Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Because Of Mistakes! (novel about autism in London in 1900) pt 8

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7

This is how it was: Inspector Raymond officially reported to Chief Superintendent Martin. Martin was almost universally thought to be a corrupt tool of the capitalists, in the pocket of the Liberal MP Lyle Chambers. Working in one of Chambers' many factories was known to be a very unfortunate fate. Chambers had lobbied hard against Factory and Workshop, and since it had passed he'd routinely bribed officials to overlook his violations of the law. In reality, Chief Superintendent Martin was a Socialist double-agent, staying close to Chambers and other reactionary capitalists and gaining their trust in order to thwart them. For just one recent example, Martin had told Raymond about the campaign of bribes to overturn Factory and Workshop, and it had been Raymond who'd told Fontaine and Spilman.

Martin didn't tell Raymond who else knew that he was a double-agent. Not one name. And Raymond told no-one about Martin's actual activity. The information he passed along, as far as any of Raymond's other comrades believed, was either from a source Raymond wouldn't name, or from this or that person who was nothing but a name Raymond told them, persons who didn't really exist. Whenever the two of them, Raymond and Martin, discussed their real business, not official police business, they spoke one on one behind closed doors. Raymond saw someone or other from Martin's staff nearly every working day. Raymond knew that some of that staff certainly had to be Socialist double-agents just like Martin, but he had no idea which ones.

For another example, someone working for Martin had discovered that George Smith, Raymond's friend whom he had just murdered, the man who ran through Waterloo Station with a Waltham 1883 on a heavy platinum chain, a clerk in the House of Commons and a long-time well-trusted Socialist with a huge number of Socialist contacts, had begun to sell his friends' secrets to right-wingers. "By a great stroke of luck," Martin had said to Raymond on Monday, two days ago, "he sold some of that information to one of us, someone I know, another double-agent who's a capitalist tool as far as the world is concerned. As far as I know, we've been able to discredit most or all of the information in the eyes of the right-wingers Smith sold it to. But only just, and that's been extremely difficult, putting out those fires. And in the meantime, Smith's old left-wing friends are catching on that he's turned informer, while the right-wingers want more information in place of the information they've already paid for which they think is inaccurate, because we were able to discredit it. Smith is panicking, which of course makes him extremely dangerous to all of us. He put together a packet which would've exposed me, you, Fontaine, Spilman and hundreds of others, beyond anything I could do to undo it. A constable who works for me took that packet off of him on his way to sell it to -- someone, I don't know who -- and was going to take him into custody, but Smith fought him off with his fists and ran off. Smith needs to be found, and made to vanish."

"You want him dead?"

"It's an awful thing. I don't see that we've got any other choice."

And the next day, Tuesday, Raymond's men just missed Smith at Waterloo Station, chasing him off of a train headed east, and then they'd come across that strange young man obsessed with watches, and then with Latham's help interviewing that young man they'd found the pawnbroker's where Smith sold an expensive watch and put a cheaper one onto a platinum chain, and from there they found the room near Waterloo he'd been holed up in, and from there he was seen boarding another train headed east, and an unknown source -- unknown to Raymond, presumably known to Martin once again -- gave them a message that he was in that fleabag hotel in Southend, where Martin said that Raymond would meet three men. Those three men who hadn't bothered to give Raymond their names, possibly police, possibly not. And Raymond had told them he'd finish it himself.

Raymond got to the station as the morning shift was coming on. "Oy, Boss," a constable called out, "you alright?"

Raymond hadn't slept in two days and he'd just killed a friend. "Got a bit of a cold," He said. "You might want to stay a pace or two away if you haven't had it lately. Other than the cold I'm fine, thank you for asking."

A Detective Sergeant said, "I've got some reports of sightings of men with cheap watches on expensive chains, Inspector." If the Detective suspected that the watch-chain hanging from Raymond's vest was worth three hundred quid, he gave no sign of it.

"Oh, you didn't hear? Higher-ups took that case over yesterday evening. We're done."

"Sorry, Sir, I hadn't heard."

"No worries. Never need to apologize to me for working hard. You got it all written up?"

"Yessir." The detective held up an envelope.

"Right. Put it on my desk, I'll pass it along, and you're on to the next case."

"He out of London, Sir? That why we're off the case?"

"They didn't tell me a thing except that we're off of it, Detective. Ours is not to question why."

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