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.

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‘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!’

The dark tales of Bungalow Wilf – This month the curse of the golden wig

The dark tales of Bungalow Wilf – This month the curse of the golden wig

You are a wastrel and a cad who I find once again standing before me,’ the Judge thundered as a hung over Rupert swayed like a pair of trousers caught in the breeze . “I warned you of the consequences should you be standing in the dock in front of me. It seems that you have not learnt from the last time that you stole a Policeman’s helmet.”
“I see you find it amusing,” the Judge said furiously.

“Oh come on Uncle Percival! It was just a silly jape that got out of hand. Just give me the fine and I promise not to be naughty again, what!”

“Silence!” The Judge cried as Rupert’s head winced as the loud words hammered his hung over brain. “It is breathtaking that even now you show the spoilt petulance despite the tawdry and disgusting behaviour that leads you here. I have no option but to sentence you to fourteen days in Alcadtraz!”

“You’re sending me to stir?” Rupert said in absolute shock. ‘Auntie Penelope will not be pleased.”

“Take him down.”

“I say!” Rupert said as the two guards took hold of his arms. “Unhand me you uncouth brutes.”

With a wailing cry as he was led down to wear the most unfashionable, drab, ill-fitting Alcadtraz uniform, Rupert was put on a boat to sail to the rock island of Alcadtraz prison were only the most devious and dangerous toffs are incarcerated.

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(A typical Alcadtraz cell)

It was a long fourteen days but Rupert spent his first day back as a free man in the Naughty Hellfire supping champagne and eating fine food created by Cheffie. True it had been no real hardship in Alcadtraz as Cheffie had created Rupert a king size hamper but the food tasted so much better when you were not in a prison.

“By thunder,'” Rupert slurred. “I am going to get my revenge on that old goat if it’s the last thing that I do.”

“The only thing that will upset Judge Le Bangemup will be if he ever lost his golden wig,’ Darcy opined.

“Golden wig?’ Rupert said as he poured Darcy another glass of champer’s. “Pray do continue dear boy.”

“Why tis one of his prized possessions dear boy,”  Darcy said.  “Only a selected few are granted a golden wig by his peers.”

Rupert’s eyes lit up as he conjured up a fiendish plan and rubbed his hands in delight.  “Is it by Jove?  Well chap’s who is up for a bit of tomfoolery and mischief?”

“What’s the plan?”  Pongo enquired.

“Why you nincompoop we shall pilfer the said wig and display it here in the Naughty Hellfire and let that sanctimonious ass suffer from my wrath, what!”

“Huzzah!”  The cads cried as they all raised and took a sip of champagne.

There was a slight cough as the trusted butler of the Hellfire Bungalow Wilf decided to intervene.

“Excuse me sir.  Are you sure that’s wise?”

“Damn and blast Wilf why do you have to spoil one’s fun?’  Cecil cried.

“Have no fear Wilf, We chaps are made of sterner stuff!”  Teflon cried.  After all we are dastardly Cads who will avoid getting one’s collar felt!”

A large huzzah broke out again with the clinking of glasses as Wilf sighed before adding.  “That may be so Sir but it is said that if anyone steals the wig then the person will be cursed.”

Guffawing broke out with Wilf being the brunt of jokes.

“Honestly Wilf I do expect better of you.  Why you will be telling me he has dragons next to protect the wig!’  Rupert chortled.

Alas despite Rupert’s protestations he couldn’t formulate a plan as Judge Bangemup’s lair was a formidable fortress.  It was then that Teflon formulated a plan that had the cads in such high spirits that they couldn’t wait to spring the plan into action.

So it was that the scoundrel’s of the Hellfire were dressed in their best toga’s in preparation for a trojan sheep.  Moving inch by inch Judge Bangemup wondered why the sheep was getting closer and closer but thought nothing of it.  Once safely inside the cads jumped out of the backside and with the cries of “Toga, Toga, Toga!”  Danced their way in whilst helping themselves to the Judge’s wine.

It didn’t take the cad’s long before they found the golden wig with a chortling Teflon wearing the said item before Rupert clutched at his prize.  Indeed he couldn’t believe how easy it had been as he now wore the golden wig and danced loudly around the room with more cries of toga, toga, toga!

Even in a mansion as big as Judge Bangemup there was no way that he wouldn’t have heard the almighty din that the cads were making as they danced  a conga around his billiard room.

“What on earth?”

Temporally the Cad’s froze before they fled the scene of the crime as Judge Bangemup released the hounds.   It was a close run thing as the teeth gently grazed Teflon’s buttocks as Darcy dragged him over the wall to safety.

End of part one

Take on Cliff

 

Not even the threat of having to go for the weekly shop with his Mum could ruin Cliff’s afternoon as he had his rather dapper new Walkman with all his favourite songs on one cassette.   Aha were massaging Cliff’s ears as he patiently followed his Mum by reading his fave music and TV magazine Have a gawp.

The comic strip Mucker’s luck was engrossing Cliff as Grabber had challenged Mucker to a daring trolley race.  Cliff closed his eyes as Mucker’s trolley with it’s wobbly wheel was whizzing past the corner.  Oh how he wished he could be like Mucker.  A cheeky good hearted rascal who was loved by all the girls.

