Author Archives: Louis Kasatkin

About Louis Kasatkin

Unadulterated commentary and analyses on all aspects of contemporary literary arts news and topics, can be viewed on twitter under the cunning guise of @louiskasatkin also at my blogs,"fahrenheit451"on blogger.com and "And So It Goes"@ www.wordpress.com My facebook page etc.etc, ad infinitum...

On Hearing The News

A VERY SPECIAL EDITORIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

On Hearing The News

The Day ends
as days often do,
quick and clean and gone;
A momentary cloud obscures the Sun
yet the Sun shines on eternal,
memories traipse like clouds
across our consciousness,
we all reminisce,we all mourn;
Somewhere
an aged veteran
listening to the radio
recalls,
The young man
in pressed naval uniform
smiling and laughing in the sun,
there was yet a war to be won
and a world made safe and sane again;
those days end
as days often do..

Ode to a Pandemic (by Dr.Phillip Earnshaw)

Ode to a Pandemic

A year of loss and pain

Lockdown one, Lockdown two and three
PCR, Lateral Flow Test and PPE
Ventilators, Nightingale hospitals and those in ICU
Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives

Sputnik V – the Russian vaccine – first they shout – suspiciously
Sounds more like a spacecraft from our childhood to me
Oxford Astra Zeneca, Pfizer Biontech and many more
Moderna, Sinovax & Jannsen – so many now – what a bore

Tiers 1 to 4, Care bubbles combined with the rule of six
Different in other parts of the UK – confusing – we’re in a fix
Eat out to help out & let’s keep going
Act like you’ve got it. Keep the testing flowing

Work from home, furlough, shielding, Test & Trace
Joe Wicks, Zoom & home schooling now the place
Donald Trump, Vitamin D and Hydroxychloroquine
Buying stuff from the internet – has that delivery man been?

Digital Church, blogs, quizzes & Zoom coffee
Preaching to every continent – amazing – how can this be?
The second lockdown Easter – we’re almost free
Our Lord is risen – He did it all for me!

Dr Phillip Earnshaw
April 2021

Thoughts Around Eastertide (by Russ Crabtree)

Thoughts Around Eastertide

A fragrant smell,

a gentle touch

And wondrous sights to see,

Music with

harmonious melody;

Gifts beyond all worth

a touch of heaven here on earth;

Five things we have from God,

To touch and taste and see

And smell the fragrance all around

These are given out for free

Last of all I like to stop and listen

As I hear God speak to me.

TENET

The day is done

before the day has begun,

empty bottles line doorsteps waiting

for a milkman who will never come;

A mute roar of silent crowds

in deserted stadiums

where no-one is playing

and no football is kicked,

all their yesteryear glories

filling all their tomorrows;

The grass is growing backwards

as the Sun recedes at noon,

jokes are told after the

laughter gets swallowed back

down into throats,

words once uttered

are scrolled up into mouths,

each journey begins with the last step

backwards;

Answers precede questions

questions precede doubts

doubts precede thought;

shrouds at weddings

funerals at births,

The day has begun

before the day is done..

Dark Connections

( A Classic 1940s Hollywood Noir pastiche)

