Swinging my car into the much coveted parking space next to the industrial wheelie bins, two broken chairs and a bike minus a saddle, I spotted Petey.  He was obviously having a bad start to his night as I watched him grapple with his rucksack, which had become firmly wedged in his car door.

“Evening Mave, hhrrmff, I erm, is the grrrmff…….is the new lad starting tonight do you know, hey?”  He grinned, looking at me expectantly as he pulled and tugged on the unyielding bit of khaki canvas.

The poor lad was so desperate to have someone else on the Section to run the gauntlet of pranks, jokes and general teasing because no matter how good natured it all was, he had decided that he’d enjoyed his fair share and now wanted to be one of the ones that was playing the games rather than being at the receiving end of them.  

“Yes matey, he’s with us from tonight, but before you get too excited he’s not…..”  but before I could finish I was rudely interrupted by a loud ripping sound as he gave one almighty tug and catapulted himself across two parking bays, landing on his back, as the material on his rucksack gave way, scattering a cheese and ham sandwich, two packets of smokey bacon crisps and a strawberry Telly Tubby fromage frais onto the Tarmac.  Hastily picking himself up to retrieve his goodies, he continued to mumble to himself.  

“Super, oh super, so what have we got planned for him?  Hey, I know, can we do the ‘wet weather bike test’ Mavis, can we? I could do the hosepipe bit, that’ll be such a laugh.”  

Shaking my head and smiling to myself, I headed off to the locker room, leaving him muttering away in childish excitement as he disappeared under a car to grab a packet of Iced Gem fancies from behind the rear tyre.

To the rhythmic banging of locker doors as we gathered our kit together for Parade, Bob shouted across the din.   

Yay Mave, all set for later, can’t wait to see his face, promise it will defo be the last time.   Lets call it for old times eh?”   He winked with an impish grin as he clipped his tie into place.  

Shoving an avalanche of old sweaters, mismatched slash-proof gloves and half a box of 70 denier black tights circa 1988 onto the shelf, I grinned back and gave him the thumbs up as I slammed my locker door shut.  

“Just don’t go too far though Bob, he’s quite a sensitive soul really”.   

All through parade Petey jiggled and wriggled in his seat in unbridled excitement at what the night was to hold, whilst keeping a watchful eye on our newest member, Constable 5682 Shaun Lovell.  Now, contrary to what Petey believed, although Shaun was new to us, he had already served six months in a neighbouring division and wasn’t as wet behind the ears as Petey thought.   This was the advice I was about to impart earlier when his rucksack had given up the ghost cutting me off in my prime.  Oh well, bit late now I mused, as I shoved a hastily written note of our plan of action across to Bob and Adrian; and if Shaun fell for it, all the better.

Getting Petey on his own after Parade, I ran through what we had planned.  

“We’re not doing the cycling proficiency wet weather mate, mainly because it’s raining, so it wouldn’t be very effective with you and the hosepipe, or very funny.  We’ve gone for the ‘old body in the Mortuary’ trick, okay?”  He studiously nodded as I continued.  It’s not been done for a while, so it should be good”.  

A smile spread across his face, clearly happy to be part of the planning.  

Final preparations in place, our little prank was all set for scoff break, 3 a.m, dead of night, the bewitching hour.  Petey was doubled up with me again and as I tested the lights, klaxons and checked the vehicle log book, he sat in the passenger seat rubbing his hands together in glee.  

“Right Mave, can I just run through it again, I get on the slab, you shut the door and then when Shaun comes along I burst out and shout ‘aaaarrrrrgggghhh’……….”  

Sighing I closed the book, started the engine and ran through it with him again.  “No Petey, once in the mortuary you go to the cold storage section, get on one of the empty trays and cover yourself in a sheet, I’ll slide the tray back in, close the door and you just wait in there. Got it so far?”

He chewed the end of his pencil and then stuck it in his left ear giving it a robust jiggle.  Yep, yep, got that Mave….”

Right, okay.  You don’t move, you don’t say anything until the tray is pulled out again by Shaun who will have been sent to check a tag on what he believes to be a John Doe.  Still with me?”   

Inspecting to end of the pen he gave a nod as he vigorously wiped it on the sleeve of his jumper.  

