Part 43 - Gun Practice?

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GATTS RETURNED TO his police station, he started rifling through his report files. He wanted to reread the paper on the baby snatched from Pranburi Military Hospital.

"Sir, sir come quickly," a new officer to Hua Hin called.

"What is it?"

"A falang is going crazy out here, we need your English skills, please hurry."

Any non-police officer in the station's entranceway was running, ducking and dodging the terrified man, leaving only six officers who had been joined by Gatts.

Gatts raised his hands.

"Please calm down, we can talk this through."

He flashed the cutthroat razor to Gatts's chin. It quickly returned to the man's own Adam's apple.

"I'll do it. You better believe me," said the dishevelled man.

Gatts looked around at his men.

"Put your guns away, slowly," he said in English, then repeating the order in Thai, adding, "Except sergeant Somkid, stand on the stairs, we may need your crack shot skills."

The other officers made a deliberate show of holstering their guns and raising their arms.

"Now, can we talk? My name is Gatts, what is your name?"

"Names are not important, what I need is action," said the man.

"Okay, what is the problem, I'll try to help," said Gatts, moving, so that Somkid got a clear view, without the foreigner seeing he was being targeted.

"No one will help us," he whined.

"Us?" asked Gatts.

"Yes, us, we arrived from Kanchanaburi yesterday looking for you."

"You were looking for me? I was here."

"They," he said, pointing at all the police, "said you were busy and didn't have time to talk to me."

"I'm here now talking to you. What can I do?"

"Come with me and stop my girlfriend killing herself."

He ordered Gatts to keep walking back across the road to the man's hotel, which was next door to Coffee Investigation's office. He locked the blade on Gatts' throat as the pair backed out of the station's front door.

Police weapons were again trained on the man, without a clear shot and Gatts shaking his head they fired no shots.

On reaching the hotel's reception, the man shouted for his room key. The quaking receptionist handed it over before ducking behind the front desk. The two climbed the stairs to the first-floor room. A room cleaner dropped her duster and stared open-mouthed as they entered the room. Six policemen barrelled up the flight. The cleaner silently pointed at the door as she ran in tears. One policeman crouched and listened at the door.

"Look," the man said, pointing at the rope hanging from the open window.

Gatts was more interested in the young woman writhing on the bed. He looked past her at the bathroom. There were an empty vodka bottle and pills scattered on the tiles.

"She would have killed herself," said the man.

"And you saved her?" asked Gatts.

"I did," shouted the man.

"My men will be outside, let me talk to them, they can hear you shouting, but they don't speak English, I'm worried they will burst in."

The man tightened his grip on the blade and Gatts and edged him to the door, opening it a crack.

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