DARK CONNECTIONS
             Episode 1
The tannoy boomed out;
” Attention please! Will passenger Mr.John Smith please report to the Station Manager’s office,that’s the Station Manager’s office on the main concourse,thank you”.
Anyone in the vicinity on hearing that would perhaps have noticed a dapper business guy,in his late forties, carrying a regular attache case suddenly spin on his heels and stride purposefully back the way he just came.
The station had great signage,on entering the cathedral-like domed rail terminus,John Smith saw that to his left were platforms 1 to 9 for all northbound destinations and on his right platforms 10-18 for all the southbound.He’d arrived with plenty of time to spare before his scheduled departure from platform 13.
Though even as he smartly about-faced he couldn’t for the life of him imagine who’d be requiring his presence so urgently.
The Station Manager’s office was a typically State-run affair; far too hot for the time of the year,yellowy-brown wallpaper and furnishings and a large oak desk behind which sat an indetereminate figure subsumed in a fug of pipe smoke.
“Can I help you at all?””Yeah,sure,you just put out a call for me over the p.a”Now he was stroking his chin whilst keeping a firm grip of the pipe stem as it continued to stream its pervasive odour like a badly maintained car exhaust.
“You Mr.John Smith?””What is it you want to see me about,I’ve got a train in ten minutes”.”That right?well you got some i.d.that tells me you’re John Smith”.
He deftly flashed a business card from his wallet with exemplary ledgerdemain and saw it land on the desk blotter.”Great,thanks Mr.Smith. a lady called just a couple of minutes ago,asked for us to put out a message,which you heard and asked to pass on a number you could phone her back on”.
The Manager eased the telephone handset across the desk toward Smith and handed him the slip he’d taken the number down on.Glancing at his watch,he continued “May I?” pointing at the phone.”All part of the service to passengers”grinned the smoke enshrouded manager.
Ring,ring,r..
“Hello?”A breathless kind of eerie female voice responded,making John Smith raise his eyebrows.”Listen and just shut up,I haven’t got much time.I was hoping to catch you before you got the train here”.”Sorry but I’m having a problem..” She interrupted him, “This is John Smith I’m speaking to right?”What?of course I’m John Smith,you left a message for me remember, and the Station Manager whose office phone I’m using asked me for proof of i.d.so its your move next lady”.”Forgive me John,won’t you,like always? Only you must not get on that train.Do not go to the rendezvous as arranged”.
The increasingly cryptic tone of the conversation had taken him somewhat by surprise ,”So what are telling me ,my meeting’s off,is that what this is about?”
The female voice at the other end gasped,perhaps part in resignation and partly with exasperation.”Always so punctillious John,so ,so correct.But we’ve run out of time or at least I have; but you can still get out of it that’s why I phoned the Station,I knew you’d be there on time.”.
Smith turned to the Manager and mimed his own vexation at this call.”Who has called the meeting off and why didn’t they bother to let me know via my office? ” he glanced at his watch,again.
“All I know is the meeting as you describe it is off and you’re not to go there.They told me they’ll contact you directly in a couple of days to let you know how things stand”. He detected the beginnings of a sob as she hung up on him.
Smith handed the telephone back over across the Manager’s desk and muttering some indistinct thanks exited the office.His train was due to leave in five minutes.
Back outside the cathedral-domed edifice an unexpected traffic snarl up was causing a long backup of vehicles.All eager, all impatient, none more so than dozens of passengers in dozens of taxis all with their meters still running and the likes of John Smith beginning to wander whether they’d be better off getting out here and walking the remaining 200 yards or so to the station.
He looked at his watch.Damn! 
He pressed a twenty note into the cabbie’s eager fingers as he hastened onto the heaving pavenent.
Tall,gaunt wth distinctively ascetic facial characteristics and no mean athlete even at 35,Johann Schmidt -or John Smith as it had been anglicised after the War, jogged easily into the station main concourse.To his right the signage indicated all northbound platforms and on the left,southbound.Being the perfectionist on organsational detail he pondered for a brief moment double checking the mission security protocol.He looked at his watch,nip and tuck,but could do it which meant he should,which in turn meant..
 “Excuse me are you the Station Manager? The room gave Schmidt the indelible impression that it had been smoked in quite heavily.A thin pallid man in collar and tie squinted nervously at the question.”Erm,no,I’m just the Chief Operations Clerk minding the store as it were till he gets back,he’s just popped out for a moment”.
“Oh I see would you be able to tell me if someone had phoned here in the last few minutes asking to put out a call for me?”
The pallid clerk stared blankly thro his thick lenses at this impertinence by a member of the general travelling public.
He told him that a call log is kept.And Schmidt told him his (legally) anglicised moniker.
“John Smith you say?” parried the Clerk.”Yes,that’s right, here’s my business card”Schmidt tossed the item onto the desk with all the nonchalant ease of a casino gambler winning at vingt et un. At that instance,the office door swung open and the pipe smoking Manager was back.
“Can I help you at all?””It’s okay Sir,I’m already dealing with this gentleman’s enquiry””Really? and what might that be?” – the broken exhaust pipe fumes gathered about him.
“Just checking if we put out a call for him before he got here”.
Schmidt smiled non commitally and hoped reassuringly at the Manager.
“What’s your name?””Mr.John Smith, I’ve left my business card on the desk”.””Look it’s here Sir in the log,why not ten minutes ago ,John Smith”The Manager got behind his desk “This your business card here?”Schmidt nodded.”Here,take it and leave and don’t come back until you come up with some plausible story”.The bemused Schmidt asked”What’s wrong,who called?”
“You see buddy,we don’t give out confidential information but in any event and just to satisfy your curiousity;sure some person called for a Mr.John Smith as it happens and Mr.John Smith already got his message..so why dont you..”
The Manager pointed at the door and told Smith/Schmidt to go catch a train.

