Profile Three by Dave Field by Dave Field - Read Online

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Summary

Jack Pymble refuses to help export firearms illegally from Australia to New Guinea. A mobster threatens him—Jack accidentally kills the man, and suddenly he's on the run. Mysterious Susan Carter convinces Pymble to fight back. Infatuated by her sexuality, he agrees. There's an arms dealer's meeting—their only opportunity to untangle the mess—in New Guinea, thousands of miles away... Chased by both the mob and the cops, they go for it, using motorcycles, a coach, a stolen car, a prawn trawler and a helicopter. They burst open a plot to seize vast mineral resources...but will they die before they can talk? Genre: Thriller/Suspense Don't miss the sequel: TRAPPING JUDAS [A PROFILE THREE THRILLER]
Published: Whiskey Creek Press on
ISBN: 9781593741686
List price: $3.99
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Profile Three - Dave Field

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out.

Chapter 1

Pymble watched the nearly naked girl carefully as she licked at the ice cream cone. She was gliding her soft pink tongue slowly over the confection, concentrating on what she was doing. He could see the way the edges of her tongue curled to fit the shape she was making, like a tiny, squirming animal in her mouth. She was holding the cone delicately, as if it were a flower, and her exquisitely manicured nails glistened pinkly in the pre-dusk sunlight. Suddenly she stared back at him, and her green eyes widened into a mock innocent expression, because she knew what he was thinking.

He grinned back, and sipped a little of his Scotch. The yacht lifted slightly and turned a few degrees on its mooring so that he could see out beyond the island and off to the horizon over the ocean. An evening sea breeze was rising to caress them, a warm, luxurious air in the tropical night. He turned back to the girl. She was half-reclining on the other banana lounge, and her long black hair hung down straight from the side of her head as she played with the cone. The tiny white chemise had rucked up as she moved around, and her long, perfect legs sprawled languorously, delightfully for his entertainment. He knew there was nothing under the chemise. Except perhaps for one of her perfumes. The ice cream was melting faster than she could eat it and two or three drops fell onto the globe of her breast, curling gently down into her cleavage. Pymble felt himself stirring. The chemise was one of those garments which seem destined to be ripped away in one brutal lunge by a man intent on the pleasures of the flesh—the thin straps were hardly more than strings, the front cut low, and laced almost to the hem with loose ribbon.

The girl had beautiful breasts, quite large and firm, with a trembling tautness that allowed her to wear or not wear a bra as she fancied. The man shivered as more ice cream dribbled, no doubt continuing down past her navel. He tasted the Scotch again. Chivas Regal on the rocks. Life was good.

She stood and flicked the ice cream over the side, tired of it. Abruptly and lithely she lifted her arms and slipped the chemise up and over her head, dropping it to the deck. Without a word she launched herself over the stainless steel safety rail and plunged into the sea. Pymble knew she could swim like a fish. He watched as she cut strongly away from the yacht in an Australian crawl style. They would make love again when she came back. On the deck, with the smell of oiled teak, the jungle plant scents from the island, and the heavy, erotic perfume the girl had touched on her body.

Her breath would be hot and sweet on his neck, and she would writhe and help as he grabbed thick beach towels and pushed them under her back so that he could arch her for the most enjoyable coupling.

He tried a little more of the Scotch. The sun had kissed the horizon. The girl was swimming back, about a hundred metres away. He stood to watch. She was an exotic creature, an adept lover full of skills and tricks bordering on the decadent. He couldn’t get enough of her. The ship’s ladder creaked softly as she climbed on board. Her nipples were engorged, coaxed out by the cool touch of the sea. She dried herself perfunctorily with a towel, then picked up a container of sunning oil and handed it to him.

Would you like to do this for me?

Without waiting for an answer she spread the towel on the deck and lay down on her back. Pymble kneeled by her side, opened the oil and squirted a little onto her abdomen. She wriggled and her breasts performed their little trembling trick.

Don’t miss any!

I won’t!

