Deja Vu

                          Deja Vu  is now easily available from these web sites 

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Deja Vu is much better than  REPOSSESSION 

550 pages full of intrigue

Following on with the story about the Donnelly’s, when they return to Ireland.

Bad boy Brock Richmond appears again.

The neighbours have had to put up with the ‘neighbors from hell’ !

Read about who gets kidnapped!

Who are the  ‘mystery’ persons?

Does Stephanie turn over a new leaf or does she revert to her selfish ways?

What about Billy and Síle? The ‘tinker’ couple who destroy a four million mansion!

Not only are the Italian mafia visiting Deja Vu – but also the Russian mafia, and the New York mafia too! 

You can be sure there must be murder afoot.

You will also meet up with Rupert and Caroline Bramford Lavelle – they are oh so posh.



I have worked hard on my second novel- Deja Vu,  and it has just been published. I have ‘copy and pasted’ a sample here for you. I hope after reading the sample you will want to click the link and get the complete version on Amazon/Kindle. It is probably the best $2.99 (€2.76 or £1.92) you will spend today.


Stephanie opened her eyes but all she saw was pure unblemished inky blackness. At first she thought that maybe her eyes weren’t open – she gingerly put her fingers up and felt that the lids were in fact open wide, staring but seeing nothing.

‘What the hell? Where on earth am I?’ She groaned.

She then became aware that she was freezing cold and her back ached. She was lying on something, hard as a slab of marble and just as cold. She sat up, but immediately lay down again, her head was spinning and any movement, no matter how small, set off rockets, fireworks and a barrage of pain, such as she had never experienced before. As the pain subsided a little she tried to piece together what had happened but her mind was a blank. She stretched her arms out and felt a wall to the left of where she lay and behind her head, her right hand didn’t come in contact with anything until she dropped it down by her side and she realised that she was in fact lying on a thin mattress on a cold metallic floor.

‘Ooooh God! What have you done to me? Where am I? Have I died and gone to hell?’

She dropped her arm over her face and closed her eyes trying hard to remember, something, anything!

“Hello, Hellllllooooooo’ she shouted. ‘Can anybody hear me?’

Her voice was hoarse and rasping in her throat. She was only greeted by a dull and eerie silence. A knot of fear started to grab her stomach, even though she couldn’t see anything she felt like she was spinning around, started to feel nausea. The smell was dreadful too, a dry metallic smell of emptiness.

“Heeelp, HELP,” she called with as much strength as she could muster. No one replied! She attempted to get up again. This time moving very slowly, rolled over on to her knees and felt her way along the floor, weeping and blubbering. A little more than an arms length to her right she felt another wall.

‘Ooh God, where am I?’ She breathed. Fear was now welling up inside her and she felt as if she was about to vomit, her stomach was turning over with the realization that this was real, not a dream, not just a dark room! She was in fact imprisoned! She crawled along the wall to her right and came to the end of her ‘now’ world within another six feet. Feeling along the end wall she moved to her left. Suddenly she felt some objects, she couldn’t make out what they were but one felt like a torch. She quickly picked it up, she couldn’t find a button or switch but there was a handle folded into the side.

‘I know what this is, one of those everlasting wind up torches!’ She exclaimed with some relief. She fiddled with the torch until she had released the handle and then wound it furiously, but stopped immediately as the fireworks started to go off in her head again. She sat quietly for a moment and then slowly turned the handle until she got enough light to see her surroundings.

Even though she had formed an image in her mind of her prison, her heart sank even further at what she observed. It looked like some kind of a metal packing or transport container. She carefully got to her feet and found that she could nearly stand if she hunched over. There appeared to be a door at the end where she stood. She grabbed a lever and attempted to lift it up but it didn’t budge. She banged on the door but there was an eerie dull quietness to the noise that reflected, even though she banged as hard as she could, in spite of the agony that the effort set off in her head.

She returned to the other items at her feet. She wound up the torch, aimed the beam along the floor and noticed a small hatch with a loop of rope attached. She slowly pulled the rope and the door started to lift up, but she was scared to death of what might be revealed. What was in there – was it alive? Would it jump out?


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‘I wouldn’t put it past the bastard who put me in here to have left mice or rats or even snakes in there, just waiting to get out as soon as I lift the hatch!’

It was difficult to get the torch wound up enough to provide sufficient light, for any length of time as soon as she stopped winding. She needed two hands to lift the hatch as it seemed to be stuck. She put her head level with the opening of the hatch, wound up the torch and then carefully eased up the little door shining the beam into the opening. Nothing jumped out but there was a horrible damp smell, reminded her of rotten potatoes or the compost heap when it was being turned over. Relieved that there was nothing alive in there, she again worked up enough light and holding the torch between her knees, she opened the hatch all the way back. What she saw was a deep hole – maybe two or three feet deep dug into what resembled turf like soil. She examined the hole to see if there was possibly a tunnel leading from it. Unfortunately it was a plain ordinary hole.

‘What the hell is that there for? Is it supposed to be a toilet?’

Stephanie closed down the lid in the dark and examined the small stack of items in the corner. There were twelve large bottles of water, a bag of apples, a huge plastic container with cooked rice in it, six bananas, a huge bag of granola and power bars and six toilet rolls. Her handbag was also lying in the corner; she grabbed it up and searched inside for her phone.

“Yeeeeees,” she shouted as she found it in it’s little inside compartment.

She couldn’t wait to turn it on and see if it worked. ‘Da da di – da da’, it jingled with the familiar sound. She inhaled big intake of breath and pressed the green call button… no signal!

“DAMN, BLAST! Ooooh Nooooooo! Oh well it was too much to hope for,” she said as she threw it back into her bag. Her head was throbbing, her knees were hurting and she suddenly realised and crawled back to the bed holding on to the torch.

“Whoever put me here seems to want to keep me alive or they wouldn’t have left water and food, such as it is! Why? Where am I? How long have I been here?’’

She felt her wrist and was relieved to feel her watch. She wound up the torch and looked at the time, it was three twenty five, but she had no idea if that was day or night. She didn’t even know what day it was!

She ate the apple and the banana and lay in the pitch-black darkness fighting with every ounce of her being, not to give in to the terrible fear that was ranting about her body. Fear that was trying to take control of her mind and which she knew, if she didn’t keep calm now, would only make her situation worse.

“As if it could get any worse!’’ she said out loud to herself.

Her body went into spasm, she started shaking uncontrollably, she hugged herself and rolled into a fetal position ball and then she just screamed, shouted and cried.

“Please, someone hear me. Help me. Get me out of here! Please help me!”
Eventually she fell asleep with sheer exhaustion.
Stephanie didn’t know how long she had slept but when she awoke nothing had changed. She

was still in this nightmare, in this cold black box! She wound up the torch and looked at her watch again. It was six fifteen. She presumed she had only slept for just under four hours. She was so frightened she buried her head in the pillow and wept.

Eventually as the ache in her head subsided she started to work things out a little.

‘OK, so whoever it is wants to keep me alive, therefore they have probably kidnapped me and will have blackmailed Mervyn to pay a ransom to get me released. It will only be a matter of time before someone comes and gets me out of here! I’ve just got to hold on and keep myself positive.’

She reflected over all the things that had happened since returning from America over a month ago.


Déjà Vu

Chapter 1 Bútas

Marina came into the kitchen/living room and sighed, looking around at the mess. The dinner dishes piled in the sink and the greasy pan still sitting on the gas stove. Toys that her daughter Anna had been playing with were scattered about the floor, her husband’s mud covered boots by the door, his jacket thrown over the back of a chair. Marina thought to herself, ‘I suppose I should be grateful that at least Petras doesn’t tramp about the flat in his boots as he used to, that’s some improvement, but I wish he would help a little around the home – I have to do everything!’

Petras was stretched out on his recliner watching the TV. “Did she go off alright, you were a long time?” he asked distractedly.

Marina went over to the sink and ran the water till it got warm.

“I know, she was a little bit teary tonight. We had a slight run in with those people next door today and she said that she was frightened that they would come and take her away in the night!”

Petras jumped up out of his chair without even un-reclining the chair, which left it rocking precariously.

“What do you mean Marina? Why would our little Anna think that we would let anyone take her away? Tell me exactly what happened? I’ll go over there and sort them out once and for all.”

“No, No Petras.” Marina turned off the tap and turned around to face her husband, leaning back against the sink. “You mustn’t get angry about this, I can handle it. We don’t want any trouble with the Gardaí or we could find ourselves sent back home to Lithuania!”

“So tell me, tell me what happened?” Petras asked again, pacing around the room.

“I had been to the shops with Anna and we were coming back past next door. The young man with the red blond hair was standing near the gate talking to another fellow who looked like a tinker. He was unshaven and dirty and had long hair too; I didn’t like the look of them at all. I just wanted to pass by without them noticing us. Just as we got to the gate Anna dropped her ball and it rolled in through the gateway and before I could stop her, she ran in after it! The blond guy shouted at her and then made to chase her, gave her a terrible fright and me too! He shouted that he would come and get her and send her back to where she belongs! I grabbed her up in my arms and we hurried on. Poor little Anna was crying and in a terrible state. The two men just laughed and guffawed as if it was great fun. It took me half an hour to quiet Anna down when we got home and have her forget about what happened. I didn’t tell you about it when you came home because I didn’t want her to remember and get upset again.”

“Those bastards!” Petras exclaimed. “Marina, I will have to go and tell that young GURRIER that I won’t put up with him and his nasty ways. We have to listen to them fighting and the music so loud at night that it keeps us awake; everyone around is afraid to go near them. I don’t think they are legally living in that house anyway. Mrs. Shane downstairs told me that there used to be a very nice couple and their daughter living in that house, but suddenly a few months ago, they just disappeared and no one knows where they went. The next thing was the house had ‘For Sale’ signs up and now we have this lot living there. I think they could be squatters.”

“Whatever it is Petras, we mustn’t get involved,” Marina said as she turned again to the sink and started to wash the dishes. “It was hard enough for us to get our papers to come here and for you to get a job while you finish your studies. We have a nice little flat and everything is working out well for us, so please don’t do anything to cause any trouble. If I go out with Anna again I will use the shops at the other end of the road and I won’t pass that house any more. That is the best solution.”


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Petras looked at his wife and thought about the hard time they had had over the past few years since they got married. They had met in Klaipeda and fallen in love, got married within six months. They both had the same ambition to get out of Lithuania, to live in a country that offered more opportunities and freedom to them and the family that they hoped to have. Now, only six months in Ireland they were experiencing this trouble from next door.

“OK Marina I will do what you ask this time, but if anything happens again, I am going to the Gardaí, we are here legally so we have nothing to fear. I’m going to see that my little Anna is sleeping quietly now.”

Petras picked up Anna’s little furry bunny from the settee and went off to her bedroom.

Marina sighed again. She had not told Petras that there had been several instances when she was out on her own or with Anna when she had run into those people from next door and their friends. They had intimidated her and told her that she should go back home and if she didn’t they would make sure that she did. Marina, being quite an intelligent girl just put their behaviour down to ignorance and jealousy. Once they started aiming their nasty remarks at her daughter and frightening her, she had decided it was time to tell Petras.

She finished clearing the dinner things, hung up the jacket and put away Anna’s toys.

‘There is time for me to do some painting tonight,’ she thought to herself, got her art materials out of the cupboard and settled herself down at the table. She was lost in her thoughts and her art and didn’t notice the time passing until suddenly she realised that it was after nine and Petras had not come back. She got up and walked quietly down the corridor looking into their bedroom on the way, tip-toeing on to Anna’s room. There was Petras fast asleep with Anna enveloped in his arms, also sleeping soundly. She smiled happily to see such bliss. But realising that it was important for Petras to get a good night’s sleep she went over and gently stroked his cheek. He slowly opened his eyes and looked questioningly at her.

“Would you like a cup of tea mano brangūs vienas?” she asked using an endearment from her homeland. “It’s nearly half past nine and the news will be on TV soon. I think Anna is over her fright now and will be all right to sleep on her own. Little children forget quickly and it’s better if we don’t make a big issue of them. Come on, tuck her in and come for your tea. I have been painting a lovely picture while you have been snoozing.”

Marina went back to the kitchen with a big smile on her face and put the kettle on. She was really as happy as could be at the way her life had turned out. She had brothers and sisters still in Klaipeda; they did not have her ambition or drive and were happy to continue to live in the old traditional way. If she had not met Petras and each fueled the other’s eagerness to make a life elsewhere, she might still be living in Klaipeda. It was a lovely place but just didn’t have the opportunities to offer that Ireland did. She loved the freedom and friendliness that she had found in Ireland and was not going to let anyone spoil it for her. She settled back at the table just as Petras, her ‘Rock’ came back in.

“I’ll make the tea, what have you been painting?” he said, looking over her shoulder. “That is very good Marina! Is that not the little dog ‘Pompey’ that belongs to Mr. and Mrs. Shane downstairs? Such a cute little poodle.”

Marina held up the photograph of the poodle and compared it to her work.

“Yes it is, I didn’t even think you knew that they have a dog. They have been very kind to us and especially to Anna, they are always giving her treats, it’s a shame they never had any children, they would have made very good parents… not like those awful people next door! Have you seen how they treat their kids! I was in the garden one day and I could hear them over the fence, he was shouting at the little fellow. Then I am sure I heard him give the kid a smack, there was a lot of howling and crying, but all he did was shout at him some more. Maybe we’ll look for another flat to


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move into in a quieter neighborhood? What about moving out of the city? I don’t mean right away, but when you have your certificates?”

