When he awoke, he was tied to a chair in the recreation room. As well as the presence of his host, there were two lions sleeping on the floor.
"My pets actually. I was expecting someone else today, but he would have used the front door."
"Have you trained them?" asked the Sneaky Spy.
"Oh yes, and they're far more helpful than guard dogs. You'll find out how efficiently they dispose of my enemies, when I've concluded our interview. Did you find this place through Miles Blackshaw?"
Percy said nothing. He was wondering about the lions.
"Well don't bother answering. There's no other explanation that does fit. When those animals wake up, they'll be hungry."
Percy's host stopped to spray a fly that had begun to disrupt his facial comforts.
"You'll have to forgive the smell of that stuff, but my upstairs rooms have no flyscreens, and I am missing one down here, thanks to you. You're wondering how I knew you were here. Simple. Something aroused my pets. So I had a quiet look around while they retired to this room for a rest. They'll wake up unfed, but I don't think that your rope bonds will get in their way too much. Whatever trouble you've caused up until now, you won't be causing any more."
The apparent owner of the house left the room, closed the door and left Percy to his fate. It seemed that all of his secret pen weapons were still in his pockets, but he was unable to reach them.
"Even if I did, what use they would be against two hungry beasts I don't know," thought the Sneaky Spy, "Still there's one thing I know for sure: I'm better off free than tied up."
Struggling with his bonds, Percy managed to unlatch his watchband and remove the small razor blade. He cut savagely at his bonds, but the process took time.
He had only just finished freeing his wrists, when one of the lions opened its eyes. Thankfully his feet had not been tied. He used the chair for protection and backed up to the table, as the lion closed in on him.
Then the other animal came to life. The Sneaky Spy dug his hand into his outer left breast pocket and found the cigarette lighter still there. He seized it, dropped the chair and ducked behind the table. Then his free hand picked up the can of fly repellent.
"Now I'm ready for those oversized Korean delicacies," he thought.
He raised the cigarette lighter and held it in front of the spraycan and lit the flame. Then as the first lion came towards him, he stared at it with sweat pouring down his face.
"I'm about to find out whether or not this concoction really gets rid of all household pests," he said.
With the flame in the path of the nozzle, Percy pressed the spraycan and adjusted the position of the lower component of his two piece flamethrower.
"Since you've probably had other unwanted guests for dinner and planned on doing it to me, it is only fair that I make a lion roast out of you," said the Sneaky Spy, as the beast's body hairs burst into flame.
The second animal failed to learn any lesson of caution from the live cremation scene that passed before its eyes. Ignoring the awful wailing growl of its companion, which did not last for a very lengthy period of time, the second lion came towards the Sneaky Spy. Percy turned to point his improvised weapon at the beast, and ushered it out of good health and lasting livelihood with a blast that was slightly burning his own hand. There was no damage to his fingers, but he would have welcomed the opportunity to douse them in cold water at that point.
What remained of the twin monarchs of the jungle would not have appealed to anybody's concept of beauty. Percy surveyed the horrid mass of hair and half exposed limbs that was even then still burning.
"It seems as if one druglord is going to spend a period of time in deep mourning," thought the Sneaky Spy, "but it's definitely his own fault. He should, after all, take more trouble to feed his pets properly. Oh well, christian adventurers: one; lions: zero."
Satisfied with his two executions, Percy Dale left the can on the table, pocketed his cigarette lighter and left the room by the same door that his host had used to depart. He ascended the stairs again, with his tranquiliser dart gun held firmly in his hand. Apparently his host had been so sure of his plans to make a lions' luncheon out of Percy, that he had not bothered to search the Sneaky Spy for weapons. When he again reached the office, he found the door open; and the host - who sat at the desk - had yet to notice his approach.
"I'm afraid the summer heat was all too much for your pets," said the Sneaky Spy, "but we might still be able to enjoy a revealing conversation, if you get your hands above your head, rather than in that drawer you're reaching for - now!"
The man at the desk complied.
"Now who are you?" asked the Sneaky Spy.
"Angus Lintel, businessman."
"Druglord and possible murderer."
"You can prove none of that."
"Open your safe."
"Or I'll open it myself, while you're confessing your sins to no avail in the next life," said the Sneaky Spy.
