Part 8 - Another Baby Goes Missing

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KHUN CEE, BANK manager and well known single-figured handicap golfer, surprised all who knew him by his disappearance. He left no trace, no hint why, or where he was going. He knew exactly where he was aiming.

Cee was driving a car on the Phetchkasem Road, also known as Route 4, a busy route for people travelling from the deep south of Thailand to Bangkok. Cee was about to leave Route 4 between Ratchaburi and Nakhon Pathom to join the 323, which takes you to Kanchanaburi.

"There there, baby girl. Do you miss your mum?" Cee sneered.

He looked back to the road; he didn't want to have an accident that could cause damage to his perfect, but the dead child. No mother in her right mind would leave a baby unsecured to roll around on the plastic seats of a borrowed car. This body was sliding around in her own blood.

"Don't worry, you won't miss her for long."

The gruff chortle was out of character for the normally jovial banker.

The previous morning, the bank had ticked along as normal in the manager's office. However, things were not like every other day. They had shown a customer through, wais exchanged.

"What can the bank do for you, sir?" asked the manager.

"Look at this," answered the immaculate visitor.

Khun Cee was expecting a business plan or file with a request for a loan.

The prospective customer merely opened his outstretched hand.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Touch it. Feel it."

The banker leant forward, his fingers gently touching the leather-like material.

"Hold it."

Two open hands held the soft item.

"It feels like a used ballet shoe?" said Cee.

"Well, it's not. But you won't forget it. Goodbye."

The man stood, straightened his already immaculate trousers. Turned and left. Cee's assistant rushed to her boss's office, "Sir, Do you need any help?"

She was always ready to impress her fanciable boss. The man brushed past her. "Strange man. What did he want?" she asked.

"Who?" asked Cee.

"That man."

She pointed at his back.

"Oh, nothing important, I've dealt with it."

The puzzled woman returned to her desk. Before she sat down, she checked who he was.

"That guy, the bloke just left, who is he and what did he want?" she asked the new girl who had just started acting as the receptionist, tasked to direct customers to the bank's various desks.

"Him?" asked the new girl, pointing to the man's back as he passed the front window. "Yes, who is he?"

"He said he wanted to change banks. He liked ours. I showed him to the new accounts desk. But, he said no, his account was substantial, and he wanted to meet the manager with the pregnant wife."

She smiled, thinking she had impressed her more senior colleague.

"What? You showed him straight through to Khun Cee's?"

"He seemed very rich, I thought it was best."

After a moment's thought, the manager's assistant asked, "What was that about 'the pregnant wife'?"

"Yes, it seemed strange to me, I thought he must be one of Khun Cee's golfing friends."

Cee had been daydreaming of sweaty ballet shoes. Most of his staff had already left for the day when he tidied his desk, shuffled some papers. Locked his office and went home.

The security guard waved and made a joke about golf as he clicked in the alarm code.

The Japanese saloon purred into life as the ballet shoe was kicking at his brain. A message was ringing loud and clear. He knew what he must do. Nothing got in his way or changed his mind. On completion of his task, he had driven off.

A small package, still dripping red, was lifted from the front seat. "Cheer up, little one, you will see a new master soon," Cee smiled. There was no answer, none was expected.

Just past the city centre of Petchaburi, the car pulled into a service station and parked in front of the 7-Eleven store. Collecting his package, he calmly got into a new four-door MG. The engine was already running. He continued north.

"Captain Gatts, I think you should talk to these people. They are worried," a police officer said.

"Sure bring them through."

As the two women sat in Gatts' office, the officer had a bad feeling about what they would report.

"Yes, ladies, how can I help?" said Gatts with a forced smile.

They started babbling at once.

"Calm yourselves, please. You start," he pointed at the older-looking woman. "She has lost her baby... "

"Slowly please, you have lost a baby?" asked the police officer.

"Of course not her, someone else," said the younger lady.

The women's hair fell in her face, which she hurriedly tidied.

"Then who has lost her baby?" asked a confused Gatts.

"The bitch that lives next door. She is a right cow, but her baby doesn't deserve this," said the older one.

"Your neighbour has lost her baby? Where? How?" Gatts' feeling got worse.

The other lady took over, leaning forward so far in fact that Gatts could smell plaa la, a pungent fermented fish added to som tam salads.

"We all used to be friends, that was until she fell for somebody, then we fell out. She started drinking heavily. The next thing we knew she had a new love in her life. And then she had a baby."

The older woman couldn't wait to butt in.

"Now the baby has gone!"

The women's garbled words were confused and panicky. Gatts slowly took down all the information he needed. He knew he was wrong, but he asked Skylab to find out more. 

My bank manager wouldn't vote for me, would you?

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