No Way Out. Chapter 3.

No Way Out – Chapter 3.

Peter had a philosophy, ‘hope for the best but plan for the worst’ and that is what he would be doing over the next four months. He gave a lot of thought as to what to do over the coming months and eventually came up with a plan. With the evidence against him Peter had to face the very real possibility that he would be found guilty and with that a long jail term.

Peter had lots of leave available to him so he decided to take it. It was not something he had to think too much about as if he didn’t take it there was a good chance the Bank would force him to take it.  

It was Peter’s first day out on bail and he travelled into the City to the Bank’s administration centre. His supervisor came from a Banking family, straight into a senior position after University and with no experience at the coal face. Peter had many Bosses’ over the years, most of them found Peter’s job a bit distasteful and would rather not have anything to do with it. Some dealt with this by just letting Peter do his job and would have little contact with him. But others tried to push Peter into targeting the lower end of the work force, cleaners, admin staff etc but luckily they did not last long as eighty percent of embezzlers came from upper level staff, managers and the like.

Peter sat outside his supervisor’s office waiting to see him so he could tell him about what had happened and to organize leave. His current Boss was well and truly in the camp of not wanting to deal with fraud and embezzlement so there was a good chance that he might take the opportunity to get rid of the position and sack Peter. Peter’s job was a bit of a pet project of the Managing Directors and when added to his record of catching wrong doers Peter felt he had a fifty/fifty chance of getting his leave.

Peter briefed his supervisor on the events of the last few days and things did not go well. His supervisor pointed out the bad public relations that this would bring the Bank on top of that the victim worked for an opposition Bank. He encouraged Peter to resign rather that take leave and pointed out that he would get all his long service leave and other entitlements, which would be a tidy some. Peter was in no mood to put up with this type of thing from his boss so he decided to call it a day and resigned. He filled out all the necessary paperwork before walking out of the building feeling a bit hurt that after years of good service the Bank did not stand by him but he was not surprised. The Bank gave him a week to move out of the company house which added to Peter’s problems.

As Peter walked the short distance from the Bank’s administration centre to the City branch he found himself thinking about how fragile life can be. You never know what might happen next, you could have a health problem, you could get hit by a bus, you could loose your job or you could be charged with a crime. But there was no point feeling sorry for yourself, all that you can do is make the best decisions you can and deal with the cards that are dealt you.

Peter was so taken up with his thoughts that he walked straight past the Bank he was heading for. Once he realised he back tracked to the branch and wondered in. He spent the next few hours sorting out his finances, making sure everything was in place to cover his legal bills as well as ensuring his financial future in the event that he ends up in jail.

One day down, one hundred and twenty nine days to go before the court case. It was an eventful day, a day where Peter’s life continued to unravel, he could only hope that the days to come would be more positive.

Day two Peter spent trying to find somewhere to live and for the first time since everything started to unravel he had a bit of luck. He found a small flat that suited and it was on a three month lease with monthly extensions after that. Again he found himself saying to himself, ‘why me’ but he knew he could not afford to think like that. He had to take each problem and deal with it without feeling sorry for himself. 

The next few days were taken up with doing nothing, Peter decided to step back and think about things for a while but after a few hours it all became a bit confusing so he watched a few old movies on DVD.

Reg, Peter’s solicitor, organized a Barrister who might be prepared to take on the case and so Peter found himself sitting in a waiting room with Reg watching the minutes tick by waiting to see Steven Goodall, Barrister. Through his job Peter had many dealings with Solicitors and Barristers and very few had impressed him so he didn’t have a lot of time for them but given his current situation he had no option. After a short wait the door opened and an older well dress man appeared in the door way and said, “come in, I’m John Smart, Mr Goodall’s clerk.”

Reg and I made our way into the office, it was a very old world office, bookshelves lined the walls full of what looked like legal books, a very large antique looking desk was located in the middle of the room. A man in his mid thirties was sitting at the desk, he stud up and said, “have a seat my name is Steven Goodall.” He was wearing a very modern looking suit and he looked completely out of place in this office.

“Sorry about the decor, my office is being renovated so I’m sharing this office with a colleague.” said Steven Goodall, he then continued, “I have read everything supplied by my clerk and the instructing Solicitor and I have to say, Mr Law things don’t look very good for you. In fact it’s a bit of a miracle that you are out on bail.”