He slowly smeared the oil over her skin. She felt cool, yet warm beneath. There was a fine, healthy resilience to her musculature. He added more oil and curved his fingers up and over her breasts. She sighed, and slipped a hand carefully up the leg of his shorts, searching…

The office door burst open, and Pymble’s fantasy burst with it. A fat and balding man strutted into the room, his head split like a rotten melon by a sickly grin. Pymble groaned inwardly as the apparition waltzed curvingly towards his corner. Roach was the last person he wanted to see. The man deposited a depressingly thick file on the desk, pointed at it, then wriggled his pendulous arse. His flabby white hand boasted a vile, black-speckled wart, perched immediately behind the second knuckle of the index finger. He was Pymble’s boss, Bertie Roach. The name was appropriate.

Haven’t bought those new shoes yet? Roach inquired, eyebrows raised in mocking inquiry, his faggot’s jowls wobbling.Work up some answers for this file as quick as you can, Jack, it should be about twice or three times what’s shown. There’s a nice chappie!

He spun round, surprisingly light on his feet for such a fat person, and disappeared as quickly as he’d fronted. A trail of Johnson’s Baby Powder lingered behind him in a sickly miasma. Pymble hadn’t spoken a word.

Roach was nauseating. He was homosexual, and a completely colourless person. The man was limned in dull shades, from grey to black, a colourless palette of smudges from the old-fashioned laced shoes at one end of him to the grizzled, sticky hair at the other—sprinkled with dandruff. He inhabited a suit of charcoal grey, greasily shiny over most of its surface. A suit that would probably stand up alone when he squirmed his slug-white, diseased body out of it each evening. Perhaps he doesn’t take it off at all.

Roach wore ‘white’ shirts of a peculiar dead-grey sheen. Pymble didn’t believe faggots were necessarily dirty. But Roach wasn’t clean—there was a seething, fetid, ripe aroma about him. Jack pondered on the shirt as he watched Roach slime away toward the corridor. Mothers know. Those stupid washing powder advertisements aren’t so stupid after all.

With a sigh, he opened the file.

Jack Pymble was a refreshingly clean thirty-six year old failure who wanted out of his government job, but didn’t know how to survive doing anything else. He had short, black, curly hair without, as yet, grey streaks. His eyes were sharply blue and, although he didn’t know it, women found him attractive enough to wish he would try to seduce them. He was a little on the short side, stockily built, with a small beer-gut that came and went, depending on how often or how well he exercised. Jack hated exercising—his popular exercising concept was three hours on a bed with a girl who practised aerobics.

Inside Pymble’s file, paper-clipped to the latest folio, was a hand-written note on a sheet torn from a stenographer’s pad. The note contained the words:

Heffrin. Make this fit.

J.

It had been written in green ink. Pymble pondered briefly on who might have penned the green ‘J’.

He pushed the note to one side and examined the folio. It showed a list of company names, each with a figure for dollars per financial year, and a quota number. The company Bauscombe Systems had its name underlined, and there was a heavily scored circle round the quota number with the words ‘too low’ nearby. Scanning quickly through the paragraphs beneath the list, he gleaned that each company was a supplier of machine tools, each exported, and there was an export quota limit for certain items, controlled by the government.

Obviously, some poor bastard had made a mistake working up the figures to supervise the export quota limit for the company. Jack’d been told to fix it, although he would have thought it would have been a job shoved back at the person who’d made the cock-up. He sighed again, and looked at his watch. It was two thirty-five—no alternative but to begin. He started to work his way back through the file. It was boring, boring shit.

An hour later he decided it was time for a spell, pushing the file away. He eyed his flexitime sheet morosely, then turned on his chair to examine the single filthy, grey window of his office. He couldn’t see through the window from where he was sitting, only look at it. His desk—a scarred wreck—wasn’t placed to allow him the joy of the vista, because Pymble was obliged to share the dank, characterless room, bathing in the lack-lustre light from the window with a friendly, ineffective associate who had the misfortune to be named Onion. Pronounced Onn-Eye-Onn. Onion was a foppish, blond-haired twat who yearned to have people pronounce his name correctly, and he went to enormous, deferent pains to have every one of the people he met know how to do so. Onion was not at his desk, which was a miserable piece of scrapwood as equally scarred as Pymble’s. He was in hospital, where a malicious surgeon was emptying his gums of wisdom teeth and his wallet of money. Pymble liked Onion, because Onion never bothered him. They performed the same tasks, but neither ever queried the other’s output.

