Wednesday, 3 October 2012
Freedom Overspill Ep. #2: Carafe and Quiche
And now, the next exciting chapter in Freedom Overspill.
The detective squad room at Wandsworth police station was a hive of activity that morning, statements were being taken, reports were being typed and in a non-decript interview room Chief Inspector Rolly Theroux was giving Hall and Lomacks a dressing down.
‘I’ve had quite enough of this you two.’ bellowed the DCI, ‘Your not Crockett and Tubbs and you certainly can’t go around like 48hrs beating the living crap out of suspects, even if they are serial killers! It just won’t do!’
‘You never had any problem with rough justice before. I’ve seen the colour of your knuckles sir.’ Hall contradicted
‘It was a different place when I patrolled the streets Hall, I’m getting directives from central office daily.’ Theroux sighed, the sigh of a world weary copper,‘There has even been talk of trying to run you out of the force, there just isn’t a place for your kind of investigative skill.’ On these words Hall’s face went as red as a beetroot.
‘What do they know about this patch? Have they been down to the Wandworth One-Way? Have those pen-pushers had to go hat in hand to a young lad’s mother and tell her that her son was battered to death with a pool cue?’
‘If it was up to me Charlie I’d have thrown the book at that scum years ago, but I’m afraid it’s out of my hands. Shape up or leave the force, that’s what I’ve been told to warn you. Lomacks, I want the report on my desk by the end of the day, without fail.’
‘Yes Boss.’ both chorused in unison.
‘Right, that’s all. I don’t want to have to see you like this again.’ The door slammed behind Theroux as he exited.
‘Fucking creep.’ Lomacks sneered.
‘He’s just doing his job, you haven’t been here long enough. Back in the late 70s he was the best copper on the force. He’s made more arrests than you’ve had hot dinners.’
‘If he is so good Guv, why is he sitting behind a desk with a shiny new Apple computer.’
‘Don’t ask me Lomacks, Aspiration, better house, car, life for his family? the factors are endless. Anyway you’re the one who went to University.’
‘Yer, and a fat lot of good it does me here!’
‘Alright lad, enough of that’ Hall was wearying of his partner’s cynicism and his stomach was rumbling ‘Let’s go and get some lunch, I’m starving.’
Northcote road in 1986 was starting to become something of a trendy place, gentrified if you will! The greasy spoons of old were fast being replaced with smart restaurants and wine bars. And it is on this frightfully de rigeur road that we find our heroes debating where best to put their feet up for an hour of two and indulge in a few frothy pints before the afternoon shift.
‘Wine bars aren’t the problem Lomacks, it’s just that you don’t get a traditional, run-of-the-mill pub around these parts any more. What makes it worse is that Young’s is just round the corner!’
‘I was up at University in Leeds and I can tell you that it’s going the same way boss’
‘My dad grew up in Tadcaster and we used to go up there to visit my gran every Christmas time. Now the pubs there’ Hall looked dreamily into the distance, ‘oh well, I suppose we’ll have to go to the regular.’
Bakers wine bar was crowded at lunchtime with men in suits and spotty ties and Women with turtle necks and pearls. Needless to say that our two heroes looked the part, Hall in a sharp suit with Pierre Cardin tie (his mother had always said he should scrub up well) and Lomacks in the linen suit and pastel T-Shirt as made popular by Don Johnson. They were good detectives, no, they were great detectives and here they were always welcome. Money for Nothing was the anthem of that year of prosperity and was blaring over the assembled personage as they tucked into a frittata or plates of cold ham salad, washed down with Beaujolais, chilled Chablis or Perrier.
‘Table for two Carlos.’ The waiter came over obsequiously to take the order of these regulars.
‘The usual lager sirs?’
‘Yer Charlie, two Skols here.’
‘Still no bitter?’
‘Mr Hall, there just isn’t the demand for it here’ Carlos gave Hall an apologetic look and a shrug of his shoulders as Champagne corks popped gloriously in the background.
‘Well then Skol it is, and Skol it will have to be! And send us over a couple of those quiches you do with a few leaves.’
‘Of course sir. It’s such a nice day would you both like to sit outside?’
‘It would be a pity to waste it and we’d be able to hear the radio from the car.’ Hall was not a man to begrudge his partner a bit of fresh air so acquiesced. Sitting at a wrought Iron table, half finished quiche and fresh pints in front of them, the pair had decided that this was the time to delve into the mysteries of the British government.
‘Not that I mind… The Thatcher Government has done a lot for guys like me. Up with Lawson I say!’ Hall waved a fist of support in the air.
‘But you can’t discount the effect, or should I say affect that they have had on the North?’ The ‘Enforcer of SW18’ was incredulous, and a piece of quiche flew from his mouth at Lomacks’s sacrilegious words.
‘And where would you have been? Scraping flying pickets off the pavement in Saltley no doubt. People are too ready to knock this administration once they have reaped the benefits.’
‘You have a point, but there are many who would disagree.’ Typical Leeds University economist, putting it into perspective! Hall decided there was no point in getting into a slanging match over public policy.
Fair enough, they’re entitled to their opinion. The fact is that I’ve worked hard and this is the first time I think I’ve been rewarded…I didn’t know what quiche was five years ago, but you live and learn I suppose.’
‘Well I still think this Government stinks’ Lomacks was adamant
‘You’re still young, no responsibilities. You’ll learn soon enough.’
‘I suppose so Guv, I suppose so…’
A world away in SW19, up on Wimbledon common, two men are sitting shooting the breeze at one of the old fashioned pubs that lined the Commons. I think that this one was the Hand in Hand - which still stands to these days. The creaking paneled walls of this 18th Century build were lined with horse brasses, and other iron mongers implements. Like Hall and Lomacks these two gentlemen were talking politics.
‘I’m not sure about Heseltine, he just seems like a child throwing his toys out of the pram.’ The first man said, referring the the Westland Crisis which had dominated the news over the last few weeks.
‘You say that,’ said his companion, ‘but we would do far better going towards Europe. Brittan’s a dead duck on this one, you cannot honestly say that it’s right to go to America?’ It was at this point the landlord - a portly, waistcoated man with a big moustache and red face - intervened.
‘Now I’m not having any of this talk from my best customers, I just won’t. Too many of you are so hung up on politics now, why can’t you just come here, have a nice quiet pint and talk about the FA cup?’
‘Sorry John, It’s just that we would never have talked about this 10 years ago.’ At this the landlord’s look of concern turned to one of amusement and he chuckled.
‘You were kids 10 years ago, all about Pink Floyd, Gong and John Martyn.’
‘John Martyn… There’s a name you don’t hear these days…’ reminisced the first man
‘Went ‘electric’, like Muddy Waters and Dylan.’ responded his companion, and the barman sighed, things never changed he thought and was just about to put in his penny’s worth when he was cut short by a massive explosion, which shook the pub to its rafters. All and sundry exited and were greeted with the sight of one the expensive manor houses on the Common awash with flames and collapsing in on itself
‘That’s Digby Niven’s house!’ Shouted the barman in surprise, ‘I hope everyone’s okay!’...
Will Digby Niven be okay? Will Hall and Lomacks come to some consensus? Will Michael Heseltine see Westland merge with a European partner? Find out in the next week’s gripping installment of Freedom Overspill.