A huge pencil drawn hand emerged out of the cauliflowers and tapped a startled Cliff on the shoulder.  It’s finger beckoned Cliff to follow as he jumped into the chest freezer of fish fingers.  Suddenly Cliff was a pencil drawing himself although his t-shirt was admittedly tight as it showed off his manly beer gut.

That was forgotten about as Mucker gave Cliff a cheeky wink as the pair danced merrily away although Cliff had all the moves of a awkward Uncle at the family wedding.  However the big race was on with the dastardly Grabber hunting high and low for Cliff and Mucker as they legged it around the corners of the cartoon frame.

It was perfect timing as they jumped into the next frame with Cliff squeezed into the trolley with a gasping Mucker jumping on top as the gun started.  As the trolley’s raced around the corner Grabber stupidly tried to barge Cliff and Mucker off the road.  The weight of Cliff saw Grabber crash off the road with Cliff letting a huge chuckle as they came first in the race.

Poor old Mucker fell out as a yelling Cliff couldn’t stop the trolley as it hit a rock sending a flying Cliff soaring into the air and out of the pages.

There was a huge scream as the Citizen Cliff family spluttered on their tea with Granny almost fainting as Cliff flew out headfirst of the television.

‘You stupid boy,’ Cliff’s Dad yelled.  ‘You’ve scared the living daylights out of your Mum and Granny.’

‘But the son always shines on TV,’ Cliff gurned.

Cliff’s Dad  smiled like a medieval torturer as he lightly tapped the demon slipper against the palm of his hand.  ‘Something else will be shining boy,’ and with that a sobbing Cliff was given ten of the best before being sent to his room.

 

Flying High

Caitlin Firth



Moaning softly Caitlin forced her eyes open as the extra two minutes in bed had turned into twenty. Not that it mattered much as Caitlin hated the early morning shift for Rapido airlines.  Somehow Caitlin staggered out of bed as the annoying chirpy voice of the inane local radio DJ was violently switched over to Shaun Keavney’s breakfast show on BBC six music.

A shower was what was needed as the cold water made her gasp and suddenly jolted her brain awake as though an electric charge had been set her awake.
‘Oh for feck’s sake!’ Caitlin swore as the temperature of the water now hit lava level.
Somehow Caitlin had managed to get herself back on track as she pulled on her tights and fixed her uniform.
‘Christ I look like a fecking Nazi in this uniform,’ Caitlin thought as she carefully fixed the Rapido scarf that she had to wear. At least it was early morning so not many people would see her escaping to her car.
Although Caitlin was already behind time she quickly made up for that as she sped through Allerton road. Even though it was the longer route Caitlin took the detour that took in Garston shore with the early morning sun weakly shining on the Mersey.

‘Are you and Cal going away next weekend?’ Vanessa asked Caitlin in Spanish.

‘Ce,’ Caitlin smiled. ‘We’re off to Ibiza the quiet part.’

Vanessa laughed as Calam wasn’t exactly the type to be into the clubbing part of Ibiza.
‘Come on Jed we’ll be all right once we’re up in the air.’

Caitlin raised her eyebrows as a trembling Jed who looked like a grizzly bear in the prime of his life stumbled onto the plane as though he was being forced into a crate.

‘I’m not sure about this,’ Jed stammered. ‘I’ve got a bad feeling.’
‘We’re here now,’ Maggie whispered. ‘It’s just like being on a bus.’

‘Are you okay?’ Caitlin said smiling sweetly.

‘He’s just nervous about flying.’

‘Oh right,’ Caitlin replied. ‘Is there any part of it that you don’t particularly like?’
‘All of it.’
‘Would it help if you sat by where we sit?’ Caitlin asked. ‘You can see at first hand at what we do which might put you more at ease.’
Jed nodded as Caitlin ushered him to the nearby seat.
‘Once we’re up in the air it should be a straightforward flight. I’ve done this route regularly and we’ve had no problems.’  Caitlin said although she didn’t mention the time when the plane had been struck by lightening.
With the passengers all on board and sat down it was time for the air safety instructions. Normally it didn’t bother Caitlin but upon seeing a ever increasing sweating Jed who looked more like a guilty defendent being presented with the extra evidence to prove his guilt tried to speed the instructions up.

Now came the Spanish instructions with the male voice sounding like someone from the Fast Show’s Channel nine with a very overdramatic ‘BRACE!!! BRACE!!! BRACE!!!’
Despite the safety advice coming to a end, Jed’s arse had completely gone that his eyes were painfully closed as though awaiting the guard’s touch to take him to his execution.

