Rory Rogerson is 67; an overweight, unfit, retired ‘protection officer’ (that’s PC for hired muscle). He is also a prolific and, by his own reckoning, successful author of crime fiction.
Penny (60) is his headmistress wife and Charlie Watkiss is the bloke next door.
Together, they make a formidable team!
Rory (ret’d). Chapter eleven, part two.
The following morning, true to his word, Charlie delivered an Irish passport in the name of James Henry Jameson bearing my photograph and an issue date three years ago, a notarised document transferring listed assets property of Harold John Martin to a business called JHJ Holdings, Ltd and a registration certificate for that company. He also gave me a thumb drive on which he had placed scans of all the documents in PDF files ready for me to sign and certify.
“You’ve done me proud there, mate,” I said.
“Least I could do. I was tempted to have my name on the company registration as well, but didn’t think there’d be much point – it being fake and all.”
“However this works out, Charlie, I think we should register RRW Investigations if only to give us some legitimacy. But we’ll need to get Penny on board first.”
“Listen, about Penny—”
“Look – I get that you’re not used to working with women, Charlie, but Penny’s special. She’s probably more insightful and decisive than any man I’ve ever worked with. It’ll be fine.”
“That’s not what I meant, but never mind. I’ll leave you to deal with your paperwork – I’ve got some upgrades to do on the police database and it’s an on-site job. I’d best go straight away, they’re too important a client to mess about.”
Charlie left my house. I loaded the documents into my PC, read them into Acrobat and signed and certified them. I then inserted the documents into an email which I sent to Mr Smithers. Within fifteen minutes the phone rang.
“Smithers here, First United. Because of the way the transfer deed is worded, I shall have to send the access codes by secured courier to your company’s registered office. I trust that will not be an embarrassment to you?”
“No problem at all, Mr Smithers. JHJ Holdings’ registered office is, as you will appreciate, a shared accommodation address, but the manager there has the authority to accept and sign for any legal paperwork on our behalf.”
“Excellent. We’ll get onto that straight away, Sir.”
I messaged Charlie to let him know that a registered package would be coming to his town office shortly, and it might be a good idea to make up a brass nameplate to make it look official.
The question I had to ask myself at that point was: what next? Mr E was still going to be looking for his box or whatever resulted from us figuring out what the QR code meant and I didn’t think it would be long before we had a visit from him or one of his goons. That he had himself or paid someone else to murder Harold Martin was almost beyond question and so he was hardly likely to take any legal action to secure what he was after. However, once you take out the two or three legal routes, that does still leave a few thousand illegal avenues open.
I gave this a lot of thought. It occurred to me that in Wee Billy Blinky, the Connors – Christopher and Samantha – faced a similar conundrum. Developments in their case were such that there were no legal means available to them to follow it to a conclusion, and yet they felt they had no choice but to pursue a result. In the end, they reached an accommodation with their adversary. Okay, the situation was very different, in that they had to convince a rival firm to drop the case against their – the Connors’ – client in exchange for a reduced charge against their own, very clearly guilty client.
I raised it with Penny when she got back from school.
“Here’s the conundrum,” I said, “if we go ahead with this, shall we say, acquisition of funds, we shall doubtless incur the wrath of Mr E. That is likely to prove uncomfortable for Meredith and the boys as well as Charlie and us. On the other hand, if we capitulate and let this miscreant have it, we’ll lose out to the tune of a couple of hundred million dollars.”
“What if we open up to the police?” she asked.
“I think we’ll still incur the wrath of Mr E as well as losing out on the money. Seems to be the worst possible outcome. It’s just a thought, so don’t take it as anything more than throwing ideas out there to be shot at, but what if we were to contact this guy and offer to bring him in on the deal?”
“How? I’m not seeing it.”
“Okay. The money will, strictly speaking, belong to an outfit called JHJ Holdings, Ltd of which the sole shareholder is one James Henry Jameson.”
“That’s me. Now. This company doesn’t exist. Charlie made it up for the transfer deed. However, we could properly constitute it and register it in the name of James Jameson. Charlie, you, and I then register RRW Investigations Ltd with a nominal share capital and with the three of us and Jameson as shareholders and directors. After a decent period, Jameson could divest his shareholding and allocate it in equal shares to the three of us, and resign as director. We would then each hold shares worth about seventy million dollars. With me so far?”
“Good. We will then all be rich but still under threat of reprisals from Mr E. What if, though, we open up to him and invite him in as an equal partner? Unlike him, our possession of the funds is, on paper at least, fully legal. He might not get two hundred million, but he’d at least get fifty.”
“If you were to suggest that to him, I’ll bet he’ll want a full fifty per cent.”
“If he does, we’ll only have thirty-five million each instead of fifty. Given that none of us currently has anything, that’d still be a good result. Of course, we’d try to negotiate him down, maybe to a third, but either way, everybody gains.”
“And if he refuses to negotiate and insists on having it all?”
“We go to the police and no-one gets anything. What do you reckon?”
“You may be onto something there, mister. What does Charlie make of it?”
“He doesn’t know about it yet – I’ve only just come up with the idea. I’ll run it by him tomorrow.”
“Why not invite him around now? We can get a takeaway delivered.”
“He said he had to do some upgrades on site at the police station. I’ll see if he’s back yet.”
I went out of the house and looked up Charlie’s drive towards his house. It was all in darkness.
“No. Still out. I’ll message him if you’d like.”
“Yes, if he can get here before eight, we can do it this evening. If not, you’ll have to do it on your own tomorrow whilst I’m at school.”