A DEAD END JOB…….

image          A DEAD END JOB

                                                                                                       

“Right you little monkey, come and sit here for a cuddle, I’ve got crisps, Twiglets and Chocolate Buttons.”

Ella’s face lit up as she bounced down on the sofa next to me. Clicking the video remote I started the film. Our favourite. Mary Poppins.

She crunched a Twiglet and pointed the remaining bit at me.  “Mum have you ever seen a dead person yet, you know a real dead humung beening?” 

I tried not to laugh.  “It’s human being Ella, erm no, not yet….but that’s such a strange thing to want to know sweetheart.”

She shrugged her shoulders as her hand disappeared into the Twiglet tube.  I just wondered if they had wings when you found them or do they come later?”

Jeez, questions on Theology, I could spell the word, not have an in depth discussion on it.

 “Err I’m not sure I get what you mean Ella.” 

“Oh nuffink, I just thought it would make it hard to get them out of the front door if they were dead AND had a big pair of wings. Can I have another Twiglet?”

…and with that the conversation on dead people was over.

                                                     *******

“Neighbour from No. 32 is reporting he hasn’t seen the old lady next door for several days Mavis, voters show an Alice Creighton, 87 years.”  The ensuing silence from the other end of my police radio gave me time to think.

I groaned. Thanks Ella!

No sooner does she mention something, then it happens. I’d avoided the optional Post Mortem visit during my early probation as I didn’t quite fancy savouring my breakfast twice in one day. After all, I wasn’t going to be the one that had to bloody dissect them. I just needed to know how to deal with finding them.

Standing in front of the dull black door to No. 34, the abode of the unseen Mrs Creighton my heart sank. The backlog of newspapers and milk bottles could mean only one thing.

Grimacing, my stomach did a huge flip.  It’s more the anticipation of death that is so disturbing, so unless someone has ever taken the opportunity to actually keel over and expire in front of you, the chances of seeing a dead body are probably few and far between.

I lifted the letterbox and had a discreet sniff.  I baulked.  Yep, something smelt very dead inside the little terraced house.

“Here yer are love, it’s her spare key, use this.”

The kindly neighbour from 32 proffered the shiny bit of metal on a piece of string. I looked at it, looked at him and looked at the front door. It was at this exact moment I realised that I was the one wearing a uniform, and as such, I was probably expected to do something about the unseen Mrs Creighton.

Why on earth couldn’t I have worked at Sainsbury’s, they never have to find dead people do they?

I let that thought hover in the air before slipping the key into the lock, tentatively turning it and stepping through the door.  I glanced back to a sea of faces belonging to the concerned neighbours outside, watching in a medley of keen anticipation and sheer nosiness.

Just on the remote chance that there was anyone alive to hear it, although I did seriously doubt it judging by the stench, I loudly announced my arrival in a quivering voice.

Mrs Creighton, Mrs Creighton, it’s the Police Mrs Creighton…….”

No reply, nothing. Not even a whisper.

I carried on along the hallway, checking each room in turn with no sign of Mrs Creighton.  In the kitchen I found a pan of some foul smelling gunk on the old enamel gas stove. The furry growth on top had been fermenting for some considerable time.  I held my breath, this was going from bad to worse.  I tried again.

Mrs Creighton, don’t panic, it’s the Police, just need to know you’re okay”

Silence.

With my heart thumping in anticipation, I began to climb the staircase. Picking my feet through the threadbare runner, I swept my fingers along the dark brown bannister.  I was utterly convinced I was going to find the elusive Mrs Creighton rather deceased somewhere upstairs.

Oh please God don’t let her be all horribly….. well, you know what I mean… just make her sort of fresh…ish…!

The first bedroom was empty apart from an old 1930’s wardrobe, several dead flies on the ledge of the cast-iron fireplace and a commode. Motes of dust whipped up, catching in the muted sunlight from the window. Coughing I closed the door. Creeping out onto the landing, I put my very sweaty hand on the door handle to the second bedroom, pausing long enough to control my breathing as my heart threatened to explode through my shirt.

I turned and pushed.

The door creaked open….

…… and there, lying in bed amongst her pink rayon sheets and green polyester quilt, mouth wide open and eyes hooded was Mrs Creighton.

Very grey, very still, very cold and very, very smelly….
……and in my expert opinion…. just a little bit dead!

I froze.

Oh shit, I’ve got a dead body, a real life dead body.

My first.

Panic ensued. 

Think Mavis, think.  What did they teach you at Bruche? 

For a split second I didn’t care what they had told me at Police Training college, it didn’t matter.  All I wanted to do was to get the hell out of there…….

…..and then I remembered.  It all came flooding back,  I knew exactly what I had to do.

My priority was to confirm that there was no output from Mrs Creighton, no breath, no pulse, nothing that could be resuscitated, no signs of life.

Way to go Mavis.

I held my breath and walked gingerly over to the bed, jumping as the floorboards creaked. Oh blimey, facial hair! Mrs Creighton has facial hair. I hesitated, wondering if she still had her false teeth in, which in turn reminded me of Marj at our first aid classes. A quick glance at the bedside cabinet confirmed that her teeth were accounted for, they were floating in a glass of disgusting yellowy green…err…. something.

Fantastic that was all I needed. I’d never get a good seal around her mouth for CPR if it was caving in through lack of teeth. The thought of shiny gums and spit made me feel sick.

Taking hold of her limp wrist, I bent over her to check for a pulse.  As I tentatively moved closer to her face, I paused waiting to see if any air was being expelled from her nose.  The hairs on her top lip remained static.  Oh dear, this seriously wasn’t looking good.

I moved in closer, my own breath barely perceptable.  At the exact moment my nose almost touched hers, her eyes shot wide open.  A low moan drifted from her mouth as she suddenly sat bolt upright in bed.   Every nerve in my body went into high alert as I stumbled backwards in fright, knocking into the mirrored wardrobe.  

Letting out an almighty screech akin to a banshee, she flailed her arms in the air.  “What the fuck are you doing in me bedroom……?”

I screamed.

Mrs Creighton screamed….

….and I legged it out of the bedroom in sheer terror, flying down the stairs, missing several steps as I went.

The neighbours, fearful of my findings and the wailing from inside the house, crossed themselves in godly reverence before disappearing back into their own houses as I fell over the door mat landing sprawled out on the pavement.

Standing alone outside, I gathered what was left of my dignity and quietly meditated my predicament before forcing myself to return inside the House of Horrors.

I made Mrs Creighton a cup of tea, washed her dishes and contacted a relative to advise them she had been suffering a rather awful bout of influenza, which had been aggravated by a Nightnurse induced coma.

Plumping the pillow behind her, I folded back the quilt and handed her a bowl of chicken soup the next door neighbour had brought round.   “Here you go, that’ll make you feel better Mrs Creighton.”

She grumbled, sniffed, tasted the soup and let the spoon rattle back into the bowl.   “D’ya know what would really make me feel better?”

I was mesmerised by the flake of chicken adhered to her top lip as her tongue snaked up trying to dislodge it.   “Anything, just say and I’ll see if I can sort it for you” I gently crooned.

She wiped away the chicken with the back of her hand, flicking it across the counterpane.  

“I’d feel a whole lot better if you’d just fuck right off……   and don’t let the door smack you on the arse on the way out…!”

*****

Back at the nick I filled in my report on Mrs Creighton before going off duty, still stinging from her ingratitude and gobsmacked that an 87-year-old lady could actually know, let alone use, the F-word.