I grimaced.  “So that’s when you sit up and start groaning, still with the sheet on okay?  But for God’s sake watch your head on the tray above, wait until your tray is fully cleared.”

“Yep, yep, got that Mave…..” he paused for a moment, chewing his bottom lip “…..errr Mave, what’s a John Doe?”

My patience had hit its limit.   “Bloody hell Petey, we’re in a mortuary what do you think a John Doe is?  How long have you been in the job? There’s going to be at least six other bodies in there with you, are you sure you want to do this?”  

He sat looking out of the window, biting his fingernails in silence.  I stifled a giggle.  What neither Petey or Shaun knew was that the mortuary was closed and empty of any residents as a new chiller section was being installed the following day.  For the price of two packets of Digestive biscuits and a Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut bar, we had endeared ourselves to one of the mortuary assistants and had secured thirty minutes uninterrupted time in the existing chillers before they were removed.

I gave him what I hoped was one of my more sincerest looks, whilst at the same time feeling ever so slightly guilty for knowing what he was about to endure


The early part of the night shift passed quickly with only one drink driver and two minor scuffles outside ‘Ali’s AbraKEBABra’ shop.  Indian Joe and his lovely girlfriend Liberty Lil had objected to the lack of chilli sauce with their kebabs.  Subsequently Ali had objected to Lil wiping the word ‘Chilli’ from his window display after she had ripped off her rather rancid, crusty fishnet tights to use as a duster whilst advising him on the Trade Descriptions Act.

At 3 a.m prompt, Petey was ensconced on tray 5, covered head to toe in a white sheet after having climbed between two shroud covered bodies, who were the unexpected residents of trays 4 and 6. As much as the excitement had thrilled him, he clearly hadn’t been thrilled at the prospect of being in such close proximity to dead people. 

Sitting up on his tray, with his eyes as wide as saucers he started to whine. 

Oh God Mavis, do you know what they died of?  It’s not catching is it, I mean, well, you know what I mean…..”  He looked horror struck.  

“Oh for goodness sake Petey, the dead can’t hurt you, they’re dead, gone, deceased, not of this world.  Look if you don’t want to do this…”  I kept my fingers crossed, hoping he wouldn’t back out now.

Sighing he put on his best stiff upper lip, leant back in repose and resigned himself to playing his part whilst I pushed his tray into place.  As I  slammed the door shut I could hear him giving a very muffled and quivering rendition of ‘Jesus Wants me For a Sunbeam’ from inside.

At 3:10 a.m on the dot, Shaun, after receiving a radio message to attend the Mortuary, was preparing to open the huge stainless steel door which housed trays 4, 5 and 6, which in turn contained the two unidentified bodies and sandwiched in the middle of them, our very own shivering Petey.

As Petey held his breath in eager anticipation of playing a rather good jape on Shaun, he heard a groaning noise emanating from tray 4 above.

“Ooooooh it’s a bit bloody parky in ‘ere isn’t it?”   wailed a ghostly voice from above.

Petey froze as a second voice shouted from tray 6 below him

“Yeah, no shit Sherlock, I popped me clogs in me underpants on the way to the bog, I’m feckin’ freezing me nuts off  in here…”

A brief silence followed before the occupant of tray 4 sighed

“Hey, you in number 5, what did you die of then?”

In that split second Petey let out a scream of utter terror whilst banging his head on the bottom of tray 4.  The realisation that he was number 5 and that his two neighbouring dead bodies had just carried out a little tete-a-tete was too much for him, finally tipping him over the edge.  

At that exact moment Shaun opened the door and started to pull out tray 5 containing the hapless Petey.  Seeing the shroud covered vision moaning and flailing in front of him, Shaun screamed, Petey screamed again, the residents of trays 4 and 6 screamed and wailed and Shaun turned on his heels and legged it through the doors into the night air, closely followed by Petey with his sheet attached to his trousers, billowing in the wind.

As the Mortuary doors slammed shut in the eerie silence that followed, I came out of hiding to see Bob and Adrian swinging their legs over the side of trays 4 and 6, completely helpless with laughter as they flung off their sheets, waving their arms in ghostly fashion.

“Woooooooo.  That was bloody epic Mave, absolutely bloody epic, a two-fer-one….” wheezing with laughter Bob wiped his sleeve across his eyes. “….did you see them go?  Freezing me nuts off and underpants!!!  Ade when have you ever worn gandipants mate?”