( To be continued..)

Dark Connections (Part Two)

Episode 2 –  

   
A Mutilated Body & A Poor Alibi


” You’re alive!! “
This was Miss Roberts – his Secretary & PA, the type that movies were always casting 20 years younger than the real McCoy. John Smith affected his usual nonchalance,”You sound disappointed Toots, how come ?”

Miss Roberts always gave great ripostes:”Thing is Skip,when we heard you were dead first thing I did was look up florists in the yellowpages..”

“Aw,that was sweet of you Toots, on the ball as always”.

“Yeah I’ve got as far as ordering the wreath”

“No flowers yet?”

“You got any preferences?”

“I’ll pass on the flowers, I get hay fever you know”.

“Yeah, but Skip the flowers are meant to go on top of your grave”.

“Got it all figured out ain’t you, the boss croaks and you’re into the flowers for sentimental occasions catalogue”.

“So how come you’re not stiff and laid out on some coroner’s slab?”

“I just wouldn’t be comfortable,anyhow toots you going to let me in on this pantomime show or do I have to buy a souvenir program?”.

Miss Roberts, a widow to an authentic hero in the war.The kind of older sister figure that men like John Smith wished they’d had back in their childhoods instead of two dumb too dumb brothers;anyhow he extinguished that line of thought- the one that only leads into the past and on into melancholy.

Now was not the time for morbid self-reflection;he had things to do and problems to solve now that he was supposed to be dead.

Miss Roberts let him know that an Inspector Ruyter and Sergeant Brannigan were up on the 7th.floor making official enquiries with you know who.Smith nodded appreciatively and prompted her to phone upstairs and request the cops pop down.” ‘Pop down’ ,excuse me Skip?”

“Yes my good woman? ask if they wouldn’t mind awfully popping down”.

Miss Roberts phoned muttering in her stage whisper that someone’s been watching too many Ronald Colman movies lately and ended her call with ” it’s far far better thing” aimed at Smith who had diplomatically already turned his back on her so as not to crack up.


Once they’d all been introduced – police and civilians alike – they settled down with Miss Roberts acting as stenographer.Smith reassured Inspector Ruyter that occasions of this sort here at Continental Development were routinely recorded.Thanking Smith for this unusual courtesy Ruyter proceded with the interview.


Later that evening, everyone else gone home and the city switching to night mode,on the 5th floor of the Hitchcock Building,John Smith and his trusted P.A.were going over what she’d recorded earlier.Each in turn picking out salient highlights.