‘Sir, can you turn your mobile off,’ Caitlin asked a young lad. It was another pet hate that every flight they had to get some idiot to turn off their device.
‘I have got it switched off.’
‘No you haven’t,’ Caitlin replied. ‘I can see the screen.’
‘Why have I got to switch it off?’
Caitlin bit her lip at the stroppiness of it. ‘Because it interferes with the flight controls.’
‘JUST SWITCH IT OFF SOFT LAD!’ Jed screamed furiously as though he was ready to use all his fear and anxiety by pummelling the lad if he disobeyed him.
It was switched off so quickly that the ashen-faced lad almost dropped it as he slunk back in his seat to avoid the vicious glare of Jed.
‘This is your Captain Matt Law speaking,’ came a casual Mancunian drawl over the intercom. ‘We are now due to take off and we should be arriving at Barcelona approximately ten thirty am Spanish time. Cabin crew please prepare to take off.  Passengers sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight.’
As Caitlin fastened her seat belt the engines roared into life with a vicious scream as it now raced upwards with the force bracing Caitlin’s neck back. She always loved this ‘whoose,’ part as the plane soared upwards with Liverpool starting to look small. There was the familiar beeps of the plane as it soared ever higher.
Jed was sweating profusely with every little shudder making him whimper. Indeed his nails were clutched into the hand rest.
‘Not long now,’ Caitlin smiled.
‘Are we meant to go down like that?’ Jed cried.
‘Yeah it’s fine,’ Caitlin replied. ‘He’s just turning the plane.’
More beeps came as instructions came for the cabin crew to get ready to undo their belt.
‘This is your Captain Matt Law speaking. A nice smooth takeoff if I must say so myself. We are currently cruising thirty five thousand feet and we will be shortly be approaching France. The weather might take a bit of a turn but rest assured it’s nice and warm in sunny Barcelona. I shall be keeping you updated later.’
With the plane cruising comfortably the crew got ready with the trolley. A wry smile broke out on Caitlin’s face as Vanessa appeared to get the arseholes who just wouldn’t stop ordering food and in particular alcohol.

Is that it?’ Vanessa said her head ready to explode.

‘Oh and some cheese and onion Pringles for Nigel’

‘I say what about a brandy,’ chimed in Freddie.

‘I’d love a brandy,’ someone shouted.

‘Okay who wants a brandy?’

‘One, two, three,’ Caitlin thought as she saw the red mist engulfing Vanessa’s eyes.
‘Your going to have to make this your last order because other people want food and drink.’

‘I say,’ Bruce said rather offended at the outburst. ‘I really don’t like your tone.’

‘You have already ordered about fifteen lagers, eight gin and tonics, eighteen packets of Pringles, and now you want brandy.  This is not your personal trolley .’

‘Here, here,’ Someone cried.

‘You tell them girl,’ Another shouted as Vanessa actually got a round of applause.

Bruce reddened. ‘Well we are on a stag do.’

‘Why I’m I surprised,’ Caitlin thought.

‘How many brandies and then that’s it?’

‘Say five,’ Bruce said as he saw another hand go up. ‘Six, seven,’

‘I’d be careful if I was you,’ Caitlin thought. Luckily Bruce didn’t ask for anymore although one of the group despite having a face of a gargoyle and the charm of George Osborne thought that Vanessa and Caitlin fancied him.  Somehow he still thought he was onto something as he tried to give the pair his mobile number.

The pair whispered conspiratorial in Catalan about the rugger union stag do group with a few jokes cracked at their expense. One or two of them might be able to speak Spanish but Caitlin was certain they wouldn’t know a word of Catalan.

‘How much longer?’ Jed groaned.

‘We’re nearly an hour into the journey,’ Caitlin replied.

‘I don’t like the look of those clouds.’

‘Don’t worry we’ll be flying above them so it should be fine,’ Caitlin said. ‘Do you want anything to eat or drink?’

‘No ta,’ Jed said as the plane started to shake with a couple of beeps instructing one of the crew to attend the cabin. ‘Why’s the plane shaking?’

‘It’s only a mild bit of turbulence,’ Caitlin said. ‘Just think of it as when you are in a car on a bumpy road. That’s all it is.’

‘You seem to be taking an interest in him.’ Vanessa observed.

‘He’s a nervous flyer so I’m just trying to make it as comfortable as possible.’

‘Anyhow how is Gaz?’

‘Ah I’ve dumped him,’ Vanessa said her forehead frowning. ‘I’m not putting up with his drinking and broken promises.’

‘Good for you,’ Caitlin said.

‘How are you getting on in Breaking Bad?’

‘I’ve just finished the part where Jesse’s girlfriend is dying of an overdose.’ Caitlin said excitedly. ‘Swear to God I couldn’t believe that Walt left her like that.’
The loud humdrum sound of the engines continued to drone on as Caitlin casually looked out of the window with the white fluffy clouds blowing below the plane. Looking out across the ocean of sky relaxed Caitlin who felt the massaging comfort of flying. It was a chance to switch off and no matter how many flights she had undertaken Caitlin always found it theraputic.
At first Caitlin was too much in her own world to take much notice of the gasps from the passengers as sparks could be seen flashing from one of the engines. However it was the sound of the engine that didn’t sound right that tapped her on the shoulder to get her attention. Indeed it sounded like the bass or lead guitar player had suddenly stopped playing.
Everything suddenly felt like a weird dream as Caitlin tried to regain her senses which couldn’t quite believe that the plane was now in trouble. A loud moan emanated as the airbus plane promptly descended eight thousand feet without warning that made Caitlin feel as though she was on the big dipper. Her stomach had felt that giddy excitement as it leapt up and then swiftly back down.

Screams broke out most notably from Jed with a few wits shouting ‘I love you!’ without realising the seriousness of the situation as they started to laugh. Another smart arse cried ‘Hey love open up the bottle of champagne. If we are going to go down then we might as well do it in style.’

That bravado quickly ended as the plane started to shake with the seat belt sign flashing on as the oxygen masks flew down.

Laughs now turned to cries and sobs with a sombre graveyard silence amongst the passengers as the low off-key noise of the planes remaining engine continued to drone on.

Caitlin and Vanessa along with their fellow cabin crew tried to remain calm as they helped the passengers put on their oxygen mask. With the emergency lights the only illumination it was an eerie feeling of walking into the woods at Halloween when it was twilight.

