Black Ice

Free Black Ice by Colin Dunne

Book: Black Ice by Colin Dunne Read Free Book Online
Authors: Colin Dunne
like me, that didn't seem absolutely right.
    'Thank you for all your help,'  I said to the hamster, as I left.
    He didn't even look up.
    Across in the park, Eric the Unsteady was looking somewhat wrecked after a day's pillaging, and ready for the next longboat home.  I knew how he felt.

    The  Kaffivagninn used  to be exactly  what  it sounds  like - a coffee wagon  for the fishermen  and  harbour workers. Now it's grown  up into a charming one-room  restaurant perched on the edge of the harbour wall.
    At first sight you could almost take it for one of those London fish restaurants where they've  laid the atmosphere on a shade too thick. Only  here the nets outside are still damp from the sea, the fish is practically wriggling when it hits your plate, and no one has ever questioned the authenticity of the scented air. To you it might  be the stench offish: the Icelanders call it the smell of money- and  they know what  they're talking about.
    The  Kaffivagninn is the  real  thing  all right,  and  so's  their fish.
    I'd  planned  on digging out  Ivan  and Christopher Bell. But my head hurt from the pan blow, and  I wanted  to think about the implications of the revelation  at the Hagstofa, so I walked down to the harbour. I had lobster tails fried on a spit, and I sat and looked out of the window. The harbour was packed:every thing  from  little  plump  plastic  tubs  to creaking  old  wooden boats and  the big steel jobs, their plates stained  with work.
    Beyond   the  forest  of  masts,   you  could  see  clear   across Faxafloi Bay to Snaefellsjokull. In the pure northern light, you felt as though you could reach out and touch the cold snows on the side of the mountains. Quite honestly, the  lobster  wasn't much  more  than  perfect,  and  I was all set  to sit  there  for a month or two, watching  the light and the water making eyes at each other,  when the chair opposite  squeaked as a wide figure lowered itself upon it.
    'The fish is good here,' said  Petursson.
    'Definitely  got the edge on the guillemot.'
    'I thought  you would be dining  with your Russian  friend.'
    'He's busy taking photographs of all your armed  forces.'
    'That will not take  him  long.'  He  smiled.  Iceland  doesn't have any forces, armed  or otherwise.
    'You  have had a busy day?'
    I wondered  how much  he'd  know about  my day.  In a place that size, probably everything. Even so, I thought I'd let him tell me.
    'So so.'
    All he had  to do was to raise one  big hand  to have  a girl running out  with coffees. I took a good look at  him as he sat there.   Tonight  he  was  wearing   a  plain   oatmeal-coloured raincoat   and  an  old-fashioned wide-brimmed  hat  which  he placed  carefully  on  his  knee,  rather   than  on  the  table.   It surprised me he didn't put all his clothes on hangers  before he risked sitting  down.
    'We were talking  about  you today.'
    'I'm flattered.'
    'We are still puzzled, Mr Craven. We still do not quite  know where  to place  you ... no, no, please do not  protest.  I know that you are  a journalist. The question  is: are you something else as well?'
    'I thought you did pretty  well to turn  up all that stuff on me last  night.'
    He shrugged. 'As I told you, I worked in London.  I thought perhaps I would find that you are attached to one of the more informal security sections.  Apparently not.'
    Brightly, I grinned  up at him. 'So there we are then.'
    'So there we are.  We shall hope so.' He raised his cup with difficulty in his big hand.  'You went back to the flat. I would be grateful if you would  tell me about  it.'
    I was ready for the question, but not for the careful courtesy with  which  he  put  it.  I  had  the  feeling  he was giving  me a chance to be straight with him. I had another feeling: if I didn’t take it, I'd  regret  it.

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