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.Friend of the family, good old Chris, a gentleman.Caskie finished his drink.‘Another?’‘I’d prefer some air.’‘Fine,’ Caskie said.Eddie set his glass down on the counter and strolled towards the door.Caskie followed and they walked for a while and then George Square opened out quite unexpectedly, a large sudden sunny space in the aorta of the city; it was if the shaded side streets were no more than tunnels that had been leading you all along to this great expanse of red tarmac which was dominated by the elaborate architecture of the City Chambers, a building of Italianate grandeur.Eddie approached the stone cenotaph located directly outside the Chambers and gazed up at the central tower, which rose with all the pomp and self-assurance of the mercantile class of the 19th century: Glasgow was an important hub of the Empire, and that would never change.Or so they believed.The city’s motto was ‘Let Glasgow Flourish’.He turned away from the building.Nearby, a bald guy with no eyebrows was selling copies of the Big Issue, and a deranged man, hollow-eyed and hair wild, sat on a bench and swatted the air with pale fluttering hands, as if to drive off imaginary flying insects.Lunchtime crowds sauntered in their hundreds, or sat eating sandwiches in the sunshine, ignoring the deprived and the demented.The city flourished all right, Eddie thought, in the same way as cities did everywhere, vivid contrasts and screaming paradoxes, the gulch between rich and poor, sane and crazy.But today the sun shone and the sky was a sheet of pure cobalt and life was just fine and few people were thinking dark thoughts, except maybe himself.He said, ‘The place has changed a whole lot.’‘For the better,’ Caskie said.‘It’s cleaner.The air is breathable.It used to be a den of smoke and fog.There’s more money around.You can see it in the amount of construction going on, and the way those wonderful old Victorian buildings have been cleaned up.Look about you, Eddie.’Eddie stared back across the square.The busy buzzing pump of the city, Jackie’s city.Where he’d lived and died.And last week, for one night, Jackie had left Glasgow.‘Do you think there’s a connection between Jackie’s murder and his trip last week?’Caskie frowned.‘Eddie, all I know is he caught a train at Glasgow Central.’Eddie said, ‘He got off somewhere.’‘He could have travelled to London and back.He might have gone anywhere in England or Scotland … I couldn’t begin to guess.’‘And who did he meet?’‘You don’t really expect me to know the answer to that.’‘It was rhetorical.’ Eddie gazed at Caskie a moment, wondering why Perlman didn’t trust him.Was it something Caskie had done? Something in his manner that Perlman didn’t care for? They were opposites, sure, Caskie smooth and Perlman rough around the edges, but that wasn’t grounds for mistrust.What then?Eddie said, ‘I heard some guy might be interested in buying Jackie’s business.Haggs.’Caskie said, ‘Haggs?’‘You know him?’Caskie blinked, scratched at his beard and looked across the square.‘No … I’d remember a name like that.’Eddie said, ‘So you don’t –’Before Eddie could finish, the cellphone in Caskie’s pocket rang and he took it out, answered it, listened, then flipped the cellphone shut.‘That was Tay,’ he said.‘He wants to see you.’23Joyce heard her doorbell ring.Since she hadn’t buzzed anyone up, it meant that somebody in the building had forgotten to shut the outside security door properly – probably old Mimms in the flat above.Sweet old guy, but he was forever forgetting to close the security door.She knotted the belt of her dressing gown and walked into the hallway.Through the stained-glass window of her front door she saw the outline of a man.She hesitated halfway towards the door and called out, ‘Who is it?’The man said, ‘We’ve never met, Miss Mallon … I was a friend of your dad.I heard about this terrible tragedy.And.Well.I thought I’d pay my respects, sweetheart.’She stared at his outline and how it was bevelled by irregularities in the coloured glass.His voice was unfamiliar to her.An English accent, somewhere in the south, maybe London.‘What’s your name?’‘Your Daddy knew me as Tommy G.’‘And you were close to him, you say?’‘Peas in a pod, love.We did a load of business over the years.’‘I never heard him mention you.’‘Come on, he must’ve talked about me once or twice.’‘No … I don’t think he did.How are you spelling your name? GEE?’‘Just the letter G.Plain and simple, pet.’‘Just G? That a nickname?’‘Yeh, a nickname, love.Listen, I feel like a prat standing out here.I’m not the bogeyman, you know.I understand your concern about a stranger turning up outside your door because God only knows we live in times of dread – but you don’t need to be suspicious of me, pet.I’ll pay my respects and go.’She took two steps towards the door, then stopped.She felt apprehension.She looked at the panes, which were orange and red and green and blue.She’d thought many times of replacing them with a more secure door, thick wood with a spyhole, but she’d been reluctant to remove the glass, an original feature of the flat.She was attached to the past.She liked a continuity with the endeavours of the dead.She gazed at the shadow beyond the panes.You live alone in a tenement flat and there’s only stained glass between you and someone on the other side of the door.A rapist.Anyone.She said, ‘I don’t mean to be rude, but this is a bad time for me [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]