Sunday, 14 January 2018

Thorgam Tinpot, Blacksmith, his story as told from Valhalla through Morbid Maud -Medium-.

My name is Thorgam Tin-Pot the Blacksmith.  I was born in Norsefiord in the year 855.  My father was Peter Peace-Pot the Peaceful.  I speak to you from Valhalla -Odin’s Corpse Hall-. I am not sure how I came to be here because it is the place where Viking Warriors rest... I do remember some of the events that happened before my demise; though not all.  I am speaking through a medium lady; well she looks large to me; I joke; good joke eh?  My friend Jack Pot the Lucky says that I am as sharp as my broad sword; I am a Blacksmith; we are thought of as Magicians because we can make hard metal turn into a liquid; I made my own sword myself when I became a warrior through circumstances beyond my control. 

  My father was the Chieftain of our clan. Until my father’s death in 870 our clan were only interested in trading our wares.  I should have inherited my father’s place as leader, but my cousin -Des Pot the Tyrannical- took over; against most my people’s wishes.

The ninth century was an exciting time for us Norsemen.  Our trading areas grew and I sold my pots and other ironmongery on Markets across the Whale road, as well as making chainmail, helmets and weapons for our raiding parties.  Because I was proud of my skills as a Blacksmith I would rather trade than pillage from other people. That all changed when we were summoned to the great hall by Des Pots Brothers and Henchmen; they were also cousins of mine - you cannot choose your relatives; only your friends - they were, Hot Pot the Hothead, Stock Pot the Stocky, and the twins Crack Pot the Mad, and Toss Pot the Thick.

The meeting in the Great Hall was a heated affair and Hot Pot the Hothead and his brothers were stirring up the embers and fanning the flames of discontent.  As I approached the hall it sounded like a hornet’s nest, there was so much buzzing as the Townsfolk mumbled their discontent.  I walked through the door and stood on the threshold surveying the scene.  Sex-Pot the Bastard (a half cousin; his mother is still in the land called Mercia on the island of the Angles.) saw me first and attracted the wench in front of him by giving her a poke.  The wench turned to slap him and realised that it was only his finger that he had used.  She whispered into the next person’s ear to tell them of my presence, as word spread the room fell as silent as a deaf man’s ears as they realised that their preferred leader had entered the hall.

 Although I was only Fifteen years old I was already six foot four tall and as strong as all blacksmiths; through hammering metal since I was able to lift a hammer. however, I was not yet mature enough to lead a clan and the 30-year-old Des-Pot the Tyrannical knew that.

            When the crowd parted to let me through, Hot-Pot, fingered the hilt of his sword butt, however, Des-Pot laid his gauntleted hand on his shoulder,

‘No’, he whispered, ‘Ah, the young blacksmith!’  He bellowed and beckoned me to him,

‘Come forward Cousin, I am just telling our people my plans for a profitable future under my leadership.’

            ‘Your leadership?’  I asked.

            Hot-Pot and his brothers formed a shield wall in front of their elder brother.  Des-Pot pushed them aside and strode through the wall; all six foot seven of him; he stood in front of me with his massive girth in my chest.

            ‘Yes, MY LEADERSHIP!  And if you or anyone else in this hall wishes to challenge that, do so now; if you dare!’

            Toss-Pot began to crow and strut around like a chicken.  He came too close to me and stood on his left leg clawing at the air with his right leg like a chicken.  In a sudden outburst of rage at his insult I kicked his left leg from under him.  Hot-Pot whacked me on my arm with the flat of his broadsword and would have stuck the point in me had Des-Pot not prevented him from doing so.

            ‘No, my brother, you cannot kill our own flesh and blood.’  He turned to me, ‘You see cousin; you need me, for that is the second time I have saved your life, surely now you can swear your allegiance to me?’

            ‘Father warned me about you,’ I said, and immediately regretted it.  Stock-Pot the Stocky thumped me in the pit of my stomach, although I am muscular through my work Stock-Pot is powerful.  I could not breathe or speak for three minutes because he knocked the wind out of me.  Whilst I was gasping for breath Des-Pot said,

            ‘I know you like to trade regularly with Saxon scum across the sea and you even drink with the Pious Priests.  However, we need you to make our weapons and armour like your father Peace-Pot did, but you will not make money from it, you will go with us and take whatever you can pillage from the Saxons, instead of making cooking pots you will make helmets, instead of ploughs you will make weapons and you will make chain mail so that we will look fearsome with me in the front with golden helmet bedecked with an eagle attacking its prey...'

‘Oh, very swish!’  Fuss-Pot exclaimed sycophantically.

Des-Pot smirked proudly and carried on talking,

‘Now then, it depends on how many people follow me as to whether you will be busy or not.  If, - If you decide to follow me my people I promise you that you will return richer than your wildest dreams.  We will take what we want…’

            ‘Does that include women?’  Sex-Pot asked.

            ‘Yeah, women, slaves, children, GOLD!' He grinned, and repeated the word, 'Gold! His eyes glinted as he looked around at the villagers expecting them to show more interest, the preferred reaction was not forthcoming, heads were bowed and shoulders were hunched forwards, as no one wanted to look back into his eyes, feet shifted drawing lines in the dirt floor. 'GOLD! from the pious one’s monasteries; they even cover their book covers with goooooold!' he sighed as if in ecstasy as he emphasised the word gold even more to attract more interest. 'You Blacksmith can melt it down and make adornments for our shields, swords, boots armlets, brooches and whatever I can think of, when the enemy see us wading ashore they will be dazzled with our appearance, they will think we are gods.'

‘I hear that they have beautiful reams of cloth for the Christian Priests robes, I would just love some of that for my clothing business,’ said Fuss-Pot.

‘That’s two more followers, what about the rest of you?  There's gold over there waiting for you,’ Des-Pot knew that he was now attracting the interest of the greedy amongst the Pot Clan, and, from the animated conversation that resulted he knew that they would soon convince those who were not clever enough to make their own way in life without working hard growing crops in the baron ground around their rocky mountainous land.  

Stink-Pot the Pig Herder volunteered and even my cousin and best friend Jack-Pot decided to try his luck.  I was the only Pot who didn't swear my allegiance to the Tyrant.  When every able-bodied man in the Hall joined, I was on my own. 

‘You don’t think Des-Pot will let you keep all that gold... do you?  He’ll let you do all the fighting and take everything from you,’ I said; I immediately regretted my words again.

I saw the hilt of Des-Pots sword aiming for my forehead, lights flashed in my eyes and I lost consciousness.

                                                Chapter two.

When I came round my head ached and I was looking up at a hazy sky that swayed from side to side as though it were on an axis.  Squawking gulls circled around noisily and I realised I was lying on my back in the bottom of a boat.  I fingered my forehead gingerly and felt a bump as big as a goose egg with a slit down the middle, which the sea spray aggravated by literally rubbing –or pouring- salt in the wound.  I rubbed the wound with the back of my hand.  Jack-Pots face appeared over me. ‘Are you OK Thorgam?’ he asked.  I was too confused to answer.

I glanced over the bulwarks and saw 2 more vessels following; one of them was a longboat like the one I was on and the other was a broad beamed trading vessel, -these were the only vessels we had in our village- They were manned by other villagers whilst the one I was on was manned by my relatives and a few villagers; to make the numbers up.  We were gliding along majestically down the Fiord with the wind in the sails.  However, there was a bubbling sound emitting from the stern of our vessel; like one of your inboard motors but they hadn’t been invented yet.  I lifted my head gingerly to see what was causing the noise, something was thrashing at the stern like one of your propeller screws; but they hadn’t been invented yet either.  Des-Pots deep voice boomed out, ‘do you think that we have rid him of his stink men?’  There was a chorus from the laughing crew of,


They had thrown Stink-Pot over the side and they were keel hauling him to clean him up.