Again the man complied. Angus appeared to value his life, even when threatened with the need to change it dramatically. From his safe, Angus removed a few wads of cash and several packets of that substance which some children would be excused for believing was the ingredients for cheesecake.
"Well I would hate to have all sorts of stoned flounder breathing your powdercake presents into their gills. So we won't pour them down the sink, but you can expect to part with them today."
"Why should you want it?" asked Angus.
The man was probably stalling for time.
"Well I haven't had much success manufacturing my own gunpowder, and I was hoping to have found the missing vital ingredient. It's just a flimsy little hope, but maybe I can utilize your powder piles to help me make things go bang."
"No really, why can't we explore possible angles in which I could be of benefit to you?" asked Angus.
"As I've already told someone, my angle was and might still be terror. Why people who have made attempts on my life expect to win me into their confidence with bribes and appeals I don't know; but it is really an insult to your own intelligence if you plan to buy me off now. Just put the last of it down on the desk ... thank you, and move away from it."
Angus Lintel complied with Percy's instructions, and the Sneaky Spy stepped over to the desk, still covering Lintel with his tranquiliser dart gun. He opened the top drawer and removed an automatic revolver.
"Do you remember my angle, Angus? I still don't know just what to do with you. Perhaps, if you could tell me who murdered the parents of Samuel and Eleanor Sharpe, then I might let you out with several major inconveniences. Otherwise the world might just have to do without you from now on."
The beads of sweat began to form on Angus Lintel's forehead, and the Sneaky Spy was pleased to see them.
"Yes Angus, I felt that way myself, when your pair of unfed animal assailants began to stalk me in the recreation room. I think you'll have to disappear, Angus. I can't see that anyone would benefit from your remaining in this house to cause further havoc."
"It was Paul Gillespie. He lives at 37 Billiard Street or Road or something, very near Kings Cross itself. He killed the Sharpes."
"Thank you," said the Sneaky Spy, and his finger tightened on the trigger.
Angus Lintel finally awoke. He was not in his office, or anywhere else in his house.
"I've been moved, but where?" he thought, wondering if his captor had mercifully chosen to avoid turning him over to the police and wondering why.
"The gun wasn't a real revolver. Somehow I seem to remember it fired silently, and I was hit with a dart. The dart must have had a sleeping drug in it. Whoever that guy was, he was clever. I'm surrounded by bushes, and I've been out of it for a while. I seem to feel very hungry too. What's this in my pocket?" thought Angus.
He opened a letter and read it:
I hope you can appreciate that the work of the drug lords is not
appreciated by the more healthy minded people of Sydney. Handing you over
to the tardy effects of our highly congested legal system would be unlikely to
produce the results that I want. I've had the same trouble with drug pushers
released on technicalities before, after I have caught them.
This left me with the options of turning you loose or bumping you off. As you
can see, I have chosen the former option. You are free to live your life out as
you see fit, with no identification, passports or money left on your person.
Consider yourself free from the effects of Australian justice ... somewhere in
I'm really not joking, you know. It won't be that bad for you. I'm sure it won't
be worse than the fates which would have befallen Samuel and Eleanor Sharpe,
if I hadn't enlisted in a cause. You were right about my tracing you through
your highly cooperative middleman Miles Blackshaw. I have put an end to his
chance to earn an indecent living as well.
By the time you have grown accustomed to this new environment of yours, I
will probably have delivered Paul Gillespie to the police. You may find my
method of retribution a tad unusual, but then so am I. Remember me in your
dreams. I am the Sneaky Spy.
The Sneaky Spy.
PS. If you ever come to your senses, you might consider the necessity of
turning to God to have your sins forgiven. If you get as far as becoming
a Christian yourself (and therefore saved from eternal death), you might
have a suitable vocation. Remember that there's often a need for
missionaries in Africa.
I shall do my best to see that your mansion sells for a price that will
greatly increase the funds I've collected for the Sneaky Spy drug
rehabilitation members anonymous club, or something like it, if a
business manager of yours I learned of, while exploring your house
helps me work the transaction in order to purchase my silence about his
involvement with you. Be a good boy in the future. It was tempting to
offer your inner components to anyone needing a transplant.
