The Cup Bearer

by DJ

Chapter 27

"Oh, yes there was," Rudkin assured Gypsy, "but thankfully most of the members are guests of Her Majesty the Queen, each in a separate prison all over the British Isles. The big boys will be in jail for a long time. I have it almost from the horse's mouth that Guido did work for them but only as a glorified errand boy. Your mother was quite correct, there was no missing money, and the loan the man talked about was only a couple of hundred pounds, which your grandfather paid off before Guido took you to Tamarigo. It looks like Guido wanted to make money out of you but he knew you wouldn't co-operate, so he made up the story about the missing money to make you toe the line; he got his actor friend to pose as the syndicate front man." Rudkin took two videos and a pack of photographs, wrapped in plastic from his jacket pockets. After handing Emilio a pair of thin plastic gloves to put on, he tipped the photographs out on top of the book. "This is one way Guido was going to make money out of you." Emilio took a look at the first few photographs before he tossed them down and turned his face away, feeling very sick. Rudkin scooped them up and returned to the plastic bag. "Thanks, son; I don't need to ask you any more questions just now, you can come back tomorrow morning to make your statement."

"I'll make it now." Emilio fixed his eyes on the Book of Fame while he fought to control his churning stomach. He had to watch his stomach; each time he felt sick for no good reason, it was a real physical pain and not just in the region of the stomach either. He had to get this over and done with, fast.

Rudkin shook his head. "There's really no need. What you need right now –."

Emilio fought hard to keep his anger in check. " What I need is to do it now."

Rudkin hesitated, looked at the others in the room and shrugged his shoulders. "Okay." He turned to PC Wynne who stood by the door. "Would you mind taking care of it? I need to have a word with Mr. Grafton" Rudkin and Grafton left the room to talk privately and for nearly half an hour Emilio concentrated on writing out his statement, quickly filling several sheets of paper, with Don sitting beside him to give him moral support. When he had finished, Wynne read it back to him before asking him to sign it, his speech interrupted several times by the need to swallow hard. Emilio had written a very detailed account.

Rudkin came back in with Grafton, and picked up the papers, scanning them quickly. "You do understand, don't you, that if and when Guido Gomez is caught he has the right to have you and your friend charged with assault, possibly GBH?"

Emilio shrugged his shoulders. "Let him, I don't care. What happens now?"

Grafton placed a hand on his shoulder. "Nothing, except a trip to see your mother; and perhaps a visit to the Rosscroft to see that hypnotherapist friend of Bryn's; if that meets with DI Rudkin's approval?"

Rudkin nodded and Emilio felt trapped.

As he came from behind the table he paused, staring at the book. Suddenly, in his mind, he saw a face and a village with a road sign. Reaching for the book, he opened it and turned the pages till he stopped and pointed to a rather faded photo fit. "This man, he's in California."

Rudkin's eyebrows shot up almost to his hairline. "How can you possible know that?"

"I just do, like I know a lot of things, like I know he's thinking about you right this minute, and laughing at you because he thinks you'll never find him."

Rudkin shook his head in disbelief. "Well, if that's the case we'll put him in the international file and –."

"Not California USA, California, Scotland."

Don didn't go into the ward with Emilio but sat on a chair just outside where he could still see the boy and his mother. Rita sat in an easy chair by her bed with a honeycomb blanket over her knees. Her face was grey and drawn, and an oxygen mask lay near to hand on the bed, but the doctor had assured them she was well enough to hear what the boy had to say.

Don and Emilio had hunted around till they found the biggest bunch of spring blooms they could buy and Rita's face had lit up when Emilio carried them into the ward. He kissed her on the cheek then drew up one of the visitor's chairs and sat down as close to her as he could. He began to talk, and ended up with his head in his hands with Rita stroking his hair. Sometimes Rita interrupted him with a question and the boy either shook his head or nodded in reply. Don felt a lump in his throat as he walked into the ward, to draw the curtains round the bed to give them a little privacy. When Emilio finally drew the curtains back, Don had to blow his nose to hide the fact that his own eyes were moist.

"I told Mum about the hypnotism idea," Emilio said as Don stood up. "She agrees, we ought to check it out."

"How is she?"

"Fine; but I still feel it's my fault she's in here. I acted pretty stupid, didn't I?"

"You did what you thought was right. Feeling guilty isn't going to make things any easier. Have you told her everything?"

"Almost; we'll talk some more when she's home."

Don patted his shoulder. "You'll be okay, kid, now what do you want to do, head for home?"

Emilio shook his head. "No. I think I'm ready to go and see Bryn." When Don raised his eyebrows, he added, "It's what my mother wants, and there's not much point putting it off. I think it is best, don't you?"

Don wisely saw the boy was near to breaking point after such an emotional time with his mother. He put an arm round the boy's shoulders. "Yeah, mothers are always right; most of the time, so my own mother tells me." He began to walk Emilio down the corridor. "You know, kid, you and I are blessed with two of the nicest mother's in the world."