“30 to 40 large wounds..”
“Remote platform used for freight traffic of which there’d been little of recently due to the wildcat strikes at ports on the east coast,so fairly deserted.”
“On the basis of a heavily blood stained and almost illegible drivers licence and one of your business cards..”
“They triangulared it was John Smith, in particular this one”.
“You say here that you were at the Station to get the 9.11 for your meeting with the mysterious clients but someone you assumed was calling on their behalf advised you not to get the train as the meeting had been called off and they also told you to await for instructions from them”.
“That’s right”.
“At this stage Ruyter asks you for more details about the call and made a pointed reference to Sergeant Brannigan for him to check the call logs for the Station Manager’s Office first thing in the morning”.
“And my answer to what did I do after I got the unexpected call cancelling the meeting..?”
“You said you went and bought the Daily News morning edition and made your over to Steffano’s Bar for a very late breakfast ..”

“After which?”

“You wound up back here on the 5th floor of the Hitchcock Building at your office-Overseas Acquisitions of Continental Development Inc to be greeted by me..”


“You’re alive etcetra and so forth pax vobiscum”.

“You haven’t told them everything have you John?”- Miss Roberts looked at him more in sorrow than admonition.

“Of course not Toots”.

Heaving an all too visible sigh of relief, Miss Roberts continued,”Thank goodness for that, for a moment I thought you were breaking the professional habits of a lifetime”.

Smith grinned,”Yeah and by the time Brannigan who got too many knocks to the head playing gaelic football at College ,will have ascertained, even for his limited intellectual faculties, confirmation of the cadaver’s erstwhile identity from the department of motor vehicles”…
( To be continued )

Dark Connections – 3

Dark Connections – Episode 3


A Call From Buenos Aires & An Inspector Calls.

“Shocking murder at Station!” trumpeted The Daily News morning edition.The Telegraph & Argus regaled its readers with, “Horrific Homicide at Station” ,whilst the more sedate Post & Courier went with “East Coast strikes set to spread”, and only mentioned the murder on page 5.


Smith gave all the papers a cursory examination and tossed them to one side as he leant back on his bar stool.

“Rough business that’s for sure”,opined Steffano,ever attentive to his customer’s needs and interests,in this case,John Smith’s breakfast.Refilling his cup with some more hot java,the bar owner went about wiping down the already gleaming spotless bar surface.


“Vultures gotta eat too,you know”.

“How come the flatfoots are interested in where you was?”

“Flatfoots gotta eat too,you know!” Steffano laughed at that and with an imperceptible turn of the head indicated sotto voce that one of that aforementioned ilk had just entered his establishment.


“Morning Inspector” half growled Smith chewing on a rasher of bacon.

“And the top of the morning to you too Smith,never figured you for being prescient,how did you know it was me”.

“Old magic trick I learnt called looking into the bar room mirror there”.They got to talking and clearing up some mutual misconceptions,at least that’s the gloss that Smith for his part put on the matter.
“Did I hear your Miss Roberts right,calling you Skip? you were Navy?”

“Oh that,no,no,Army and you?”

“Second Lieutenant,I was at Anzio,you?”

“That Skip? Oh I was a Captain,Normandy straight on into Germany ended up Kiel way. My Company got rescuing a few folks from abandoned cattle wagons, anyhow I got them over to Sweden after commandeering a Nazi E-Boat in the harbour there and so the guys tagged me Skipper”.

Ruyter interrupted the histography,

” Back to this other John Smith,Brannigan’s checking with the phone company about that call you made at the Station Manager’s office”.

Smith nodded nonchalantly and carried on with his breakfast and Ruyter kind of took his own leave,”I’ll be in touch,oh say, you a regular here?”

“Yeah,Steffano was in my Company when we were doing the business in Germany”.
   Smith recounted most of this back at the office on the fifth floor to the venerable Miss Roberts who was trying to get a word in edge wise.

“And he seemed curious about me patronising Steffano’s,what do you reckon Toots about that?”

“Well Skip,now that you’ve allowed me to get a word in,I’ve got several..”

