"How much longer will we have to wait?" he asked.
"Some time yet, I suspect," replied Craig. "The prisoners are only let in one by one and I expect they're being searched even more thoroughly than we were."
"Don't look round," whispered Beth, "but Craig and Payne are sitting three or four rows behind you. They must be visiting someone."
Danny began to shiver, but resisted looking around. "It has to be Mortimer," he said. "But they're too late."
"Too late for what?" asked Beth.
Danny took her hand. "I can't say too much at the moment, but Alex will be able to brief you when you next see him."
"It's Alex now, is it?" said Beth, smiling. "So are you two on first-name terms?"
Danny laughed. "Only behind his back."
"You're such a coward," said Beth. "Mr. Redmayne always refers to you as Danny, and he even told me how pleased he was that you'd started shaving regularly, and grown your hair longer. He thinks it just might make a difference when it comes to the appeal."
"How's the garage coming along?" asked Danny, changing the subject.
"Dad's slowing down a bit," said Beth. "I wish I could convince him to give up smoking. He never stops coughing, but he won't listen to anything Mum or I have to say on the subject."
"So who has he made manager?"
"Trevor Sutton? He couldn't run a whelk stall."
"No one else seemed to want the job," said Beth.
"Then you'd better keep a close eye on the books," said Danny.
"Why? You don't think Trevor is on the fiddle?"
"No, but only because he can't add up."
"But what can I do about it?" said Beth. "Dad never confides in me, and frankly I'm pretty overworked myself at the moment."
"Mr. Thomas driving you hard, is he?" asked Danny with a grin.
Beth laughed. "Mr. Thomas is a terrific boss, and you know it. Don't forget how kind he was during the trial. And he's just given me another pay rise."
"I don't doubt he's a good chap," said Danny, "but-"
"A good chap?" laughed Beth.
"Blame Nick," said Danny, unconsciously running a hand through his hair.
"If you go on like this," said Beth, "you won't be able to mix with your old mates when you're released."
"But you do realize," said Danny, ignoring her comment, "that Mr. Thomas fancies you."
"You must be joking," said Beth. "He always behaves like the perfect gentleman."
"That doesn't stop him fancying you."
"How does anyone ever manage to get drugs into a place as well protected as this?" asked Payne, looking up at the CCTV cameras and the prison officers on the balcony peering down at them through binoculars.
"The carriers are getting more and more sophisticated," said Craig. "Children's nappies, wigs-some even put the gear in condoms and then stuff them up their backside, knowing not many officers enjoy searching around in there, while others even swallow the stuff, they're so desperate."
"And if the packet breaks open inside them?"
"They can die a horrible death. I once had a client who could swallow a small packet of heroin, hold it in his throat, and then cough it up when he got back to his cell. You might consider that one hell of a risk, but imagine being on twelve pounds a week, when you can sell a packet like that for five hundred pounds-they obviously think it's worth it. The only reason why we were put through such a rigorous search is because of what Toby's in for."
"If Toby takes much longer our time will be up before he even makes an appearance," said Payne, looking down at a cup of tea that had gone cold.
"Sorry to disturb you, sir." An officer was standing by Craig's side. "I'm afraid Mortimer has been taken ill, and won't be able to join you this afternoon."
"Bloody inconsiderate," said Craig as he rose from his place. "The least he could have done was to let us know. Typical."
"Bang up! Everyone back in your cells immediately, and I mean immediately!" bellowed a voice. Whistles were blowing, klaxons were blaring and officers appeared from every corridor and began herding any stray prisoners back into their cells.
"But I have to report to education," protested Danny as the cell door was slammed in his face.
"No today, Danny boy," said Big Al, lighting a cigarette.
"What was that all about?" asked Nick.
"It could be wan ay many things," said Big Al, inhaling deeply.
"Like what?" asked Danny.
"A fight couldae broken oot on another wing, which the screws think might spread. Someone could even huv attacked a screw-God help the bastard. Or a dealer might have been caught handin' over some gear, or a prisoner couldae torched his cell. Ma bet," he offered, but not before he'd exhaled a large cloud of smoke, "is that someone's gone and topped himself." He flicked the ash from the end of his cigarette onto the floor. "Ye cin take your choice, because only wan thing's fur certain-we willnae be opened up again for at least another twenty-four hours, until it's been sorted."
Big Al turned out to be right: it was twenty-seven hours before they heard a key turning in the lock.
"What was that all about?" Nick asked the officer who opened their cell door.
"No idea," came back the regulation response.
"Someone's topped himself," said a voice from the next cell.
"Poor bastard, must have discovered it was the only way out of this place."
"Anyone we know?" asked another.
"A druggie," said another voice, "only been with us for a few weeks."
Gerald Payne asked the man at the porter's lodge in Inner Temple to direct him to Mr. Spencer Craig's chambers.
"Far corner of the square, sir. Number six," came back the reply. "You'll find his office on the top floor."
Payne hurried across the square, keeping to the path, obeying the notices that firmly announced, Keep off the grass. He had left his office in Mayfair as soon as Craig had phoned to say, "If you come to my chambers around four, you won't be suffering any more sleepless nights."
When Payne reached the other side of the square, he climbed the stone steps and pushed open a door. He stepped into a cold, musty corridor with stark white walls adorned with old prints of even older judges. At the far end of the corridor was a wooden staircase, and attached to the wall was a shiny black board on which was painted boldly in white a list of names indicating the members of chambers. As the porter had told him, Mr. Spencer Craig's chambers were on the top floor. The long climb up the creaking wooden staircase reminded Payne how badly out of shape he'd become-he was breathing heavily long before he reached the third floor.
"Mr. Payne?" inquired a young woman who was waiting on the top step. "I'm Mr. Craig's secretary. He's just phoned to say that he's left the Old Bailey and should be with you in a few minutes. Perhaps you'd care to wait in his office?" She led him down the corridor, opened a door and ushered him in.