“I think the prosecuting Solicitor somehow managed to get herself on the wrong side of the Magistrate during the hearing,” said Reg.

“I see,” replied Steven Goodall.

“So I’m off to jail then?” said Peter.

“The only thing in our favour is that the victim can’t remember anything,” replied Steven Goodall.

“Nor can I,” said Peter.

“Are well that’s a negative for us I’m afraid,” replied Steven Goodall, he then went on, “it makes you appear as if you are trying to hide something.”

“So I’m off to jail then?” Peter said again.

“Well, we’ll just have to wait and see,” replied Steven Goodall.

Peter was starting to loose his patience with the vagary and said, “if we are going to do business I want nothing but honesty.”

“In that case well, yes you are more than likely of to jail,” replied Steven Goodall before continuing, “But there is a lot we can do, we can question the forensic evidence, we can put forward possible alternatives, like someone else did it and that Peter is also a victim. We can hope that your memory comes back and we can question the victim, replied Steven Goodall.

“Under no circumstances are we to question the victim, she has been through enough,” said Peter.

“Should Peter plead guilty?” asked Reg.

“It is something that needs to be thought about, the courts often knock a few years of the sentence for pleading guilty but there is no guaranty and you would be cutting of any chance of an appeal, replied Steven Goodall.

“And you would not make as much money,” said Peter.

“Money has no bearing on my advice,” replied Steven Goodall.

Peter laughed out loud and then said, “sorry, sorry.”

“So are you prepared to take this case?” asked Reg.

 “Yes I will do my best,” replied Steven Goodall.

They all stud up, shook hands and Reg and Peter started to walk out of the office when Peter stopped and said to Steven Goodall, “no offence mate but you are going to have to work on that lying, a good Barrister needs to be a good liar and at the moment you suck at it.”

Steven Goodall just smiled at Peter and said, “see you a bit closer to the court date, my clerk will organize an appointment.”

As Peter and Reg walked out of the building Reg said, “You can’t say things like that to Barristers.”   

“Never forget Reg,” said Peter before continuing, “you work for me and that donkey works for you, you’re his boss, instructing Solicitor.”

“Oh I nilly forgot, I have a note from Sandra, it came via her Solicitor,” said Reg.

“Thanks Reg,” replied Peter and then, “can you give me a minute in case I want to send a reply.”

“Yes no problem,” said Reg.

Peter and Reg then sat on a park bench while Peter read Sandra’s note.


          Thanks for your note, I too can’t remember anything

          and I find it hard to believe that you would harm me

          but harmed I am and the Police tell me that they are

          sure of your guilt. I don’t know what to believe. Give

          me some time, my be my memory will come back.

          But what if my memory comes back and you are guilty.


Peter wrote a reply and gave it to Reg so he could forward it via her Solicitor. Reg headed back to his office while Peter went home to contemplate on his situation. It was another day where his life just continued to unravel and spiral out of control. One hundred and twenty five days to the court case and more than likely days of freedom for Peter.

In the light of his meeting with the Barrister Peter had to accept that jail would be the most likely out come and if he was going to go to jail he needed to be prepared. Some sort of self defence course might be in order.

Peter spent some time on the internet trying to locate organisation that teach self defence. There were a number, some seemed to be a bit basic and others designed for professionals. Over the next few days Peter communicated with a number of organisations evaluating their suitability, eventually deciding on three, two taught marshal arts, and the third taught self defence technics. Peter had never as much as had a fight so the idea of learning self defence did not sit well with Peter but life in Jail would have many dangers so he had to be prepared.

He enrolled in three courses but he was not that sure that they would be of any use, only time would tell. The first course was, self defence technics and would cover technics designed to get out of situations. Things like jumping on someone toe and then running away, in fact this course involved a lot of running away. For Peter this was not a lot of use as in jail there is not a lot of places to run away to.

The other two courses proved to be more useful, they were marshal arts based and taught methods and technics to escape from head locks and arm locks as well as ways to disable your attacker by hitting them in venerable locations like their wind pipe. Once Peter finished these courses he enrolled in a more advanced course at the same locations as well as going further afield to do more courses. He also spent many hours at the Jim building up his core strength by lifting weights and running on running machines.

