Here is part 45 of “A Couple of Tenors Short”. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to get round to posting this. I have been working on it, just not actually posting the results. I think it must be that I re-read one of the earlier bits and gave it a thorough overhaul – it rather broke my routine.
There is another quiz question associated with the part number. I’d never heard of the artists or the song, but trust me, it is worth listening to the answer.
OK, the quiz question out of the way, here is my mantra. This is a serial. Any new-joiners should start with the opener known as Part One.
The troublesome recap has now settled into its new home. You can find the recap here!
Now read on...
Early progress soon became a crawl as Jones encountered other commuters who were taking the long way round. To try and make better progress, Jones took to the side roads.
After several twists and turns through the backstreets, Jones turned into a familiar road. His foot lifted from the accelerator and the Datsun slowed.
A large truck shot from a side street and hurtled down the opposite street, a few yards in front of the car. Jones didn’t react, he just stared down the road.
The sound of a klaxon behind Jones caused him to look back over his shoulder and see an irate llama carriage drive urging him out of the way. Jones sighed and moved a short distance up the road and parked the car. The llama carriage passed him in a flurry of expletives from the driver.
“So, what do you reckon, girl?” Jones whispered to the Datsun. “Do you reckon this is fate?”
The Datsun stayed silent.
Jones stared down the road for a few seconds before slowly getting out of the car and walking slowly down the footpath before pausing in front of a restaurant.
The sign on the restaurant read “Nicks Pie and Mash Place”. Jones fought the urge to add the apostrophe as he examined it. The original name had been painted over, but “Nico’s Cypriana Grill” could just be made out under the streaky white paint.
This was where they all came after the Maryfield’s case. It was an evening of a constant stream of hot, spicy Mezas kept afloat by gallons of cheap red wine. It was an evening of joking, dancing and shattered crockery.
They’d all been there; even the Assistant Chief Constable had turned up briefly before leaving a bundle of notes behind the bar, making diplomatic excuses and slipping away. The Superintendant had shown real talent when he blasted out some Tom Jones numbers. Tom Watson and Dougie Brown had attempted traditional Greek dancing and ended up in a writhing heap on the floor, incapable of getting back to their feet through drink and laughter. Brian Watson and Rosa had shown everybody how it should be done amid rowdy applause. Jones had embarrassed himself by murdering a Greek folk song, yet still managed to get the loudest cheer of the night.
Jones hand took a tentative grip on the door handle as he took a deep breath.
A bell tinkled somewhere in the gloom as he entered. He’d barely taken a step before the short, dumpy form of Cipria Constantine rushing from behind the bar.
“Inspector! It is you! Come in! Come in!” Cipria gushed in a thick Greek accent as she enveloped Jones in a breath sapping hug.
“It’s good to see you again, Mrs Constantine” Jones gasped as he extricated himself.
“You are looking well.” Cipria spoke deliberately and managed to almost subdue her accent. “Rosa is in the back room. You go through. I’ll get Nico to fix you some pie.”
“No thanks, Mrs.C” Jones laughed as he held his hands in mock surrender. “I can’t stay long and I have dinner waiting at home. “
“Are you sure?” Cipria had her accent fully under control now.
“I’m sure, now if you were offering up some of those meatballs of yours...” Jones gave a grin and a wink. “Absolutely delicious, I can’t understand why you stopped serving those wonderful home cooked Greek dishes of yours.”
“Us British, we don’t like the spicy foreign foods.” Cipria gave a shrug and then drew herself up to her full height. “So, we just give them what they need, good wholesome British Pies.”
Jones nodded slowly and decided against taking the subject further. “Rosa’s in the back room you say?”
Cipria nodded. Jones gave her one last hug and turned towards the back room.
As Jones started to make his way through the restaurant, he noticed a priest sitting alone at one of the tables, his wide brimmed hat hung on the chair opposite. The priest looked up from his large meat pie, noticed Jones and gave a wave. Jones gave a half smile and a nod and continued through to the back room.