Night time, undecipherable sounds which penetrate the atmosphere, sounds that under normal circumstances would not be registered, but were registered this time in heightened awareness, a grunt, a hiss, a voice. They were all there in abundance and were foreboding. I felt the hairs, of which I hadn’t been aware of before, twitch on the back of my neck and my whole body was alert.
“The bastard must be around here somewhere,” he heard a man say. He can’t get away that quick.”
I heard a grunt of agreement and a gruff voice, and heard the footsteps recede into the distance.
“How he came to know this place, I don’t know, It is protected enough, three hills, etc,”
I saw his hands go up in despair. “He probably doesn’t know what this site is about. This place is so remote it hardly needs a guard on it. ”
“Perhaps he came across it just by chance Charley,” he heard the other man say feebly, “However, he must have a bullet in him, I think I saw him stagger”
“But where the bloody hell did he fucking go,” were the last words I heard before they were out of reach?
I sat there for a while, sweat pouring from me and my body smelling of fear. I put my shaking hand under my coat and felt the warm ooze of blood trickling down my stomach and soaking into my trousers. I had been quick and when I had been out of the line of sight I had suddenly deviated and had struggled under some palettes with my back to the torchlight that penetrated towards me. The light had stayed on my back for a good while whilst the man adjusted his eyes and rationalize things in his mind before deciding that what he was seeing was a pile of rags. Then he was gone, gone into the darkness. I watched as the two faded into the obscurity.
“Damn, that was so fucking stupid of me.” I drag myself out and went back to the hole I had made in the fence. The idiots were not even guarding it. Maybe they thought they should be together in case the intruder was a bit too much for one individual on their own but to leave the hole unguarded was folly, maybe they thought that a hole could be made anywhere else, or that I had already gone.
I tried to appear as normal as I could as I made my way back to my abode. There were still people around and I didn’t want the medical health service asking me how I had received the bullet. The police weren’t my favorite pastime. I had remembered before how I had been drilled. The fat guy in the uniform in the station had said in a mocking voice, “So you are a private detective then, are you? So what have you to say about your client, we can hold you in prison if you don’t couth up with what we want? There has been a murder, you don’t think we are going to treat this mundanely do you? What do you know? On my confession that I didn’t know anything which I would be willing to reveal, the interview was terminated much to the contempt of the policeman, and I had to find my way back in the dark from the remote police station. I thought, “That wasn’t very courteous, was it, getting me to walk back. It was the same now, -three, O. clock in the morning, tired, and hungry, dirty and with a bullet somewhere inside me. I felt like lying down, but this is normally not the case. Injury, bad or moderate always produces the survival instinct and it got me there. I crashed though the front door and lay on the inside carpet for a while, and then managed to climb the stairs to my flat above the office. With a gigantean herculean effort I lifted myself to reach the light switch. I felt in a way that I was playing a game. After all that is what life is, a game, a circus act where all the pieces were moving all over the place. We didn’t know the start and didn’t know the finish. We came from somewhere and were going, where? Each day that you woke up you had to reassess the bits and pieces and to see as best as you could what pieces had moved and what pieces need to be moved. And as you move them, other pieces begin to move as well. What did I care if some sod had been embezzled out of a million pound? To me it was just a job, but I needed it and so I did it as well as I could. I was at risk at times and there was no compensation for injuries except by my own insurance. I didn’t have to take on risky assignments; there was plenty of work that was nothing more than a little snooping on a cheating partner. That was my bread and butter work, it was easy, except for irate husbands or wives should the occasion ever occur, when I was revealed, but this was the first, or nearly the first with such danger. I ripped my coat and shirt off but was surprised that there was no hole, the bullet must have shaved my stomach, indeed there was a terrible gash across it that had sapped my strength and had given me the impression that it was more serious than it was. It had bled profusely though and my trousers were soaked by the endless spurting blood. I could do, by rights with a blood transfusion but that would entail the police, Oh, no it wouldn’t. I got to the phone, I said, “I am dying,” and a quarter an hour later the ambulance was there.
“How’d it happen?”
“I fell over and came down on that table,” they could see the blood that I had smeared over the corner of it, and had spread out onto the floor.
I was on my way to hospital very quickly. Lucky enough the nurse and even the doctor didn’t question my excuse or that it looked like a bullet wound.
“You have lost a lot of blood, why didn’t you contact us quicker?” I said, I didn’t think it was serious as it didn’t hurt and then I became aware of the blood.”
“Ok, we will get you down to the theater and stitch this up, it is bad you know, you definitely would have died, good job that you got wise in the end.” I sat back in the hospital wheelchair that they used to cart people to the different parts of the hospital, half in and half out of consciousness and allowed the janitor to take me to the surgery.
“Yea, my wife doesn’t like me doing this job, I am a trained cook, you know and I was employed by a top hotel, but I got myself unemployed by stupidity but then I happened on this work.”
I heard myself saying, “It happens to all of us, we need the cash, don’t we?”
I was in the hospital for about six hours and then they released me and even drove me back.
The nurse was ardent in telling me the importance in taking the tablets on time. ‘The tablets, three times a day after meals,’ as was usual,’ and not to put any strain on the wound.’