The Cup Bearer
Curious, Emilio followed Don up the steps and into the flat where Don grabbed a pile of neatly folded clothes from a table in the kitchen and walked through the lounge into his bedroom. Emilio leant against the door frame and watched Don sort through the clothes. There was a book on the bedside table and Don pointed to it. Emilio walked to the table, picked up the book and looked at the title. "Star Signs; you don't believe this stuff do you?"
"It's one of Cissy's Astrology books," Don picked up the clothes he had chosen and walked into the adjoining bathroom. "Cissy is the lady I share this flat with on the rare occasion she's in this country, and before your nose starts poking around where it shouldn't, yes we do have a relationship, about twice a year."
Emilio heard the shower being switched on and raised his voice so he would be heard above the water. "That doesn't answer my question."
"Hang on, I'll be out in a minute."
Emilio sat on the bed and flipped through the book, noting that several pages had been marked with slips of paper. Five minutes later, Don came out of the bathroom freshly dressed and damp haired. He took the book off him, opened it at the first marker and began to read aloud. "Scorpio, ruling planet Pluto the ruler of Hades, often has mystic knowledge of life and death. Within an unruffled exterior lies a seething cauldron of fire. His formal, unfriendly manner is just a pretence to hide his real demeanour."
Emilio stood up. 'I don't want to hear this. It's rubbish any way."
Don ignored him and carried on reading, "Scorpio is a triangle of faces. One is the eagle that can soar to phenomenal pinnacles of success and happiness. The second is the grey lizard, living in a world of self sacrifice and depression, becoming reclusive, introverted, and frightened of his own suspicions and often descending to the doldrums of sadness in the wake of tragedy or sickness. This grey lizard forgets how to use Pluto's power to climb above his problems, but it is there to help him fight when all seems lost, if only he can remember what it is to be an eagle who has no fear and does not believe in defeat."
Emilio remembered George Sherbourne saying sometime similar to Edward and Thomas the day they buried Tony. A soft low voice in Emilio's mind warned him not to listen. "It's still rubbish." He walked towards the door.
"Just let me finish will you," Don insisted. "The most potent face of all is the Scorpion itself, never forgetting an injustice and using its venom to wreak vengeance. The eagle conquers his opponent as a sign of his strength, but the scorpion plans his revenge then uses the venom of his sting to totally destroy his enemy. He pursues his victim while planning his moves, then strikes with malevolent fury." Slowly, Emilio realised that Don had been reading up on his character. Feeling betrayed he flung open the door. Don stopped him. "Hang on, kid. You know, sometimes you can be so rude. Didn't Mr. Grafton ever teach you manners? You might not believe this stuff but it hits the mark pretty well. The grey lizard is altogether different. He lives in a world of painful memories smouldering for years causing depression and sickness; poisoning himself with his own venom as he turns his sting inward upon himself. The grey lizard has to be shown a way to lift himself from the darkness of his mind and look up towards the clear blue sky where the eagle flies free.
"Scorpio has a seductive kindness and a tempered affection for the ailing or sad of the world. But the nocturnal scorpion can also sting others and often himself should his mind become unbalanced; although in the same breath, Scorpio can be intensely devoted to his friends and patrons. He never forgets those who help him achieve his aims. Scorpio has to beware of ruining his health and well being by exceeding his known limits and sliding too often into periods of low spirits, and with overwork. But on the plus side, Scorpio can use his plutonian power to rebuild, even after the most horrendous trauma, when Pluto's mystery and magic do their work. Intensely serious in everything he undertakes, Scorpio can be an angel or devil's advocate. Now I don't care what you think, but that's you right enough. What's your ascendant sign?"
"Virgo, my descendant's Cancer." Emilio turned back into the bedroom. Before Don could read anything else from the book, Emilio said, "Virgo's planet is Mercury. The typical Virgo is neat and tidy, the female often house proud."
"But not so much as to make it uncomfortable for others, thank God. That's my mother," Don finished. "So you do know something about all this!"
"Too busy to daydream, too tired at night to wish on stars; and this has nothing to do with God so don't bring Him into it."
"That's beside the point, I just said - "
"It's very much the point. Didn't your mother teach you never to call God's name in vain?"
Don glared at him. "Don't spout religion at me, kid, I'm not into that. So do you know something of this or are you just rubbing me up the wrong way?"
"I've read enough. When Mum first told me I was a gypsy, I wanted to find out things. But it doesn't mean I believe it."
"Does it matter?" Emilio felt a storm building up inside him "I just don't feel right about it. I think the bible says something against that stuff."