Pymble shifted uneasily, and wrinkled his toes. He needed new socks and shoes. Not too deep down in his subconscious, a message was appearing, the words of a phrase he was sure people would fling at him. Your feet stink, Pymble! He remembered Roach’s comment about his shoes and his misery deepened in the helpless knowledge he was broke.

And he hadn’t had a screw for months. Not even an awful one. The fantasies he’d been creating to fill out his working hours had been getting progressively more lurid with the passing of each day.

It was almost four o’clock on a Melbourne Friday afternoon. A limbo time, an empty hopeless vacuum in government circles. Pymble worked for the Commonwealth government. He was a statistician, and God, how he hated it.

The job had appeared (happened to him in a strange sort of way) quite suddenly—fortunately, really. Ten years in a range of work after university had left him disillusioned, and he’d taken a payout, with an idea to making it rich quick—taking what he thought would be a fast track, as the politicians loved to say. He’d been staggering from one small win to the next at the casino tables for months, using his quick mathematical skills to put an edge on the odds, playing Black Jack. Finally, inevitably, he went under. And on exactly the same day he realised he was a failed professional gambler, he’d seen the advertisement in the paper.

Wanted, Government Statistician

He’d applied for it, desperate—and got it in one.

The afternoon slowly eroded, and the pale light struggling through the window abandoned the fight. He decided enough was enough at five-thirty, stored away his calculator—the only item of any value in the room—and made for the outside world. Streets filled with people in a hurry to explore their two day break, to get away from routine. To enjoy.

It was a quick, five-block walk to his bed-sitter—Pymble had been lucky to find the place so close to his office. He paused briefly to buy Chinese food, an evening newspaper. The seafood combination was violently laced with monosodium glutamate and leaked sauce onto the paper. No plans for the weekend, no money, no options. He was depressed enough to stuff the meal down, sitting mindlessly in front of his television. The final thirsty Friday thought passing over Pymble’s mind was,

I hope next week holds something better.

* * * *

Saturday morning burst jarringly into Pymble’s brain as his landlady hammered aggressively on the door of his room.

Hey, Mr. Pymble, phonecall!

She exuded interest in his telephone call, with a thick topping of annoyance. Mrs Stubbs was a horrible jaded woman, given to brilliant colours jarring violently, embarrassingly, with her faded old age.

He shrugged into a T-shirt and jeans, walked downstairs to what passed for a lobby in the dump, and picked up the receiver.

Jack Pymble, can I help you?

Ah, Pymble, rumbled Roach wetly,I wondered if you had managed to fix up those quota figures on Friday?

Jack was astonished. He’d been called at home? On the weekend? By Roach? And he was called about something routine?

What? he stuttered, staring fixedly at the telephone dial.

Look Pymble, I want you to show official data allowing Bauscombe Systems to extend their quota limit, and quickly.

What?

Pymble’s responses were making him sound like an idiot and he knew it.

Roach spoke again.

I could’ve got Onion to do this, you know. But he’s in hospital.

Mr. Roach, I’ve been through the figures, and they’re correct. You’ll get my report on Monday. There is no error.

Look, Jack, replied Roach, in an oily, condescending tone,"When I said ‘fix up the figures’, I meant—fix them up."

An icy, black, sinking sensation saw its genesis in Pymble’s throat and began an endless plummet through his bowels. The miserable lobby appeared to enlarge around him, turning into a dark sphere. His only connection with the rest of the world was the telephone. With revolting Roach at the other end.

He formed the words, his tongue rasping dryly around them,Are you asking me to fiddle the data?

"No, Jack. I’m telling you to do it. Now do it!" Roach hung up.

