Nigel Peace : 51GN5 0F L1F3
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A decent financial strategy had been thrashed out by the time the pork sausages appeared, but it depended on a good deal of interest rate deflation and insider trading. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but the peace disease was starting to infect the dealers and no-one would play ball. By evening they still hadn’t even started on the outstanding question of Mrs Gardner’s demise, so the two men turned to the one experience that never disappoints.
Jim had sold the horses. The big race meetings were only taking entries from rank outsiders since Skim’s predictions had ruined the system, and betting had just become a sheer gamble. He’d made a good arrangement with the Soho restaurant. With the right herbs and the odd special Japanese ingredient, horsemeat could be turned into practically anything. In return he’d got the jacuzzi plus Yoko and Kyusha, and the job lot had been installed in the old tack room, overseen by head groom and nominal eunuch Jim Roberts.
There is something uniquely paradoxical about jets of soft bubbles rushing to and fro about one’s nether regions, exploring the nooks and crannies. For while it is the outer surface receiving the treatment, it is the cerebral cortex reaping the benefit. Add to this the quiet attendance of one or two dewy-eyed young girls with long black hair and loose kimonos, and the suprarenal glands get to pump a good deal of cortisone. While Roberts attended to some stiffness in Sylvia’s lower back in the new massage room, Ron and Jim began to feel fresh.
“Trouble is,” began Jim, “no-one seems to know where this Evie creature is right now. Somewhere between Provence and Picardie.”
“Assuming she’s on her way back to England.”
“Well, according to the Great Pink Guru she is. I’ve got my men onto it, there’s plenty of refugee manpower in France. A matter of honour for them.”
“Yes, of course. How is Sadiq? You flew down there didn’t you?”
Khan shook his head sadly. It had been traumatic to find his brother so utterly transformed. It wasn’t the injuries that were upsetting; it was the man’s inner contentment, his very disturbing wellbeing. He’d also taken to smoking a disgusting pipe and doing charcoal sketches of the nurses in the prison hospital. He couldn’t terrorise a flea now. There must be some truly evil force in the world to have caused this, and Jim had sworn vengeance. After all, blood is thicker than water. Not to mention messier.
Ron stood up in the water like a surfacing hippopotamus, sending tidal waves rippling over the patio surround. He gestured to Kyusha for the lanolin and the girl immediately rose from the floor, slipped the kimono from her shoulders and stepped silently into the water to kneel at his feet, jar of oil in one hand, loofah in the other. As the girl slowly worked her way up his legs, something grew in Ron’s mind.
“I say,” he began, “you don’t suppose this is all a bluff, do you?