With thirty six days to go until the trial Peter had completed most of the courses and was feeling confidant that he had mastered the technics involved but he still lacked practical experience. He also lacked any sort of a killer instinct, something he would need if he was going to get through years of jail time.

One of Peter’s bail conditions was to report to the Police once a day and as he walked into the Police Station, Sandra was walking out. Their first reaction on seeing each other was a smile but they both realised that perhaps that was not appropriate.

“Hi, are you all right?” asked Peter.

“Yer, I’m back at work,” replied Sandra.

“That’s great,” said Peter.

“This is my Solicitor,” replied Sandra and then said, “this is Peter Law.”

The Solicitor took her by the arm and ushered he away.

“Did you get my last note?” Peter called out to her.

Peter continued into the Police Station and reported as per his bail condition. Detective Sergent Joe Brown was standing at the counter while Peter reported, he looked at Peter and said, “how are you today Peter?”

“Same old store Detective, just getting through each day,” replied Peter before adding, “what was Sandra doing here?”

“That’s none of your concern Peter, see you in court,” said Detective Sergent Joe Brown.

Peter walked out of the Police Station hoping Sandra had remembered something but it was more likely they were just clarifying something.

Sandra and her Solicitor walked in the direction of the Solicitors office and as they walked Sandra found herself running out of patients with everyone treating her as if she was broken and unable to function.

“What note is Peter talking about?” asked Sandra of her Solicitor.

“I don’t know, if you come back to my office I will look into it,” said her Solicitor.

“You need to understand, I am over my physical injuries and as I can’t remember what happened I am not traumatised so stop trying to protect me,” Sandra told her Solicitor and then she continued, “and lets not forget who works for who.”

Back at her Solicitors office Sandra sat in a waiting room while the Solicitors looked for Peter’s note. It did not take long before a clerk appeared with the note and gave her some lame reason why it was not pasted on. Sandra sat in the waiting room and read the note.


          My memory is still blank but the evidence is very

          damming. I can’t believe that I would hurt you so like

          you I don’t know what to think. If you remember and

          I am to blame I will plead guilty and argue for the

          maximum sentence.


Sandra wrong a note back to Peter and gave it to her Solicitors clerk so it could be sent to Peter via his Solicitor, she then headed back to work.

There was only one more self defence course left for Peter to do and this was the day of his first lesson. He had enrolled via the internet so he had not been to the Jim were the lessons were to take place. The cars navman navigated him to the location and it was in a part of town that Peter would not normally go. He parked the car and walked the few blocks to the Jim,  he felt very uncomfortable in this part of town, the building were covered in graffiti and there were dumped and vandalised cars parked on the street.

Peter walked into the Jim but he could not see any office just a few people exercising but there was a small group of people sitting in a circle so he wondered over and said, “is this the self defence course?”

A voice from behind him said, “yes, take a seat.”

Peter sat in the only seat available and looked around at his fellow students. Unlike the other courses Peter had done over the last few months which were mostly made up of women and middle aged business men, these students were all young men. If fact they all looked like they didn’t need any training in how to defend themselves, they looked like the sort of people Peter was expecting to meet in prison. They were all under thirty, were tattooed and pieced and had an air of ‘I’m a tough guy’ written all over them.

Under normal circumstances Peter would have been out of there like a rate out of an aqueduct, in fact he would have never gone in there in the first place. But he knew that he had to man up and face his fears and here would be better than on his first day in prison.

“My name is Bird MacKenzie and I am your trainer. Now if you are not prepared to get hurt here, then you should not be here,” said Bird MacKenzie while looking at Peter.

He was a tall and muscular man in his late thirties, not body builder muscular more like a long distance runner. He had an air of self confidence that boarded on arrogance and was very forceful in the way he communicated. His name aside he had no Scottish ascent.

“You are here to learn how to defend yourself and that does not mean jumping on someone’s toe and running away. It means you will learn to be the man, the alpha male, to control your opponents both physically and emotionally. This course is not for wimps, you will get hurt during this course,” said Bird MacKenzie while looking at Peter.