"Well he might eventually find passage back to Australia," said the Sneaky Spy, "but I doubt that he'll be prosecuting me for the deportation operation performed by Brin Decembar - a fast flight to Africa with intravenous food injections."
"It was a dramatic step to take, Percy," said Jenny
"I didn't tell Gillespie or the police what we've done with Lintel. They'll think he's done a runner on them, like Blackshaw. I think it's the best we can do, for the purpose of preventing Lintel from adding to the corruption of Kings Cross.
"So now you're going to go after Paul Gillespie?"
"With dedication and devotion to duty," said the Sneaky Spy.
"Does he have the opportunity to travel overseas as well?"
"No. He has the opportunity to confront the only daughter of his two murder victims ... in a federal court room. He will have that chance anway, if I can arrange it."
With the need to secure a conviction using the proper legal channels, Percy Dale asked his friend Inspector Higgins to arrange a liason with the inner city police. The old matter of evidence was still a serious consideration.
"Angus Lintel, one of Gillespie's fellow drug lords left the country after I had managed to acquire his information about the murder of the Sharpes," said the Sneaky Spy, "I don't think you'll catch up with Lintel."
"We can arrest Sharpe's most likely killer - based on that evidence - on suspicion of murder. Then it would be up to the courts to hold a fair trial," said the sergeant, "Apparently Gillespie seldom leaves his house, and if he does, he goes by taxi far away from the city. Several other people have been seen going to and from his house over the years. It's as if he does all his work by proxy through his underlings."
"Then you've been watching him?"
"For years. We've been aching to hang something on Paul Gillespie, but he doesn't make it any easier by hiding away."
The sergeant, dressed in plain clothes, accompanied Percy Dale to the Gillespie residence and made the arrest.
"Of all the flimsy cases," he said to Percy in privacy, "In his own mind, he's probably laughing at our chances of convicting him."
"Let's go ahead with the trial anyway," insisted the Sneaky Spy. Charge him with drug related crimes, and if the police prosecutor loses the case, it will still damage his credibility a little."
"Bring in the accused," said the judge.
"Don't worry too much," whispered Percy to Eleanor, "We'll be doing our best to convict him."
Then he noticed a mixture of surprise and misunderstanding on her face.
"It's him. I'm sure it's him," she whispered.
"Who? The killer?" returned the Sneaky Spy, "but you never saw the killer. You said that you only knew of the murder from an underworld leak of information."
"It's not the killer," she whispered, and her next statement was heard by everyone in the courtroom, "It's Dad!"
The Sneaky Spy saw everything then, but it took the courts a lot longer to prove it. After a week of hearings, he led Eleanor away from the scene where her father was sentenced to life imprisonment.
"It's still too horrible to believe," she said.
"You can't have been expected to know," said the Sneaky Spy in his best attempt to soothe her nerves, "He changed his name from Sharpe to Gillespie and hardly set foot out of his new home, financed by the proceeds from his drug sales. I'll do what I can to help you and your brother, but nobody can ever make this up to you, and I won't try to pretend otherwise."
The Sneaky Spy was tired and weakened from a mixture of despair and disgust. He could not go on battling a veritable industry of crime on his own, especially when it was condensed so heavily into one urban location - that curious blend of lively streets and poverty stricken victims of the injustices which plagued those streets.
The enormity of the adventure sank deeply into his heart, and he felt an emotional paralysis. Sharpe's wife had learned too much about his involvement in drugs. So to protect his own interests, he had murdered her and estranged his own children.
A sickening undercurrent of hopelessness dwelt privately in the mind of Percy Dale. There had to be some other people who were prepared to battle the evils he had encountered. For one broken family, he might have made an impact, but that was as relatively insignificant as washing one brick on a dirty neglected wall.
Jennifer Winters was happy to have him home safely again, and that in itself was reward enough. However, Percy Dale would never forget what transpired in that courtroom: the irony that a man who had supposedly expected to easily escape the consequences for two suspected murders had been caught out and punished for what was actually only one murder. As he reflected on the extent to which the world had decayed in its morality since the fall of Adam and Eve, he knew that some of his personal reminders of those symptoms would lurk in his thoughts forever.