The Green Eyes
The Green Eyes8 mins 252 8 mins 252
Loud blazing sirens announced the arrival of yet another train in the London Underground. He peeped over the top-most edge of The Daily Telegraph in his hands as the train decelerated to a standstill. The population density of the platform, uniform up till then, shifted considerably towards the entry gates of the metro rail as people from various walks of life began filling up the seats.
Men and women dressed in office attire, construction workers with their recognisable yellow hats, and children in school uniform climbed aboard hurriedly, not willing to miss the train and get late for their daily grind. However, he did not pay attention to any of those people, for his eyes, showing a hue of green, were fixated on a man carrying a maroon briefcase in his right hand; his other hand busy in stopping his fake beard from falling off.
Jake ‘The Blade’ Grimes.
Instinctively, his own hands went up to the fake, but bushy beard and moustache resting on his visage, which he adjusted, although there was no need to do so. Grimes looked around, then hopped inside the train. Exactly fourteen seconds later, a female voice announced that the doors would be closing soon, unknowingly giving him his cue.
He folded up the newspaper neatly, holding it in his right hand, and got up from his seat, making his way towards the train. He still remembered the orders given to him by his superior, and he intended on following every single one of them. Although his training had prepared him for situations just like these, he could not stop his heart from beating rapidly.
He drew a deep breath, adjusted the New York Yankees cap on his head and sneaked his left hand inside his coat pocket. The cold touch of metal provided a soothing effect to his anxious mind, and he jumped inside the train, seconds before the doors closed.
It took thirteen years for Jake Grimes to build an empire of crime. It took thirteen years for Jake Grimes to evolve from a drug dealer to a drug lord. It took thirteen years for Jake Grimes to become the most feared man in London. It took thirteen years for Jake Grimes to carve a ruthless reputation as ‘The Blade’.
Born to an absentee father and a promiscuous mother, Jake had a childhood that came with a lack of attention and even severe lack of money. There was no way he could compensate for the former, but he did manage to compensate for the latter when he began selling dealing drugs in high school.
During one such deal, a kid tried to channel his inner housewife and started bargaining for the ‘packet’. When Jake did not budge, the verbal argument turned physical and ended up with Jake stabbing the kid in the left eye with a ballpoint pen – an incident that gave him his infamous nickname.
When he came out of the juvenile centre, one of his ‘inmates’ introduced him to Anthony Marvez, a drug peddler operating from Essex. Jake worked for him and soon became his right-hand-man. When Marvez was killed in a stand-off ten years ago, it was Jake’s ability to ‘smell’ danger that helped him escape the proverbial long arms of the law – an ability he liked to call ‘Spidey Sense’.
He managed to redesign and rebuild the racket within a couple of years, all the while gaining a better acumen for the business and rising through the ranks in the London Police Casefiles. The cops had tried to apprehend him several times since then, but Grimes had always managed to give them the slip, partly due to luck and partly due to his ‘Spidey Sense’.
It was the same ‘Spidey Sense’ that started tingling as soon as Grimes took his seat in the train. He had travelled the same route numerous times in the past but had never been in danger. His brows tightened. Spidey Sense had never been wrong.
Clutching the maroon briefcase tightly in his hands, he trained his green eyes all around him, looking for the slightest signs of suspicion. His eyes stopped moving only when they came into contact with another pair of green eyes staring at him, eyes which he had seen only once before – during the raid in Essex in which he had lost his mentor.
Inspector Howard Raymond.
He could put on a cap and a fake beard, but those green eyes told Grimes everything he needed to know about the man. For brief second revenge engulfed Grimes; he wanted to shoot the bastard right then and there.
For a brief second.
Grimes knew that if he went in all guns blazing, he would jeopardise his entire career. The first priority was escaping unscathed; he could deal with Raymond later.
His gaze shifted to a group of school children as a plan began formulating in his head. One… Two… Three… Four… Four steps to the nearest kid, he calculated in his head.
Jake looked left and right, then sank deeper in his seat. He opened his briefcase, making sure that nobody but him could see what lay inside it.
As his eyes fell on the Beretta concealed within, his lips curled into a wry smile. However, the smile quickly evaporated into a grimace of pain as he felt a piercing sensation in the small of his back.
“Don’t even think about it,” a voice spoke from the seat behind him. The voice belonged to Inspector Howard Raymond.
Inspector Howard Raymond had waited ten years for a second chance.
When Raymond was assigned to lead the raid at Anthony Marvez’s farm ten years ago, he had left no stone unturned in making sure that he covered all the bases. All the hiding places had been kept track of, all the exit points had been secured, all the strategies had been realised to perfection.
When Raymond entered the department with the corpse of Marvez in a body bag, he was greeted with a thunderous roar of ovation. The raid had been a success in the eyes of the department and the law, but not in the eyes of Raymond.
He had seen one man getaway right before him, and for the brief moment that their eyes met, he realised that the escapee’s eyes had the same green hue as his own. He found out his name, his address, the places where he lived, the places where he slept, but to no avail. ‘The Blade’ had concealed himself expertly.
Ten years had passed since the incident in Essex. A lot had changed in Howard’s life. He had been transferred to London, had gotten married, had had children and had almost forgotten about Jake Grimes.
When an anonymous tip about Grimes came at the London Police Headquarters, Howard Raymond had insisted on leading the operation, clamouring for a second crack at bringing the gunfight to ‘The Blade’. The Police Chief, although unaware of Raymond’s history with Grimes, had immense faith in his subordinate, and had thus, given permission.
Raymond was not inclined to go directly into the Underground and try to outsmart him. He had been beaten once; odds were that he would be beaten again. He had to take a different, unconventional approach.
Although it had been ten years since their first meeting, Raymond remembered the fact that Jake Grimes had green eyes. And if he remembered it, he was inclined to believe that the man who outsmarted him would have as good a memory as him, if not better. When he was convinced that his hypothesis was not only possible but also probable, he decided to formulate a plan around this idea.
He led three of his trainees to the station from which Grimes was reportedly going to leave. He asked one of them, Lance Morrell, to buy a green coloured contact lens and replace it with his usual lens, which Lance did. Then, he and the remaining two trainees changed into construction worker attire, complete with the yellow hat to blend in with the actual workers. Also, he put a beard, a moustache and a cap on Lance. This made sure that not only his green eyes were the most noticeable part of his body, but also that he appeared to be a person in disguise (which he actually was, although not to be hidden, but to be observed).
Everyone except Lance boarded the train as soon as it arrived. In a few seconds, Jake Grimes did the same. Lance entered seconds before the gates closed, ensuring that Grimes had already been seated by the time he stepped foot inside so that he could find a seat from where he could keep an eye on Grimes, both metaphorically and literally.
In a few minutes, Grimes had seen Lance, made clear by his nervous behaviour. While Grimes had his eyes trained on Lance, Raymond quietly slipped into the seat behind the drug lord.
He could – and perhaps should – have arrested Grimes then and there, but he wanted to see what Grimes was going to do next. When he saw him gazing at the school children and opening his briefcase, he realised that Grimes would try to use one of the kids as leverage for escape. He retrieved his trusted Glock from the holster and pointed it at the convict sitting in front of him, and the rest, as they say, is ‘story’.