The 100 Steps

The award given for this short story (complete with Ian Rankin signature – how cool!)
The 100 Steps by G R Jordan

Method to Retrieve What is Mine (With termination points should my brother see his duty).
1) Check number 81.
2) Purchase saw from local DIY store. Check for discounts at rival before purchasing.
3) Cut floorboards in bedroom to make new space for item storage. Space required will be large due to the complexity of plan. Sad to abuse the house but this is a necessary step.
4) Purchase bicycle from internet using false account. Remember to get the correct size and not a racer. May be rough terrain to go over. Cycle helmet also required.
5) Buy motor scooter for cash and leave it covered in the woods. May require a scramble net to cover it properly. However, I have seen some upturned trees with large dark exposed roots. These may be suitable places.
6) Purchase standard pen and paper. Nothing fancy and nothing they can trace.
7) Purchase make up items, false beard and wigs. Use the Japanese internet crowd as they invariably send it to the disused warehouse every time, insisting it’s left inside.
8) Purchase nylon surgical gloves for letter writing and handling items. One cannot be too paranoid about leaving traces.
9) Store all items in new store under floorboards. Again, shame to damage the house.
10) Meet with Mr Jones. Give details on target. Advise that the address will follow.
11) Make up ad for paper. Will run in the personals column. Advert will explain that documents explaining Giana Allan’s involvement in the crack business on the South Side will be delivered to the Police.
12) Take a walk in the local park and observe the swans at the lake. Try to note their wing action. Try to phrase it.
13) Meet with Mick at train station. As a forger he was the best in the business. And discreet. This is my only point of trust. Hand over cash and photographs.
14) Receive driving licence, passport and electrical company pass from Mick.
15) Obtain car from used car salesman. Cash only and no details given. Maybe something practical, a Vauxhall or a Ford. Blue?
16) Change to a rental car. Small, inexpensive.
17) Wait outside the hospital for the arrival of Mrs Johnson. Shame to involve the old woman but as Allen’s mum, it should get his attention.
18) Identify her car, note registration and type.
19) Follow Mrs Johnson home. Note address.
20) Change rental car. Use the false driving licence. Look like a tourist.
21) Leave bicycle in undergrowth half a mile from Mrs Johnson’s. Make sure it’s not in amongst bracken as that can scratch and make for awkward questions later. Been caught like that before!
22) Go to the Shamrock Arms on a Saturday evening after the football matches are complete.
23) Locate Matt Murphy in the Arms. Was a stroke of luck finding out my brother had introduced him to the inner circle. Responsibility will fall on my brother.
24) Pilfer his jacket when he is invariably pissed up and legless. It sounds risky but at that time of night there ain’t any sober clowns in there.
25) Have at least 3 items pertaining to Murphy on leaving the Arms.
26) Contact Dr Han. The language barrier might be an issue but he’s always patched the boys up good. And I know he’s done big ops at times.
27) Return rental car.
28) Catch bus to Mrs Johnson’s. It’ll be the late bus.
29) Wait outside Mrs Johnson’s, at least 3am preferable. The old bat will probably be out like a light but need to check she doesn’t have night terrors.
30) When parked at night, cut the brakes of Mrs Johnson’s car. Quick and simple, nothing complicated.
31) Leave item of Murphy’s within engine housing.
32) Secure item so it will not depart from vehicle, even during an accident. Needs to be an obvious item too. A wallet or lighter. Something Allen or my brother gave him would be perfect.
33) Return home using hidden bike. Probably best to wait until after 6am, look like a commuter.
34) Cut up bike and take to skip.
35) Contact my brother. Advise of situation. Seek response. – Termination point 1 – Requires positive response.
36) Don disguise. With all the photos of Allen’s man this should be an easy one to pull off. It’s not like he’s the first man I’ve impersonated. And he’s my height. Attach beard and remember shades.
37) Go to Shamrock Arms. Await Murphy. This may be a wait depending on how he’s got on at the bookies but he’ll make an appearance, he always does.
38) Wait for Murphy to consume at least three drinks. He always drinks doubles or chasers anyway.
39) Advise Murphy of his item being found during car mishap.
40) Tell Murphy, Allan expects a call to explain.
41) Leave Shamrock Arms.
42) Tail Murphy home. Note address. I think I know it but with a drinker they move about a lot so best to check.
43) Contact Mr Jones. Request immediate elimination of target. Give Murphy’s address. Also advise of possible proximity to Shamrock Arms. Although he’s gone home, he might head back out. Alcoholics, so utterly undependable. No body to be discovered.
44) Write letter from Murphy to Mrs Johnson advising Allan he has had enough and will bring down everyone. And he doesn’t care about family.
45) Send letter to Mrs Johnson from Murphy. Remember to use a post box that is close to Murphy’s address.
46) Pack gloves and electrician disguise.
47) Follow my brother on a Wednesday.
48) Note address he visits on South Side.
49) Wait for blonde woman with baby to exit after the visit of my brother. It’ll be Allen’s bitch, the one my brother is also banging. This will really set the cat amongst the pigeons.