It was hard comforting Jed especially as Caitlin was now scared. This was the first time that she had felt trapped in the air with the stone cold sober awareness of her own mortality.

‘Matt and the crew are good pilots so we are in safe hands,’ Caitlin said as she somehow managed to resist the surging burning anger of frightened frustration building up inside her.

‘We are going to die, we are going to die,’ Jed repeatedly moaned as though he was praying. ‘I knew we shouldn’t have flown.’

‘Jed listen to me,’ Caitlin smiled. ‘We will be okay. Just listen to our instructions and I’m sure the Captain will be giving us some information soon.’

On cue came the dulcet tone of the Captain Matt Law who spoke as though the plane was a bike that had just suffered a minor puncture.

‘This is your Captain Matt Law speaking.’ ‘Due to a minor fault with two of the plane engines we are going to have make, a slight detour to Toulouse Blagnac airport. Be rest assured that the other engine is working fine but it will be a bit of a bumpy ride as we come into land. There will be more details as we approach Toulouse airport. Please be as comfortable as you can be, listen and obey any instructions by the cabin crew. Please note we will shortly be making a small descent. I will be speaking to you all shortly. Cabin crew please prepare to land and listen to further instructions from me.’
With that Caitlin swiftly went back to her seat with the funeral hum of the remaining engine and the shadowy dark aisles that were weakly illuminated by the emergency light.
Vanessa and Caitlin looked on anxiously as a grim faced Andrea listened to the Captain as he informed them that two of the engines had failed.Furthermore they were going to have make an emergency landing in not so perfect conditions.

‘We will be approaching gusty winds and rain so get ready for a not so perfect landing.’  Andrea whispered to the cabin crew.

Caitlin gulped as soon as she heard that. Upon seeing Jed she somehow forced a smile and somehow managed to force a lie that everything was going smoothly and that they would be safely landing soon.
‘Ladies and gentlemen this is your Captain Matt Law speaking.’ ‘We are shortly approaching Toulouse airport so make sure you seatbelt is fastened.’ ‘Can cabin crew please prepare for landing.’
More beeps came as Caitlin obediently carried out her duties as the plane started to shake. This though was just the appetiser as people started to wail in unison as the airbus now started to rattle violently that they thought that they were on a rollercoaster.
A low moaning noise wailed as though the plane was crying out a distress call as it descended quickly as it appeared to be a battle between the outside elements and Matt Law’s crew.
With Vanessa and Harry looking pale with the tango orange tan of Pam turning more white than a bucket of whitewash Caitlin thought that this was it. Looking out of the window the sky was grey as the plane continued to shake like a dice inside a cup this was not how she wanted to die.
Caitlin wanted to pass away aged a hundred peacefully in her sleep surrounded by relatives. Not in a flying tin waiting to hit the ground with screaming passengers. How was it was going to go? Would she pass out or would Caitlin feel the intense pain and sudden blackness as her life was snuffed out?
It alarmed and frightened Caitlin that everything would suddenly be nothing. No more feelings, thoughts, or dreams. All Caitlin could think of was of her Mum, Dad, and her older brother’s nephews and nieces. Then came Calam. No longer would Caitlin enjoy that gooey feeling of being with Calam. To feel love and enjoyment that life brought.  Plus she wouldn’t get the chance to finish Breaking Bad or enjoy her Mum’s cooking.

Even the silly things of not being able to go to gigs, enjoy a bar of chocolate or sticky toffee pudding came to mind.  Miserably Caitlin felt gutted that she wouldn’t get to see MGMT who were performing in Manchester.
Caitlin wondered if her soul would view her body and her Parents, family, and Calam before leaving this world? No it was just going to be dark and nothing.
The plane moaned like the titanic about to go down as Matt instructed the crew to prepare for an emergency landing.
‘Ladies and gentlemen this is your Captain Matt Law speaking. We are approaching Toulouse airport and we are about to land. Cabin crew we are about to land.’
However this was going to be a battle as the plane made a turn and then went up and then down shaking ever more as Matt and his crew tried to get the plane into position. More cries broke out with people even hugging each other as the plane swooped towards the nearby buildings before rising back up.
‘BRACE, BRACE, BRACE!’ The automated computer yelled before the theatrical Spanish voice frantically shouted ‘BRACE!!!!! BRACE!!!!!! BRACE!!!!!!!!!!!!’
‘What a way to go,’ Caitlin thought miserably. ‘The last words that I hear will be some manic Spanish eejit screaming brace.’
It was too late to pull out as the plane descended to land as it shook ever more violently that Caitlin wished that if her life was going to end it would do so now. The ground was getting ever closer as Caitlin closed her eyes wincing as she expected to hear a loud bang of the nose of the plane violently hitting the ground.
Everybody was violently thrown about with Caitlin feeling a rag doll in the clutches of a Staffordshire bull terrier.  It was coming the moment was coming when everything would be turning black.  Caitlin closed her eyes and tried to ignore the crying going on in the background.  Jed was whimpering as he mumbled for the hundreth time that he shouldn’t have got on the plane.

There was the loud piercing wailing of the remaining engine as the plane lurched up again and shook so violently that at one point Caitlin thought the plane was going to land on its side.  Somehow the pilots managed to steady the airbus as it started to circle to prepare to land again.

