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.
“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”.
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 ,
and walks out of the office.