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Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End

The Perfect Murder

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30 June 2016

He slumped forward, his face crashing into the dessert. Bits of almond and apple Bakewell hit the nearest diners and a Special Branch officer dashed over, his training fully triggered. After a brief examination he announced, ‘I’m afraid he’s dead. Please, nobody leave the room.’ Then, as an after-thought, ‘and do not touch the food.’

Another officer spoke into a radio, ‘Seal all exits. Number 2 down and out.’

The VIP guests settled back into their places. Some visibly shaken, others clearly disappointed that their Best of British Luncheon had been spoiled. Almost all of them spinning theories of what could have ended their companion’s life so dramatically.


*     *     *     *     *

2 weeks earlier

The courier delivered the package at 11am. I was expecting it. An enemy of the state had been identified and processed. Authorisation to terminate had been given at the highest level. I opened the package. I recognised the name. I didn’t really need the picture. For a moment I was surprised that he had been confirmed as a severe threat but I also knew there can be a degree or two of spite informing a decision. I stopped thinking about the person and got on with my job.


*     *     *     *     *

2 weeks after the termination

Interestingly, the initial thoughts of the pathologist were around possible cyanide poisoning, either by accident or by intent. Toxicology reports and microscopic examination of the digestive tract showed traces of apple seed and amygdalin. Additionally, there was also the smell of bitter almonds in the deceased’s mouth. However, the pathologist’s report showed this initial theory was quickly dismissed when it was discovered the deceased’s face had plunged into a bowl of half-consumed almond and apple Bakewell tart and the level of amygdalin was negligible. A pastry chef may have inadvertently included a crushed apple seed in the filling but that would certainly not have caused any harm. A foot note in the report recorded that to kill a man of the deceased’s weight of approximately 20 stone, he would have needed to have ingested approximately 250 crushed apple seeds.

The report concluded that the deceased had died from natural causes that could not be specified. In layman’s terms that meant he’d just dropped dead.

I placed the pathologist’s report into the shredder and watched, with satisfaction, as the thick wad of paper was chewed into dust.

I sat back and closed my eyes. I was no longer called in for a debrief after a termination. That was a sign of respect and complete trust but in a way I missed them. Sitting in a quiet, wood-panelled room in Millbank, the panel forensically examining every part of the termination, gave me a great deal of satisfaction and also allowed me to perfect my art. I now had to carry out my own debrief in my own head. As I lead my mind through the process, it was like reading my own story with the eye of the severest critic, looking for any flaws in planning, plot, structure and execution. I examined each and every detail. There were some flaws that I would address. There were some improvements in the technology that needed working on. But, all in all, I was pleased. And so was my employer.

The outcome of the killing was not my concern.

That done, I could finally relax and enjoy the satisfaction of my success, not just with this latest termination, but also with the previous ones. My mind wandered along its path, or, more appropriately, along the wobbly bridge. The inspiration for my means of dispatch had come from the Millennium Bridge, opened and closed within 24 hours due to its motion. I was fascinated by the science of it all. The bridge's movement was caused by synchronous lateral excitation. The natural sway motion of people walking caused small sideways oscillations in the bridge, which in turn caused people on the bridge to sway in step, increasing the amplitude of the bridge oscillations and continually reinforcing the effect. Ultimately, any resonance that hits the critical frequency of an object is destructive. Think opera singer shattering a glass. Think sound stopping a heart.

At this time I was working in the bowels of Thames House, Millbank having been recruited by MI5 during my Doctorate at Cambridge. I was initially an expert in ultrasonic sound and communications, or at least in the theory of it, but my work, down in sub-level 8, placed me with a brilliant micro electronic engineer (who has since been retired from the service) and to develop my theory into practical application.

In a nutshell, every person’s heart has a unique frequency, within a narrow range, and if a sound of the same frequency and adequate intensity can be made in fairly close proximity then the heart stops. It all happens at an atomic level and the collision of biology, physics and chemistry is astounding . . and deadly.

The final part of the jigsaw was how to deliver the sound which, fortunately, was beyond the hearing of practically every living creature. This was relatively straightforward as nearly everyone carries the solution – their mobile phone. It took around four years to perfect the messaging that would hack into and modify the phone’s software and hardware. But once it was done, the results were spectacular. Within milliseconds of sending the message to the target phone, the handset would emit a range of high intensity ultrasonic sounds with 50 changes of frequency each second. That was 50 chest shots a second and a hit guaranteed within 5 seconds. An Apple phone can be as deadly as an apple seed.

*     *     *     *     *

Later that day I turned my television on to watch the news. Five minutes later I was watching a recording of the Prime Minister delivering the eulogy at his ‘friend and colleague’, Boris Johnson’s funeral. I turned off the TV. I needed some fresh air. I slipped my mobile phone into my handbag and left my house.



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