He continued, “I need to determine were you all are in relation to your fitness and your knowledge of self defence so we will start with a run,  follow me and we will be running until there is only one of you left. My colleague following along behind and will pick the stragglers up with a golf buggy.” 

A few of the students started to remove there jackets and change there boots but Bird MacKenzie call out, “ha no changing cloths or boots, if your attacked what are you going to do? ask your attacker if you can change before he beats the crap out of you, you will be doing this as you are, come on lets go.”

Bird MacKenzie started jogging toward the front door, Peter fell in behind him with the rest following along. They jogged out of the building and along the street for a short distance before turning into a lane way, at this point Bird MacKenzie pick up the pace. It was like running through an obstacle course as the lane way was strewn with rubbish, dumped cars and old furniture. Peter jogged along keeping pace with Bird MacKenzie and concentrating on were he put his feet as it would only take one miss place step to bring him down. After a few kilometres Peter sneaked a look behind him and was surprised to see that his fellow students were strung out and he was the only one still with Bird MacKenzie.

After a few more kilometres and a few turn they turned into a street that look formila, it was the street that the Jim was in. Once back at the Jim Peter sat down and drank some bottled water while waiting for the others to get back. Over the next fifteen minutes a few students stumbled in before the golf buggy arrived with the rest.

Bird MacKenzie berated the ones who came back on the golf buggy and gave grudging prase to those who made it back without assistance. He then got everyone in a circle so he could talk to them.

“If you are not fit you will not defeat your opponent in any sort of prolong fight, in a lot of cases your fitness is what will determine who wins. It does not matter how many tattoos you have, if you are not fit you will get your arse kicked,” said Bird MacKenzie.

“But if you get in there quick enough with a decisive blow your fitness want matter,” replied one of the students.

“What’s you name?” asked Bird MacKenzie.

“Bill,” replied the student.

“That’s correct Bill, so that brings us to the next part of our lesson. Where do you all stand as far as self defence goes?” said Bird MacKenzie.

He then continued, “each of you will spend some time in the ring with my colleague Frank, that will help me determine where each of you stand in terms of self defence. Thank you Bill for volunteering to go first.”

Bill looked perplexed but climbed into the ring with Frank. Frank was wearing a padded suit and head padding.

“As you can all see Frank is all padded up plus he is very experienced so don’t worry about hurting him. Now Bill, put yourself in a quite street late at night, Frank is going to grab you from behind and I want you to do your best to escape,” said Bird MacKenzie.

Bill stood in the middle of the ring and Frank walked up behind him and put his arm around his neck and pulled him backwards. Bill struggled and wiggled but could not get free.

“OK Bill now I want you to put yourself in a quite street late at night when you hear someone following you so you turn around to face your opponent, Frank will then attack you,” said Bird MacKenzie.

Bill walked across the ring till he reached the middle, he then turned to face Frank who lunged forward and grabbed Bill by the neck and then swinging around placing him in a head lock. Bill again could not get free.

“OK Bill come out of the ring and sit next to me,” said Bird MacKenzie, he then continued, “next I think we will have you,” he pointed at Peter, and then asked, “what is your name?”

“Peter,” said Peter with some trepidation.

“OK Peter same process for you, just stand in the middle of the ring,” said Bird MacKenzie.

Peter climbed into the ring and stud in the middle while Frank came up from behind him and griped him in a head lock. Peter bushed backward against Frank while tripping him so they both fell backward with Peter landing on top of Frank witch winded him. Peter quickly got to his feet and kicked Frank in his side before standing back.

“That was good, Peter but can anyone tell me what he did wrong?” asked Bird MacKenzie of the rest of the students.

There was silence till Peter said, “I should of kicked him a few more times,” said Peter.

“Yes, thank you,” said Bird MacKenzie before continuing, “OK Peter now lets do the second test.”

Peter walked to the middle of the ring and then turned around to face Frank who lunged forward and tried to grab Peter by the neck but Peter deflected his arm with his right arm and hit Frank in the throat with his left hand. He then kicked Frank behind one knee which resulted in Frank falling to the ground. Peter then kicked him in his side a number of times before backing away and saying, “are you OK Frank?” asked Peter.

“OK what did he do wrong this time,” asked Bird MacKenzie.

