Monday, May 03, 2010

Dancing on the Head of a Pin

We find ourselves arriving at Part Sixteen of “A Couple of Tenors Short”. There was no entry yesterday as I did a spot of work on the manuscript, closed a small plot hole and developed a couple of the conversation sections.

This was the result of me having a go at reading out loud the opening. It was particularly difficult to read and my mumbling and stumbling attempt can be found on here on YouTube. The result should convince you that I was right to work on it!

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...

The small queue at the bus stop stared at Inspector Jones when he joined the queue. When Jones glared back, they turned away quickly and edged away from him. Jones checked for a wardrobe malfunction. He was still wearing the grey suit, his flies were done up and his top lip remained devoid of facial hair. Jones shifted from foot to foot and watched for the bus.

When the bright red Routemaster arrived, the top deck was being led in a round of community singing by a bus conductor dressed as a pearly king. Jones grunted and chose a seat towards the back of the lower deck.

An old woman dressed in a voluminous dress of black lace and a huge hat sat next to him. She smelt of cabbage and lavender, her hat secured to her head by numerous hat pins. She looked down her nose at the Inspector and clutched her handbag closer to her chest. At the next stop, she moved to another seat.

Jones grunted and looked out of the window. The bus lurched and shuddered past greengrocers, butchers, bakers, newsagents and craft shops. Rosy cheeked women in bright pinafore dresses darted in and out of the shops, while men in blazers and sports jackets doffed a variety of headgear and held open the doors. Smiling children held their mothers hands and skipped along the street. Babies slept in their prams. Toddlers played with small toys in their pushchairs. Now and again, friends would greet each other warmly and pause and chat.

The bus passed a knot of people Morris Dancing while a woman sat on a wall playing a flute.

“Pippa’s right. It is a dream and I cannot wake up.” Jones pressed his forehead against the cool glass of the window. “I’m not sure that it is even my dream.”

“Are you alright?” a voice from the next seat enquired.

Jones turned and faced the owner. It was a priest who was observing Jones closely.

“Did I say that out loud?” Jones asked.

The priest nodded.

“Sorry.” Jones gave a weak smile and turned back to the window.

“Life can be confusing sometimes.” The priest patted Jones on the elbow. “It isn’t unusual to find ourselves looking for answers.”

“And you have all the answers in that little book of yours, I suppose?” Jones spun round and faced the priest.”

“I wish I had.” The priest gave a little laugh. “Philosophers have spent centuries debating these things, but it is faith that helps us find our own path.”

“How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? If a tree falls in a forest and there is nobody there does it still make a noise? That kind of debate?” Jones turned back to the priest and raised his eyebrows.

“Not really the philosophical questions I had in mind.” The priest smiled. “Getting the answer you need is all about asking the right questions.”

“You don’t need to tell me, I’m a policeman.” Jones gave a sigh as he spotted another small shrine to Horace Adkins.

“Really?” the priest shot back and after a quick pause added “I suppose you are working undercover, that would explain the suit.”

Jones turned and looked at the priest who smiled at him.

“Sadly, I doubt that we will find the right question to solve God’s great purpose for you on a short bus ride. Look, if you feel the need to talk or even argue over Philosophy...” the priest fished a business card from his pocket. “Feel free to drop in. Often just talking about things makes it easier to find the answer.”

Jones looked at the card and then at the priest as he rose from his seat.

“My stop I’m afraid.” The priest grabbed at the back of the seat as the bus lurched to a halt. “I do hope we’ll meet again.”

Jones gave a smile and nodded as he put the card into his breast pocket.

The priest helped a young mother get her two children and a pushchair off the bus. When he had helped re-assemble the buggy and waved the women on her way, he turned towards Jones and waved. Jones gave a nod and turned away.


Anonymous said...

I dont want to be picky but the old woman appeared to be wearing a dress partly made from a hat? Very peculiar. There is nothing wrong with Morris Dancing by the way. I once stood for election for the Morris Dancers party - a course of action I came to regret. But that is another story...

Simon said...

I have corrected the poor ladies wrdrobe malfunction in the manuscript. She no longer has peticoats under her hat.

I have nothing against Morris Dancers really - just as long as they don't try and date my daughter.

Anonymous said...

I think a collective date with a lot of morris dancers would be tiresome and unnerving - maybe she should select just one special morris dancer?

Simon said...

I've always felt that all Morris Dancers are 'special' in their own way.