This is to mark the arrival of part 27 of “A Couple of Tenors Short”. It is one of those strange synaptic tangents that make nonsense of maths. Maths tells us that 27 should be a particularly lucky number because it is 3 cubed (or 3 x 3 x 3). I’ll leave it up to you to work out the tangent. As I am older than my readership, the title and the picture are clues.
I should give a quick repeat of my mantra for you all. This is a serial. Any new-joiners should start with the alien vibration known as Part One.
With that out of the way, I shall fling you headlong into a recap that is getting out of all control. It would be great if somebody could come up with a better way to deal with this recap beast. It is getting quite unwieldy.
The world has gone mad. Inspector Glynn Jones believes that everyone else is out of step not him. A view encouraged by the man from the State Security Services dressed in green lycra he discovered in his kitchen. Later, when trying an experiment, the engraving on his wedding ring mysteriously changed when Pippa gave a different wedding day for their marriage than was originally on the ring.
Jones has no recollection of any marriage, but he is finding being hitched to Pippa Hucknell, an investigative journalist, rather enjoyable. Other events are not so pleasurable. He has 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.
Then there are the strange cases he has to solve, 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, a suspected murder of a ‘John Doe’ dragged from the Thames, and the disappearance of a number of petty criminals.
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 and Dunker Phil both work 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.
Archie McRamie is a best-selling author credited with the book ‘The Cat Crowed at a Little After Two-thirty’. The main character in the book appears to be Horace Adkins. However, it appears that it is his wife and secretary, Elspeth Periwinkle that writes all his books.
Constable Rory Tiddles has found some interesting CCTV footage related to the abduction of Archie McRamie. It shows Dunker Phil climbing into Archie’s car at a filling station unchallenged.
Darrius ‘The Baker’ Kipling and Dunker Phil 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 were 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. After reading an old newspaper that once wrapped a fish supper, Jones believes he now has the answer.
I hope that has made everything clear? Oh well, at least I tried.
Now read on...
Jones hammered on the door frame of the fish and chip shop with the flat of his hand. After several minutes, a man appeared from the back of the shop. He peered through the glass between a poster for the Light Entertainment Championships and another for a Morris Dancing Extravaganza before gesturing with a finger towards the ‘Closed’ sign. He turned his back on the Inspector and started to saunter towards the back of the shop again. Jones started to hammer against the door frame with an increased tempo.
The man turned and Jones pressed his warrant card against the glass. The man gave a visible sigh, turned and unlocked the door.
“Thank you” Jones sidestepped around the bulk of the man and entered the shop. “Are you Fred?”
“I would like to look through your wrapping paper.” Jones smiled at the chip shop owner.
“My wrapping paper?” Fred observed Jones through half closed eyes. “What on earth..”
“Look, I can’t explain, I just need to go through the newspapers you use for wrapping the chips.” Jones gave another smile.
“Are you sure you’re a copper?” Fred crossed his arms across his ample chest.
Jones produced his warrant card again. Fred took it and examined it closely and shrugged. He closed the wallet and handed it back to Jones before leading him to a pile of old newspapers on the floor in the back room.
Jones fell to his knees and started to go through the pile.
“So what are you looking for?” Fred asked.
Jones sat back on his heels and stared at the wall. He ran a forefinger over his moustache.
“Copies of last week’s papers. Especially last Thursday’s copy of ‘The Sun’.” Jones remained motionless, staring at the wall.
“Old newspapers?” Fred wiped his hands on his vest. “Wouldn’t you be better off going to the library or something?”
Jones said nothing. He started taking papers off the pile and sorting them into two piles. Fred watched him.
There were two piles when Jones finished going through the pile. The much larger pile he pushed back to where the original pile had been. He examined the smaller pile. There were a number of last week’s papers, but no copies of ‘The Sun.’
“Where do you get your wrapping paper?” Jones asked Fred.
“They’re just old newspapers. Ted, the newsagent over the road brings them over and I give him a fish supper on the house.” Fred gave a shrug. “There’s no law against it is there?”
“Not that I know of. Do you mind if I take these?” Jones stood up, tucking the small pile under his arm.
“Knock yourself out.” Fred gave a shrug. “Is that it?”
Jones nodded and thanked Fred who showed him out, locking the door behind him.
The traffic in the street was in gridlock. A troupe of contemporary dancers dressed in lurid spandex with white face masks and bowler hats danced in and out of the vehicles. A jazz quartet walked slowly along the opposite pavement providing accompaniment. Young women dressed as Jane Austen heroines handed out flyers to passersby.
One of the dancers approached Jones and made to grab a newspaper from under the Inspector’s arm. Jones jumped back and made a fist with his free hand. The dancer laughed loudly and leapt back to join his companions in the road.
Jones watched him until he vanished behind a llama drawn brewery dray before heading back to the station.
Avoiding the main entrance, Jones entered the car park. The Datsun Cherry chirruped as he approached. Jones opened the boot and placed the newspapers inside. He then opened the passenger door and carefully placed one of the envelopes in the glove compartment.
The Datsun gave a questioning chirrup.
“It’s OK.” Jones patted the steering wheel. “Just some stuff that I want to keep safe. Look after it for me, won’t you, girl?”
The Datsun gave another Chirrup and then a conspiratory beep of the horn. Jones smiled, got out of the car and made sure it was locked.