Gotham – This week Bungalow Wilf

Alex

Glancing up at the lift as it reached the fifth floor Alex paused.  So far everything had gone without a hitch.  That though didn’t mean someone wouldn’t be out there in the corridor.  It could be a guest or even a hotel worker who might make the hit.  Not that he would be aware of it straight away.  The men in grey suits as they were termed were a lot more subtle than a straight out bullet to the head.

Alex licked his lips as he slowly stepped out of the lift.  Nobody seemed to be about as he quickly went towards were his room for the next couple of days would be.  Swiping the key, Alex popped his head around the door.  Nothing looked out of the ordinary.  A well made bed with the customary purple décor of the hotel chain.  He could easily be in Barcelona, New York, even Stoke On Trent rather than Gotham as all the rooms looked the same.

Cautiously Alex stepped inside carefully scanning the room.  Standing aside he looked inside the bathroom which was meticulously cleaned with the customary shampoo and soap miniature bottles.  Not that Alex would risk opening them in case the grey suits had put some type of poison in them.

Putting his suitcase on the bed Alex checked the room for bugs or anything that looked remotely suspicious.  Sighing with relief, maybe picking Gotham to escape and to meet his contact wasn’t that bad a idea after all.  This was a mad, volatile city with the added bonus of trying to find someone would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Bungalow Wilf

Nobody took much notice of the balding middle-aged man whose face resembled a forlorn potato that had seen better days.  To the passers-by Wilf looked any normal office Joe who had been working at the same company for over twenty years.

No doubt he had a wife and perhaps a grown up kid or two who had his dinner ready as soon as he came home from work.  Wilf was someone who lived in a nice semi-detached who picked his wife up from the shops or met up on their weekly Friday drink with Bert and Muriel.

First impressions though can be misleading as Wilf was one of the top assassins for the men in grey suits.  It was why he was here in Gotham to ensure that Alex Cresswell was permanently silenced.

The fool actually thought he was safe in Gotham.  That the men in grey suits were not already on his trail and knew he was in the city under a false alias.  Every step Alex had made had been monitored.  Time though was running out as it had to run to a conclusion one way or the other.

It was why Wilf was out and about in Gotham surveying the layout of the land and thinking of the best way doing the job.

Alex

Standing by the Gotham river, Alex watched the mobile phone drop down and hit the water.  He couldn’t take any chances of it being traced although admittedly that might be too late.

Brooding, Alex decided to go for something to eat.  There was that café nearby that seemed to be populated by kids.  A place that the men in grey suits couldn’t infiltrate or could they?

Anguish etched upon his face like the ripples of water as his mobile phone hit the plunging depths of the Gotham river.  He needed some food but know that it would be safe.  Maybe buying a pre-made sandwich in a supermarket and some crisps would be better.

‘Listen to me buddy and just do as I say,’ a voice whispered behind Alex’s ear.

A sharp instrument was pressed against his throat as Alex froze.  The bastards had got him and they were going to put this down to a mugging gone wrong.

‘Please, can we talk about this.’

‘Shut the fuck up.  Where is your wallet?’

‘What?’

The knife was pressed hard against his throat that a blood oozed from the scratch as though to show that he wasn’t messing.

‘My inside pocket.’

Quickly the mugger went and slid his hand and pulled his wallet out before doing a customary search.

‘Cell phone?’

‘I, I, lost it.’

‘Man, it ain’t your day is it?’  Laughed the mugger as he threw a surprised Alex away from him.

‘Please show some mercy.  Just take me back and I promise I won’t say anything.’

Now the scruffy mugger looked bemused as he rifled through the wallet taking the cards and loose dollars inside.

‘You can go man.  All I wanted was your wallet.’

The eyes goggled in disbelief that the man was just a mugger.  A shudder went down his back as though he had a spasm.  It showed that Alex was still too vulnerable and furthermore if some bum could get to him how did he stand a chance against the men in grey suits?  Maybe it was time to get in touch with his contact and see if things could be speeded up.

Bungalow Wilf

‘Bungalow Wilf?’ A loud Cockney voice cried in surprised. ‘Upon my soul it really is you!’

Turning his head round in surprise, Wilf saw his old army and SAS pal Alfred Pennyworth.  Pausing, Wilf knew that he couldn’t pretend that he didn’t know him.  After all his Scouse accent would be a giveaway.  However his mission may be slightly compromised considering that his passport said he was John Wilson.  What on earth were the chances that they would meet each other in Gotham of all places?

‘Alfie, lad.’

‘It’s been a while hasn’t it?  Last time I saw you was a few years ago at the reunion bash..’

‘A good night from what I remember.’

‘Is er Alma here?’

‘No, here on business.  Some conference I have to attend tomorrow.’

‘Say, I’ve half an hour to spare and I know a decent little boozer near here if you fancy a catch up?’

A couple wouldn’t harm.   Wilf thought.  After all he had to kill a bit of time before going over the plan for tomorrow.