“There you go Mave…” Bob dunked his biscuit in the chipped mug, brought it up to his mouth with seconds to spare before it drooped, “…it’s the four S’s, you should’ve known that.”

I closed my notebook, What on earth  has sun, sea, sand and sex got to do with an ungrateful old biddy with Tourette’s?”

He grinned, cramming the rest of the biscuit into his mouth.

“Nope, it stands for not all Shitty Smells Sniffed are Stiffs….”

 ******

Extract from Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Primark Thong (c) 2016

Gina Kirkham

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IT’S ALL ABOUT MAVIS……

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IT’S ALL ABOUT MAVIS….

I suppose at some point in our lives it would be amazing to think that we had achieved something special, or at the very least to shine a little bit more than the average person for just one day.

I think that is why we often strive to excel in something.

Mavis you have a happy and generous heart my love, but unless you decide to become a comedian, which mark my words, women don’t do, I fear there is very little you will actually shine at..”       Frederick Albert Upton – 12th December 1972

Thanks Grandad!

I’ll tell you what, before I go any further why don’t you grab yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee, a couple of digestives if you’re not on a diet, make yourself comfortable and I’ll tell you about me.  It’ll be nice if you know me better from the beginning…..

I am Mavis Upton; a mum, a daughter, a sister and an ex-wife.  I have discreetly waved goodbye to my twenties and have now happily accepted my thirties with not too many tears, tantrums or a trip to the Aesthetically Yours Beauty Salon for fillers, Botox, lash inserts or Super Scouse brows.

I was born sometime during the not so swinging 50’s when fish & chips came wrapped in last weeks’ newspaper and skirts were still worn below the knee.   By the time I had reached my first birthday, my mum had already left me in my pram outside Woolworths on two separate occasions.

“…..but Mrs Upton your baby has been here for three hours, we’ve had stray dogs claimed quicker than that”  grumbled the local Constable who had been pushing my pram around to stop me from crying for the best part of an hour.  Suitably chastised, mum smiled weakly, wiped the snot from my nose, examined the tissue and stuffed it into her pocket.

Although she fervently maintained it wasn’t three hours, I was still abandoned, unclaimed and probably traumatised for life before the age of one.

“…..Mrs Upton this is the third visit Mavis has made here in as many months, can the child not be controlled…?”  A fitting tribute from Sister Jacks at the local Cottage Hospital after my three wheel trike hit a wall whilst I was chewing an elastic band causing me to excitedly swallow it.  This was followed by two weeks waiting for it to re-appear again, which looking back must have been incredibly gross.

Two weeks later I was back again.  This time for a serious, almost life threatening nosebleed after a head on crash into the garage doors when riding on the handlebars of my brothers bone-shaker bike.  Admittedly this was aggravated by the fact that I had my right index finger inserted knuckle deep into my left nostril at the time of impact but it did teach me a very valuable lesson for later life…….

………..don’t pick your nose whilst availing yourself of any form of moving transport.  It’s not big and it’s certainly not clever.

“….I’m sorry Mrs Upton, if we have to be called out again to Mavis we may have to start charging a fee…”  A further tribute from Station Commander Cookson,  Fire & Rescue.  They had come to my assistance that particular Sunday morning after I fell from a huge tree in the local park.  I had hit several branches on the way down, but was saved in my dramatic descent by a particularly robust twig somewhere near the middle.

Even at that tender age, I was mortified to be found dangling upside down by my shorts and pink Minnie Mouse knickers.  My humiliation further compounded when I made front page news of our local paper complete with close up photograph and banner headline “Mavis and Minnie Take a Tumble”, in which the first paragraph provided the whole world with my name, age, school and finally my address.  I spent three days staring at that photograph, turning it to every angle possible, willing it to become someone else so that I could continue my life of innocence without being known as the ‘Pink Knicker Kid’ for all eternity.  Knickers apart, I also had the misfortune to notice that there was nothing attractive about a pudding-bowl haircut when being forced to swing upside down, bright red in the face for the best part of an hour.

“No Mavis, be sensible.  I can’t afford Donny Osmond knickers nor can I afford another call out by the Fire Brigade.”  Mum scowled as she wiped her hands on the tea towel. “……why can’t you be more like your brother and sister?  You push me to the point of exasperation, you really do.”

In June 1962 I kicked my shoe on to the roof of the local Infants School, prompting the Caretaker to climb up in an attempt to retrieve it.  I watched as he fell off the step ladders on the descent, fracturing his arm.  Looking on with some sympathy as he lay prostrate and groaning on the ground between numbers 3 and 6 on the chalked hopscotch chart, with his arm bent at an impossible angle, I inwardly clapped with glee as all was not lost – he still had my shoe in his outstretched hand when he landed, saving me the inconvenience of having to hop home.

“….if yer think I’m goin’ to work one more day in this place with her….”  The Caretakers arthritic bony finger shook as it pointed at me as I tried to hang my head in mock shame, whilst still giggling.  “…well I’ll tell yer this fer nothin’ you’d better think again” he growled.

Another fitting tribute.  Are you starting to see a bit of a pattern here?

The following month I swung elegantly on a lamppost outside my friends’ house and was knocked down by a passing Bubble Car, driven by Barry Bouffant the hairdresser who lived down the road, only regaining consciousness on my friends red Formica kitchen table.  That in itself was a separate trauma;  I mean, come on; red Formica!

It was the end of a hairdressing career in Mayfair for Barry.  This event was so traumatic it left him with an uncontrollable tremor in his scissor hand.   After several uneven fringe cuts, he announced his retirement in the Hairdressers Journal.

“It is with great sadness I am retiring from the hairdressing circuit.  This is wholly due to one Mavis Upton.  I cannot offer anything further due to ongoing legal matters with my Solicitors and the Upton family.”

I thought it was rather lovely of him to mention me.

Between the ages of five and twelve years I ballet danced, tap danced and sang dreadfully, adored art, learnt how to darn a sock and fell in love with ALL four of The Beatles.  I bought Donny Osmonds ‘Puppy Love’ from Woolworths and this time remembered to take myself home just in case Mum forgot again.

A few months later, Donny Osmond and his puppies forgotten, I saved up and bought Alice Cooper’s ‘Schools Out’ as an act of rebellion and being grown up.

“Absolutely not Mavis, hand it over.  I will not have you listening to this type of music….it’s degenerate.  Whoever heard of a man called Alice?”

“Aww jeez Mum….”

“Don’t you jeez me or I’ll wash your mouth out with soap……”

Grabbing my prized 45 rpm single from me, mum disappeared into the kitchen leaving me to wonder how exciting being a degenerate would be – whatever one of them was!

After a week of searching for Alice, I found it stuck behind the tea caddy on the kitchen window.  It had warped and melted in the sun.  I cried at my loss and suddenly didn’t feel so rebellious or grown up anymore.

As the years passed I moved on from The Beatles to David Essex and David Bowie and truly fell in lust and love for the very first time with Graham, a boy from down the road, whilst listening to Barry White.  This was a long lasting relationship which resulted in the ceremonial cutting of a sixpence in half as a token of our undying love for each other.

Walking me home one night, we stopped in the darkened back jigger.  Flexing his fingers as though he was about to play a fancy little Minuet on the piano, the love of my life nervously leant towards me, flushed with impending excitement.  As one eye settled on my chest, the other eye began to involuntarily wink.

“Mavis…ummm, errr can I….err…oh dear maybe not….oh God….it’s just that they are rather magnificent…” he murmured.

Blushing furiously, I pushed his hand away.  “Absolutely not, we haven’t got that far in Reproductive Science yet; you never know what’ll happen if you touch them you idiot!” 