We left the Fiord with the other two ships in tow and Stink-Pot literally in tow, and sailed across the North Sea. When we approached the East coast of Mercia, Des-Pot asked for the dragon’s head to be fitted on the forward bow to show that we were not coming in peace; a ploy to strike terror in the hearts of the natives.  No one knew where the Dragons head was stored, they started blaming one another for leaving it on the key side.  The other long ship crew had already fitted theirs on, and an argument broke out on our vessel, I crawled close against the bulwarks under the rowing benches to keep away from the feet as they began to fight one another.

Hot-Pot started the argument, ‘What Thick Bastard left the Dragons head on the jetty?’

‘Don’t blame me,’ Toss-Pot the Thick retorted.

‘I wasn’t blaming you ye Cock!’

‘Don’t you call my twin a Cock; you fucking - err – You - Chicken!’  Crack-Pot said.

Hot-Pot thumped Crack-Pot between the eyes, sending him sprawling over the rowing benches.

‘No need for that!’

  Fuss-Pot yelled as Hot-Pot kicked Toss-Pot between the legs.  Hot-Pot then thumped Fuss-Pot as he stumbled towards him in the rocky boat; with his arms outstretched he attempted to hold the aggressive Hot-Pot off.

Meanwhile, Des-Pot had ordered Sex-pot, Jack-Pot and Stock-Pot to haul the irate Stink-Pot back on board the boat.  To say that Stink-Pot was in a stinking mood would not be exact as he had endured a long soak to remove the stench; but, he was annoyed.  He grabbed hold of the first body within grabbing range as though he was pulling one of his amorous Bores off a sow and threw him over the side of the boat.  The body he grabbed was that of Fuss-Pot who was waiting to dry him off with a sheepskin.  Des-Pot liked Fuss-Pot as the latter often fussed around him in his sycophantic way.  Therefore, Des-Pot ordered his brothers to attack Stink-Pot.  Everyone else had had enough of the Tyrant and his men by now so a pitched battle ensued.

Jack Pot and I took the opportunity to jump ship.  As we left the boat Fuss-Pot was clambering back on board.  The boat had drifted into shallow waters off the East Coast of Mercia.  As we waded ashore we were met by a group of well-armed men who had been watching the battle on board our boat with confusion; confused because Norsemen in Viking long boats normally swarmed ashore and attacked the locals; plus, they didn’t have a dragon fixed on the bow; a sure sign that they were coming in peace, but why were they fighting among themselves?  Not only that the two-following craft had turned away and left them to fight each other.

                                Chapter three

 I recognised one of the armed men by his elaborately decorated helmet; he was dressed in chain-mail and he was the Norse Warlord Arne Baldr. 'Greetings my Lord,' I said; I could not think of anything else to say. I fell to one knee, and Jack-Pot glanced at me for a moment with a look of puzzlement, then, when he realised that we were in the presence of a Lord he did likewise; in his haste to grovel the handle of his broadsword shot up under his armpit and caused him to shout 'Ouch!'

'Who are you?' His Lordship asked in his guttural voice, 'And what do you want here.'

'I am Thorgam Tinpot the Blacksmith son of Peter Peace-Pot the peaceful, and this is my cousin Jack-Pot the Lucky,' Then I added; With the knowledge that Lord Baldr had once been tricked by a jealous relative and sold into slavery on a trading vessel, ’We escaped from that ship out there, Des-Pot the Tyrannical took everyone in our village -including his own relatives- as slaves to row his ship;

His Lordship looked over our shoulders at the battle on board our ship and asked,

'Are the other slaves fighting their masters?'

'Y-yes,' I muttered.

'Then, why have you two deserted your comrades like women?' he asked.

Jack-Pot spoke,

'We came ashore for help Sire.'

'Tryggr the Trusty!' His Lordship yelled.

A tall man -about my height strode forward, 'My lord?' He said.

'What do you think Tryggr? Should we make a sacrifice out of this pair? If they won't fight their enemies they are no use to us.'

'Well the Black Smith may be a wizard plus he's a big lad and if the other one is as lucky as his name suggests they could be handy in a fight; how about if we send them back to that scuffle on the ship, see how they get on; if they are killed – well we won't have lost anyone of use to us.'

'We only have one sword between us,' I said in as pitiful a voice as I could muster up.

His Lordship wasn't a sympathetic man though, 'That's your problem,' he said as he Grabbed my shoulders, turned me around and prodded me in the backside with the point of his own highly polished and decorated sword; I took the hint, -not the hilt this time; I am joking again- and made my way towards the beached boat. Jack-Pot followed, as His Lordships people pressed forwards threateningly.

We wondered towards the starboard side of the boat and off the track that our feet had made; as when we left the boat from the port side we had noticed that the ground was more squelchy.

'I wonder if it gets boggier along that way,' I said to Jack-Pot, 'if it is, we may be able to goad them this way and hope that they get stuck in the mire.'

I glanced back to see if His Lordship was watching. Not only was he watching with his armed men around him, but the folk from his village had ventured out of their hiding places and were watching from among the sand dunes.

'There's no chance of us going back there the whole village has turned out to watch the fun Jack.'

'It may be fun for them, but how the hell are we going to fight everyone on the boat with one sword?' Anyway, most of them are friends and relatives.'

'Well we can't run for it; the boat has grounded now that the tides out.'

'We can't goad them through the boggy ground Thorgam, they are too busy fighting one another to notice us; what if we sneak around to the stern of the boat where Des-Pot is standing; look he's standing on the stern bellowing orders to his brothers,

'Don't kill em lads, we need em for rowing the boat,' Des-Pot yelled.

We crept around to the Port side of the boat unseen. Jack-Pot was as tall as me so his shoulders were level with the gunwales, Des-Pot had half turned towards the Starboard side to wave his sword threateningly at Crack-Pot who wanted to kill everyone on the boat; other than close relatives.

'No, you crazy bastard, don't kill them I said...' Before Des-Pot could finish his sentence Jack-Pot slashed half through his left leg with his broadsword. 

His head went back, he threw his own sword in the air and bellowed like a Bull.  Blood oozed out from the gash and through the slit in his trouser leg, spraying the deck around him. Everyone on the boat stopped tussling with one another, in shock, they stood like statues, agog. The situation had changed dramatically; no longer was it a bad-tempered fist fight - not to mention the odd boot or head butt - Jack-Pot had brought some real Viking ferocity to the occasion.  I took the opportunity to retrieve Des-Pots sword from the sand where it had stuck and quivered point down. We clambered aboard, and in doing so I stood on Des-Pots hand.

'Sorry,' I said; forgetting for a moment that I did not need to use my manners; -the manners that had been taught to me by my father Peace-Pot the Peaceful-; well, not when speaking to the oaf who had taken over my right to be a leader. I gouged my heel into his hand and steadied myself to repel Hot-Pots enraged assault across the deck, I parried his sword away from my head with Des-Pots sword and watched him sail over the side of the boat as he tripped in his mad rush and crashed down head first onto the sand below; he almost sliced his ears off with his helmet as it impacted firmly down on his skull.

No one else moved, they were rooted to the spot; all eyes were on the blood.

'Drop your weapons!' I yelled to Stock-Pot, Crack-Pot and Toss-Pot. To my surprise; and delight, they did as I ordered.

'Tie em up men,' I said to the rest of the crew, 'your rightful leader has taken charge now and Jack-Pot is my champion.'

Jack-Pot raised his eyebrows in surprise at my words and said,

'Huh? Yeah,'

   Jack-Pot tapped my shoulder and pointed out to sea. The other longboat and the trader had returned and anchored up on the edge of the deeper water.

