Author Topic: Bomber part ten of a novella  (Read 52 times)

Michael Rolls

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Bomber part ten of a novella
« on: Sep 22, 2019, 02:01:06 PM »
“So Liam O’Connell is still of concern?”
“Absolutely. As you doubtless know, he was involved in the attempt to explode another bomb in Corporation Street, but escaped and nobody knows where he may be at the present, but I am pretty sure that once he feels that things have calmed down, he will come after me again – and I want to be as prepared as I possibly can be.”
Lane nodded his head.
“Yes, I can quite see your need. I’m sure that I can come up with something for you. Do you have any preferences?”
“Well, when I was a firearms officer I trained on the Glock 17, but anything in that sort of class would do.”
Lane frowned in thought.
“Let me do some digging and see what I can find for you. I must admit to knowing very little about firearms, but, as the saying goes, I know a man who does. It will take a day or two – is that alright?”
“That would be fine.”
“Good.” He looked at his watch. “Can I offer you a bite of lunch? We only have a light lunch, but you are very welcome to join us, and I am sure that my wife would love to meet you.”
I accepted the invitation gratefully and ten minutes later I was introduced to Mrs. Lane, an elegant woman who looked younger than her fifty something years. She advanced and shook my hand as Lane made the introductions.
“Darling, this is ex-Detective Sergeant Lane, the man I have so often told you about.”
His wife’s smile climbed another notch in its welcome.
“Mr. Lamb, it is so nice to meet you at last. You know, we are both quite certain that when you took down those two IRA men you very probably saved my life and also the life of Clarissa, our daughter.”
I mumbled something appropriate as she led us all to the dining room, where the table had been set with three places, and we enjoyed a light meal. Afterwards, Lane excused himself and left me alone with his wife. We chatted on a generality of subjects for perhaps twenty minutes before Lane returned.
“Thank you for entertaining Mr. Lamb, darling, but now he and I have some business to discuss, so if you will excuse us?”
With a last smile at me, Mrs. Lane left us and Lane gave a slight frown.
“I have done some telephoning – a Glock 17 isn’t immediately available, I’m afraid, although I am sure that I could obtain one for you in a week or so. However, a week might be a long time, given your circumstances. If you like, I can find you a Beretta M9 – that’s the model used by the American armed forces nowadays – by tomorrow evening. It is unused except for a test firing to ensure that it functions properly.”
I had never handled a Beretta, but to have the weapon available so quickly over-rode all other considerations.
“That would be fine – how much?”
Lane looked pained.
“Mr. Lamb, the cost to you is nothing – it is my small repayment to you for the services that you have already performed for my family and me.”
I was touched at the man’s generosity and gratefully accepted his offer.
True to his word, the following evening we met briefly in a pub near the city centre, where he handed me a small, but heavy, parcel secured with heavy duty adhesive tape.
Obviously, I left the parcel wrapped up until I got home, but once there I wasted no time in unwrapping and examining my new possession. It was as Lane had promised, effectively brand new. I had no illusions; possessing the gun put me outside the law, but breaking that particular law weighed not at all on my conscience – I was far more concerned at what O’Connell might be up to.
Had I but known it, at that moment O’Connell was some three hundred miles away in Glasgow, plotting his next move far from anyone interested in finding him.