It had to be said it was a nice little bar and the Cobblepot Penguin lager was a tasty light little beverage that he would have to look out for when he got home.  Glancing across the road, Wilf was sure that he had just seen Alex walking down the road and into a convenience store.  Not that it mattered.  Planning and timing even with such a tight timeframe was still everything.

‘Another pint?’

Wilf looked at his glass and wondered if he should get off.  ‘Go ahead then.’  Another one after this and he would definitely have to go.

‘If I didn’t know better I’d say you were just surveying the layout of the land.’

‘Just enjoying the scenery and the beer.’

There was a slight sigh as Alfred thought back to a previous mission that had gone wrong.  ‘It was a pity that you weren’t with us and Reggie on that mission when we lost him.’

Wilf smiled.  He didn’t think much of Reggie.  Never thought things through that it was no surprise that the mission got compromised and two had been captured with one being killed.

‘Everything always went like clockwork when you were in charge.’

‘Planning is everything but sometimes things can throw everything in the air.’

‘Give over.  You were always two steps ahead!’

After enjoying another pint and a chat about the football the pair said their goodbyes with Wilf conveniently forgetting to give Alfred his number.  Breathing hard he decided to go back the hotel ready to make plans.

Something though was up and Wilf could spy a couple of shifty characters that looked like they may cause trouble.  Glancing around he quickly weighed up his options as Wilf continued to walk as though he was not aware.

‘Excuse me…’

‘I wouldn’t if I was you,’ Wilf said as he casually grabbed hold of the would be mugger’s arm and wrenched the knife out of his hand.  A swift punch to the face sent him sprawling as he then pointed to the knife to the mugger’s mate who tried to come to his assistance.

‘Sorry lad,’ Wilf said as though he was giving him a parking ticket.  ‘But I can’t have you chasing after me.  Word of advice.  Pick your next victim properly next time.’  With that he calmly punched  and kicked him in the stomach before continuing to stroll unmolested back to his hotel room.

Alex

Getting the pay and you go mobile phone was pretty much easier than it was trying to get hold of his contact.  In the films they always got through straight away rather than going through to voice mail.  He knew better than to leave a message.

Biting his lip, Alex took a bite of the meat feast roll that he bought from the shop and winced at the awful salty taste.  Thankfully a swig of diet coke swilled the taste away but the hunger meant that he ate as much of the roll as possible.

All kind of thoughts raced through his head.  What if the men in grey suits were already onto him?  He had to get out of here as soon as possible.  Once he was out of their hands there was nothing they could do.  Alex would pass on the information and then Boris would provide him with the protection and change of identity as promised.

The intense surge of having to contact Boris coursed right through him that Alex could feel the relief as he finally got through.

‘We need to meet as soon as possible,’ Alex whispered even though he was on his own.

‘You just need to be patient.  Let us make sure everything is in place.’

‘I got mugged today….’

‘That was unfortunate.’

‘Unfortunate?  For all I know the men in grey suits may be outside now.’

‘So far you’ve thrown them off the trail.  You could be in Timbuktu for all they know.  All precautions have been taken.’

‘Maybe I just ought to go my own way.’

‘Okay, okay.’  Boris sighed.  ‘I’ll be in touch later to see if we can speed things up.’

With that the phone went dead.

Bungalow Wilf

The plan had already been devised.  Every possible scenario had been thought of.  All that it needed was Alex to start the clock and then they would swing into action.

Wilf already knew from the bug that they had put in Alex’s shoe tongue that his arse had already gone.  It was quite wise of Alex’s handlers to meet in Gotham central train station tomorrow at half past eleven.  After all it would be packed with commuters and tourists for anyone to try anything.  Nevertheless Wilf was sure that they would get Alex without anyone knowing.

The race to Central station

Sleep had eventually come for Alex despite his mind whirring over what could happen.  He had dreamt of a bomb going off but waking up knew it was too blatant for the men in grey suits.

Paranoia had settled into his sleep deprivation brain that Alex felt quite light headed.  Originally he was going to get a taxi but he chided himself for being foolish.  After all the grey suits would just take him somewhere else and then… a cold shudder went down his spine.  No, getting the metro or bus would be the best away.  As Boris advised stay where people were around.

Things had not started off well for Wilf as Alex went to the wrong platform and quickly rectified his mistake by racing across the opposite platform and jumping on the in coming train.  The doors had slammed shut in Wilf’s face as he wondered if Alex was intelligent to try and shake off any tailing.

‘No matter,’ thought Wilf.  He knew Central station was the place to get to and so long as he got there in time then he could get back on track.  Luckily another train pulled up a few minutes later although Wilf wasn’t too happy as the train ground to a halt due to a ‘giant bat figure,’ being seen prowling the lines.

Getting off the train, Alex carefully looked round to see if anyone was tailing him.  The relief was oozing out of him like a lid being taken off a over boiling pan.  Part of it was still bubbling away but he was only half an hour away from safety.  Not that Alex would be thanking that stupid Bat figure holding up the train.