Once again the plane shook as the gale force winds battered the plane like a giants fist as it did its best to send the airbus to the ground.  Like a groggy boxer on it’s last legs Matt and his co-pilots tried to steady itself as they again attempted to make another descent.
More wails broke out as the plane started to shudder that Caitlin just wished that this torture would end even if meant that her life was snuffed out.  Jed was clutching the arm rest whilst sweating as though he was in a Mickey Mouse costume in a sauna.
‘BRACE!!!!  BRACE!!!  BRACE!!!’  Screamed the automated computer as the plane shook violently as the plane made another attempt at descending.  Yet again the plane was shaking with the pilots attempting to straighten the plane.  Caitlin gulped and knew it was too late now as Matt started a sharp descent that it was as a rough as a ale house clearance at a Sunday league match.

This was it thought Caitlin as the wail of the plane with the ground starting to look more close.  Closing her eyes Caitlin tried to think about her family and hoped that she wouldn’t think of anything silly as her final thoughts.
‘BANG!   BANG!  BANG!  BANG!’
Screams broke out as Caitlin waited to feel pain or of her life being snuffed it.  However it was the sound of wheels hitting the tarmac as it raced down the runway before getting ready to taxi.  Fire engines raced towards the plane as a huge round of applause broke out for the crew.

‘Ladies and gentlemen I apologise for the rough landing but it is a bit wild out there.  Please stay in your seats and await further safety instructions.’
Caitlin could feel the colour returning to her cheeks as she smiled confidently at Jed as if to say that she hadn’t been petrified.  It did seem to take eternity but eventually they managed to herd the passengers off.  Despit their lives being in danger it still didn’t stop the wally who demanded to take their overhead bag with them when instructed to simply leave the plane.
Although Caitlin had made light of it to her family and Calam it secretly brought a warm glow that she was able to ring them and hear their voices.  No more would she moan at her Mum always telling her to eat properly or roll her eyes as Calam managed to find an obscure South American football match.  Well not for a while at least but the hugs when she eventually got home and the week after when Caitlin visited her family in Belfast was the best feeling in the world.

A bad hand

 

‘It is one thirty this Saturday afternoon on the 3rd March 1973. The headlines this lunchtime. Terry Lamont the Camden Wanderers and England International footballer has been arrested by Metropolitan Police over allegations of handling counterfeit money.’ Crackled the radio as the desk sergeant nonchalant chomped on his corn beef sandwich. He was still reeling from the shock of having to lock up one of his footballing heroes that Terry’s pleas to be let out fell on deaf ears.

‘Calm down will you,’ Chris snapped.

‘I’ve got a game to get to,’ Terry shouted.

‘Face facts your not going anywhere apart from Holloway.’

‘That’s not bleeding funny!’

‘Oi!’ Don snarled as he slapped back the grill. ‘Keep the noise down. We’ll let you know when your brief arrives.’

‘Come on you’ve charged me.’ Terry shouted. ‘At least let me go the game and I’ll come straight back after the match.’

Don laughed loudly as he slammed the grill shut but not before telling Terry that he had a match to go to.

‘I don’t need a brief!’ Terry yelled. ‘I’ve watched Z cars so I know what happens. Let’s get it out of the way.’

‘Relax Terry,’ Chris sighed. ‘The club will bail you out as they always do. Me and the rest of the lads could be facing a stretch.’

‘You don’t understand,’ Terry snapped. ‘The boss will be going off his rocker if I don’t show.’

‘I think your way past being in the shit,’ Chris said as Terry continued to kick the door. ‘So stop kicking that bleeding door because your starting to do my bloody head in.’

Terry gave it one last smack before throwing himself on the nearby bed. It wasn’t so much the trouble that he was going to be in with his boss and wife but that heavy lead feeling at being forced to miss playing football. All he wanted was to just hear that loud thud of a leather boot hitting the ball and pitting his wits against the defender. Out there on the pitch Terry was free from all the hassle of life. Nothing beat the sensation of playing football and the sense of belonging that came with being part of the team pitting their wits against the opposition. It was even better when it was worthy foes like Liverpool or Leeds to test yourself against the best.

Plus with a North London derby against Spurs was a added spice which made missing the match even more that he just wanted to scream and take out his frustration on the wall as though he had been dealt a shit hand at poker.

‘Ignore them,’ Chris said as another copper taunted Terry that Camden were getting beat by Tottenham.

‘Your brief Terry,’ the Sergeant sighed.

‘About bleeding time,’ Terry said as he jumped off his bed to be taken to one of the interview rooms.

‘First things first Terry, what have you said to the Police?’

‘I haven’t had a chance to say anything,’ Terry replied. ‘They’ve come up with some shit about me laundering Mickey Mouse money but I don’t know nothing about that.’

‘So you haven’t said anything?’

‘I haven’t had a bleeding chance,’ Terry sighed. ‘I wouldn’t mind but the Rozzer’s nicked us yesterday and banged me up without charging me until today. They only did it because that pig Don wanted me to miss the match against Spurs!’

‘Terry the Police just can’t hole you up for that long without charging you. They said that they only arrested you this morning.’

‘Bullshit,’ Terry snapped. ‘Ask Chris. They dragged us in claiming they needed to search the flat but that pig Don told me he was doing it so I couldn’t play today.’

‘Forget about missing the match,’ Rory said. ‘Let’s get down to business and just tell me the truth because if you don’t it will only mean I can’t do my job properly. What have you got to do with this counterfeit money?’