“Go ahead,name ’em,I’m listening”.

“Well,the Inspector was out for confirmation, you told him about your War service in which case he’ll get to my late husband the Colonel, which’ll square the circle for him about you.”

Smith thumb-stroked his chin in momentary contemplation.
“And you’ve got a call waiting since you got back which I’m still holding”

“What call,who?why didn’t you tell me sooner instead of letting me gab away” 

“It’s Cousin Phil on a secure line”.Smith affected puzzlement,”Which of my erm, Cousin Phils is it?”Smith took the call in his own inner office.
It was Buenos Aires.”Phil” was the erm,Cultural Attache at the Embassy.

He had learned that some rather important Swiss gentlemen had arrived the other day and were making discrete enquiries with prominent Argentine entrepreneurs about certain business opportunities in the States.

“So how come you didn’t make the meeting?”

“You know how they work,cut-outs,double blinds they want to negotiate at arms length with no repercussions.If the stock market got wind of this.Potentially huge South American investors with Swiss financial backing.”

“So what’s next?”

“I’m supposed to wait for them to get in touch”.

“Odd that,from a purely operational perspective,postponing a meeting like that”.

“Say Phil before we say buenos tardes and adios and all that ,presumably those Swiss gentlemen would be of the German speaking variety.” Phil confirmed.
“You know clients of those Banks all got mountains of gold teeth they yanked out at Belsen and elsewhere that need melting down converting to hard currency and that hard currency needs to be invested”.

“Your right Cousin John, that’d be what economists call the virtuous circle”.
   Even as John Smith ended the call with his Cousin Phil,across town another phone call was ending.Sergeant Brannigan had just informed Inspector Ruyter that the Phone Company’s records show the number John Smith was given to call the day before from the Station Manager’s office turns out to be the number of Steffano’s Bar&Grill next the station…

Dark Connections – 4

( A pastiche / homage to classic 1940s Hollywood Film Noir )


Dark Connections – Episode 4
(In which a plan goes off the rails at the Train Station & Everyone goes down the rabbit-hole.)

Sat in the Police headquarters basement wearing saucer shaped headphones listening to a bunch of reel to reel tapes, wasn’t what Sgt.Brannigan nor Inspector Ruyter had ever aspired to as law enforcement officers.


However, a fortnight earlier…


Mid-morning in the 5th floor Overseas Acquisitions office of Continental Development housed in the Hitchcock building,John Smith and his amanuensis Miss Roberts were leafing through a host of foreign daily papers when the call came in.


“Cousin John? It’s your ever lovin cousin Phil here in rainy Buenos Aires,put me on speakerphone will you,you’ll both need to hear this..”

“You got a development?”

“The intercept that we’re planning to run next week in your neighborhood..”

“Oh,all this procrastination sets me on edge,Cuz..”

“The word from the Big Man is still all systems go but I picked up some local intel,you know from those ‘Swiss’ financiers that hit town down here?”

“Uh,hu what kind of intel?”

“Kind of a last minute,you might say surprise”.

“Would I actually use the word surprise for what you’re about tell me sometime this morning?

“We’ve ID’d the Courier they’ll be using your end”.

“Great,marvellous news that’s as I recall the whole point of our mission is to intercept and if necessary neutralise their Courier once we get confirmation of time and location of their rendezvous”.

“John..”

“Yeah still here Phil,so..?”

“Their Courier Johannes Schmidt..it’s Von Raubwitz”.

“But,but how? we were pretty damn certain we got them all,him and his squad”.

” I’m sorry to have to tell you that after all this time,its now clear that he managed to scarper during the firefight back then..”

At this point both Miss Roberts and John Smith are agog.Smith sinks back into his chair.After a seemingly interminable few moments ,”Cousin” Phil ends the call with, 

” The Big Man has authorised me to let you know that it’s still your show your end and he tells me he’s confident you’ll come up with a way to handle it the best you can”…


Two weeks later,one week on from the brutal murder of a John Smith – Johannes Schmidt – at the railway station,Inspector Ruyter is busy putting the case file into deep freeze.

