Here is the special delivery of Part Seventeen of “A Couple of Tenors Short”. I only hope that the writing is conveying all the thoughts that bounce around in my skull about what I hope to achieve.
When I am happy that I have sorted out the tweaks and changes, I will update some of the entries, but until then, if you want to start this serial from the beginning you will have to make do with the original Part One.
Should you be rejoining the story, or do not have the inclination to read the previous parts, allow me to recap.
Inspector Glynn Jones is investigating the abduction of Archie McRamie, the theft of industrial generators, forged tickets for the Light Entertainment Championships, feral Girl Guides, the smuggling of illegal Macramé yarn, and a suspected murder of a ‘John Doe’ dragged from the Thames. His biggest obstacle to solving all the cases is that Jones believes he is going mad.
Since the case started, he has found himself married to Pippa Hucknell; found that he driving a rather chirpy, lime green Datsun Cherry that behaves like a puppy; suffered numerous random wardrobe malfunctions; keeps re-growing a ginger moustache; bet against his own station in the upcoming police light entertainment championships; had run in with gangs of Buddhist monks; had one of his team hospitalised by the feral Girl Guides and found the camp Sat-Nav unit in the pink Mark III Ford Zephyr is developing a personality and cannot be switched off.
Doctor Wilkins, the famous TV Pathologist has confirmed the unknown swimmer drowned in the Thames after taking a large high tea. The Fruit Fancies of his last meal are being linked to Darrius ‘The Baker’ Kipling. Darrius works for Horace Adkins, the beloved Barbers Shop Quartet impresario who is presumed dead after a massive explosion at his Georgian Mansion which the local police have suggested was suicide.
After finding a copy of ‘The Cat Crowed at a Little After Two-thirty’ by Archie McRamie in which the main character appears to be Horace Adkins, he decides to pay the author a visit only to find that both he and Smithy had been there before but cannot remember anything about it. Not only does he discover that McRamie has been abducted, but that all records relating to the case have vanished.
Darrius ‘The Baker’ Kipling and Dunker Phil, another of Adkins employees, were observed with Vera Anne Adkins and Violet Ann Adkins, two of Horace’s daughters, visiting the offices of London’s premier trial lawyers, Witherspoon, Lewes, Grambling, and Witherspoon. Vera Adkins had gone there to instigate a defamation case, but her sister Violet arrived and talked her out of it.
Jones has had a meeting with his Superintendant and a man from the State Security Services who are very interested in finding out why this visit took place, but have told the Inspector that he will be disowned if his investigation results in adverse public opinion.
Now read on...
When Jones got back to the station, his office was empty. He busied himself with getting all his paperwork sorted, making sure that he printed copies off and filing them in his desk. Occasionally, his attention wandered and he found himself staring at the coloured birds in the office aviary and mumbling “what is THE question?” under his breath before returning to his computer.
Paperwork finished, Jones picked up the message card propped against his phone, turned it over in his fingers for a few moments before dialling the number for Archie McRamies’s agent. The line rang before switching to her voicemail that informed him that she was struggling to return to the UK due to volcanic ash.
Jones left a message, slammed the phone down and swore under his breath.
Smithy chose that moment to return to the office, a huge grin spread across his face.
“What are you so happy about?” Jones snapped.
“Well...” Smithy drew up to his full height and dusted some imaginary fluff off his designer blazer. “The forger of the Light Entertainment Championships tickets is in the cells and is ready to make a full confession and all the forged tickets are safely in the evidence locker.”
“Well done” Jones slapped him on the shoulder. “And my tickets?”
Smithy produced the four tickets from his pocket and told the Inspector the price. Jones swore and left the office to find a cash machine muttering.
The office was full on his return. First, Jones went to Smithy and reluctantly handed over the £400 for the tickets. He then checked on progress with Brown and Johnson. Neither officer had anything positive to report.
Jones stomped off down the corridor to see if the uniformed constables had better luck with the door to door enquiries.
In the briefing room, a knot of uniformed constables stood chatting as Sergeant Collins briefed the team for the Light Entertainment Championships. As Jones entered, one of the constables broke away from the group and came over to him.
“Afternoon, sir.” The constable stood to attention and saluted. “I’m afraid we didn’t get much, but one lady remembered a big black car parked at the end of her drive at about the time that McRamie was taken.”
Jones nodded. “I don’t suppose that she was a car expert or collected car registrations?”
“No, sir.” The constable seemed to shrink a little. “But I was going to have a look at some of the local CCTV footage later and see if I could spot something.”
“Thanks, lad.” Jones patted the constable on the shoulder. “Leave your report on my desk when you have it.”
Jones left the briefing room and walked back to his desk as the opening bars of ‘Oklahoma’ filled the corridor.
At a little after five, the Datsun Cherry greeted Jones with a chirrup as he walked across the car park. Jones climbed in and sat staring into the distance for a few minutes, before he started the engine, threw the car into gear and set off.
On the way home, he visited Tom Taylor in the hospital. There were fewer tubes and wires and Tom seemed to be improving. The visit still unnerved Jones. As soon as he entered the hospital he’d been followed around by a burly porter who had stood, his huge arms crossed as Jones chatted with Tom and had watched him intently until his car left the car park.
There was no Mercedes on the drive of his house when Jones arrived.
“Looks, like I’m cooking dinner again.” Jones told the Datsun which chirruped in response.
Jones unlocked the door and walked through to the kitchen.
“Ahhh, Inspector Jones!” The security man in the green lycra body suit rose from a kitchen stool. “How lovely to see you again! I’m afraid the delightful Pippa will be about another hour. She got an unexpected invitation to a press launch.”
“How did you get into my home?” Jones spoke slowly, ignoring the offered hand.
“I thought I smelt gas. It was a matter of public safety that I gain access. Once inside, I thought I should wait and reassure you that nothing is amiss.” The security man gave that smile.
Jones gave an involuntary shudder.