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Sleaford Noir 1


and into a little public park. I turned to follow them but couldn't. A double- line of
concrete bollards guarded the park from joyriders. Instantly, I slammed on the brakes
and my Audi slewed round to a dead stop.
The two youths spun their BMXs round o n the concrete under a rusting swing frame.
The swings had gone, as had the rubber matting, and the bare frame looked like a
gallows waiting for the execution party. The yobs saw I'd pulled up hard by the
bollards. They both flipped me the finger. The taller one, the scumbag who'd scarred
my Audi, grabbed his crotch and thrust his groin in my direction. I wondered if they'd
have done that if they knew I had a Beretta 92 semi-automatic pistol hidden in a
custom made secret compartment in my car. Somehow, I d idn't think they would.
So I didn't bother getting out my coupé but instead reversed into the traffic on the A15
and a minute later I'd left the park behind me and was heading into Sleaford. I thought
about calling my boss, McTeague, on my BlackBerry to let him know that someone in
his organisation had been talking to Wheelan's mob. But in the end, I didn't bother.
McTeague trusted me to get the job done and I wasn't about to let him down. It just
added an extra layer of complication. That's all.
If it was late at night, if there was no traffic on the A15 and if I put my foot down; I'd
have blown through Sleaford in five minutes flat. It's a one horse town built just
south-east of the crossroads of the north-south A15 highway and the east-west A17,
where the two join at the Holdingham roundabout. It took me longer than that but not
by much.
My SatNav directed me to an upmarket Close on the other side of Sleaford. Now
Wheelan's mob knew I'd hit town, I had no reason to waste time. I turned into a
sweeping brick paviour driveway laid in a herringbone pattern that drew the eye to a
large 1930s mock Tudor mansion. They seemed to like their mock Tudor in Sleaford.
The detached house had been extended since then with a wing over the double garage
and dormer windows high in the roof following a loft conversion. I pulled up before a
large entrance porch making sure the Audi's scratch was on the opposite side so it
couldn't be seen from the house. I got out and rang the bell.
Nothing happened. So I pressed the bell again, longer this time; letting the tune ring
through the house. Eventually a light came on in the hall and the door was opened by
a schoolgirl. The girl was sensible enough to keep the door on the chain.
She was maybe fourteen or fifteen years old. She had d yed her hair red with pink
streaks running through it and had long, cow- like fake eyelashes. We wouldn't have
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