Mr. smooth-talking Carstairs had set him up by appealing to his charitable nature in front of Sophie and the nurse. He would have looked a right uncaring son-of-a-bitch if he had turned down a blood test; it couldn’t hurt, he’d play it from there.
Albert looked up as he signed out at the front desk. The Sun crossword was pushed to one side. ‘Early today, Mr. Angers?’
Early today? Cheeky sod.
‘Something’s come up. Needs my expertise,’ he replied. ‘That’s the problem when you’re a DCI; at everyone’s beck and call.’
Albert sniffed. ‘I know what you mean. I’m snowed under as well.’
Then a voice at his back. ‘You got a minute, Orson?’
Orson threw a ‘see what I mean?’ glance at Albert. ‘If it won’t take long, Sir...’
By the time he arrived at the clinic, long overdue for his appointment, he’d had enough. The DCS had dumped another pile of reports onto his desk. No apologies; just a kick up the backside to get a result.
On the way to reception he popped his head round Sophie’s room, but she was asleep. She looked pale and withdrawn, poor kid.
‘Ah, there you are.’
Orson turned. Mr. Carstairs was frowning, and tapping his watch. ‘You’re late.’
Stating the bleeding obvious.
‘I got held up. Murder enquiry.’
‘I see.’ A blank look on the consultant’s face, as if he didn’t see at all. ‘Anyway, what matters is that you’re here.’ He pointed to the reception desk. ‘Fill in the forms and we’ll get underway.’
Orson signed his life away: agreed to take suitability tests; if suitable, agreed to donate a kidney – he added the word “consider” to donate; and agreed not to hold the clinic responsible for World War 3.
And then agreed that he needed to sit down and have a cup of tea: milk, two sugars and several digestive biscuits. Before - and after - the blood tests.
Whisky would have been better.
Mr. Carstairs perched next to him on the couch and glanced over the forms; he looked pleased. ‘I see your blood type is O. Sophie’s blood type is B. Good match.’
First hurdle overcome.
Orson screwed up his face. ‘Oh, good.’
Mr. Carstairs gave him a funny look, but continued. ‘Once we’ve confirmed the blood types, we utilise two main testing processes; tissue matching, and cross matching. Those tests are complex, and we won’t know the results for a while.’
Antigens and Antibodies? It was all very confusing, and most of it went over Orson’s head.
Mr. Carstairs stood up and shook his hand. ‘Come back in two weeks. The receptionist will give you an appointment card.’
Two weeks to find a killer.
Only it was worse than that. Outside the clinic his phone rang. He pressed the talk button
‘Is that DCI Angers?’
‘Who are you?’
‘DI Andy Hillock, Bristol CID.’
‘Yes, I’m DCI Orson Angers. What’s up?’
‘I can’t get through to your DCS, seems like he is unavailable. All calls have been diverted to this number.’
Probably out on the golf course, more like. Orson sighed. ‘I guess this isn’t a courtesy call.’
‘That’s right. We found a dead body in a ditch near the M5. A known tom who might be connected to your investigation.’
‘You want me there, pronto, eh?’
‘Much appreciated, Mr. Angers.’
‘Okay, give me the location, and I’ll rustle up a team.’
‘Err ... not a team. My DCS said just one SIO. It’s a courtesy; we don’t want any treading on toes.’
Orson understood only too well the politics. Senior Investigating Officers were very territorial; even if they were based in the same county. But he made it quite clear where he stood. ‘DI Hillock ... if it’s connected to Operation Venus, there’ll be plenty of toe-treading.’
Hillock grunted. ‘That’s not my call. Now do you want the location, or not?’
Cheeky upstart, talking to me like that. Orson got out his pocketbook, and grumbled his way through the details. He was about thirty miles away. ‘Okay, I’ll be there soon.’ He gave Hillock his car registration. ‘Make sure you warn the plods to let me through.’
Hillock said he would, and ended the call. Orson fumed. It hadn’t been a good day, and it wasn’t finished yet.
So much for an early night.