No witnesses,no leads just a hairball of misshapen coincidences and inexplicable loose ends coughed up right into his lap aka a homicide investigation.
“Sticks in the craw though”, mused Ruyter staring off into space.His sidekick the ever tenacious Brannigan was methodically poring over every scrap of information garnered from the off.

“A random series of events which taken on their own have no individual significance but when aligned take on a significance they would otherwise not have had”.

“Well you surprise me Brannigan,never knew you were a student of Jungian synchronicity”.

“We’d have a definite suspect;motive,opportunity etc.oozing out from somewhere by now, but all we got is co-incidence and not too much of that either”.

“And thirty some stab wounds” countered Ruyter starting to pay closer attention.

“Excessive by any standard,unless ,I don’t know why ,but if it was for show or ritualistic”.

“Middle of the god damn working day at a train station?”.

“Out by the freight platforms with a freight shortage due to the strikes,that suggests that whatever else might’ve been planned, such as bumping the guy off,out by the freight platforms with thirty strokes weren’t part of it”.

“Which leaves us where,Inspector?”

“Still stuck down a rabbit hole Alice!”


Rather than drown in ennui and capitulate to the inevitable Ruyter suggested they pay one final call on John Smith over at the Hitchcock.In any event they mutually concurred that it was too early for lunch so they might as well add to the homicide rates by killing some more time instead.

Dark Connections : End Game

        Dark Connections -Episode 5


( In which the protagonists find their way out of the rabbit hole only to get themselves lost in a labyrinth.)


Exiting the elevator on the fifth floor of the Hitchcock Building, Inspector Ruyter and Sergeant Brannigan were intending to drop in on Mr.John Smith one last time.That is if there were an office for the both of them to drop into.


“You press the right button back there?” queried Ruyter,his usual insouciance giving way to discernible irritability.
“Sure I did, fifth floor,the numeral five being on the button,boss”.
“In that case would you mind telling me where the Overseas Acquisitions office has gotten to?”


But before Brannigan could utter a response a new dramatis persona, blue overalled and carrying a mop and bucket,interjected.
“Can I help youz twos,you look kinda lost!”

Ruyter and Brannigan exchanged facial expressions of disbelief and simultaneously proferred their bronze badges to the interloper.”And you are..?
“I’m the building Supervisor,Jarvis, so what’s the beef fellas,you lookin for someone?”
“This is the fifth floor right? we’re here calling on Overseas Acquisitions of Continental Development who’ve also got an office up on the seventh”.
The building Super just looked at the pair of them as though they’d just preached the Tridentine Mass in Latin for all he knew.
“Never heard of either of them”.

Ruyter retrieved John Smith’s business card and showed the Super.”Well? ” prompted Brannigan as the man in overalls studied the card.
“Well what,officers?”
“Where have they got to?”
“Whose got where?”
“You read what’s on the card?”
“Sure I can read,but can you?”
This is what it must be like for a dyslexic to fill in a crossword puzzle thought Ruyter..

“Meaning what exactly?”
“I hate to inform youz twos but you’re in the wrong building,this is the Chandler Building,never heard of the Hitchcock before;you even in the right part of the city?”
They weren’t hearing this.Any of this thought Ruyter.

“How long you been the Super in this building?”
“Five years I guess”.

“Five years,really, that long, listen bud we were here on official business just over a week ago with this company in two offices”.
“So,how should I know that you were,I been on vacation two weeks, came back in this morning”. Game,set and match to the guy in the blue overalls carrying a mop and bucket.


After a little persiflage,he gave leave for Ruyter and Brannigan to look round what was now a deserted office on the fifth floor of what was not even now the Hitchcock building.
Hardly a trace of anything that remotely suggested any kind of human activity had taken place these past two weeks in the Marie Celeste of an office.
Hardly, except for the Bankers’ boxes marked “Rehearsal tapes”.The boxes that held those reel to reels the both of them had ended up listening to and making copious notes on throughout the night.