'Why have they come back?' I asked Jack-Pot.

Jack-Pot wiped his blooded sword clean on a coiled rope, 'your guess is as good as mine,' he said, 'Perhaps they realised that they needed us.'

Des-Pots bellowing was unnerving everyone, so I ordered the men to wrap him up in the sail to muffle the sound and soak up his blood.

   Three men from our village jumped out of the longboat with the dragon on the bow and waded onto the sand to make their way towards us. When Lord Baldr saw the dragons head on the bow he assumed that they were unfriendly. When we saw him galloping across the sand on horseback with twenty other armed men we decided to leave Des-Pot and his henchmen to whatever fate His Lordship had in store for them. We legged it as fast as we could towards the safety of the two other boats that were afloat; our fellow villagers who were coming towards us turned tail and did likewise.

The oars were already thrashing at the water as we scrambled aboard. The irate Lord bawled out, 'You dare to approach my shore with threatening intent Tin-Pot the Blacksmith; son of Peter Peace-Pot; We will slaughter all of you and piss in your funeral pots!'

We rowed the ship rapidly away from the beach and on a course away from Mercia until we thought that we would be well out of reach of Lord Baldr and his men. Once we were South of Mercia we threw the anchors out and lashed both vessels together at stern and bow, we only had 15 rowing benches on our long boat; unlike the larger 30 bench -or more-ships that the Earls and Kings used when the King sent the symbolic arrow around to summon the men to war. Therefore, our long boat was somewhat crowded so we transferred the smaller members of crew to the roomy broad beamed trading vessel.

The trading vessel was packed with weaponry – mostly made by myself in my foundry- I chose a sword that I had crafted for a Sea Warrior Lord who often came to our village for arms, chain-male, helmets or anything else that I could fashion in my foundry to kit his warriors out.

Once we were kitted out we had a meeting. Some of the men wanted to go back home whilst the majority had been fired up by Des-Pots promises of riches; I decided to go with the majority rather than be thought of as a coward and have the new nickname of Thorgam the Sissy for the rest of my life.

Whilst we were talking a blanket of thick fog shrouded around our ships so we threw the anchor overboard and stayed where we were for fear of drifting off into a vast Ocean with no lands in sight; then run out of food; we would have starved before we could hunt or pillage for rations.

The Captain of the trading vessel was five foot ten tall and as broad as he was tall with a massive neck, barrel chest and arms as thick as a normal man’s legs; he was called Bjorn (for the benefit of you; Medium lady, and anyone else who doesn't know, his name means Bear in our tongue and Bjorn was like a big bear.) He was around 53-year-old so being of such a grand age -for our times- he was old fashioned in his ways. He would hardly raise his sail as he didn't think real sailors should depend on the wind to get him where he wanted to be. His Grandfather and father had always done well by rowing their craft before sails were invented; with strong men in their crew, who could fight if anyone turned on them or Vikings tried robbing them for their wares; (again medium Lady, I must explain that Vikings were fighting warriors who often turned to piracy if they spotted a trading vessel full of booty.)

He looked around with distaste at the smaller members of our crew from the longboat and brushed Fuss-Pot to one side with a back hander as the latter tried fussing around his new boss. Bjorn still wore one of those horned helmets that were old fashioned these days. And grumble? He grumbled about everything; And it didn't take long for us to see that he had a violent temper when he threw one whit over the side of the vessel for making a mooing sound at the sight of the old horned helmet; the man would have drowned had the crew of the longboat not hauled him aboard their ship.

'Keep out of my crew’s way you lot,' he ranted, 'It's as bad as ferrying a load of women and children around; what the hell are they going to do if we get into a fight Thorgam?' he asked.

I truly didn't know, but I didn't want to let them know how pessimistic I felt.

'Well, if they don't fight they will die,' I said, and Bjorn could have been reading my thoughts.

'Well if they can't fight we'll all die; we'll be outnumbered; I say we throw them all overboard now and make room for any loot we find.'


Someone said. Everyone went quiet, we couldn't see anything through the fog but we could hear oars splashing on the water through the eerie silence. We stood in silence for a time that seemed like the time a candle turns into a melted heap of wax. The splashing sound faded into the distance.

Where are we Bjorn?' I asked to take his attention away from the panic-stricken unwanted members of our expedition. Bjorn was still interested in an answer to his suggestion of jettisoning his cast-off's, then listen to me trying to put him off that subject. The captain of the longboat, Arne the Eagle; who -as it happened- had a large hooked nose like an eagle’s beak, spoke; as a true longboat Viking, he believed the more men the better to put fear into any foe; as long as the enemy had fewer men without too many seasoned warriors among them; Arne believed that his God Odin would look after him; and anyway, he was thinking of camping on a deserted beach and training the stronger and fitter men in combat. He called to me,

'When the sky cleared, I looked at the sun-board and it looks like we are heading south towards East Anglia 'Sire, he said.

 I was taken aback for a moment when he addressed me as Sire. However, I had volunteered myself as their leader in a warrior crew, so as they had accepted me I was now officially their Warlord.

'Are we close to the coast?' I asked.

'You talking to me? Or that young whelp? I've seen more sea service in my time than he will ever see before he's in Odin’s Corpse Hall; he's a seaboard raider not a seaman; the boys nothing but a Viking; doesn't care where he lands as long as there's loot there. I have to find places where I've been before and I can tell you exactly where we are. I saw a monastery that I've seen before; and I've traded there before.'

'Well where are we then?' I asked. 'East Anglia,' he said, upset that he couldn't contradict the younger Captain.

'That's what he said,' I answered frustrated. 'No, he didn't, he said we are heading south towards East Anglia; I'm saying we are already off the coast of East Anglia; I've been here before,' Bjorn answered pedantically.

Arne the Eagle looked at him with hate in his slit eyes; his thoughts were obviously homicidal.

'OK,' I said, wishing to move the subject along again, 'as soon as this fog lifts we'll camp up on the nearest beach and hunt and fish for some food as Des-Pot was so keen to get over here to pillage the first settlement we came across he didn't think of loading up with much food.'

'We don't have to hunt Sire; there will be enough food from that monastery that Bjorn mentioned,' Snorre the Unruly said.

'Ha!' Bjorn scoffed, 'youngsters; you think that you can walk into that place and do as you like? You'll find yourselves on the end of a Saxon sword and hung up in cages at the walls with crows pecking your eyes out.'

'Exactly,' I said, 'that is why I didn't want to come here in the first place, most us are traders with no experience of fighting. I have decided to separate you into two groups of half fighting men and half none fighting men. One group will be under Bjorn and the other under Arne. We will train in hand to hand fighting; warriors against traders and I will be in a group of traders as I have to learn to fight myself.'

Bjorn looked delighted and Arne relaxed his expression of hatred for the Bear.

I may not have been a fighter yet; but I was learning the art of diplomacy; which you may agree Medium Lady, that is a good attribute for a leader.

The fog lifted mid-afternoon and the sun sparkled on the calm water; it was April with a bit of a sharpness in the air. We unlashed the ropes fore and aft, lifted the anchors and headed for what looked to us like a deserted beach.

I wondered why Bjorn and Arne stood back like the gentlemen that they were not. I thought that I saw Arne give Bjorn a knowing wink and a sly smile, but I wanted them to get on with one another so much that I didn't realise that they were up to something. We found that out when we jumped over the sides of the boats first; whilst the experienced crewmen waved us forward.

I went first and my relatives and friends followed. Our chain male didn't help in our predicament as we splashed down into the thick sloppy mudflats. We sank down to our thighs.

'See you ashore men!' Bjorn yelled, 'It looks too muddy there so we'll take the boats down that channel; it is filling with water so the tide is on the turn...I would hurry if I were you before the water surrounds you.'