"Well, like I said I'm no bible reader so I wouldn't know." Don tapped the book and read on. "Rather wiry build, unusually startling, attractive eyes. You sure got them all right! Extremely attractive with delicate nose and sensitive lips; that too! Graceful, charming, cares about his or her appearance. Not very tall, appearing fragile but often has more stamina than a tougher opponent. Weaknesses are digestion and mental health, often disturbed by groundless worries. Over fussy about grooming, eating, working, and romance He or she often looks as if they have come straight from a beauty salon or an expensive tailor's. Although they are capable of sharp wit, the Virgo side of them can become crabby or nervous, but mostly they can be nice company. Yeah, I'll buy that, especially the crabbiness; you to a T!"
"Okay, I'll admit that could be me, but I asked you, do you believe it?"
"Up to now I thought I didn't, but I can see the Virgo and the Scorpio in you. I wouldn't know about the Cancer bit, I haven't read that far, but I found the chapter on Scorpio very interesting. At the moment you're not flying very high or using your venom, so I guess right now you're the grey lizard." Emilio didn't answer, and Don said gently, "It's time to look up, kid; you can't stay at the bottom of the pool for ever."
"Is that what Bryn thinks I'm going to do?" Emilio headed for the lounge once more. "I know you've been talking to him behind my back, so you can tell him from me, I've got plans for the future and I intend to see them through. When it's time to use my venom, some people are gonna feel it where it really hurts." He put a swagger in his walk. "See? I'm looking' up!"
Don followed him into the lounge. "You'll still need minding, even more so now."
"You don't think Guido's crowd are going to let a kid walk away and shoot his mouth off, do you? Remember me telling you how I first got involved with the Group when the son of a friend of mine got into a situation similar to yours? I hauled him out and most of the men involved were caught and sent to prison. One or two slipped out of sight. When no one was looking they put the kid in hospital and pinned a murder rap on me as a payback; the cops are still looking for them. These guys Guido was involved with will want to shut you up, so you're going to have the same protection my pal's kid should have had, until we catch Guido and his pals. The kid's twenty seven years old now and still doesn't walk too good."
Chilled, Emilio stared thoughtfully at him. "I suppose all this means I'm going to have to tell Rudkin the whole works, doesn't it?"
"I think it would be the wise thing to do," Don replied, "if you want to help pin these animals down."
"Okay." Emilio walked into out into the hall and waited for Don to follow him. "Ready when you are."
Don hesitated, and seemed as if he wanted to say something else, but after a moments thought he shrugged his shoulders and picked up his jacket. Emilio had the feeling Don was troubled about something, and it concerned himself.
Rudkin placed a large, well-used book on the interview room table and opened it. "This is what Don's group calls the Book Of Fame. It contains photos and photofits of every person we've had, or still have, under investigation concerning crimes against children. I want you to look through it to see if you recognise anyone."
Emilio frowned at Edward Grafton who had thankfully arrived in time to sit in on the interview, and now nodded his encouragement. Since learning the whole story, Grafton's courtroom aloofness had been replaced by a compassion and warmth that Emilio had never seen before in the man. Slowly he leafed through the book, pausing to look at certain faces before turning the pages. Then his heart gave a jolt as he recognised a face "This one. He's the guy from the syndicate. He's the one who mentioned about the farm." Waves of nausea washed over him and he dropped his face into his hands, feeling he couldn't go through with this. He felt Edward's firm hand on his shoulder. Lifting his head he saw Don give him wink of encouragement across the table. His spirits lifted a fraction, but only a fraction.
Edward leaned forward and craned his neck to look at the picture Emilio had identified. Rudkin made a note in his pocket book. "Right, anyone else?"
By the time Emilio reached the end of the book, he had identified seven faces and put supposed names to four. Rudkin turned back to the second picture Emilio had recognised. "This man you said was the first of Guido's clients at the flat was a genuine bishop till he was defrocked a few years ago for leading little choirboys astray. And this Mr. Upton, you thought was the owner of a hotel Guido took you to, is not the owner of any hotel. He's just an ageing playboy who gets his kicks from watching men play games with boys. Thanks to you, and Don's phone calls to his friends, we found the hotel you were taken to. Its owner is a lady of doubtful reputation who turns a blind eye to certain high paying guests having their entertainment brought in via the service entrance as you were. She'll be ready to cooperate in the setting up of a trap for our playboy, once she's made to understand that, if she doesn't, we'll make sure she's closed down. The other three men you picked out are from Liverpool and haunt the same places as Guido. It might be a good idea if you were taken over to Liverpool to have a look at their books as well." He turned back to the first picture Emilio had selected. "This man is no more the front man for a crime syndicate than I am. He's an out of work actor, also from Liverpool and probably a friend of Guido's."
Emilio stared hard at the book and his heart sank. "There was no syndicate, was there?"
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