The Police come calling
Saturday morning seemed cold. There was no sun to add warmth; it lay deep behind heavy clouds. I drink a second cup of tea from the teapot. I turn the news on. I hear the clock chime 9a.m. Fuel tax to be decreased by 2 pence. A start in the right direction I think. The telephone rings. I turned off the radio and lift the receiver.
‘Mr Danny Robertson?’ a female voice asks.
‘Yes, Danny here. Who’s calling?’
‘ My name is Elizabeth, I am the Chief Constable’s
secretary. The Chief was wondering if you were busy this morning. Could you be available at 11am for coffee? Of course, a car will collect you’.
‘Sounds more social than business.’
‘I am not privy to the Chief’s agenda but it seems
social to me too.’
‘Then 11 a.m. Your boys to pick me up eh?... Confirmed. I’ll
I sit down again. Drink some more tea. I wonder why the Chief wants to see me. Could I be charged with wasting police time last night? The thought unsettles him.
I tidy the breakfast dishes, wash them and go upstairs for a shower. I had better make myself smart. I feel for my best shirt, get out the suit for special occasions and search for my shoes. I take them downstairs and get out the shoe brushes. I feel for the right brush, the correct tin and apply the wax with relish. Huh, I guess you are wondering which is black and which is tan? Tan has a scored cross on the lid. Black is smooth. I scrub vigorously conscious of the lack of exercise I take. I love cleaning my shoes. But I should have done this before my shower, I thought.
After a shave and splash of Tommy, I dress and sit down to await my chauffeur. But first I dial up Mark.
‘Hi Mark, don’t call round today as usual. I’ve got a date!’
‘Yea, yea,’ he says, ‘and she’s a beaut…of course she is!’
‘No, no, it’s the Chief Constable. He’s sending a car round
at 11am. Morning coffee I suspect. It’s his agenda of course. Blind men don’t rob banks or drive too fast I hear. I’ve a free conscience. I think. Anyway, what time is it?
‘Five to eleven.’
’Well the car will be here soon. See you tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about it then. Cheers. Bye.’
No sooner is the hand set replaced when I hear a car pull up. I open the door.
‘Good Morning Danny. Chief Constable Bill Harrison here. ‘
‘Good morning Chief. This is a surprise.’
‘A pleasant one for me Danny. Were going to a quiet
hotel, morning coffee and if we are still chatting, time for some lunch. How does that sound?’
‘Sounds a great deal to me! Are you in uniform?’
‘Saturday morning, Danny. No, just a lounge suit. Disappointed?
‘No, relieved. The neighbours might have wondered if you
collected me in uniform!’
‘You get on with your neighbours?’
‘Most of them.’
‘Any hassle from any?’
‘No. I guess they want me to come to no harm. They keep
their distance but after Dad died and Mum was placed in a home, they have been quite chatty. I’ve known them for a long time’.
The Chief leads Danny to his bottle blue saloon. He sits him in the back seat and enters the back seat from the other side. The driver smoothly leaves the kerb.
‘A Jaguar is it?’
‘Indeed it is. How did you know?’
‘Oh just one of my skills.’
‘How do you mean?’
‘I paint pictures in my mind of what I hear. I feel the leather seat, smell the fresh scent of a new car and hear the purr of the engine. It speaks to me.’
‘Quite a skill.’
‘It’s just how I see life.’
‘Actually, you are progressing my agenda. I am very aware that you have better powers of memory and perception than most of us.’
The car arrives at Mabie Forest Hotel on the outskirts of Dumfries and sweeps in front of the main hotel reception door. The driver gets out and opens Danny’s door. The Chief and Danny proceed inside to the warmth of a roaring fireplace leaving behind the seagull grey sky of an early October morning. The Chief is clearly a regular visitor with his guests and is made welcome. They pass by the bay window and proceed to where an alcove has been prepared.
‘Can I place a biscuit on your plate?’
‘Chocolate, dark or milk or a plain one?’
‘Dark chocolate please. They say it’s better for you if you must eat chocolate!’
The Coffee arrives and is poured into coffee cups.
‘Just one sugar please’ asks Danny.
The Chief obliges.
‘Danny, you play that clarinet of yours well. You’re a gifted musician.’
‘Thanks. Do you play any music?’
‘I can play a few tunes on the piano but practice is what’s needed.’
‘I guess I have more time to play than you, then’.
‘So you’ve heard me play?’
‘Yes at the Cairndale Hotel, at the wedding of my Assistant
Deputy Chief’s daughter.’
‘Ah yes, Gail Donahue’s wedding. That was a good night.’
‘It was indeed Danny, you played very nicely. But it’s not music I wish to discuss with you this morning. I thought I’d ask you about helping the Police.’
‘You mean bump up your disabled stats!’
The Chief laughs.
‘Well I don’t deny it would help my political masters, but that was not my sole intention.’
‘Whatever can you mean then?’
‘Creative policing, I think we’d call it. What I had in mind is sharing some tapes for you to hear. All convicted criminals in fact but many of them are back on our streets. Danny, I was impressed with you coming forward about what you heard the other night. We know Cody and we know what he’s up to. My men are on to him. You hear different accents clearly and recall names. You could be the ears of the Force perhaps.’
‘ Hmmm…….and what would that involve?’