                         Chapter four

 Well, Medium Lady, we were in a mess; literally up to our necks in it as we floundered around in the thick black clay of the mudflats. Bjorn and Arne took their boats down a channel about 3 miles south of us. I was hoping they would run aground and have to wade through the mud themselves; or wait for the tide. However, the tide was going in rapidly and we had to move quickly before the channel overflowed and we would have to discard our shields and try to swim for the beach in full battle chain mail and helmets.

If Bjorn and Arne had not previously thought of us as suitable fighting men, then they had annoyed us so much that we were certainly capable of beating anyone now; because there wasn't anyone near enough to argue with we argued amongst ourselves. Some blamed Des-Pot for our predicament, others blamed Bjorn and Arne and some even blamed me for not being assertive enough and insisting that we returned to our own village. Stink-Pot couldn't see what all the fuss was about.

'I told them to save their energy for fighting the enemy; if there was an enemy who wanted to fight for this quagmire.

We did manage to scramble ashore as the sea lapped around our knees. As far as we knew the beach was deserted, but we couldn't see those eyes that were watching us. It was Fuss-Pot who first noticed a movement in the grass at the top of the sand dunes.

'Thorgam,' he said pointing, 'there's a movement up there; I saw movement and someone’s face paring through the grass.'

No one believed him; we thought that it was only Fuss-Pot fussing again.

Then a brace of pheasant flew up squawking and flapping their wings loudly as though they had been disturbed.

Calm down men,' I said, 'it's probably a fox.' That was wishful thinking Medium Lady!

We had our shields in front of us, forming a shield wall just in case we came under attack. An arrow zinged towards us and stuck in Fuss-Pots shield.

'Argh!' Fuss-Pot yelled. 100 armed peasants jumped up from their hiding places in the sand dunes, when they saw us blackened demons wading out of the mud without a ship in sight they crossed themselves, yelled 'ARGH!' Very loud; louder than Fuss-Pot; because there were more of them. We thought that it was a war-cry and braced ourselves in a shield wall, ready for the onslaught to come; our knuckles turned white on the straps of our shields. I closed my eyes and prayed to the gods; any gods whom I thought would save us. When I opened my eyes again there were only footprints where they had turned and scuttled off back to their village; they had all disappeared as if the gods had answered my prayers. Because they couldn't see a ship they thought that we were devils from the bottom of the sea; and they ran as though the Grimm Reaper were after them.

We walked through a gap in the sand dunes swords at the ready, but the only sign of our potential opponents was the afore mentioned footprints and a discarded longbow; probably dropped by its owner who didn't want to be associated with the weapon that fired an arrow at the devils from the deep.

We didn't have to do any pillaging around the village because the few inhabitants who had anything to save had stayed on to try appeasing us with offerings of the few objects that they hadn't buried in the hope that we would leave them in peace. The leaders offered their followers daughters and young wives -to the delight of Sex-Pot; who disappeared into a hovel with three teenage girls who liked his blond hair and handsome features, whilst everyone else inspected the trinkets and clothes with the expert eyes of traders. They didn't want everything on offer but they knew where they could find customers to buy them further down the coast in Wessex. Three Monks appeared from a large building carrying a very large wooden crucifix on a post and swinging smelly cans of smoke that I found out later was incense. They threw holy water at us and crossed themselves incessantly, chanting gibberish at us and clasping their hands together with their eyes looking up to heaven.

'Forsake your Pagan gods and return to Cythraul and your watery grave that you have risen from. Leave us Christians in peace,' The leading monk said to me. I knew now that he was from the kingdom of Cymru where the most pious of the priests come from Cythraul was their dark Grimm Reaper who the English call the Devil. Jack-Pot waved his sword at him and threatened to send him to his own grave if he didn't stop sprinkling water in his face.

'Where did you get that water from?' I asked

'From the Holy Well,' the leading monk answered.

'Where is it? we need to cleanse ourselves,' I said.

The Monks were excited, they looked astounded.

'You wish to cleanse your souls?' The leading Monk -who was called Morgan- said.

'Yes, our souls, and all our foul bodies.'

'You admit it; your souls and bodies are foul until you are blessed in our Lords Holy water?'

'Yeah, we need cleansing,' I answered irritably.

The Monks fell to their knees in holy prayer. 'Glory be to our Lord above we humbly thank you for delivering these poor demented souls to us -your servants- to cleanse their heathen bodies,' Morgan said to the heavens in a loud tuneful voice like those of his countrymen who love to sing hymns so much that they have melody in their voices.

We didn't have to bathe ourselves the Monks happily threw the water over us like servant slaves and sang their hymns. However, they had to give up on Stink-Pot as he resisted vehemently; but they were happy that they had managed to throw one pale full of water over him and make the mark of a cross in the watered-down grime on his forehead; he had that mark on his forehead until the day that it rained heavily and we threw him out of our hut because he stank the place out.

We were now welcome to stay in the village as we had been baptised; although we still thought of ourselves a pagan. I made myself busy making metal fixtures and fittings for the shipwrights among us who were building a large trading vessel for the day we would go to Wessex and trade the goods that had been given to us by the frightened villagers who were still very wary of us.  Stink-Pot wanted us to make animal pounds so that he could take some pigs with us but he was refused permission in a vote.  However, Medium lady, our happiness was to be short lived as we had to defend the village as well as ourselves against Viking Raiders. I will tell you more when you get in touch again; I am tired.

                       Chapter five

 'Thorgam! My name is Thorgam! Eh? No not Thornton, you know? Thorgam Tin-Pot... That's correct Medium Lady... Yes, I am here! I am Not anybody here I am Thorgam Tin-Pot the Blacksmith; son of Peter Peace-Pot the Peaceful here; that is why I am in Odin's Corpse Hall with all the other mighty warriors; I am not anybody here; I am a warlord! So, stop asking “Is Anybody there?”

I was telling you about my adventures. Are you ready? Right, well we were enjoying our time in Mercia until the day when one of the villagers galloped into the village on a sweat oozing horse. We didn't have saddles nor stirrups for horses in those days, so it was hard to hang on at the best of times; 'Vikings!' he yelled, 'Vikings!' He tried to hang on to the horse’s mane, but, the back and flanks of the horse were so slippery due to the sweat that he slipped off the horses back and broke his neck.

None of the other villagers bothered to help him; some didn't even notice that he had fallen off his horse they heard the word “Viking”, picked up their most valuable possessions and legged it off to the woods with spades over their shoulders.

As the man had come from the North East we guessed that the Vikings would be coming from that direction.

Morgan the Monk and his two fellow Monks – Brothers Owen and Taffy – said prayers over him and sang a dirge whilst they carried him into their small thatched church.

They came back out carrying shields, with both longsword s and short-sword’s stuck in their belt scabbards; plus, battle axes in their belts. They wore chain male over their habits and a smock vest with red dragons emblazoned on the front.

Brother Morgan was obviously practised in the art of fighting by the way he slashed his sword at a branch that was as thick as a man's wrist on a nearby elm tree. The branch was severed fully, whilst it was falling Brother Morgan slashed it in two with a deft flick of his wrist before it hit the ground.

We all gasped in amazement. To see three devout Christian Monks dressed in chain mail was surprise enough, but, to see that they were all experienced in the art of fighting was a surprise.

'You are shocked Demon?' he asked me in English; we had become used to him speaking to his fellow brothers in the strange language of Cymru. The only attention they gave us was a side glance with a sneer as if they were calling us rude names in the knowledge that we couldn't understand their language.

'Yes, we all are; why didn't you attack us when we came ashore?' I asked.

