Jonathan McCormick

“You never met my father?” Jonathan McCormick leaned back in his chair.  Dreyfus was impatient, but it was story time and he didn’t interrupt. “No, no, of course not.  We brought you in to solve that problem.  I remember.  You and I were just kids, then.”  (Actually, Jonathan McCormick was 21 years older than Dreyfus, almost to the day.)  There was a short moment while McCormick looked out at the grey London skyline.  Then he swivelled his chair just slightly and pointed to a conversation group, across the big room, on his right.  “You know he died in that chair.  That one.  The one I use.”  Dreyfus was suddenly interested.  “I had it all redone.”  McCormick flicked his fingers dismissively.  “And if you look closely, you can see I couldn’t quite match the leather, but it’s the same chair.  Henshaw says there’s enough McCormick blood soaked into the wood of that chair that it could be a relative.”  McCormick paused again. “That’s how she got the scar.”  McCormick touched his cheek.  “They shot her on the way in.  A couple of secretaries downstairs, Norton from security, old Matheson who used to work the lift — it was a terrible day.”  McCormick slowly shook his head, “We had a week of funerals.”  McCormick turned to face Dreyfus across the desk.       

“I kept the bullets, you know, all of them.  The boys at the Met were just hopping.”  McCormick blew a flippant gust of air, “But they weren’t going to trace them anyway.  Those guns were in the Thames before the Yard even got the call.  Nancy says it’s ghoulish, but it’s not as if they’re on the mantel.  They’re not a shrine.  Just a reminder.”

“Oh, so this is where it’s going,” Dreyfus thought and relaxed a bit.

“My father got all those people killed because he didn’t mind his own business.  He wanted to change the world, and he clashed antlers with a bad bunch who like it the way it is.”  McCormick looked at nothing through the Moon gate behind Dreyfus’ head.  “But,” he snapped back to life, “Blood under the bridge, I suppose.  So, what do we have?  Personal time and an introduction.  Alright.  Let’s call this a leave of absence.  Take whatever time you need.  Come back when you’re ready.”

(Dreyfus translated, “If you must.  Do what you have to do, do it quickly and don’t involve me.”)

“Now, an introduction.”  McCormick thought for a second, “We have a few friends in Florence, but I don’t imagine you want to have tea with Donna Ferragamo? Without knowing …” McCormick stopped, looked directly at Dreyfus and frowned a suspicion, “You’re not moonlighting for Michael Elliott and that crowd down in Pimlico, are you?”

“No,” Dreyfus shook his head, “As I said, strictly personal.”  He opened his hand in front of him.

McCormick nodded and looked toward the Moon gate, “Alright, I don’t pry.  Henshaw!”

“Yes,” the voice was mechanical and tinny.

“I need the particulars for Riccardo Ciampi, and give Sinclair a copy when he leaves.” McCormick dropped his eyes back to Dreyfus.  “When are you leaving?”

“We have a flight tomorrow morning.”

McCormick noted the “we,” but his expression didn’t change.

“Leave it with me.  I’ll telephone today.  He’ll know you’re coming and you can settle anything else between the two of you.  I’ve never met Riccardo, but we’ve worked with the family and they’re business people.”  McCormick stood up and, despite his best efforts, couldn’t resist, “But remember they’re Italian – family first.”  He stepped around the desk.  For a second, Dreyfus thought he was going to shake hands or something equally awkward, but McCormick walked over, sat in his father’s chair and opened the file he was carrying.

“Keep me informed,” he said — without looking up.  It was the end of the conversation, and Dreyfus turned without another word and left.  Henshaw handed him a slip of paper on the way out.  He read it and put it in his pocket as he stepped into the elevator beside Alan who worked the key for the ground floor.

A couple of minutes later, when Dreyfus was safely back on the street, Henshaw walked through the Moon gate.  McCormick looked up from his file.

“When you want to know what sort of mischief bad boys are getting up to, who do you talk to?”

“Their mums.”

“I’ll need Martina Ciampi’s telephone number.”

Henshaw shook the paper in her hand.  “On your desk.”

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