Parker’s self-imposed time limit was reached. Enough mental
wandering, he thought. But it used up time by thinking of
something pleasant instead of bad people and bad nights. He
stepped to the double doors and pushed one open.
lights were on the stage, providing enough illumination so that
a person could walk without wondering where he would be when he
broke his ankle.
just inside the doors, at the back of the hall, and listened.
Completely silent. Then he started slowly down the aisle,
listening with both his eyes and his ears. He stopped at the
edge of the stage.
suddenly seeped out of the gloom from the back of the stage. It
was so unexpected that Parker visibly jumped.
Mr. Parker,” the voice said. “You’re right on time. Come up on
the stage. We’ll do our business and you’ll be on your way.”
couldn’t make out anything in the darkness of the stage. Even
the areas where the small amount of illumination available made
itself felt, the dark contrast of the folds in the back curtains
still made it impossible for him to see any details of his
McCarron with you?” asked Parker. He started
up the makeshift stairs at the front of the stage.
our bargain, Mr. Parker,” said the voice. At that moment Parker
stepped up onto the stage. He looked around and saw faint
movement of the curtains at the back of the stage. Then Ruth
McCarron, eyes blindfolded, stepped through them, guided by a
small man. “So far you’ve done well, Mr. Parker. Keep it up and
we’ll be through very quickly.” Ruth had her hands bound and
from her wrists was a sort of leash, held onto by her companion.
She walked with her head down, facing the floor. Ruth
stopped beside her captor.
his back to the darkness of the seats in the auditorium, facing
this little man. Parker started to reach inside his shirt where
the papers were taped to his side.
document over, Mr. Parker. I’ll take the document and check it.
Then I’ll hand you the leash. Simple. And
don’t try anything, please. I cheated on our agreement – and you
bought it. I’m covered and so are you. Thank you very much,” he
said, as he reached out his hand. “We won’t see . . . . . .”
Parker heard a sort of loud cough from behind and, as he started
to turn around, he saw the instantaneous
look of shock on the face of this little man.....................................