Carefully the gun was held high up with the target on Alex.  Slowly he pressed the trigger as he knew that this was going to be a hit.

Something told Alex to move quickly away with a loud bang hitting the plastic railings.  His heart raced like the trains racing through Gotham central as he looked up in horror to see a woman grabbing hold of a child.  Snatching the spud pistol, she shouted an apology as she furiously told her son off.

‘Little bastard,’ Alex muttered as he saw potato dripping down.  Carefully he looked around for the Gazette newspaper stand by platform fifteen where Alex was to meet his contact.

By now Wilf was off the train as he quickly tried to get his bearings.  Timing was everything now and if Alex met his contact first then he was fucked.  Not that anyone would be aware as Wilf walked in the casual manner of a tourist who had the day to himself.

‘Hey buddy.  Are you waiting for someone?’

‘Do you have my gazette?’

‘What?’

‘Did you pick it up this morning?’

‘Hey, we get one on the way.  Why don’t you follow me?’

‘Sorry, I’ve made a mistake.’

‘Come on let’s get going.  We’re late as it is.’

Alex stared at the middle-aged man whose face looked like it had seen better days.  It was a good American accent he had to give them that.  Quickly he moved away as the man protested loudly and moved towards a bemused rail guard as Alex asked train times to get to the West village.  A crackle went on his radio as it seemed that the CCTV had suddenly gone down.

Moving swiftly, Alex then popped into a coffee shop to try and shrug the man off and was relieved that it must have worked.  Then again he could be monitored.  No matter one of Boris’s colleagues would be here.

‘Got your Gazette here.’

Alex turned round to see a forlorn man who certainly had a presence about him.  His heart was beating fast as though he had spied a rescue boat whilst being stranded on a sinking ship.

‘Did you pick it up this morning?’

‘Eight thirty as always.  How’s Millie the cat?’

‘Still not eating.’

‘You want to try Batchworth’s.  Eight out of ten cats prefer it.’

A smile broke out like the sun edging out the clouds on Alex’s face.  He was safe there was no doubt about it.  Nobody could know the passwords that he had been given.

‘Is the train on time?’

‘It is.  Time to leave dodge as they say.’

‘You don’t know…’

‘Please,’ smiled the man like a genial Uncle.  ‘Let’s wait until we’re out of here.  We’ve got people in place but we need to get out slowly.  A car’s waiting round by the entrance.’

‘Car?’

The man sighed.  ‘We picked a crowded place because they are unlikely to try and do something here in the open.  However on a train, you feel a little nick and you have a heart attack a few minutes later.  There are still ways and means my friend.  A car means safety after we make a few switches of course.’

Alex nodded as they moved slowly and into the car after the man had loaded his bags in the boot.

‘Boris said you were very nervous,’ the man said as they drove away.

‘Understatement.  These people will stoop to anything to stop me passing on the information I have.’

‘I don’t need to know,’ the man said.  ‘The less the better, know what I mean.’

Slowly the man went to his phone.  ‘Activate now.  We won’t be long.’

‘We’re, we’re are we going?’  Alex stammered as the car rolled into a large unit on a disused site near the docks.

‘You’re going home,’ Wilf smirked as he removed his disguise.  It was mainly to confuse any CCTV that might be about.

‘Shit!  You’re not…’

‘What Boris?  Let me say it’s not personal and for what it’s worth you won’t feel a thing.’

‘No, no, no!’  Alex screamed as he scrambled to get out of the car.

Nonchalant, Wilf got out of the car and with two other grey suits pulled a sobbing Alex out.  It was done in the professional manner of a vet administering a lethal injection to a dying animal.

‘Thought you lost him for one minute.’

‘I did but the panic had already set into him for some reason.  He arrived too early really.  Gave me enough time to clock him chatting to a guard.  The rest, well it was straight forward.’

‘Paper work is all in order.’

Wilf grunted.  No doubt Alex didn’t envisage for his body to be disposed of using a acid to burn away his remains.  It was a long job but it was done with the efficiency of the men in grey suits.  After all no body meant no questions, no embarrassments for people in high places.

Everyone would presume as Boris did when his contact told him that Alex had failed to show that he had done a runner completely.  After all he had sounded flakey on the phone.  Of course it was a blow but then these things happen.  Maybe Alex would get in touch later.

The main thing was that they also had the papers and the USB key that contained the information that Alex was going to pass on.  Wilf idly held it in his hands and thought it was a high price to pay for what seemed so little.

Getting home

The flight was pretty routine as was the food.  Getting off the flight was like any other.  Waiting for the luggage, then making your way to immigration.  Passport checked, a serious look and then waved through.

Wilf looked around to get his bearings as he worked out where he had parked his car at Manchester airport.  Throwing his bag into the car, Wilf switched picked his phone from the glove department and switched it on.

‘Hello love,’ Wilf said.  ‘I’ve just landed.’

A pause as Alma sounded happy to have her hubby back.

‘Steak and kidney pud.  Sounds fantastic.’  Wilf replied.  ‘Shouldn’t be long, depending on traffic.’

