Had Dixon caught a VD infection - AIDS, maybe?
There were two ways to approach it; confront the councillor or seek assistance from the doctor; neither of which would be straightforward. The doctor was out; he’d need a warrant; maybe he could entice the councillor instead?
He stubbed out his fag on the wall, went back inside the parlour, and knocked on the manager’s door, then pushed it open.
Simon Barrow was sitting behind his poky desk studiously examining a number of pictures. Nude girls: potential recruits - probably from Romania. When he looked up and saw Marty, he quickly slid them back into a brown folder. ‘You’re frowning. Didn’t Sylvia take care of you?’
Marty waved the question aside. ‘Simon, I need to borrow her for a short while.’
‘To do a job. Outside.’
‘I’m calling in a favour. If it works out maybe you’ll get a new punter.’
Simon frowned. ‘I don’t understand.’
‘You don’t need to. Just remember the three wise monkeys ... Okay?’
‘It’s all above board, nothing illegal.’ Marty winked. ‘Which we both know is more than some activities here.’
Simon snorted. ‘All my girls are legit.’
Marty pointed a finger at the photo folder. ‘Simon ... give it a rest. Get Sylvia in here, and I’ll explain how a honey trap works.’
When Simon returned with an anxious-looking Sylvia, Marty made her scrub off the excessive make-up. First appearances would be everything. Not too tarty; the mysterious gypsy image would work well. He told her he would finger the target and it was up to her to entice the punter into the massage parlour. Offer a fifty-percent discount – that should do it.
‘What you do with all the punters. And after, when he’s in the shower, come and get me. I’ll be waiting outside.’
Sylvia shook her head. ‘And if he doesn’t want to know.’
‘You’ll be out of pocket ... and on the streets without a work permit.’
Four fags later, Dixon sidled out of Clinic Expressway, and started to walk towards the Cloud Nine massage parlour. Marty nudged Sylvia.
‘That’s him ... the man in the grey overcoat.’
Marty stepped back inside, and found a vantage point where he could observe the front entrance without being noticed. He could make out Sylvia talking to Dixon – Dixon shrugging and shaking his head.
Sod it. He’s not going to fall for it.
Dixon started to walk away – Sylvia was saying something and plucking at his arm. Dixon turned, seemed to accept her entreaties, and allowed himself to be pulled inside.
Marty waited for Dixon to have his fun before raiding his room. It was a perfect set-up. A not too happy Dixon was easy meat for Marty.
‘Councillor, you’re in big trouble.’
They were sitting together in the vacated manager’s office, watching a recorded tape. Marty watched as the implications sunk in. Dixon had lost weight. His hands were trembling, and he seemed very withdrawn, as if he had bigger things to worry about.
‘Marty, it’s all a big mistake.’
Playing the ‘first name” game.
‘Dixon, it’s not a mistake. How do you explain being caught naked in a brothel with a known prostitute?’
Marty pointed to the video clip of a bedroom scene. Dixon in a shower cubicle, girl outside wrapped in a towel. ‘Recorded evidence.’
Dixon stared at the clip, and then stared at him. His frown disappeared. ‘This is most unusual. What do you want?’
Impressive, thought Marty. Very quick on the uptake.
‘Tell me why you visited Clinic Expressway.’
Dixon’s frown returned. ‘What’s that got to do with anything?’
It could be my ‘get out of jail’ card, thought Marty. ‘I’m baffled why you came all the way to Bristol to visit a private clinic.’
Dixon sighed. Held up his hands. ‘Routine test.’
‘You know ... for a VD infection.’
‘Councillor ... stop stone-walling ... you realise the Evening Argus would take a keen interest in your predicament.’
Dixon paused for a moment. Then he appeared to come to a decision. He leant forward.
‘Is this off the record?’
‘Now I’ve told the girl, you might as well hear it from me. They’re treating me for AIDS. It’s a virulent strain.’
Marty sat up straight. ‘And then you came here? A massage parlour ... I can’t believe it.’
Maybe I could. I did - but my result was negative.
Dixon’s face turned red. The words tumbled out. ‘You don’t know what it’s been like. How wretched I feel. How difficult it’s been for me to keep a lid on it.’ He looked beseechingly at his interrogator. ‘I cannot bear to tell my wife, son, or any of my colleagues. The gypsy girl offered me something I had to accept.’
‘You won’t believe it.’
She sensed I had big problems ... maybe she has insights. She asked me if I wanted to talk about it. Like a confession ... so to speak.’
‘And that was all?’
‘So help me God ... yes that was all.’
‘And the shower?’
Dixon hesitated. ‘She said it would help ... you know ... to wash away the guilt.’
‘Not really ... and I’m paying for it. My doctor told me my immune system is not responding to the standard treatment. Today I got a new drug ... AZT.’ Dixon looked up at the ceiling, as if seeking higher guidance. ‘If that doesn’t bloody work, I’m buggered.’ He put his head in his hands and slumped back in his seat.
Marty had heard enough. ‘Okay, Councillor, this is the deal. The bust never took place. Neither did this conversation. You’re free to go.’
It took a while to sink into Dixon’s mind. When he surfaced with a puzzled look on his face, he groaned. ‘What is it you really want?’
‘You owe me one. I might call in a favour soon.’
Dixon nodded as if half-expecting it. ‘And the video clip?’