I had a horrible feeling that wherever they where by now, Petey and Shaun would be very grateful for clean underpants, any style, any colour or any brand.

(c) 2015 Gina Kirkham

Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Primark Thong




The Unfortunate Demise of Mr Bartholomew Blythe

“Petey, have you picked up the overnight crime reports?  Oh and don’t forget a new log book for the car and your butty box, I’m NOT stopping anywhere near Maccy D’s for you today, you’re starting to look like a bloody cheeseburger.”  I paused long enough to check my radio for battery life and for Petey to reply.

Rolling his eyes and groaning, he stood up, tipped his flat cap at an angle and began to chew on an imaginary piece of  gum.  As we rounded the corner, Petey still trailing behind with his hands in his pockets, I spotted the first of many posters, stuck to the wall and swaying in the gentle breeze that was floating in from the open back door to the nick.  Petey’s face super-imposed over the head of a rather comical, bedraggled donkey wearing a seaside straw hat.

Oh bloody hell Mavis, why me, it’s always me, how the hell was I supposed to know they were doing a raid.” he wailed.

I shrugged and tried not to giggle.  Poor Petey had been hauled before the Section Inspector the day before to discuss his ‘poor performance’ on his beat area.  He had apparently failed to tackle a parking problem caused by a local house of ill-repute which had been causing much consternation to the local residents.

Very few customers took the bus to avail themselves of the 5-star services offered within The Little House of Raptures by Madam Penelope Perfection, preferring their fancy cars and the ability to park on pavements and obstruct driveways in order to leg it to the front door to be first in the queue.  Complaint after complaint had been lodged but Petey had so far not managed to issue even one Fixed Penalty Notice.

Comsequently, this lack of action had proved to be a stroke of bad luck for one Bartholomew Blythe, a 68 year old retired Bank Manager.

Mr. Blythe had parked his shiny Mercedes into, over and on top of a nearby wheelie bin, wedging it under the front end of his prized car. This was in part due to his haste to beat a younger, more agile customer to the front door of The Little House of Raptures.  Once on foot, Mr Blythe had negotiated a street lamp, two further wheelie bins and a skip, and had breathlessly made it to the front door first.  Displaying a particularly smug smirk, he’d been welcomed personally by Penelope Perfection herself and had disappeared inside, leaving the young ‘customer’ at the gate.

Sadly, if Mr Blythe had taken the time to scrutinise his adversary during this mad dash for a knee tremble, he might have noticed the ear-piece he was wearing which was connected to a police issue radio, which was attached to the belt that held a Casco extendable baton and a pair of handcuffs.

Alas these little appendages were not extras for an anticipated tryst of hot and steamy sexual encounters within the walls of 23 Worcester Close, but standard issue for all police officers.

Much to the surprise of all who surveyed the rapidly developing scene, the young man who Mr Blythe had left at the gate suddenly started to run up the driveway shouting “Go, go, go..” as the front door to The Little House of Raptures was trashed by Constable Dexter Collins of the Rapid Entry Team with his bright red metal Enforcer.

As Mr. Blythe was led away, flushed and excitable,  the realisation hit him that if he had taken the time to park properly, he would have been behind the fresh-faced plain clothes Detective, Ian Rotherham rather than in front and as such, would not now have the honour of being front page news of the local Gazette whilst attired in his best Marks & Sparks 100% cotton red striped boxer shorts and a pair of gaiters holding up his socks.

After the successful closure of the Little House of Raptures was concluded with eight arrests and a large quantity of Class A controlled drugs seized, the Search Logs, Warrant and paperwork signed, all Officers involved returned to their respective unmarked police vehicles that had been hastily abandoned in various locations in the road.  Their elation was short lived as each of the six vehicles, as owned by the Chief Constable, now sported a Fixed Penalty Notice slapped on the windscreens for parking on double yellow lines.

Each ticket was proudly signed with a flourish;

Constable 1469 Peter THACKERAY A1 Division

Petey had done it again, he had provided his now completely exasperated Inspector with an unwanted result coupled with an awful lot of extra paperwork to the Chief Constable explaining why the Police Finance Department would be billed for parking offences on their own vehicles.