Wilf was as good as his word as he pulled up outside his semi-detached house with his young granddaughter Georgia running down to be picked up by her loving Granddad.

‘My you’ve grown,’ Wilf beamed.

‘Do you want to see my painting?’

‘You’ve done a painting?  I can’t wait.  Come and show me then.’

‘Wilf, I’m putting the tea out,’ Alma yelled.

‘Well timed,’ Wilf grinned.  After all timing was everything.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Citizen Cliff in November rain

Breathing hard as his prize was within his grasp Cliff looked across the room where the prize lay ahead.  So far it had been so easy but Cliff knew he would be knockin on heavens door if he didn’t get right.  That was something Cliff didn’t want as Mr Heavens was a grumpy old codger.

Gulping as Cliff knew he had to show patience he looked at the bit of paper that told him how to get across safely.  Scratching his bandana in bewilderment, Cliff was pretty tied up at the puzzle so he did what he did best, and that was close his eyes and make a mad dash across the room.

Screaming as deadly spears and arrows were flung at Cliff it was a one in a million that he got over to the other side as his tight US cycling pant only suffered a minor slash.  That though was only a minor inconvenience as Cliff proudly picked up the tub of roses which he replaced with an axle.

A huge rumble broke out as a screaming Cliff was forced to run as a large chocolate orange rumbled towards him

Yelling loudly as Cliff shook his fist the closet door was closing.  Running like a  hippo his bandana fell off as he struggled like an overweight mouse he squeezed through the closing door but not before grabbing his precious bandana.

Laughing loudly, Cliff was in Paradise City as he clutched his prize only to see his grim-faced Father brandishing the demon slipper.

‘Come here sweet child o’ mine.’

A frightened Cliff made a dash outside into the cold November rain with his Father running after him holding the demon slipper aloft.

‘Welcome to the jungle,’ Mr floppy the rabbit said as Cliff ran past him.

‘You cheeky swine!’  Cliff raged.  ‘I only cut the garden last week.’

It was turning into a live and let die situation as Cliff tried to scramble over the fence as he landed with a huge bump.  Brushing himself down, Cliff chortled as he waved at his outraged Father brandishing the demon slipper.

Alas that was the end of the minor victory for Cliff as Mr Heaven grabbed hold of Cliff’s ear and frog marched him to his Dad as he had run straight into his Axl Roses.

‘Don’t you cry tonight,’ Cliff’s Dad said as he proceeded to give Cliff ten of the best out in the cold November rain.

 

 

Citizen Cliff – In thunderstruck

Citizen Cliff – In thunderstruck

 

An evil clap of thunder that could have come from the very hands of Satan reverberated across the Citizen’s estate.  With the rain being hurled as though it was the apocalypse knocking at the window, Citizen Cliff sat with a warm smug feeling that he was inside.  More importantly the Red Revolution’s big game against arch rivals Dynamo Centre was about to start on television.

The referee blew his whistle to begin the game as the Cliff family huddled around the TV spouting words of wisdom. On the first touch the screen suddenly hissed with a violent grey slurry across the screen.

Blinking and without fear for his own safety, Cliff pulled out a bottle of holy water.  There was no doubt that a poltergeist had got into the television and was ready to possess Granny yet again.  It had caused high drama especially as it had taken his Mum ages to clean up all that pea and ham soup Granny had spewed.  Furthermore Cliff had a sore arse as he had craftily taken his Dad’s hazelnut whip from the deluxe quality chocs.  Granny’s head had swiveled round as he pilfered the said sweet and shouted for his Dad to give Cliff the dreaded demon slipper.

‘BE GONE DEMON!’  Cliff cried as he drowned a choking Granny.

‘You stupid boy,’ snapped his Dad.  ‘The aerial has been blown off.  For your stupidity get up there and fix it.’

‘But there is a storm out there.’

‘Put it this way Cliff, there will be the thunderous sound of the demon slipper being struck against your butt cheeks if you don’t get out on the roof.’

So it was that a knee trembling Cliff found himself slipping and sliding on the roof.  Lightening flashed as Cliff felt thin air as his little feet scurried frantically.  Somehow he grabbed hold of the floundering aerial put found his nose up against Mrs McCauley’s bedroom window.  Cliff’s Mother had called her a depraved hussie.  Ignoring the screeches of Mrs McCauley as Cliff used his lips like Mick Jagger against the window, he could understand why.  Indeed it would be a long time before he would be able to eat yoghurt or look at Foo Foo’s dog collar in the same light.

Somehow Cliff got himself on the roof with Mr Tupper racing home with his bag of chips who admired the dedication of cleaning windows in this weather.  The only thing that puzzled him was what had happened to Quasimodo’s hump.  Still he had more important things like getting a blow torch to fix that awkward bathroom door.

With knees a trembling as lightning flashed his Father yelled that they had a perfect picture.  Sighing with relief Cliff was smacked on the head with a bolt of lightening that he was thrown off the roof but luckily landed in a bed of roses.

