Charlie spark villain.., p.32
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       Charlie Spark - Villain Extraordinaire, p.32

           J M S Macfarlane

  "You ain't wrong there," thought Charlie Spark to himself, wondering what it was she wanted from them.

  "Both of you have been criminals all your lives – don’t deny it, I know all about you too. And what have you to show for it ? Absolutely nothing – oh, apart from quite a number of years spent in prison. I'm right, aren't I ? Well, now you can both redeem yourselves by giving help where it's really needed. The Obsydian bank codes in the rosewood box and the company's funds which I've retrieved, could finance our campaign for open warfare on the despoilers and bloodsportspersons. Do you realise what it would mean ? In no time, we'd have them all on the run. And you could help us outsmart all the irresponsible, corrupt government departments and their bent police forces – and also to dispose of the bullion and the millions in cash. And so….because there is no other way....I have decided....that in order that we can fully trust each other and work for the good of our cause, there needs to be a permanent bond – and that is why I will have to become your partner, Mr Spark....uh, that I can keep an eye on you."

  "Wot....You wot...Ahahahahahaha...You want ter become my girlfriend ? Oh, please, ahahahahahaha...."

  "Just think of it – we could be the freedom fighters for the countryside – we would travel the world together, using Obsydian's two hundred million pounds and..."

  "How much ?" shouted Sir Harry and Spark in unison.

  "...and both of you could avoid spending any more time in prison.....unless of course, Charles dear..... you refuse me."

  "Oho," said Spark as he realised the implications of her proposal, "it's blackmail, is it ? If I don't accept, I'll land myself – and Sir Harry – and all the others in the nick. But what about your husband who married you yesterday ?"

  “And your father,” added Sir Harry.

  “And all his mates.”

  “And your brother and sister and Cadwaller.”

  “Oh, you needn't worry about them – I'm divorcing my so-called 'husband' – I only married him to get at his family's money – which has all been taken care of – and my family will have no say in the matter and can look after themselves. So you needn't be concerned about them. However...I should also warn you....that if you're thinking of stealing all the money from me or even part of it, I wouldn't recommend it – you're not smart enough or quick enough and you would never get away with it and my Crusties would get you....and so, Charles dear, when can we start ?"

  Chapter 92

  The Reckoning

  As soon as the riot at Bank had subsided, Inspector Fitzyew pounced on Snaggs and the resentful Schwager, Bulot and Cadwaller, all of whom protested their innocence but agreed to turn Queen’s evidence – as long as their own worthless necks could be saved.

  For bail and a shorter sentence, they promised to tell all – and they didn’t just sing like canaries but like the cast of Aida at a Royal Command performance at Covent Garden : they sang for all they were worth about Loathbery's hidden dealings in the City and abroad and what he’d really been up to during the past ten years or more.

  This threw a different light on the investigation : many illustrious names were mentioned – powerful names who were respected and honoured, some in high public office, some in low-esteem in south London. The revelations about them raised eye-brows in disbelief and put the interviewers in an uncomfortable sweat, so much so that those heading the enquiry feared for their own necks if all of the stories and sworn statements turned out to be fantasy.

  Undeterred by this, the intrepid Fitzyew dug further while trying to unearth the Obsydian hoard. This included literally digging up half of the Manor House cellars and gardens but none of the gold or notes could be found. Somehow, it had vanished into thin air along with the person of Lord Loathbery himself, along with his youngest daughter.

  The day after the riot, the hacks inside the Manor House had their exclusive stories ready for worldwide splash publication but their editor received a call from the proprietor who received a call from a certain press secretary who in turn received a call from other ‘aggrieved’ parties. At any rate, the editor was forced to hold off. This didn’t stop tongues wagging, especially in wine bars at lunch time – or any time – and a clamour for the story to be printed in the ‘public interest’ grew, with Fleet Street’s bloodhounds all hinting about what lay behind the missing billions.

  Overnight, Loathbery’s thirty court cases collapsed and a dressed-up version of the story was serialised in the broadsheets. Then it appeared on the evening news every night for weeks on end and finally, in Prime Minister’s Question Time when the dam had well and truly burst.

  “In answer to the Right Honourable Member, I can advise that a series of sophisticated frauds, embezzlements, conspiracies, thefts and robberies have been unearthed by the Metropolitan Police and Scotland Yard’s Serious Crime Squad in what Honourable Members may have read in the newspapers regarding the now defunct Obsydian PLC. May I assure the House that no stone will be left unturned in bringing those responsible to justice and..” so on and so forth.

