Monday, December 27, 2010

A Twist Of Noir 646 - Richard Godwin


Jonathan Maric stood in the hallway of his polished mansion.

He was a short unobtrusive man who enjoyed the quiet privileges of the wealthy, kept himself to himself and was known for his love of roses.

He’d settled in Switzerland in a quiet town near Montreux when he floated his chemical company on the stock market. He made millions and married Rachel.

He set up another company and made a second fortune from pharmaceuticals.

Outside his chauffeur opened the door to his limousine and sped away as Jonathan made some calls.

‘Hello, Henry? You might want to buy aluminium. Put as much money as you want into the canisters. The stock value’s going up.’

Rachel was a quiet attractive woman who lived in Nice.

The reason Jonathan gave for this was the fact that she needed the sunshine and the sea.

He would visit her every weekend, leaving on Thursday.

That morning he got to work, sat at his desk and went through some invoices.

He picked up the phone.

‘Mark, I’m selling shares in the canisters. You can make a few million.’

As he put down the phone he noticed a smear of black ink on his thumb.

He stood up and straightened his tie in the mirror and said to himself, ‘Loser.’

Later that day in an IRS office in the USA a small white faced clerk by the name of Jeremy Palm sat looking at the ink that had smeared on one of the same invoices.

He was an officious, small minded individual who hated his low rank as clerk and wanted to move on.

And he was about to.

He picked up the phone to the US military.

‘Can I speak to the department of chemical processing? What do you mean there’s no such department? Are you saying it doesn’t exist?’

He put down the phone and smiled for the first time in years. It almost cracked his face.

That afternoon he began a process of inquiry that ended in the biggest expose of fraudulent trading Switzerland has ever seen.

And Jonathan saw it coming.

He was a man who saw to everything.

Rachel had become addicted to prescribed medication and she spent her days lying in bed or on the beach.

The curious thing was that Jonathan had never provided for her funeral.

That day he left his office he went straight to the printing company he owned.

He walked to the print room and checked the ink and saw that the documents he was forging were running.

He went home, changed into some casual clothes, watered his roses, and got into his Jaguar.

When the police turned up the next morning the engine was so hot one of the officers burned his hand on it.

‘He’s been on a long drive,’ he said.

Jonathan had been forging US military documents for the sale of non-existent lethal chemicals in empty canisters. He’d convinced the US government to wire millions of dollars to his account. The money had apparently gone into property acquisition in Israel.

Jonathan hadn’t seen his wife in years.

Why did he leave every Thursday and fly to Nice?

Because El Al doesn’t fly after sunset on Fridays and Nice is a good place to change planes.

Israel denied knowing anything about him or his acquisitions. Jonathan had converted to Catholicism many years ago, despite being Jewish.

In the weeks before his death the Israeli nuclear programme had received heavy foreign investment.

$280 million had left his account.

In Nice the French police found Rachel dead from an overdose of pills. She had a bruise on her arm with the imprints of someone’s fingers.

It’s a beautiful drive from Switzerland to Nice, even at speed.

The Swiss police found Jonathan dead upstairs from an overdose.

He was a proud man.

He took care of his property, including his wife.

BIO: Richard Godwin lives and writes in London. His first crime novel ‘Apostle Rising’ is about to be published and will be released for sale onto the market on March 10th, 2011. You can watch a video ad for it at his website. His dark satire ‘The Cure-All’, about a group of confidence tricksters, has been produced on the London stage.

His writing appears regularly at Disenthralled; Gloom Cupboard; Thrillers, Killers ’N Chillers; The New Flesh, Media Virus Magazine and Pulp Metal Magazine, among many other magazines and anthologies. His story 'Pike N Flytrap' is in the Fall 2010 issue of Needle Magazine, his story 'Face Off' is in the latest Crime Factory, issue #5. You can follow him at Twitter here.

His website is now all-new, complete with information on his upcoming novel APOSTLE RISING and a special page devoted to the critically-acclaimed CHIN WAG AT THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE interviews.


Michael Solender said...

the clipped, matter of fact precision in the telling is a clinic. just like your protag, the voice here is emotionless, direct and revealing. well done richard.

Charles Gramlich said...

Portrait of a life.

Paul D Brazill said...

A cold, hard life.

Salvatore Buttaci said...

As always, one can depend on the Godwin to provide strong but subtle characterizations in his stories. He pulls the reader along on a string and not one reader complains!

EC said...

The web of secrets, greed, and lies eventually leads to doom- and a lot of money.
Nice depiction of it, Richard.

Miss Alister said...

Echoing Mr. Solender, you went journalist on us, Dear Sir! There was not one filament of flesh left on them bones! Nay, not one of your sublime, poetically lurid descriptions! It was all plot, and a lot of it! Aw, it was a good one though, Richard. Dude playing long against short selling, masquerading as a Catholic, fucking up his print runs, and having to bring everything to the logical conclusion… I gladly sacrifice meat for a glance at another angle of your talent : )

callan said...

I loved the pace of this and the prescption pills!!!!!

Kristin Fouquet said...

Amazingly calculated. Excellent.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The global nature of this story and this world is alarming.

Carrie Clevenger said...

Great pacing of a life here Richard. Sharp as I've come to expect from you.

Jodi MacArthur said...

This is like a noir fable. The moment the ink smudged and he looked at himself in the mirror and proclaimed exactly what he was despite the money, the privileged life, and beautiful wife.

MCrittenden said...

And they say money fixes everything. Not in this case. Great story!

Nigel Bird said...

very sharp, with those almost staccato paragraphs. thanks

AJ Hayes said...

Like my grandpa used to say, "Life's a funny old raccoon, ain't she?" I think James Thurber would have loved this story, my friend. Irony is a disease of the rich after all. What better ending for a pill man turned chemist, turned nuclear Bernie Madoff, than a pharmaceutical death? Right and proper, Richard, right and goddamn proper.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Joyce said...

Unfortunately, money can't buy you out of every problem. Everything this fellow did was well planned, even down to leaving no loose ends. Your characters are always such a strong driving force in your stories. Excellent story, Richard.

M. C. Funk said...

Carrie said it well: Quick and dirty. Glad for the glimpse.