Jaguar Publishing Inc.
Copyright © Robert Vallier 2016
asserts the moral right to be identified
as the author of this work.
Published by Jaguar Publishing Inc Publishers 2016.
Commissioned by The Trinity Mirror Group plc, London, for The Sunday People (Love Sunday magazine).
First published in The Sunday People (Love Sunday magazine) 2016.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior permission of the Publishers.
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Trademarked names appear throughout this book. Rather than use a trademark symbol with every occurrence of a trademarked name, names are used in an editorial fashion, with no intention of infringement of the respective owner’s trademark. The use of registered names, trademarks, etc. in this publication does not imply even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant laws and regulations and therefore free for general use.
Neither the author nor the publisher make any representation, express or implied, with regard to the accuracy of the information contained in this book and cannot accept any legal responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions that may be made.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Table of Contents
1: THE FALCON ON SUNDAY
About The Author
WHEN I RECEIVED the commission from the Trinity Mirror Group in London to write a short story for their UK national newspaper The Sunday People in its glossy magazine Love Sunday, the requested parameters were clear enough:
1: Base the story on the characters in my thriller, Spider 2-3.
2: Make the length sixteen hundred words.
3: Give the story a twist.
It seemed sensible to set the story a couple of months from where Spider 2-3 left off. Jim Peregrine, aka The Falcon, receives a desperate call for help from a friend, whose family are the victims of extortion from a vile group of men. And if there’s one thing The Falcon doesn’t like it’s extortion. Especially when it involves people he knows. So The Falcon steps in and decides to visit the gang, to deliver a little more than they expect…
Of course, this story is fiction; yet I often wonder how many of us would like to see a Falcon deal with the many injustices that abound today. As police forces around the world continue to be tied by politicians and made to operate with one arm behind their back, perhaps The Falcon will have an even bigger role to play in everyday life…
If you enjoy The Falcon on Sunday do post a review! And of course, if this short story has wet your appetite for more of The Falcon’s adventures then I would be delighted if you would have a read of Spider 2-3. There are links at the end of this story.
I am now busy working on its sequel, Decoy 17.
As usual, Many have helped.
My thanks to Becky, Diana, James Crabbe and my aviation peer review panel, Cameron Muir and finally my editor Martin Fletcher, all of whom have given generously of their time and thought. To each I am most grateful.
THE FALCON ON SUNDAY
JIM PEREGRINE WAS glad to be home.
The crazy events of two months ago – in Berlin, the Caribbean, South Africa, Moscow; the plane rides, car chases, combat, all to defeat a deadly terrorist attack – seemed a long time past. Calm had returned, and the various Governments had kept to the media cover story – a suicide bomber had blown himself up prematurely in a thwarted terrorism plot. With one exception. Somehow it had leaked out that an Englishman had been involved. His identity wasn’t known; only his nickname. All he had left behind was a business card, blank but with a printed drawing on it. The story had been carried with a frenzy in the media.
JP didn’t mind. He was too busy to care. And the story had eventually petered out. He had bought a new home with the proceeds, a big house overlooking St James’s Park. It was to be his new headquarters. It was within easy reach of everything London had to offer; close enough to his friend Charlie Melton at MI6; and he could be at Heathrow within an hour, where his Learjet crews rotated on permanent standby.
Today was Sunday. He had been to dinner with friends at Greenwich, and was driving home in the Jag.
He passed through New Cross Gate heading for Vauxhall Bridge. In Peckham High Street, just past the Archway, he pulled over. The supermarket was still open and he needed some Gin anyway.
The store was empty apart from two people behind the counter. One was a girl, late twenties, in jeans and a blouse, her long black hair reaching almost to her waist. The other was a man, older, tired, bald, his reddened face still flushed with anger, his arms trying to comfort the girl.
She looked up. “Oh, Jimmy.” She ran out and put her arms around JP in a quick embrace. “Thanks for coming. I’m so glad…”
“Hey, Parvie,” JP said giving her a hug, “what’s up? I got the message.” He could see she had been crying. “What’s going on?”
She stepped back, took his hand firmly and led him over. “Father, this is my friend, JP. Jimmy, my Dad.”
“A pleasure, Mr Jilani,” said JP, as the two men shook hands.
“Please, you must call me Azim.” JP smiled. “Thank you for coming. Parveen, close the door and lock up. We’ll go upstairs.”
The girl quickly shut the store and led the way into the room behind at the far end, and up to the flat above. A tea was made, some niceties exchanged, a comment referring to when Parveen and JP met at University. Then Azim spoke.
“JP, I have been in business in this country for almost forty years. I have worked hard all my life, I had nothing at the beginning, now I own four stores in South London. I do well, I have raised a beautiful daughter alone since her mother died when Parveen was ten, and my son, who is now in Karachi. I have never had trouble like this before. Never.”
“And it happens every week now,” added Parveen. “Every weekend.”
“Yes,” said Azim. “They’re just thugs. Usually three, sometimes four come in and demand the money. One week it’s £300; the next £400; whatever they feel like. Today they took £550. It started late one Saturday evening, they smashed counters, pushed me around, said this is now their area, and for me to stay and have my shop I have to pay them. I refused, and that’s when the violence started. Of course they took out the CCTV. The next week they smashed more and roughed me up again.”
“Have you seen any of them before, do you know them?”
“No,” said Azim. “They’re from eastern Europe. Russians I think maybe, they’re just horrible men. The head one is called Vladim. My daughter came back to help; tonight they even threatened her.”
“It was really bad, JP,” said Parveen. “They pushed me and shoved Dad again. Then helped themselves to the money.”
“What charming people. What about the Police?”