'We thought that you were demons that had risen from the sea, and that we couldn't kill you. When you were willing to have your souls cleansed and wanted to be baptised we decided to give you a chance. Before we took Holy orders, we fought for Cymru. Now we fight the heathens from over the sea who pillage, murder and rob from our monasteries. I hope that these Vikings are not friends of yours Demon?'

'No, the only Vikings we know around here are the ill-born Bog Rats who tricked us and left us to wade ashore or drown in the tide, and they sailed South not North,' I said; I didn't mention Des-Pot, but I wondered if it was him. However, there was no time to discuss all my story. We had to make ourselves ready for the expected onslaught from the expected Vikings.

Brother Morgan stared Northwards down the coast and crossed himself. I turned to look where he was looking. About 50 warriors were heading towards us, led by Lord Arne Baldr; I recognised him by his helmet and thought to myself, “At least my helmet is as good as his but I can't say as much about my fighting.”  When they were about a quarter of a mile away they formed a line. Some of the men who were closest to His Lordship stepped to one side to let someone through from the back. An old horse drawn chariot like those that were left by the old people who invaded Anglia years ago came through the gap and the driver was given a white flag of truce by another warrior and sent forward to give us a chance to have a truce.

When he came close enough for us to see his features we all recognised him. It was Des-Pot the Tyrant. When he recognised us his look of fear and apprehension changed to a scowl of hate; especially towards me and Jack-Pot.

'I've been asked to offer you a truce,' he said; to Brother Morgan; rather than speak to me, 'Now I have seen the swill dregs that you are with I'll tell Lord Baldr that you have refused to come to any agreement and you are willing to fight... Unless you agree to give those two Swine turds over to me as hostages; then I will tell his Lordship that you wish to live in peace under his protection. They are deserting rat shit who swore their allegiance to me.'  He pointed his gauntleted finger to me and Jack as he spoke the latter sentence.

'You are a lying... Your words are vomit; I am the rightful leader of Norsehaven as my birth right.' I answered.

'No matter pig face; go back to your master and tell him, I will not make any truce with you Heathen Swine's Spawn,' Brother Morgan said, and Stink-Pot winced as all the insults seemed to be aimed at his animal friends, 'Your Lord Baldr murdered my country men and Holy Brothers; peace loving people, women and children and took others as slaves; Don't you think that he sent you forward to speak to us as you are considered expendable? You will die today cripple; If I am to be a martyr then so be it, I will go to my Lord with a clean soul and meet my Brothers in heaven; but I will send more of you Heathens to Cythraul before I go to my Lord in Heaven. Tell that heathen murderer that we will fight to yours and our own deaths.'

    Had mine and Jacks freedom not depended on it I would not have agreed with his holiness. We were well out numbered. Our relatives and friends did disagree though. Fuss-Pot watched Des-Pot turn his chariot around, his face was ashen, 'Err Lord Des-Pot, I'm not in agreement with Brother Morgan; I would like a truce; I hope you will tell his Lordship Baldr.'  Des-Pot yelled back, 'you chose your friends you stay there with them and meet your doom!'  Stink-Pot turned to Brother Morgan, 'What did you say that for? It's better for them two to be taken hostage than all of us getting killed... Look there's more of them lining up we are dead men; Mark my words, I don't care how good a fighter you are. It's one thing chopping limbs off trees but them limbs over there are wielding hatchets and swords... Be gods, I'm off for a shit before I crap myself-'   'Well no one would tell the difference,' Jack said. Stink-Pot scrambled behind the nearest hut and dropped his trousers, the stink permeated around the building and wafted under our noses on the breeze at our backs. We couldn't help but move forward towards the enemy who thought that we were preparing to make the first charge.

They banged their swords on their shields and yelled insults at us whilst laughing hilariously at their own jokes; and they laughed at the twins Crack-Pot the Mad and Toss-Pot the Thick who were strutting up and down in front of their ranks doing chicken imitations, whilst Hot-Pot strode forwards waving a large spear at us and yelling something that we couldn't hear over the racket from swords and axes banging on shields and laughter from about seventy mouths.

   I fingered the shape of my Thor’s Hammer around my neck hidden beneath my clothing so that the Monks didn't know that I preferred it to the cross that I had on show.

Brother Morgan looked at me sideways, 'Now is your chance to show that you are really a warlord Thorgam Tin-Pot son of Peace-Pot.', he said, 'Hold that sword correctly it is well weighted and if you made it yourself you should know how to use it.' I had practised with every sword I made to get it right. Viking Warriors and Pirates who visited our village had often shown me how they used their swords when fighting to put over how they needed them to be made. However, I had never used a sword in anger, now I had to do it or die quickly, for I knew that without a miracle from the gods I would most likely die this day.

Medium Lady, Are you still there? Well I will be back if you promise not to ask for an anybody there. Ask for Thorgam Tin-Pot the Blacksmith.

                                    Chapter six

 Hello Medium Lady! Yes, I am here.

Well we stood still not daring to move forward any further. I spoke to my father in the hope that he would hear me. 'Dear father,' I said, Brother Morgan thought that I was talking to his father in heaven,

 'It looks like we will see one-another again sooner than either of us thought.'   I said to my own father.

 Brothers Morgan, Owen and Taffy followed my example; thinking that I was praying to the same father as they were.

They crossed their chests with their index fingers as our enemy moved towards us with flags fluttering in the strong breeze that came from inland; I thought to myself, “It is a mild breezy day to die.”

'At least the Lord above will be with us all; that is unusual with a Christian Pagan Army,' Brother Morgan said.

'We will need any available God Brother, so I hope Odin is looking favourably upon us too!' Jack yelled above the noise of sword on shield that was getting louder as the real army came nearer.

'Kill as many of them as you can men; don't die easily,' I said.

It was all this talk of dyeing that must have caused Fuss-Pot to decide that he was not interested in what we had to say. He made his own decision to run off in the opposite direction. Stink-Pot re-joined us once he had emptied his bowels and Sex-Pot the bastard fought like a, err... well, a bastard; Because he was from raiding stock; his mother knew that well, because she was the rape victim of one of those raids; hence the birth of Sex-Pot the second who was named after his father who stole him from his mother, and took him back to Norsehaven to be brought up by Mrs Sex-Pot the first; who nicknamed him 'The Bastard'.

As the enemy got closer we could make out their faces, Hot-Pot was out at the front flailing a battle axe around his hothead, followed by the mad twins - Crack-Pot and Toss-Pot – who were next in line doing their chicken imitations. There was no doubt about it, Lord Arne Baldr had obviously agreed to their request to go up front as they were expendable. As Des-Pot had lost a leg to Jack-Pots sword swipe he would have been in the way; Therefore, Lord Baldr would have been happy to have lost him when he came to us with a flag of truce as he was as expendable as his idiot brothers. However, His Lordship didn't have a use for him now so he allowed him to wait behind the lines until it was all over. Des-Pot looked forward to that, as he had it all planned; he would be able to load all his Brothers spoils into his chariot.

  I noticed that Brother Morgan repeatedly looked to his left; - inland - towards the woods where the women, children and men of the village were hiding. I wondered whether he was wishing that he had followed them. The enemy were really close now and those cousins of mine had slowed their pace a little as they didn't want to be too far in front.

They didn't have to worry about that so much, as three arrows zinged towards them from the direction of the woods. Hot-Pots war cry changed into a cry of pain as an arrow went through the hand that held his battle axe and the axe fell from his limp hand onto his helmet where it lodged blade first and therefore cutting into his head slightly; had he not been wearing the helmet he would most certainly have been mortally wounded. The twins clucking chicken noises now sounded more like one of Stink-Pots squealing swine as they rolled around on the floor with arrows in their knees. The villagers hadn't deserted us they had gone to hide their valuables and pick up their bows; as was their planned action should they ever be attacked by mortals; rather than Immortals as they thought we were when we appeared out of the marsh without a ship. His Lordships men had to halt their advance as they hid under their shields when a hailstorm of arrows showered down on them.