Again there was silence from everyone until Peter said, “I asked him if he was alright,”

“Yes give that man an apple,” said Bird MacKenzie, before continuing, “never, never feel sorry for your opponent, your opponent will never give you a second chance and will take advantage of any kindness you show him.”

The rest of the lesson continued with everyone have there time in the ring, some were unsuccessful others tried to copy Peter with varying degrease of success. 

Over the next few weeks Peter continued attending these classes and he was learning more from this course that all the other courses put together. The other courses tort him the technics he needed but not the real world physical side, they were more like demonstrations. In this course Peter was in a ring with someone practising the technics without having to hold back. For the first time he was starting to feel like he would be able to deal with a confrontation.

The lessons were extensive, moving on from a signal attackers to being attacked by a group but the signal most important lesson Peter was learning was how to be ruthless. It was a bit foreign for Peter to not play fair, to kick someone when their down but in the a-moral world of criminals that is actually what was called for. In this area Peter was still lacking and he was continually chastised for it by Bird MacKenzie. Peter struggled with the idea of breaking someone’s leg who was already down just to prevent them getting back up.

The final few day of the course were taken up with how to deal with an attacker in a non physical was, by intimidation.

“There is a way to deal with attackers without striking a blow,” said Bird MacKenzie he then continued, “but it takes a lot of skill, something non of you have but I will run through it anyway. Look at it like this, you will see this a lot in the animal kingdom, just watch a bit of David Attemborough. Any way take a male lion defending his pride, before he commits to fighting his opponent there will be a period where they size each other up. The alpha male will raw and stand tall in an attempt to intimidate his opponent, now sometimes this will work and sometimes it won’t.”

He paused for a moment and looked around at the students. Some were starring into space in their own little worlds and others were waiting on every word.

“Now,” he said in a loud voice before continuing, “it is the same with people, you may remember that I said on the first day, ‘tattoos want help you in a fight’ but, they may help you avoid a one. Things like tattoos, what you wear, your hair style, even just the way you move can intimidate your opponent into backing down. And then there is reputation, if you have a reputation for violence then you my only have to tell your opponent who you are to get them to back down.”

“So you’re saying that we just have to look the part,” said Bill.

“Yes but it want work all the time, as soon as you meet someone who thinks their tougher it will kick off so you have to be ready at all times.” replied Bird MacKenzie.

“It is very hard for some of us to look the part,” said Peter.

“It want work for you, your to much of a pretty boy, no one is going to be afraid of you,” said Bird MacKenzie and then continued, “but you can use that to your advantage, they will underestimate you so you can take them by surprise.”

“That will be the day,” said Peter.

“Well that brings us to the end of this course, I hope you all got something out of it, be safe,” said Bird MacKenzie.

All the students stud up and started making there was to the door when Bird MacKenzie said, “Peter can I see you for a moment?”

Peter walked over to him and said, “what can I do for you?”

“Ever since you enrolled in this course Frank and I have been puzzled by why someone like you would want to do a course like this, so why?” asked Bird MacKenzie.

Peter thought for a moment and then said, “Honesty is the best policy, in a little over a week I will be in court on a charge that if found guilty would see me in jail for some time, so I wanted to know how to defend myself. A pretty boy like me in jail, well.”

“No need for you to worry, white collar criminals usually end up in open prisons,” replied Bird MacKenzie.

“Its not a white collar crime but before you ask, I would rather not say but I will say, I don’t remember anything about it nor does the victim, but the evidence is compelling,” said Peter before continuing, “wish me luck.”

“Good luck,” replied Bird MacKenzie.

Peter turned and walked away. Over the last few weeks Peter had become so engrossed in the course that the court case had not crossed his mind, but telling Bird MacKenzie about it brought it all rushing back. The words, ‘a little over a week,’ whirled around in his head as he walked back to his car and drove home.

He got home to find amongst his mail, a note from Sandra.


          Still no memory. I hate this not knowing. The Police

          have reinterviewed me but I had nothing to add.

          Look after yourself.


Sandra’s note left Peter feeling very alone and lost.

With the clock ticking down Peter decided to take a break from everything during what could and probable would be his last week of freedom for a while. But what to do, holidays were never something Peter had much time for. He could just sit in front of the TV and watch day time television but that seemed like a waist. In the end he couldn’t think of anything so he just sat around reading.