‘How many times have I told Bertie not to take a crap in my roses,’ grumbled Cliff as he went into the house.

Looking sharply to the left and to the right.  With the house plunged into darkness and a deadly silence it meant that the scary Boogie man was out there.  Boogieing his victims to great and not so great disco classics.

Be scared of the Boogie man boogieing his way from underneath your bed!

A stupid grin broke out on Cliff’s face.  How could he forget his own birthday?  True it had been last month but what possible reason could it be?

‘Oh you shouldn’t have,’ Cliff chortled as he closed his eyes waiting for the surprise.  He certainly did get one as Cliff got a cuff around the back of his ear.  His Dad though got a nasty electric shock as sparks still flew from Cliff’s beautiful perm that the lightning had given him.  The perm was so beautiful that Terry McDermott and Graeme Souness would be jealous.

‘The storm has taken out the electricity,’ his Dad winced.

How are we going to watch the match?”  Cliff wailed.

A bright bulb suddenly appeared above Cliff’s Dad’s head.

‘Don’t just stand there put your fingers in the socket!’

Cliff done what he was told with the TV sparking into life, just in time for the Cliff household to see the Red Revs score.  “Blimey Dad.’  Cliff said.  “What an electric atmosphere!”

Heartbeat – Forever the 1960s

The grey sky engulfed Aidensfield as PC Crane whizzed around the tight Yorkshire country lanes on his motorbike.  With that heavy chill in the air Dan could feel that more snow would be on the way.  It had looked atmospheric when the first snowflakes coated Aidensfield with a blanket of snow on Christmas eve.

He had been sitting in the warm snug of the Aidensfield arms looking out of the window as the flurry floated gently in the December sky.  Smiling to himself he could still hear Tricia regaled the locals of how poor old Greengrass had got stuck in the chimmney as Father Christmas at the nearby school play.

Aidensfield was such a quiet, comfortable village were admittedly a lot of exciting things did happen for such a small place but and this was the thing, it was a feeling of reassurance.  Somehow everything always worked out well in the end and there was no uncertainty.  In some respects it was like that lovely mulled wine that warmed the cockles of Dan’s heart as he sang Christmas carols when singing with the rest of the village by the village square Christmas tree.

Still that would all change in a few hours as Aidensfield would see in 1970 heralding a new future.  Dan was looking forward to it but lovable rogue Claude Greengrass who had made a return visit could barely suppress a chuckle as he finished his pint when telling him.

‘I’m not too sure about the future in these parts.  This, this place is stuck in a timewarp!’

‘Greengrass!’  Oscar Blaketon barked with that glare of disapproval that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a Judge.

‘Sorry Oscar, just, just playing with the lad.’

Nick Rowan who had passed by a couple of years back had warned him that not everything was as it seemed.  The words seemed to trouble Dan slightly but after today he would see in the New Year at the Aidensfield arms.  What would 1970 bring?  Would Leeds United go on to dominate football?  Would Harold Wilson gain another term next year or would it be Edward Heath?  Then of course there was the Beatles who had released Abbey road in September.  Dan loved the album and he hoped there would be more to come from the Liverpudlians.

Sometimes Dan thought back to when he first arrived in Aidensfield.  Admittedly it was all a bit of a blur and a bit foggy.  One minute he could picture himself looking at a screen and typing away on it.  Then there was a small, slim, like toy.  A bit like what they had on Star Trek but you could make phone calls, type messages to people, listen to music and even read the news on this device.

Dan smiled as it all so ridiculous that these day dreams seemed so real.  Like that time he thought he was on a plane to Barcelona.  Suddenly they had got entangled in the fog and didn’t seem to be going anywhere.  Then landing in a strange field and Dan’s mind was gone after that.

When he had arrived in Aidensfield it was dramatic as he raced through the country lanes in his bike startling the sheep.  His new sergeant, Miller didn’t take to him and thought he was too flash.  Nevertheless Dan had gained his trust when he had helped apprehend those bank robbers and gained his trust.  True he was a bit of a maverick who took chances but Dan always got the job done.

One thing was certain and that was visiting his Parents.  True they always phoned and vice versa but despite arranging trips they never came off.  That would be his new year resolution for 1970.

‘Oh blast,’ Aunt Peggy said to her nephew David.  ‘Here’s the local bobby.  Just keep quiet and let me do the talking.’

‘Morning Constable.’

Dan smiled as David shuffled nervously.  No doubt Aunt Peggy was up to some scam that would inevitably always end badly.  Nevertheless she was a alright sort who didn’t mean any harm.

‘Into the coal business?’  Dan said observing the sacks of coal in the back of her lorry.

‘Well we…’

‘David!’  Aunt Peggy screeched.  ‘Can we deliver you a bag Constable?  Much cheaper and better quality I would like to add than old Mr Woods.’

‘I’ll give it a miss thanks,’ Dan said pretending that he had not noticed the grouse that Aunt Peggy had no doubt poached from Lord Ashfordly’s estate.

