Monday 20th September
Joe Garside left the Glasgow High Court a free man, thanks to a well-paid solicitor, and a loophole in the justice system. Garside accompanied the solicitor to a service door to avoid the paparazzi in the Saltmarket.
“Thanks, Terry,” Garside said, and half-turned to shake the hand of the man who’d helped gain his freedom.
“It’s what I’m paid for Mr. Garside,” Terry Prior said. “And now I have to get you out of here to your ride.”
“Have I got somebody waiting?”
“A young woman passed me a note while we were in the courtroom. She had gorgeous eyes.”
“Fuck the gorgeous eyes,” Garside said. “What did the note say?”
“Here it is,” the solicitor said, and read it aloud. “Use the West Service Entrance to get out. A bike is waiting. Carol.”
Garside took the small piece of paper. “Carol knows how to do things.” He laughed and shook his head as he pocketed the note.
“Mrs. McGinley is a strong woman,” Prior said. “I reckon she’s as tough as her husband used to be.”
“I wouldn’t bloody disagree with Carol,” Garside said. “I reckon she’s more dangerous than Mental Mickey ever was.”
Prior indicated a short corridor. “Here we are.” He pushed a door, and the two men stepped out into bright sunlight, albeit in a narrow lane behind the court.
“Bloody hell,” Garside said and lifted a hand to shield his eyes from the glare.
“Until the next time,” Prior said.
“Thanks again Terry,” Garside said, and shook the solicitor’s hand, before accepting the safety helmet from the silhouetted rider on a Honda Goldwing. The sunshine reflected from the glossy finish of the rider’s full-face helmet.
Garside pulled on the helmet and climbed onto the back of the bike, eager to leave. A low rumble sounded from the powerful bike, and it pulled away when Garside got comfortable.
When the bike left the end of the lane, Garside glanced to the side and saw the waiting horde of press and TV crews. They’d be waiting for news of his trial. There had been a lot of conjecture whether he’d be doing a long stretch, or walking away. Not many men got away with murder, and even fewer the killing of a policewoman.
Rachel Donoghue had been in a street two minutes away from the court building, waiting patiently. When she received the text saying, ‘NOTE PASSED,’ she rode around into the narrow lane behind the High Court. To pull off the scam she’d have to keep her visor down, and the engine ticking over. A running engine would create a sense of urgency.
Both the note and the running motor had worked. After picking up her passenger, Rachel cruised into the city to add a few minutes to the journey. A ten-minute allowance would be required for her associate to reach the destination first. Rachel stayed with the flow of traffic and rode across the River Clyde on the southbound M8 motorway flyover.
The third part of the plan involved heading south, towards the McGinley gang territory. Since Mental Mickey had died in July, his wife Carol had eased into position as the figurehead of the south side gangs.
The only irritation for Rachel was her murderous passenger hadn’t chosen to use the handle behind the rear seat on the bike. He’d wrapped his arms around the rider. Rachel had put up with worse things to ensure a successful mission, so she’d permit the inconvenience.
It took twenty minutes to reach Queen’s, Park. The bike turned into an immaculate street where there were eight new houses. Each had a ‘For Sale’ sign in the garden, except for one. The same signpost adorned the garden, but it had a red and white ‘Sold’ banner stuck diagonally across the offer price.
The big bike purred along the street. A double garage door rolled up. It belonged to the ‘Sold’ house. Rachel rode inside the garage, and the door lowered behind the big bike.
“In there,” Rachel said, pointing to an adjoining door after she’d cut the engine.
Garside removed the bike helmet and placed it on a shelf in the garage before he went through the door into the house.
The spacious kitchen diner had three spotlights on telescopic stands, and two hard-backed chairs were facing each other in the middle of the room within the triangle of lights. Behind one of the chairs stood a tripod with digital video recorder fitted, aimed at the chair opposite. A sticker on the recorder stated ‘BBC – News.’
The wooden floor in the large room shone through from beneath a covering of clear plastic sheeting.
“What the fuck is going on?” Garside said.
“Hi there, Mr. Garside,” a dark-haired young woman said as she approached from the kitchen area.
“Who are you?”
“My name isn’t important,” Eva said. “I’ve been chosen to conduct your interview.” She carried a reporter’s notebook and a pen. Eva wore a dark jacket over a white blouse. Her very short red skirt rode high up her thighs when she chose to sit.
“I was told not to do interviews, so who authorised this one?”
“I believe Mrs. McGinley said not to do interviews, but that was until you were cleared.” Eva saw him glance at her legs, and she made a token effort to pull her skirt down.
“How the fuck did you people know I’d be cleared?” he said, his brow furrowing. “I only left the courtroom a short while ago.”
“Mrs. McGinley doesn’t pay her solicitors to fail Mr. Garside.” Eva flicked the notebook open and clicked her pen, ready to use. She inspected the nib as if it was a hypodermic needle.
Garside stood near the other chair with his back to the interconnecting door. He looked at the floor, shaking his head.
A pair of boots thumped the floor in a steady stride as the bike rider came into the room. Rachel had removed her helmet, so her dark, shoulder-length hair shone with health in the lights.
“I’ll be operating the camera,” Rachel said. “It looks like bloody James has let us down.”
“Who the fuck is James?” Garside said.
“James is the cameraman,” Rachel said. She stepped behind the tripod and switched on the digital recorder. “At least he’d be the cameraman if he turned up on time for a change.”
“I’m not talking to anybody until I have a word with Carol,” Garside said. He stood beside the remaining chair, having shown no interest in sitting.
