A Deuce Bigalow companion fic
"Global Manwhore Association,
Mason McDaniel speaking," I say pleasantly, taking the tea infuser
out of my teapot and laying
it in a saucer. Like any good Englishman worth his salt, I like my tea
and the day's selection
was Darjeeling. No milk, please.
There are a few seconds of
silence and I now use this opportunity to straighten my desk blotter
and to align a small pile
of napkins with the blotter's edge. If anything, I am over-organized.
"There's a slight problem,"
the husky male voice on the other end of the phone informs me.
"What kind of problem?" I
next inquire. I furrow my brow, trying to place the voice. Why did the
voice sound so familiar?
"The kind of problem where
we need...some discreet services."
"Then you've come to the
right place," I pleasantly tell the voice. "GMA provides its members with
any service, at any time
anywhere in the world. We are here to serve," I said automatically, biting
my lip before I began to
recite the entire GMA benefits manual.
The voice laughs nervously.
The laughter rang clearly into my earpiece. I grimace at the
unexpected clarity, cursing
the earpiece's makers for such meticulous attention to the manufacture
of their product. I pour
myself a cup of tea.
There was another pregnant
pause. I fiddle with the wire leading to my earpiece, hoping I wouldn't
unplug the phone in the
A slight cough, then the
voice informes me, "Matey, it's like this. Someone has kidnapped Deuce
"What?!" I stand up suddenly,
banging my knees on the desk and upturning my tea pot. My teacup
shudders but maintains its
stance firmly in the middle of my desk. Only half the tea spills out, a
testament perhaps, to the
large size of the tea cup.
Fragrant, hot Darjeeling
tea spills down the side of my desk to puddle on the carpet. "Who would
want to kidnap Deuce?" I
implore wildly as I grab a few napkins from the pile on the corner of my
desk, and use them to mop
the spill on the desk.
"Don't know yet. Deuce was
supposed to arrive at the Gala Barracuda Casino half past nine last evening."
"And he never showed."
"The limo showed."
Now I am confused. "The limo
showed but Deuce didn't?"
"That's right. The limo
he hired showed up at the Barracuda on time, but instead of carrying Deuce,
limo was carrying a note."
I take a step back. "What
did the note say?"
"Pay the ransom and Deuce
comes back alive. Don't pay, don't see him again. Wait for further
instructions Tuesday at
2 pm near the Eye. Carry a pink umbrella for identification."
"Anything else?" I ask, glancing
at a clock on the wall.
"There was a lock of his
hair inside the envelope. A long lock of his hair. Ripped out of his head."
I suck in my breath then
let it out. "Seeing as how it's going on 1 pm and that today is Tuesday,
presume I am to pop on over
to the Eye and see how things turn out." I try to make my voice
cheerful but under the circumstances
I think my voice sounds phony.
"That would be very helpful.
"Agreed. Meet me at the Barracuda
casino straight afterward."
The phone clicks off in my
ear and I did the same. The napkins I was using to mop up my tea were
sodden. Dropping them into
the trash receptacle, I take off my earpiece and lay it on the desk.
I wonder who kidnapped Deuce
and who had phoned me. The voice is very familiar, but who? I
shrug, knowing that I will
see the owner of the voice soon enough.
But for now, time is of the
essence in these matters, so I drop the day's newspaper onto the wet
tea stain then left my office.
A few minutes later, I am
merrily humming through London's crowded lunchtime streets on my
Vespa. Truly an innovative
machine, my pale blue Vespa can weave through the densest of
London's worst traffic jams
which seem to occur with frightening regularity.
My name is Mason McDaniel,
if you've forgotten that small fact since your shocking discovery that
Deuce Bigalow has been kidnapped.
I carry a minor title, being the third son of a nobleman. Much to my father's consternation, I rarely use
my title. My education consisted of university followed by legal
training which resulted in my becoming a barrister. And in case you didn't
catch my workplace, for the last three years, I have been employed by the Global Manwhore Association.
As I've explained earlier,
GMA performs any service required by its members. Mostly, the services
provided by the London office
relate to locating amenable private apartments here in London or on
the Continent. GMA also
arranges yacht rental, limos, ticket services...ah yes, you think I am
describing a concierge service?
That, and more. GMA also
provides health and retirement benefits to its members. And in the
years since the American
stock market went bust, GMA has provided financial services and I'm
happy to say that few GMA
members lost more than twenty thousand quid.
Legal advice on certain matters,
usually pertaining to immigration, are where my skills are utilized.