Resigned to the moment, he was content with a bit of French Kissing which although terribly exhilarating, resulted in me rushing to the local Chemists the following day to frantically thumb through an information booklet whilst hiding behind the extra-large incontinence pants and castor oil.

By paragraph 3 I was relieved to find that swapping spit couldn’t make me pregnant, or give me acne, athletes’ foot or a hairy tongue.  I did notice however that I had developed hairy legs but this may have been just an unlucky coincidence.

The ‘long lasting’ part of this relationship was to end in heartbreak with me staring out of the bedroom window, crying and snotting into my hankie whilst listening to Nilsson’s ‘Without You’.  I dramatically mourned a love lost for several weeks…… and half a bloody sixpence I couldn’t spend!

As luck would have it, just when it mattered most, I suddenly developed that obligatory plumpness you get in your mid-teens.  After endless diets and drinking gallons of P.L.J. Juice as recommended in the JACKIE magazine, that almost stripped the lining from my stomach, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t actually fat, I was just too short for my weight.

“If you hang on the back of a door by your fingers, it stretches your spine and makes you taller, you know.”

That pearl of wisdom came from my best mate, Corrine.  At 5’9” she clearly had never had to consider door hanging herself.  Unless she had and the 5’9” was the result.

Excited, I gave it a go.

Needless to say it didn’t work but it did give me an extra trip to the Cottage Hospital when Mum didn’t see me hanging on the inside and banged the door shut on my fingers –  three bloody agonising times before she realised why it wouldn’t close.

By the age of eighteen although my waist and curvy butt got smaller, I developed to an immense extent on the front bumper section and had what could only be classed in simple terms as humongous boobs.

“I think you really do need to consider some sort of special harness for them Mavis” Corrine had happily imparted with a smirk.

Yeah, thanks Corrine, 5’9” and a pert 34C.  Remind me again why you’re my best mate.

In desperation, I purchased a new to the women’s market Minimiser Bra in a beautiful shade of turquoise blue and was fooled into thinking it was the answer to my prayers.  All I can say is they have to go somewhere, either under your armpits or pushed down to become an extra spare tyre around your middle, which then gets stuffed in to the high waistband of your 1970’s navy blue Crimplene Oxford Bag trousers.

Only a few weeks later I found myself reporting to the world that my wonderful Minimiser had tragically departed this life.

After giving it a good scrub in the kitchen sink for a night out with the girls, it needed to dry quickly.  No central heating in those days, so I had a bright idea of stuffing it under the grill of the cooker.

Turning the dial up to 6, I promptly forgot about it and went to wallow in the bath and shave my hairy legs.  What seemed like minutes later, I heard mum’s high pitched voice gravitating up the stairs.

“Think your bra’s ready Mave!”

I jumped out of the bath and opened the door to be met with dense smoke on the landing.  After nearly an hour of toasting my wonderful Minimiser had burst into flames to become an offering to the Mammary Gods.  All that was left of my expensive purchase were two wires, a stringy bit of melted turquoise in the grill pan and an extremely uncomfortable evening with an unholstered set of nellies that kept knocking the drinks off the table in the pub.

After wasting three Bacardi & Cokes, two pints of bitter and a Babycham, I made a decision to save for my ‘Diddybooby Fund’ to pay for a reduction at Doctor Blenkinsop’s Internationally Renowned Clinic in Accrington.

Unfortunately I got a bit side tracked and raided the account to pay for a holiday to Ibiza.  There I learnt that maybe my ample melons weren’t such a curse after all and I came to accept them as part of my life, so long as I didn’t run, jump or lean forward too quickly as any one of those actions would render me back in the Cottage Hospital.

To this day my ‘Diddybooby Fund’  still stands at a rock solid £3.46 pence, a Spanish peseta, two buttons and an elastic band.

Between the age of seventeen and twenty five I managed to have a successful career in plumbing, the watery tap kind, not gynaecology or urology, get married and get pregnant, all in that order.  This was much to the relief of Mum who had frequently threatened me with death or banishment if the latter had manifested itself before the white dress and wedding breakfast.

And so, it was with much relief that in the early hours of a very warm August morning, my beautiful daughter decided it was time to make an appearance.   Hubby pulled up outside in his bright yellow Bedford works van as I stood panting on the doorstep wearing what could only be described as a two man tent; with the men, sleeping bags and rucksacks still in it!

Opening the passenger door I couldn’t believe my eyes.  “Jeez, couldn’t you have cleaned it out a bit before I got in” 

Hubby rolled his eyes and just shrugged.

Kicking the chip wrappers, cigarette butts and his collection of cassette tapes featuring the Rolling Stones and the much sought after K-Tel compilations to one side in between contractions, I heaved my bulk into the front seat.

“Bloody hell Mavis, watch what your sitting on, it’s me latest Cliff Richard single.”

Grunting through another contraction, I glared at him.   “I’m sure Cliff couldn’t give two bloody hoots if I suffocated him with both ass cheeks, just get me to be bloody hospital….NOW!!”

Forty five minutes later, after much unladylike swearing and no pain relief whatsoever I heard her first cry as the midwife wrapped up my little pink bundle.

“You have a daughter Mavis, a gorgeous daughter”

Looking down on this beautiful, tiny miracle I knew in that instance that my life would never be the same again.  Kissing her forehead and breathing in her baby smell, I felt my heart would burst with a new found love.  “Welcome to the world little one,  I’m your mummy.”

And with that my little miracle let out the biggest fart I’d ever heard, smiled contentedly and went back to sleep.

It only took me three weeks to actually end up committing the ultimate in child neglect just as my mum had done all those years ago outside Woolworths.  Two miles from home, driving over the ‘humpy bridge’ I did my mummy impression as the car lurched forward over the crest and dropped down again.

“Oooh little bumps for little girls” I simpered whilst half turning to look at the back seat.  To my eternal horror it was empty – apart from Humphrey the Hippo, who was nodding his head and glaring at me in a most disgusted and accusing manner.

I panicked as the realisation hit me.  I had actually gone one better than my Mum.

I had left MY daughter at home…….

……..on the coffee table!

Sadly, although nothing to do with me leaving our new born baby abandoned in her carrycot on a £14.99 MFI coffee table, my marriage was not to last and I soon found myself alone with Ella, living a contented, simple life in our seaside cottage with our kitten who is quite simply called Cat.

So there we are.  The life and times of Mavis Upton, an ordinary, accident prone but happy girl with several testimonials from the Police, Fire Service, National Health and the general working sector…..

…. and a Mum who didn’t quite know what to do with me apart from two episodes of futile abandonment.

(C) 2016 Gina Kirkham


Mavis will be happily recounting more stories in Spring 2017 in her book, Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Polyester Thong to be published by URBANE PUBLICATIONS 😊

 

 

 

 

HAVEN’T YOU GOT ANYTHING BETTER TO DO……………..

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HAVEN’T YOU GOT ANYTHING BETTER TO DO

Ask any serving or retired Police Officer what is one of the most annoying, throwaway comments that they hear on a daily basis?

For me it was ‘Haven’t you got anything better to do than…….’

a) Do me for not wearing a seatbelt

b) Speeding/mobile phone, who doesn’t speed/use their phone/text whilst driving these days?

c) I’m only having a leak, what’s the problem?

d) It’s not like I’ve nicked the Crown Jewels….

