Monday, April 7, 2014

Because Of Mistakes! (novel about autism in London in 1900) pt 7

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

"Who are they looking for?" Freddy asked.

"Raymond wouldn't tell me," Al said. "It's all very hush-hush. Strange Raymond not confiding in me. Unusual."

Spilman said to Latham, "Freddy and I've been talking about the campaign to overturn Factory and Workshop, have you heard about this?"

"Yes indeed," Latham said. "It's flabbergasting. And it actually has a chance, it seems."

"Terry and I were discussing it over lunch," Fontaine said. "It seems some very large bribes have been given to MP's who otherwise might've been on the fence in the effort, or voted to uphold the law as it stands. It'd be great if we could publicly expose these bribes, prove to the public that they've been given, but that seems easier said than done. You rub shoulders with some of the people involved in all of this muck -- factory owners, the ones giving the bribes. You might be able to throw a wrench into it."

"I'll certainly try."

Fontaine handed him a slip of paper, labelled "A": "The names on this list, we know for sure they're involved."

"Good God!"

"Yes. Shocking behavior from pillars of society and great philanthropists such as these." Fontaine handed Latham a second slip of paper, labelled "B": "We suspect these men, but we're not certain yet."

"I can bring up the subject of Factory and Workshop, try to loosen a few lips."

"Good man, Latham," Fontaine said.

"I wish I could honestly say I was shocked," Latham said. "It's all very sad."

Fontaine had also in no way been shocked to learn that these individuals, men he had known since he and they were boys in some cases, were bribing members of Parliament in order to cut costs at the expense of laborers. Latham often seemed to miss irony and sarcasm. He was aware that he missed it, and had asked Fontaine to point it out when he did, but this time Fontaine let it go. Fontaine was saddened as well, and the sadness was sapping his energy.

Latham asked, "What else have we got in place, what other plans, to try to stop further bribes? I take it that as it stands now, the effort to over turn the law will fail."

"Oh," Spilman said, "you don't want to know."

"Don't I?" Latham retorted with some obvious annoyance. "First Raymond, and now for the second time today I'm not to be trusted by my own comrades?"

"Terry," Fontaine said, "by all means, tell him."

"All right. Well, we happen to know of some large sums being gathered together, great big packages full of cash which aren't supposed to exist, whose existence couldn't be explained without giving criminal activity away. Therefore their owner wouldn't be able to report it if they were stolen. Therefore, we're going to steal a lot of it."

"Oh... Oh... Wow," Latham said.

"Mad, bad, and dangerous to know, this one," Fontaine said, clapping a hand on Spilman's shoulder.

"Ironically, though," Spilman said, "I've never been able to stand Byron." Latham didn't understand that remark. "It's about time that I get back to the cloak and dagger business," Spilman said, stood up and stretched and yawned and took his leave. "Terrific lunch, Freddy, as always. You're certainly right about that."

At about 7:32 AM the next morning, Wednesday, Inspector Raymond picked the lock on a hotel door in Southend. It was a dismal little room, filthy, without as much as one tiny window, although the cracks in the wall were large and numerous enough that the place was quite light in the sunrise. What a shyte place to die, Raymond thought sadly. Raymond's entrance had awoken the man sleeping on the cot which took up more than half the room. He recognized Raymond, and at first he smiled. That smile faded quickly as Raymond kicked the door shut behind him and advanced on him. He put his knee on the man's chest and forced him back down onto his back, took the pillow from beneath the man's head and placed it over his face. Raymond was an enormous man and quite fit, he was much stronger than his erstwhile friend here, now his victim. He easily held the pillow in place with one hand, making the man's screams almost entirely inaudible, while with his other hand he took the revolver out from underneath his jacket, pushed it into the pillow to muffle the sound of the shots, and fired three times.

As instructed, he handed the revolver over to the men out in front of the hotel, dressed like an Inspector and two Constables. No one had bothered to give Raymond their names. He wouldn't have been surprised if they weren't actually policeman at all. "Hurry," he told them, "the door's unlocked. Top of the stairs, second door on the right facing the front of the building."

"Right, Raymond. Off you go then, we'll take it from here. Good job, just as expected."

Just as expected, Raymond thought. So either they had heard about him, heard that he got things done, or they were lying by implication. On the train back downtown, Raymond took the watch and the very heavy chain he had taken from his friend's corpse as a sort of impotent private protest. So that is a Waltham Model 1883, he said to himself. And that, he thought, looking at the chain from which the watch swung before him, is a bloody great lot of platinum, worth about a half year of my salary. Wonder whether those three goons knew that much precious metal was there. Wonder whether they were planning to steal it. Raymond unhooked his old watch and chain and put them into a pocket of his jacket, fastened the platinum watch in its place and put the 1883 into his waistcoat pocket. He knew it was very foolish to do so, but he continued his protest in this manner. I dare somebody to say something about it, I really do. Although, he didn't actually know whether any other policemen -- or goons and fake policemen, or what have you -- would even notice his friend's watch and chain.

Raymond had never done anything remotely like this before. He had always prided himself on protecting those smaller and weaker than himself -- and since around his 15th birthday, that had included almost everyone he met. Even those he arrested, he treated gently and with respect, and insisted that everyone in his command always do the same. He began to cry. Other passengers in the train snuck startled glances at this enormous crying police Inspector.

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