‘I swear to God and on Sarah’s life that I don’t know anything about any funny money,’ Terry cried earnestly. ‘I was at Chris’s playing cards and for once I was about to walk away with the winnings when the filth came knocking and arrested us.’

‘Only this could happen to you,’ Rory sighed.

‘Tell me about it,’ Terry nodded at the harshness of it. ‘To rub it in that Don even took my money off me.’

‘You do realise you are in serious trouble?’

‘I know the boss is going to have my balls on a plate.’ Terry said. ‘How’s Sarah?’

‘Worried out of her mind that you had been beaten up but she’s okay.’ Rory replied. ‘These charges are serious and don’t lie to me but I do know you have money problems so it’s best if you tell me now if there is any substance in this.’

‘Jesus fucking Christ!’ Terry swore. ‘Don’t be swallowing that pony from the filth. I am telling the truth Rory they only nicked me so that I couldn’t play today. If anyone should be nicked is the filth that kidnapped me.’

‘The Police say that this is a undercover operation and that your a suspect in helping launder this counterfeit money.’

‘As if!’ Terry scoffed as he folded his arms defiantly.

‘You are looking at a long jail sentence if the Police make this stick.’

‘Bloody hell Rory if your not going to believe me then what chance have I got?’ Terry snapped. ‘The only readies I handle are the real McCoy. Although I did use Monopoly notes once if that counts until the boss put a stop to it.’

‘Why would he do that?’ Rory asked regretting it instantly.

‘We were using it as chips for real money,’ Terry said as though he was explaining to a thick kid. ‘I was doing all right until I landed on Hatchet’s Mayfair.’

Rory shook his head. ‘Back to business. So you knew nothing about this money until the Police raid and they held you without charging you until later today?’

Terry nodded as though he was glad that the penny dropped.

‘Well I’m sure if that’s the case then they can’t have much of a case against you. So just take me through the timeline so that I’ve got a picture of what happened.’

It was much later after Terry had given Rory a detailed account of what had happened before Don turned up with Owen ready to question Terry and his mates.

‘Missed a great game Terry,’ Don cackled. ‘We beat your boy’s two-nil. It’s nice to say that I helped Spurs win a game.’

‘Yeah?’ Terry sneered. ‘It’s normally the ref’s that normally help them win.’

‘Still full of lip then I see.’

‘Well it is a bit fat after that punch you gave me.’

‘Terry,’ Rory warned. ‘Can we start the interview please.’

‘Certainly. How do you know Chris Marsh?’

‘He’s a mate,’ Terry replied. ‘I just popped over for a friendly game of cards. That ain’t against the law is it?’

‘What about the counterfeit money what we found on you?’

‘I didn’t have any counterfeit money apart…’

Rory quickly interjected. ‘I don’t recall of being informed that Mr Lamont had any money on his person.’

‘We know you’ve been involved in laundering this counterfeit money.’ Don smirked. ‘Chris has told us everything. How your heavily in debt and you ended up getting involved with this caper. Best to tell the truth.’

Terry’s eyeballs glared furiously as the sudden surge of rage hit him like a naked flame hitting the fuel. ‘You cheeky bastard! The truth? What about you lot kidnapping me so that I couldn’t play today? ‘

‘Terry keep calm,’ Rory said. ‘What proof have you got that Mr Lamont has any involvement with this counterfeit money?’

‘We’ve got witness statements.’

‘Jackanory!’ Terry hit back. ‘Chris ain’t a grass and I bet if there are any witness statements it will be written in crayon.’

‘Well we would like to see these witness statements DI Green,’ Rory replied. ‘I would say that Terry just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. For your sake I would drop these ludicrous charges or start providing strong evidence that Mr Lamont has got some involvement.’

Don though continued to persist although he wasn’t used to being put in his place by one of the best briefs of the country. The evidence was badly flawed that even at that point Rory was confident that they charge would be beaten as Terry was granted bail.

Feeling tired and relieved Terry stepped outside only to be confronted by the bright lights of the flashing cameras of the photographers who had been waiting outside for him.

‘Terry is it true that your part of some major firm laundering counterfeit money?’

‘Can you tell us if you’ve been charged Terry?’

‘Mr Lamont will not be answering any questions,’ Rory said as he helped bundle a hapless Terry into a car like a fugitive. ‘We will be releasing a press statement in the morning.’

‘Bloody hell,’ Terry said as the driver threw a blanket over his head to evade any pictures being taken of him. ‘Anyone would think I robbed the bank of England.’

Due to the press being camped outside of Terry’s the club had quickly arranged a safe house for their star player. By now the tiredness had engulfed Terry’s brain like a fog that he could feel himself nodding off despite the heavy aches of his bruises.

‘Best to get some shuteye,’ Rory said just before Terry left the car. ‘We’ll have a chat on Monday although it will probably be a bit later on in the week when we will have a better idea of what we are up against.’

Terry was too weary to protest his innocence and just about managed a nod. He just hoped that Sarah wasn’t going to give him a hard time.

‘Well look what the cat has just dragged in?’ Sarah shouted as soon the front door was shut.

‘Not now Sarah,’ Terry sighed. ‘I’m cheese crackered.’

‘Oh I’m so sorry,’ Sarah said mockingly with her hands on her hips. ‘You go missing and then I find out that you got nicked by the filth for handling counterfeit money. I was out of my bloody mind last night thinking that you had got duffed up.’