My answer through gritted teeth, was always polite;

a) I would rather be giving you a ticket for no seatbelt than trying to piece together your face after it’s gone through the windscreen

b) Just a bit of speeding/texting/phone call?  Ah right, okay I’ll remember to tell that to the parents of your next victim when you plough into them because you either didn’t see them because your text/phone call was more important, or because  your speed made it impossible to stop before impact.

c) Fine, I’ll just see how your Mum feels if I get one of my colleagues to come and urinate all over her front door because like you, they didn’t have the maturity to find a toilet before they left the pub.

d) Stealing is stealing, regardless of what it is, where it is from, the value or who is the victim.  It is a crime.

This was what I was paid to do.  Uphold the law, to protect life, limb and property.

Your lives, your property, your safety.

I proudly took an oath to do this, regardless of what the cost would be to me in terms of personal danger, fear and at times, heartbreak.

This is an oath that thousands of Police Officers throughout the Country have sworn to do.  They carry out this promise to you day in, day out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year.   This is their dedication, their profession, their calling.

When I joined I came with a blazing passion to make things ‘right’, to give something back.  I knew that by becoming a Police Officer I was never going to be able to change the world, but I truly believed that if I took the time to care, then maybe I could make a difference, no matter how small.

Looking back over the years I think I did make a difference.  Somewhere out there I know there is a young man, who maybe has a family of his own by now, with hopefully a happy and fulfilled life.   He may even have an adorable baby boy, just like he was all those years ago.   That adorable little baby almost died until a fresh out of the box, very green, very nervous and excitable policewoman scooped him from his own father’s arms to give him CPR.

I will remember that baby’s first breath and cry until the day I die.

My Sergeant patted me on the back and told me it was a ‘job well done’ –  then I sloped off to be sick in trap 2 of the girls loo’s at the nick.

I know I also made a difference to many people who ended up serving prison sentences for offences committed, not always in a good way for them but it did make an immense difference to their victims.  That was reward enough for doing a job I loved.

Every day, somewhere in the Country, in each Force that covers your area, a police officer will be carrying out a duty that will have an impact upon you, your life, your family and upon themselves.

Granted it may not be what some people will welcome if they happen to be on the wrong side of the law, but then again, popularity is not one of the qualities that attracts so many selfless lads and lasses to this profession.

I needed to write this blog today.  It is a far cry from Mavis Upton’s adventures.  This does not have a hilarious punch-line, or a laugh a minute scene.

I am writing this for those serving men and women, who like today, a wet, windy Sunday, when we are having a duvet day in front of the fire, catching up with a good film, bottle of wine on the go, sharing our time with family & loved ones whilst thinking life can’t get any better, they are out there.  Protecting you, protecting your family, protecting your property.

OR AT LEAST THEY ARE TRYING TO….

I am not political in any shape or form.  I strongly believe that there is no place for Politics in Policing as it leaves it wide open to corruption and a devaluing of the service.  The Police Service is for YOU, the people of this Country, not for Politicians to advance their own careers, their Party or line their pockets.

Sadly, due to political intervention and the contempt with which the Government holds the Police Service, it is very much in danger of collapse.

Devastating cuts to Police budgets throughout the Country have severely impacted upon how these dedicated men and women carry out their duties every day.  Their safety is being seriously compromised, which in turn will compromise your safety.  They are stretched to the absolute limit and more and more they find that they are physically unable to meet the demands of their role.

They are at breaking point.

They are as frustrated and angry as you are when they cannot respond to a call in time, or on some occasions respond at all due to lack of resources.

This is not their fault.

They can only work with what is available and if the Government corruptly work on ill-documented statistics in order to impose their cuts on individual Forces, then this is the shameful and dangerous result.  This is not the spin the Politicians will give you, or how the Chief Officers, many through no choice of their own, will voice.

Can you imagine working a 15 hour shift (instead of your dedicated 10 hours) dealing with a Sudden Unexplained Death (potential crime scene), three vehicle Road Traffic Crash, two Shoplifters detained, more than half a dozen low grade calls-for-service incidents, a neighbour dispute and finally a child welfare issue AND then dealing with all the corresponding paperwork that goes with these incidents before you can go off duty?  All of this single crewed with no more than two other Officers on duty covering a large area and population.

15 hours with nothing to eat, nothing to drink but the bottle of water you hastily stuffed in your briefcase when you ran out from parade to the first call.  You almost made a visit to the toilet but got called to an immediate response, so now that will have to wait.  When you eventually get home your family have gone to bed but you can’t sleep as your brain is in overdrive.  Maybe you might get to see your children tomorrow, if not, just another three shifts and you’ve got two days off to be with them.  Then again maybe not. You’ve just had your Rest Days cancelled and you’ve got to work an early shift for at least one of those days off.

This happens every day somewhere in this County as a means of trying to make the job work.

If you were to join the Police now, I would imagine these qualities would come in rather handy;

*Bladder the size of a barrage balloon

*The ability to do without food or drink for a minimum of 12 hours

*The ability to survive on a maximum of 4 hours sleep between shifts

*Family/friends/offspring who have excellent memories so that when they actually get to see you – they can remember who you are

Admittedly these are the accepted ways of the ‘job’, it is what every police officer expects at some point in their career, to be stretched to the limit, working unsociable hours.  It is what their families expect.  At the end of the day they are not married to/living with an Average Joe or Josephine who work 9 to 5 Monday to Friday.  They all accept, adapt and get used to Christmases, birthdays and special occasions without them.

What they didn’t sign up for was the utter contempt shown by Politicians towards the very job they do, the disgusting way their career, terms and conditions have been changed, putting you in jeopardy as well as themselves, and the disgraceful way in which the Media, at the behest of Politicians, has consistently crucified the Service and its serving Officers in turning the tide of public opinion against them in order to gain control.

There are ‘bad apples’ in every barrel.  Nothing disgusts or shames a serving officer more than a corrupt or criminal fellow officer.  Thankfully they are few and far between and due to the transparency of the Service, they can no longer hide and are regularly brought to justice.  What is sometimes lost sight of is that for every one bad apple there are thousands of good, dedicated and brave officers out there willing to put their own lives on the line for yours.  These are the headlines that the media shy away from.   A story of one corrupt police officer or those that dare to drink tea with the public whilst on duty sells more papers than a story of another officers bravery or dedication.

Sadly so many brave Officers have already done just that.  They have put their lives on the line with tragically fatal results.   They went to work with plans, hopes and expectations.   They didn’t get the chance to come home.  They didn’t get the chance to fulfil those dreams.

These sacrifices were made for you.

I am proud to say that I am still in regular contact with my old colleagues.  They cannot voice their worries, concerns or more often than not, their despair at how ‘the job has gone’.  All they want to do is parade on, go out there and do the job they are paid to do.  They want to protect you, they want to arrest offenders, they want to make their beats safe.  All they are asking is for their own safety and welfare to be at least ONE of the priorities, along with the ability to do their work unhindered by politics, budget cuts and government targets.

They work incredibly hard and ask only for a fair pay, decent conditions and decent pension rights, which incidentally they already pay heavily for.  Don’t be swayed by sensationalised headlines in the media, by Politicians blackening the Service for their own agenda.

They need your support, they need occasionally to see your appreciation for a job well done.  They need to know that the next time they are standing waiting for a door to open with an unknown quantity behind it,  that not only their colleagues have their backs, but that you do to.

I make no apologies for this rather unusual deflection on my blog.  It means so much to me to highlight what is happening to a profession that I still feel incredibly proud and passionate about, for my former colleagues who I think about every day and for you, who ultimately are the customers of these brave, dedicated and professional men and women.

Please remember them kindly and with appreciation.  Your anger should be directed at those that hinder them from carrying out the profession they proudly serve.