GMA provides me with a rather
plush, though small office, located on Berkeley Street in Mayfair, just
up the street from the Mayfair Hotel. My office is tastefully furnished
with a mix of modern furniture and antiques that I purchased from the Edinburgh
and London auction houses.
I stop now at the cross between Berkeley
and Piccadilly, right in front of the Ritz Hotel. "Must remember to stop off in their tea room," I mutter to myself before turning left
on Piccadilly and head towards
the urban landmark of Tower Records. As I ride, I watch tourists
scratch their heads as they
try to figure out the currency exchange rates for pounds versus euros and pounds versus dollars.
Where to purchase a pink
umbrella? I slow the Vespa down, and look carefully at the street
vendors hawking umbrellas
at ten pounds each. Glancing quickly at their selections, I noted the
umbrellas were mostly dreary
colors in your everyday basic black.
Sighing, I decide to detour
so I veer left on Air Street and head towards Soho. There, amongst the
artists' stalls, I might
find a pink umbrella meeting the requirements of the ransom note.
I pass the Cafe Royal and
remember that my tea was a prelunch tea, as normally around two, I
am lunching somewhere. My
stomach grumbles but I ignore it for the time being. I cross
Glasshouse Street, which
forms kinds of an odd shaped oval on maps, and end up on Brewer
People crowd Soho’s sidewalks,
jammed shoulder to shoulder as they move en masse towards
their post-lunch destinations.
They are moving rather slow, so I suspect they are on their way back
to the office. I see more
than a few of them with maps pulled out, indicating their tourist status
evidently hoping that a
friendly native will point out the way.
After crossing Wardour Street,
I ride my Vespa slowly down Old Compton Street, looking at the
umbrellas on sale. Here
the umbrellas are also selling for ten pounds, but one has a better
selection of color here
in Soho. I spy my quarry and I pull the Vespa in front of the vendor. I
"Hullo!" the vendor, a teenage
girl, says. She's about nineteen with short blond hair and icy blue
eyes and dressed the way
teens seem to prefer: jeans and a t-shirt.
"Hullo. That pink umbrella,
please," I indicate the umbrella and reach into my pocket. The girl
retrieves my umbrella, hands
it to me and I hand her a ten.
"Thank you!" she tells me.
I nod, place the umbrella in a small bag on the side of the Vespa and
Some twenty minutes later,
I find a place to park my Vespa. Taking the pink umbrella, I meander
around the banks of the
Thames until I find a bench relatively near the Eye. I take notice of a
old lady wearing a saggy
cardigan and speaking on her cell phone. She notices me and smiles.
Absently, I smile back.
I sit down and look at my watch.
Ten to 2.
"Two hundred fifty thousand
quid and you get Deuce Bigalow back," a female voice says beside
I start. The contact was
more than punctual. I didn't even hear her walk up. I turn sideways to
at her. Right off, I notice
she is quite leggy, dressed in a canary yellow short trench. I raise my eyebrows
at her canary trench &
knowing this fact about her, I am able to ascertain that Deuce Bigalow
alive, well and not likely
to be in much danger. The only danger would be to GMA’s pocketbooks.
Quickly, I glance at her
feet to confirm my suspicion. Sure enough, she is wearing black leather
mid calf length boots with
platform heels. A dead giveaway as to her professional affiliation. Her
face is shaded by a large
floppy hat. Oversize sunglasses shield her eyes and a large part of her
I pause a moment. "When?"
"Edinburgh. The South Bridge Vaults. Tomorrow,
2 pm. Cash in a small carryall. You may bring one other person. No
funny stuff or Deuce Bigalow
takes a trip to Davy Jones' locker," the lovely lady tells me quite seriously. She was
trying to clip her responses,
perhaps so I would not be able to identify her voice or perhaps she
wanted to refrain from giving
away too much information. I felt like telling her that she needed to
watch her wardrobe.
I nod and the lady gets up
and moves away. I take a small pair of field glasses out of my pocket
and peer through them. I
tsk softly. Lady, my love, you should never wear a canary yellow trench
on a grey London day. You
will be seen for quite some ways, especially by chaps like myself who
carry field glasses. And
especially when you are part of a well-known group of sticky-fingered
Far down the street, I notice
the lady captor getting into a black Rolls. I peer intently at the plate
and memorize the number:
LJ51LZB. The LJ means Wimbledon, which narrows the possibilities of owners. I knew I could use the licence number to trace the car, presuming, of
course, that Deuce’s captors
haven't temporarily swapped license plates, something that particular
group has been known to
do to elude detection.