Petras poured a mug of tea and brought it over to the table to Marina.

“I think that is a good idea. When I am qualified we will look at where we could move to, somewhere that I can find work of course and with a nice school for Anna. Maybe we will go over to Galway?”

“Yes, that will be something to look forward to,” Marina said, “I’d love to live in Galway. I could get recognition for painting people’s pets and make some money too. I don’t always want to be a translator, it gets very boring sometimes.”

“We have a great life in front of us in this wonderful country. Marina, I am so glad I met you and we are here together with our darling little Anna. Did Mr. or Mrs. Shane ask you to paint the picture, are they paying you to do it?” Petras asked.

“No, I asked Mrs. Shane if she had a photo of Pompey, I told her I wanted to show it to Anna. I thought it would be nice for them to have a picture of their pet, they treat their little Pompey as we do our darling Anna. To them the poodle is their child.” Marina continued with the intricacies of painting the whiskers.

“You are such a kind girl Marina. OK, the news is coming on.” Petras settled back into his recliner.

The next morning Petras went off to work as usual at seven o’clock. Marina got Anna up and they had breakfast together. Marina had no assignments today and had decided to take Anna to the Phoenix Park to feed the ducks; they would go on the bus. It was a lovely sunny day so when breakfast was over they went out into the garden where Petras had tied a rope as a swing in one of the huge trees. Anna chuckled happily as Marina pushed her gently. “High, high Mama,” she cried. At three years old Anna’s vocabulary was growing every day.

Mrs. Shane came out when she heard the happy laughter. Pompey rushed ahead of her, barking and running around in circles.

“Hello you two,” she said. “Oh Anna, you are having a great time aren’t you! Can I have a swing too?”

Marina stopped pushing Anna and welcomed Mrs. Shane giving her a kiss on both cheeks and a little hug. “How are you Mrs. Shane? I can see that Pompey is in great form!”

“Ooh yes Pompey is always full of fun and I am well too, how are you Marina?”
“High, High Mama,” Anna shouted, getting impatient.
“OK sweetie, I would like to sit and talk to Mrs. Shane now, so please jump off the swing and

come and look after your babies in your pram. I think I hear one of them crying, maybe she’s hungry and you need to give her a bottle.”

Marina lifted Anna off the swing and she ran off to tend to her dolls, talking happily to them as if they were real babies.

Marina and Mrs. Shane sat down on the picnic bench.

“Please call me Bernie dear, Mrs. Shane is so formal and now that we are friends as well as neighbours I think it would be nice,” Mrs. Shane said putting her hand over Marina’s, which was resting on the table.

“Well thank you ‘Bernie’, it will seem strange because where I come from we must always address the elders of our community with respect and it would not be respectful to call them by their first name. But we are in Ireland now and we are delighted to follow the customs here.”

Marina smiled back at Bernie and then they turned their attention to Anna who was busy pushing her pram around the garden, with Pompey running beside her.


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“It is so nice for Anna to have your little Pompey as a friend. It’s good for children to have pets, but Petras and I agreed that we would not have any pets until we settle down permanently,” Marina said smiling as she watched the antics of her daughter.

Bernie looked wistfully at Anna, “I wish I had had a daughter, but then it was not to be. Joe and I tried but it didn’t happen and we preferred not to adopt… so we have our Pompey and she gives us much joy. It sounds like you and Petras are not planning to stay around here?”

Marina looked at Bernie for a moment wondering if she should tell her about yesterday. “Well we are very happy here, we have a nice flat and nice neighbours like you and your

husband, but we would like to move to a quieter place, maybe in the country and if Anna ever gets a little brother or sister we would need a bigger flat. I think I should tell you something though.”

Bernie turned and gave Marina her full attention, “What is that Marina dear?” she asked Marina related to her the events from the day before.
“It was quite frightening Bernie. The man was so aggressive; he could see that Anna was only

running just inside the gate to get her ball. What kind of a man behaves like that with a little child! And I am sure I heard him beating his son one day, out in the garden! I mean, who are these people? They don’t own that house do they? Are they renting or what? They are so dirty and nasty, how is it that they are allowed to live there?”

“I don’t know Marina, I was only asking Joe the same question last week,” Bernie replied “I remember, about last February I think it was, a woman knocked on the door and asked me if I knew anything about the couple who lived there. I did see them coming and going, nice big posh cars, they had a daughter too. Lived fairly quietly, no big parties like that lot that’s there now. All of a sudden they were gone, the place was empty and ‘For Sale’ signs went up. Maybe the bank crash affected them too, who knows. I think it was her sister who was looking for them – funny that, you’d think her sister would know where they were! Anyway, I have a strong feeling that that lot are squatting. I also heard that there was a raft of burglaries in the area. If the Gardaí went and searched that place they might find the stolen goods, but then people like that are smart, they wouldn’t keep stolen goods where they are living, they’re probably locked up somewhere or already sold on more than likely. Best to just keep out of their way. They’ll be moved on sooner or later.”

Anna and Pompey were now having a great game of chase around the garden; the dolls pram had been abandoned. Anna was laughing loudly and Pompey was barking.

“SHUT UP. Shut that bloody dog up or I’ll do it for you!” Came a yell from the other side of the fence.

Bernie and Marina looked at each other in fright. Marina jumped up and ran over to Anna, picking her up and holding her tight in her arms.

“Time to go in Anna, let’s get your pram and take your dolls up to your room.”

Marina let Anna slide to the ground when they were beside the pram, she had panicked but quickly controlled herself, not wanting to convey her feelings to her daughter.

“What’s the matter Mama, Pompey and I were having a game?” Anna asked. She obviously had not heard the shout, as she was so engrossed with Pompey.

“Pompey, Pompey, come on girl,” Bernie called lifting up her dog to take her inside.
“That’s right, you run along into your little boxes and pack yourselves off back to where you

came from!” Came another tirade from the other side of the fence. “And if I was you Mrs. I’d keep my eye on that little barking scut, there’s enough meat on it for a good meal and I might just be hungry enough to try it one of these days!” He went off and they could hear his cackling laugh receding and then a door banging.

“Ooh my Lord, what a terrible thing to say about my little Pompey. I won’t let her out of my sight. I have been allowing her to run about the garden on her own at times, never again. Marina this


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is terrible. This is not a reflection of Irish people. That fellow is deranged. I think I will call the Gardaí and see if they know anything. I’m going in to tell Joe. Goodbye Marina. Bye bye Anna, see you soon. Come in later and I’ll give you some sweeties.” Bernie hurried into her ground floor flat.

Marina carried Anna and her pram up the stairs to their second floor flat.

“What was that mean man saying about Pompey? Pompey is not a scut, she’s a Poodle… silly man!”

With great effort Marina laughed with Anna, “You are right Anna, he is a very silly man!”

That evening when Petras came home he asked Marina if there had been any trouble from next door and although she was tempted not to tell him she didn’t like to keep secrets, so she told him the whole story. He was livid.

“So you can’t even go out in our back garden now, without this gurrier shouting abuse over the fence! Marina I will have to go and sort him out.” Petras drummed his fingers on the table.

“Bernie said that she was going to tell Joe and they were going to call the Gardaí” Marina told him, wishing now that she hadn’t said anything.

“OK, well I’ll just pop down and see if they did and what transpired, I’ll be back in a minute.”

Petras went out of the door and Marina was left sitting in silence. She got up and proceeded to do the routine clearing up of the evening. Anna was in bed asleep, worn out after her fun in the garden and her trip to Phoenix Park.

About fifteen minutes later Petras returned and sat down in his recliner.
“Well? What did they say?” Marina looked at him expectedly.
“They called the Gardaí and were told that they are aware of the situation. Evidently the bank

have repossessed the house, the owners simply packed up and disappeared about six weeks ago. The people who are there now are squatters and unless the Gardaí have a court order to move them on there’s nothing much they can do. The Shanes were told to just ignore them, they are all mouth and if there is anything further, to call back, but in the meantime they suggested it is best not to annoy them.”

“Not to annoy THEM!” Marina exclaimed. “THEM! We are paying rent and we are law-abiding people and living nicely here! They are illegally living in there and they shout at us to go away and the Gardaí tell us not to annoy THEM!” Marina was really fired up and couldn’t understand that Petras was just sitting in his chair drumming his fingers on the arms and looking straight ahead.

“Mmmmm, but the other thing is that they have ‘friends’! The reason the Garda said not to annoy them is that there could be reprisal. The Gardaí are working on legally moving them on but it could take time. If the Shanes or we cause any trouble for them, they or their ‘friends’,” said Petras clicking his fingers on either side of his head, “might come and take it out on us!”

“What do you mean? ‘Take it out on us’? What could they do?” Marina asked sitting down on the settee.

Petras got up and moved over to sit beside her. He put his arm around her and said, “Well they could come and hurt little Pompey, throw some poisoned meat over the fence, or fling a brick through a window. There are lots of things they could do. You know I would love to go in and sort them out, but I could be upsetting a hornet’s nest, if we ended up having their friends come after us!”

“This just gets worse and worse, I thought we were in the land of freedom, but this is freedom for the bad guys too!” Marina leaned back into his arms and closed her eyes. “All we have to do is carry on as we have been doing, avoid any contact with them. Mrs. Shane is not going to let Pompey out in the garden or out of her sight for a minute. Very soon they will be gone out of our lives. They have been there for a while but evidently it won’t be long before they will be gone. This is the best way Marina. Make sure you always have your cellphone with you if you are out and call me


Déjà Vu

immediately, if there is any trouble. Now, let’s have some tea.” Petras smiled at her, gave her a squeeze and got up to put the kettle on.

Marina went to check on Anna who was sleeping peacefully. ‘Well at least we live on the second floor with secure windows and hall door. I wouldn’t want Petras tackling that lot anyway, getting hurt and who knows what could happen,’ Marina thought to herself as she wandered back to the living room.

She looked around and again felt happy with her lot. They had a nice little flat here, it wasn’t too expensive, two bedrooms, a little room that they used for all the extras like Anna’s larger toys, a little desk and computer for herself and Petras to use, some camping equipment, it was amazing how things accumulated. They had a fair sized bathroom with a bath and a shower. The kitchen cum living room was quite large allowing for a table to eat at beside the kitchen. They had a nice sitting area at the other end with big windows that looked out on the garden. When they moved in they had painted all the rooms bright colours. Anna’s bedroom was pink of course with lots of little girlie decorations, theirs was a nice cool moss green with several ‘stick on’ flowers and willow branches for effect, the kitchen wall was tiled in multi colours with fitted wooden cabinets and the living room was a warm shade of primrose yellow. Marina had made the curtains for each room using material that she bought at the markets. The floors were all carpeted, seeing as they were above the flat below they couldn’t have hard floors which would have been easier to keep, especially with a three year old running about. The carpet had been newly laid when they moved in and she liked the colour, which was light brown. She loved this home of theirs, even though it was only a stepping-stone to where they would ultimately set down roots. No lay-abouts like that lot next door were going to spoil this.

The Bútas and the Shanes carried on their lives carefully avoiding any contact with the squatters next door. Bernie never let Pompey out in the garden and always kept him on a lead outside the house. She enjoyed going to the park where she could let him off the lead for a run about. In the same way Marina kept strict control on little Anna, never going past the house next door and she changed the area of her shopping to the opposite direction. Life fell into a more relaxed pattern and both families reduced in stress to the extent that they virtually forgot about the nasty neighbours. Reminded only occasionally, when they heard the man yelling or shouting about something.


Déjà Vu

Chapter 2
Tuesday ~ Donnelly

The April morning air was crisp but the sun was shining as the Donnellys stood and looked at the hall door, they were so delighted to be back home again. One thing seemed very strange as they stood gazing at their home; they noticed that all the windows had what looked like sheets hanging across each one.

Stephanie turned to Mervyn and said, “Mervyn, how come there are sheets hanging on the windows?”

Mervyn had been looking around the garden and gathering up some of the luggage to carry up the steps and into the house.

“What do you mean Stephanie?”

Mervyn stood up straight, stretched his back and looked up at the windows of the house where he too saw what looked like scraggy sheets hanging across all the downstairs windows.

“Well, I don’t know Steph, it’s certainly not the way we left it, looks horrible. Maybe the bank sent someone over to put covers over the windows and that’s the best they could come up with!”

Stephanie was half way up the steps; she had left all of her luggage sitting on the driveway, she was so eager to get into the house. Meanwhile Brittany had taken a little walk around the side of the house. She came running back.

“Dad! There is a guy sitting at the table on the deck at the back of the house! What is he doing there?”

Mervyn was lugging one of the large suitcases up the steps, he stopped to catch his breath, not really comprehending what Brittany was saying to him. He continued to the top of the steps with the suitcase and fumbled in his pockets for the keys.

What did you say? A man is sitting at our table, on our deck, at the back of the house?” Stephanie asked Brittany.

“Yes,” replied Brittany. “He looks a bit rough, his clothes are old and his hair is long and greasy!” “What is going on? Come on Mervyn open the door and let’s get inside!” Stephanie said.

Brittany joined them at the hall door and eventually Mervyn found the bunch of keys, which included the hall door key. He reached up and put the key in the lock, but it wouldn’t go in! He had a good look at it and then searched through the other keys on the ring and tried another similar key. It didn’t work either.

