Welcome to my second stop for the 12 Days of Clink Street Christmas, and the second part of a short story by AW Rock, Soho Noel. The other two parts can be found via the links further down.
The dead man was still slumped on the table and any passerby would have assumed that he was a sleeping drunk. I knew it would be some time before one of the bar staff came out and tried to wake him up so I decided to carry on with my day as though nothing had happened, but the killer had made me change my itinerary.
I had planned on going into that same bar but the police would be interviewing everyone in there so I thought better of it.
There was also the CCTV surveillance to consider. Most of Soho was covered by cameras and looking around without making it obvious I noticed a camera high up on the wall in Old Compton Street at the junction with Wardour Street.
When the Old Bill checked that out I would be in the foreground of the shot when Father Christmas appeared. Even if I had been filmed from behind when I turned into the doorway they would have a profile shot, but unfortunately not from my best side.
I was curious but not curious enough to have to make a statement to the police so I moved on.
Costas’s Lounge was further up Wardour Street. He was an old friend and I decided to stop off there for a whisky and water and bring him up to date; not much went on in Soho that Costas didn’t know about but for once I had some local news for him.
How unusual it was that Costas was in the corner of the bar in deep conversation with two young women. He looked up when I entered and tried to ignore me; he didn’t want me getting involved.
I sat at the bar and Jack, full-time struggling actor and part-time bar person appeared from below the bar, sniffed, wiped his mouth and looked at me and over at Costas, then raised his eyebrows.
I nodded and he brought over a large whisky and a small jug of water.
“He’s old enough to be their grandfather..”, said Jack, “..I wish they’d never invented Viagra.. there’s no stopping him and it reduces the field for me.”
I looked around. Charlie was sitting in his usual seat that looked as though it had been designed by a couturier to mould to his buttocks. He raised his glass hoping that I would offer him another but I wasn’t in the mood.
The assassination was occupying my mind when Father Christmas came through the door. He came up to the bar and ordered a large brandy, turned to me and lifted his glass, “Cheers and happy Christmas”, he said, holding my stare.
“Some people won’t get to enjoy this Christmas”, I said.
He was a big man in a big costume, “That’s probably because they didn’t deserve to.”
“Who gets to decide who deserves what?” I asked.
Part 1 is on The Nerdgirl Review – http://thenerdgirlreview.blogspot.co.uk/ – 1st December
Part 3 will be on David’s Book Blurg – https://davidsbookblurg.wordpress.com/ – 8th December
This contemporary crime story takes place over three weeks in November and unfolds against the multi-cultural backdrop of Soho, London. Branen had to leave the UK six years before to escape his complex clandestine history and the consequences of a crime that achieved worldwide notoriety. When his daughter is brutally murdered in Soho he believes that he could be the reason. He returns to his old hunting grounds to find the killer. His search brings him into conflict with the British Secret Service and Soho’s underworld. He is forced to flee Soho again after a tragic meeting with his ex-wife. His past has caught up with him and the hunter becomes the hunted. Now forty years old Branen wants to stop running and to remove forever the continuing threat to his life. In an effort to get rid of his pursuers he is faced with the prospect that his only chance of survival could lead to his death.
About AW Rock
Website – http://sohohoney.com/
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