The Rolls from Wimbeldon moves off and
I return the field glasses to my pocket, exchanging them for a pen and
paper. I jot down the license
I stand up. The little old
lady smiles at me and I notice that she is selling newspapers, coffee and
candy. Again, I smile back
at her. I return to the Vespa and head over to the Barracudacasino--a
popular place with London gents.
Finding another parking place
and locking the Vespa, I enter Barracuda's and wander around,
popping in a quid or two
in the slots. In one slot machine, I win thirty pounds with a quid bet.
smile, remove the tokens
and pocket them to cash in later.
A lady approaches me. "Mason
McDaniel?" she inquires. I nod and she beckons me to follow her. I
do so, thinking that in
earlier years, this particular lady would have been quite a looker. But
time and gravity have taken
their toll on her posterior.
I am led to one of the private
rooms in the back. My lady escort leaves me and I open the door.
The room is dim.
"Step in, and close the door,"
a husky male voice tells me. It is the same voice who talked with me
earlier. I follow the instructions.
When the door snicks shut, lights go on. There is a table, a few
chairs. A small mini bar
is laid out on the table and a man in white is seated with his back turned
towards me. He swings around
in the chair to face me.
"Antoine!" I cry, glad to
see my old friend. I take off my coat and fold it over the back of a chair.
Antoine nods, but worry
lines crease his face. I know what he is feeling about our mutual friend,
"What did you find out?"
he asks me by way of greeting. He is nursing a whiskey.
"The South Bridge vaults in Edinburgh. Tomorrow, 2 pm. Two hundred fifty thousand quid or Deuce is deep sixed," I bluntly tell
Antoine. He sighs and I
take a seat at the table.
His expression is grave. "We can get the cash together,"
Antoine states flatly. And he is correct. GMA maintains investment
jewelry which we can sell
off to estate jewelers as the need arises. Truth be told, GMA has never
had to sell off its jewelry.
"I do have some further information
on who kidnapped Deuce," I dutifully repeat the contact's words. Antoine looks at me,
surprise showing on his
He raises his arms, palms
up. "But it's so soon after you met the contact!" he tells me. "Not even
half hour! How do you know
more information about who kidnapped Deuce?"
"It's the Modsters who kidnapped
Antoine narrows his eyes
and growls. "The Modsters? Who are they?” he pounds his fist on the
table to demonstrate his
agitation. His dark eyes look angrily at me.
"A loosely based gang of
cat burglars,” I calmly tell him. The fire in Antoine’s eyes dims and his
demeanor grows calm. I continue
my explanation. “The Modsters are well known to Scotland Yard.
Mostly small time crimes,
pickpockets, petty theft, purse lifting. Also liquor and cigarette runs.
contact was wearing a canary
yellow trench with black mid-calf length boots. That’s the Modster
ladies’ latest trademark
“Will they harm Deuce?” Antoine
asks me, leaning to rest his elbows on the table.
“Not the Modsters. Despite
the deep six threat, they’re young, non-violent petty thieves. Mostly
raised by the state.”
"They must want something
big time if they're resorting to kidnapping," Antoine says smoothly,
understanding what is at
stake. He pours himself another whiskey. "Want one?" he inquires.
"That would be lovely," I
reply. Antoine fixes me a whiskey and pushes the glass over to me. I sip.
"Yes. They must want--or
"Such as?" Antoine asks,
refilling his whiskey.
"That remains to be seen."
Upon rumination and a meeting
with other high placed members of the GMA, it was decided that
GMA would not bring in the
Yard. After meeting with Antoine, I had conferred with other legal
counsel, then taken a diamond
and sapphire necklace, and a ruby and diamond necklace out of a
safe deposit box and headed
over to one of London’s reputable jewelers. I received a check for the
Eyebrows had been raised
at the bank when I requested two hundred fifty thousand quid in cash,
but in a few hours I had
obtained what I needed. Last evening, I had taken the liberty of arranging
for some private protection
and I hoped the bumbling duo would meet Antoine and myself near the
This morning, Antoine and
myself awoke with the dawn, traveled to Edinburgh by the early train. We arrived in time
lunch. Lunch was at a fish
and chips shop. Now Antoine and myself are standing in the bleak
vaults below the South Bridge. These vaults were built some two hundred years ago, abandoned, then closed up.
Although the vaults are supposed to be lit, as no natural light has ever reached the vaults, for some strange reason there is only a flicker of light, causing shadows to dance on the walls. I suspect the Modsters chose the Vaults for the exchange because the darkness will obscure their features and render them virtually unrecognizable in a line-up.