Looking at Petey now, standing in the corridor shaking his head at the posters, I couldn’t help but feel some sympathy for him.  He tried hard but always seemed to fail.  I had to try something to build up his confidence.

Jumping in the patrol car, I decided to give him a little pep talk as I drove out of the station yard.

“Look mate, it’s just a case of thinking before you act, a few seconds delay can mean the difference in getting it right, it’s lateral thinking mate, just think it through.”  I gave him a sympathetic smile.

He shrugged his shoulders, picked at a length of cotton on his trouser leg and opened his mouth to respond but was quickly cut short by the radio.

“Alpha Romeo 21 can you make to a report of a Sudden Death, details to follow when you’re ready – discovered by the deceased’s G.P…”

Arriving at a modest little terraced house the Doctor led us in single file upstairs.   Opening the bathroom door we were greeted by a vision of none other than Mr. Bartholomew Blythe, ensconced on the soft close seat of his avocado low level flush toilet, paisley pyjamas around his ankles, The Sun newspaper on his lap, bent forward with his nose stuck to page 3.

Mr. Blythe had sadly breathed his last whilst performing his bedtime ablutions and enjoying the charms of a particularly well endowed young lady courtesy of the tabloid newspaper.  Petey let out a nervous snort.

“Oh shit Mave, he’s really dead!” he quickly clamped his hand over his mouth.

The Doctor gave me an incredulous look, I returned it with an apologetic grin.  “Petey, if you’re going to barf go outside or at the very least use the sink.”  I gave him a hasty shove out of the bathroom.

I took the Death Certificate from the Doctor and checked the time and his signature at the bottom.  Petey’s gag reflex was working overtime, I could hear him heaving outside on the landing.

Waiting for the Undertaker to arrive to transport Mr Blythe to the Mortuary I began to check around for anything that would point to a next of kin.  Twenty minutes later, after a chat with his next door neighbour, we’d ascertained that he’d been an eternal bachelor with no known family.  I found it all quite sad really, a man alone in the world.  Apart from his little visits to Madam Penelope Perfection, which we had put a stop to the previous week, he had nothing.  That was what probably made him resort to The Sun newspaper.

Jeez, that reeked of desperation in my book.

Giving a last glance at his neat little sitting room, I ran back upstairs to check on Petey, who had gone unnervingly quiet.  I pushed open the bathroom door and there he was, sitting on the edge of the bath, mouth wide open, gazing at poor Mr. Blythe.  He barely dragged his eyes away from the rigid corpse before he spoke.

“You know Mave, we shouldn’t really leave him here, it’s so undignified.  Can’t we just move him to the bedroom?” he sighed.

Now, this is where alarm bells should have rung loud and clear.  This is Petey, the sort of guy where his Fairy Godmother would tap him on his shoulder with her magic wand and shout “Turn to shit….” because invariably with him, everything did.  Sighing, which was all I ever seemed to do when I was with him, I began to wonder why I wasn’t listening to my inner voice.

With Petey on one side, me on the other, I tried to lift him whilst Petey pulled up his pyjama bottoms.  As Mr. Blythe had been there for in excess of  twelve hours rigor mortis had already set in and The Sun newspaper was firmly clenched in his hands, proof that even in death he was not going to relinquish his Page 3.

Having covered his modesty, we started the task of getting him from the bathroom to the bedroom.

Mr. Blythe was currently holding his ‘sitting position’ quite rigidly and as we attempted to negotiate the narrow bathroom door onto the tiny landing we realised that he was now the wrong shape to angle round and fit through the door.  His knees became wedged on the door frame and no amount of wriggling would free him.

Petey go back a bit, lean over towards the bannister, that’s it…bit more, bit more…oh bloody hell grab his pants, they’re dropping down…..”

By this time Mr Blythe had twisted round, and Petey, finding the weight was getting a little too much for him started to sag putting him in a position where his face was inches short of Mr Blythes’ posterior.  As luck would have it, this was the exact same moment that the build up of gasses contained within Mr Blythe decided to seek an escape route.  A resounding paaaaarrrrrp bounced off the narrow landing walls.

Petey squealed loudly. He’s farted Mavis, oh God he’s only gone and farted in my face!”

