‘Any information you can glean about the Organization, faces, names, places. All that goes without saying, and it would be rather nice if you could get Michael Cork for us if the opportunity arises, or indeed anyone else of similar persuasion that you meet along the way.’
I said slowly, ‘And what exactly do you mean by “get”?’
‘Don’t fool about with me, boy,’ he said, and there was iron in his voice. ‘You know exactly what I mean. If Cork and his friends want to play these kind of games then they must accept the consequences.’
‘I see. And where does Meyer fit into all this ?’
‘He’ll co-operate in full. Go to Northern Ireland when necessary. Assist you in any way he can.’
‘And how did you achieve that small miracle? As I remember Meyer, he was always for the quiet life.’
‘A simple question of the annual renewal of his licence to trade in arms,’ the Brigadier said. ‘There is one thing I must stress, by the way. Although you will be paid the remuneration plus allowances suitable to your rank, there can be no question of your being restored to the active list officially.’
‘In other words, if I land up in the gutter with a bullet through the head, I’m just another corpse ?’
‘Exactly.’ He stood up briskly and adjusted his panama. ‘But I’ve really talked for quite long enough and the governor’s laid on an MTB to run me back to Athens in half an hour. So what’s it to be? A little action and passion or another fifteen years of this ?’
He gestured around the cell with his cane. I said, ‘Do I really have a choice ?’
‘Sensible lad,’ He smiled broadly and rapped on the door. ‘We’d better get moving then.’
‘I brought a signed release paper with me from Athens.’
‘You were that certain?’
He shrugged. ‘Let’s say it seemed more than likely that you’d see things my way.’
The key turned in the lock and the door opened, the sergeant saluted formally and stood to one side.
The Brigadier started forward and I said, ‘Just one thing.’
‘You did say Royal Corps of Transport?’
He smiled beautifully. ‘A most essential part of the Service, my dear Simon. I should have thought you would have recognized that. Now come along. We really are going to cut it most awfully fine for the RAF plane I’ve laid on from Athens.’
So it was Simon now ?He moved out into the corridor and the sergeant stood waiting patiently as I glanced around the cell. The prospect was not exactly bright, but after all, anything was better than this.
He called my name impatiently once more from halfway up the stairs, I moved out and the door clanged shut behind me.
I first met Julius Meyer in one of the smaller of the Trucial Oman States in June, 1966. A place called Rubat, which boasted a sultan, one port town and around forty thousand square miles of very unattractive desert which was inhabited by what are usually referred to in military circles as dissident tribesmen.
The whole place had little to commend it except its oil, which did mean that besides the sultan’s three Rolls-Royces, two Mercedes and one Cadillac, our American friends not being so popular in the area that year, he could also afford a Chief of Police and I was glad of the work, however temporary the political situation made it look.
I was called up to the palace in a hurry one afternoon by the sultan’s chief minister., Hamal, who also happened
to be his nephew. The whole thing was something of a surprise as it was the sort of piace where nobody made a move during the heat of the day.
When I went into his office, I found him seated at his desk opposite Meyer. I never did know Meyer’s age for he was one of those men who looked a permanent sixty.
Hamal said, ‘Ah, Major Vaughan, this is Mr Julius Meyer.’
‘Mr Meyer,’ I said politely.
‘You will arrest him immediately and hold him in close confinement at central police headquarters until you hear from me.’