I stamp my foot in agitation. There is no sign of my private protection. Either they are detracted by
the music festival, or they
are seriously lost.
Through the shadows, I see Antoine is pacing. Presently, we
hear the sound of heels. A muffled ‘oomph!” sounds, and a harsh
‘shush, a bit longer and
you’ll go home to mummy,” is heard in the murky darkness somewhere
ahead of us.
I strain to see through the
murky darkness, wishing I had thought to bring night vision goggles.
Antoine nudges my shoulder
and I see three forms coming towards us. It looks to be Deuce and
two women, judging from
the sound of their high-heeled boots.
“Got the cash?” the taller
woman curtly asks. As the three get closer, I see that the two women
were dragging Deuce along
by his elbows. I try to place her accent--Manchester? Bristol?
I nod, then frown. In the
darkness, the women couldn’t see my movements. I clear my throat and
“On the floor. Kick it over.
I want to look inside it. Then I’ll let Deuce go,” the taller woman tells
Liverpudlian. She was from
Liverpool trying to hide her accent by pretending she was from Bristol. Smart, but I am not fooled.
I carefully place the small
carry all on the floor and kick it toward the woman. She caught it with
her foot, bent down, opened
the bag. With a small penlight she looked at the stacks of 100 pound
“Good,” she says.
“It’s all there,” Antoine
offers, his voice soft. Deuce turns his head towards the sound of Antoine’s
voice. In the glare of the
penlight, I see that Deuce is blindfolded, gagged and his hands are bound
behind his back. Antoine
sees Deuce’s condition as well and I nudge him to remain silent.
Snapping shut the carry all
and holding it in her right hand, the woman stands up. She nods to her
silent partner and flicks
off the light. “Two and three!” she calls.
Deuce is pushed suddenly
towards Antoine and myself. Being blindfolded, he stumbles into us,
and the three of us tumble
to the ground. Retreating footsteps tell me the two ladies have
disappeared into the Vaults. Vaguely, I wonder how they're going to get out but put that worry aside.
Deuce is struggling to get
free of his bonds. I manage to untie his hands and he removes his
“Antoine! Is that you?” he
peers at Antoine. “Antoine, my friend! Am I glad to see you!” I frown,
feeling a bit left out as
Deuce ignores my presence. I notice that Deuce’s words are a bit slurry
I wonder--briefly. Then
I take a deep breath and know what Deuce has been fed these last few
“Yes,” Antoine replies gruffly.
“It’s Antoine! I have come to your rescue! I have brought Mason as
Deuce scrambles up and I
see he is trying to hug Antoine, but Deuce keeps stumbling down.
Something appears to be
on the bottom of his shoe. Slime, most likely.
“Did you get a photo of them?”
I now ask Antoine, hoping to distract Deuce. I help Deuce up and
steady him by gripping his
“I think so,” Antoine replies.
He fumbles around in the dark and I realize he has lost his cell phone
“Deuce, are you all right?”
I now ask Deuce.
“Yeah, man. Am I glad to
see you, too! But it was the weirdest experience!” Deuce tells me.
Antoine must have been really
close to the cell phone for I hear a loud click.
“Damn!” Antoine says. From
my pocket, I pull out a small flashlight and the subterranean room
lights up when I flick the
“There it is!” Antoine says,
going to retrieve his cell phone. He fiddles with it. “Yes. I have an
image. Not very good but
you can see part of one’s face.”
“Save the photo. We might
need it later,” I say, replacing the flashlight and brushing my suit off.
Antoine puts the phone into
his pocket and brushes himself off.
“Dirty down here,” Antoine
tells us and Deuce nods.
“Man, you two don’t know
what happened!” a slightly dazed (and I suspect slightly drunk, judging
from the overpowering whiskey
smell) Deuce was now saying as we made our way up to the street
level. I am trying to steady
Deuce but he isn’t helping me much.
Outside, the sounds of the
music festival are going on. Antoine now peers at Deuce. “Are you all
Blinking against the sudden influx of sunlight, Deuce nods then wobbles on
his feet. He giggles. “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down!”
Antoine nods, understanding
about Deuce’s involuntary condition.
I am a bit grumbly because
the protection I hired has not yet shown their faces. We
meld into the ongoing street festival. Music is playing, people are drinking and shouting merrily at each other.
We retreat to an alley some ways down the street where I have a car ready.
As we walk towards the alley,
Antoine smiles at the people. He waves his hands around. “Some
good women here, yes?” he
asks me, smiling. “Good for business.”