Three days out from the court case and Peter had an appointment with Reg and the Barrister. They ran through the evidence and how the court worked as well as what Peter should ware and how he should conduct himself. After the meeting Peter was left with the feeling that it was all a bit of a formality, a bit of a forgone conclusion. The Barrister even tried to persuade Peter into pleading guilty, but Peter would have none of it.

Two days out from the court case Peter travelled to the park opposite the Bank where he use to work. It was eleven thirty in the morning, he sat on the park bench where he use to sit during his lunch break and fed the pigeons. He recognise one of the Pigeons, Bill the bully, he was still the bully chasing the other pigeons away from the food. Nothing much changes weather its pigeons or people, the bully always wins out, with pigeons the bully gets the food and the girl. With people the bully gets the money and the girl.

Being in the park made Peter think just how things had changed in such a short period of time. It was not that long ago that he had a very good job, money, and a good future but now he had no job and was on the verge of going to jail for some time.

Totally engrossed in his own little world sitting on the park bench Peter did not notice that someone had sat down on the other end of the bench, it was Sandra.

“Fancy seeing you here, it’s a small world,” said Sandra.

Peter looked at Sandra but it took him a few seconds to snap out of his thoughts, once he did a broad smile came across his face.

“Very small world,” replied Peter and then, “how have you been?”

 “Much the same as ever, back at work, lunch with the pigeons,” said Sandra and then added, “still can’t remember anything.”

“Tell me about it, it’s an awful thing to not be able to remember, it’s like reading a book that has a chapter missing,” replied Peter.

“It makes you want to skip to the end in the hope the ending will help fill in the gap,” said Sandra.

Peter just looked at Sandra for a few moments. Everything he wanted to say was not really appropriate given the way things were so he said, “Bill is still a bully.”

“The more things change the more things stay the same,” replied Sandra.

“Who said that?” asked Peter.

“Jean Baptiste Karr, who was a French writer,” replied Sandra.

“How did you know that?” asked Peter.

“Just one of those things I know,” replied Sandra.

“I thought it was a line from a Bon Jovi song but I didn’t want to admit it,” said Peter.

“They stole it,” replied Sandra.

Peter smiled and without thinking said, “I miss our lunches together.”

“So do I,” replied Sandra.

Peter stud up and said, “be happy Sandra.”

Sandra got up and put her hand out to shake hands, which they did and she said, “if I remember anything I promise to let you know.”

“And so do I,” said Peter and then added, “I will see you in a few days but we want be able to talk so I guess this is good bye for now.”   

Peter walked away, happy that he had the opportunity to talk with Sandra one last time.

The last day of freedom before the court case and Peter spent it getting ready for the worst case scenario, jail for many years. In fact he had been getting ready for weeks, his financial affairs were in order, his processions were packed and ready if necessary to be moved into storage. He did not own much as his job had him moving around a lot but what little he did have had some sentimental value so he was prepared to pay for the expense of having everything kept in storage.

He could not think of anything more he needed to take care of so he relaxed for a few hours watching TV before reporting to the Police for the last time. After reporting to the front desk he was asked to wait and after a few minutes Detective Sergent Joe Brown appeared and took Peter to an interview room.

“Now Peter this is not an official interview its just a chat between two blocks, it’s completely off the record,” said Detective Sergent Joe Brown.

“I understand,” replied Peter.

“Can you remember anything?” asked Detective Sergent Joe Brown.

“Unfortunately nothing,” replied Peter he then added, “nether can Sandra.”

“Have you spoken to her?” asked Detective Sergent Joe Brown.

“We have exchanged a few notes and we sat in the park and chatted yesterday,” replied Peter and then, “but other then telling each other that we could not remember anything, we did not talk about the case.”

“I see,” said Detective Sergent Joe Brown.

“Why are we talking?” asked Peter.

“I don’t know, there is something about this case, the evidence is conclusive, you’re guilty, but it does not feel right,” said Detective Sergent Joe Brown.

“That’s because Sandra and I can’t remember, it just adds some doubt,” replied Peter.

“See you in court tomorrow,” said Detective Sergent Joe Brown.

Peter left the Police Station and went home.

Peter woke early, organized himself and headed to the court house and his fate.     

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