Sam woke up at the stroke of 6:00 am to the sound of the Today Programme on BBC Radio Four. She and David had programmed their alarm radio to come on at 6:00 every weekday and at that particular programme on that particular station. Although she had decided to take the rest of the week off to sort out her collapsed world, she still left the alarm on as matter of habit.
At first, she didn’t quite process the information from the news headlines but at 6:10 when the presenter John Humphreys started summarising the main news item again, it began to dawn on her that she was listening to a very serious incident that took place in London where she lived most of her adult life. She was now wide awake and following the news report avidly; it was a welcome distraction from her own troubles.
John Humphreys: And on the line we have the officer leading the investigation Chief Inspector Hilary Jones. Chief Inspector, can you throw some light on the explosion from last night?
Jones: Good morning John. Well, our forensic team are on the scene right now and have been since the explosion occurred last night. All I can say is that we are making every effort to establish the cause in order to reassure the public
John Humphreys: Has any organisation claimed responsibility for the explosion Chief Inspector?
Jones: Not as far as we are aware John, but these are early days and…
John Humphreys: Yes, I realise that but is there anything you can say right now to reassure the public that it is safe for them to go to work this morning?
Jones: Absolutely John. The public are encouraged to go about their daily lives as normal but to be vigilant and cautious. Apart from those people working in the vicinity of the incident, which has been cordoned off to make sure we do not contaminate any possible evidence, everyone else can attend their place of work as normal.
John Humphreys: What can you tell us about the building that was blown up Chief Inspector?
Jones: Well, we have not yet established that the building was blown up but it housed a single company and there were very few people in the building, as far as we can ascertain, there were no more than 5 people inside at the time.
John Humphreys: The pictures we have seen from the news helicopter show a huge pile of a building with hardly any trace of the original structure, how can you doubt that it was blown up, surely a gas explosion could never do this to a 15-storey building?
Jones: As I said, it is early days and we must keep an open mind at this stage John.
John Humphreys: Okay, this company that occupied the building, who are they, were they a government contractor, maybe involved in arms dealing, or perhaps it was a foreign company, anything you can tell us there?
Jones: As a matter of fact, it was a commercial computer related organisation called Global Software and…
Sam sat up in bed and screamed!
She had gone to bed truly scared and woke up in a state of complete panic! Sam thought: “This is the stuff of fiction, not something that happens to an ordinary accountant who lives an urban life in the middle of London.”
A week ago Sam worried about providing her executives with financial analysis reports, looking for trends to reassure them that things were looking up or to warn them of tougher business times ahead. She had a husband she loved but who lost his professional way lately and she felt she could guide him through this rough patch. She was quick tempered, she admitted to herself but, she never bore a grudge and she had his best interest at heart. A week later she was dealing with suicides, murders and bombings.
Sam gathered her wits and began to formulate a plan of action. She was convinced she was in danger and she needed to avoid getting in to trouble that might harm her physically. She called her mother and said she was coming to spend the weekend with her in Gloucestershire. She jumped out of bed, filled a small suitcase with a few personal items, opened the safe, retrieved her current passport, David’s expired passport and the Global Software share certificates and put them in her handbag. She dressed in a pair of jeans, a blue top, a cream jacket and flat pair of shoes. She made sure all lights and electrical appliances were switched off and opened the front door to leave.
Rigsby: Good morning Mrs Conway, going somewhere interesting?
Sam: Inspector! What are you doing outside my front door?
Rigsby: I have come to bring you in
Sam: Again? What is it this time?
Rigsby: Chief Inspector Jones would like to speak with you urgently
Sam: What about this time? Can I be left alone for a day or two without you people getting in my way?
Rigsby: I understand how you feel but we need you to help us with our inquiries
Jones: Mrs Conway, didn’t your husband work for Global Software?