Gina

FUR COAT, NO KNICKERS and POP’S PYJAMA’S……

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FUR COAT, NO KNICKERS and POP’S PYJAMAS……

“Here you go..”  Sarge threw a set of keys across the desk towards me.  “No fag ash on the carpet, crisp crumbs on the seat and definitely no snot stuck to the underside of the steering wheel…capiche? “.  He glared at Bob who at least had the decency to squirm, if only a little.  I jumped up and looked out of the window onto the car park to get my first glimpse of the brand new, fully liveried Vauxhall Astra patrol car. Sporty, flashy and pristine with a full width bar for lights and klaxons. 

As Bob and Martin jostled for space beside me, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t stay in that condition for very long once it had a few thousand miles under the bonnet and the weight of Bob’s backside in the seat after several shifts.

                                                         *****

You’d better make sure you don’t have any girly bumps in this beauty Mave….” Bob murmured as he lovingly stroked the bonnet   “….it’s my turn tomorrow and I don’t want to be wiping globs of your lippy off the windscreen.”   He sniggered as he swept his hand across the dashboard.  

Crikey Bob, look at the size of them melons…..” Martin pointed animatedly at my chest “….somehow I don’t think it’ll be her lips hitting the windscreen first, she’s got her very own built-in airbags!”     

I blushed, suddenly getting an overwhelming desire to kick him in the testicles or at the very least given him a dead leg.   I waved the keys at him.   “Yes alright lads, very funny, jealousy is a very unattractive trait in the male of the species you know….. and you can tell Petey to get a move on too, I’m not wasting time waiting for him!”  

I watched them slope off towards the back door of the nick, Bob hitching his belt up in the vain hope his trousers wouldn’t end up around his ankles and Martin still childishly sniggering.  

With the keys safely clutched in my hand, I threw my briefcase, jacket and hat on the passenger seat, gave the exterior a once over and excitedly jumped in only to find myself lying almost horizontal in the back seat.   

Staring at the upholstered roof, I contemplated my current predicament as I fumbled around at the side of the seat for anything that even remotely resembled a lever.  Finding various handles, gadgets and buttons I pressed, pulled, pushed and rattled them in turn which only served to help the seat suddenly adopt a will of its own as it slammed me forwards in one sweeping motion……and then alternatively jerked me backwards and forwards in seven different stages giving me a serious case of motion sickness.  

I sat in silence.  At this rate I’d never leave the station yard.  It didn’t matter how many times I jiggled, wriggled, wangled or manoeuvred, my big fat curvy butt just sank back down between the bottom and the back of the bucket seat.   I was shoved so far down the only things that would have been driving the car other than my hands were my nellies, which were now hooked over the top of the steering wheel.  My shoulders slumped down as I sighed, exacerbating the situation as I disappeared completely from view.

Jeez, give me Florence the Fiesta any day.  

“Here you go lovely, try this.”   I looked up to see Geoff the civilian Driver leaning in through the open window.  He threw a rather fetching tea stained, grey velour cushion at me.   Shove it down the back and sit on it, got that given to me when old Inspector Bertie Bollocks retired a few years back, it’s done me well.”   

He gave me a wink, leaving me wondering if “Bollocks” had been poor Bertie’s real name.  

Geoffs cushion did the trick, tucking my nellies safely back in their rightful place, well as rightful as a Gossard Wonderbra will allow, I was ready to go as the radio crackled into life.

“Quick jump in, got a domestic that’s getting violent.”  I started up the engine as Petey galloped like a three legged gazelle across the car park.  Blues and twos on, I swept through as the barrier lifted giving a squeal of tyres as I made out onto the main road, at the same time remaining hopeful that my cushion would remain where I’d stuffed it.  The prospect of it sliding into the footwell taking me with it as I hit the Leverhulme Hairpin filled me with horror. 

Four minutes and ten seconds later we arrived at scene cushion intact. Flinging the door open, I jumped out closely followed by Petey.  Frantic screaming and shouting snaked from the mid terraced house, increasing in volume the closer we got to the open front door.  With no time to lose I ran inside.  

Oh  bloody hell Mavis, don’t go in there yet, you’ve got……” but the rest of Petey’s warning was drowned out by a scream that would have woken the dead.   Making my way along the darkened corridor and through the nearest door on the left I paused long enough for Petey to slam into the back of me.

There in all their glory was Indian Joe, our resident buffoon and heavy partaker of the alcoholic beverages, his girlfriend Liberty Lil with the off-set eye and PJ Pops, a man who favourited any charity shop that could accommodate his desire for striped pyjamas, worn day and night.  All three were the best customers the local off-licence had.   Indian Joe kept ferrets in the house, several of them which were now roaming free across the mattress that was dumped in the corner, on which Liberty Lil was reclined in her best pose.  She winked at Petey who recoiled in sheer panic.

Lil was attired as usual, in her favourite fur coat which she wore day in and day out, regardless of which season we were in.  This wasn’t too much of a problem in the Winter, but in Summer, Lil was surely taking liberties where her personal hygiene was concerned.  The heat, coupled with Lil’s reluctance to shower, bathe or even stand outside in the rain, along with the fur coat, was at times too much to bear.  If your hand was forced and you had to arrest Lil in the summer, you always made sure there was a prisoner van available to transport her in the rear cage which was at least a good distance from your nostrils.  Failing that you could almost feel yourself contemplating handcuffing her to the rear bumper of the police car and driving into the Custody Suite at a steady 5mph whilst she ‘Fabrezed’ herself in the wind.

On this auspicious occasion, Lil was draped across the mattress, fur coat pulled around her, which was making it increasingly difficult to make out what bits were actually her and what bits were the numerous ferrets scampering across her.  I looked over at Petey who was standing with his jaw almost hitting the floor.  Tugging at his sleeve and hissing at him to get a move on, I suddenly came eye to crotch with what he was looking at.  Liberty Lil, not known for her graceful, ladylike posture was treating Petey to a complete, full on eyeful of her ladygarden, minus her knickers.

Giving Petey a hard dig in the ribs I shouted at Lil. “Oh for God’s sake Lil put it away…..we don’t want it snapping this poor innocent boys head off now do we?”   I waited for a response.

She shrugged her shoulders and spat on the floorboards.  “I likes ’em innocent doesn’t I Pops?”  She smirked as she slowly moved herself around so that PJ Pops who was sitting on a mangy two-seater sofa got the eyeful instead.  He was clearly not impressed in the slightest as he carried on rolling a cigarette, whilst sniffing up a rather disgusting string of snot that had been draped across his top lip.

Indian Joe, with his two string guitar flung around his neck was clearly agitated and even more clearly intoxicated.   I took him to one side.  

“What’s been going on Joe, this is the third call this week, can’t you three either get on with each other or one of you move out?”   I was ever hopeful but in reality knew that would never happen.

Joe snorted, rolled his eyes and leant forward.  “It’s like this Miss, me and Lil, well we’re an item like, Lil was giving me some favours like, when Pops comes in like and sez we need more fuckin’ tinnies…..” pausing to wipe spittle and drool from the corners of his mouth, he continued. “….I’m his mate like, so I tells Lil to keep it warm for me whilst I goes down the Offie and when I comes back Lil’s not only keeping it warm, she’s doing the friggin’ favours with Pops”.  He jerked his head to where Lil was still lying in repose.

The gist of the story was that incensed by this betrayal, Indian Joe had completely lost it and had whacked Pops around the bare backside several times with his guitar which had subsequently made Lil cry out in short lived pleasure before coitus interruptus was induced.  He had then smacked Pops on the back of the head twice with a six pack of Stella lager.  It was all just a normal day really.  