Jack stared stupidly into the telephone, which did nothing in return save make an equally stupid beeping noise back at him—a faint suggestion of a mechanical cat growling to be released. He hung up.

It stopped growling.

Chapter 2

Monday pushed into Pymble’s existence with a disheartening cold Melbourne drizzle. He made his way to the scruffy office, companioned by other rain-cloaked commuters. Each seemed masked by an even deeper anonymity than usual, as if they were the ghostly images projected from a shadow-throwing machine in a Victorian livingroom. A single, vivid pulse of colour vibrated from a pretty office girl’s scarlet raincoat, serving only to deepen the pervading gloom. He walked on, stepping into the office building stairwell through a shallow pool of greasy water. It was serving as a temporary boating lake to a Colonel Sanders Family Pack roast chicken container. Three limp chips languished in it. They reminded him of Roach.

He climbed the stairs and was rewarded, not with conversation, but with a solid, delightful, arousing explosion of perfume. It charged the air and gave him a transient little erection quite at odds with the misery he was feeling. Pymble hoped the scent had emerged from between Susan’s breasts. In fact, he decided, it could have come from anywhere on her body and been just as enjoyable.

Susan was a typist, a new girl, one of three women in the office typing pool. She was astonishingly attractive. Her hair was rather longer than shoulder-length, slightly curled and very blonde. Pymble’s list of things to find out about Susan included an accurate determination of how natural was her blondeness. She rarely spoke to him—was always pleasant. Her eyes were blue, though not so intense a blue as Pymble’s. She had a light, creamy skin he ached to touch, and what appeared to be very, very long legs. And she was new—an enigma. Rumour was that she had no boyfriend, and no one seemed to know where she’d worked before.

He shook himself, opened the door into the office, and walked in. The mouldering room was as he’d left it on Friday. Empty—dead. He hung his dripping raincoat on what passed for a hat stand, really just good-quality firewood, and took his place behind his desk. The file perched gloatingly where he’d left it. He wished it would go away—knew it wouldn’t. The telephone jangled, exuding a perfect caricature of Public Service personality. Faceless and demanding.

Pymble, Industrial Statistics.

When will you have the Bauscombe figures?

Roach! And so early in the day, too! Jack hesitated, plunged on. He knew he was rooted.

Listen, I’ll go over them again, it’ll take two hours. Maybe I missed something.

Good. Get it right this time. Spruce up your career no end.

Roach hung up in his ear again.

After a weekend of confused and anguished thought, Pymble knew he had three courses open to him. He could resign, follow Roach’s instructions, or bypass him. He couldn’t afford to resign, and his conscience wouldn’t let him lie. The bypass was the only alternative.

Pymble had observed Roach’s boss twice, but never spoken to him. To Jack, he was a very thin, bloodless-looking individual as clean and sharp as Roach was diseased and flaking. That was the extent of his knowledge of the man except for his name, Heffrin. Heffrin was an apparently distant individual—a person who may, or may not help him. Pymble would have to take his chances with the man.

He decided to check his figures first, knowing instinctively he wasn’t in error. The check took him only twenty minutes, and the fact appalled him. He was walking into trouble.

He dialled Heffrin’s number. A voice responded with a brisk, Heffrin! Nothing more. Jack trembled out,

This is Jack Pymble from Industrial Statistics. I’d like to talk to you as soon as possible, Mr. Heffrin.

"What about?’

The figures on Bauscombe Systems.

Silence. For several seconds.

I’ll see you now. And, like Roach before him, Heffrin hung up in Pymble’s ear.

Heffrin’s office was two floors up from Industrial Statistics. A short trip, like going, he thought, to the electric chair. Pymble introduced himself to Heffrin’s secretary. She looked him up and down slowly with malevolent eyes, then spat out,

He’s waiting for you. In!

Heffrin’s office could have easily been a prison cell, since there wasn’t a single indication of habitation from one side of it to the other. Nothing was out of place.

The man was ensconced behind his desk. He was a brilliant manifestation of white shirt, golden wire-rimmed glasses, and glistening bald scalp. In utter contrast to his projected personality, perched to one side of his desk blotter was a small glass jar containing jellybeans. They looked fresh. Pymble wondered if the man actually ate them, or if they were an ornamental affectation.