“What the heck is going on, is right!” he said. “I can’t understand this, I put a piece of red tape on the key so I’d know which one it was, but it won’t fit in the lock!”

“Oooh here let me have a go.” Stephanie impatiently said as she grabbed the keys out of Mervyn’s hand. She selected the key with the red tape on it and tried it this way and that but there was no way it was going to fit into the lock, that was obvious.

While they stood there it suddenly came to them that there was music coming from within!

“Do you hear music?” Stephanie asked looking from Mervyn to Brittany who both responded by nodding their heads up and down.

“Tell you what,” said Mervyn, “I’ll go round the back and see who the chap is, sitting on the deck, you girls stay here and watch the luggage.”

“What do you think is going to happen to it Mervyn! It’s hardly going to walk itself down the drive is it? I’m coming with you, I want to see who the heck this guy is!”


Déjà Vu

Stephanie stomped down the steps and headed for the back of the house.

“OK, Brittany pet, would you just stay here and we’ll be back in a minute. Sit on the blue case and take it easy,” Mervyn said giving her a quick hug before following Stephanie.

Brittany heaved a big sigh and sat on the blue case, which was Stephanie’s and was the largest of the entire luggage.

Stephanie hurried along the path which ran around the side of the house, through a nice little rose arbor and past a large lock-up box that they used to keep some garden seat covers and cushions in. As she reached the corner that led into the rear of the house, she stopped and stepping in behind a bush that grew up against the wall, she carefully separated the small branches and peered through the leaves. Mervyn caught up with her by this time and she held her arm out so that he would stay behind her. As Brittany had said, there was a man sitting at their table on the deck, where they had so often enjoyed a cocktail or glass of wine on a summers evening.

“Ssshhhhhh,” Stephanie whispered to Mervyn, “He’s there and he does look a bit of a rough type!”

They swopped places and Mervyn peeked through the bush.

The man looked to be in his early twenties, unshaven face, shoulder length greasy reddish blond hair, green woollen sweater, worn jeans and cowboy boots. He was sitting quietly smoking a cigarette and drinking from a large mug. While Mervyn and Stephanie watched, they saw a female emerge from the sliding patio door.

“Billy! There’s some cat out front, at the bottom of the steps, sitting on a huge suitcase! There’s a pile of luggage and bags! Have you told anyone to come live here? I thought I heard someone trying to get in through the hall door! What about Mick? Did he say anything at the party the other night? We don’t have room for anyone else to move in!”

Mervyn and Stephanie watched as ‘Billy’ jumped up from the table and ran indoors to follow the female.

“What the hell are you talking about woman? I haven’t told anyone about this place! You think I’m mad! Let me have a look!”

Mervyn and Stephanie looked questioningly at each other and then both whispered in unison, “Squatters!”

They dashed around to the front of the house again where Brittany was patiently sitting on the case waiting. They looked up and noticed that one of the sheets was moving a little and they had no doubt that someone was looking out.

“What shall we do?” Stephanie said.
“What’s going on, did you talk to that guy?” Brittany asked, getting off the case.
“No we didn’t, we think they’re squatters,” Mervyn replied to his daughter.
“They! You mean there are more?” Brittany shouted, standing up and looking at the sheet

covered windows.
“Sshhhhh Brittany, they don’t know that we know they are in there! Let’s think, what is the best

thing to do.” Mervyn turned his back to the house and started stroking and pinching his chin. “We can knock on the door and demand that they leave, but from what I know, squatters won’t go that easily. The alternative is to go over to the Garda station. That might be the best thing to do. What do you guys think?”

“Well, this is a fine kettle of fish!” Stephanie grumbled as she settled herself sitting on the blue suitcase. “I mean whatever we do, we have to drag all of this luggage with us! Another thing, we ordered those beds and they’ll be arriving soon! Do you think we should phone and move the delivery over a few days?”


Déjà Vu

“I feel we should knock on the door and see who is in there,” Brittany remarked. “Maybe they’re not squatters, maybe they’re just people passing through and needed somewhere to stay for a couple of nights. They might leave now that we are back.”

They all looked at each other and after a few seconds, Mervyn turned, stared at the hall door and started up the steps. “Nothing to lose by knocking on the door and seeing who is here and at least we will know what we are up against.”

He rang the doorbell but didn’t hear any sound, so he proceeded to bang on the door with his fist.

Nothing happened. The music had stopped. Mervyn banged again, “Open the door, we know you are in there! We are not leaving until you come out!”

All quiet. Mervyn banged again… “If you don’t open the door I’m going to call the Gardaí and that will be worse for you!”

After another 15 seconds they heard a little shuffling noise inside.
“Who are you?” A male voice called out.
“We are the owners of this house. More to the point, ‘WHO’ are you?” “We live here, so go away and leave us alone.” This was a female retort. Mervyn banged on the door again.

“I told you, if you don’t open the door I’m going to call the Gardaí and then you will have more trouble on your hands!”

An argument broke out on the other side of the door, ‘he’ was obviously intending to open the door and ‘she’ was objecting, scuffling could be heard. The door opened a few inches and they could see the blond man looking out.

“What do you mean? You own this house? We know it’s for sale and no one could have bought it so quickly. We have a right to be here so you may as well sling your hook!”

Mervyn was thoroughly exasperated; this was not a situation he had anticipated.

“We owned this house, we went away and left the agent to sell it, but we decided to come back and so we still own it and you certainly don’t have any right to be here. Now, let us come in so that we can sort this out. I’m sorry if you thought that you could just park yourselves here but you’ll have to move on now.”

Billy started to open the door a little more but the woman jumped forward and slammed it shut.

“What do you think you are doing? Don’t let them in or we’ll never get them out.” Then to those outside she shouted, “Get off with you, do what you like but we’re here and this is where we’re staying!”

Time was running on and Mervyn could see that they weren’t going to achieve anything by standing there arguing with this pair of no-goods.

“Come on girls we may as well find somewhere to stay for tonight and get this sorted.”

He led them back down the steps and took his cellphone out, called directory inquiries for the Radisson Hotel and when he was put through he booked a couple of rooms. He also asked them to send a taxi over to pick them up.

It had passed through Stephanie’s head, that while Mervyn had both of the squatters at the hall door she and Brittany could have run in through the back patio doors. But then what would they have done! Surprise the occupants and bashed them over their heads, overpowered them and pushed them out followed by any belongings they had in the house! Who knew what was going on in there? They could have been karate experts, or even armed and Stephi and Brittany would have ended up in big trouble. Broken limbs would not help the situation.


Déjà Vu

Mervyn went back up to the hall door, rang the bell and banged on the door, when he heard someone on the other side he shouted, ”Don’t you think you’ve got away with this, we will be back and you better be gone when we return!”

‘‘Oooh yeah, you and who’s army?” the woman shouted back.

Mervyn, Stephanie and Bethany wheeled their luggage down the drive to the gate and waited for the taxi all deep in their own thoughts.

“I’ll ask the taxi driver to take us via the Garda Station and we can inform them of what’s going on and see how we can get rid of these gurriers.” Mervyn told his wife and daughter.

The taxi soon arrived and the driver took them over to the Blackrock Garda Station. Mervyn and Stephanie both went in, leaving Brittany in the cab.

There was a nice young Garda on duty and they explained their predicament to him. He asked them to wait a minute and he would get someone for them to talk to.

Five minutes of reading all the posters on the wall and starting to get a bit impatient before a Sergeant came out of one of the doors in the reception area.

“Hello, I am Sergeant Morgan. I hear you have a bit of a problem with squatters? Would you like to come in and tell me the whole story?”

Mervyn and Stephanie followed him along a corridor where there were a number of doors. Sergeant Morgan entered one that had a plaque on the door that said ‘Interview Room 2’.

“Hmmmm,” thought Stephanie, “I wonder what’s going on in Room 1”
“Have a seat.” Morgan indicated two chairs.
‘Ooh my! Talk about ‘déjà vu’!” Stephanie whispered to Mervyn, as she looked around the room,

noticing the large ‘mirror’ on the wall. “Interview rooms in the USA or in little ole Ireland seem to be all the same!”

There was an untidy pile of papers on the table, which Sergeant Morgan gathered up and shuffled into shape, stacking them in a neat pile in front of him.

“Let’s start by getting some particulars, your names, dates of birth and address?”

Mervyn, had not intended to commence a full-blown investigation, Brittany was sitting in the taxi outside and that the meter was running.

“Well Sergeant, it’s very good of you to give us your time, but my daughter is waiting outside in a taxi. We are on our way to the Radisson, seeing as how we cannot access our house because it has been taken over by squatters! We stopped by to quickly find out what we need to do to get rid of them? If this is going to take some time, maybe we would be better to head on over to the hotel. Check in, get my daughter settled and then come back?”

Sergeant Morgan again picked up the papers and bounced the stack on the table, getting them even more neat and tidy.

“I think that might be the best plan of action. I will need to record all of your particulars. There are several ways you can go. I can send a car over to your house with a couple of my men and see if we can ruffle the feathers of these people and get them to move on. But I’m sorry to say that my past experience of this kind of situation is, that you will probably have to take out a court order to have them evicted and this could take months to be accomplished.”

“MONTHS!!” Stephanie and Mervyn cried out in unison. “What are we supposed to do in the meantime?”

“Well, I suppose you will have to find somewhere else to live!” Sergeant Morgan replied. “You did leave the premises unsecured.”

“OK,” Mervyn announced, standing up. “Come on Steph, let’s get to the hotel, Sergeant Morgan, may we come back and see you after we’ve had something to eat and go through this in full?”


Déjà Vu

“Sure you can, I am on duty ’till ten this evening, come back when you are ready,” Morgan replied.

Mervyn and Stephanie went out and got into the taxi and thanked the driver for waiting. ”Ah, sure t’was no bother at all. The Radisson next?’’ The driver asked.
”Yes thanks,” Mervyn replied, looking at the meter and thinking, “Of course it was no bother,

making money by sitting around doing nothing, nearly thirty five euro clocked up already!” After checking in at the hotel and settling in their rooms they agreed to take 30 minutes to

shower, freshen up and then to go have something to eat in the bar.
With all the ‘excitement’ going on, none of them had noticed that they had been followed. They

were actually being tracked since they landed at Dublin airport.
The ‘tracker’ made a phone call. When it was answered at the other end he just said, “There are

squatters in their house, they have to stay in the Radisson Hotel until they get them out. Do you want me to continue to report?”

“Yes, call me again in two days, don’t lose them!” The line went dead. The tracker went over to the desk, ordered a coffee, made his way back to a table, picking up a newspaper that someone had left behind and settled down in the lobby where he had a good view of the elevators.


Déjà Vu

Chapter 3
Tuesday ~ Donnelly

After a very nice meal, somewhat tinged with annoyance by their predicament. Mervyn had suggested that they not get too upset until they knew exactly how things might turn out and that they should treat these few days like an extended holiday. Maybe do a few things around town that they had never done before, go to an art gallery or the museum or even the zoo. Mervyn’s priority was to open a new bank account so that the lotto money could be deposited and subsequently any debts that were still outstanding against them could be cleared. Brittany’s priority was to get in touch with some of her pals and Stephanie thought that the most important task should be to get some wheels.

It was too late at night, the car dealerships would be closed so they could not buy a car this evening and, therefore, it was the taxicab back to the Garda Station. Brittany stayed in her room, delighted to have a couple of hours to herself and a telephone.

Sergeant Morgan was available when they arrived and took them again to Interview Room 2. After providing all of the personal details required, showing him their passports and proof that they owned their house, they outlined as sparsely as they could, Mervyn’s business collapsing and the reason, how they had hit hard times, handed the keys to their house over to the bank, headed out to the USA, returned and incredibly won the lotto, bought their house back and on arriving ‘home’, found that they had squatters living there. Locks changed and refused access. They also gave a full description of the blond man and the woman, although they had had only a fleeting glance of her through the bushes.

“This is all very interesting and what a story you will have to tell your pals. Do you play golf?” “Ooh yes, we’re both members at Powerscourt Golf Club.” Mervyn replied.
Sergeant Morgan put down his pen and flexed his fingers. He had a most annoying habit of

cracking his knuckles, which really put Stephanie on edge. “Sit tight and I’ll just go and check out if there are any reports about your house, or the people in it.” Morgan got up and lumbered out of the room.

Mervyn and Stephanie sat quietly, neither wanted to talk, aware of the large mirror and also wondering if the room was bugged and, therefore, their conversation would be overheard. Mervyn did call the taxi company and ask for a taxi to come and pick them up in fifteen minutes.

Eventually Sergeant Morgan returned. He didn’t tell them that he had also been checking them out and had put in a call to the golf club. He had spoken to one of the bar staff who had confirmed that the Donnellys had been members but wasn’t sure if they still were as they had gone missing for several months. He described them both and Morgan felt confident that the people in Interview Room 2 were in fact who they said they were. “Can’t take anything for granted any more,” he said when he ended the call.

“OK, Mr. and Mrs. Donnelly. The description of the couple that is holed up in your house fits a young couple that were squatting over in Donnybrook and were evicted about a month ago. They certainly know how to play the system because it took about three months to get them out of the Donnybrook property and they left the place in a dreadful mess. Of course I can’t guarantee they are the same people until I send my men over to have a word with them. As I said to you earlier, if they won’t go willingly and it doesn’t seem likely that they will, you will have to get a court order. Trouble is these people know how to string things out and how to use the law to their benefit. I think the best thing would be to send a car around there in the morning at about 6 am. I will have the duty


Déjà Vu

Sergeant call you at the Radisson and let you know what happened and then you can proceed from there. Is that OK with you?”