I ignore him. We reach the
alley. “You can get a bath and some dinner at the hotel,” I now tell
Deuce, steering him towards
the car. Footsteps sound behind us. I turn, see who it is, then plant
my hands on my hips.
“It’s about time you showed
up!” And it was true, the private protection that I had arranged was a
bit late for the festivities.
I sigh. Although Colin and Sean are excellent protection when one can
get their attention long
enough, leave them at a festival and they are bound to get lost. Purposely.
Sean and Colin hurry towards
me. “Sorry, mate. Crowd’s a bit thick with the festival,” Colin tells
me. I glare at him. Sunlight
glints off his red hair, burnishing it to a deep copper. I suddenly notice
a bruise beginning to darken
Colin’s cheek. I peer at Sean. His shirt is a bit torn but he is otherwise
“You too?” I ask the blackhaired
Sean. Brothers they are. Behind me in the car, Antoine and Deuce
are talking softly so I
can’t hear them.
“Yeah,” Sean responds.
“Get any cash?” I say.
“Nope. Too smart for them!” Sean tells me. He thumps his chest in sad imitation of Tarzan.
I have suspicions. “A Modster?” I now inquire.
“Think so, mate,” Colin tells
me. “Dressed all in black ‘e was, and ‘e ran towards a woman in a
short canary yellow trench
coat. If they’re ‘ere at festival, it’s a jolly good day for pickpockets,”
Colin finishes, straightening
his shirt. He grinned, rubbing his purpling cheek. “I gave ‘im a spot of
trouble!” he told me now.
”Bet ‘e wasn’t counting on that!” Colin punches the air then grins at me.
I make a mental note of this
information on the injuries to one of the Modsters.
“Trade went down all right?”
Sean asks now, eyeing Deuce and Antoine in the car. “’e looks a bit
under the weather,” Sean
finishes. Inside the car, Antoine and Deuce smile at the three of us still
standing on the cobbled
street. Deuce gives a little wave. I ignore him for now.
I nod at Sean. “Simple trade.
Cash for Deuce, then off into the tunnels went the women.”
“We’ll see them again if
they’re Modsters, I’ve no doubt,” Colin tells me.
Seeing that my protection
was pickpocketed, I can’t fault Colin and Sean for their lateness. I slip
each man an envelope. Inside
is the usual payment: cash, gift cards and lottery tickets.
Glancing about to see if
they’re unobserved, the men slip their envelopes inside their shirts. I
suspect each one is wearing
a neck wallet and considering that members of the Modsters were in
attendance today, it seemed
a wise idea to use neck wallet.
The two men nod at me and
blend into the crowds.
Back in London over dinner,
Antoine, Deuce and myself were lingering over drinks.
“Ready to tell us about it?”
I ask of Deuce. For the last several hours, Deuce had been quiet. Even
the masseuse reported that
she couldn’t get him to talk. He’d gotten over his slight hangover but
couldn’t tell us much about
where he had been taken since being snatched in the limo Monday
He shakes his head. “There’s
not much to tell. I was blindfolded and kept blindfolded until I was let
I was curious as to the finer
details of the kidnapping but I kept my mouth shut. So I say, “Looks
like they fed you whiskey.”
Deuce nods. “That’s all they
fed me. A blended variety, they told me. For the grains,” he adds with a wan smile on his face.
Antoine snorts. “Whiskey
diet. You need to eat, mate! You look thin!” He slaps Deuce on the back
and Deuce grins. A lovely
waitress comes into the private dining room laden with a tray of
desserts. Antoine has chosen
what has to be the world’s largest banana split. The waitress places
the banana split in front
of Antoine and he grins.
“What? I like ice cream,”
he tells us.
Ah! The weekend is here!
It’s Friday morning, and I am not expected in my GMA office. You think
I’ve forgotten that I’m
the only employee in my office? I haven’t forgotten; I merely state fact.
Up in my Thames riverside
loft in a converted warehouse, I am having brekkie and watching the
morning news. I hear an
interesting item. “For an update, we now turn to Lana Sinclaire.” The
lovely Lana! I always have
time for the lovely Lana. I put down my tea cup and peer at the telly.
The ever lovely Lana is standing
in the shadow of the Eye, and she informs all of England that an
“incredible gem heist
went down in the early hours this morning at the Millenium Dome Gem Show.
Reports are estimated
that the thieves stole loose gems totaling pounds five million.”
I whistle through my teeth.
Then my cell phone rings. Using the remote control, I mute Lana. The telly
switches over to closed captioning so I can follow the lovely Lana. Fearful
of brain cancer, I put in my earpiece and answer the phone.
