The Firehills Investigator
It wasn’t a crunch but more of a crack! Either way it hurt like hell. Blood began to stream down my chin and slowly drip on the floor. I would like to say that this was the first time someone had punched me in the face but that would be a lie. In fact in this particular situation it had been my nose which had taken the full force of the impact. My legs began to wobble and gravity took care of the rest. The pavement greeted me with its familiar concrete reassurance as I fell to the floor.
I looked up to see the man who had knocked me down towering over me.
“Do you have anything more to say, you smart-mouthed little prick,” he shouted at me.
I looked up at him once more and tried to gather my wits.
“I am just paid to do a job,” was my lame but desperately professional reply.
There was rage in his eyes as he peered down at me. He then returned his attention to the photos I had just handed him.
“This proves nothing,” was the reply.
“That will be for a judge to decide!”
The man now leant over me and grabbed my collar. I could feel his warm breath against my face as he pulled me to my feet. I thought he was going to choke me but to my relief his grip released as he stood me up right.
“I’d like to pummel you into the dirt but I would only be looking at another law suit,” he said as he released me to my own balance.
He then turned around and walked away. I looked long and hard as he shuffled up the street away from me. I considered if I was going to be instrumental in the ruin of his career and got little satisfaction from the fact. The blood continued to flow down from my nose as I turned around and headed to the nearest tube station.
I walked on to the underground platform at Canary Warf and tried to clear the blood from my mangled nose. The woman next to me looked at me with disgust. I could see her trying to smell the booze on me and then looking confused when there was none. The train arrived and I was glad to be out of her knowing gaze as I shuffled down the platform to get on to another carriage.
I sat down and wondered to myself how I had managed to get into such a mess. The man who punched me had been stealing employee data from the company he worked at. This information is used for blackmail purposes and can be profitable to rival financial organisations if they know how to exploit the data. The CCTV photos I had presented to him with were my feeble efforts to try and get him to confess. I guess it didn’t work. No matter – I have enough on him to finish the job. This is the bread and butter of the seedy world of Corporate Investigations.
I got off the underground and walked back to my office at London Bridge. My head felt muggy and I was in desperate need of a drink. That would have to wait. I needed to send in my report as soon as possible. If this guy decided to run there could be all kinds of trouble and that might even put delays on myself getting paid. That would never do!
As I reached my building at 2 Magdelen Street it began to rain. Its Victorian design towed above me and loomed skyward. To my mind this crippled structure always looked better in the rain. For a moment I was transported back to a London from the past. A London that was full of Dicken’s villains and dark alleyways. Those times were long gone. The villains were still here but the alleyways were now worth half a million and climbing. I pushed open the large white door and went inside.
The office was cold and damp and I reminded myself why I hated coming here. At least the rent was cheap, which in London is hard to come by. I stepped over the pile of mail on the floor and noticed a large yellow envelope sitting on top. It was packaged with some care and was clearly visible among the other junk mail. I picked it up and put it on the wooden desk my father had given me. That bastard hadn’t given me anything of much value but the desk had proved useful. I slumped into the chair behind the large oak block and again rubbed my nose. I then turned on the computer and began to write up my report.
A siren wailed past the window outside my office and I woke with a start. My head was face down on the desk and I realised that I must have fallen asleep. I looked up bleary-eyed at the computer screen and quickly checked my email to see if I had sent in my report. A reply from Michelle at Global Financial Enterprises had confirmed the delivery. Thank God! I would have been toast if I had missed that deadline. Above Michelle’s email was another. This time it was from someone unknown. This was not unusual for me as I regularly got email from sources that wished to remain anonymous. I clicked on the link only to see the words: ‘Did you get the package?’ I looked down at the large yellow parcel next to me and picked it up. Carefully opening it I poured its contents out on to the desk in front of me. I rummaged through the items to find a memory stick, several photos and a written report. The report caught my attention. It was on headed paper from Larman Solicitors and not from the usual financial firms that I deal with. I turned my attention back to the photos. They were images of a punk rock band called Firehills. My nose began to ache again and this reminded me about the days past events. Right now the package and its contents would have to wait. Pain killers were now the priority. I stood up and quickly left the office.
As I walked outside day had turned to night. I must have been asleep longer than I thought. I wondered up the street to the nearest chemist and hoped it was still open. I turned the corner and on to the main high street which was still busy with the usual early evening shoppers. As I walked down the busy road I spotted an old man going through one of the street bins. I paused for a moment and fished for some change in my pocket and gave it to him. He looked back at me and said:
“The witch maybe dead but the spell remains!”
I didn’t reply and continued walking.