Part 58 of “A Couple of Tenors Short”. I keep rattling away at this. Amazing really, I suppose at some stage I should consider what I should do with it once it is complete. I have already started to cast the TV mini-series in my head, but I am rather stuck over who should play Smithy.
You will be pleased to know that life in the real world continues to outshine anything I can dream up for “A Couple of Tenors Short”. All I can say is that dominoes in the Rat & Ferret is nothing compared to how they play it in China.
More severe doubts over the quiz question, at least in part due to me not being sure I have a picture of the right band. The answer suggests that it should be easy to people of my generation, but I suspect it’s not.
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...
Inside the Zephyr, Smithy, Johnson and Brown considered Jones’s question over the oddness of the world. The three of them looked at Jones and then each other.
After one of the exchanges of glances, Smithy had to brake hard to avoid knocking over a particularly little old lady who was riding a large dog across the pedestrian crossing. The little old lady pulled up her steed and glared at Smithy from under a bright orange parasol.
“What do you mean odd?” Smithy asked turning around quickly to avoid the irate lady’s withering look.
“OK, look.” Jones clasped his hands together, interlocking his fingers. “We are four policemen, driving through London in a bright pink Ford Zephyr Mark III with no flashing blue light or sirens...”
“Oh yes, flashing Lights, but perhaps we should go for lavender lights?” The Sat-Nav cut in.
“... and with a Sat-Nav that thinks it is some kind of camp style advisor.” Jones voice took on an edge in response to the interruption. “We’ve just nearly knocked over an old lady riding an Irish Wolfhound side-saddle while wearing crinolines, numerous petticoats and carrying a parasol. Don’t you consider that the slightest bit odd?”
“Camp? I’m not camp!” the Sat-Nav squealed. “Just for that you can find your own way to... to wherever it is your going!”
As the detectives considered Jones’s question, the old lady grew bored with glaring at the car and moved across the crossing. Smithy crunched the Zephyr into gear and moved off.
“Well, it is London, guv.” Brown was the first to respond. “This is a city that is a zany melting pot of style and fashion. Where London leads, the world follows.”
“Did you have those funny pains before you gave that answer, Brown?” Jones asked gently.
“No, not at all..” Brown spoke slowly, “it seemed the right answer.”
“When was the last time you saw a little old lady riding side-saddle on a dog in a busy city street?” Jones pressed.
The other three in the car consulted before admitting that this was the first time they could remember. Jones relaxed slightly, sitting back in his seat, a half-smile playing on his lips.
“Mind you, we ARE having memory problems.” Smithy reminded Jones, which caused the half-smile to vanish. “And London is known for its eclectic mix and variety of loveable eccentrics. Doesn’t mean we would have come across them all.”
“OK, let’s try and explain the moustaches.” Jones stroked the ginger monstrosity that flamed on his top lip. “How come we all grew moustaches? Not over a few days, but suddenly, all at once on a drive across London.”
The three detectives fell silent. Johnson twisted the ends of his handlebar moustache.
“Is it some kind of virus?” Brown offered.
“Hurrumph. Is that the best you can come up with?” Jones asked dismissively. “Besides, why just a moustache and how come they grow ready styled?”
“Guv, this is giving me a headache.” Smithy complained.
Jones looked at his three companions. They all looked pale, their lips tinged with blue.
“I don’t feel so good either, guv” Brown admitted.
Smithy suddenly turned the Zephyr into a side street and parked. Smithy, Brown and Johnson all wound their windows down.
“I’m sorry, guv. I’ll feel better in a minute.” Smithy stuck his head out of the window and gulped in air. “I feel a bit dodgy.”
“In what way?” Jones looked at his companions who all had their eyes closed and their heads out of their windows.
“I dunno really. It’s a bit like I’ve been working a really long shift and now the adrenaline has run out.” Smithy spoke quietly, between deep breaths.
Brown and Johnson said nothing, but nodded their heads weakly. Jones stroked his moustache and stayed silent.
“I hope I’m not coming down with something.” Brown moaned. “I would hate to miss the Light Entertainment Championships.”
“That would be awful, what with the world record and the overtime and all.” Johnson added, never moving his head from the window.
The conversation about the Light Entertainment Championships continued. As it did, the colour returned to the faces of Smithy, Johnson and Brown and they became more animated. In his back seat, Jones said nothing, just observed, while stroking his moustache. After about 10 minutes, the conversation had got quite animated over who were the favourites for the competition.
When the conversation died down, Smithy announced he felt much better, started the engine on the Zephyr and pulled away. While the three of them argued over costume choices with the Sat-Nav, Jones sat quietly in the back, staring out of the window.