Liam O’Connell stirred restlessly as he awoke, causing the girl in the bed beside him to murmur sleepily. He had been in Glasgow for more than a month now, and was hopeful that the hue and cry over him down in Manchester might be starting to die down. So far, things had gone swimmingly. The other occupants of the house, when they weren’t high on drugs, regarded him with something approaching admiration as a man, as they saw it, fighting back against the power of the state, and O’Connell did his best not to disillusion them. In particular, Sophie Clarke, the girl beside him in the bed, saw him as an heroic freedom fighter, despite the fact that although currently living in Glasgow, having dropped out of her course at Glasgow University the previous year, she was as English as they could possibly come. Her choice of Glasgow University, where she had been reading, without very much commitment, Politics, had been to distance herself as far as possible from the family home in Esher, where daddy was a stockbroker and mummy stayed at home and did good works. O’Connell simply couldn’t understand why someone with so easy and affluent a life style would want to throw it all away, but then, that was her problem, not his. As far as he was concerned, she was just a silly little spoilt rich kid playing at rebellion – and the rich part had been demonstrated when he had discovered that the rental of the flat was in her name and that she virtually bank-rolled the other four youngsters. He got out of bed and started to dress; Sophie, half awake, half asleep, gazed blearily at  him.
“Liam, come back to bed – what’s the time?”
“Half nine, love – and I’m off to meet a man, so got to go!”
With a further muttered but inaudible protest, the girl sank back beneath the covers as O’Connell, now fully dressed, slipped from the room.
He was indeed due to meet a man, a man that Mark Harris had identified to him as a possible source of a firearm. Harris had warned O’Connell that anything that the man, Sean McLean, might produce was likely to be expensive – a man on the run had to expect to be taken advantage of, but between them Harris and O’Connell had hatched a way round the fact that O’Connell was virtually penniless.
O’Connell was to meet McLean in a small coffee shop; this was a preliminary meeting, at which O’Connell was to state his needs, McLean to state the price.
O’Connell was at the coffee shop well before time, waiting to see if, and how, his contact would appear. McLean was a small man, perhaps fifty years old and no more than five feet five or perhaps six, but he carried himself with a swaggering arrogance to which O’ Connell immediately took objection, What was this man, other than a grubby go between? He looked at the man with less than unbridled enthusiasm. In his turn, McLean looked at the Irishman with little concealed hostility. He knew O’Connell’s reputation and the fact that the police were searching for him, a matter which would, he felt, extract  a good price from this Irishman, even if he was no thick Mick from the bogs.
“So, what do you want?”
O’Connell stared at the man.
“I want something decent, something clean. If I have to use it, I don’t want the police forensic people to tie it into something used before.”
“Yeah, I can see that might be difficult for you – but clean guns cost more – you have to understand that, old son.”
“Of course I do – all I need to know is can you provide something clean?”
 McLean pursued his lips as if in deep thought, although he had actually viewed this sort of debate long before coming to this meeting.
“So, you want a pistol, right?”
 “Well, I’d prefer a sub-machine gun but I doubt that my funds would run to a MAC-10 or a UZI.”
 McLean nodded his head.
“You’re right – up here they’d cost at least three to four grand, perhaps more. However, I can get you a clean Browning Hi-Power or the like for around a grand. Interested?”
O’Connell hesitated, trying to convey a picture of someone who could run to that sort of money but was reluctant so to do.
“Well, even that’s a bit steep, you know – I was thinking more on the lines of five hundred.”
McLean shook his head.
“For five hundred, a handgun would most probably have a history – now you wouldn’t want that, now would you?”
O’Connell shook his head, and this time his declining the offer was very much the real thing. The last thing that he wanted was to use a gun which could be traced back by the police to an earlier crime – even, the Good Lord forbid, a murder.
“OK, I can run to a grand – when can you deliver?”
McLean, once more, gave the impression of considering the question, although, in truth, it was once again something that he had already worked on.
“Day after tomorrow suit you?”
“That would be fine – where do we meet?”
“Well, not here, that’s for sure. Do you know the docks area?”
“Not really, but I know a couple of the locals who could doubtless point me to the right place.”
“OK, come off the Stobecross Road and past the transport museum – it’s all pretty busy there, but if you keep going there’s an area waiting to be redeveloped, all abandoned containers and the like, but mostly there’s an open area several hundred feet across. Drive onto that area at ten on the morning and wait. I’ll come a bit later when I’m sure that you are alone.”
“Not very trusting, now, are you?”
“In this business, my friend, I trust only money and myself.”
Having delivered that quip, McLean got up and left, leaving O’Connell alone with his thoughts. Two things were certain; he had to have a gun before going after Lamb again, and there was no way he would be able to get his hands on a thousand pounds to pay for it, which meant that, one way or another, McLean was in for a big disappointment.
As he made his way back to his car, McLean reviewed the meeting that he had just concluded. Getting a gun, specifically the Browning that he had mentioned, posed no problem. He did, however, wonder how far he should trust the Irishman. O’Connell, he knew full well, was no thick Mick from the sticks. He was a confirmed IRA bomb maker, doubtless with much blood on his hands, and could be a dangerous man to cross – let alone double cross. All in all, he decided, it would be safest to play straight with the man, even though here in Glasgow he was, as far as McLean was aware, currently acting on his own. However, he was aware that he needed to keep in mind that there was always the danger that O’Connell might have, or if needs be might develop, links to the many people within the city who had either come across the Irish Sea themselves, or were the children of parents who had.
The older I get, the better I was!