Monday, 8 November 2010

Chapter 6

Chapter 6:

Jo sat on one of the bunk beds, a middle aged paramedic gently disinfecting the wound on her forehead.  Plump and jovial she did her best to put Jo at ease.  Jo winced and she mumbled an apology.  She was extremely lucky she knew, the knife had sliced open the skin barely an inch above her left eye, scoring a line two inches long but hardly any depth.  Despite the amount of blood the paramedic assured her that she would be fine, at only one point had the knife truly sliced into the skin and that would only required two stitches.   She had grimaced as he had inserted the needle and thread into her skin, but the pain wasn’t as bad as she had expected.

Instead her attention was drawn to Dirk, chatting amicably to the police.  The story he had told the police was mostly true, differing from the version of events that she had witnessed only slightly.  His revolver was omitted in its entirety, as was the fact that he had switched the turtle statues, without actually stating it outright he gave the police the definite impression that the thief had made off with the real artefact.  He was recounting his brief encounter with the assassin in the storage room, pulling open his shirt to display the Kevlar vest, her attention riveted when she realised the paramedic was asking her to take her shoes off.

Snapping her eyes away from Dirk she returned her attention to the paramedic, she was smiling conspiratorially, “He has that effect.”  Jo blushed deeply, “No, I wasn’t…”
“Of course not dear, now I need to have a look at that ankle, can you get your shoe off or do we need to cut the laces?

Leaning down Jo undid the laces and tried to gently ease the trainer off her left foot, the small movement sent pain lancing up her leg and she swore.  She loosened the laces again, this time, biting her lip she managed to pull the shoe off, followed by her sock.  Her ankle was swollen and mottled with shades of blue and brown.  The paramedic gently took it in her hands and manipulated it.

“Doesn’t feel broken, a minor sprain I’d say.  Can’t say for certain till we get you an x-ray, but it doesn’t look serious.”  Reaching into the bag beside her she pulled out a roll of bandage and started to strap Jo’s ankle tightly.  Jo’s hands had already been seen to, the splinters carefully removed with tweezers.  Her right hand was raw and tender, and a lay of antiseptic had been applied, followed be a thin bandage, Jo clenched her fist now, the pain was minimal, but the hand felt clumsy, her left hand had escaped relatively unscathed, just a large errant splinter had been removed from under the skin. 

The paramedic finished with the bandage, gave Jo a quick glance from head to toe, “That’ll do for now.  You should get that ankle x-rayed, but apart from that there’s nothing worth bothering about.”  Dirk, seeing the Paramedic standing started to walk over, accompanied by two men.  One tall heavily built, with blonde hair cut short and dressed in a police uniform.  The other looked in his 60’s, a bald head bobbling above a face with a perpetually quizzical expression.  A luxurious moustache grew long, drooping over his mouth, his suit was brown and faded, Jo was sure it would have been fashionable in the 80’s.  Or maybe the 70’s.

“Jo, this is Detective Inspector Peterson of the Met, and Sir Jeremy Bentham, Head of Antiquities upstairs.”  He gestured to each man in turn.  “Gents, this is Jo Jenkins, she found her way down her shortly before me, tracking a man she knew to be a murderer if you would credit it.”  She found herself telling the men of her days exploits, with Dirk interjecting frequently, asking her to clarify points he felt were of interest.  Shortly she found herself starting the story again, this time recounting the coffee shop in Algiers with Dirk prodding her for every fact she could remember about ‘Dead Eye.’  When she reached point in the tale at which Dirk entered she followed his lead, omitting mention of the gun and the second turtle.  Everything else she dictated to the best of her ability.

The detective wrote copiously in a small notepad he produced from within his jacket, interjecting occasionally, Sir Bentham however stood silently, his eyes unfocused.  Only once did he speak, quietly asking Jo if she could recall any more of the overhead conversation in Algiers, at her negative reply he resumed his quiet musing.

Finishing her tale the detective closed his notebook, “Thank you for your co-operation, obviously there is more that we need to discuss, if we can continue this conversation back at the station….”

Dirk cleared his throat, interrupting Inspector Peterson in mid flow.  “Come now Pete, she’s been through a lot today; surely this can wait until tomorrow?  Give the girl a break.”

The inspector hesitated for a moment, his eyes moving between Dirk and Jo.  “Of course Dirk.” He removed a business card from his pocket and proffered it to Jo.  “If you could give me a call tomorrow please.”

Jo nodded mutely.  Dirk raised his hand and offered it to her, “Can I give you a lift home?” 

Picking up her shoe and putting her arm around Dirk for support they moved together to the stairs leading up to Gilberts shop.  Jo looked at Dirk, “I’ll never make it up there.”

“Sorry, but forensics are still investigating the store room, we’d better slip out this way.”  Before she could reply he had his arm around her waist and lifted her up.  As he climbed the stairs, she asked “Detective Peter Peterson?  Really?”

Dirk just grinned. 

Reaching the top of the stairs Dirk gently set Jo back on the floor.  Several Police officers were moving around the room, near the doorway a sheet covered something on the floor and Jo averted her eyes.

“Come, let’s get out of here” Dirk intoned.  Holding her arm they stepped through into the shop and out the front door.

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