim Charles’ head with the hammer.

Robert watches and struggles to restrain his rage as Vasily takes his time to savour every smash and its effects obliterating Slim Charles’ head.

Robert walks calmly to Mr Petrov and says quietly in Russian, but with a very poor Russian accent, ‘You didn’t need to do this. It makes me look bad.’

Mr Petrov instantly backhand slaps Robert in the face, and Robert begins to bleed from a cut on his bottom lip.

Natalia looks away from Mr Petrov and Robert to Vasily. It’s a grim sight watching Vasily do his thing, but she’d rather watch that; she can’t stand to watch Mr Petrov and Robert fight.

‘You’re making ME look bad,’ Mr Petrov says in Russian. ‘You can’t even handle some rich boys.’ He gestures to Slim Charles. ‘Look at what they did to your man. I’ll be handling them from …’

‘I …’ Robert begins to interrupt, but Mr Petrov backhand slaps him again in the face, and Robert bleeds more profusely from his cut lip.

Samuel – Robert’s associate; the large white man – struggles to contain himself as he watches Robert and Mr Petrov, and he’s keenly watched by Mr Petrov’s man in the adidas tracksuit – called Gennady.

Mr Petrov grabs Robert’s lavish silk blazer and uses it to wipe blood – from Robert’s cut lip – off his ring.

‘Roman, you’ve become a disgrace of a child, not to mention my first son,’ Mr Petrov says, and shakes his head – he only speaks Russian, although he understands English. ‘This country has spoilt you. And your mother too, God rest her soul, she spoilt you.’ He gestures to Natalia. ‘You are nothing compared to your sister. I raised her well.’

Robert – birth name Roman Petrov – nods and fights to hide his anger.

‘The man from Cuba agreed, yes?’ Mr Petrov asks Robert.

‘The Captain?’ Robert asks in Russian.

Mr Petrov stares stoically at Robert for a long moment.

Robert nods and continues in Russian – his father doesn’t acknowledge when he speaks English. ‘But for 200 …’

‘I don’t care about that. I just want my boy back,’ Mr Petrov says, and pauses for a moment. ‘I also want my ring back. Tell the Captain to take my ring back from the rat BEFORE he kills her.’

‘I’ll let him know.’

Mr Petrov turns to Natalia and demands, ‘Bag.’

Natalia picks up Slim Charles’ duffel bag and walks to Robert to hand him the bag. She stares lovingly into her brother’s eyes, but he looks away. She takes a step back to stand beside Mr Petrov.

Robert looks into the bag. ‘This is not 200 …’

‘I know,’ Mr Petrov interrupts. ‘It will not matter. You are going to kill the Captain.’

‘What?’ Robert exclaims in English.

Mr Petrov shakes his head in disgust.

‘His people want him dead. That is the deal,’ Mr Petrov says, and pauses for a moment to stare intently at his son. ‘You can do that, can’t you? Unless you are afraid to kill a man.’

Robert nods.

Mr Petrov turns to Vasily and commands, ‘Enough, Vasily!’

Vasily stops smashing what’s left of Slim Charles’ obliterated head. He pulls out a handkerchief from his pocket and takes his time to clean the hammer. He tosses the bloodied handkerchief onto Slim Charles’ lifeless body and turns to Mr Petrov.

Mr Petrov walks out of the room, closely followed by Vasily and Gennady.

Natalia takes a step to Robert – her younger brother – and attempts to speak, but he looks away from her, uninterested. She strokes his arm and walks out of the room.

Robert seethes as he stares at Slim Charles’ lifeless body.

Samuel watches quietly as Robert walks over to Slim Charles – who was a long time associate of Robert; both Samuel and Slim Charles had worked for Robert approaching six years and had become almost like brothers.

Robert crouches to Slim Charles and gently pulls out Slim Charles’ knife from its sheath inside Slim Charles’ jacket.

***

Jay – dressed smoothly in black – uses scissors to cut the bottom out of his trench coat right pocket. He places the coat and scissors on his bed and picks up the handgun.

He ejects the magazine of the gun to check if it’s full; it is. He reloads the magazine into the handgun and chambers a round. He tucks the gun into the right side of his waistband.

He wears the coat and buttons it up. He softly taps his left breast pocket and reaches in to pull out Natalia’s zippo lighter. He stares at it for a moment, and forces back a smile before he puts the lighter back into his pocket.

He walks to the full-length mirror in a corner of the room and stares at himself for a moment. He slots his hands into his jacket pockets and, suddenly, pulls out the gun through his jacket pocket and aims at his reflection in the mirror in one swift motion. He nods approvingly and returns the gun into his right waistband through the jacket pocket.

He grabs the bin bag, full of his bloodstained clothes, and walks out of the room.

He steps off the stairway and walks towards the front door, but stops and turns to stare at the cellar door.

***

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, and then heads off towards Epsom railway station.