Suddenly feeling very tired, both Mervyn and Stephanie stood up and thanked Sergeant Morgan for his time and said that they would await the phone call in the morning.

The taxi was waiting for them in the parking lot and whipped them back to the Radisson. Traffic was light at this time of night and soon they were sitting in the bar, downing a much needed Jameson whiskey each. Mervyn had stopped at reception and asked to be put through to Brittany’s room, telling her that they were back, having a drink in the bar and would be up to their adjoining room shortly. Brittany was happy now that she had chatted with her pals and was watching TV.

“Mervyn, what shall we do for the next couple of months if we can’t get those bloody tinkers out of our house? I mean this is ridiculous. It’s OUR house! I wanted to get in there and get the place decorated, furnished and livable again. Apart from that, WHERE shall WE live? We are certainly not spending hundreds per night on hotels, that’s for sure! It’s all very well that we won the lotto, but that’s no reason to just spend money like it’s water!”

Mervyn turned his head away, so that she wouldn’t see the smile that played on his lips, only a few months earlier he had been trying to convince Stephanie of just that, to stop spending money like it was water out of a tap, but would she listen? No! Now we’ve won the lotto and have money to spend, she’s being frugal. Great!

“Stephanie darling, let’s take one step at a time. There is no point in getting your knickers in a twist until we know how bad the situation is, maybe this pair will take fright and move out when the Gardaí arrive. They might not even be the same pair as were over in Donnybrook. Enjoy your whiskey, we’ll get a good night’s sleep, tomorrow morning I am going to phone the bank in Dun Laoghaire and make an appointment to go in and see someone about setting up a new account, we need credit cards too. I am sure they will be more than pleased to see us when we tell them we won the lotto! After the phone call from the Garda we’ll go and buy a car. Then we’ll decide what to do with that pair of whipper snappers.”

With a twinkle in his eye, he said, “Of course we could call your sisters, I’m sure that once they know we have won the Lotto they’d be only too glad to put us up!”

“You must be joking! Stay with my family! They will be the last ones I tell about our good fortune! They’d be around like bees to honey. But Mervyn, you are right about taking one step at a time. You are always so good at seeing the core of the problem and not getting flummoxed like me about the periphery.”

Stephanie looked distracted for a few moments focusing on something behind Mervyn.

“Merv, now don’t turn around but ehh,” she squinched her eyes up and changed her line of vision to look at the bar instead, “I’ve been watching that couple on the settee behind you. They’re both wearing wedding bands. She’s got a huge rock on her engagement ring but he looks old enough to be her father! They have just been canoodling, all over each other; in fact it’s been rather disgusting. It looks like two huge goldfish mouths, each trying to swallow the other! Wait a minute; you’ll see them now, looks like they’re leaving. I bet they’re going upstairs! He’s probably told his wife that he’s away on business and that one probably made the excuse that she’s out with the girls! Let’s make our way out slowly and see where they go. We can take our drinks up to our room, I’m ready to hit the sack anyway.” Stephanie quickly gathered up her things and her drink and casually followed the couple.

Mervyn glanced over but all he saw was a man and a woman, granted she did look a little younger, but so what.

They followed the couple out to the lobby, Stephanie made out as if she was very interested in one of the paintings hanging on the wall near the elevators, whilst keeping an eye on ‘the’ couple


Déjà Vu

that was talking to the receptionist at the desk. Mervyn, not being on the same wavelength at all, went straight over and pressed the button for the lift. The man, after signing the check-in form, paid with his credit card and the receptionist handed him a room key. The young lady stood demurely beside him, then they grabbed each other’s hands and headed for the elevators, giggling secretively together. Stephanie lost interest in the painting and walked over to join Mervyn, just as the elevator arrived. The men let the ladies enter first and Stephanie noted that they were all going to the same floor.

When Stephanie and Mervyn entered the elevator to go to their room, a man in the lobby folded up his newspaper and headed out of the revolving door.

Stephanie watched the other couple enter the room further down the hall, the next door to her and Mervyn, rummaging in her bag for her own key she eventually found it and they both went in.

“I hope they’re not going to make too much noise in there and keep us awake.” Stephanie grumbled to Mervyn.

“Who do you mean? Make a lot of noise?” Mervyn asked as he threw his jacket over the chair.

“That pair next door,” she replied impatiently. “They’re probably tearing the clothes off each other as we speak.” Stephanie replied kicking off her shoes and collapsing on to the bed trying to configure in her head, how the rooms were laid out and what was on the other side of the wall against which the bed was placed. ‘I bet when they built this hotel they put the bathrooms back to back and, therefore, the bedroom walls would be back to back too!’ she thought to herself.

“What are you talking about? Do you mean the couple who have taken over our house?”

With a big sigh and a loud sucking noise of ‘thth’ Stephanie sat up, “Good Lord Mervyn I wish you would listen to me sometimes! I am talking about the couple from the bar downstairs, who came up in the lift with us and went into the room next to ours.”

“Oh, I didn’t realise you were THAT interested in them. Why don’t you go and knock on the door and ask if you could maybe sit in their room and watch them? You could tell them that you are writing a book and doing some research on what goes on in hotel rooms. Anyway I’m going to have a shower and go to bed. We have a long day tomorrow.” Mervyn drank what was left in his glass and went to the bathroom.

Stephanie picked up a glass off a tray on top of the mini fridge, walked over and placed it against the wall by the bed. She put her ear to it and listened, hardly breathing. She thought she could hear a murmuring of voices, but wondered if that was the television. She was just about to give up when she heard what sounded like ‘smacking’ noises. This was accompanied by shouts of pain. Stephanie dropped the glass in utter shock; it fell with a loud clatter on the floor but didn’t break.

“What happened, are you OK?” Mervyn said dashing out from the bathroom, half naked with a towel wrapped around his waist.

“Ooh Mervyn, you gave me such a fright!” Stephanie looked up at him from the floor where she was on all fours trying to retrieve the glass from under the bed.

“How did I give you a fright? I am in the bathroom with the door closed!”

“No I didn’t mean that. I dropped the glass and when you bolted out of the bathroom you gave me a fright. I was listening to that couple next door and it sounded like one of them is beating the other one up.”

“WHAT!” Mervyn said raising his eyebrows and making his eyes big and staring. “SSSHH let me listen.” He stood holding his towel up with one hand and the other outstretched to Stephanie, index finger shaking at her not to make a sound.

“I don’t hear a thing, it’s your imagination.” Mervyn started back to the bathroom.


Déjà Vu

“No Mervyn, I definitely heard a smacking noise and a cry of pain. Come and listen on the glass.” Stephanie held the glass up to the wall for Mervyn.

“Are you saying that you were listening with the aid of that glass, like ‘spying’ on the people next door? Who cares what they’re doing, I just want to get to sleep. Put that glass away Steph and get yourself ready for bed, I don’t want you faffing about the room and the bathroom for an hour while I’m trying to get off to sleep!” Mervyn went back to his ablutions.

Stephanie put the glass back up to the wall and listened some more. “Thwack, OOOoooooohhhhhh. Thwack, Aaaaaahhhhhh.” She took the glass off and sat on the bed thinking. ‘It doesn’t sound as if it’s too serious – maybe they are just having a game of cards or something! None of my business… we’ll see what happens in the morning.’

Stephanie prepared for bed and when Mervyn came out of the bathroom she went in for her shower.

“Everything OK on the home front? No murders or anything?” Mervyn asked, in a whisper out of the side of his mouth, as he passed her, but she ignored his sarcasm and closed the door.

When Mervyn heard the water running he picked up the glass and put it against the wall and listened. A smile came over his face and then he chuckled as he put the glass back on the tray. ‘Poor Steph, so worldly wise but still so innocent!’ he said to himself and flicked on the TV to watch the evening news.

Stephanie came out of the bathroom and got into bed. With the TV on she certainly couldn’t hear any noise from the next room. After the news was over they agreed to turn off the TV and to go to sleep.

She was just about gone off when she heard the rhythmical knocking and squeaking of something hitting the wall just by her head. Then came the uuuhhhhhs and aaaahhhhhs, getting louder and louder.

She covered her head with the pillow, ‘Oooh noooo’ she grumbled to herself. Mervyn was fast asleep and didn’t hear a thing. Eventually all was quiet and she got off to sleep……… for a while. It seemed like only minutes later that the whole episode was repeated. She quietly got out of bed so as not to wake Mervyn and put the glass to the wall, listening intently. The uuuhhhhhs and aaaahhhhhs were different this time. Now what she heard was a more high-pitched noise that sounded like someone gasping for air. But what did she know, trying to figure out noises she was hearing via a glass through the wall. She sighed and wondered if she should call reception. After another trip to the bathroom she realised that all was quiet, climbing back into bed and she was asleep in a jiffy.

Only an hour later she was woken up again, this time to the horrendous and loud noise of snoring and it wasn’t Mervyn! ‘Now what!’ she said as she looked at the clock to see that it was five thirty in the morning.

‘For heavens sake! Tomorrow I’m going to start taking two Laminine every day instead of one.’ She turned over, put the pillow over her head again and tried to get back to sleep. The snoring was so loud she was tempted to go and bang on the door of the next room. She persevered and eventually she got back to sleep.


Déjà Vu

Chapter 4
Up to Tuesday ~ Brock Richmond

After Stephanie walked out on him Brock went through a rainbow of emotions. He was devastated because he was on his own now and felt very lonely. He had become used to having Stephanie to rely on for company and sex, she had always been great in bed. He couldn’t believe that he had misjudged their relationship so badly. Stephanie sure had changed, of course a lot of years had passed, but she used to be so malleable, he could persuade her to do anything for him in the old days. He had never really loved her of course, even though she was under the impression that they were on the verge of getting married, it was never something that he seriously intended going through with. ‘Silly Slut’ that’s what he used to call her back then, ‘SS’ for short. She was good to have fun with, ‘the naked kind of fun,’ he thought to himself, but not marrying material at all. ‘She was so thick she didn’t even suspect that I was playing around,’ he mused to himself.

The more he thought about her and of all the money he had spent on her, in the hopes of ensnaring her again, the more frustrated and angry he got. She had real money; she could have helped him get on his feet again. All he needed was a little boost of investment money and he could have been flying high again. But that little ‘bizzim’ was so selfish she didn’t even give him a chance! Went running back to that deadbeat husband of hers and his kid! To help his mood along, Brock downed a bottle of Jack Daniels. This resulted in his sinking even lower into despair, blaming Stephanie for all of his misfortune. In his stupor he decided to Skype a pal of his who lived in Ireland. He hadn’t been in contact with Jake for some time but that wasn’t unusual, they picked up and left off for several years at a time. They were both painted with a similar brush so he only had to give Jake a very sketchy outline of what had happened with Stephanie to get him on side. He told Jake the date that the Donnellys had arrived back to Dublin, the area where they lived and asked him to just keep an odd eye to what they got up to. Jake, always glad of a little ‘devartion’, told him that he would do so and keep in touch.

Stephanie was gone and he had no other source for ready money. He couldn’t pay any of the bills that were piling up. The landlord would be following up on the eviction and Brock would find himself homeless in a few days, he could drag it out for a month or so but he still needed money to live. If he waited around he knew that sooner or later the cops would be calling to arrest him for fraud. Brock’s buddy Mario Donati had frequently invited him to come stay at his place in Nutley, New Jersey. There was no better time than the present. But he needed some cash and he had to act quickly. In the meantime he dropped Mario an email advising of his intention, to which Mario replied immediately telling him he was welcome to come and stay and giving him the exact address.

After working out a plan Brock put an ad on ‘Craigslist’ to sell the contents of the apartment. He also put up a card on the local Safeway Store notice board – ‘Apartment to Rent’. That evening he had phone calls from three people who were interested. He gave them times to come around the next morning to ‘view’ his place and overlapped each appointment by five minutes. A little competition always whetted the appetite!

Next morning he was up bright and early, he inspected each room to make sure that everything looked perfect. He sprayed some air freshener about, as he didn’t want the place to smell ‘lived in’. He packed all of his clothes into a couple of suitcases and locked them in the community storeroom locker that he rented.

There was nothing to reveal that he actually lived in this apartment. He had his briefcase at the door with a fake contract already inside should anyone want to see it. The last exercise to perform


Déjà Vu

was the disguise. He had bought a wig, a moustache, spectacles and a walking cane. He was very pleased with the result when he was finished. He had practiced similar disguises over the past 20 years but this was exceptional, no one would recognise him as Brock Richmond! As far as the authorities would be concerned Brock Richmond left town weeks ago, not that anyone was going to catch up with him anyway.

The first person arrived at exactly ten o’clock. A young lady in her thirties, very sharply dressed in a white lace blouse with a navy trouser suit and the highest heels he had ever seen.

“Miss Brinkworth, good morning, Ted Morrow is my name, so good of you to come over this morning, I hope it was not too inconvenient?”

Miss Brinkworth still had to look up at him, in spite of the high heels, ‘”Not at all – I don’t have to be in court today, so it worked out very well,” she smiled up at him wondering to herself, is he wearing a hairpiece? Maybe he’s bald and self-conscious, oh well that’s his problem.

