The Diamond Man

The Diamond Man by David Macfie

James Blind, the man from AUNTI, looked out of his hotel room window. It was raining hard outside. Everything looked wet, grey and shiny. Except the water of the canal, that is. The reflection of the lowering clouds and the effects of the biting wind made its water look angry and mottled black and dark grey with choppy waves and mists of spray.

“Glad I’m inside in the warm,” James mused and turned back to fetch his glass of expensive scotch. He began to pace backwards and forwards, intermittently sipping his drink while he thought over the events of earlier.

He’d just completed an assignment in Istanbul and was looking forward to some R & R, when his cell had demanded his attention. With a sigh of resignation, he’d pressed the accept button and put the phone to his ear.

“Blind,” came the irascible voice of “P”, his pompous, bad-tempered boss. “Get to the airport now. There is a ticket waiting for you at the KLM information desk. You must go to Amsterdam. There is a booking for you at the Luxury Suites Hotel on Oudeschans, overlooking the canal of the same name. Get there as fast as you can and then wait in your room. A briefing dossier will be delivered to you there.”

Blind took a breath to ask some questions and voice at least a small objection, but he didn’t speak. He realized that “P” had hung up.

“I swear I’ll kill that guy someday,” Blind muttered to himself as he collected his stuff together then caught a taxi to the airport.

Now he was pacing again, talking to himself under his breath. He couldn’t abide hanging around just waiting. He’d got to the hotel before lunch time and now it was early evening. He poured himself another scotch, a stiff one, and tried to relax. But soon he was pacing again. The muttering became angry, then peevish and back to angry. He was working up to a frenzy, when finally just after ten, as the sky outside began to turn to night, there was a quiet knock at the door. He stormed to the door and wrenched it open, dying to give the AUNTI agent/messenger a piece of his mind. The boyish bellboy gave him pause. The youngster held a silver tray with a large brown envelope placed carefully in the center. The lad looked nervous, but when he saw Blind his expression changed to downright fear.

“Delivery for you, sir,” squeaked the boy, who bolted as soon as Blind lifted the envelope.

“Thanks,” said Blind to the departing form that didn’t even slow down.

Grumbling to himself, the agent moved to the desk, sat and unpacked the envelope. It contained a Dutch passport in the name of Milan Bakker, a letter of introduction of Bakker as a representative of a well-known British Jewelry chain and a large file. Blind forgot his earlier bad temper as he started to study the contents.

First was a background on Jens van Dijk, a mid-level diamond cutter and trader. This man was nicknamed “The Diamond Man”, said the file without explanation.

“Humm,” mused Blind. “Must have a reputation as a man who really knows diamonds.”

As he read further he realized how wrong he was. The man was reputed to have made his fortune by dealing in blood diamonds from Africa and, furthermore, to be the head of a diamond brotherhood of gangsters who terrorized people in the diamond mining areas in Africa and in the cutting and trading areas in Amsterdam. All of that was not the crux of the file. If that had been all there was to it, Blind would have questioned, even more, why he was here. The last part of the brief told a more sinister story of the brotherhood in the arms business, funded by diamonds, and supplying everything from explosives to small arms, to heavy duty military equipment and, most sinister of all, to nuclear weapons. It was this last item that justified Blind’s assignment.

He read the mission statement aloud to make sure he heard it as well as saw it.

“Your mission is to use the cover to get close to this man and send him to a better place. He regularly works late but will have body guards on his premises. Our best intelligence suggests four, two outside and two inside. Make an appointment for a time in the evening and hint that you wish to discuss matters of mutual interest. Make it sound like a legitimate business discussion but hint at darker intentions. You will have to do the business with your bare hands because you will never get arms into the offices. Destroy this evidence.”

That was it, other than a telephone number, an address and directions from the hotel. Blind sat and his mind now clicked into top gear. He memorized what he needed then burnt the papers in the toilet and flushed the ashes away. He thought though how he would make the kill then he slept.

He woke early and took to the streets. Using Google maps on his phone he found his way to the address. He sat drinking coffee in a café down the street, while he watched from behind his newspaper. He quickly saw the two outside guards. They hid out of sight but when anyone approached they popped up to conduct a full body search. Luckily, in their hidey-holes, neither could see the other. That would make things easier.

When the hour became civilized, he made the phone call in Dutch. Speaking quickly he introduced himself and delivered the pitch he’d worked out after reading the file. The words were fairly bland but the innuendos much more interesting. Jens van Dijk listened politely then declined the meeting. Blind thanked him for his time and rang off.

He would have to do this the hard way. He watched all day and noted the shift changes and the frequency of people entering and leaving the building. He also passed the building and while he was patted down by the guards he studied the foyer through the glass entry doors. He could clearly see the other two guards on duty there.

At ten in the morning he saw van Dijk arrive in a large black car. But the man was wearing a heavy overcoat, black gloves and a wide brimmed hat so Blind couldn’t see his face or hands. Through this surveillance, the plan was developed. At six, blind returned to the hotel to prepare.

At eleven that night Blind left the hotel again. He was dressed all in black, with soft soled shoes that were soundless on the paved walkways and thin gloves that masked his skin while leaving his sense of touch unimpaired. He had studied the map of the environs of the target and approached the first guard from behind. Silently he closed on the man and stuck a tranquilizer dart into the side of his neck. The man dropped like a stone. Blind caught him and quietly lowered him to the ground in the shadow of his hidey-hole. Retracing his steps, Blind repeated this process on the other side of the building. Now the way was clear to enter the building. He returned to the shadows at the rear and entered through a toilet window that he cut through with a glass cutter. He was slowed a little by the double-glazing but finally he was inside.

He crept out of the toilet and along a passage that took him to the foyer. He approached the brightly lit area slowly, making no sound whatsoever. Both guards were sitting, very diligently watching the entrance. Blind raised his dart gun and shot the guard nearest to him in the neck. The man slumped in his chair as Blind swung the gun towards the second guard, who had started to turn when he heard the low sound of compressed air releasing the first dart. Blind was too quick for him. The second dart did its job as silently as the first one had.

Now Blind put away his dart gun and brought out his silenced Heckler and Koch VP9. He crept up the stairs that he was sure would lead to van Dijk’s office. Sure enough the stairs opened onto a landing before closed double doors into another space. Blind listened at the door. The only sound was the muted clicking of someone typing on a keyboard. Blind had no idea how big the office was or whether the typist would be facing the door or not so he made some assumptions based on the outside dimensions of the building. He decided that the typist would be facing the doors behind a desk perhaps two and a half meters from where he now stood. He would have to be very quick.

He burst through the doors with his gun levelled at the figure, who started to stand in alarm. Blind got such a shock at the appearance of the figure that he almost dropped his gun. He was saved only by his superbly trained reflexes. He made the shot and a small hole appeared in the forehead of the man who was certainly Jens van Dijk.

The figure fell backwards and Blind strode over to look down at his victim. He saw a final reason for the man’s nickname. His face and hands were studded with diamonds so that he glittered like a human piece of jewelry.

He looked truly like a Diamond Man.