It was cruel and cold winter morning. People were rushing around, going up and down the streets in their dark suits and jackets, all looking the same. Michael Bishop was driving to work that morning. He looked at his watch, 7:01. He then gazed around as he travelled very slowly in the morning rush, people rushing in and out of Notting Hill Gate Station. After the traffic jam had died down and Michael managed to creep forward to make a left turn but suddenly a speeding taxi sped towards him like a bullet. The cab attempted to swerve but it crashed into the front left wheel of Michael’s car and the rear end of the cab flew up into the air over its front and slammed into the bonnet on Michael’s Ford. Both cars were unable to move.
As Michael opened his eyes he saw the black paint of the taxi through the shattered windscreen, although his vision was blurry he could make out the wing mirror. He unclipped his seatbelt and pulled it away from his chest. His breathing was deep. He was dazed but he managed to step out without falling and soon felt his normal self. Surprisingly neither Michael nor the driver of the cab was severely harmed but sometimes Michael wished that he had been injured. Unfortunately for Michael it was no ordinary cab. It was being driven by Oliver Messorelli, a head mobster part of London’s declining old school mob. Having searched the taxi after the crash, the police sent Messorelli to prison for five years.
Messorelli had Michael kidnapped and forced him to work for a man named James Nayman, a gang member working for him at the time. Bishop was working to compensate for the time that he had spent in prison. This included meeting other gang bosses and collecting items but it was not the perfect job for Michael. He was not suited to getting shot at or punched. Michael was not too keen on holding a weapon or the risks he made and he didn’t always please Nayman, often making mistakes, but in his eyes it was the only way that Bishop could repay him. Michael endured this hardship and was soon about to come to his final day working in the gang.
Michael was sitting in the waiting area having just failed to do an errand for Nayman. It was a small room with about six old chairs, which were once light green and covered in a geometric pattern but now were faded to dull beige. The walls and ceiling had tiny cracks in the corners, it was apparent that not much work had been done to improve the room in a while. The only thing in the room that seemed new was the desk of a receptionist. Michael had become familiar with the dull colours of the room and the sight of beige carpeting. After what seemed like an eternity, Michael was called in to Messorelli’s office. This room was also dull in colour but a lot nicer, no cracks were visible but there may have been some covered by large bookcases filled with books, he also had some beautiful paintings on the walls. Rather than old squeaky chairs, Messorelli had comfortable leather seats.
“Do ya have the package?” said Nayman, hoping that a job had been done correctly.
“Well…” began Michael.
“Every single time, Mike!” interrupted Nayman, “Can you not do anyfin’ right?”
“I can explain what happened.” answered Michael, as he saw Nayman’s face sink into his hands. “I told Sarah that I needed the car and, listen to this, she says that she needs it to go shopping. We get into an argument and she hides the keys!” he said, as Nayman stared at him with a puzzled look on his face. “Things got messed up and, I think that, maybe things turn out a certain way for a reason.”
“You really are a fool. I tell ya what, you take a flight to Ecuador, pick up some necklace and bring it and the guy who gives it to you to Oxford, where Messorelli will be, simple as that.” said Nayman.
“I thought that because Messorelli’s out of prison that I’d now done my final job.” replied Bishop.
“But you didn’t do ya last job. You messed it up.” said Nayman.
Michael went home and told his wife, Sarah, about the trip he would have to make. She was not happy, the main reason being that Michael would miss their anniversary and not be able to go out with her because of work yet again. There was a huge argument, things were broken, smashed and ripped.
When Michael arrived at Quito airport he got a rental car. The car was an old Fiat in red, it was very small and the paint was fading but other than that it was fine. He travelled to a town called Caldern. The paving was uneven and the houses were brightly coloured in an attempt to cover up how unattractive they were. He only saw young children and elderly people in rocking chairs listening to their radios in groups. It seemed as though only these people lived there as they were the only people that he could see during the day but as night turned the people disappeared into their homes and the streets were emptied.
Michael had been told to go to a bar called El Alamo and meet a young man named Anthony Beck. He got out of his car and placed a pistol in his waist band, the gun fell to the floor showing how unprofessional he really was, he looked around to check that nobody had seen and picked up the pistol. As Michael entered the bar he saw that it was almost empty, the lighting in the room was very poor, just one bulb hanging which occasionally flickered for the whole place. The walls were covered in peeling turquoise wallpaper, they were dirty and stained. Michael went up to the barman and asked where he could find Beck.
The barman glared at him suspiciously and then pointed into the corner of the bar to a group of three people that Michael did not previously notice. Michael went up to the men and asked which of them was Anthony Beck. A fairly short man with a moustache that did not look particularly well groomed looked up. He was wearing large black spectacles with thick lenses and a red baseball cap. Beck knew why Michael was there and without saying anything withdrew the white cloth and revealed the necklace to him. It was beautiful, made from thin rectangles of precious stones lined with gold. Each stone shimmered in the light, they were all different; some shiny, others had a matte look with beautiful textures. There were a range of colours mostly reds, blues and greens.