There was another smirk as he watched Aunt Peggy telling off her nephew as he whizzed down to Marshes farm land to question some travellers who had taken root.

After solving and stopping an attempted train robbery Dan made his way to the Aidensfield arms.  Poor old Aunt Peggy’s latest scam of smokeless coal had ended badly with her choking out the residents and her own house.  Everybody enjoyed a little chuckle but it was all forgotten about. Besides 1970 was finally going to arrive.

‘Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one!  Happy New Year!’

Suddenly there was shaking and Dan felt weird as though he was dizzy.  Violins screeched and Dan could see himself floating above the Yorkshire fields.  He could see Oscar Blaketon back in his Sergeant’s uniform, then another of him looking confused in a airfield.  Darkness and then…

‘Here’s to 1968!’

‘What?’  Dan said groggily.

‘A New Year Dan,’ smiled Nurse Maggie Walker.

‘Are you alright?’ Asked Gina.

‘But isn’t it 1970?’  Dan said confused.  He was positive it had been 1969 a few minutes back never mind 1968.

‘I think you’ve had too much to drink,’ Oscar Blaketon said roughly.

‘That bang on the head must have scrambled your senses,’ said his colleague Bellamy.

‘Let’s have a look over you,’ Doctor Merrick said as she took a confused Dan to a quiet seat in the corner.

‘But I didn’t take a bang on the head,’ protested Dan.

‘That train robber did give you a crack.’

Grimacing as Blaketon watched him sharply like a hawk, Dan was sure that he hadn’t received any blows to the head.  What was that album that the Beatles had recently released?  Grimacing poor old Dan couldn’t remember.

‘Abbey road.’

‘What are you on about?  There is no Abbey Road here,’ Said Bernie Scripps.

‘No the Beatles.  It’s their latest album.’

‘That would be Sergeant Pepper’s.’

‘Come on let’s take you home,’ Bellamy said.  ‘I’m sure he’ll be as right as rain after a good rest.’

Puzzled that it everything seemed so familiar and as though he had been in 1968 before Dan allowed Bellamy to take him home.  Maybe everything would make sense after a bit of shuteye.  Still Dan was positive that it had been 1969 and that 1970 was not now two years away.

After getting some sleep Dan woke up as he struggled to remember the name of the Beatles latest album.  ‘Yellow submarine?’  No it was a road with the fab four walking over a zebra crossing.  However the album was not there.  Everything was blurred as he remembered how happy he had been to purchase it at the local record shop in Aidensfield.  It had been Dan’s favourite album especially… Now he couldn’t even remember the song and it was frustrating him.

There was a knock at the door with Oscar Blaketon inviting himself in.

‘I hope you are a lot more better than you were last night,’ Blaketon said.  ‘A cup of tea would be nice by the way.’

‘Two sugars?’  Dan said obediently as Oscar nodded.

‘Gave us all a funny turn.’

‘I could have sworn it was meant to be 1970.’

‘Little accidents Crane, can scramble the senses.’

‘But it does seem weird,’ Dan said earnestly.  ‘I feel I don’t know as though I’ve already lived 1968.’

‘A word of advice.  Just enjoy the tranquility.  Yes these are meant to be a new age never mind a new year but there is a certainty and reassurance that Aidensfield brings.’

‘That sounds rather weird Oscar if you don’t mind me saying.’

‘Just enjoy the future.’

‘But that’s precisely that.  I feel I’m constantly in the past.’

‘It’s comforting though and little Aidensfield is in it’s own little world.  Don’t start worrying or otherwise you may regret it.’

The last bit sounded very much like a threat as Oscar now stared at him like a Mafia Don as they now chatted over little things such as Lord Ashfordly.

‘Think on what I said,’ Blaketon said as he finished his tea.  ‘Don’t spoil what it is a very cosy life by dwelling on silly nonsense otherwise you’ll end up at the Royal.’

None of this made sense for Dan as he decided to mess about with his wireless.  Suddenly amongst the crackles he could scrambled noises.  

‘There is no such thing as society!’  A female voice screeched.  Then came ‘the miners, the miners will never be defeated!’  ‘Nobody ever remembers the printers,’ came another voice.  ‘And Liverpool have won the double,’ then came some music which sounded like things can only get better then a strange American talking about making America great again, and then the Beatles broke out ‘with all you need is love.’

‘Weird,’ Dan grimaced.  He suddenly felt out of synce as though he really didn’t know where he was.  Maybe it was the New Year after all 1967 was over and now it was 1968.  ‘Again.’  He thought but then that didn’t make sense or what Oscar was warning him.  Looking at the clock, Dan decided to go for a ride on his bike and see if he could get outside of Aidensfield.  One time he had meant to ride to London to surprise his folks but somehow he ended up back in Aidensfield.  Today Dan was determined he would at least get as far as Newcastle.  

‘He seems on a mission,’ Ventress said to Blaketon.

‘Aye.  It’s a shame.  I had high hopes for that one.’

‘Oh well.  Plenty more where he came from.’

