Served Cold.

He waited in a pub in Brighton.  On the table in front of him were a drink and a mobile.  He checked the time just as someone took the seat next to him.

 

The newcomer smiled.  ‘Hello Dad.  Long time no see.’

 

He didn’t smile back.  ‘I thought I told you if I ever saw you again I’d kill you?’

 

She nodded at the mobile.  ‘Waiting for a text to say your truck’s arrived in Dover?  Well, I’m afraid there’s been a change of plan….’

She smiled again, tucking blonde hair behind her ear, showing anyone who cared to observe that she was very much in control of the situation from that point on.

 

He clicked a button on his mobile, the screen telling him there were no new messages.

‘What have you done?  What have you done, you bitch?  Should have got shot of you same time as your mother – always thought you were more my girl than hers.  Guess I was wrong.  You’re every bit as much a callous cow as she was.’

 

‘Guess it’s a good thing you didn’t get shot of me then, huh ‘Dad’ – leaves me around to get some revenge for poor old Mum, some comeback for whatever you did to her.’

 

He grabbed the phone off the table and scrolled through the address list, hitting dial when he found the number he sought.

 

‘I wouldn’t bother even trying to contact them.  The driver or his mate.  They didn’t even make it to the truck, you see.  All of your crap is still where it was, in France and – oh dear, I just remembered – you can’t go and get it because your passport was taken from you last time you were taken into Her Majesty’s place, right?  Oh, shame, Dad, real damn shame that.’  Again the cruel smile.

 

He slammed the phone back onto the table.

‘What do you mean by they didn’t make it to the truck?  That truck has everything in it – everything I own, everything I have from my home there, all my stuff I need over here now.’

 

She picked up a beer-mat and started to peel the layers of card apart slowly, as if peeling layers of his life apart before his eyes.

‘Revenge, ‘Father’ – that’s what you’d call it I guess – you and your ‘gangster’ friends.  Well, I’m here to let you know that all of that is yesterday – take a close look at your little girl right now – I’m the here and I’m the now – and you ain’t gonna like it one little bit, but that’s how it is.’

 

‘What the hell are you talking about?’ His voice now a snarl, spittle flying.

 

‘The driver’s mate was easy – just a little gentle persuasion and he ran scared from the whole job.  Your driver, however, took a little more than persuasion and, from what my man tells me, it will be a while before he can operate a gear shift again.  Clearly he was dedicated to his work for you – and that’s to be applauded, in the right circumstances, but I can’t have anyone in my way now so I had to have him dealt with.’

 

‘Crazy bitch – you are out of your depth here – who the hell do you think you are?’

 

‘Me?  Oh, I’m the girl you should have killed when you had the chance, you were right about that.  But now that chance has long gone and here I am Daddy-dearest, the spawn of all that was right about my mother and all that is diseased and wrong inside you, all tied up in this attractive package.’

 

‘You won’t get away with threatening me.’

 

‘Threatening?  Oh, this isn’t threatening, Dad.  That’s what you did, that was your area – idle threats for the most part as I recall.  Apart from with Mum of course – probably the only time you ever followed through.  Now, seeing as you’re in no rush, I’m going to get a drink – want one?’

 

‘Go to hell!’ He spat as she stood and walked to the bar.

 

‘Let me just get my drink first, then we’ll decide where we’re both going next, okay?  And for you it won’t be scuttling back to France, that’s for sure.’

 

The moment her back was turned as she approached the bar he got to his feet, stuffed the mobile in his jeans pocket and rushed out from behind the table, heading for the door.

 

‘Oh, Dad!  Leaving me so soon?  I thought we had really started to catch up here – it’s been a long time.’

 

He continued on his way, pushing past the people gathered at the bar.

‘Not anywhere near long enough.  Get out of my life.’

 

He pushed hard against the double doors of the pub and out into the bright sunshine outside.

 

Squinting, he made out the shapes of several dark figures gathered around the entrance as he stepped out and looked as they came into focus.

 

Four figures, all in Police uniforms.

 

‘Okay, Sir, that’s far enough.’  One voice said.

He felt hands grasping his arms, holding him tightly where he stood.

 

He craned his neck, trying to look back into the pub as the doors swung shut.

 

He turned back at the faces that surrounded him.

‘There’s been a mistake.  You’re not after me. There must be a mistake.’  He watched the faces of the police officers turn away from him as they looked back towards the pub doors, watching them opening again.

 

And there she stood.  The smile now one of satisfaction, and without the slightest twinge of sadness on view.

 

‘No.  No mistake.’

 

She patted her father on the shoulder.

 

‘No mistake at all – other than the one I made in waiting so many years for the chance to put you away myself.  The chance to put right so many wrongs from so many years before, the opportunity to finally find justice for her.’

 

His eyes widened at the sudden realisation that he was about to be dealt a crushing blow.

 

‘Yes.’  She brushed her hair from her face in the cold wind.  ‘That’s right.  We’ve found her.  After all these years, we’ve found her body and she can finally be placed at rest.  And you – well, you can be put away again, but this time for a long long time.’

 

‘A copper?  A bloody copper – you?’

 

‘That’s ‘Detective Inspector’ to you.’  Turning to the officers.  ‘Okay, take him in please.’

She turned on her heels and walked back inside for her drink.

 

 

Keith

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