“I spoke to them of course,” said Azim. “But they have done nothing. They know of this eastern gang. As usual they can’t do anything, because they don’t see a crime yet. These people stay out of sight and come back when it’s clear again. So I just pay. Sometimes I even have to take it to them. Like a whipped man, a lackey. Just pay. It’s the same for all the shop-owners in the High Street. Nobody knows what to do.”
“I thought you might be able to help, JP,” said Parveen. “You told me once about how your family knew some CID people. Flying Squad, you called them. So I told Father, and then called you.”
“I can’t go on like this,” said Azim. “It’s crippling me financially, and my life is a misery.”
“And I have to go back to work at the paper in another three weeks,” said Parveen, “so Dad will be on his own again.”
JP nodded. He sipped at his tea.
The following Sunday JP pulled his Jaguar up round the corner from Vladim’s place of business. A dark warehouse in a dirty backstreet. JP had put three of his men onto them; they had followed, observed, asked questions discreetly. In four days JP had found out everything he needed to know about Vladim and his companions. This week they hadn’t been able to collect from the supermarket; it had been closed Saturday and today.
JP walked to the warehouse. He knocked on the door. A panel opened. “What?” was all the man said.
“My name is Peregrine. I have something for Vladim. From Jilani. At the supermarket.”
The panel closed. The door opened. JP stepped in. The door closed behind him.
A few minutes later a man passed by at the end of the street taking his dog for a late walk. He stopped at the sound. He could hear some cries, shouts, moans, some breaking wood, a few screams, and then crashing glass as the dim figure of a man came flying horizontally out of a ground floor window. Then everything went quiet. The man scurried hastily away with his dog.
JP surveyed the wrecked premises. He took out four of his business cards and tucked them inside the ripped shirts of each of the unconscious men. Then he quietly left.
At the car JP reached for the door handle but stopped midway, staring down at his hand. His mind flashed back.
“Give us the wallet.”
He stared more, the years raced. He was six.
“Give us the wallet.”
“Just wait here, Jimmy.” A huge hand from the tall figure gently pushed the small boy behind him and up against the tiled wall of the deserted underground station. “This won’t take long.”
“Give us the wallet,” someone said again. A knife gleamed.
The tall figure in the overcoat stepped forward towards the gang.
Thirty seconds later the three men were on the ground, with various cuts, contusions and fast-swelling lumps, moaning profusely. The tall figure walked back to the boy. “Come on, son.”
The boy looked up at his father. He was like a giant, the outstretched hand huge but warm and enveloping. They walked past the men on the ground and on through the underground passage. The boy turned his head to look back briefly.
JP smiled. He opened the car door, and drove home.
“They’ve gone, JP,” said Parveen excitedly, on her cell. She was leaving to go back to work. “Nobody’s seen Vladim or any of his mates since you visited them. They’ve vanished.”
“Good,” said JP. He had explained to Vladim this would be his only visit where Vladim and his friends would come out alive, and had suggested they leave. “I’m glad they saw reason.”
“What on earth did you do?”
“Oh, we just had a chat. I think they appreciated my kindly words.”
“And it’s not just Dad, the whole area is clear again, people are so happy. I can’t thank you enough, Jimmy.”
“Any time, I’m pleased it worked out.”
“Where are you, there’s a lot of background noise.”
“I’m at the airport. Got to go away for a quick trip. By the way, I’ve sent you a little present.”
“Oh, you’re really sweet. Thanks. Oh! Oh, I think it’s here!”
“Ok, well I have to run. Bye Parvie. Say bye to your Dad.”
“Bye, JP, and thanks again!”
She hung up the phone, a big smile on her face. She signed for the bouquet and smelled the flowers. She saw the card, and turned it over in her fingers. Then she let out a gasp.
One side of the card was blank. On the other side was a picture. It was of a bird. Of a Falcon. The fastest Falcon. A Peregrine Falcon.
“The man from the papers… the terrorist plot… the one they call The Falcon… It’s JP? JP is The Falcon?”
She looked up from the card, staring into space. The smile became a grin. She shook her head a little, and said quietly to herself, “Thanks, Falcon.”
However now she had another problem. When she was back at work, should she write about it? Or should she keep it quiet?
She wasn’t sure.
In fact it wouldn’t really matter either way. The word was spreading.
The Falcon was in town.
Even on Sundays.
If you have enjoyed THE FALCON ON SUNDAY short story
[_and would like to purchase _]
[_SPIDER 2-3 _]
the links below will take you to your favourite online store:
Nook (Barnes & Noble)
I hope you have enjoyed THE FALCON ON SUNDAY short story. Do please leave a review online – the contact links are below:
Nook (Barnes & Noble)
The Falcon will return
THE FALCON ON SUNDAY
Robert Vallier spent much of his life in music management, covering international touring, recording and theatre production. He created the Into Space! series of lectures and books (which he published) for his close friend the late Sir Patrick Moore. He raised his 3 children as a single parent. Robert holds a private pilot’s licence. He was responsible for sending over 5½ tons of books to needy schools in South Africa as catalogued working libraries. They continue today to enhance the lives of over 12,000 children annually. His favourite airspace is that above California.
Spider 2-3 is his first novel.
This short story was commissioned by The Trinity Mirror Group, London, for their UK national newspaper The Sunday People in its glossy magazine Love Sunday. ≈ Set a couple of months from where Spider 2-3 left off, Jim Peregrine, aka The Falcon, receives a desperate call for help from a friend, whose family are the victims of extortion. And if there's one thing The Falcon doesn't like it's extortion. Especially when it involves people he knows. So The Falcon steps in and decides to visit the gang, to deliver a little more than they expect...