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.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 18

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

Natalia walks away, still wearing Jay’s jacket, and he watches her, captivated.

***

The Palm Palace Shisha Bar in Guilford is extremely busy, with every seat out front filled with people, most seeming of Middle-Eastern descent, smoking shisha pipes.

A taxi parks on the opposite side of the street from the bar and, a moment later, drives off to reveal Jay. He scans the bar intently for almost a minute, before he walks across the street towards the bar.

He steps into the bar/restaurant, and stops at the doorway to scan through the people in the bar. He scans almost the entirety of the bar before he sees a man in his mid thirties, who’s more pretty than handsome with deep blue eyes and long flowing blonde hair, sitting alone at a table in the corner of the large room. Their eyes meet and there is recognition in their stare.

Jay walks to the man, and sits on the empty chair opposite him.

‘Robert,’ Jay says to the man – more a statement, not a question.

‘Captain,’ Robert replies, and nods.

‘Details, please.’

‘No small talk?’ Robert asks with a smirk, and takes a sip from his pint of Guinness.

Jay doesn’t respond; he just stares stoically at Robert.

‘Okay. I ordered us shawarmas though.’

‘Not hungry.’

‘You tried one before?’

Again, Jay doesn’t respond, although he almost cracked a smile. He’s been studying Robert intently and he’s amused by the height of Robert’s vanity – Robert’s nails are freshly manicured, no strand of his long blonde hair is out of place, eyebrows appear tweezed, teeth are perfect and white, his outfit is tailored and colour coordinated with a penchant for royal blue, he’s adorned with opulent gold jewellery, and doused in a subtly strong perfume. To be fair to the man, without question, he has immaculate taste.

‘Shawarmas are amazing. You really should try it. Fuck kebabs,’ Robert declares, and chuckles. ‘I got you the chicken. I’m having the lamb. It’s my favourite, but I find most people prefer the chicken.’

Jay leans back into his chair as he fights to hold back a smile.

‘Okay, okay, details,’ Robert says, and Jay leans forward. ‘Cameron is being protected …’

‘Cameron’s the target?’

‘Target … I like that. Yes, Cameron, the target, is being protected by the Met at a safe house in Croydon …’

A waitress arrives at the table with two plates of shawarmas.

‘Lamb’s mine, chicken’s his,’ Robert says to the waitress.

She nods and places the plates of shawarmas in front of them as instructed.

‘Want a drink with that?’ Robert asks Jay.

Jay shakes his head.

‘Okay,’ he says to Jay, and turns to the waitress with a soft smile. ‘Thank you.’

She smiles back and walks away.

He gestures to the scrumptious-looking chicken shawarma. ‘Smells good doesn’t it?’ he asks.

Jay doesn’t respond, although he is somewhat impressed by Robert’s persistence.

‘You are going to regret this tomorrow if you don’t at least give it a try.’

‘Okay.’

Robert shrugs and asks, ‘Mind if I eat?’

‘No.’

Robert commences to eat as he talks, although he effortlessly manages never to talk with food in his mouth.

‘Where was I?’ he asks.

‘Safe house in Croydon. You have any pictures?’

‘Pictures?’

‘Of the safe house. Of Cameron. Do you know the amount of Met officers protecting him?’

Robert laughs softly for a long moment.

‘I don’t know how many Met officers,’ he says. ‘I don’t have a picture of the house. But I do have the address. And I do have a picture of Cameron.’

Robert pulls out an iPhone from his jacket and works on it for a moment. He turns the phone around for Jay to see a zoomed-in image of a happy-looking beautiful woman in her late twenties, affectionately carrying an equally happy male toddler – her son. There is an arm around her and the toddler from a man who is cropped out of the frame by the zoom.

‘That is Cameron,’ Robert says. ‘For all intents and purposes … HER. We’ll pay you half a million to kill her and everyone in the safe house, BUT the boy. I want the boy … well, not me per say.’

Jay stands and calmly says, ‘No.’

‘What?’ Robert blurts out. ‘Sit down!’

‘I’m leaving.’

‘What? I can’t let you do that,’ Robert says angrily. ‘You’ve seen my face. You know what I’m about.’

‘You’ve seen mine, and you know, for all intents and purposes, I am a serial killer.’

Those words immediately cool Robert’s erupting anger and he leans back into his chair, powerless as he watches Jay walk away.

Jay stops midway to the restaurant’s door and walks back to Robert.

‘Your man in the brown leather jacket,’ Jay says, and gestures across the room.

A large white man wearing a brown leather jacket, sat alone at a table a short distance away with a glass of water in front of him, quickly looks away from them.

‘If he follows me,’ Jay continues. ‘I’ll kill him, and then I’ll come back for you.’

Robert remains silent, seething.

Jay nods at Robert, and walks away, out of the restaurant, and out of sight.

Robert bangs his fists on the table in an eruption of anger.