I tried not to laugh.  Neither Pops, Liberty Lil or Indian Joe were bothered about any injuries sustained, it had only kicked off when the cheap cans had exploded on impact and the realisation had hit them that they didn’t have the money to buy any more.

I looked over as Pops smirked and Lil winked, well she tried to make a fair effort at a wink, but the false eyelash on her off-set eye had come partially unglued and was now sweeping her left nostril.  Licking her top lip she slid her hand across Pops’ thigh, gently fondling the stripes of his blue Sue Ryder Charity PJ’s, and that was when I realised, albeit too late to do anything about it, that Indian Joe had seen the exchange between them.  

Snarling and spitting whilst swinging his guitar he vaulted the sofa knocking a half drunk can of Stella and Pops to the floor.  Clearly terrified, Pops jumped up and scrambled for the door scattering several ferrets in all directions as Joe grabbed the back of his pyjama bottoms, dragging them down to his ankles.

Chaos then ensued as Petey sprang into action and flew through the air to rugby tackle Joe.  Joe sidestepped just as Pops tripped over his pants and fell to the floor, leaving Petey impaled headfirst between Pops’ legs and a rather over-exposed pair of buttocks.  Lil, never one to miss an opportunity,  liberated the half-drunk can of lager that had been rolling around the floor just as I grabbed Joe and handcuffed him.

Dragging Joe outside to the police car I looked back to see Petey yanking the front of his jumper up and frantically scrubbing at his face with it.  “I smelt his butt, Jesus Mave, I smelt his butt it was disgusting..”  he wailed.

 The obligatory crowd had by now gathered in the road, all craning their necks to see what was going on as I shoved Indian Joe into the back of the police car. 

 “Hey Miss, ‘ave yer got them ‘emerroyds or sumat, yer must be suffering to need that!”   One of the resident idiots, hands shoved down his tracky bottoms pointed behind me smirking as he looked for approval from his mates .  A collective snigger rippled through the crowd.  

Turning around to look, I was mortified to see swinging next to my handcuff holder, Swiss Army Multi-tool pocket file and my baton was Geoff’s beautiful grey velour cushion which was stuck fast to the Velcro tab of my First Aid pouch and was now overhanging my big fat curvy butt like a crappy Christmas bauble.   

“Oh faarking hell Petey, thanks for nothing matey!”  horrified, my brain working overtime to try and find some way of salvaging my dignity whilst wondering why Petey hadn’t told me what I’d been inadvertently sporting.  Looking around at the ever growing crowd of amused faces, I slapped my thigh in good old Panto tradition and shimmied the cushion.  Do you think my bum looks big in this guys?”  I jokingly asked before leaving them open mouthed in astonishment as I jumped into the car, relieved to be able to park my accidentally cushioned backside into the drivers seat.  

Petey, who still hadn’t stopped scrubbing his face with his jumper, which was now beaming several shades of red, sniffed and shook his head.  

I did try to tell you Mavis, but nobody listens to me….”  He looked wistfully out of the car window and with a resigned sadness to his eyes added.  “…. D’you know it’s the story of my life……..”

Quick as a flash Indian Joe piped up from the back seat “I’ve not got me geetar but if you hum it boy…..I’ll sing it.”

(c) 2016 Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Polyester Thong

Gina Kirkham

PETEY, BOB & A LITTLE YELLOW VAN……………………

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PETEY, BOB & A LITTLE YELLOW VAN

One quick glance told me that the much coveted ‘industrial wheelie bin/broken chair’ parking space at the back of the nick had been commandeered by the Force’s mobile incident van.  This seriously didn’t bode well as it usually meant a critical incident had raised its ugly head.

Grabbing my rucksack from the back seat of the car and slinging it over my shoulder, I looked up to see Petey frantically trying to key in the code to the back door of the station.

Bloody hell Mave, they’ve only gone and changed the code again and I can’t get in.  I’ve been here half an hour already”  he whined.

Yep Petey they have.  Now if some bright spark hadn’t given it out to Jerome Mills, the most prolific thief we’ve got round here…..”

He rolled his eyes, blushed profusely and quickly interrupted  “……I know, I know Mave but he said he was here to fix the air conditioning, I didn’t know who he was did I?”  He paused looking for confirmation.

“Petey, it’s a bloody police station not a four star hotel, we don’t have air conditioning..”   I made my way to the locker room, with him trailing behind me.

If the van’s here there must be a scene on the go, bet you I get sent down to cover it.”  he paused, thought for a bit and then added. Do you think it’s my turn hey?  If it is I’ll have to take my butties with me, could be there for hours..”

Watching him as he pulled his jumper over his head, leaving him with static hair that suddenly sprung out into a hundred different directions all at once, I had to quietly admit that I did feel a modicum of sympathy for him.  He hadn’t passed his driving course so until such time as he did, he would continue to get all the foot beat jobs, scenes and enquiry office duties.

Bounding up the stairs he disappeared into the Parade room, only to excitedly emerge seconds later.  It’s a murder scene Mave, I’ve got to go and relieve mornings.  Can you give me  lift and bring the other lad back.  They’ve already got the new van down there…”

His voice tailed off as he bounced back down the stairs in his usual ‘tigger’ fashion to the locker room to grab his gear.  I picked up the keys for my patrol car, along with a new Incident & Scene Log pre pack coffee cups and what was left of that mornings digestive biscuits. Something told me it was going to be a long shift for poor Petey.  Meeting him in the back yard, he was already standing by the car with his clobber strewn around him on the ground.  Body armour, jacket, briefcase, helmet, fluorescents, flat cap, all weather pants, riot bag – in fact it looked like he’d cleaned out his locker and had everything apart from the kitchen sink.

Just in case Mave, gotta be prepared, you never know what could happen next…”  he excitedly grinned.

Letting out a sigh I shook my head.  “What….fire, famine, flood and another World War all in one shift Petey!”

He just scratched his head and smirked.

After loading up the car with all his worldly goods, he jumped in beside me, happily chattering away.  “Wait ’til you see the new van Mave, it’s got everything.  It’s even got a cage in the back for prisoners, can’t wait to get a lock up and try that out can you?  Isn’t it good they leave it there in case it rains?”  

I moved out slowly into the line of traffic and accelerated once the road branched into the dual carriageway, Petey still animatedly babbling away, ten to the dozen.

Everything that happened next seemed to be in slow motion.

Oooh Mave, me butty box it’s on the…………………”   No sooner had the words escaped from his mouth when the car in front braked suddenly, which in turn made me brake sharply just as a missile of sorts shot from the roof of the police car, coming into view very briefly in the middle of the windscreen as it soared through the air.  Petey’s face filled with horror.

Me butty box Mave, it’s me butty box.he wailed.

Looking closely I could see Bob The Builder gracefully attached to the side of the blue sandwich box, grinning inanely back at us flying through the air to land squarely and with some weight…..on to the roof of the car in front.

“…….I forgot, I put it on our roof whilst I was waiting.”  

With a strangled square catching in his throat, he fumbled for the door handle  in an attempt to jump out and retrieve his cherished butty box.  Just as his feet hit the ground, the car in front set off in first gear.  With his jaw almost hitting the glove compartment, we watched as his ham & pickle butties sailed off into the sunset on the roof of a red Renault Clio.   Well, that was until they slid off on the next available bend, only to be run over by a Daihatsu flat bed truck which had come through on the inside lane.

Petey’s face fell, he had been through thick and thin with his Bob The Builder butty box.  It had held his most treasured Mr Men yoghurt pots and Tesco value crisps.  Now watching the shattered plastic and his butties squashed into the tarmac, he became distraught.