Wrinkling up his nose, he let go of Mr. Blythe in order to take the opportunity to wave his hands manically in the air whilst displaying a very girly fit of pique, leaving me to prop Mr Blythe up on my right knee whilst holding him under his armpits.

“Bloody hell you idiot, grab hold of his legs or I’m going to end up dropping him…”

“……but Mave he farted…I think I’m going to be sick…”  He wailed.

My patience was wearing thin.

“Petey, believe me sunshine you’ll be more than sick if I get my hands around your throat, now just pick up his bloody legs.”  I hissed

Reluctantly he grabbed hold, but not before he had turned seven shades of purple through holding his breath.  After much huffing, puffing and trying to remember how I had moved my two seater sofa from one room to another the previous month, we began to work on the old adage that where there’s a will, there’s a way and eventually managed to get poor Mr. Blythe into his bed.  Standing back, we surveyed the scene.

“Aww Mave, we can’t leave him like that, it’s just not right, you’ve got to do something, please Mavis..”

With perspiration dripping from underneath my fringe I stood and looked at Mr Bartholomew Blythe, retired Banker, valued Client of The Little House of  Raptures, long term subscriber to Men Only and shook my head.

He was now lying on his back, legs bent at a right angle, knees almost to his chest with The Sun Newspaper still firmly clutched in his hands, as though he was sitting on an invisible bog.

I glared at Petey whilst I prised the paper from Mr. Blythes’ clenched hands.  I looked around and finding an old copy of The Guardian on the bedside cabinet, I opened it at the stock & shares and replaced it between his nose and his knees, sat him up, plumped up his pillow and brushed his hair into a side parting.

Oh that’s so much better Mave, thank you.  You know, he could almost be sort of waiting for a bacon butty and a cup of tea in bed instead of being….well…you know….being sort of…dead.”

No Petey, I really didn’t sort of know…….. but one thing I did know, it was most definitely a better class of newspaper.

(c) 2015 Gina Kirkham

Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Primark Thong




My big fat curvy butt had only just touched the battered old sofa in the rest room when Heidi’s over-excitable tones barked out over the radio – just as I was about to take my first bite out of a rather attractive looking BLT butty.

“Sorry about this Mave, it’s probably a crock but can you start making to Morrisons, we’ve had a report of a fight in progress, no further details.”  

Sighing, I threw my sandwich back in the budget cardboard carton that I had ripped apart in my haste to taste food after almost nine hours on duty, and chucked it in the bin.  An errant peice of tomato slapped against the side and slid slowly to the bottom.

“Apparently it’s getting seriously out of hand so it’s an immediate response Grade One…….”

I clicked my utility belt into place, hoisted up my combat pants and grabbed my jacket.  “Okay Heidi, show me responding”.  

Jumping the back stairs two at a time, I made it down into the yard and into my car in record time, pausing momentarily to allow the security barrier to lift.  Turning onto Village Way, I slowed down for the traffic lights, checking in each direction, before passing through on the red.  I gave an audible release of breath, grateful that at least for today, my fellow road users had spotted me and stopped to let me through,   It never ceased to amaze me the effect a nice big shiny police car with flashy blue lights and noisy sirens had on drivers and pedestrians alike.  You could take your pick from a gamut of reactions ranging from curiosity, helpful assistance, aggression, fear, panic, strict adherence to the Highway Code come what may to outright stupidity.

A geriatric Hilda Bagspott from the nearby Sleep Haven Rest Home with her trusty zimmer frame were the first to cause a ‘gentle braking, firm braking, oh faark braking’ as I rounded the corner of  St. Johns Road.    Stopping four inches short of the centre white line she fixed me with her beady eyes, daring me to move another inch, as she wiped a dewdrop from her nose with the corner of a screwed up tissue.  Shoving it into her pocket she gripped the top of her zimmer and gingerly manoeuvred into position.

Jeez, this had to be an omen of things to come.  With the lights grating noisily on the car roof and sirens wailing, I waited for Hilda to complete her epic crossing to collect her pension.

Shuffle, lift, plonk down, shuffle, lift, plonk down, stop, check handbag, wipe nose, shuffle, lift, plonk down.