Brock thought to himself that this might be one lady he should not do business with… but then again it might be satisfying to put one over on a lawyer, as that is what she seemed to be.

”In Court?” Brock asked her

”Yes indeed, I work for the prosecution in fraud cases. I gather evidence, go into court and present it, all very mundane and routine really, but it pays my bills!” she said laughing as she looked around the room.

Brock could feel a bead of perspiration trickle down his back. What if she was already gathering information on him! He was going to have to get rid of her as quickly as possible.

”Well, as you can see we have a very superior apartment here with a beautiful view of the golf course. The balcony overlooks the ninth green in fact. The monthly rent is two four seventy-five dollars, including utilities and parking. First and last month by bankers draft and thereafter you can pay monthly or on direct debit.”

Miss Brinkworth didn’t seem to be fazed by this and even smiled with satisfaction.

He showed her the other rooms, pointing out the view from the windows. He tried to keep her talking about herself so that she didn’t concentrate on him, and hoped that she would, therefore, not recall something that might be critical, should she ever find herself looking into a Brock Richmond!

”Well Miss Brinkworth, I need you to complete this application if you would like to be considered” Brock said, handing her a form to complete with her personal and credit information.

”In anticipation I have already put all the information that you will require on here,” she said handing him a typed up piece of paper.

Brock took it from her and attached it to the official form. Time was getting on and the next viewer was late.

At seventeen minutes past ten the doorbell rang. Brock went over to the intercom, ”Mr. Jenkins?”

”That’s me dude,” came a cheery reply. ”Come on up,” Brock told him as he pressed the buzzer to open the main door. “You like the apartment?’’ Brock asked turning his attention back to Brinkworth ”I certainly do and I would be willing to sign a contract right now, before Mr. Jenkins arrives.”

”Unfortunately I have several people coming to view this morning. The owners of the property will want to carry out a credit check; however, you are the first viewer and as such will be at the top of the list. I am sure there wont be any problem, I may even get back to you this afternoon.’’ Brock shook hands with her just as the next viewer stepped out of the elevator.

Mr. Dave Jenkins was more casual, wearing jeans and a polo shirt. He worked in the building trade and was not short of big bucks. Brock went through the same procedure with him and he also,


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being a golfer, was eager to sign a contract right away. Just as he was about to leave the third and final viewer arrived.

‘Wow! You are having a busy morning! I’m not surprised though, apartments like this don’t come available that often, in fact if you like, I could sign the contract right away?”

Brock again explained as he had to Miss Brinkworth and told Dave that he would get back to him later in the day.

Jim Ringly was as keen as the previous two. He was an architect, just recently moved to Phoenix.

”It was just a stroke of luck that I saw your notice on the board over there at Safeway. Does your company usually advertise like that?” he asked Brock, looking earnestly into his eyes and sounding a little bit suspicious.

Alarm bells rang with Brock; he still hadn’t got over the fright with the lawyer.

”Well actually we do. We commence advertising by using the notice boards in local stores. After a couple of days we’ll run an ad in the local newspapers, the Gazette or the Times. But we usually find that word travels and an apartment like this is not hanging around for long. So what’s your first impression?” Brock said spreading his arms out to the rest of the apartment.

“Looks very nice, does the furniture come with it?” Ringly asked.

“No, most of the furniture will be cleared out. The last renter had to leave unexpectedly, death in the family I think, so she is having the furniture packed and sent on this week.”

After seeing over the apartment Ringly filled out the necessary paperwork and said to Brock, ”I know you had one person interested before me, have you had a lot of response? To tell you the truth, I would be willing to sign a contract right now if that’s possible?”

”Naw sorry, can’t do. There has been a lot of interest and I have several more people coming. I will get back to you as soon as I can, maybe even this afternoon. The company are eager to have a reliable tenant in here, so the fact that you are not the first will have no bearing on who they decide on.”

They shook hands and when Jim Ringly had left, Brock went into the kitchen, made himself a coffee and collapsed on the settee. He checked his phone messages and the internet to find that he had six calls from people who were interested in his furniture, but of course it really wasn’t ‘his’ furniture, he rented the apartment furnished, but so what! He called each of them back and arranged times for them to come and view, telling them to bring transport and cash.


Two days later Brock had sold everything except his mattress and was ready to get out of Phoenix. He had checked Greyhound departure times and called a cab to take him to the coach station at ten that morning. He left his luggage in a locker at the Greyhound station and then ‘phoned the three people who had come to view the apartment and told each of them that they had been chosen. They were totally delighted of course and wanted to know when to come to sign the rental contract. He used the same spiel with each one.

”Well I am going to be close to where you are this afternoon, I am finishing up my day’s business only a block away, why don’t I come over with the contract and the keys? My office is in Scottsdale if you would prefer to go there later in the week ” Brock said holding his breath. But he needn’t have worried, they all agreed.

With a few hours to kill he bought a newspaper, went into a restaurant and ordered a delicious brunch.

He had to get a taxi to each of the ‘April Fools’ as he had named them. He gave the driver the three addresses and had him wait while he attended to his business. He hurried to the offices of the


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applicants and had each one sign the bogus contract that he had prepared for them. He had highlighted the instruction that the new tenant should make out their monthly rental cheques to Mr. Brock Richmond and they all had a bank draft ready for him. He gave them each a set of keys, a remote control for the garage door and told them that they would find full information about the building and the golf course in the apartment.

”Although I am giving you the keys today, your contract of rental will not start until the day after tomorrow, being April 1st OK? The current owner is clearing the apartment today and tomorrow the cleaners will be in and the building management will inspect the apartment so that it will be in perfect order for you. I am sure you will be very happy there.” Brock gave them a wide smile. In return they each gave him a draft made out for four thousand nine hundred and fifty dollars!

When he left the last address he directed the cab driver to his bank where he promptly deposited the drafts to his account, withdrew the full amount of his balance and then closed the account down.

‘That has to be the easiest fifteen grand less change, that I have ever made. Pity I didn’t have more viewers! Boys-o-boys wait’ll they go over there and try to get in with those dummy keys and then go to the police and tell them how they got conned, especially that little Miz ‘smarty-pant’s Brinkworth and her a lawyer. Ho ho, ho, what a joke.’

At five pm Brock boarded the Greyhound Coach heading for Albuquerque. It was going to be a hell of a journey, nearly three days across the country, but he felt it was the best way to disappear as he could possibly be traced if he took a flight. He was going to re-assess his situation when he got as far as Oklahoma. He might stay in a motel for a night and get some sleep and then take a train the rest of the way. In the meantime he was out of Phoenix. He would definitely stop and raise a glass of something to those three fools on April 1st!

Nutley was just the kind of sleepy suburb that he needed now, to lie low in. In addition to his apartment sale he had managed to salvage a small amount of cash before every thing was locked down and seized. He arrived to Mario’s house four days after leaving Phoenix. From New York City he had to get a train, a bus and a taxi; it was five thirty on that spring evening and Brock was glad to have come to the end of this particular journey.

He rang the doorbell and within a few seconds heard a voice asking, “Who’s there?”

He looked around but couldn’t see the source of the speaker and answered, “Hi, it’s Brock Richmond. Is that Mario?”

‘Brack who?” came back the reply in a real New York drawl. “Mario’s friend BrOck Richmond,” Brock answered emphasizing the ‘o’ in his name.

“Wait a minute.” came the reply.

Who the heck was this character? Brock started to wonder if he was at the right house and pulled out the piece of paper where he had the address written down. He had called Mario from New York and told him of his expected time of arrival and Mario had not mentioned anything about having a guard on the door! He couldn’t see a number on the house but Mario had told him that it was the one with the red hall door and this door was red!

“OK, Brack, turn to your left, walk down the passageway, go down the steps and come in through the door at the bottom. There’ll be someone there to meet you,’ came the voice from nowhere.

Brock picked up his suitcase and leather hold-all, turned around to his left and followed the passageway that led towards the back of the three-storey house. The steps looked like they led to the basement, narrow steep stone steps, about ten of them. Brock started to get an uneasy feeling of walking into the unknown, remembering at the same time that Mario had been involved in some


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‘underground’ episode that had turned very nasty, but Brock thought that Mario had moved on since then and was running straight now. Had he been mistaken – not another miscalculation!

At the bottom of the steps was a metal door…
‘Hellooooo,’ Brock called.
He heard a shuffling noise on the other side of the door, a click, another click, then a series of

locks and bolts being released and the door swung open, revealing a giant of a man! “Brack?”

“Yes, I am BrOck,” Brock replied, again emphasising the ‘o’.

“Come in, put your gear down and stand over here.” The giant was about six foot three tall, weighed at least two hundred and eighty pounds, slicked back black hair and wearing a three- piece pin striped suit and a silver tie. He indicated for Brock to go and stand on a mat against a wall on the other side of the small room. Brock was not about to argue and did as he was told. A bright spotlight suddenly came on, shining in his face.

The giant lumbered over and told him to relax and put his arms out to the side. He then frisked him all over, not too gently either, took a photograph of him and said, “Follow me.”

The giant picked up Brock’s luggage and headed out of another door. This led to more steps, going up this time to a wooden door at the top. When the giant opened the door, stooping to go through, Brock found himself in a very nice stylish hallway with a beautiful chandelier hanging from the ceiling. A beautiful antique mahogany table sat against one wall and a large mirror hung on another. There were two doorways out of the hall and a beautiful marble staircase leading to the next floor. One thing that struck Brock immediately was that there was no hall door. The mirror hung where the door should have been.

“Stranger and stranger,” Brock murmured to himself.
“What you say Brack?’ Giant asked
“Nothing, nothing. Where’s Mario. I ‘phoned and told him I was coming?'”
“Don’t worry, he’ll be here in a minute.” The Giant placed Brock’s luggage carefully at the

bottom of the stairs, stood up, arms crossed and feet a little apart, stared straight ahead
Brock looked around wondering what next.
Suddenly the door beside Brock was flung open and in came Mario.
“Brock, welcome to my humble abode!” He shouted when he saw Brock and grabbed him in a

short embrace, “How are you, did you have a good trip?”
“Mario!” Brock replied returning the hug. “My my, you have a very fine place here, although I

am mystified with all the security and cloak and dagger stuff, are you afraid of being attacked?” “Not at all my friend, come along into the den and make yourself at home. Brady, would you

please take Mr. Richmond’s bags up to the guest room and then bring us some refreshments, thank you.” Mario said to the Giant and guided Brock to the room he had just come out of.

It was quite a large room with a pool table, shelves of books and a very nice antique desk that had a mass of paperwork on it. There were two large windows revealing quite a good sized back garden that was completely surrounded by a high wall with wire running along the top of it. Brock took all of this in with just a quick glance; he was beginning to get concerned as to what he had landed himself in.

“So tell me my friend, what are you up to, what has caused you to leave Phoenix in such a hurry? There’s only two things that I can think of that would make a man run like that… a woman or money? ” Mario said looking at him with a slight hint of a smile on his face.

“Nothing like getting down to the nitti gritty right away,” Brock said. ” I guess you could say it was a bit of both, I met up with an old girlfriend from pre-navy days, in fact at one time we were engaged. We dated awhile; she drained a lot of my funds by insisting on expensive wines and


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restaurants, day trips etc. and then ran out on me, back to her husband. I just wanted to get away and start fresh; there was nothing for me in Phoenix. No, this is where the action is, here and in New York. What are you up to Mario – tell me about all this security set up?”

There was a knock on the door and Brady ‘the Giant’ came in – “Eh Boss I put them bags up in the guest room like you asked, what kind a refreshments would you like me to bring?”

“Brock, what would you like, Gin and Tonic, Jack Daniels…?” Mario asked raising his shoulders as if to say that the sky was the limit.

“Yea a Jack Daniels on the rocks would be great,” Brock replied.

Mario turned to Brady, “Two Jack Daniels on the rocks – ah heck make that four and some nuts or something to munch on. OK Brady?”

“Sure thing Boss, be right back.” Brady went off closing the door quietly.

“He’s a good man that Brady,” Mario said indicating a big leather armchair to Brock. “He came to work for me a couple of years ago and wouldn’t let anyone hurt a hair on my head, woe betide the fool that might try,” he said.

“I can believe that,” said Brock. “I was scared to death when he opened the door and started to frisk me, you could have warned me!”

“Aw, too much explaining my friend, he wasn’t too rough with you was he?”

“Ooh no, not at all, it was just a surprise. I expected to ring the bell and have you open the door, instead of that, I hear this voice telling me to go down some steps and when that door is opened there is a giant standing there, what a fright I got. I also noticed that although there is a hall door on the outside, there is none inside the house! So what’s all that about?”

“You are in New Jersey now Brock and most of my business is conducted in the Big Apple. Sometimes people don’t see eye to eye with my way of doing business and they think to call on me and have me change my views; won’t happen. Brady makes sure that none of these dead beats get to first base.”.

Brady returned with the whiskey and the nuts.

”Brady go make us up some of those cracking ham and cheese sandwiches that you’re so good at, I‘m sure my friend Brock here must be starving!” Mario turned to Brady who nodded appreciatively.

“What kind of business are you in now Mario? Last I heard you were selling cars?” Brock asked.

“Still am, but some people don’t like the price, you know how it is. Hey, tell me about this broad that got under your skin? Is she still back in Phoenix?