“Hullo!” As I’m at home,
I don’t answer with the GMA greeting.
“It’s Antoine.” Trust the
man to get right to the point. I smile.
“Top of the morning to you,
Antoine! What may I do for you, mate?”
“Watch the news.”
“Already doing so, mate.”
I pick a scone and spread it with jam. I take a bite.
Chewing, then swallowing
the bite of scone, I reply, “Yes.”
“You are watching Lana Sinclaire
now?” Antoine repeats urgently. So that’s what this call is about.
Antoine wants an introduction to Lana Sinclaire. Aside from the other things
that GMA provides its
members, personal introductions
are the heart and soul of GMA.
“Through GMA, I can arrange
for you to meet the lovely Lana,” I smoothly tell Antoine. Hell, I’d like
to meet the lovely Lana and this would
be a wonderful excuse to arrange for a lunch date with her.
No? How can I be wrong? Who
wouldn’t want to meet the lovely Lana and why wouldn't they want to meet her? Before I can run through a
list of reasons, Antoine
“Look closely at the screen. In the background, wadded there
the trash can behind Lana’s
left, no, right, no, yes, her right shoulder, which is your left. What
you see there?”
I do as Antoine instructs
me. Fortunately my telly is a large screen telly, one which completely
dominates one side of my
brekkie nook. I like big things. I scan the background behind lovely Lana
Sinclaire. And there, in
the background, I see the item to which Antoine is referring.
“Is that what I think
it is?” I ask Antoine. The rest of my scone falls to the floor and my jaw
“Yes. A canary yellow trench
coat,” Antoine confirms what my light grey eyes are telling me. At the
bottom of my telly screen,
the lovely Lana’s words are crawling across from right to left: “Police
have no idea who is responsible
for the gem heist, and Scotland Yard is perplexed as well.”
“Modsters,” I say.
“They used the cash from
Deuce’s kidnapping to get the equipment they needed to do the heist.”
I am in agreement. “I’m following
you there, mate.”
To carry off their heist,
the Modsters would have needed some high priced equipment to get past
the Millenium Dome security,
coordinated by Scotland Yard itself. Such equipment would have
cost more than the Modsters
usually took in for any given month, which was generally enough to
support themselves in quiet
luxury. The reason for Deuce’s kidnapping became clear.
“Shall I come around to knock
you up?” I ask Antoine.
“Meet me down at the Virgins,”
Antoine instructs me. I try to hold back a snicker. What Antoine
means is for me to meet
him @ Virgin Radio's building in Golden Square.
“Virgins it is. What say,
“Now!” Antoine instructs.
His end of the phone clicks off and I follow his example. Leaving my
brekkie dishes on the table,
I rummage through the closet in hopes of finding some shoes.
Shortly, I arrive
at Golden Square. Antoine is there, dressed in pale grey pants with
a cream colored turtleneck
that I have to admit looks good on him. I notice he has obtained the use of a convertible roadster, making me wish for my own family cars. But my father won't allow me use of the family cars unless I begin to regularly use my title.
Antoine is pacing agitatedly back
and forth. “Morning,” he
“Morning.” I decide to ask
a question which popped into my head as I was heading out the door.
“Does Deuce know?”
Antoine shakes his head.
“I don’t think so. He’s still asleep. He was up gaming until the wee hours
I sigh in relief. “What are
we going to do?”
Antoine grins hugely. He
stops pacing, spreads his arms. “My friend Mason,“ he says, “we go on a
I am perplexed. “A helicopter
Antoine nods. “I won a helicopter
ride in a radio contest.”
Okaaayyy. This is news to
me. I decide it’s best to go along with Antoine’s idea. “What do you plan
to do?” I inquire gently.
He looks at me. “We look
down on London with field glasses and perhaps we see the canary yellow trench coats. The Modsters should
be out in full force today,
celebrating their successful heist.”
A lightbulb goes off in my head. Yes, Antoine is correct. Today would be a good day to celebrate.
But personally, If I were a Modster, I would lay low for a few days, perhaps even leaving the
country. I’d also change the dress code, just in case anyone like myself spotted the discarded
yellow canary short trench wadded in the trash can behind the lovely Lana’s shoulder.
“Let's roll,” Antoine says and I nod.
“There!” Antoine calls over the thup thup thup of the helicopter blades. He lowers his pair of field
glasses and points to his right. “Another one!” I look down in the direction Antoine indicates and
raise my field glasses.
“Yes. I see a trencher,” I say and shake my head. Apparently, the Modsters are out in full force
today, for this is the tenth lady Modster we’ve spotted. Or perhaps it is the same Modster member,
gleefully shopping all over London.