What is it? Heffrin’s voice could well have been stolen from the makers of automatic telephone answering machines. It was metallic, clear, unaccented. He sat, unmoving, like a sphinx. There was nothing save the jellybeans, a plain glass ashtray, spotless blotter and a telephone. A computer screen sat on an arm clamped to a corner of the desk. Its keyboard was off to one side. It was as though he had nothing to do save listen to Pymble. Heffrin didn’t invite his visitor to sit down.

It’s difficult, Pymble tried to meet Heffrin’s gaze, I’ve been told to do something I’m sure is wrong. That’s why I’m here now.

Go on. Nothing more. A vacuum.

Mr. Roach told me to check on the figures for Bauscombe Systems. They check out okay—I told him they were fine, but he said to make them so that the export quota could be larger. I can’t do that. It’s wrong.

He held out the file. Heffrin made no move to accept it.

Why are you here?

Pymble stared at Heffrin, not understanding. Heffrin stared back at him complacently, and repeated his question.

"I said, ‘why are you here?’"

I’m here because I’ve been told to do something wrong.

The words fell out of Pymble as though they were the stuffing of a teddybear. This wasn’t going well at all.

Mr. Pymble.

Yes?

Mr. Pymble, I think it’s important to remind you of your function. In fact, the function of Industrial Statistics. We exist simply to promote trade with other areas and other countries by showing advantage, of one kind or another, as is appropriate. What is the problem?

Pymble squinted. The rain-splattered light from Heffrin’s startlingly clean window, so different from his own, hurt his eyes as he looked around for inspiration. He blurted the words out:

I’ve been told to fiddle figures! I can’t do that. What kind of place is this, if we don’t produce the truth from our data?

Heffrin leaned back in his chair. His gold-rimmed glasses flashed soullessly—blank.

How old are you, Pymble?

The man’s words were contained within a gloss of condescension so obvious that Pymble, even in his mortification, could feel his neck redden as anger erupted.

What point is there in my working here if the data I produce is crap? What’s going on? What’s so bloody special about Bauscombe Systems?

"I said, ‘How old are you’, Pymble?"

Heffrin’s fingers were spatulate, confident as he produced a handkerchief and proceeded to remove and polish his spectacles, without once taking his gaze from Pymble.

Jack stepped forward and raged on.

Don’t talk down to me! What’s going on?

Heffrin slowly, smugly replaced his glasses, then replied offhandedly,

I don’t know who or what you think you are, Pymble, but your continued existence as a member of this organization is based directly on your performance. You will either produce the information as required, or resign. Do I have to attempt greater clarity then that?

Some restraining part of Pymble’s mind, something like a dam, burst open at the effrontery, the callous disregard in Heffrin’s attitude. He leaned forward over Heffrin’s desk and spat out a reply. Quiet, moderated, apart from the last two words of his message.

"I will neither resign nor generate dummy data. I’m taking this further. Fuck you!"

He stormed out, so infuriated he lost his balance in Heffrin’s doorway, bruising his shoulder on the polished wood.

Heffrin sat for a while after Jack’s departure. As still as a lizard. Eventually, he dialled a number and spoke quietly.

We have a problem with a man of principle in Industrial Statistics. I think he’s going to talk to the wrong people about the Bauscombe review. It’s Pymble.

He listened for a few seconds, then returned the handpiece to its rest.

Chapter 3

Seething with anger and frustration, Pymble returned to his office. He flung the file onto his desk and collapsed onto his chair. It creaked and produced an ominous splintering noise. The least of his worries. He couldn’t order his thoughts, didn’t have the remotest notion of what he could do—other than empty his desk and walk out.

The door pushed open and Susan walked in, carrying a clipboard. He hadn’t heard her tip-tapping towards the room. She was wearing a blue woollen dress matching her eyes perfectly. It was offset by white high-heeled shoes. On one of her wrists was a simple white plastic bracelet. The dress moulded to her figure