Beck covered the necklace in the cloth and looked at Michael in a strange manner. “This necklace was made by an Inca craftsman for the best warrior to wear in battle. The warrior to first get the pride of wearing it was soon challenged to a battle for the necklace, he was killed and the challenger claimed the necklace and the pride. Every warrior wanted it but it was soon clear that the necklace brought bad luck. Every challenge for this beautiful necklace, the holder of it was killed. Bad luck was brought to the wearer of the necklace in battle. Nobody was ever successful in war with it; people say that this striking piece of jewellery is cursed. Even ten years ago someone was holding it, after stealing it, and tried to shoot a gun, it backfired and killed them.”
After some drinks Michael and Beck left the bar, Beck was drunk and stumbling around while Michael was supporting him. Michael saw a pair of drunks shooting pistols in the air as they walked past. Michael put the necklace along with his passport in the glove box of the car and as he turned back he saw Beck lying on the floor dead, he had been hit by one of the drunkard’s bullets unluckily for Michael, Beck was part of the job and he was unaware that Beck was Messorelli’s grandson. Michael rang a man named Terry, Nayman’s second in command. He was going to try and sort things out. Just as Michael had finished his telephone call with Terry he heard the sound of a car driving away. It was his; he had lost both his car and the necklace.
Back in London, Sarah went to the West End show on her own, as a sign of protest. During the show she went to the lavatory and there a tall, thin man came in and held her at gunpoint whilst covering her mouth to ensure that nobody could hear her scream. He told her to calm down and as he was speaking he heard a noise. He left her in the cubicle and was looking around for the cause of the noise. Suddenly a shorter and slightly more portly man came from behind the door of the open toilet door and shot the other man dead. He took Sarah out of the theatre after calming her down and demanded her to show him her car in his American accent. They sped off. He told Sarah that his name was Brian, that he worked for Nayman and that he wanted the necklace.
Michael found a very small hotel in Calderï¿½n which he managed to stay the night in. This building was very brightly decorated like the others but it didn’t seem as dirty or old. He slept well and in the morning he was just looking for a place to get food and he saw his car about two hundred yards away. He went over to it and saw two men sleeping in it he knocked on the window. One of the men woke up and got out of the car he then punched Michael in the stomach and pulled him to the car. The other man had woken up and held him in the car preventing his escape. Then they drove away into territory unfamiliar to Michael.
They had been driving for hours with the sun heating the car and no air conditioning to cool them down. The man in the back seat, next to Michael had, fallen asleep. He had a lot of stubble and bushy eyebrows. He dribbled as he slept and Michael had to hold his nose every time he breathed. Michael saw this as his chance to escape, he carefully removed his belt so that he didn’t make any suspicious noises and looped the belt over the head of the driver and pulled back as hard as he could, the driver didn’t have time to scream, he tried to slip his fingers between the belt and his neck but it was too tight. Soon he stopped struggling. Michael got out of the car and pulled the driver out; he wasn’t sure if he was dead or just unconscious, he didn’t wait to find out. He went around the car and cautiously lifted the sleeping man out of the car and laid him on the ground. He got in the driver’s seat and checked the glove box. His passport and the necklace were fortunately still there.
Michael rang Sarah to inform her that he was getting a flight back home to Heathrow. Brian and Sarah got in the car and made their way to the airport. Sarah was not so afraid now, she realised that she was a hostage and thought it was unlikely that she would be killed, unless the five years of this dirty work he had been forced into Michael had changed from an ordinary man to a back-stabbing money-grabber. She had strangely become familiar with her kidnapper, who now seemed almost a friend. They had talked about friends, books and food. He seemed less like a kidnapper and more like a ‘guest’.
When they met at the airport Sarah introduced Brian to Michael and they decided to make the transition of the necklace in a less crowded place. They drove along the M40 towards Oxford as they were going past a field one of their tyres burst. They stopped to change it. Michael got out and started to remove the other one. He was shocked as he saw that Brian was pointing a gun at his back in the reflection of the hubcap. Brian then put his gun back and offered to help with the tyre. Michael then stood behind Brian, pulled out his pistol and shot him. Sarah heard the gunshot and began to cry. Michael tried to calm her and stop the tears from falling down her face as he explained that Brian was a fake. He had met Brian at a party once and he was not American, he was tall and thin. He had been killed back at the West End.
Michael let Sarah wear the beautiful necklace as they were driving through the town, before he handed it over. Nayman was waiting for them in an alleyway for Brian to give him the necklace. He saw Michael alive in the car and shoved a gun at Michael’s head, “Give me the necklace, Bishop!”
“It’s in the car. Please don’t kill me!” begged Michael
Sarah heard the call of her husband and thought quickly. She picked up his gun from the seat and could see Nayman walking towards her. She got out of the car aimed the gun at Nayman. Michael quickly remembered the curse of the necklace and what Beck had said. He tried calling, telling her to not shoot but it was too late. She had fired. Nayman turned to Michael stood still for a moment, apparently unharmed, but then revealed a bullet hole in his neck, he fell to the ground. Michael ran to see if his wife was injured. He hugged her before she fell to the floor in panic. They were now both killers. They did not know what to do next.