A searing pain smashed through his neck, and with a jerk of his head Jim was awake. Instantly he saw once again the immaculately attired man in the corner. He was exactly as he had been, mute and glaring. Both eyes darting, Jim’s gaze came in to focus on Bill’s striped, mustard- hued incisors, directly in front of him. As he screamed, the ball-gag thumped all of the air out of his nose. He felt entirely helpless, and thrashed his arms, elbows, chest, knees and feet, all of which were tightly bound. As he madly flailed to gather his wits he felt Bill’s hot breath rasping in to his left ear, in a camp TV gameshow TV presenter voice. “Well here he is. Man of the moment. Welcome back. Now judging by your hair I’d imagine you remember Blind Date?”. He put a showbiz emphasis on the last two words. Jim glared what he hoped was a mix of ” I do”, and “Fuck Off and die”.
” Ah”, crooned the leering face. “Well, in absence of the lovely Cilla (God rest her soul), I shall be your host this morning. My my, what treats await you. With peevish chuckle, he said “Will you suffer number one, a razor-witted diamond-tipped tile cutter to your thighs”? He brandished a paint-flecked and rusty tool in front of Jim’s bloodshot eyes. Bill raised his white eyebrows in comic expectation of an answer. When none was forthcoming he tossed the implement on to the table and picked up a jagged piece of glass, reinforced with wire mesh. ” Or will you choose number two, the dependable lacerator of faces, guaranteed to disfigure”? A blank expression awaited him. No? Skittering across the table Bill then snatched up an ancient masonry drill with a rusted bit. “Or will our lucky contestant pick this, the whirling wildcard, directly into his temple?”. A high-pitched whine split the air as he pulled the trigger. ” No answer? Well take your time. I am at your service”. Again Jim thrashed against his bonds. To no avail.
Bill tutted, and waggled a bony finger. “Well here it is folks, with the lack of an answer it turns out its number three”, Bill screeched, advancing on Jim with the drill. When he was an inch away from his skull, Bill’s high-pitched chuckle was cut short by a muffled thud, closely followed by a dull thump. Jim was soaked by hot, sticky fluid as what had been Bill slewed accross the room, then crumpled in to a heap on the floor. The drill kept whirring manically in Bill’s lifeless hand, unil it bounced off the floor and came to rest next to the suited man.
All was silent, and completely silent, until a deep voice said ” Do you remember me, DCI Duggan?” The suited man slipped out of view, then Jim felt a welcoming slackening of the gag. “No, I thought not. Well, one good turn deserves another”. As he fought for breath, Jim managed a hoarse ” Who are you”? The suited man slashed the bonds that held the captive, then whispered “let’s just say you helped me out a long, long time ago when you were a PC, and we share a mutual dislike of fuckwits with shit TV prevalences. Jim got unsteadily to his feet, helped by the man, who took his arm gently. ” Now listen. Take this”. A package was slotted in to his jacket. “Drive to Dover and get yourself to France, and do not tell anybody who you are or where you are going. To the world you are dead, until you reinvent yourself. You have enough money in your pocket to flourish”.
He pivoted to face the man in a vain attempt to identifty him, but was met with a savage slap to the head. ” Now don’t make me regret switching Bill’s extraordinary dental records with yours, copper. You have a minute to get your shit together before I torch this place. Do not go home. Your place is cinders by now. I’ve read your will, and I will carry it out as to your requirements. Abe is prepared. Now thank you, and fuck off”. Without a backward glance, Jim staggered down the road, making a beeline for the Volvo. As he rounded the bend of the street where he had parked, he grinned as he spotted French plates on his trusty car, and heard the whump of a petrol fire behind him. Jumping in to the drivers seat, he gunned the engine and marvelled at how retirement was so much more eventful than he expected it to be.
© Tom Tide 2016