Car 7

233
Mr Malik Begum

Outward appearance

Handsome businessman, dark suit, camelhair coat. Black hair rolls back in waves. Deep circles under his eyes. Rubs them, seems to crumple, then sits up straight, in power again.

Inside information

Owns the Sharma Restaurant near Lambeth North. It is well appointed, with glass panels frosted with Hindu motifs, though Mr Begum is Muslim. The restaurant is almost always empty, but keeps large numbers of people in employment.

It launders money for gentlemen in Soho. Last night they took Mr Begum to dinner. It went on too long, he became suspicious; they tried to get him drunk then they asked him to work through a ludicrous sum. His percentage would keep his family in comfort -- and he didn't know what would happen if he refused them.

It's such a risk. No one will believe that sum for food, tablecloths, maintenance. He spent all night trying to work it out and decided: the only way the business would move that much cash was if it were sold. He has to close it. Then that will be it, he promises, he will have no more dealings with them.

What he is doing or thinking

Mr Begum gets out at Lambeth, and to his horror sees his wife in the next car. The doors close, and the train pulls away.

What does he do? The platform is in strange disorder. A party from his own car blow favours. At the far end, two policemen interrogate some tourists. Their radios squawk. They all suddenly look down the tunnel in the direction his wife has gone.


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