Just two voices.One male,the other female.Was this Ariadne’s thread out of the labyrinth?
“Why should it make a difference?” enquired the female voice.
“Because it does”.
“A courier’s a courier.”
“No,you’re wrong there, this was a courier,this is now Von Raubwitz who happens to be a courier”.
“The courier,the courier up to yesterday was a Johannes Schmidt,how does it being Von Raubwitz change things?”
“Because we tried killing each other back then when our people got to that abandoned railway truck out near Kiel”.
“But you told me that you weren’t even looking for any rail truck”.
“We got intel on Von Raubwitz and his detail trying for Kiel and a U-Boat out of the war.True to character he was also taking care of one last piece of business,tidying up,drawing a line under the profit and loss columns.A handful of children of the last scientists on Hitler’s A-bomb and chemical warfare programs,the very last of the hostage bargaining chips”.


“But you got them out ,you saved them,they ended up transferred safely to the War Orphans Foundation right here in this City for goodness sakes”.
“Yeah,you’re right but what I didn’t know was Raubwitz got out too.”


Ruyter and Brannigan took longer and longer respite breaks between tapes.What were they listening too? Autobiographical confessions or what?


Hours later it was already morning and Brannigan called his own time out :”I’m sorry but I’m done for now maybe get back on this,I don’t know, this afternoon maybe?”
Ruyter barely shrugged and pleaded with his sidekick just to finish on this one tape for now.


The female tone again.
“So how do we do this,Skip?”
“We let the play run as is but we create a scenario,a narrative,that we fit on to it.And for that we do like we did in Vienna last year.”
“The whole Stanislavsky bit?staying in character even after the show? I really hated that,believe me.”
“I do Toots,I do, but full on Stanislavsky works and we got to stay in character and follow the script 24/7, there will be no letting up,no letting the mask slip; once the Cops get  their teeth into this they must be allowed to follow our screenplay they way we’re going to play it.”
The female laughs, “Any chance of an Oscar nomination this time,do you reckon?”

Neither of them took a break after that.Brannigan checked out the War Orphans Foundation and Ruyter followed up with the City Coroner on the prelim autopsy.

The early evening allowed them to tally up on their endeavours.Brannigan found the Foundation in secluded grounds down by the lake shuttered these past few weeks and the ten or so foreign war orphans relocated somewhere in Canada where the paper trail ran out.Ruyter got a final count on the stab wounds,thirty.

“Still don’t get it boss a ritual killing like that”.

“You read much Brannigan?”

“You mean like on killings?”

“No, no exactly,now take me for instance I love detective fiction.Agatha Christie.She wrote Murder on the Orient Express – I’m surprised none of the Hollywood studios has picked up on it yet anyhow this perp in the book gets his comeuppance on a train,gets knifed pretty bad,by a dozen different people all of whom are connected to this guy’s past deeds”..
Brannigan pondered that for a moment and concluded, “Well just shows you how art imitates life”.

Post Script:


Six months later..


In the art deco labyrinth of Buenos Aires’ main railway station on a languid summer’s afternoon; if anyone had been paying attention to a nattily attired -in a light tan suit -business guy in his 40s as he made his way along the concourse they might’ve noticed him stop abruptly as the station announcement chimed:
 ” Will a passenger Senor Pedro Diaz make their way to the Station Master’s office por favor…”
Entering its odd library like ambience, the Man announced himself, ” Buenos dias, I am Pedro Diaz,you have just put out a call for me?”

Taking the receiver, a voice causes him to have a pang of existential dread, he recognises the voice:

“Hi ya! you the real Pedro Diaz this time?
To which the Man responds ,
“Sorry,wrong number”
 and walks out of the office.