  The ‘Obsydian Affair’ became a scandal of epic proportions across three continents and netted all of Loathbery's contacts, mostly in the City. Europlod began ferreting around and Snaggs and Cadwaller, together with the Frankfurter and his escargot companion all mysteriously flew the coop while on bail, leaving their gullible sureties, several million pounds out of pocket.

  As for the Obsydian Group itself, its deadweight shares plummeted through the index overnight and its entire operations crashed (as predicted by its founder), leaving a mountain of recriminations and cross-allegations flying from one side of the City to the other and echoing angrily around the world, eventually landing on the desks of m'learned friends and an army of bean-counter liquidators who were the only ones to squeeze any profit from the situation.

  A worldwide manhunt was set in train for anyone connected with Loathbery but the efforts of the police and security services, Eurocozzer and Interplod, were all unable to find him. This was actually a relief for everyone and also rather convenient, as many of those implicated were afraid that the sordid mess would tarnish their reputations or decimate their careers.

  And so, after the dust had settled, how did it all end up ?

  In Hendon Warpley on the village green, Growler kept on looking for his chance and there was nothing his owner could do to stop him diving into matches and racing away with the cricket ball whenever possible.

  The bag fox let loose by the Manor House hunt enjoyed a long and tranquil life, protected by the Weldon hunt saboteurs even after fox-hunting was outlawed by Parliament (and practised again on the sly).

  Young Gresham became a test cricketer as foretold by Lord Loathbery and Bolton's Revenge was sold and re-sold several times, having lost race after race by petulantly ignoring the jockeys who rode him.

  Bob King, Pat Rourke, Tim Rooney, Mick Riley, Taffy, Clifton Earls, Tony Valenti and Griffey all reached their safe-house in Bournemouth together. When they found that the money was counterfeit, they knew that if any of it was spent, it would immediately be traced. And if one of them was arrested, the rest would be too. So, with much sorrow, they deposited the notes in a bank of their own making, inside the wall cavity of a block of flats where Rourke, Rooney and Riley were working as bricklayers. This disposed of any evidence against them when everything was being blamed on Lord Loathbery. That, however, didn’t stop them from continuing their old ways, committing other crimes and spending more years in prison.

  During the next two years, Charlie Spark lived on the run to avoid arrest. When the scandal died down and Fitzyew’s enquiry had gone to sleep, he smuggled the bullion across the Channel where it was exchanged for cash by certain ‘investors’.

  Marie donated most of it to environmental groups who staged demonstrations and protests around the world and which temporarily stunned into submission, various conceited oil and mining companies and foreign governments.

  But one day the youngest Loa
thbery found she was in the club and overnight, their lives changed : they ceased living on the run and forgot about certain ideologies. Radicalism was ditched in favour of a luxury apartment overlooking a sandy beach on a remote island in the Caribbean where they stayed until their first child was born.

  Sir Harry had also made a hurried exit and left England by the back door to settle in a Spanish mountain village, in a traditional resort for ‘retired’ villains on the Mediterranean coast. One November day, as he was taking an early stroll along the waterfront of a small seaside town on the Costa del Sol, he said good morning to other well-known compatriots as he watched everyone on their way to work or going shopping.

  As he idled slowly along the promenade, a group of fishing boats were putt-putting out to sea as the sunshine glittered on the waves ; seagulls flew in and about the port looking for scraps from the trawlers ; schoolgirls nattered in the local dialect at the bus-stop ; further down the promenade a decrepit, old beggar intoned over and over in broken Spanish, "Spare a few pesetas, have mercy, kind people, spare a peseta or two...thank you senora.. spare a few pesetas, have mercy..."

  As Sir Harry drew nearer, he was woken out of his day-dream. The tramp had something familiar about him – perhaps it was the wart on the end of his nose.

  And without thinking, he threw a thousand peseta note into the old man’s hat and instantly made a detour into the town. Keeping a close watch over his shoulder, he was struck by the thought that whatever adversities are thrown before us in the tumult of life, there are some of us sufficiently hardy and resilient, never to be down-trodden or beaten into submission, especially if some other kind soul is there to help us. May that ever be so.

  End of ‘Charlie Spark’ Book 1

  Book 2 Due for Publication June 2018


  at your favourite retailer - thanks JMS M.

  Copyright J M S Macfarlane All Rights Reserved

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