“What do we do now?” I ask.
“We get even.” Antoine smiles at me, then goes back to his post with the field glasses. Beneath us, the Thames
snakes through London in its peculiar shape. I see the rooftop garden of my converted
Shortly thereafter, the helicopter deposits us on a helipad near Golden Square. I suggest lunch near
the Eye and Antoine readily agrees. He heads off to his ride and I head for my Vespa. Once again,
I thread my way through London’s lunchtime traffic towards the Eye. Soon I am parking my Vespa when I feel a
tug on my sleeve.
I turn around, and for a moment, I am confused. Then reason dawns on me and I look down.
“I seen one of them, you know,” the little old lady from the newsstand tells me. I smile at her. She
is quite tiny, no higher than my lower ribs but then again, I am quite tall. For some reason, I decide to feign ignorance.
“Seen who?” I ask innocently, sliding my hands into my pockets.
She tilts her head back and I see that her hair is rinsed with a very pale lavender. When my granny
was alive, she used to rinse her hair blue.
“Eh, you know ‘oo I mean! I seen you the other day with one o’ the canaries!”
Now I decide that truth is the best option. “Ah, her! Yes, well, don’t know who she is, but she asked me to meet with her.”
“A likely story!” Granny tells me, snorting in displeasure. “More like she wanted something from
you. I got ‘er picture, if you want it!”
Now this was a nice development in the case. “Yes, I would like her picture.”
Granny hands me a photo. I peer at it and see an attractive woman with the same legs as I had
seen next to me on Tuesday.
“That’s her. I recognize her legs,” I say aloud.
Granny thrusts a tiny fist into the air. “I bet those canaries are behind the Dome gem ‘eist, too! Them and
their fellas! The men refer to themselves as blackbirds, you know,” Granny says. I look at her sharply. “Don’t tell me ‘oo it ain’t!” she exhorts me.
“That canary trencher in the trash can gave it away!”
I grimace. Who else saw the yellow trench jacket in the trash during the news broadcast?
Granny now eyes me quite seriously. Perhaps she is trying to decide if she can trust me. Running
her finger down my custom-made suit, she nods once, making her decision.
“And I know where a few o’ the canaries like to cage themselves,” I am informed now. I try to hide
my elation. This is truly information I can use. I raise my eyebrows to encourage Granny to
continue. Her bright blue eyes twinkle and she rubs her hands together gleefully. “Several of them live on a boat at the Docklands.”
Grinning, Granny holds out her hand. Smart woman. She must have been quite a woman in her youth. Builds up my expectations then hits me up for cash. I rummage around in my pockets and pull out a wad of bills. I begin to unfold the bills, then think better of it. Smiling, I place the wad into Granny’s hand. She smiles back.
“London’s Joy is the name o’ the boat. An yer a good man!” Granny tells me. “That group o' canaries living there likes to ‘ave brekkie by nine. They’re out until ‘igh tea, when they come back. Then it’s out until all ‘ours o’ the night.”
I am impressed. Granny’s surveillance was proving to be much better than anything I can come up
with on my own. I am seriously considering adding her to my roster of informants.
“Thank you,” I tell Granny.
“Eh,” was all she said. I watch her walk away, counting the wad of bills with what must have been
sheer joy. Sheer joy for her. There was better than a thousand quid in that wad!
“Are you sure?” Deuce asks a little nervously, squinting his eyes at the setting sun. “I’ve never
driven a power boat before.” He stands first on one foot then the other foot. He is
dressed in black, like one of the Modsters.
"They did kidnap you," Antoine reminds Deuce.
"Don't remind me," Deuce says, a defeated tone slipping into his voice. Antoine must have guessed Deuce's feelings for
Antoine acquired a sympathetic expression on his face.
“A power boat's like a car,” Antoine tells Deuce. “You’ll like it because now, we get even.” Antoine smiles. He too is dressed in black, but he will shed
most of his clothes, leaving only a bathing suit. He is hoping there will be towels on London’s Joy.
Deuce looks at me pleadingly. I tell him, “I’m needed here on shore, to ensure no one returns to the boat.”
I can understand Deuce's misgivings. During my little chat with Granny, Deuce had woken up and learned about the gem heist on the lunchtime news. He was not too happy about this discovery. Being a smart fellow (and aided by a
massage & a thick steak afterwards), Deuce figured out that the ransom paid to the Modsters was
used to help pull off the gem heist from the Dome.
And Deuce wasn’t a happy man. Nervous, yes. Happy, no. “So you think that’s where they stashed the
gems? On the boat?” Deuce now asks.