As soon as they were cowed under their shields Brother Morgan yelled, 'CHARGE! SPARE NOT ONE OF THE PAGAN SCUMBAGS!'

We were still outnumbered but we had them scurrying around like headless chickens. As we advanced the arrows stopped coming over and a war-cry struck up from the woods as the villagers ran out to assist in the slaughter of their enemy.

The adrenalin rushed around my body as I hacked into the face of the first warrior I met up with. He realised that the arrows were no longer thudding into his shield only to find me slashing down on him as he looked up from beneath his shield shelter; I was shocked when his face turned into a mass of blood from one swipe. I hesitated for a moment but the next one came at me wildly swinging a battle axe at my head, I instinctively ducked down and the axe went over my head whilst its owner spun with the momentum from his swinging arm not stopping at my head. Whilst he had his back to me I struck at his legs with my sword, as he went down screaming I drove my sword into his spine between the waist of his breeches and his chain-male vest. I was now defending myself against all comers; so, I was not so shocked; as it was a case of them or me. As I have said before Medium Lady, I was a big lad, and strong from my labours as a Blacksmith so I was knocking men off me like skittles and enjoying pitting my strength and youthful energy against the murdering swine. I had no sympathy medium Lady, they weren't going to kill me.

Most of our enemy were surprised; as I was that we had bowmen and so many other warriors in our ranks; I realised why Brothers Morgan Owen and Taffy had been more confident than us. They had been testing our bravery and we had passed the test; well, most of us had; some followed Fuss-Pot; but then you often have cowards in any group and this type of incident sorts them out quickly. Anyway, we certainly had the benefit of surprise.

We had not been looking towards the sea so we didn't notice four ships; Three long-ships and a trading vessel. The first we knew of their presence was when the occupants of the vessels spilled out and ran up the beach yelling their war-cry. Two of the long ship crews were not known to me, However I recognised the massive person that was Bjorn as he and Arne and their crews fought around me. They had returned with the two long-ships who's oars we had heard splashing in the fog shrouded water whilst we were tied at anchor. They belonged to a crew of fellow Norsemen who had settled in the next village down the coast, they teamed up with Bjorn and Arne as pirates in search of booty and realised that there would be rich pickings from the dead of the losing side. They recognised His Lordships colours and the eagle emblem embellished on their chests as they had been attacked in the past by Lord Baldr's men; so, they had an argument or two to settle with them. The latter realised that they were outnumbered and had nowhere to go except back the way they had come. They did the wise thing and retreated.

Medium Lady; (or Sorcerer Lady in my language as you talk to the dead) I was now a fighting warlord of the highest order, and a rich one at that. However, I had enemies now; something I would never have if I'd followed in my father’s footsteps. I did not enter Odin’s Hall during that battle but I died with my sword in my hand many years later.

We found Crack-Pot and his twin Toss-Pot quivering beneath a pile of dead warriors hoping that they would be missed. Hot-Pot was amongst the dead, his decapitated head was lying beside his body with the battle-axe still embedded in his helmet. Des-Pot managed to stay behind the lines, turn his horse drawn chariot, and retreat with Lord Baldr's scurrying army.

Crack-Pot and Toss-Pot were shackled together and placed in a cage by the peasants who threw bread to them to get them to strut in their cage like chickens and make the children laugh. The more they clucked chirped and strutted the more food they earned; though they had to scrape it up from the muddy ground inside their cage. The audience were delighted when they darted in different directions and pulled one another to the ground as their chains tightened when the food flew in in all directions.

Fuss-Pot was sent to a monastery as a slave where he enjoyed fawning around the monks; although they treated him terribly.

I met up with Des-Pot years later, but he was no tyrant. Just a miserable one legged beggar.  I don't know where he is now He certainly isn't in Valhalla, where us warriors meet in the great hall.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


 The names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent; although everyone has met someone like Cedric at some time, this story is a work of fiction. However, if by any chance, you recognise yourself in this story and you are annoyed, don't get annoyed, hang your head in shame and don't complain; as you would be better off keeping quiet.

This is the diary of Cedric -Jobs Worth- Pollock; Well, some of the words are his. However, He retired and left his diary in his locker.

 My name is Jack Star, I worked with Cedric in the Car Park Attendant and Security Department of the local Authority of Cods-Haven on the East coast of England. When I read his diary, it brought back a lot of memories; so, I have filled in the gaps,

Cedric's favourite saying was “I can't do that; It is more than my jobs worth” hence his nickname -Jobs Worth-.

Cedric's first entry,

"January 16th AM.

See Mr Edwin in his office. He seems unusually happy this morning and says he has some good news for me.

I remember this day when Rolly Poly Edwin the council car parks manager called his equally chubby; but one foot shorter- van driver Cedric into his office for a weekly report on the running of the car parks; And whatever the terrible trio were doing; that is what our manager called me and my two work mates.
 I was known as One Eyed Jack Star; I lost my eye in an accident on a trawler, my pals were Peg Leg Billy Buffam; he fell down a sewer whilst working on the Highways department, broke his leg and gangrene set in, and the third member of our trio was Red Robbie McDowell; Bad back, our shop steward. As well as being a jobsworth Cedric was of a nervous disposition, so he didn’t have enough confidence during other job interviews. But Rolly spotted this flaw in his character and as he was such a devious man he employed him as his right -hand man and used his nervy personality for his own ends.
 Mister Edwin was in a good mood that day and we were all worried as good moods for Rolly usually meant bad news for us three.
He had impressed his superiors by keeping costs down, having run the car parks on a shoestring for years. He confided to his spy,
I have interviewed two new men this week, not sick, lame, and lazy men! I have finally convinced this Namby-Pamby politically correct council that we could do with keen men; because I have kept running costs down and put car-parking fees up. We need men who are interested in this job. We can no longer employ disabled men alone, we need men who want the job; not, men who have been given the job because they are not fit enough to do anything else.
We are issuing uniforms and radios so that the public know that they are council officers, the uniforms are Lime green…’ he paused for impact, ‘Lime green? I ask you?’ He neglected to mention that he had bought the material in a job lot as the tailor had a problem selling it; the latter had bought them as a job lot in the 1960s, just as lime green draped Teddy Boy jackets with black velvet collars were going out of fashion.
When they skive off to the Bag O’Rats public house, they will stand out like witches in the Vatican! Can you imagine it? A disgruntled motorist going into the pub after he has received a ticket for not paying his parking fee, then he spots a uniformed attendant drinking in the bar? He will be straight on the blower to this office, and then we can call them up on their radios, and catch them as they leave The Bag 'O' Rats like rats leaving a ship; Good pun that, hey Pollock?'
'Yes Sir.'
If we catch them leaving the pub, we can sack them for drinking whilst at work. We will get them on a disciplinary charge; we may catch that Scottish heathen too; let us see how he talks himself out of that one.’
Yes SIR,’
Cedric answered, putting emphasis on the word sir, in the knowledge that his master enjoyed someone giving him the respect that he believed his station in life warranted. After savouring the look of appreciation on the manager’s face. The manager watched his, worried face, he knew that the jittery right-hand man wanted to add a question but daren’t, if a pin had been dropped in the silent office it would have been audible, so, Jobs Worth decided to take a chance and break the silence; in his usual ingratiating hand ringing demeanour.
‘I hope you don’t mind me saying sir, but, the only problem with the plan is that they hardly ever book anyone.’
The manager’s chubby face lit up with delight.
He said excitedly. Cedric had not seen his master so excited. The manager went on,
I have convinced the councillors that this job needs dedicated men. There are two of them, very keen men, they answered every single interview question correctly; even the one about issuing excess charges to their relatives! This pair would take their Grannies to court.’
‘Sir, Lime green?’ Cedric asked when it suddenly dawned on him that he would have to wear the uniform.
Ah, well, yes…Erm, I was coming to that. Your uniform, well yes; although, it will have chevrons on it to depict your seniority. I managed to get more money from the council to add the extra needlework; I am promoting you to inspector of car parks. You will also have a steering wheel insignia on your arm because you get extra money for having a driving licence; And, more good news! We are also taking over the security departments duties; as the Councillors have decided to make the present crew redundant due to Council cuts. They were a lazy lot anyway, we need men like our two new lads and a man of your calibre Pollock.’
The manager spoke with a look of false admiration towards his whipping boy. His expression changed quickly to one of astonishment when Cedric asked,
Will I be awarded another pay rise for the promotion sir? And then there's the security work! We will be working night shifts on Security!’
The manager had unwittingly instilled a bit of courage into him with the “man of your calibre” remark.
You sound like McDowell now Pollock… I’ve already splashed out on uniforms and extra tailoring for your tunic; This is a cost cutting exercise Both you and I know how the council are struggling to find money to run the borough… We do not want them putting the Security Department; not to mention our Car Parks out to private tender; Do we?’
Well I suppose not sir.’
Cedric answered sadly.
There you go that’s more the Pollock I know. Of course, you will be my right-hand man, my ears and eyes. Someday... ' the manager paused, for impact, his beady eyes staring into Tims eyes.. 'who knows? As you will have assisted the council to get back into the black financially, I will be in a better position to assist your claim for an increase in your salary.’
 Cedric felt better. He did have a lime green suit at home; one that Madeleine Pollock liked to see him in, she had bought it for him to wear at a relatives wedding. However, he had not worn it since, because someone said it clashed with the mother of the bride’s outfit. The news of his promotion would please Madeleine too; much preferable news than having to risk her infuriated reaction to his arriving home with the news that he had been made redundant; when he was made redundant from the fish factory because he feared the machinery. She flew into a temper and chased him out the house with a frying pan; that was after he had left the house at the same time every morning for a month to make her believe he was still in work; therefore, he was very grateful to Rolly for giving him a chance.
'Inspector of car parks, what a grand title. Chevrons too. Moreover, a steering wheel emblem’, he told Madeleine when he went home for his half hour dinner break.
 Indeed, the Car Park Manager knew how to exploit his van driver, ticket machine filler, litter picker, spy, and now Security officer; plus, whatever else he could add to his most enthusiastic employee’s job list.