50) Don the electrician disguise. Remember to take some tools along as they always have tools. And maybe sit with a cuppa in the car. Just be lazy really.
51) Enter address and trash the place. Make a proper job. Serve her right playing it with two men at once. She’s Allen’s bird so she must be insane. As is my brother.
52) Leave item of Murphy’s dropped accidentally.
53) Watch for blonde coming home.
54) Watch for my brother arriving. Call him two minutes after he arrives. Say I was round his house and a guy called Murphy dropped by swearing about him. Said he was going to tell all. Mentioned him banging some other chick.
55) Meet Dr Han. Check procedure. Check it twice to make sure he knows what he’s doing. I sound like bloody Santa.
56) Send ad to the paper. The local one the boys use to send messages.
57) Attend day clinic. Good to keep everything normal. Should actually go to the little restaurant on the hill after too. Beef wellington as usual.
58) Call my brother. Request finance for medical endeavours including possible loan from Allan Termination Point 2 – requires positive sacrificial response.
59) Change to previously purchased car.
60) Don Murphy disguise. Make sure I use some sort of hat though, something to make sure the cameras don’t get a close up of my face. Used to be easier when they had only human minds to catch you out.
61) Contact the Police central desk and ask for duty Sergeant. Advise Sergeant that a package will be delivered. From a Mr Murphy and it’s damn important.
62) Drive to Police department. Nothing stupid, just a quiet run down.
63) Enter the Police front entrance making sure cameras pick up my entrance. Leave paperwork on the front desk.
64) Abandon car by woods.
65) Take motor scooter to central train station. Leave scooter in cycle park with keys in. It will get stolen.
66) Catch train home.
67) Draft letter to Allan from Matt Murphy. Advise my brother was the inspiration for his grassing everyone up. Matt felt disrespected and aloof. Wanted to be a made man but found that my brother was unresponsive.
68) Post letter to Allan’s club, labelled private and confidential.
69) Meet Dr Wan to prepare myself for procedure.
70) Take a rest. It’s nearly done so relax. I’ll need to be told this twice.
71) Relax!
72) Try out new doughnut shop opposite the supermarket. Rate coffee in my book.
73) Visit swimming pool and spend time watching the redhead life guard. This may sound like a lot of relaxation but the time will not kill easy.
74) Ring Allen’s club using thick Irish accent. Say the cops want to meet with me. What’s the price for not talking?
75) Hang up angry.
76) Contact my brother. Advise him of my terminal state – Termination point 3 – requires a positive response.
77) Check with Dr Wan that he is ready to do procedure. And check it a third time. Every nook and cranny because this is one part I do not have real control over.
78) Contact my brother asking that he meet me as this may be our last chance. Ask to meet by the lake, out of the way.
79) Contact Allen’s club using Murphy’s voice. Offer up my brother and advise I am going on the run. This is my gift to Allen to not come after me.
80) Go to library and return all the books that lie around house.
81) Clean my funeral suit. I think it’s okay but really I should check this earlier.
82) Receive body of my brother from Allen’s henchmen. Look broken and distraught. Beg for an answer. They should execute him in the nice fashion. Walk up from behind, shoot him in the head without him ever knowing. Until now he hasn’t put a foot wrong. But he brought Murphy in, so he’ll go out with him. But nicely.
83) Contact Dr Wan. This is the go time and he needs to be on scene quick to get hands on the body.
84) Make sure he takes good care of it. This is one chance and one chance only. No mistakes, there can be no mistakes.
85) Hand my brother’s body over to Wan’s men and then go with them to sterile location for procedure.
86) Return next day, accompanied by Han’s nurse in plain clothes.
87) Ring Police and advise of my brother’s disappearance.
88) Attend police headquarters for statements.
89) Enjoy life as I recover. Go to the movies. Go swimming and watch out for any good looking women of an older age. If they are keen and easy then taking one along is always a possibility.
90) Check if Dr Wan has destroyed the evidence but kept us a head.
91) Advise Dr Wan of the location to leave the head. Make sure he has kept it in water all this time.
92) Wait for Police to find my brother’s head and then search the river. No body, no missing kidney.
93) Attend funeral. Make sure the flowers say something sweet like “To my dearest brother, for all you have given me.”
94) Send in death benefit claims for my brother.
95) Take out all monies in cash.
96) Find photograph taken after kidney transplant, the one with my smiling brother and myself in pain. It crippled me that day although it gave him a life after his first kidneys failed. Now I will have mine back and he will have paid back what he owes me.
97) Sell house. Make sure the underfloor storage is now secured back down.
98) Catch flight to new country. Hopefully with a good looking woman in tow to treat me right.
99) Sit back and enjoy the years he took from me. Drink, be happy and watch the skin of whatever woman comes with me tan under a hot sun. Spend my money and enjoy what years I have left. Maybe even golf.

Copyright G R Jordan 2019