‘I’m sorry but it wasn’t as if the filth would let me go.’ Terry replied rubbing his head. ‘Can we talk about this tomorrow?’

‘No we can’t,’ Sarah snapped. ‘What the hell have you done now? You best not have got involved in any stupid scams.’

‘I have done nothing wrong apart from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.’ Terry hit back. ‘All I was doing was playing cards at Chris’s…’

Sarah’s eyes bulged in complete fury as Terry winced at dropping his guard. ‘You were gambling? After what you told me? You’ve got yourself into hock and got yourself involved in this caper. You soft bastard!’

‘The filth kidnapped me so that I couldn’t play in the game against Spurs.’ Terry yelled. ‘I would not get involved in anything like that.’

‘Liar!’ Sarah cried as she stormed off slamming doors before coming back with a blanket and a pillow. ‘You’re kipping on the sofa!’

Terry sighed although he was secretly relieved when he heard Sarah storming upstairs as it least it meant he could have some peace.

End of part two. Next week Terry has to face the wrath of his boss.

Full House – The Terry Lamont Story

It’s Life on Mars meets Roy of the Rovers in this 1970’s football crime caper. Terry Lamont is a true football great. An elegant midfielder with skill, vision, and pace he dodges brutal tackles on mud soaked pitches with the ease of Vaslav Nijinsky.

Like all geniuses, Terry has a flaw, namely gambling. Unfortunately Terry is not a particularly good gambler and is quickly in hock to the West London villain Harry ‘The Gent.’ To add to Terry’s woes he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time as he ends up in trouble with the law. So much so that his club Camden Wanderers want shot of him.

Can Terry get himself out of trouble with the law and convince the Camden to give him another chance? More importantly and to protect his precious knees, can Terry find the money what he owes Harry? Also will his ex manager Vincent stop hassling him to call him. Find out in this 1970’s football caper Full House.

Wrong place, wrong time

‘I’ll raise you twenty,’

‘I’m out,’ Lenny replied.

Terry could feel that hidden thrill coursing through his veins like a virus. His hand was pretty strong that he just wanted to enjoy that ecstatic hit of winning. Of course he could be wrong and Chris could have a Royal or a straight flush but Terry was sure he was bluffing. Besides the thrill of the unknown and making that calculated gamble saw Terry meet Chris and raise him another twenty.

‘Splashing the bleeding cash aren’t we?’ Chris laughed. ‘You’re luck can’t keep going.’

‘It ain’t luck mate,’ Terry smiled. ‘I just know how to play cards.’

‘Give over,’ Chris scoffed. ‘The only game you know how to play is snap.’

‘I think you should have walked away when you had the chance,’ Rod said as he raised the pair up to fifty.

By now the nerves were twitching as Rod sat there pan face like a piece of granite stone. So much so that Terry wondered if he should have took his winnings. After all Camden were playing their London rivals Spurs tomorrow.

The early Friday morning sun weakly shone through as Terry casually met the pot. He was in too deep now to just walk away and besides his hand was just too good to back out of. Terry’s mind was already working out the few hundred pounds that he could potentially walk away with.

‘Okay,’ Chris said. ‘Let’s see what you’ve got.’ As he now showed his hand to be a flush with the King, four, eight, ten, and Jack of spades.

‘Three of a kind,’ Rod grunted.

The sudden surge of his heart rising and thumping furiously made Terry feel extremely high as he held his cards excitedly.

‘What you got Terry? Two pairs?’

The slow click of the card of one Queen, then two, then three, and finally the fourth made Chris look like one of the many hapless goalkeepers that Terry had rounded and scored.

‘You jammy bastard!’ Chris sighed as Terry laughed as he scooped away his winnings. ‘That’s me out.’

‘And me,’ came the replies around the table.

Terry glanced at his watch. Maybe it was just as well as he was expected for morning training at eleven.

‘Well I’d best make tracks and get some shuteye before training.’

‘Any of that money going to make it’s way to Harry?’ Chris asked. ‘He’s been asking after you, you know.’

‘Of course it is,’ Terry said with as much sincerity as a kid promising his Mum he wouldn’t go mad spending all his pocket money in the sweet shop. ‘Although I am on a lucky streak and you do have to take advantage of it don’t you?’

BANG! BANG! BANG!

There was a look of bewilderment amongst the group which changed to one of alarm as it sounded like a battering ram was smashing the door.

‘What the fuck?’ Chris shouted as he raced over only to be knocked straight to the floor.

Panic broke out as Rod threw a punch at one of the burly men who had stormed in only to join Chris on the floor. In the meantime Terry was trying to edge his way to the back entrance to the fire escape of the kitchen only to feel a large whack at the back of his head as he saw a yellow flash.

‘Not the legs!’ Terry screamed as he curled up in a ball.

‘Get on the fucking ground,’ a large hulk of a man screamed. ‘We’re the Sweeney Todd and we haven’t had our dinner.’

‘I am on the floor,’ Terry winced as he suffered another kick to his ribs.

‘Don’t get fucking smart me with sunshine!’

‘What the fuck is this about?’ Chris asked despite being in pain.

‘I don’t know we thought we’d pop round for a cup of tea and a friendly chat,’ Don sneered. ‘It’s a fucking raid you dipstick.’

