Imperfect: Scene 10 – Followed
I woke up just after nine in the morning, feeling a little refreshed, but hungover from my extended stay with Special Branch. It was going to take some time to work out how to play this out, because although I wasn’t in a cell, there was no reason to believe that I was out scot free.
As I lay pondering this I suddenly remembered that it was Sunday. I jumped out of bed and made for the shower room, I needed Huw to be looking his best for his habitual trip to Church. I had a quick shower, shave and briefly polished a pair of brogues. Then I dressed in Huw’s finest tweed suit, and a freshly ironed shirt from the wardrobe. I always took these to a cleaner round the corner so there was a fresh supply.
It took about half an hour to get ready and then I went out, although not before I made sure to leave Huw’s terminal behind. It wouldn’t do to use any of my normal anti-surveillance techniques with Huw. It would simply confirm to the Special Branch boys and girls that I was in fact worth following.
So I went out the front door, locking it behind me as is normal for Huw. Then I walked to the end of the street and turned the corner towards the college chapel. After I’d gone about 50 metres along this street I stopped suddenly, patted down all my pockets, and then shook my head and turned round to walk back to Huw’s place. As I did so I kept a good eye out for anyone that had been behind me, and also for any vehicles with people in them that I might not have noticed when walking in the other direction.
Almost as I got to the front door I spotted a man walking a dog who had been there for the whole time and his dog was still sitting patiently on the pavement over the road. A little further along was a tell-tale van, which had pulled up since I had left the flat. I went inside and retrieved the terminal I had deliberately left behind, I made sure that I would know if they had been in by taking a comparison snapshot and saving it locally on the terminal. Then I went back out to continue my walk to the college chapel.
On the way I saw DC Fletcher in an apparently amorous embrace in a doorway over the road. The man with the dog, and a couple of other faces, also re-appeared along my journey. There were at least five of them following me in turns. Mostly they seemed to know where I was going and leapfrogged in front of me, which meant that they also had a couple of backup vehicles as well. I did my best to ignore them and pretend I was oblivious to it all, as Huw would be.
The Service didn’t start until 11, and I got to the vicinity of the chapel about 10:30. So I went looking for some breakfast. One of the porters helpfully suggested a nearby cafe on a back street and I went in for a bacon sandwich and a large mug of tea. I was left on my own in there, although I could see a chap in a car sitting watching from across the road. I carefully didn’t make eye contact. I spent longer than I needed to in there, because I wanted to test them a little. I could see a clock on the wall, and at almost the last minute I made a show of checking my wrist watch, jumped up, threw some money on the table and then dashed out of the cafe and ran back to the College. I just made it to the chapel with a minute to spare. I caught my breath in my usual pew near the front of the chapel as the service began.