January 16th PM. I am looking forward to my day today. Inspector of Car parks? Wait whilst I tell those three, they'll be green with envy.

 Cedric did tell us everything that Rolly had told him, as he couldn’t wait; we were not green with envy though, but, we were worried about the lime green uniforms. However, we found the new radio's handy and listened in to some interesting conversations. We had been given the radio’s that the redundant security men had used. The keenest of their team had been offered a place on the carparks team but declined; they would rather take redundancy and risk unemployment than run the gauntlet of irate motorists and lose their friends outside work once it was known that they were carpark attendants; especially when they heard about the lime green uniforms.
 Cedric drove along Station Road with his new radio blaring out so that passers-by could hear it.
‘Charley Papa India calling, are you receiving me Charley Papa Mike…? Err, over; Sorry sir I almost forgot the over bit.’
Charley Papa Mike receiving you…What is it this time? Over’
The exasperated Car Park Manager answered his van driver for the twentieth time that morning. Cedric had reported in on everything he saw or did. He noticed the frustration in his manager’s voice.
I am so sorry sir. Have I caught you at a busy time? Only I can’t see what you are doing over the radio… I do apologise. Over’
What do you want?’ Rolly asked irritably.
Charley Papa India to Charley Papa Mike. I have seen one of the targets heading towards the Bag O’ Rats. Shall I drive around the block and check if he goes onto the car park to check for tickets or if he passes the car park to go for a drink in the pub? Err…Over; there I go again sir; memory like a sieve, sorry almost forgot the procedure again.’
Do as you like. Use your initiative man, and do not bother me again. If you cannot remember the procedure now after all these calls, you never will… Your call sign is India Charley Papa by the way, Inspector of Car Parks? Not Car Park Inspector; And, don't you realise that everything you say on the radio is overheard by anyone else with a radio; including "THE TARGET! As you call him ; use your initiative…’
Before Rolly could sign off a disgruntled road worker cut in ‘Both of you get off the line, some people have proper jobs to do, I need to get in touch with the borough engineer!’
Rolly was not going to let anyone from the highways department speak to him like that,
Do you know who I am?’ He asked haughtily. The worker answered his question with another query,
More to the point, do you know who I am?’
No, who are you? I will report you,’ Rolly answered.
Well in that case, fuck off you moron!’ The worker retorted to a backdrop of laughter.
A female voice interrupted,
No foul language over the airways please!’
She exclaimed, furiously. The worker and his colleagues answered with cockerel imitations and shouts of, ‘Fowl! Fowl! I'm the Cock o' the North, I’ll feather your nest chick, you all right ducky?’
 Cedric had seen Peg leg Billy hobbling along the road, enjoying the early -unseasonal spring like - sunshine. Billy had seen the snitch too so he hobbled onto the car park, found a car without a ticket and loitered about hoping that the owner of the car would return and drive away, saving him the hassle of having to give him an excess charge for not paying. He hated having altercations with irate motorists who loathed having to pay car parking fees and took it out on the attendants who had to enforce the rules.
Me and Red Robbie were still laughing when Cedric started to gabble excitably over the radio.
 An unmarked police car cruised along Sea Road, driven by Detective Constable Chumney with Detective Sergeant Philpot in the front passenger seat. The Detective Sergeant saw what he thought was a scruffy looking bearded tramp dressed in dirty jeans, a woolly hat and donkey jacket peering into car windows on the council car park. The sergeant told his driver to pull up. He ran across the road, grabbed Billy’s right hand, twisted it and forced it up his back.
I haven’t ticketed your car!’
Billy squawked in pain. The sergeant had been recently transferred in from another force. He surmised that ticketing cars was a local aphorism for breaking into cars.
No but you were about to. You didn’t think that an undercover police officer would be watching you though.’ The sergeant said as he applied additional pressure to Billy’s arm.
What do you mean an undercover…’ Billy winced as the bullying sergeant applied more unnecessary pressure,
I am only doing my job. I didn't know it was a police car!’
It was now the sergeants turn to be confused. He glanced back at the car where a fee-dodging couple were furtively entering their vehicle before driving rapidly away from the car park. Whilst Billy thought to himself, “Even the police hate us; they are watching us secretly with undercover officers”.
Cedric had driven around the block. As he came back into Sea Road he saw what was happening and could not resist getting back on the radio,
India Charlie Papa to Mike Charlie Papa!’ He yelled, his hands shook with excitement and enthusiasm, he dropped the mike into the foot well of the van. The manager sighed, looked at his secretary -Miss Tidwell- who fidgeted nervously before going back to her typing.
Cedric recovered the mike but his manager had not answered. He decided to forego protocol,
Sir, sir, Peg-leg is fighting with a member of the public!’
It had the desired result,
What? Is he drunk?’
I don’t know.’
Well bloody get over there and find out!’
No swearing on the airwaves!’ The female voice retorted.
Go away woman; Is that all you do all day? Listen in to the radio for swear words. No matter how minor?’
Decent people do not like listening to bad language sir.’
Oh fu-hu-Go away! Are you there Pollock?’
A breathless Cedric ran back to his van; relieved that he didn't have to get too close to the feud; having heard his master’s voice mention his name. However, when he got back to the van he was shaking so much with excitement that every time he attempted to press the button the female voice demanded that Rolly gave his name or she would cut him off from the airwaves.
Roland Edwin, now allow me to speak to my driver.’
Roland Edwin what?’
Roland Edwin is my name, Madam; Is that what you want me to add?’
CAR PARKS!’ The manager shouted in frustration.
 By the time, he had finished arguing with the lady from control, Billy had been frogmarched to the Police car.
'Sir, sir! They have frogmarched Buffam across the car park and are bundling him into a car; they must be kidnapping him!' Cedric yelled.
The Lady in the radio control centre went quiet; as did everyone else on the airways; this was more interesting than anything else in their humdrum days’ work.
Rolly took the chance to speak to his driver,
'Don’t be stupid man,' he said, 'who in their right mind would pay a ransom for him. Maybe he has gotten himself into trouble with some of those unsavoury characters in the Bag ‘O’ Rats. See if you can find the other two, I am calling a meeting tomorrow 11am sharp at my office. It will be about the new uniforms. In addition, we will be introducing our new colleagues; With a bit of luck, we won’t see Buffam again, so, we may have gotten rid of one waster and I will be able to get another good man.'