Sam: Come on Chief Inspector, you already knew that, please come to the point
Jones: The point Mrs Conway, Global Software is no longer there and it is too much for anyone to believe that your husband’s disappearance, private investigator Daley murder and last night’s explosion were pure coincidences
Sam: I agree! In case it escaped your attention, I was the one who alerted you to my husband’s suicide and you were too eager to dismiss it as some sort of a sordid scheme on my part
Jones: Well, now it is no longer a simple case of a domestic dispute between a husband and wife. We need to find out what is really going on before any more lives are lost
Sam: How am I supposed to help in stopping this mayhem?
Jones: When Inspector Rigsby picked you up, you were on your were out with a heavy suitcase, I take it you were not about to start a vacation in the South of France or anything like that
Sam: No I was NOT! As a matter of fact, I was going away to hide for a few days until things got sorted out one way or another
Jones: Hide Mrs Conway, from whom?
Sam: I have no idea, what with last night at the apartment and this morning news, I was and still am afraid; scared shitless to be perfectly honest
Jones: What exactly happened last night Mrs Conway?
Sam decided to play it openly with the senior police officer. She reached down and opened her large handbag, brought out the two passports as well as the Global Software share certificates. C.I Jones examined the two passports, noted the expiry of David’s and the currency of Samantha Conway’s. Then on the very rare occasions that she allowed herself to display facial expressions in front of a person under interrogation, her eyebrows lifted half an inch and her mouth opened slightly. Her mind went to overdrive as she began to analyse what she was witnessing. She wanted to ask Sam further questions but not before she recovered her equilibrium. She reached over to her keyboard and googled Global Software share prices and within two minutes she realised she was looking at pieces of paper worth £ multi million. Her head gently nodding and her lips spread wide but kept tightly shut as was her habit when in deep thought.
Jones: When and where did you find these shares?
Sam: Last night in our home safe
Jones: And you never saw them before?
Jones: Do you remember when was the last time you looked inside your safe?
Sam: I do that almost every night Chief Inspector
Jones: Why do you do that Mrs Conway?
Sam: I keep my jewellery box in the safe
Jones: I see. So, are you saying that the certificates were not there the night before?
Sam: I cannot be certain of that but I think they were left there very recently
Jones: Why do you think that Mrs Conway?
Sam: Because last night I felt someone had been in the apartment while I was out and he was possibly still there when I got in
Jones: What makes you believe it was a “he” not a “she” or even “they”?
Sam: Because I could smell David in the apartment
Jones: I am sorry?
Sam: I could have sworn that David’s smell was hanging in the air in the apartment
Jones: mmmm… And that smell wasn’t there the night before?
Sam: It hadn’t been there for a few days
Jones: What about the passports? Why is David’s not current
Sam: That’s the other odd thing, David’s current passport is always kept in the safe until he has a need for it to go abroad. When he left on Monday morning to Edinburgh, he would not have taken it with him for an internal flight. When I looked last night, it had gone and the only passport left, apart from mine, was his old passport
Inspector Rigsby walked in to Chief Inspector Jones’ office, went round her desk, leaned over as though to kiss her on the cheek and whispered something in her ear. C.I Jones covered her mouth with her hand and said something to Rigsby who returned his mouth to her ear and whispered some more. This went on for about 2 minutes before C.I Jones nodded and said: Okay thank you, Inspector.
Chief Inspector Jones stood up, straightened her uniform and walked out of her own office briskly and without saying a word. Sam watched the scene unfold in front of her casually at first but became more puzzled by the exchange between the two officers until that final dramatic walk out by Chief Inspector Jones. Inspector Rigsby walked round the desk and sat opposite Sam on the chair at the other side of the desk and began to fiddle with his own fingers.
Sam: Inspector, would you mind telling me what is going on?
Rigsby: Nothing to worry about Mrs Conway, nothing to worry about
Sam: I see. So, what do we do now, sit and stare at each other until Doomsday?
Rigsby: That won’t be necessary Madam. Would you care for a cup of tea?
Sam: No thank you but I could do with a stiff gin and tonic
Rigsby: I am afraid that is not possible Mrs Conway
Sam: No… May I use the facilities though?