Dan kept on pushing his motorbike to breaking point.  He was already getting agitated as he now put his head down and pushed the  bike down the hill.  Everything was a blur as he now raced up another hill and then there was the feeling he was in the air as though Dan was flying.  There was a loud rip as the bike smashed through the screen of Yorkshire dales and cloud as the motorbike landed with a heavy thud in a warehouse.  Confused Dan looked around at what seemed a desolate film studio.  

It didn’t stop him riding along looking for an exit until he spied a door.  Grappling with the lock it was too stiff so Dan got a crowbar and with a loud moan forced the door open.  Dan grinned as he got back on his bike and raced out with glee.  There was a new world out there and Dan wanted to see what Oscar Blaketon was hiding.  

Whizzing out at high speed Dan raced over the gates and landed on what seemed to be reddish, orange dusty surface that seemed to go on for miles.  Slowly he saw Big Ben’s clock face or what was left of it on it’s side as it was almost buried.

‘What the hell have I done?’

‘It was then that he felt a large whack around the back of his head with everything becoming dark.

Slowly Dan came round and found himself in a car that pulled up outside St. Aiden’s hospital.  Looking puzzled and wondering why he was wearing a smart suit he opened the door to be greeted by a grinning and rather dapper elderly gentleman.

‘Welcome to Elsinby Doctor Crane,’ beamed Mr Middleditch.

‘Where I’m I?’

‘The Royal.  Yes it may not look modern for 1968 but believe me the staff and I am sure you will provide the highest quality service.’

‘But I’m from Aidensfield.’

‘You were but this you’re new life Doctor Crane.  The lovely world of the 1960s were life was much simpler and nicer.’

‘AAAAGH!’  Screamed Dan.

 

 

Citizen Cliff in “Cliffy and his magic torch”

Citizen Cliff in “Cliffy and his magic torch”

A cat meowed with the slow solemn twinkling of a piano that sounded so sad that the end of the day had arrived.

‘Night, night, Cliffy,’ His Mum said to her fifty plus son.

With the door closing the family dog Bertie threw on his guitar on and growled out a mean riff.  On cue Cliff jumped out of bed and flashed his torch on the rug which showed a big hole with Cliff and Bertie jumping down a kaleidoscope slide of multi-colours.  Speeding furiously along that Cliff could feel a draught as he had his pyjama bottoms on back to front the pair suddenly came out of a tree as they bounced on a marshmallow cloud down below.

Rubbing his backside Cliff could see a large purple rabbit and a Policeman whose feet were made of wheels.

‘Woah dude,’ the rabbit lazily said as he chewed on some grass.

‘Have you seen big foot?’  The Policeman said suspiciously who looked like a hamster.

‘I think he’s over there,’ Cliff said as two feet plunged through the clouds.

527431742_d84eea6d38

‘No that’s big feet,’ the Hamster Policeman on wheels said.

‘It looks like a talking head to me,’ Cliff huffed as a floating head raced amongst the purple sky.

‘You certainly wouldn’t want the demon slipper from that,’ Bertie said.

Cliff shuddered.  ‘I think it would be a psycho slipper.’

With that Bertie grabbed his guitar with a sinister and heavy ‘dum, dum, dum,’ as the rabbit put his arm around Bertie as they sang ‘Psycho slipper, ou, ou, ouch!  Psycho slipper, how far, far can Cliff run away!’

‘Anyway Cliff we need your help,’ the hamster Policeman said.  ‘A dragon has been causing mayhem that Mr wibble wobble is still in a state of delirium.’

‘Delirium?  Are they a poor man’s magnum?’  Cliff chortled.  ‘Show me the way PC hamster.’

‘Follow me,’ and with that PC hamster wheeled away leaving a bemused Cliff watching as he raced into the distance.

‘Hey Mr Talking head,’ Cliff asked the floating head hovering above. ‘Where has PC Hamster gone?’

‘He’s on the road to nowhere,’

‘We all know that,’ Cliff snorted.  ‘But where has he gone?  I need to get this pesky dragon before I wake up.’

‘As I said the road to nowhere.’

‘You’re not much help,’ Cliff snapped.

‘Just follow the path amongst the clouds,’ The talking head replied.  ‘I must go as someone is burning down the house.’

And with that the talking head sped away.

‘There she was,’ the rabbit sighed.

One minute Cliff was lying in the grass and the next he was floating high up towards the cloud path.  There was no doubt about it  Bertie told him whilst a huge mushroom smiled at him in the sky.

Cliff bounced along the clouds chortling as he jumped up and bashed a cloud only to yell in pain as a ton of coins hit him on the head.

‘A penny for your thoughts Cliff?’  Bertie asked.

‘I wish I hadn’t called heads,’ he groaned.

On and on the pair went although Cliff followed Bertie’s lead as he ate the smiling multi-coloured stars as they furiously raced throughout the sky.  It seemed like they were going to catch the dragon who was now in the distance but had to scream to a halt for the traffic lights.

‘Is this red light permanent?’  Cliff asked feeling very annoyed.