Tapping the steering wheel I gave a few little words of encouragement to Hilda through the open window.  This was met with another steely glare as she continued her slow progress.   Eventually, zimmer on the pavement she turned and gave me an elegant but very defiant two fingered salute as she shuffled off towards the Post Office.  The temptation to loudly blare my horn and cause the lovely Hilda a bout of incontinence was outweighed by the overriding urgency of the job.

Running the gauntlet of drivers who suddenly found the ability to complete a full slalom in and out of parked cars in the sheer panic of not knowing where the sirens were coming from to being stuck behind someone who only drives on Sunday’s and never over 20 mph, I arrived at Morrisons, proud in the knowledge that I had only shouted ‘bugger’, ‘faark’ and ‘twat’ an average of three times each and one resounding ‘bollocks’ throughout my whole journey.

Clearly I had still maintained a small frisson of ladylike refinement about me after all these years in the job.

Based on previous calls here, I was half expecting to find a shoplifter embedded head first in the Organic Cabbage and Cauliflower display after having attempted a futile escape from the Store Security Guards, Stan and Arthur.  Running inside, I quickly realised the shouting and screaming that was coming from Aisle 2 (Cereals and Dried Fruit), was a little more than Freddie Four-Fingers having half inched six packs of bacon and two boxes of Lady Grey teabags.

To the background of crashing tins and choice swearing, a plummy voice screamed out across the store.

You utterly, utterly despicable little man…… could you? Fifty two years I’ve given to you, fifty two years you bloody philanderer”

Making my way to the aisle I was met with a rather well thought-out blockade, a beautifully choreographed ‘starburst’ pattern of shopping trolley’s, making any headway to where the screaming was coming from virtually impossible.  Each trolley was manned by a member of the local Derby & Joan Club.  The screaming reached deafening heights.

“Go on Sybil,  hit him with this……….”

I ducked as a cucumber sailed through the air hitting a very confused and flushed pink Mrs Frances Dewberry, Widow, member of the Parish Council, all round stalwart of the Sunnymeadow Ladies Soroptomists Club and Chairperson of The Berkdale Bakery School.  

“Oh dear, oh dear this has all got terribly out of all proportion….” Frances wailed “… it really has, he wasn’t getting any at home, that’s why he came to me, you kept refusing him, it’s nothing personal Sybil.” She was most distraught, swooning forward to almost topple into her trolley that was filled with cartons of Double Cream, pots of Strawberry Jam and several other tasty baking ingredients.

Sybil, panting with exertion, folded her arms and adopted a fighting stance.  Nothing personal Mrs. Dewberry, huh I don’t think so, you… you loose woman you, you harlot.  You need to find yourself another husband.  Don’t even think of denying it, I saw it in his diary…” she paused for effect  “…. Friday Fanny.  How very dare you tempt him with your…. your… FANNY!”

The last word was screamed in an ever increasing crescendo so that the whole of Aisles 2, 3 and 4 came to a complete standstill.  By this time Mrs Norma Billinge, Miss Phyllis  Acton and Dr. Florence Slapstringer (retired) had produced a variety of objects and missiles to assist Sybil in her onslaught of the now hyperventilating Frances.

Cowering behind the display of Special Offer pink Andrex Toilet Rolls was one Alfred Kitchener Staples, the apparent errant husband of Mrs Sybil Staples.

“It was for the scones Sybil, you wouldn’t let me have scones because of me diabetes, that was all.  I’m an old man Sybil, I have trouble getting up the stairs let alone anything else….”  Alfred grimaced as he swept his fingers through his remaining three strands of hair.  “…….and they weren’t that tasty anyway!”

Unfortunately these were the last words uttered by Alfred before he slumped to the tiled floor in a crumpled heap, still clutching a six pack of Andrex..

“Not tasty, not tasty, you horrible little man, they were acceptable enough when you where shovelling them in your mouth at my house every week for the last six months…..”  Pausing to draw breath Mrs. Frances Dewberry picked up a pot of Glennisters Strawberry Preserve  from her trolley and launched it at Alfred, hitting him smack bang in the middle of the forehead.

“….and another thing just for your information Sybil, I’ve always been known as Fanny…” she crossed her arms in a show of victory.    “…. that’s F – A – N – N – Y…. FANNY.  It’s my name not a bloody body part you stupid ruddy woman.”

(c) 2016 Gina Kirkham

Handcuffs, Truncheon & a Primark Thong