”No Mario, she and her husband and his daughter flew back to Ireland a week ago. Truth of the matter is that I made some bad decisions with my folio, funds were low and Stephanie suddenly turned up in my neck of the woods. I knew she had money so I just thought I might relieve her of some of it – you know how it goes, have a little fun on the way. But it became complicated, she found out that I was on the way down and rather than help, she more or less kicked me all the way to the bottom. Bitch!’’ Brock threw back the rest of his drink and put his empty glass on the table.

”Aaah Brack,’’ Mario said, not noticing Brock closing his eyes in a mini cringe at the ”Brack”, ”Sometimes broads just don’t know what’s good for them, so who is this female, have I met her?”

Brady returned with a big plate of ham and cheese sandwiches, which looked far too neat to have been made by this giant of a man! He put them on the table between the two men and left the room.

Brock was delighted because he was feeling a little light headed, he was short on sleep and food and the Jack Daniels was going swiftly to his brain.


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”Stephanie Donnelly is her name, lives with her wimp husband Mervyn in a place called Blackrock in Dublin Ireland, but enough about her, tell me about you. You haven’t got hitched yet? How come, I thought you were keen on that Kitty a few years ago?”

”I just haven’t found any female that is woman enough for me Brock. Kitty’s OK, beautiful gal, but I couldn’t put up with her tantrums all the time. Then there’s Sybil who is so sensible, not a lot of fun but a good business brain, Melanie is good in the sack but, as they say so aptly ‘even though the light is on, there’s no one home!’ I’m happy as I am and I don’t need any woman here to complicate things and to worry about if anyone comes calling, if you get my drift?”

Mario knew it was only a matter of time before Brock would be out for the count so he pressed a hidden bell for Brady, who opened the door immediately and looked in.

”Yeah, Boss?”

”Four more.’’ Mario said quietly, looking at Brock who seemed oblivious to the fact that Brady had been called.

Brady returned nearly immediately with four more glasses of Jack Daniels, put the little silver tray on the desk and left.

The two men chatted on for a while, catching up on old times and old friends and enemies, drinking and eating the sandwiches. At about eight thirty Mario handed the last drink to Brock, ”Drink up my friend, then Brady will show you to your room and you can crash out for the night. I have to head to the city, I have a meeting with a client. I‘ll see you at breakfast, get up when you are ready.”

”Ooh thank you Mario, I didn’t think you would be going out again on business at this time of night! But I have to say, I am really bushed and looking forward to sleeping in a comfortable bed.”

Brady seemed to appear from nowhere and showed him up the stairs to his room where he fell into bed immediately.

”OK Brady, we have to get going, I have to meet Durken in forty-five minutes and it ain’t gonna be pretty. Pack all of the hardware, we may need it!” Trouble!


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Chapter 5
Wednesday ~ Donnelly

“Rise and shine.” Mervyn shouted coming out of the bathroom. He was already washed and shaved, it was seven forty five and he had been into Brittany’s room and she was up and getting ready for breakfast.

“Ooooh what time is it?” Stephanie asked, emerging from under the covers. “What a night! I feel as if I have hardly slept at all!”

“Why is that Steph?” Did you get yourself over excited by all that energy next door? Mervyn laughed as he pulled on his socks.

“You must be kidding Mervyn. But didn’t you hear the snoring! Woke me up at five thirty and I was ages getting back to sleep. I’ll stay here for another hour, why don’t you and Brittany go have breakfast, I’ll pass, I’ll get something later.”

“No way my Darling. We are all going to breakfast together, we have too much to do today to waste any time at all, you can catch up with your sleep later on.”

The morning had dawned cloudy and drizzly. When Stephanie turned over and saw what was out side the window, she moaned, “Ooh for a bit of Arizona sunshine and heat,” and put her head under the duvet again.

Before Mervyn could retort, the phone rang. He picked it up, sat on the bed and propped himself up on his pillows, “Hello,” he said.

“Ooh hello, is that Mr. Mervyn Donnelly?”
“Yes that’s me,” Mervyn replied.
“Good Morning Mr. Donnelly, this is Sergeant Cochrane at the Blackrock Garda Station. I am

sorry for calling you so early but I thought you would like to know how my men got on when they went over to check out your house.”

Mervyn sat up straight and tapped Stephanie on her shoulder, when she appeared from under the duvet, he pointed to the phone and said,

“Good Morning Sergeant, that’s quite alright, the earlier the better to give us a head start on the day. So what did your men discover?”

“Not good news, I’m afraid. Took them a little while to raise the blighters but they are squatters all right. I believe Sergeant Morgan thought that they might be the same ones that were recently moved on from a property in Donnybrook and it looks like he was correct. They won’t give their names of course but the officer who spoke to the young itinerant man when he stuck his head out of an upstairs window, identified him as the same fella.”

Mervyn made a grim face to Stephanie who buried herself under the duvet again.

“Hmm wouldn’t even come to the front door then? Can we not just break in and take over the house again? I mean it is OUR house after all.” Mervyn asked the Sergeant.

“No, I’m afraid you’ve got to go down the legal route, the house was empty and they took it over and started living in it. Therefore, you have to get a court order to get them out.”

“OK Sergeant, many thanks for trying to help,” Mervyn replied.
Sergeant Cochrane sighed at the other end of the phone,
“If you want to call over to the Station later today and sign up the papers we can charge them

with breaking and entering, it won’t help to get them out but might make you feel better?”
“Yes, true. I’ll talk to my wife and we may pop over later. Thanks again Sergeant.” Mervyn hung

up the phone.


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“What’d he say?” Stephanie asked, throwing off the duvet and getting out of bed.

“Sergeant Cochrane says that we have squatters in the house and the only way to get them out is with a court order. Come on Stephanie time to hit the road. The forecast for today is to brighten up, let’s go and have some breakfast, buy a car and get mobile. The rain has stopped and it looks promising. I’ll go and see how Brittany’s doing.”

While the girls got ready Mervyn ‘phoned the bank and spoke to a very nice young lady about setting up a new account. She explained what ID would be required and as an after thought asked how much he would be depositing. There was a long silence on the other end of the phone when Mervyn told her six million euro! At that point she asked him to hold on and the next voice he heard was that of the assistant bank manager.

“Peter Thompson here Mr. Donnelly, Miss Prendergast asked me to speak to you, I am the assistant manager at the bank here, unfortunately Mr. Strong the bank manager, is away this week. I understand that you have a large amount of money that you would like to deposit with us. I would be very pleased to handle this matter for you. Are you available to come over to the bank this afternoon?”

“Yes, Mr. Thompson, that would suit me fine, how about four o’clock?” Mervyn said.
“Perfect, I will see you then. Good bye.” Mr. Thompson hung up.
‘That’s more like it’ Mervyn said to himself and sat to watch the news. There was a knock on the

door and Brittany came into the room.
“I’m starving Dad can we go for breakfast?” she asked with a whine in her voice.
Mervyn stood up, turned off the TV and called to Stephanie in the bathroom.
“Steph, Brittany’s here, we are going to head on down to breakfast. I want to get a newspaper

too, we’ll see you in the dining room when you are ready? Don’t be long.”
Stephanie came out of the bathroom semi dressed, make up and hair done. “OK I’ve just got to

find something to wear and I’ll be down in a few minutes.”
Mervyn and Brittany went on their way and Stephanie rummaged through her clothes to see

what was appropriate for the day. She decided on cream trousers, a peach coloured blouse with her favourite light brown jacket. While she was getting dressed she heard some noises next door like drawers being opened and closed. ‘Crikey, they were a noisy pair last night! It’s a wonder they’re up so early!’ she whispered to herself. Once dressed she was about to leave the room but then decided to straighten up the bed. She heard the sound of a door close and she dashed over to look out of the peephole in her door. She saw a very large overweight man at the door of the next room. This did not look like the man who went in there with the young lady. He put the key card in his pocket, hung something on the door handle and then he trundled his way past Stephanie’s door. As he walked past he seemed to slow his step and stared at the peephole, as if he knew someone was looking out at him. Stephanie got such a fright, she jumped back, tripped over her shoes that she had left ready to put on, fell against the bed and tumbled on to the floor with a thud and a hard landing on her posterior! ‘Damn it,’ she cursed under her breath. She heard the ding of the elevator as she hauled herself off the floor on to the bed, stuck her feet into her shoes, grabbed her handbag, picked up the keycard and left the room too. She nipped up the corridor to see what the man had hung on his door handle. As she suspected, it was the ‘Do not disturb’ sign. She listened at the door but all was quiet. Feeling very bold, she knocked on the door, listening intently. Not a sound from within. ‘So where has the woman gone to?’ she wondered. She didn’t have to wait long for another elevator and found Mervyn and Brittany in the dining room looking at menus.

The girls moaned about their dilemma of what to choose and ordered a full breakfast. Stephanie was also curious to see if the unlikely pair from the next room were there for breakfast. She was totally confused because it appeared that the overweight man had come out of that room, so what


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happened to the couple she had seen go in late the night before? The man was sitting over in the corner at a small table for two and had just been served with a full Irish Breakfast. He was stuffing his mouth with toast and at the same time slurping his tea from a cup.

“Oh Gaud, I just can’t stand that!” Stephanie put her elbow on the table and rested her cheek on her hand, facing away from the man.

“Can’t stand what?” Brittany asked.

“I can’t stand to see a person eating a mouthful of food and immediately drinking down half a mug of coffee on top of it, it is such bad manners and so unhealthy. He’s got such a mouthful of slop he can’t even help himself from dribbling it down his chin!”

She couldn’t help looking back at the man frequently. She would love to have been able to go over and ask him how come he was in the same room this morning that a man and woman were in last night! Surely the hotel wasn’t so short of rooms that they had to prepare a room in the night if people checked out. Usually the chambermaids went around in the morning.

Mervyn told them that they had an appointment at the bank at four and suggested that they get out and enjoy themselves until then.

“Well I don’t feel like swanning around the zoo or anywhere else for that matter Mervyn, while these gurriers are living it up in OUR house! We have to find a way to get rid of them.”

“I agree Stephi. I am not prepared to wait months for the legal procedure of a court order to wade it’s way through the courts. I had a brainwave last night for a possible solution. I know it’s not the best way but it is the best I could come up with.”

“So, tell us Dad, what is this amazing idea?” Brittany whispered loudly.
Stephanie and Brittany leaned across the table conspiratorially.
“Well if we have to rent somewhere to live for a few months, we may as well use some of what

that would cost and try to buy them out!!”
Mervyn sat back on his chair smugly, watching Stephanie and Brittany fathom out what he

“You mean to go over there and pay them to leave?” Stephanie asked him unbelieving. “Yes, exactly. Why not? They’ve obviously not got any money. They could go off with a few

hundred and squat somewhere else and avoid the hassle!”
“I guess you’re right Mervyn. Much as it grieves me to give them a penny but it is going to be

the easiest thing to do in the long run.”
Mervyn called the waiter over and asked for another pot of tea and some more toast. Now that

he had a plan, he felt very hungry again.
Stephanie was suddenly distracted by a very sharply dressed woman wearing lots of makeup,

false eyelashes and lipstick that was far too bright, who entered the dining room. The woman stood and looked around for a moment and then walked straight over to the overweight man, who immediately jumped up from his seat and welcomed her. He kissed her hand and invited her to sit in the other chair, pulling it out for her. He called over the waitress who returned soon with a cup of cappuccino. There was something strange about this woman, but Stephanie couldn’t quite figure out what it was. It did appear to Stephanie that they didn’t know each other and that this was their first meeting. The woman carried a slim briefcase from which she extracted a large diary and an iPad.

Breakfast over and the morning moving on, Mervyn got up from the table. “Time to go ladies, we have a car to buy.” After a quick visit back to their rooms they met again in the lobby at ten o’clock. While the girls were titivating, Mervyn had found out that the nearest Citroen Dealership was ‘Gowan’ over at Dun Laoghaire. He had put in a call to the sales department and told them that he wanted to come and buy a car and would they please send someone over to pick him and his family up. They were more than agreeable and said that someone would be there by ten.


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True to their word, when Mervyn, Stephanie and Brittany stepped out of the main door, there was the Gowan salesman waiting for them.

Within ten minutes they were perusing the available cars for sale, both used and new. Mervyn had never bought a ‘new’ car in the past and didn’t see any point in doing so now and he had certainly decided that he was not going to lease one, having very bad memories of his last experience. They finally chose a Picasso C4 Grand and Mervyn accompanied the salesman to do the paperwork and pay for the car.

Seeing as he was ready to pay ‘cash’ for the car he got a further ten percent discount off the price, this made him very happy! They had to wait for quite a while to get the registration done. Meanwhile Mervyn called his insurance agent and gave him all the details of the car. The agent advised that the car would be covered for twenty-four hours to give Mervyn time to come to his office to make the necessary payment. Eventually they drove off the lot and headed out to Avoca Handweavers for lunch. It had been one of their favourite haunts in the ‘old’ days and they thought it would be a good place to clear their heads and make their plan of action.


When the Donnellys arrived at Avoca Handweavers it was nearly two o’clock, the lunchtime rush was coming to an end, although it seemed like no matter what time one went to Avoca Handweavers, it was always busy.

“I am so glad in a way to be back home,” Stephanie said. “I really missed places like this when we were in Arizona. I love the dishes they prepare here and the way they display the food, I find it hard to make a decision on what to choose. I am having one of those big meringues for dessert though. What about you Brittany, what do you fancy?”