I tried to console him.  Look on the bright side, it was quick, he wouldn’t have felt a thing Petey.”  I couldn’t help but giggle as I surveyed Bob The Builders one eye peeping out from behind a mangled bit of ham.

Poor Petey was less than amused and after scraping up what he could, we continued our journey in complete silence, broken only by the occasional loud scratching of plastic as he tried to fix the shattered bits back together again.

Arriving at scene, he cheered up considerably as he went to lovingly inspect the new van.  It was a Peugeot Expert, small and very yellow with the police livery on the rear side panels and bonnet, but as Petey had promised, it did indeed have a prisoner cage in the back.  This was accessed by double doors at the rear and a sliding toughened perspex and metal grille viewing door that was next to the double seat in the back.  The cage, although small had two little benches either side for prisoner comfort during transportation.

Petey’s joy knew no bounds.  He sat in the drivers seat, turning the wheel left and right.

Wait until I pass my driving course Mave, this’ll be me.” 

I half expected him to start making ‘brum brum’ noises.  Tipping his cap to a jaunty angle, he rested his arm through the window and continued his phantom steering of his little yellow van.

“Right I’m off to see a witness for a statement, I’ll see you later.  If you need anything just let the control room know”.   Picking Andy up from the morning section, I gave Petey a wave and watched him in the rear view mirror as I drove away,  still cosseting the bonnet of the little yellow van.

Three uneventful hours passed by with very few calls or any of our regulars out and about for stop/checks.  As the silence from the radio threatened to deafen me,  Petey’s panic struck voice suddenly broke out over the air;

1469 to Alpha, 1469 to Alpha…..it’s a little bit urgent!”  Petey’s voice rang out over the air.

The Control room response was immediate.  Alpha to 1469 , go ahead 1469″

Errr could a patrol come back to the scene to speak to me please?” His range went up an octave.

1469 what’s the nature of the urgency, are you okay?”

There was an expectant pause as Petey’s rapid breathing filled the airwaves.

Errr yep, I’m sort of okay but would rather not say over the air.”  Petey’s voice trailed off into a muffled response.

I had already started making and I knew from experience that the rest of the Section would be too.  Any call like this from a colleague warranted a fast response.  I turned into Grosvenor Road where I had last left Petey with three more marked police cars following behind me, one car containing Bob and Martin and another van making it’s way from the opposite direction.  We simultaneously pulled up by the little yellow van.

Petey’s paperwork was scattered across the passenger seat, but no sign of him anywhere.  I radioed up.  We’re at scene now but can’t find 1469.  Can you get a location for him urgently please?”   

Heidi in the Control Room obliged, but after several squeaky shout-ups to Petey, there was still no radio contact with him.

Suddenly Bob shouted for us to be silent.

In the stillness that followed we could hear a very muffled voice.

Mmmppppff ……I’m in here, oh God please let me out….I’m dying….I’m in awful pain..”  wailed a disembodied voice, followed by a weak banging coming from the rear of the van.

Bob  hastily flung the van door open to reveal……….

………Petey stuffed behind the metal cage doors to the prisoner section.

His fingers were hooked through the grille holes with his legs wedged under the bench.  He was very pink, very hot, very sweaty, his hair standing on end as he panted and wailed.

I only wanted to see what it was like..the walls were closing in on me and I need a wee…..”    He fell into Bobs arms once the cage doors were unlocked.  “……..I didn’t know it locked itself, nobody told me that bit…….why didn’t anyone tell me?.”

Bob and Martin to their credit actually managed to contain some of their laughter this time, letting out only a few small snorts, whereas I was found rolling around in the gutter laughing fit to burst along with the rest of the Section.  Poor Petey, not content with launching his butty box onto the roof of a Renault Clio” giving Bob the Builder a most traumatic end, he had now added to his daily faark-up by spending the best part of an hour caged up.

His bright idea had been to climb over the rear seats and  slip through the perspex sliding door to experience life as a prisoner in the black hole, just to see how it all worked.  As he shut the door behind him, he had heard an ominous ‘click’.  This had led him to later consider in the darkness that it might have been a good idea to check for locking mechanisms and safety features in the van handbook before disappearing into the cage.  Sitting in terror, it slowly dawned in him that he had also left his one and only means of escape in the ignition – the vehicle keys.  This handy bit of kit just so happened to have an emergency override key for the cage dangling tantalisingly from its fob.

Not wanting to reveal his idiocy to all and sundry he had sat with his head in his hands contemplating his predicament for 59 minutes and ten seconds precisely, until his peanut size bladder and the three mugs of coffee from parade earlier had forced him to make the decision to radio up for help.

Shaking his head and looking around at us, pink with embarrassment and the urgency to pee, Petey suddenly had a fresh revelation.  With a sinking heart he now knew that it would take a very, very long time for him to live this one down…….

…………..if ever!

(c) 2014 Gina Kirkham

Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Primark Thong

DAD, ALFIE and EDNA’S SPECS…

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DAD, ALFIE and EDNA’S SPECS……….

“Do us a favour Mave, grab the digestives on your way out, third mug along is yours.” shouted Bob as he disappeared from the night kitchen into the corridor.

Glaring down into the murky water that was still spinning around the mug with the odd corner of the tea bag bobbing up and down, I picked up the half eaten packet of biscuits and looked out of the window onto the car park below.  The sky was heavy with the impending bad weather that had been predicted and large blobs of rain were just starting to hit the glass at an angle, carried by strong gusts of wind.

It had been a long night, a thirteen hour shift which had left the whole section absolutely knackered, apart from Petey, who was still bouncing around the station like a demented Tigger on amphetamine.   His boundless energy never ceased to amaze me, it was just a shame he couldn’t channel some of it towards his lateral thinking and common sense.  Bob and Martin had been sniggering relentlessly over Petey’s inability to catch on to quick retorts, jokes and banter, the poor lad was always slow on the uptake.

I looked over at Martin who was cosseting his mug of tea with one hand whilst brushing biscuit crumbs from his jumper with the other.  He looked up and caught my eye, looking suitably guilty for all of five seconds.   He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Honest Mave, he just stood there tongue hanging out, he really is a first class muppet!”

Feeling the warmth seeping into my hands from the chipped ceramic mug, I took a quick sip and leant back against the sink, crossing my legs at the ankles to check out the mud on my boots.  I know, but we should really cut him a bit of slack, he’s just…..well, you know, sort of simplistic.”   Grinning, I chucked the damp tea towel at him.  Martin caught it and threw it at Bob as he ambled back into the kitchen.

Catching my last words Bob snorted.  “Yeah that’s about right, simple, he’s bloody simple Mave, go on Mart tell her about the sudden death last night.”

Martin let out a loud guffaw, spraying a mouthful of tea across the table.  He leant forward and began to wipe his forearm across the paperwork that was now sporting amber splashes mixed with ginger nut crumbs.

“He couldn’t do the form, the 97 for the Coroner, he only got as far as the date and then started sighing and chewing his pen…”   he paused for effect, taking another bite from his biscuit. “… so he waves his form around and comes out with ‘ooh bloody hell Bob why’s it so hard’ …”   Martin coughed adding an exaggerated laugh, which in turn spilt tea down his tie.  “… and it just so happens he’s standing over the body which is stiff as a board and occupying a large portion of the lime green shagpile rug!”

