Before I whisk you away on the magic carpet that is “A Couple of Tenors Short” with part nineteen, I wold like to remind any Brits reading this that May 6th is polling day in the general election. Before you lose yourself in the nightmare that is my imagination, please vote. I wouldn’t dream of trying to influence how you vote - just make sure that by applying your ‘x’ to the ballot you have made your voice heard about how you wish to be governed for the next 5 years.
If you want to start this serial from the beginning you will have to make do with the original Part One, the updated version will be posted when I am sure that it matches up with my ideas for the plot.
Should you be rejoining the story, or do not have the inclination to read the previous parts, allow me to recap.
After finding the man from the State Security Services in his kitchen, Inspector Glynn Jones is confused. Up until that meeting, he was convinced he was going mad, yet the security man suggested that he could be sane and the rest of the world is mad. To add to his confusion, 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.
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, and a suspected murder of a ‘John Doe’ dragged from the Thames.
Since the case started, 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 the McRamie abduction, 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 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. The State Security man has also suggested that he does not believe the book is the cause of the defamation case.
Now read on...
When Pippa returned, she found Jones sat in the kitchen. The card from the priest was held in the thumb and forefinger of his right hand and he was tapping it against her copy of ‘The Cat Crowed at a Little After Two Thirty’. In his left thumb and forefinger he held his thick gold wedding band.
“I’m sorry I’m late, darling.” Pippa smiled and kissed him lightly on his furrowed brow. “I got an invite to this press launch. It was too good an opportunity to miss. Anybody who is anybody was there.”
Pippa continued to name drop and gush about the press launch while she busied herself laying up the table. Jones sat staring at his wedding band and continued to tap the card on the book.
With the table laid, Pippa opened a bottle of wine and poured two glasses, all the time recounting anecdotes from the event.
“Is there something wrong?” Pippa looked at Jones with her head tilting to one side.
“Do you think I’m mad?” Jones looked up to look her in her gleaming blue eyes.
“Mad? You?” Pippa laughed. “No darling, you are not mad. Just appealingly eccentric.”
She watched him tapping the business card on the book for a few moments before adding “Why on earth do you ask?”
Jones let out a huge sigh and sat back in the chair. “Do you remember what you asked me last night?”
Pippa laughed. “I’m a little hazy on last night, darling. I was ever so slightly bombed.”
Jones laid the business card on the book, then adjusted it so it was parallel to the edge of the book’s cover. “You asked me if I ever got the feeling that I was in a dream and that something is stopping me from waking up.”
“Did I?” Pippa broke his gaze, took a swig from her wine and started to examine the preparations for the meal. “Well, we all feel like that sometimes after a bad day and I was bombed. This dinner of yours looks interesting.”
“Don’t change the subject, this is important.” Jones cut her off. “So you do feel that you are in some kind of dream?”
Pippa looked at Jones, the carefully put down her glass. “OK, yes, sometimes after a really bad day things can feel a bit out of control and a bit like a bad dream, but the feeling soon passes.”
Jones nodded. “Will you humour me by answering a really odd question?”
Pippa gave a nervous laugh. “Of course, my love.”
“Thank you.” Jones scrutinised the inscription on the inside of the wedding ring. “When were we married?”
“What?” Pippa’s eyes opened wide, and then narrowed, furrowing her brow. “What a strange question.”
“Please, for me?” Jones gaze left the ring for a moment to focus on Pippa before returning to the inscription.
“Well... errr...” Pippa took a big mouthful of wine. “It was a June wedding. Yes, it was June. June 6th, 2009!”
As Jones watched the inscription of ‘25/07/09’ blurred and slowly reformed as ‘06/06/09’. Jones closed his eyes and exhaled noisily.