They walked up and down the serving counter and eventually made their selections. They all chose a dessert and Mervyn paid for the lot. He had to use cash until he got his new credit cards. This made him a little nervous as he didn’t really like carrying large amounts of cash and was always very careful to only keep a small amount in his wallet, the rest deposited in another wallet in his inside jacket pocket.

The weather was so nice they chose a table out on the terrace.

“Oh, isn’t this great,” Stephanie, said, “sitting outside is so good, the spring flowers and the shrubs are looking great. The daffodils have finished and the tulips are taking over and the primroses and crocuses look wonderful under the trees over there. Isn’t it marvellous to see that the Yew Tree Walk is going well! Bethany, do you know it is NINE hundred years old? If only it could talk, I am sure it would have many interesting tales to tell!”

Brittany was not interested in ‘old trees’, she did enjoy going there but would rather it had been with some of her own friends, she was getting to the age that it wasn’t cool to be seen with mum and dad, especially as Stephanie wasn’t her real mum anyway. She was aware that now they were back home Stephanie was irritating her again. There was a while in Arizona that she thought she might get to like her but not any more. She was an old lady and Brittany found it annoying how she kept acting like she was young.

They ate their meal and chatted about what they would all like to do with the money that they had won.

“Well one thing’s for sure,” said Mervyn “we have to put it to good use, it’s going to have to work for us and make more. We can’t just go and blow it on luxuries. We’ll have to start up a business that can support us. Brittany, to start off with, you’ll need a college fund.”

“No,” piped up Stephanie “to start off with, we need to get those darn squatters out of the house. We can’t do anything until they’re gone! What about going back to the bank, I mean they had


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possession of the house and allowed the squatters to get in there, so they should be responsible to get them out… and what’s more, maybe they should be paying our expenses until we can get into the house. What do you think of that Mervyn?”

“I am going to get our desserts and coffees and when I get back, let’s plan how we will do just that!”

Mervyn got up from the table and headed back down to the counter again. Two seconds later he turned and came back. “Forgot the receipt to show that I have already paid for them, where is it now?”

Stephanie had started to stack the used dishes on a tray to make more room on the table, had screwed up the receipt and it was sitting in the middle of a plate, all covered in salad dressing. She dried it off with a serviette and handed it to Mervyn who, eyes to heaven, took it from her.

Brittany just sat and shook her head. None of this was missed by Stephanie.

When Mervyn returned with a tray laden down with delicious desserts and coffee they pulled in close to the table, conspiratorially and tucked in.

“OK,” Mervyn started, “what about if we go over to the house early in the morning. You girls can stay in the car out front, I will go around the back and sit at the table on the patio.”

“Why on earth would you do that? What about my idea of letting the bank deal with them?” Said Stephanie in a loud voice, which startled those sitting close by who turned around to look.

“No, no, Stephanie, forget about involving the bank.” Mervyn replied. “The bank will go by the book and if they did ever accept responsibility, it would probably take months. What I propose is to go over there, sit at the table out back and I feel sure that the young man will probably come out to see what I am up to. I will have him sit down and join me, in fact I might just bring along two large coffees as well. I am going to offer him some money to get out immediately. The thing is, we’ll have to agree how much to offer them. What do you think?”

Brittany put her elbows on the table, leaned forward and whispered loudly, “But Dad why can’t you get someone to go in there and throw them out? Remember that big guy you used to know, the one you sent to call on any of your tenants who were behind in their rent?”

Stephanie looked around to check that no one had overheard Brittany. Everyone was eating and chatting normally, although she did notice a man sitting by the door on his own and when she looked in his direction, she could have sworn that he had been studying them from over the top of his newspaper. Anyway he was too far away to have heard.

“I don’t want to resort to violence of any kind Brittany. We don’t know who these squatters are or who they are connected to and the last thing we need is to get their backs up and have them wreck the house or come back and burn it down, or worse still, to come after any of us and do us bodily harm. No, I will try to buy them off as quietly and peacefully as possible. I don’t like to have to do this but in the long run it is the quickest solution.”

Mervyn sat back, stirred a little sugar into his coffee and waited for their response.
“OK,” Stephanie said with a big sigh “Let’s go for it! If they don’t take the bait and insist on

staying there, we will have to think again. So, how much should we offer? Five hundred euro?” “FIVE HUNDRED EURO!” Brittany said out loud, causing quite a few heads to turn.
“Sshhhhh.” Mervyn said grasping her wrist. “I think five hundred would be a good start, he will

probably try to get me up to a thousand. Following a little bartering, I will suggest we meet in the middle and so we might end up at around six or seven hundred. He will feel that he got more than I wanted to pay and hopefully go off and pack up his stuff feeling very smug and be out of the house tomorrow or the next day. I suppose he will need a little time to find another poor blighter’s property to squat in, but I wouldn’t be surprised that these people have a list of possibilities should


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they need alternative accommodation. What about if I give him a time limit and if he goes over the limit we will reduce the amount?”

“Good idea,” the girls said together.

“Let’s have a little walk around the garden and then, Brittany, I am going to drop you back to the hotel. Stephanie and I need to get over to the bank by four. Later, when we get back I want to make a few calls to some of my old contacts. We could drive by the house and see if there is anything going on. We also have to drop the payment off for the car insurance, which is on the way to the bank.”

Mervyn stood up and stretched; they made their way down the steps from the terrace on to the lawn and wandered around the grounds under the wonderful historic trees.

At a safe distance behind them wandered the man that Stephanie had seen with the newspaper. He wore his hat low over his face and tried to keep out of their line of sight whilst looking like he was very interested in the gardens.

Everything went off according to plan. They stopped at the insurance office and got the car insurance sorted out and then went on to the bank.

On arrival at the bank Mr. Thompson, who was particularly pleased because he had discovered some of their history, greeted them very warmly. They had originally been with another bank when the crash came and had lost everything. He felt it was a bit of a coup that the Donnellys had chosen his branch and an additional plus for him that he was signing up such a big account in the absence of Mr. Strong.

“You and your family must have been thrilled when you discovered you had won?” he said, showing them to his office.

Mervyn sat down and laughed, “You want to believe it. It just came at the right time, didn’t it Stephanie? We requested the winnings to be made out in two cheques because we required ready funds to cover immediate purchases and expenses. The lesser amount of two hundred thousand we deposited to our original bank account. To speed things up we proceeded to the banks head office, to see about getting the house back. As it happened there had been a bit of a shemozzle and although they had repossessed the house and intended putting it up for sale, because they couldn’t reach us to complete the paperwork, nothing was ever followed through. Of course everything was so unsettled and disorganised at that time. Anyway, it was only a simple matter of arranging for the balance of the mortgage to be cleared and we were given back the keys.

“Talk about everything falling into place nicely. So I assume you are going to deposit the other cheque today?” Thompson asked

“Absolutely, and glad to hand this over to you. I have been worrying that it might get lost or stolen.” Mervyn leaned over the desk and handed Thompson the cheque in the amount of five million, eight hundred thousand.

“My wife and I will require a couple of credit cards and personalised cheques Mr. Thompson. How long before we might get those?” Mervyn asked.

“No problem, if you want to drop by in a couple of days I should have your credit cards. I can give you some counter cheques today, personalised cheques usually take about ten days.”

“Good, that’s all for now then. Please hold the cheques here when they arrive and I will come by and pick them up. See you later in the week.” Mervyn and Stephanie stood up, shook hands with Thompson and left.

“I think we are finally getting our lives back on track Stephi,” Mervyn said as they got into the car again. “We need to think of a profitable business to start up. Most people don’t have a lot of money to spend so we have to be very careful. Another thing I must do is get that daughter of mine back into her school!”


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On the way back to the hotel Mervyn told Stephanie that he was going to tackle the gurriers in the morning. Life was all ‘go’ now, they were definitely in the fast lane!

They had a meal in the hotel restaurant, which was virtually empty, being a midweek evening and earlier than the normal dining hour. When they finished eating, they went up to their rooms to watch some TV. At about nine o’clock Stephanie announced that she’d like to go down to the bar and have a drink. Mervyn was not averse to this so they tidied themselves up and after saying goodnight to Brittany, they went down.

To their surprise, unlike the restaurant, the lobby and the bar were quite busy. There seemed to be a function on in one of the conference rooms. They ordered their drinks and went and sat in an area of the lobby where they could watch a lot of the comings and goings. They didn’t talk much, but rather got lost in what was going on about them. After about an hour Stephanie was amazed to see the same man that had been with the woman the night before, saunter in with yet another woman on his arm.

‘What the hell is he up to!” she said out loud.

“Who?” asked Mervyn coming out of his trance of far away thoughts and looking around in the direction of Stephanie’s gaze.

“Don’t turn around you eejit!” she said, “They’ll see we’re talking about them!”
“WHOOO?” asked Mervyn again, feeling a little hurt at being called an ‘eejit’!
“It’s the man who was in the bar last night and then in the room next to ours, making all that

“ Tthtt! Oooh, I see.” Mervyn relaxed back in his chair. “I thought it was something important

that you had seen,”
“Well it certainly is Mervyn That man was here last night, virtually consuming the female he was

with, checked into the room next to ours and virtually kept me awake half the night with his antics and his snoring and now here he is back again, bold as brass, with another woman on his arm! What do you think he is up to? He’s wearing a wedding ring too! Poor wife wherever she is!”

“Well maybe that is his wife, “Mervyn retorted.

“I don’t believe that for a second, look at how he pays so much attention to her. What a fool.” Stephanie finished her drink. “Mervyn would you call the waiter and order me another drink and then I think I’ll be ready for bed.”

Mervyn got up and walked off to the bar, ‘its so good to be appreciated’ he thought sarcastically to himself and with a smile he called up the waiter behind the bar and ordered another couple of Glen Fiddich. When he got back to the table, Stephanie was not there. He sat down, presuming she had probably gone off to the toilet. After ten minutes, just as he was getting a little concerned, she hurried back across the lobby and sat down.

“Where have you been? I was starting to get quite concerned! Did you have to go back up to the room?”

“No! Well actually yes and no. I decided to follow that couple – they got into the elevator and I jumped in too. I let on I was going to the same floor, which was ours anyway, but when we all got out I went to our door and pretended not to be able to find my key card. Do you know…. he took her to the same room as he was in last night with that other woman! They were falling all over each other, giggling, tickling each other. What kind of a woman would find him in the least bit attractive? Do you think they are prosees?”

Mervyn looked quizzically at Stephanie and said in rather a loud voice, “Prosees? What the heck are ‘Prosees?”

“Stephanie leaned forward across the table, “Shut up for heaven’s sake!” she hissed. “ Prosees are prostitutes! Maybe he arranged for a different one each night. Anyway, I can tell you one thing, I


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am calling the desk if I hear one peep out of that room tonight. I am not going to spend another night listening to his shenanigans!” She pursed her lips and sat back, holding her drink on the arm of the chair with one hand and tapping her fingernails on the table with the other.

When they returned to their room at about eleven, all was quiet next door. They attended to their pre-sleep ablutions and with a sigh of relief Stephanie laid her head on the pillow and fell asleep with a big smile on her face.

Unfortunately she was not to enjoy the quietness for the whole night. Something awoke Stephanie and she sat up in bed, eyes wide open. Mervyn was still sound asleep, breathing heavily as if in a deep sleep. Not knowing what had awoken her, Stephanie slipped out of bed and looked out of the window but there was nothing happening outside that could have disturbed her. It was only three thirty, but she knew that something had woken her suddenly; in fact she was even trembling as if she’d had a fright. She picked up a glass off the tray and was about to place it against the wall to see if there were any noises coming from the next room, when there was a loud thump and a woman’s scream. Stephanie quickly put the glass to the wall and stuck her ear to it. She couldn’t make out the noises, sounded like two people struggling accompanied by gasps, snatches of words, thumps and then there was a crash like a lamp falling over. ‘I’ve had enough of this!’ she thought to herself, picked up the telephone and called reception.

The call was answered immediately. “Hello, Reception, Molly speaking.”

“Hello Molly, this is Mrs. Donnelly in room 832. There is something going on in the room next door, sounds like someone is getting beaten up and I can hear things falling over and breaking. I am sure I heard a woman scream too. Can you send someone up?”

“Good morning Mrs. Donnelly, I will have the night porter come up right away.”
“OK, thank you Molly.”
Stephanie placed the phone back on the cradle and after putting on her dressing gown she

stood at the door watching out of the spy hole. There were a few additional little noises from the next room but nothing that would really disturb anyone. Within about five minutes she heard the ding of the elevator doors opening and she saw a young gentleman in hotel uniform walk past. She heard him lightly tapping on the door of the next room. Stephanie quietly undid the lock and opened the door an inch so that she could better hear what was being said. The young man tapped on the door again, a bit louder this time. Still a third time he had to knock before the door was opened.

“Good morning Sir, is everything alright? We had a report that maybe someone had fallen over in your room?”

“Hmmmm, very diplomatic’ thought Stephanie.

“What? What are you talking about? I was fast asleep, you just woke me up with all your banging on my door. No one fell over, as you can see I am perfectly fine and there is no one else here! Do you want to come in and inspect the room for breakages?”

“Oh no Sir, that’s OK. Management asked me to come and make sure that no one had had an accident and was unable to call for help. I am very sorry to have disturbed you.”

