He opened the door to be confronted with the Manager of the hotel arguing with two very smartly dressed men. - One of them was carrying what looked like Nick's jacket. The very same jacket that Laura had wrapped the young girl in that afternoon's fracas.
Nick observed that the jacket looked as clean as new. 'What the hell's this all about?' said an irate Nick. 'I told them that you were not to be disturbed Mr Alum' retorted the perturbed Manager. 'But they insisted on talking to you Sir.' One of the men spoke in a very quiet cockney accent. 'We have been instructed to return your jacket Governor.' 'Together with all the belongings that were in it. 'We've also got a message for you as well.' 'But itís sort of private like.' Nick hesitated for a moment but his ever keen curiosity was aroused. 'OK!' stated Nick. 'But it better be quick,' 'AND it better be good'. Then to the manager he said, 'If these two gentlemen aren't down in ten minutes Mr. George.' 'Please call the police!' 'Of course sir!' 'Yes I will Mr. Alum' replied the Manager quite firmly.
He was relieved that this matter was out of his hands for the time being, without staining the hotel's good name. 'Now come in' Nick firmly told the two men. 'And close the door behind you.'
No sooner had the door closed, than Nick pulled a gun from his dressing gown pocket. He had acquired the habit, of keeping a weapon near him, since serving in Northern Ireland. Very abruptly and commanding he continued. 'And now what the hell do you two want?' 'And where did you get my jacket from?' 'Talk fast,' 'and you'd better make it good!' The quiet-voiced man spoke again: 'Well firstly boss,' 'my name's Eddie James.' 'And my pal here is named Fred Graves.'
'We've been sent by our boss, with an invite for you to come and meet someone.' 'Someone who really wants to speak with you.' 'I can promise you on my life governor that you'll be quite safe,' 'and it's very important.' 'Honest!' Experience assured Nick that he was not in danger. He looked the man straight in the eyes and said 'Yes and on your life it will be laddie if you are not telling the truth.' 'Give me a minute and I'll be with you.' He quickly got dressed in a thin black V-neck T-shirt and a beautifully cut dark grey worsted suit that showed no evidence of the holster strapped beneath his left armpit. 'OK you two gentlemen' stated Nick with a sardonic laugh, 'Let's go!'
Down in the foyer of the hotel a nervous Mr. George was very pleased to see that everything was all right. Nick spoke to the manager quietly so that the two men could not hear. 'Mr George' Nick imparted, 'Don't worry,' 'but just make sure to take a note of the car number before it departs.' 'Keep it locked up tight in your safe.' Nick was assured by the manager that he would. On the steps of the hotel he rejoined the two men, and they led him to a car with uniformed driver. The windows were all of smoked glass. Nick was seated between Eddie and Fred. Neither of them spoke one word, throughout the journey which only lasted ten minutes. 'Could have walked,' thought Nick, as his curiosity became stronger and stronger. The car stopped and they indicated for him to alight, they were outside a pub called The Plough somewhere in London SW1. He was pushed gently through the front doors. Inside the pub a laughing cheering group surrounded Nick, all jostling to pat him on the back. Suddenly the crowd parted and a red-faced, rotund man grabbed him by the hand and pumped it up and down. 'My name is Harry Simms said the large man.' 'And I believe you've already met my son Dave.' There beside him, was a good looking young man of about 6' 9. Dave was a very large black man with a fantastic smiling face. Nick recognised him as his helper in the river that afternoon. 'Well, Mr. Alum,' 'Or might I call you Nick?' Harry Simms continued. 'It would appear that I owe you a great deal!' exclaimed the man. 'May I explain to you young Sir,' 'that it was my young and only daughter whose life you saved today.' 'For that Mister Alum,' I shall be forever in your debt.' 'I would indeed take it as a great honour,' 'If you would consider from now on,' 'to being a very close part of my family.' 'Further more, please consider this part of London as your safe home.'
Nick was astounded but of course accepted, thanking Harry sincerely: both men with tears in their eyes. Nick's own emotion sprang from the fact that he had been an orphan since both his parents were killed in an air crash, just after he was born. 'Right' shouted Harry. 'Why the hell don't we get this party going?' And party they certainly did! With Nick thinking 'So much for my early night!' The celebrations finally ended in the early hours. Big Harry once again shaking Nick's hand and saying. 'Well son, here's my hand and here's my heart.' 'Please let me know whenever you are in London.' 'I can promise you,' 'that you will always be welcome and safely cared for here, in what I hope you will consider your second home.' Nick was of course quite overwhelmed. He little realised then how much Mr Harry meant those words. He later learned that Mr Harold Augustus Simms was indeed a Mafioso Capo. The boss of his patch, he owned pubs, nightclubs, wine bars and taxi companies - to name just a few of his interests. He was a very respected and fair man, but also feared by those who crossed him, ruling his Manor with a firm and strong hand helped by his adopted son Big Dave.
Only a week after that awesome and enjoyable night, Nick tore open a telegram that was to devastate him, and fill his whole being with uncontrollable rage. He read of the brutal death of his beloved wife Laura. Initial details were sparse, but she had been found in Batu Road, Singapore, tortured and battered to death.