Rigsby: Ah! I will have to call for a female officer to accompany you to the Ladies I am afraid
Sam: Oh for Christ sake! I am not going to run off or anything; I just want a piddle!
Rigsby: Excuse me Madam but these are the regulations
Sam returned from the toilets with the junior female police officer, a large woman who towered over just about everybody in the police station and had a deep voice to make you wonder. Had it not been for the oversize boobs, you would be forgiven for thinking she was a man passing himself for a woman.
Chief Inspector Jones’ office was now crowded with 4 people. C.I Jones, Inspector Rigsby, and two men in dark suits and a superior attitude. The two men could have been mistaken for twins from a distance. The dark suits were complemented by crisp white shirts, navy blue ties with white polka dots pattern, shiny brown shoes and sunglasses tucked inside their outer breast pockets except for one of the two arms of the glasses protruding on the outside. C.I Jones face told a story; she was not happy at all and didn’t care who knew it. However, she was the first to speak: “Mrs Conway, these are Agent Smythe and Agent Cavendish from MI5. They will be handling the case from this point onwards.”
Sam: MI5? Isn’t that international spying and James Bond? What have I to do with all that crap?
Smythe: Not exactly Mrs Conway, you are thinking of MI6. We are more down to earth and deal with internal security matters. We have reason to believe you can help us clear a few irregularties
Sam: I would rather you people answered some of my questions first. I have told the Chief Inspector everything I know and so far I got nothing by way of answering my main question
Smythe: What is your main question Mrs Conway?
Sam: Where the hell is my husband?
Smythe: We will come to that in good time Mrs Conway but first, tell us about your dealings with Global Software
Sam: I have no dealings with Global Software, my husband used to work for them until recently
Smythe: Come now Mrs Conway, did you not contact the CEO recently?
Sam: Yes I did, to ask about David’s whereabouts
Smythe: And did you not receive a large block of shares from the company last year?
Sam: I knew nothing about that until last night
Smythe: Let’s just set this point to one side for a minute. What other involvement have you with Global Software?
Sam: Apart from my husband being an employee there and meeting some of the senior staff on a couple of social occasions, I have no other involvement whatsoever
Smythe: And why did your husband leave Global Software?
Sam: I have no idea
Smythe: I beg your pardon? Didn’t he tell you why he resigned?
Sam: He hadn’t resigned; he was fired
Smythe: He was fired and you didn’t know Mrs Conway?
Sam: I know how this sounds but it is the truth, I only found out when I called Steve McGill who is the CEO of Global Software
Smythe: We know Steve McGill
Suddenly, Agent Cavendish, who had been very quiet up to that point, raised his hand indicating to his colleague that he wanted to intervene. Agent Smythe nodded in acknowledgement and sat back in his chair.
Cavendish: Mrs Conway, we can do this the hard way or the easy way. Please don’t play the innocent little woman with us; it is demeaning to you and irritating to us. Let me help you focus your mind on the seriousness of this situation. Global Software is registered at Companies House with you as a “Non-Executive Board Director” with remuneration of £100 thousand per annum. All filings of board meeting minutes show you to have been present at the last 10 meetings over the last two years and you had chaired the Audit Committee for the last 12 months. As the Audit Committee Chairman, your signature is on last year’s filed annual accounts after the external auditors submitted their audit report. Further, you happen to be the second largest shareholder in Global Software with potential net worth of over £25 million. And just in case you have any doubt about what we already know, your husband’s dismissal was actioned by Steve McGill with approval by two other board members; it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that you were one of the two directors to sign his release with an award of ex gratia shares. Now, are you ready to answer our questions seriously or do you wish to continue playing games?
Sam felt sick in the stomach as she heard this stream of new revelation! She was unable to assemble the information she just received and make any sense of it. The only coherent thought she could put in to words and respond with was: “I want to speak to my lawyer please.”
To be Continued…