Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Where the Corn Grows Higher than your Eyes

Those of you who have come late to this tale might be interested in knowing that you are joining in the middle of the epic. May I suggest that you first acquaint yourself with the innovatively named Part One followed, in the nature of radical nomenclature, by Part Two and then Part Three?

Should you be rejoining the story, or do not have the inclination to read the previous parts, allow me to recap.

Inspector Jones is a policeman with problems. He appears to be married to person or persons unknown, he has grown a moustache that has turned out ginger and the case he is working on is making very little sense. Something inside his brain his telling him that he isn’t investigating the international macramé racket. However, his Superintendent believes he is and wants to know why Jones suspects the late, lamented Horace Adkins, the renowned Barbers Shop Quartet Impresario, of being involved.

Apart from the nagging doubts, bands of enraged Buddhist monks, marching bands and a growing affection for a pink Ford Zephyr Mark III, all Jones has to go on is an old paperback and the body of an unknown man that was dragged from the Thames after he drowned; the post-mortem suggesting a tragic accident caused by swimming too soon after taking a large high tea.

Now read on...

Jones took the evidence bag and locked it in the top drawer of his desk. Slowly and distractedly, he walked from the office. In the briefing room, four constables on night shift were practising for the upcoming championship. Sergeant Collins was leaning against the doorway observing. Jones walked over and stood behind him.

“Evening, Sergeant Collins.” He greeted the rotund sergeant cheerfully. “How are they coming along?”

The sergeant turned, held a finger to his lips to silence him and turned back to the four burly constables. They were well into their high energy dance routine, dressed as Judy Garland while singing a cappella to the title number from ‘Oklahoma’.

The dance routine ended with the four making a human pyramid. Jones stayed silent until the pyramid had broken up and the constables were towelling themselves down next to the lockers.

“Well, what do you reckon to our chances when we take on ‘C’ Division?” Jones asked Collins.

“I dunno.” Collins shook his head while sucking in breath noisily. “Losing Constable Singh to that trifle related injury was a big blow, best falsetto in the force he were, but yer know? I reckon we’ve got the measure of ‘em this year.”

Jones nodded and patted the Sergeant on the back. The inter-divisional light entertainment championships were a big event. Winning brought great prestige and a year’s subscription to a tanning salon for the winning station. Collins had drilled their entry for as long as anyone could remember.

Jones waited until he was downstairs before ringing his bookie and placing a bet on ‘C’ Division.

In the car park, Jones pressed the unlock button on his key fob. A Datsun Cherry flashed its indicators and chirruped happily. Jones tried again and the same lime green Datsun responded. Jones screwed his eyes shut and tried a third time, but the same car still chirruped cheerfully in response.

The drive home was relatively uneventful. Jones had to take evasive action when a llama carriage bolted along the Embankment and there had been some slight delays south of the river due the crowds waiting for a personal appearance by Saintly Sam Smiley and his Syncopated Souls.

While he crawled through the crowds in the congested traffic, he listened to the news. It was all about the untimely death of Horace Adkins and the myriad of conspiracy theories already warming the circuits of the internet.

Eventually, Jones turned the Datsun into his quiet South London street, bounded by rows of neat, terraced houses before swinging it into his driveway, narrowly missing the expensive Mercedes parked in front of the double garage.

Jones looked at the large, whitewashed art-deco house with its sweeping curves and geometric features. He got out his wallet and checked the address against his Driving Licence. They tallied.

“Well, this is getting odder by the minute” He muttered to himself as he got out of the car.

Getting to the front door, he tentatively tried his house key in the lock. It worked perfectly. Jones took a deep breath and walked in.

The sight of the leggy blonde stopped Jones in his tracks. She was stood in the archway that led to the kitchen posing provocatively wearing only a short, pink, silk robe trimmed with white fur. Blue eyes sparkled under her straw blonde fringe as she pouted and winked at the Inspector.

“There you are, Darling” Her voice oozed, causing Jones to shiver. “Does my poor, overworked, husband need to be relaxed?”

“Pippa..” Jones stopped himself before adding Hucknell. “What are...”

“What am I doing here?” She sashayed slowly towards the Inspector before pausing mere inches in front of him. “I’m here to welcome my husband home after a long, hard day in the office.”

Pippa run her hands slowly down Jones’ chest, adding, “to make all that horrible stress disappear.”

The kiss that followed was long, slow and made Jones moan. He couldn’t remember the last time he had been kissed like that by a beautiful woman. He couldn’t remember when he had been last been kissed. His hands started to glide over Pippa’s back and pull her even closer and the lack of memory didn’t worry him.

Pippa broke the kiss.

“Why don’t you get comfortable while I rustle up some dinner?” Pippa’s eyes sparkled. “I know it’s only Tuesday, but I have had a big scoop today and I want us to celebrate.”

Pippa turned and walked towards the kitchen, paused, looked over her shoulder and gave a playful growl. “I hope you have some energy left, tiger.”

Jones bolted into his study. It was just as he remembered it, cluttered and lined with shelves that bowed under the weight of hundreds of books. He went directly to a shelf and pulled out his hardback copy of ‘The Cat Crowed at a Little After Two-thirty’ by Archie McRamie.

He sat down in his leather wing-back chair and started to read. The first paragraph made him give a start.

“Mr Adkins arrived for his appointment twenty minutes early, dressed in his third best grey suit, white shirt and crimson tie. His black shoes shone as brightly as the faux diamond in his gold tie-pin.

He looked around the empty waiting room and the dozen or so tubular chairs for several minutes, before selecting the one in the corner furthest from the door.

Very deliberately, slowly, he lowered himself into the chair. He sat upright, knees and ankles pressed as tightly together as his thin, pale lips. Small, well manicured hands, with white knuckles clutched an ornate box on his lap. His grey eyes flitted around the room.

Occasionally, his head would twitch violently and a strand of oiled black hair would fall from across his balding pate and over his face. With the thumb and forefinger of his left hand, Horace Adkins would lift it back and meticulously place it back before the hand darted back to the box.

"This is it then, Horace Adkins." he spoke to himself in slightly shrill adenoidal tones. "This is good, very good. We will certainly make an impression today."

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