I nod. “Yeah.”
“Why don’t we just go aboard from shore?”
“Because they’ve got a top rate camera surveillance system for their boat,” I reply. And what a
system they had! “Now we know that the cameras only focus on the stern of the boat, leaving the
bow free of cameras. Antoine is going to swim to the bow then climb aboard.”
Deuce eyes me. He is clearly confused. "But how do you know where the gems are going to be?” Deuce asks as Antoine climbs into the power boat, ready for action.
“In the ice cube trays,” Antoine replies over his shoulder, causing Deuce to look at him with
“How do you know that?”
“Best place to hide ice is in ice,” Antoine replies cryptically, giving a smile. “Now, are you ready?”
Deuce nods and climbs into his place. “Ready! Let’s kick some bum!”
I stifle a snicker as Deuce powers up the
boat and I watch the two of them head down the Thames, evening shadows already enveloping the two friends. I walk back along the docks. Imagine pulling this stunt in broad daylight. I look at the setting sun. Deuce and Antoine were going to have to wait until the ladies went out for the evening. By then, the sun will have gone down and provided cover for the
Sighing, I decide to test the headset equipment. “Mason to Antoine, come in.”
“Falcon to Rabbit,” came back Antoine’s voice. “Out.”
I nod to myself then wander back towards a restaurant I had spotted earlier. It was going to be
several hours before Deuce and Antoine returned and I intended to wile away the hours in the
company of good food.
“And that makes six hundred...fifty. Thousand. Quid,” Antoine says, placing the last bill down on the
stack of cash. The table was covered with stacks of cash. A grin splits Antoine’s face. Placing his
hands behind his head, he leans back in his chair, he was apparently content at last. “Not bad for
an evening’s work.”
“GMA is claiming two hundred fifty thousand to repurchase our jewelry, plus another fifty thousand quid for surplus,” I
remind everyone. GMA’s board of directors has decreed the remainder of the reward can be split amongst the three of us, so naturally we are giddy with happiness.
“Did we really earn this money?” Deuce asks, wonderment in his eyes.
"We were," Antoine reminds, "double crossed."
“Reward money is sweet, yes?” I ask Deuce, tipping a glass of whiskey at him. “Bottoms up!”
“Yes!” Antoine says, raising his own glass. “To the sweet life!”
The three of us, well, really Deuce and Antoine, okay, truthfully it was Antoine who retrieved the loose gems from the Modsters’ boat hideaway. Antoine was the one who risked detection on the boat and much to our later chagrin there was indeed a Modster left in attendance on the boat. But Antoine lucked out; the canary was dead drunk on one of the bunks, a empty bottle of whiskey by her side.
Concerned about alcohol poisoning, Antoine checked her for a pulse. She had moaned and wanted
someone to rub her stomach. Antoine declined the unexpected offer. When he noticed a small pile of Victorian jewelry lying on the dining table, he had decided to search the entire boat, thus chancing upon a large cache of stolen jewelry and solving a series of puzzling jewel thefts which had been plaguing wealthy Londoners for the past few years.
Apparently, this particular subgroup of Modsters--three canaries and a blackbird--had been in stealth operation for several years. They lifted the antique jewelry, planning to stash it until the heat wore off in a few years. Then, sell! sell! sell! Preferably in the American antiques market. The quads also were the ones responsible for temporarily switching license plates in an attempt to confuse authorities; we also discovered they had lifted the Rolls.
All in all, Scotland Yard was most pleased with our investigation. It seems the Modsters refrain from high-value heists,
and one Modster was so bold to state that their desires were only small time crime. "Bilking the tourists, like, a tourist tax. Small time," he told an Inspector.
Small time, meaning less than a year in prison should any Modster get caught. The four Modsters
who were involved in the gem heists and the kidnapping of Deuce will be serving no less than nine
years before being considered for parole. The remaining Modsters have disavowed all knowledge
of the foursome.
In consideration of our trio’s discoveries, the Yard conveniently overlooked certain activities the
three of us did in our attempt to exact justice for Deuce. And since we went to retrieve the gems in
order to return the gems, it was decided that no charges were to be brought against the three of us, a most civilized decision, if you ask my opinion.
As you have noticed, we have been amply rewarded by the gems’ owners, not to mention Lloyd's of London, the insurers for the Dome's Gem Show. I hope to apprise you of our friendly trio's further adventures but for now, I'm off to a long Aegean holiday. As for Antoine and Deuce, you'll have to ask them what their plans are.
Provided you can catch them!