The Magisterium Committee sure is leaky ship. Our deliberations on who to entrust with the task of eliminating Labourista Magisterium Livingstone, and his army of nasty lizards, seem to known to just about everyone.
First I'm down Little Sicily Working Dons Club when Toby McSleazy, a freelance tabloid paparazzi of my acquaintance, crawl up to me at bar and rasp
"Liberali, oi 'ear that Signor Opik, the Estonian Strangler, may 'ave designs on the man in the big glass lampshade on the Thames... u 'ave any comment on that?"
"You crazy McSleazy, what give you idea like that?"
"Let's say a little bird was at the Magisterium's 'London Territories loves Eastern Europe' party last week and Signor Opik woz not impressed by just 'ow much love Signor Livingstone was suggesting he'd like to show to the Strangler's Romanian companions. It woz proably the suggestion about breaking down border controls and his open door policy that really did it."
"He proud paisan" I say "nothing more than a little rivalry between men of honour. You looking in wrong place for man to whack the Newt-Master."
"oi think we will see won't we Don Liberali..." he say slinking off into corner of bar to molest a bowl of cashew nuts and eyeball a young-looking barmaid.
Anyhow, my actual job this week was to vet real contender for button-job. Signor Paddick is ex-Untouchable who used to hang out with Inspector Blair the dodgy Labouristi pig who pick me up last month. Paddick and Blair hate each other ever since Blair attempt cover-up for rogue Untouchable unit that whack Brazilian tourist by mistake when following Blair instructions to pick up something Arab-looking in Paddick's Lambeth turf.
And that's where I am now to meet Paddick in favourite cafe off Kennington Rd. The Amsterdam Connection is not my usual haunt. Outside it all green, red and black and large leafy plants fill windows. Through door I almost choke on sweet-smelling smoke that invade lungs and avoid tripping over student wearing 'touch my bong' t-shirt crashed out horizontally just inside.
"Err... like cool... thanks man... peace... try the Stockwell Oval it's like... the bomb..." he burble before passing out again
"LIBERALI... is that you..." scream a voice from the back of the cafe "GORGEOUS trench coat... and where did you get those shoes... they're to die for... mmm the combination... it's just so spine-tinglingly old-world Sicilian... you must let me know who your tailor is... I bet he could do wonders with some crepe and a good trilby..."
He then give me full-bodied hug and smack on the lips
"Er... thank-you" I say "You must be Signor Paddick, Signor Davey send me to check you out for Don Campbell."
"I bet he did, the naughty tease, such rugged charm... why don't you park your pecs under the Van Eyck and unleash something special from the menu while I go tinkle the little Sergeant..."
He disappear off to little room at the back.
I sit down and glance at menu before ordering an espresso with a little afternoon chocolate cake. Soon Signor Paddick rejoin me and we get down to business.
"So Signor Paddick, you know why we here, the Magisterium create plenty trouble for Liberali family and Untouchables alike through creatures like Blair. Are you man to do something about it?"
"Oooh I think so," he say "Livingstone, he's such a ghastly little man, and the way he dresses, it looks like he fell out of the nylons reject rack at Primark. And besides that he's trying to replace this cafe with a 50-story towerblock made from..." and he shudder "brushed Aluminium and faux-wood concrete... ugh."
"O.k... so you got heart" I say nibbling my cake "but how you going to do it, Signor Livingstone hard man to reach."
"Well I've been thinking about that" he say adopting a less flamboyant posture "A solo assassin won't do it, you've tried that, and besides he has too many people with a vested interest in his projects that owe him favours. What you need is an army, a coalition of the dispossessed who Livingstone has railroaded with his crooked property deals, transport scams and massive protection payment rises."
"I'm listening" I say "How do we find these people"
"We start here Liberali."
I look around, apart from shimmery glow that outline denzins of cafe, which is really cool and make me feel kind of floaty, I not sure I see much here that amount to muscle. A little bearded man in a plaid shirt keel over and vomit in display of novelty clogs. Signor Paddick detect my scepticism.
"They don't look like much now Liberali he say" flickering slightly with pleasant orange hue "But give me 8 months and the use of the Liberali printing presses across the London Territories and you'll see what I mean. Oh, and I'd also like two guns, a big one in chrome, with inlaid gold filigree, military walnut grips, and laser targeting with night-vision... and something dainty for my fanny-pack... oh and nothing Russian."
I nod smiling, Brian is my best friend and I give him big hug, before walking out to report good news to Signors Brake and Davey. I barely notice trail of cashew nuts by door, or sound of furious scribbling.
Next morning our meeting all over Evil Standard. Added a real bummer to my killer munchies.
But I not in article, Brian send me big bunch of flowers with lavendar apology note which I save for next time I late home to Mrs. Liberali. Committee also not seem entirely displeased. Figure it will distract Livingstone from some of his other projects, so no harm done.
The countdown to his doom begins today.