Bob grabbed another biscuit which disappeared from view in one bite.  He mumbled, clearing as much as he could from his mouth before he interrupted Martin.  “So I says dead sarcastic like, ‘rigor mortis Petey, it’s called rigor mortis, son’.”  he laughed to himself as his hand snaked out making a grab for the last biscuit before Martin could avail himself of it.  “Even the Doctor had laughed at that one Mave, but Petey?  Nah, he just opened his gob to speak, looked at the body then changed his mind and went back to filling in his hard form.  He’s not right in the head I’m telling you.”

Even I had to admit it was funny but my laughter was short lived when an almighty crash followed by a loud bang came from the corridor.  As I reached the door I was just in time to see Petey finishing his winter Olympic skid through a puddle of water that had been caused by an upturned cleaners bucket, which he had then kicked along the corridor.  Breathless, he picked himself up, looked at the large wet patch on his thigh, groaned loudly and held up his hands.

“Mave, Mave, I was just coming to find you, the Sarge’s taken a call in his office, you need to go home, something about your Dad..”

*********

It’s wonderfully satisfying finishing a night shift in bad weather when you find yourself smugly driving home to a nice warm comfy bed whilst you watch everyone else waiting at bus stops, shivering and stamping their feet reluctantly ready to face a day in work.  As I manoeuvred out of the station car park, I had a sneaking suspicion that I probably wouldn’t get to see my bed for at least another couple of hours.

Oh Dad what the bloody hell have you been up to now?    I’d actually said that aloud, but not to anyone in particular.

Poor Dad had been getting increasingly more forgetful  and as he lived on his own, it was becoming a bit of a problem, but he loved his independence and stubbornly refused any help.  It was like banging my head against a brick wall most days;

“Where are we love…?”

“It’s the Memory Clinic Dad”

“What for?”

“Your memory”

“Why am I going there?”

“Because you forget things Dad…..”

“No I bloody don’t…..”

Pause………………

“Where are we Mavis?”

I rest my case!

Pulling up outside his house I could see him looking out of the window, an expectant grin on his face.  Happily waving, he didn’t even wait for me to use my key to let myself in, before he had flung the door wide open.

“I’m so glad you came Mavis, I’ve broken me glasses, it’s been a right bugger this morning with me breakfast.”  He indicated to the table, which had been neatly laid out for his morning repast.

Sitting next to his chair, staring mournfully up at the table with his big brown eyes was Alfie, Dad’s Heinz 57 doggie companion.  His paw was resting gently on the edge of the chair.  Giving his fur a big scratch under the chin, I glanced across the table.   “What’s up boy, you look sad today?”

….and that was when I saw the cause of poor Alfie’s distress.

Dad’s cereal bowl was full to the brim with semi-skilled milk (as Dad calls it) and a floating mixture of red, brown, yellow and black dog biscuits.  His newspaper was propped up against a Wellington boot that had been plonked in the middle of the table, beside a shattered pair of glasses and a delicately poised spoon.  With deepening dread, I took a closer look at Dad.

“Dad, just smile for me a minute will you?”

Dad grinned.

I groaned.

Stuck between his teeth where congealed sticky bits of red, brown, yellow and black.  My worst fears confirmed, Dad had been dining on Tesco Value Dog Biscuits.

I looked at Alfie……

Alfie looked at me…..

Dad just continued to grin.

Draining the milk into the sink and scraping the soggy dog biscuits into Alfie’s bowl, I made Dad some toast and jam, before helping him on with his jacket.  “Right, come on, let’s get you down to the Opticians to pick up that spare pair, we should have done this weeks ago.”

Settling him into my car, I just made it to the other side and into the driver seat before the heavens opened.  The rain lashed the road ahead, making it virtually impossible to see.  My wipers could hardly keep up the pace.

Arriving in town, I parked opposite the Opticians.  “Right Dad, stay here and I’ll pop in and get them for you”

Dad’s face was a picture.  Scowling at me, he pulled the collar of his coat up and wagged his finger.  “Bloody hell Mavis, I’m more than capable of picking up me own specs; I’m not going to get shot, kidnapped or lost between here and over there you know.  You just keep your ruddy policing stuff to yourself.” he barked.

Jumping out of the car, he slammed the door and ambled across the road, disappearing from view into the Opticians.

As the minutes ticked by I realised I had already hummed, howled and screeched along to six tracks on my Robbie Williams CD and there was still no sign of Dad.  The rain was bouncing off the pavement, flowing into the gutter.  I watched the leaves swirl and falter before they slipped between the metal and disappeared into the grid.  Wiping the steamed up window with the back of my hand, I quickly dialled the telephone number on the shop sign and waited.  It was answered on the third ring.

“Spex in The City how can I help yer…..”

I wiped a little more condensation from the side window with my sleeve as I spoke.  “Hi, I wonder if a little old man in a blue overcoat is still in there with you, it’s my Dad he’s been an awful long time.”

There was a prolonged silence, I could almost hear her thought process.

“Nah, he came in to pick up his prescription and left about ten minutes ago, there’s no customers in ‘ere now.”  she helpfully offered.

I was sure I could hear her filing her nails in the background.  Giving her my mobile number, I asked her to ring if Dad should return to the shop.

“Yeah of course we will but when you see him can you……………”   

Panic was starting to set in.  Where the hell was he?   I didn’t bother to listen to what she had to say, quickly ending the call, I cut her off with a flick of my thumb.

Driving around town, the rain still lashing down and with huge gusts of wind not helping visability, all I could think of was my poor Dad, alone, battling the elements.   I was sure he couldn’t have made it home already, but this was the last place I could think of to look for him. Barging into his house, I ran along the corridor to the morning room. Standing there, dripping wet, bedraggled and panting, relief washed over me.  Dad was happily sitting at the table with Alfie by his side.

“Oh morning Mavis, nice of you to pop in.  It is Mavis isn’t it?  These new glasses aren’t very good at all, I still can’t see a bloody thing…” he chuckled   “….I’ve been to the opticians this morning to pick them up.  I went there and back all by meself , so you see, I’m more than capable of looking after meself Mavis”

Shaking my head, I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry as my phone began to ring.   I clicked answer.

“Oh hiya, this is Chantelle from Spex In the City Opticians, err we seem to have a little problem…”  

She paused as a second voice began shrieking very loudly and hysterically in the background.  Chantelle cleared her throat and continued.  “…it seems your Dad has taken Mrs. Bingley-Scotts limited edition glasses by mistake along with a few of her other personal items.”   

My heart sank as I closed my eyes, counted to ten and turned to have a closer look at Dad and Alfie.

Dad was sitting there grinning with contented happiness, sporting a rather fetching pair of pink sparkly glasses perched on the bridge of his nose whilst tucking into another bowl of Tesco Value dog biscuits.   Poor Alfie was once again looking on longingly, if somewhat embarrassed by the cerise pink chiffon scarf that was draped lovingly around his tail and the faux leather handbag hitched across his neck.

Looking at me with his big sorrowful eyes, Alfie stood up.

Squashed underneath him was an explosive mass of fluffy white fur attached to a lilac diamante encrusted dog lead and collar.

I took a deep breath and pressed the phone closer to my ear, as Chantelle continued.

“…….Mrs Bingley-Scott is not too worried about her personals and won’t be taking issue with the Police over this, but she would like Princess Poppet her Bichon Frise back as a matter of urgency…..”

I slumped down into the oversized armchair and watched Princess Poppet, bristling with indignation at being crushed under Alfie’s rather large testicles, slope off under the table, as Dad continued to grin in blissful ignorance whilst bearing an uncanny resemblance to Dame Edna Everage.

Oh bloody hell Dad …! 

Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Polyester Thong (c) 2016 Gina Kirkham