Stephanie heard the door bang shut and the young man returning along the corridor. Stephanie opened her door a little wider and looked out.

“Psssst,” she beckoned the man as he was passing. “I heard what he said, but let me tell you I definitely heard another voice in there along with his. He has a woman in there and maybe she fell over and he doesn’t even know?”

“Hmmm well Madam I did have a view of the bed and the bathroom door was open and I didn’t see anyone else in there. Maybe he was having a nightmare and shouted out in a different tone of voice or perhaps it was the TV that you heard?”

“No, it wasn’t the TV and it wasn’t him! I was standing here and I heard those noises!”


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“Well Madam, I will relate all of this information to my manager. I am sorry that your night has been disturbed but hopefully all will be quiet from now on. Good night.”

Stephanie watched the young man return to the elevator and press the button. She slowly stepped back into her room and quietly closed the door. Mervyn was still fast asleep although he had turned over in the bed. She shook her head wondering how he could sleep through all of the commotion. The room was still in semi darkness as she made her way to the bathroom, when she heard a little tap at the door again. Thinking that it was the young man returning with some other idea, she quickly dashed back to open the door. Standing outside was the man from next door, looking very red faced, furious and scary wearing a Radisson Hotel bathrobe. Stephanie got such a fright she nearly passed out on the spot. Before she could utter a word and before she could slam the door on him, he stuck his foot in the doorway and snarled at her in such a low heavily accented voice, that no one else could have heard.

“I’ve met busybodies like you before. I’ve seen you spying on me down in the restaurant at breakfast, calling management to report noises and causing trouble. I saw you talking to the night porter just now. Well let me tell you lady, if I see or hear anything of you ever again you better watcha your back and your family, cause I’ll find you and you’ll be sorry.”

At this point in the whispered tirade, he took a step closer and was shaking a finger at Stephanie. During the following two seconds the sleeve of his bathrobe fell back and she sub- consciously noticed a weird tattoo on the inside of his lower arm. ‘That must have been so painful to have done,’ she thought to herself before she was jerked back to reality. He was so close she could feel his breath on her face, warm, sticky and stinking like the inside of a parrots cage.

“You’ll wish you never met me and sure as hell you’ll wish you never stuck your ugly little nose into my business. Now get in there and close the door and remember what I said, you mention any of this to anyone and you’ll be sorry.”

With that he turned on his bare feet and stormed back to his room. Stephanie closed the door quickly and locked it. She was shaking so much she had to sit down.

“Oooh my God, what was all that about?” She was going to wake Mervyn and tell him, but then she remembered what the man had said about telling anyone. She considered her options, tell Mervyn, the hotel management, the Gardaí? She was scared though. That man meant what he said and he was not Irish, he had some kind of an accent but she couldn’t make out where from. She opened the little bar and pulled out a bottle of Jamieson, fumbled the lid off and drank it neat from the bottle to try and steady her nerves. She was still shaking. Thinking about that man, she realised that there was a sort of pattern. He was the same man who she saw at breakfast, but not the man who, for two nights she had seen coming up to the room with a different young woman each night. Whatever was going on she wanted no part of it. She carefully got herself back into bed and eventually fell asleep, deciding that she would see how she felt about it in the morning. Probably best to let sleeping dogs lie.

When Stephanie awoke the next morning the whole experience didn’t seem as crazy as it had the night before. ‘The man was probably annoyed at being woken up,’ she thought to herself as she got out of bed. ‘But then the whole thing is that he wasn’t woken up! I heard those noises and the woman’s voice!’

“What are you muttering about?” Mervyn came out of the bathroom. Not waiting for a reply he continued, “ Brittany is up and ready to go, so we’ll carry on down to breakfast and wait for you there. OK?”

“Yes, OK that’s fine, I won’t be long, you go ahead, I’m not that hungry anyway.” Stephanie toddled into the bathroom and closed the door. She leaned on the basin and looked in the mirror at the reflection of a very tired face. ‘How do I get myself involved in these situations? Well I think the


Déjà Vu

best thing is to just forget about it totally. Wipe it from my mind! I have better things to be worrying about than some silly man who tries to frighten me. I’ll probably never see him again anyway.’ With that decision made, she hurriedly got herself ready and went down to join Mervyn and Brittany for breakfast.

Stephanie was greatly relieved that there was no sign of the man from the next room in the restaurant. She did take a peek at his door and saw the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign as she went to the elevator, so maybe he was making up for his lost sleep. Mervyn told Brittany that he intended to take her over to her old school in the afternoon. “I don’t see any reason why you can’t get on with your studies. You can get yourself sorted over the weekend and start on Monday.”

Brittany knew it was only a matter of time before she went back to school and was actually quite glad; she was getting bored hanging around this hotel. “OK Dad, that’s fine, I’ll find out what books I need for Monday. Will you drive me in each morning until we get the house back?”

“No problem dear, I think we will be in our own house very soon, in fact I am going over there this morning to see if I can twist that young man’s arm to get out ASAP. I’m leaving in about twenty minutes, I’ll have the car out front so don’t be late!” Mervyn told them.

They went back to their rooms to get ready. “Mervyn, how are you going to do this?” Stephanie asked

“Well, like I told you. We’ll stop and buy a couple of coffees and then I am just going to go round the back to ‘our’ deck and sit at ‘our’ table and wait for that character ‘Billy’ to come out. I am quite prepared for him to be antagonistic, argumentative and maybe even a bit rough, but I think when he hears the word ‘Euros’ he will quiet down.”


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Chapter 6 Wednesday ~ Brock

The next morning Brock awoke to sunshine streaming in through his bedroom window. When he opened his eyes he had to think for a moment where he was. He had been moving along so much over the past week, it took him a few moments to realise that he had at last arrived at Mario’s house.

‘Dammit, I had too much to drink last night! Why did I let Mario ply me with all that JD’ he murmured to himself and then turned over and went back to sleep. All of a sudden he heard shouting and a noise like someone being dragged up the stairs. ‘What the hell! That must have been what woke me up in the first place!’ Brock jumped out of bed and then sat back down heavily on the edge of the bed, holding his head in both his hands. ‘Oooh Lord, why did I drink all that whiskey!’

More crashing noises from outside his door. He made another attempt to stand up, this time doing it slowly and managed to put on the white towelling dressing gown that he had found hanging on the back of the door. He opened the door a crack and looked out. His room was on the second floor, he saw Brady helping Mario up the stairs, half carrying the man so that his feet were hardly touching each stair. Brock went out on to the landing and called up “What’s happened? Can I help?”

Mario replied without turning or stopping, “Go back to bed, everything’s OK,” he said it in such a tone, like it was an order and not wise to argue.

Brock sucked in a breath, stood there for a few moments watching the men as they reached the top of the stairs. Brady looked over his shoulder and that was all Brock needed. The look on the man’s face was enough to wither a bunch of roses. Brock quickly turned and went back into his room. As he did so he noticed quite a big strip of wet blood on the polished wood floor of the landing. His own blood ran cold. He quietly closed the door and leaned against it, drops of perspiration forming on his brow. He was not a brave man even though he had served some time in the Navy, but that was many years ago.

‘What the heck have I landed myself in now?’ he mumbled to himself. He got back into bed but didn’t sleep. He listened intently for any noises that might reveal what was going on outside his door. He must have dozed off because suddenly there was a tapping on his door and Brady was asking if he wanted a cup of coffee. He replied to the affirmative. He noticed that the clock now showed ten

fifteen. He sat up slowly and exhaled, ‘I think I better get out of here ASAP,’ he thought to himself. Brady quickly returned with the coffee and after knocking on the door he came in. He carried a small tray with a plate of hot buttered toast and marmalade along with the coffee.

“Good mornin Brack – I thought you might like some toast with that coffee.”

It truly was a welcome sight. “Gee thanks Brady. Hey what’s been going on? Did something happen to Mario last night? I thought I saw some blood on the landing? I hope he’s OK?”

Brady looked down at him with a sad face. “Yes Sir, somethin sure did happen to the Boss last night and he’s none too pleased bout it! But you don’t have nothing to worry about, I am sure he’ll tell you the whole story later today. For now he is resting. He said for me to tell you to make yourself at home and he’ll see you at dinner tonight at seven, unlessen you have other plans?”

Brock heard the invitation as an order not to be refused so he told Brady that he would be there.

He put the TV on and watched the news while he ate his toast. Suddenly he nearly choked on a mouthful. The news station was showing scenes of mayhem in Newark where there had been a shoot out. Evidently there had been a shake up between two mafia families. Luichese, who Brock was aware, ran the Jersey Crew and the Genovese family, but what made Brock nearly choke on his


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toast was when the reporter said that the police were interested to interview another man known as ‘The Driver.’ Many years ago Brock had heard that Mario was mixed up with the Mafia and his nickname was ‘The Driver,’ because he used to run messages for them across the country. Mario had then removed himself and set up his own auto business, which Brock had assumed, was all above- board and that Mario was no longer involved with criminal activities. Without a doubt he was going to get out of here first thing tomorrow morning.

After showering and shaving, Brock dressed for a day out-of-doors. He wanted to put some distance between himself and this house. He had to leave his belongings in the bedroom but he did take his money and passport with him. He went downstairs and found Brady preparing some lunch for Mario.

“I’m going out for a while Brady, but I’ll be back for dinner at seven. OK?”

Brady turned around and after looking Brock up and down slowly as if he had X-ray eyes, he turned back to the chopping board and said, “See you later.”

Brock went out to the hall, put on his coat and then went to the door that led to the exit stairs, he put his hand on the doorknob to open the door and was shot back across the hall, landing on his back.

“Bloody hell!” he gasped. He lay there on the luxurious Indian carpet for a few moments. When he opened his eyes, Brady was looking down at him, extending him his hand to help him up.

“I guess you didn’t realise that we’s on full security at the moment?” Brady pulled him up and he sat down on the large hall chair.

“No, I didn’t. What is this all about Brady? I saw the news, are you expecting the Jersey Crew to come around here? If so just let me know and I’ll clear out of your way… I wouldn’t want to intrude or be in the way when you are expecting company!” Brock was shaking and rubbing his hand that had made contact with the door.

“I am sure the Boss would not be too happy if I let you leave like that Brack! Everything is fine, we ain’t expectin nobody and we just take precautions. If you follow me I’ll let you out. Boss man said that you can use the car if you want.”

Brock watched as Brady flicked a switch and then opened the previously electrified door and started down the steps.

“No, thanks Brady, I need a good walk and anyway the subway’s not far.”

Brady let him out of the door and told him to just ring the ‘front door’ bell when he returned. Brock trudged up the steps and along the side of the house to the front, feeling quite nervous, wondering if anyone was watching and even might be pointing a gun at him. He nearly lost his nerve and thought of going back into the house, but then decided he might be safer away from it. He took a deep breath and slowly walked out of the gates on to the path and headed down towards the shops he could see in the distance. Not far along the road he came on a greasy spoon Café and went in, he thought that this might be a good place to just sit for a while and see if anyone might be following him or if there was any action at Mario’s house. He picked up a newspaper that someone had left, sat at the window and ordered a large black coffee. No one seemed to take any notice of him, but then he didn’t have a trained eye, if he had he would have noticed that the man behind the counter had picked up the phone shortly after his arrival and whilst talking to the person on the other end of the line, kept looking suspiciously at Brock, giving his description. Brock stood out like a sore thumb in his nice smart clothes in this establishment that normally only served bums and addicts, but of course Brock wasn’t to know that.

Three cups of coffee and an hour or so and later, Brock left the Cafe. As soon as he walked out of the door, the man at the counter made a call, saying only “He’s just left, walking east,” and hung up.


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Brock wandered on down the road, heading for where he could see lots of people. He didn’t want to go anywhere that he might be isolated. He jumped on and rode a bus for another hour, getting off in a busy shopping area where he again stopped at a restaurant and had a snack. At about three thirty he decided he better head back to the house and retracing his steps, caught the appropriate bus. When he got off the southbound bus he still had a couple of blocks to walk west. It was a lovely spring afternoon even though the sun was going down.

He started to feel the hairs prickle on the back of his neck at the same time as he became aware of a car crawling along the kerb. He didn’t actually see it, but could hear the engine purring and knew that he was being followed. There were only apartment buildings and commercial offices along that street, no one entering or exiting and nowhere that he could quickly duck into or make a run for it. He made himself walk at the same pace and not turn round. He had no idea if a gun was trained on him that the trigger would be pulled at any second, especially if he were to make any sudden moves.

All of a sudden the engine noise accelerated and the car was beside him. His heart was pounding and his legs felt like jelly, he had a ringing noise in his ears and couldn’t breathe, but somehow he managed to look over to the car. It was a four door black Mercedes with tinted windows. The back door opened and a voice ordered, “Get in!”

The chauffeur jumped out of the front and ran around the car to hold the door open for Brock. The driver was wearing a chauffeur’s cap and brown uniform and looked like a normal chauffeur as against a gangster. ‘But then what would I know, the gangsters nowadays look like normal people’ Brock thought to himself. At first Brock thought he was going to be forced into the car but the uniformed man just stood with his hand on the top of the door.

‘Oooh my God, wotshill I do?’ Brock breathed to himself without moving his lips. If he ran they would catch him, if he didn’t, would it be worse? There was no one in sight and the traffic was moving past too quickly for anyone to take any notice.


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