It didn’t take long to buy the replacement cameras. I found what I needed, paid and walked toward Kane. He nodded as I past, then started walking behind and off to one side. When we were close to the car, Kane moved faster so he could open the door. He casually glanced in but since Ted had never left the car, it wasn’t much of a look. He held the door for me again, then climbed in beside Ted.
“Aren’t you so posh now that you have hired help?” Ted asked laughing slightly.
“None of that backtalk, just drive home, Jeeves,” I replied with my best posh accent. Ted flipped me the bird and set off for home. I leaned back against the seat. There was so little point in worrying about the future just now.
A few minutes later and Ted was pulling up outside my house.
“Locked it?” asked Kane.
“Yep, I always do,” I replied.
“Keys then. Let me check before you go in.”
“Kane, these are obviously amateurs. What do you expect to find?”
He gave me a strange look. “I don’t know. They are fucking amateurs. Professionals, we’d have some idea of what they might do. The two I saw, who the fucking hell knows what they might do?”
He grabbed the keys and disappeared into the house. A minute later, he motioned for me to come in.
“Where’s the family?” he asked as I came in.
I shook my head. “Not your business. I’ve moved them out for the time being. They are hiding. They should be safe.”
Kane nodded. “Fair enough. It will be hard enough for me to keep you safe. Add in more people and the job would be impossible.” He suddenly looked at the ground. “I appreciate you giving me this shot. I know it can’t be easy for you, given Egypt. I really do want to stay in this town and staying here means coming to terms with The Company.”
“Assuming I survive, I’ll make sure that The Company does right by you. If I don’t, well, that’s no longer my problem.” I pointed at him. “If you fail, you will have to deal with my widow, children and their godfather who happens to be Ginger. I suspect they will be very peeved.”
“Seriously dude, I will do what I can. If I’m the only bodyguard, there will be times when I’m asleep and you have no protection.”
“I should be able to protect myself when I’m awake. But Ginger is right, I will need sleep. I will need to eat. And there’s no telling how long they plan to just do small stuff.”
“Small stuff? What have they done so far?” Kane pulled a small pad of paper and a pencil out of a pocket. He started scribbling quickly on the pad. I told him about the note, the paint, and the broken easel. He stopped scribbling on one page and flipped to another.
“Fucking amateurs, I hate them,” he growled. “Why send you a fucking note to let you know someone hates your guts? What’s the fucking point about that easel?”
“The heads up was useful from my point of view. I don’t know why they want me to stew over their threats but at least I knew something was coming. But why bother with all this harassment? Painting the house might get the attention of the neighbours, I will grant you. I don’t think anyone noticed besides my poor wife and next door who happen to be Company too.”
Kane stopped scribbling and flipped back to the previous page in the notebook. He then tossed it at me. “They are really rough but those are the two that asked me about Pesce.”
The first picture was a male, youngish but not too young. The second was a younger looking female. “Not bad work. You have some talent in drawing.” I flipped back and forth between the pages, memorising the two faces.
“No fucking talent, just a lot of fucking practice. My mother was an artist and demanded we do a certain amount of it every damned day. By the time I left home for good, I’d done one fucking hell of a lot of drawing.” He shrugged, “It does come in useful from time to time.”
“I appreciate this,” I said tapping on the notebook. “Now I have a clue who to look for.”
“That should actually be completely unnecessary. I have seen them after all,” he replied. “So, could you tell me how the fucking hell you got out of that pyramid? Sophie had me drag this big arse statue to block the door. I don’t see how you managed to move it.”
“I didn’t go out that way. It was the Great Pyramid, damn thing is riddled with hidden doors, secret passages and traps. Oh my fucking god, does it have traps.” I shuddered at the memory. “The room you left me in had concealed door which I eventually found. It took me two damn days to find a fucking way out. I nearly died of thirst and from springing a couple of traps. So that plan had very nearly worked. I’ve been a lot more cautious when I travel since that.”
“You definitely do not want to end up in prison in Egypt. That was the most disgusting fucking place I’ve ever been.”
“I don’t plan on prison ever. I’m not officially a member of The Company. Around here, I’m a legit business man, specialising in importing foreign goods. When I’m overseas, my contacts may not be quite as legitimate. So I’m a bit more flexible about how to get things done. But I am always careful.”
“How can you not be Company? Like, isn’t that Ginger dude the local head?”
“Yes, and he took over that position when I quit. My business has ties to Company, but they’d be hard to trace. Ginger makes certain of that.”
“Why the fucking hell would you quit?”
“Believe it or not, to avoid shit like this. I thought once I quit The Company, I wouldn’t have to spend my life watching my back. Then Pesce makes it necessary for me to go to Egypt to straighten things out. I get back and get an offer that I couldn’t turn down.” I sighed. “Now my family is in hiding and I’m waiting to find out who exactly is responsible for this.”
I looked at my watch and found it was time to ring Tania. Damn, I forgot to remind her to leave the phone on vibrate. I punched the button to speed dial her and walked into our bedroom shutting the door behind me.
“Hey Sweetheart. Everything going okay?” I listen to Tania explain how hard it was to settle the kids once the tent was set up. “I wish I could help. Hell, I wish that all of you were home. I’m sure that the kids will adjust soon.” She sighed then asked me about how I was coping. “No, don’t worry about me. I’m a big boy, I can take care of myself. Ted is lending me a guy as a body guard so all should be well.” “I miss you so much. You ring me tomorrow morning 10 past 7. All right?” She agreed. “Love and kisses to you and the kids. Be careful.” Then we hung up.
I came out of the bedroom to find that Kane was on the phone. From the sounds of it, he was talking to Jade. I went back into the bedroom, leaving the door slightly open. I waited until all was quiet before I came back out.
“Kane, time to head to the Red Rendezvous. I need a drink.” He shot me a look. “Hey, I think best with a drink. Or walking around which would be even riskier than the pub.”
He nodded. “Right, fine. How the hell do we fucking get there?”
“My car should be parked outside the joint. We’ll have to walk there, unless you want to do the cab thing?”
He sighed loudly, “You are fucking determined not to make this easy for me, aren’t you?”
“Look, honestly, I’ll try not to make it that hard. But I need to think. My first plan didn’t include the possibility of having someone else around. And you would really hate that one.”
“The plan was approximately, ‘Neh, neh, you can’t catch me.’ Really deliberately try and draw the opposition into action. Making damn sure that they went after me and didn’t go looking for my family.”
“A quiet drink at the pub does sound better,” said Kane. “But can’t you get a drink here?”
“Without my family, it’s too quiet. I need some buzz to distract me. Just one other person won’t do.”
He shrugged and started to head for the front door. I shook my head, “Let’s not make it that easy for them. I know a back way.”