The weather was cold and damp but that did not deter James Gerald from getting what he came for this late September evening.
On the lawn, a party was happening and a barbecue was broiling pigs heads and other delicacies.
From where he was standing A piece of coral was visible on the inside window sill sitting next to a potted plant. From outside on the patio, the wooden framed window, painted white reflected the hues of the bonfire that accompanied the barbecue. There was a light drizzle in the air and the temperature was typical of this time of year. All the same, he thought the beer bottle he was holding still felt too cold in his grip.
In his other hand, he held a sorry looking hotdog in a limp bun with onions dropping over the sides along with generous helpings of mustard and tomato ketchup. He was torn between eating and drinking when an attractive brunette interrupted his reverie.
‘James! Hi! Vanessa, Vanessa Richie’ said the wife of the parties host flashing her white teeth and manicured nails. On her ring finger was a platinum band. On her wrist she wore a platinum and diamond bracelet. The light from the bonfire danced in her emerald green eyes and her dark skin gave her a wild allure in the cool night air.
‘Hi Vi,’ said James smiling as they caught up with each other.
‘Are you going to be at the reception at 11.00. There will be prizes!!’said Vanessa grinning her white teeth and pink tongue visible briefly again..
‘I’m not going to be receiving any, though,’ said James. dropping the hotdog into the plant pot in deep shade behind him on the patio.
‘I think I know where your husbands .loyalties lie,’ said James. With his hotdog hand now free he gestured to a group of flannel suited yuppies with floppy fringes who were congregated at the lawns edge.
‘Coders everyone. And non-poachable by all accounts’ said James seriously.
‘Dollar signs,’ said Vanessa with a sigh. She fingered her wedding ring and looked James in the eye.
‘James…You know I always..’ said Vanessa
‘Shhhh ..’ said James
‘Do you remember Radiohead? In Lille?’ asked James
‘Yes, James. How could I forget?
‘Two of my favourite people in town!!’ Said Greg loudly to James and Vanessa.’What are you doing over here? Come and join the party,’ he said leading them off the patio herding them with his outstretched arm towards the packed out lawn.
‘Didn’t like the food much myself,’ said Greg to James as confidentially as you can imagine someone with his baritone when surrounded by his friends.
A stage had been set-up on the lawn and several bottles of expensive champagne stood on the table behind. Greg made a show of getting the microphone to work.
‘Good Evening guests, friends, countrymen’ said Greg in what he imagined was his best entertaining style.
‘Tonight, tonight, tonight…’ He mimicked.
James took the device from his pocket which fitted in the palm of his hand. He pressed the trigger.
Suddenly there was a scream as the lights went out plunging the house and garden into darkness.
Then there was the sound of a large SUV skidding on the gravel outside and then the sound of a shot being fired. The sound of a megaphone next. ‘Everybody stand still. This is a robbery. Do not resist.’
Then there was a half-hour during which a team of men wearing balaclavas and night goggles walked amongst the assembled guests ripping off keys, jewellery and watches and phones putting them into bags.
Everything was quiet until there was the sound of the SUV car doors slamming and the engine starting.
‘After them’ screamed Greg
But in the pitch dark and missing their own car keys there was nothing that could be done.
After a few minutes, the lights came back on and the scene of wives sobbing into husbands arms was repeated all over the garden scene.
Greg was back behind the microphone’Look calm down everyone We are all insured Right? The police will be here soon. Everybody stay calm please.’
Greg then walked down onto the lawn and grabbed a colleague and then walked over to James saying’ James, can you come with us, there’s something I need to do’
‘Of course’ said James, his pockets empty, the infrared switch taken by one of the masked robbers.’Whatever I can do’
Vanessa was left sobbing with a friend in the garden minus her wedding ring and bracelet given to her as a wedding gift and watched as her two favorite men in the world left almost arm in arm walking purposefully towards the house where there was a landline.
‘I hope you catch whoever did this. And stringing them up would be too good for them’
said James to Greg after he was questioned by police.
‘Thank-you friend’ said Greg
‘I’m heading into town in a taxi’ said James to no-one in particular.’Does anyone want a lift?’
‘I need to get some things,’ said Vanessa ‘but yes, I’ll come with you’
As the taxi left the house and the two of them were sitting next to each other in the back seat a small smile passed over the lips of James Gerald, the man who always got what he came for.