‘At last,’ Cliff sighed as it went to amber and then green but as he took a step forward quickly went red with a hand stopping him to go further.

‘But you didn’t give me a chance!’  Cliff wailed.

‘We’re a slave to the traffic light,’ Bertie groaned

‘Phish,’ Was Cliff’s response.

Suddenly a red hand came out of the traffic lights and stuck two fingers up to an outraged Cliff.

‘You have to go green!’  Cliff yelled as he got himself ready to sprint as it now went to amber then green, before quickly hitting red.

After a few attempts Cliff came with a fiendish idea to get the better of the traffic light.  Whistling to himself Cliff made as though he was walking away and out of the corner of his eye spotted it was green.  Spinning around the light went red.

‘Mmm,’ Cliff thought.  This needed a crafty plan that was as a subtle as a brick on the head.

So it was that Cliff turned around and quickly sprinted as it went green holding Bertie’s paw.  Momentarily they raced through the air with Cliff landing like an overweight rugby player scoring a try.

‘Ah!’  Cliff shouted triumphantly at the furious traffic light as he landed in ecstasy on the other side.  ‘See if you can stop me now!  That’s why they call me Mr Fahrenheit!’

‘Cos we’re travelling at the speed of light,’ Cliff and Bertie sang as he banged out a few more chords.  ‘Cos we’re having a good time, having a good time, so don’t stop me now!’

Two red fingers were shown and out of nowhere it grabbed hold of three grey sullen clouds who angrily chased Cliff and Bertie through the clouds.

‘I knew you shouldn’t have had that cheesy treat,’ Cliff yelled at Bertie at the loud rumble.

‘That was the thunder cloud.’

‘Aaagh!’ Cliff screamed as a bolt of lightning scorched his backside.  ‘I’ve been thunderstruck!’

Frantically the pair raced across the clouds hurdling and jumping to avoid the lightning and now the golf sized hail balls that were flung at the pair.  Below in the distance lay the dragon with Cliff and Bertie holding their nose as they jumped into the green calm waters below.

There was a whale and a beautiful seabed as they saw a submarine stop.  After a wait two 80a submarines turned up.

‘I should have known submarines travel in pairs,’ Cliff chortled as he raced upstairs to be first to get to the periscope.

‘There’s the dragon, Cliff.’  Bertie cried.

With a ding, ding, ding of the bell the red submarine soared into the air with Cliff shouting after the dragon.  As they got closer Cliff got himself ready on the roof of the submarine and jumped off by a land called Honnah Lee.

‘I didn’t know you lived by the sea,’ Cliff cried.

‘Where else would I live?’

‘Anyhow you’ll have to stop causing mayhem…’

‘Oh thank you Cliff,’ Said the dragon’s Mum who swooped in from nowhere.  ‘You’ve managed to bring Puff home safe and sound.  You shouldn’t have strayed too far away Puff.  There are people who don’t like dragons and want to slay them.’

‘I don’t know about that,’ Cliff said scratching his head.  ‘I’ve been with a few dragons in my time and one even threw tins at me but I didn’t want to kill it.  Besides my Auntie Hilda she’s an old dragon!’

‘Oh Cliff how can I repay you?’  the dragon’s mother said.  ‘Would you like some apple crumble?’

‘With custard?’  Cliff cried excitedly.

‘Of course.’

‘Well then you can count me in!’

After a sumptuous meal and a game of snap that ended abruptly when Puff burnt the cards Cliff and Bertie made their way home.  It was a long journey back on the 80a submarine that seemed to take eighty days with Phyllis Fogg who was on the phone to someone about going to art class.  ‘Oh Percy!’  Cried Phyllis.

 

‘Alan Bradley!’  Cliff shouted as he saw a tram hurtling towards his friend across the road.

Eventually they got back to peppermint land with Cliff and Bertie getting an heroes welcome.  After getting a medal from the Mayor Spud head who had plenty of ‘kudos,’ that he managed to get an open red submarine ticker tape parade with a famous breakfast tv presenter.

As the red submarine soared and made rainbows a girl with kaleidoscope eyes turned around to the rabbit who was chewing on grass and asked who it was.

‘Oh that’s Cliffy in the sky with Anne Diamond!’

With that the multi-coloured slide smashed through the sky meaning it was time for Cliff and Bertie to go home.  Jumping down the slide Cliff screamed in terror as Bertie lapped it up by getting a surf board and racing it as though he was on a huge wave.

As usual Cliff landed on his backside as Bertie landed inch perfect by his basket.  The loud thump of Cliff hitting the deck prompted the big light to come on.

‘I hope you haven’t been playing with your torch again, boy!’  Cliff’s Dad cried.  ‘You’ll get hairy hands.’

‘Of course not,’ Cliff shouted as he rubbed his backside.

‘Well settle down then Clifford,’ His Mum.

‘At least you didn’t get the demon slipper,’ Bertie said.

‘Yeah but I always seem to end this story with a sore arse,’ Cliff grumbled.  ‘Anyhow night, night!’