Meyer’s hand fastened on the envelope. ‘Money is important, Brigadier, let nobody fool you. I never turned down a grand in my life.’
Ferguson turned back to me.It seemed to me that the most obvious pkce for your landing when you make the run will be the north Antrim coast, so Meyer will rent a house in the area. He’ll act as a link man between us once you’ve arrived and are in the thick of it.’
‘You intend to be there yourself?’
‘Somewhere at hand, just in case I’m needed, but one thing must be stressed. On no account are you to approach the military or police authorities in the area.’
*No matter what happens ?’
*You’re on your own, Simon,’ he said. TBetter get used to the idea. I’ll help all I can at the right moment, but until then…’
‘I think I get the drift,’ I said. “This is one of those jolly little operations that will have everybody from cabinet level down clapping their hands with glee if it works.’
‘And howling for your blood if it doesn’t,’ he said and patted me on the shoulder. ‘But I have every confidence in you, Simon. It’s going to work, you’ll see.’
At the moment, I can’t think of a single reason why it should, but thanks for the vote of confidence.’
He closed his briefcase and picked it up. ‘Just remember one thing. Michael Cork may be what some people would term an old-fashioned revolutionary and I think they’re probably right. In other words, he and bis kind
don’t approve of the indiscriminate slaughter of the innocent for political ends.’
‘But he’ll kill me if he has to, is that what you’re trying to say?’
‘Without a second’s hesitation.’ He put a hand on my shoulder. ‘Must rush now, but do promise me one thing.’
‘Getyourself a decent gun.’ He picked up the silenced pistol, weighed it in his hand and dropped it on the table. “Load of Hong Kong rubbish.’
‘This one is by way of Peking,’I told him.
‘All the bloody same,’ he said cheerfully and faded into the darkness. We heard him on the stair for a moment and then he was gone.
Meyer walked up and down, flapping his arms again, extremely agitated. ‘He makes me feel so uncomfortable. Why does he make me feel this way ?’
‘He went to what some people would term the right school. You didn’t.’
‘Rubbish,’ he said. ‘You went to the right schools and with youI feel fine.’
‘My mother was Irish,’ I said. ‘You’re forgetting. My one saving grace.’ I tried another couple of shots with the Chinese pistol and shook my head. ‘Ferguson is right. Put this back in the Christmas cracker where you found it and get me a real gun.’
‘What about a Mauser 7.63 mm Model 1932 with the bulbous silencer? The kind they manufactured for German counter-intelligence during the second war. There must still be one or two around ?’
‘Why not ask me for the gold from my teeth while you’re about it ? It’s impossible. Where will I find such a thing these days?’
‘Oh, you’ll manage,’ I said. ‘You always do.’ I held out my hand. ‘If you’ll give me my share of the loot I’ll be on my way. Oban is not just another station on the Brighton line, you know. It’s on the north-west coast of Scotland.’
‘Do I need a geography lesson?’
He counted out five hundred pounds, grumbling, sweat on his face as there always was when he handled money. I stowed it away in my inside breast pocket.
‘When will you be back?’ he asked.
Til try for the day after tomorrow.’
He followed me up the stairs and we paused at the door of his office. He said awkwardly, ‘Look after yourself, then.’
It was as near as he could get to any demonstration of affection. I said, ‘Don’t I always ?’
As I walked away, he went into his office and a moment kter Al Bowlly was giving me a musical farewell all the way to the door.
They started shooting again as I turned the corner, the rattle of small arms fire drifting across the water through the fog from somewhere in the heart of the city. It was echoed almost immediately by a heavy machine-gun. Probably an armoured car opening up with its Browning in reply.