‘You can’t burst in here like this,’ Terry cried indignant. ‘We’ve got rights. This ain’t some tin pot country.’

Don paused feeling slightly amused at the cheek of who he felt were low life.

‘That’s right,’ Chris wheezed as he suffered another kick. ‘We’ve got rights.’

‘Where’s your warrant?’ Terry said as he instantly regretted his bravado.

Feeling outraged Don grabbed hold of a petrified Terry as he pinned him up against the wall.

‘What did you say you little scrot?’

‘I was only, you know, you’ve got to show us a warrant.’

‘Here’s my warrant,’ Don snarled as he thrusted a piece of paper right before Terry’s eyes. ‘Do you want me to shove it were the sun don’t shine?’

‘I’m going to put in a complaint against you,’ Terry said as he suffered another smack with his lip starting to rise like a Yorkshire pudding.

‘Are you?’ Don snapped angrily. ‘Well here’s something for you to complain about then.’

With that Don continued to kick poor old Terry like a football who cried out in pain. In the meantime the other members of the flying squad conducted a thorough search of the flat for the counterfeit money that Chris was storing.

‘Loads of Mickey Mouse money in the bedroom, Guv,’ Owen said as he came stunned to see the Camden Wanderer star player Terry Lamont being beaten up by his boss. ‘Is that Terry Lamont your jumping up and down on?’

Don paused with Terry grateful for the respite as the face suddenly registered that he had beaten up one of the most talented players that England had produced.

‘So it is,’ Don said surprised. ‘What the hell are you doing here?’

‘Visiting friends until you lot gate-crashed,’ Terry said feeling that the loud laughter meant he was out of the woods.

‘Sorry about this Terry we thought you were part of Chris’s firm,’ Owen said.

Terry tried not to look surprised as he knew it was Harry the Gent’s firm that ran this particular part of West London.

‘That’s okay,’ Terry said as he carefully fixed himself. ‘Now as much as it’s been nice meeting you all I’ve got to go. The big game tomorrow against Spurs and I need my rest before training.’

With that Terry walked with the confidence of a Hollywood movie star entering a premiere towards the front door.

‘Where do you think your going sunshine?’ Don barked incredulously at the continuing cheek of Terry Lamont.

‘Look I’ve got nothing to do with this caper and the boss will have my head on a plate if I show up late. Besides I can’t afford the fines.’

Don ignored Terry as he continued stare directly at him that he could feel himself shrivelling inside. ‘I know your playing Spurs tomorrow because I’m a big fan.’

There was a slight panic in Terry’s voice as there was still animosity over him picking Camden over Spurs or more precisely Camden prepared to pay off his gambling debts at the time.

‘Ah. Look I had no choice but to join Camden. The circumstances were purely out of my control.’

‘Relax Terry,’ Don said with the sincerity of Chopper Harris promising not to hack down the centre-forward he was marking. ‘I ain’t going to break your legs. Who do you think I am? One of your friends or something?’

‘Look,’ Terry said as he tried his best to barter his way out. ‘I know it’s a bit late in the day but I’m sure I can sort you and your mates a few tickets for the big game tomorrow.’

‘I’m a season ticket holder,’ Don replied coldly. ‘And besides which we don’t take kindly to big shots trying to bribe her Majesty’s Police force.’

‘Come off it that wasn’t a bribe,’ Terry protested.

‘Shut it and empty your pockets.’

Terry sighed loudly as he slowly pulled out the wad of cash that only a few minutes ago he had won with Don snatching the cash to inspect.

‘Now lads what do we have here?  A bundle of notes that don’t look like Mickey Mouse money.’

Upon seeing the greedy glint in Don’s eyes, Terry started to panic like a school kid being confronted by the school bully who had hold of his priceless football stickers.

‘That money ain’t mine,’  Terry said.  ‘I owe someone that money.’

‘Damn right it isn’t your dough,’ Don scoffed as he carefully put the money in his inside pocket.  ‘So kind of you to make a donation to the Police trust fund.’

The loud cackling laughter of Don’s sidekicks made Terry feel quite alone.  Hopefully they would now let him go whilst he would have to work out a way to pay Harry.

‘Can I go now?’

‘That’s right Terry,’ Chris cried.  ‘Leave your mates in the lurch!’

‘Don’t worry I’ll get you my brief to get you lot out.’

Unfortunately Terry could hear the loud whirring noise of Don’s brain working overtime as he grabbed hold of him by the arm.

‘I’ve got an idea lads,’ Don cried animatedly.  ‘Everybody knows Camden are not the same team without dear old Terry.  So let’s give Spurs a helping hand by keeping hold of Terry long enough that he won’t be able to play.’

‘Now hold on,’ Terry said appalled as he tried to break his arm free from Don’s grip.

‘Guv, we can’t keep hold of them for that long,’ Owen said.  ‘Camden will make sure Terry is released in time for the game.’

A frown broke out on Don’s face as the lines wrinkled his face like a pebble skimming a river.

‘You’re right,’ Don paused.  ‘Which is why we will throw them in the cells and officially charge them tomorrow morning then question the little toe rags later.’

‘Now hold on,’ Terry replied ‘You can’t do that.’

‘Shut up Terry, we can do whatever we like now let’s round these scrots and bung them in the cells until later.’

‘Nice one Terry,’ Chris grimaced as they were all frog marched to the waiting Police van outside.

End of part one.

Find out next week to find out what happens to Terry