In the bench seat opposite; his body guard stared. Gerald didn’t seem the right name for this behemoth of a man. He too wore a suit; his body so dense with muscle that one could wrongly assume him to be overweight. Wil saw the man remove his jacket inside the house once, dispelling the myth. He had no doubt the steroid freak could overturn a car unassisted.
Gerald stared impassively, until Wil turned away. Although hired to protect him, he didn’t dare anger the man.
The limousine stopped at a driveway leading into a large factory complex. Lights illumined the carpark, filled with workers’ vehicles, along with the outer walls of the facility. Anyone driving by on the street could see the plant was active. Wil could only assume Meissner had paid the local authorities to bypass his asset.
He lowered his bulletproof window as one of the uniformed guards leant forward.
“Good evening, Mr Baxter,” said the guard.
Will nodded, rolling his window back up as the guard depressed a button, making the automated section of wire fence roll aside. The car drove through and motored to the main doors of the factory. Exiting the car, Wil and Gerald ventured inside the building, alive with the sounds of machinery. They took a set of earmuffs from the rack beside the door and walked through the aisles. Their route took them by cabinet makers, glaziers, upholsterers, and other workers to do with the building of furniture.
Not only did the floor know the scream of machinery, it smelt too of timber treating chemicals. Apart from paper filtered masks, the workers had no protection against the fumes. Meissner was no fool. The chemicals had masked the scent of his drug lab below the factory, making sniffer dogs oblivious during raids. In fact Meissner even insisted that wood treating chemicals be cast about the underground floor to give off a consistent smell.
Will stopped by the largest of the machines in the centre of the floor; a timber moulder weighing a few tons. It had the height and breadth of a transit van, but twice the length. The machine’s operator noticed Will and promptly turned the machine off. He lifted the main side panel and reached under a section of the machine, near the floor. It’s massive bulk rolled aside, revealing a square section filled with a staircase, descending down to a well lit floor.
Will and Gerald descended. No one looked their way, pretending to be absorbed in their work. They ignored them all as they walked down the stairs. The employees would have been sternly warned; in fact, threatened not to “see” anything. By the time Gerald and Will reached the bottom, the stairs had closed, leaving them in a much quieter environment.
Workers cooked and packed his drugs in falsely marked boxes around rows of trestle tables. Meissner in his wisdom, had some of his guards double up as workers to safeguard against theft of his product. None of the workers knew who they were; including Wil.