“Well mate,” Rachel said. “I’m not a gangster, but when somebody like Carol McGinley calls and tells me to do a job, I do it.” She stepped away from the tripod, knowing her unzipped leather jacket would give Garside a decent view of her tight-fitting T-shirt. Two attractive girls would not pose a threat to a murderous thug.
“What’s with the plastic sheeting?” Garside said. “It’s like a scene from a fucking Mafia movie.”
Rachel glanced at her watch. “If we don’t get this tape made and Mrs. McGinley sends a team, it will become a scene from a fucking Mafia movie.” She paused, having cursed for effect. “The floors are covered because the house is still on the market. We got access and put the Sold sign out to keep this secret.”
Garside turned from one young woman to the other, squinting. He sat down facing Eva, with his back to Rachel.
“I’ll tell you something,” Rachel said. “This guy asks more questions than those arseholes in Pitt Street.”
Eva laughed. She winked and smiled at Garside before she spoke. “Are you ready Mr. Garside?”
“What are we discussing?”
“Carol,” Eva said and paused. “Sorry, I mean Mrs. McGinley, has contracted us to give you a private interview. I understand it’s so you can slag off the justice system and the boys in blue down at Pitt Street.”
“Does she want me to be fucking arrested again, or what?”
“No,” Eva said and laughed. “We’ll produce this as part of a documentary which will make them look unprofessional and bloody stupid.”
“Oh, you mean because they were all so confident about me doing twenty years inside, but they got stuffed on a legal issue?”
“Are you not worried about the famous vigilante team getting to you?” Eva said.
“Fuck off,” he said. “Do you mean the mysterious Hawk and his friends?”
“There are at least four cases in the last year where a convicted killer has got off on a technicality and then been found; executed,” Rachel said.
Garside half-turned. “It’ll take more than Mr. Hawk and his pussies to take me down.”
“We think you’re safe from them anyway,” Rachel said. “We don’t believe that you killed the policewoman, and from what I’ve heard, those vigilantes do their homework. The story about abducting her in her own car and killing her sounds a bit far-fetched.”
“Do you reckon?”
“Yes,” Rachel said. “You never had a scratch on you when you were arrested. If you did violently abuse her before killing her, she didn’t put up much of a fight.”
“The stupid bitch was wearing driving gloves,” he said. “If they’re gonna let pretty young lasses out in a car on their own, it stands to reason a guy like me will be tempted.”
“Oh my God,” Eva gasped. “Please don’t joke about such a horrible act.”
A dimple briefly appeared in Garside’s right cheek.
“You’re my type darlin’,” he said. “I’d suggest we get together after this interview, and I’ll give you a bit of what I gave the feisty policewoman. Of course, you’re not a copper, so I’d let you stay conscious, and live.”
“Before we go on with the official questions,” Eva said. “We can’t take you seriously if you start by lying now.”
“I’m not lying sweetheart, and if those fucking clowns in Pitt Street police HQ had done their job right, I’d be in Barlinnie by now.” He grinned and continued. “The only reason the second copper didn’t end up near the fucking river with the first one is that she made me damage the car keys.”
“What do you mean by the other one?” Eva said.
“A dishy little blonde,” he said and sneered. “She lived alone, so the coppers are keeping it quiet. I heard they were putting the word out she’d been working undercover.” He laughed. She’s undercover alright, in a shallow grave.”
“You must have thrown the keys pretty far,” Eva said. “According to reports, the patrol car keys haven’t been found.”
“You see, that’s where the boys in blue fucked up big time. I’d already had plenty of time to put the keys with the rest of my trophies before they came to question me.”
“So, you’re saying this was really your second murder of a policewoman, and you’ve evaded justice for both?”
“I’m not evading anything. The cops are not good enough to get me, so I’ll go on until I’ve got a complete uniform. I might stop when I’ve got the ultimate trophy set.” He laughed.
“I think we’ve heard enough bullshit,” Rachel said. “Now we’ve heard Mr. Garside’s fantasies we should move on to the proper questions.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” he said, turning as he stood. “It’s not fucking fantasies, I did kill her, and the fucking blonde one last month.”
“Oh yeah,” Rachel said. “What was the missing piece of uniform the police never gave out in their statements?”
“Her fucking hat,” he said with venom. “They never found the blonde policewoman’s hat, and apart from car keys, they never found the second victim’s skirt. Happy now, bitch?”
“I’m fucking ecstatic,” Rachel said. “Now sit down, arsehole.”
“Fucking bitch,” Garside growled and took a step toward her. He would have taken more, but Eva’s statement stopped him.
“You’re a wanker,” Eva said.
Garside spun to find the woman standing less than an arm’s length from him. Before his arms raised enough to grab her, she buried a six-inch blade in his groin.
“Now,” Eva said as she stepped back, holding the blood-soaked weapon. “You tell us where your trophies are, or we’ll cut your balls off and feed them to you.”
The man dropped to his knees, holding both hands tight to his groin. “I’m gonna enjoy killing you,” Garside murmured through gritted teeth. Blood seeped out through his fingers and tears flowed from his eyes. The wound registered as a dull ache initially, but changed to a searing, stinging heat.
Rachel stepped up behind the murderer with a small, effective, leather-covered cosh in her hand.
“Get me an ambulance for fuck’s sake,” Garside gasped. “I’ll fucking bleed to death.”
There are physical injuries which weaken the hardest man, and a knife wound in the groin is one such injury. Garside blinked rapidly and his features screwed up tight as he looked up at his cute assailant.
“Where do you keep your victim trophies?” Eva said without emotion.
Eva looked beyond him and nodded.
Garside’s world went black.