Looking a little peaky, Emilio gave him a faint smile. "Did your mother tell you that as well?"

The Northern Rosscroft Private Clinic, Cheshire.

Don and Emilio sat in Bryn Adams' office with Bryn and his hypnotherapist colleague, Horace Jones who opened the proceedings without waiting for Adam's preliminary invitation. "Most interesting, this one, eh, Bryn? You're Don Clooney, aren't you? Very sharp of you to spot this."

Don eyed him warily, and noticed Emilio, still looking rather pale, doing the same. Don decided he did not like the portly man with his over friendly smile. They had just run a tape of his session with Emilio. He tapped the tape recorder on Bryn's desk. "There's your answer, Bryn, he was well and truly hypnotised."

"Can you guarantee I'm clean now?" Emilio asked him.

"Absolutely wiped, lad," Horace beamed with confidence. "If someone mentions the name Ganymede again, you'll just remember it as something from your English literature lessons on Greek Mythology." Turning back to Bryn, he said, "The second tape, which I'll keep to myself for the time being, is of our patient telling me all the sordid details of his life, under hypnosis of course. If you ever catch this Munante fellow, Mr. Clooney, let me know where he is and I'll personally come down and shove something up his own backside that'll teach him a lesson he'll never forget in a hurry. Then we'll see how he likes being shafted by the biggest vibrator ever made and firmly attached to the nearest electric power plant."

When he'd gone, Bryn chuckled. "Crude, I'll agree, but that's Horace; knowing him, he'd do it as well!"

"Knowing Munante, he'd enjoy it," Don heard Emilio mutter under his breath.

"Are you going to let Emilio hear the other tapes?" Don asked.

"Only if he really wants to but not today; not tomorrow either, I'll wait till he's more stable."

Don caught the look of disgust Emilio cast towards Bryn and quickly steered the conversation to something else, before Emilio's dark mood got the better of him. "What about Guido?"

Bryn frowned at him. "What about him?"

"Emilio and I talked a lot last night."

"I can well believe that."

"Guido used this hypnosis technique on him, which means he must have been connected with Munante."

Bryn stared, first at Emilio then at Don. "You have me there, Don. That needs looking into, but not now. You can tell Rudkin from me, I want Emilio to have as much rest as possible. With that in mind I've arranged for you to be admitted for at least forty eight hours where I can keep my eye on you."

Emilio got ready to blast the man but Don, thinking fast, placed a restraining hand on his arm. The boy had been more tired than usual after rehearsals over the last few weeks. Both he and Don had put it down to his heavy practice schedule taking its toll. With hindsight, Don realised the boy had also been losing valuable sleep, thanks to Guido; Don thought he had been losing weight as well. He gave Emilio's arm a friendly squeeze. "I agree with Bryn, for once."

Emilio rewarded him with a withering look. "Thanks for your support."

"Do you want me to get Grafton on the phone?"

Emilio subsided into a sullen silence and Don turned to Bryn, "What about the complaint he's made against certain employees of yours?"

Bryn smiled. "Two male nurses and a doctor have been suspended till a hearing can be arranged. I don't expect them to remain employed here or find another post so easily. Emilio's is the second such complaint. The first could not be substantially proven. Now we've got this complaint as well, we'll reopen the first one and investigate them together."

Satisfied, Emilio nodded glumly, and Don suspected he wanted to get out of the Rosscroft as soon as possible, most of all away from Bryn Adams. His dislike for the guy showed in his coolness towards him. Don wondered why, but now was not the time to ask questions. Had he done so, he would have had his head bitten off.

Saturday 6th April 1995

Dear Diary, Sandy began, Well! What an Easter holiday this is going to be! The whole of Trentham has been in a flap since the news got out, despite the press ban Mr. Grafton engineered. With Visick Street invaded by the press and nosy public, the Gomez family have been taken to West Houghton for the holiday. There was no chance of Emilio going with them, he's still at the Rosscroft where they're running some test on him, don't know what for. Then hopefully he'll be staying at our place and the press would be wise not to come round here. Dad will soon send them away with a more than a flea in their ears. They haven't found Guido yet but Emmie's neighbours have been having a field day, getting their five pence worth in, all except Mrs. Cole from next door. It turns out she got in touch with the police a couple of weeks ago about sounds in the night, but she had no firm evidence for them to check up on, so they put her report on file. My poor mate, how he must have suffered. It's taken me best part of the week to calm down. Still, it's over now, I hope. I also hope I won't have a load of ghouls after me when we go back to school after next week, expecting me to reveal all the sordid details. Guido had better not come into my sights ever again or I'll do more than smack him on the jaw. Thank God the photos came out okay. Rudkin gave me back the part of the film he didn't need. Just as well, it had some good ones of Mam and Dad on it.

Signed Sandy

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