January 17thAM

Me and the new men are getting kitted out with our new uniforms today as Mister Edwin is upset that one of his team was taken for a tramp yesterday and arrested by the police. as the Boss says, very unprofessional. I will be meeting my new colleagues too.

 Rolly sat at his desk waiting to brief his troops; - us-. His secretary (Miss Tidwell) is at her desk, waiting to take down the minutes of the meeting. We shuffle in; concerned as to the reason for the meeting. We stand in line along the office wall, opposite Rolly’s desk. Two strangers marched in and stood to attention beside us. they are dressed resplendently in lime green uniforms, with silver buttons and white plaited lanyards on their shoulders. Cedric strutted in behind them, proudly wearing his new uniform complete with the steering wheel insignia on his upper arms, thick gold lanyard on his left shoulder, and three gold chevrons covered the entire length of his sleeves; like those on the uniforms of American cavalry men in old John Wayne films. All three uniformed men had a white and lime green peeked cap tucked under their arm, with “CAR PARKS & SECURITY” written across the front. Me, Billy and Robbie eyed the two strangers up suspiciously, and we watched Cedric with amusement.
I said, 'I didn’t know the Russian Navy were in dock.'
Miss Tidwell gave an involuntarily giggle and tried to stifle it with the back of her hand. Rolly shot a disproving glance at her, and stared back at Me,
Now then Star, less of that, I have called you all in her on serious business.'
Robbie couldn’t resist saying,
'Well if you want us to be serious why bring the clowns in?'
Rolly ignored him. Miss Tidwell spluttered with another involuntary giggle. Rolly glared at her again. He turned back to us.
'Right, let us have some silence,' he said, 'First, I have a grave matter to mention. The person will know whom I am talking about, so I won’t mention any names.'
He addresses his words directly to Billy by looking straight at him,
'Fighting on the job is against the rules of the council; especially fighting with the local constabulary. If I had not told the police that a certain car park attendant was a council officer they would have locked him up and thrown away the key. This brings us to the other matter. The fore mentioned car park attendant; I use the police officer’s words, “was mistaken for a tramp”, so the officers arrested him with the suspicion that he could be stealing from cars, as you can see, I have decided to kit you all out with uniforms to avoid any future misunderstandings.’
Me, Robbie and Billy, looked at the manager, astonished.
Billy blurted out,
'Bloody! Err, sorry Miss Tidwell.'
Miss Tidwell smiled. Rolly glared at her and then he glared more furiously at Billy.
I was astonished at the gaudiness of the uniforms, No way!' I protested, 'Am I going to wear that rig-out.'
And Robbie yelled in his guttural accent,
' Me neither; You cannot make us all walk around in a bright green suit; we will be a laughing stock, if you dress us up like tin soldiers to suit your fancy!'
Rolly leant back in his leather upholstered chair with a smirk on his slug like lips, he said,
'As the shop steward and safety officer, you should be happy that the suits are that colour, if they were navy blue or black you would not be so visible to motorists when they speed around the car parks; Star learnt what it is like to receive a blow to the elbow by a car, when he didn’t see it approaching on his blind side; he had six months off work with a broken elbow; and that is another thing, we can’t afford to have men off sick whilst motorists are dodging car park fees. Another addition to your equipment, as you already know, them having been passed on to us from the redundant security department, will be radio’s, so that you can get in touch with the office at any time, for example, in the event of threats from motorists, then we can get someone to you. In addition, we are also taking over the security department’s work, as the council have decided to disband them to save money; to apply the Governments cuts. Therefore, we are now in charge of the CCTV videos...’ Robbie yelled back, 'There are such things as vis-jackets!'
Rolly was enjoying himself now, he liked to rile Robbie, '…Well you will have vis-uniforms,' he said in a sarcastic tone.
Rolly, Cedric and the two new men tittered at his quip. Miss Tidwell, Billy, Me, and Robbie didn't, we were all stunned.
Robbie stuttered and ranted until neither of us could hardly understand his rapid guttural Glaswegian burr,  'Aye your right we will stand out. The public take the piss out of us enough; you may as well put "kick my arse" on our backs. Moreover, as for radio’s, you will use them to check up on our whereabouts. And, why the hell do you need a camera in our restroom? There are such things as privacy laws; it stinks; you never did trust us; And we know who you are talking about, Brother Buffam told us that he was roughed up by two police officers who arrested him for doing his job; and it was the Chief Constable who told them to let him go because they had nothing to charge him with, you had nothing to do with it...'
Rolly  interrupted and turned to Cedric, ‘What did he say?'
'I’m not sure Sir.' Cedric answered; although he had worked out the gist of it.
Robbie ranted, '…You heard me ye wee tyrant, that grovelling midden is probably thinking its more than his jobs worth to repeat my words. If the truths known, ye probably sent those police to arrest Billy. It is more than coincidental that they attempted to arrest him the day before you bring these stupid uniforms out!'
 Rolly stretched his legs out beneath his desk sucked on his tongue, lying back leisurely in his chair, he fiddled with his pen and said, 'Well I think I have the gist of your rant now, and, I have noted your complaint; complaints, along with all the others. However, it does not matter how we try to improve the running of the car parks you will always have something to moan about. Now, to my other reason for calling you all together. I would like to introduce you to your new colleagues.'
Rolly waves both new men over to stand alongside his desk. He introduces them to their new colleagues, 'This is Cyril Albones.'
Cyril gave everyone a friendly nod.  Cedric smiled and nodded back, the rest of us grunted our hello’s. Rolly points to the other new man, 'And, this is Timothy Barstow,' Timothy nodded nervously, 'Hi guys,' he said.
Everyone; including Cedric, stared at Timothy’s head, we could not drag our gaze away from the obvious wig that was a bit skewed, having been disturbed when he took his cap off to enter Rolly’s office. Cedric managed to tear his attention away and say, 'Hum, err, hi Tim; pleased to meet you.'
Rolly broke the ensuing silence, 'Right men. You take Barstow and Albones around the car parks Pollock, and give them the benefit of your knowledge. The rest of you get out there; and let’s have some bookings; too many dodgers are getting away with it, we need to show a profit for the councillors, for our department to avoid the chop. So, get out there chaps; lets rock and roll.
Cedric and his two trainees rushed out the office with an enthusiasm to get out and rock and roll, whilst us three colleagues shuffled out without any enthusiasm at all.
When we were out in the corridor Robbie Mumbled, 'Aye, well, we will see if he makes us wear those clown suits, I’ll take it to the court of human rights if I have to. looks like he hasn't had ours made yet, maybe he is thinking of getting rid of us and replacing us with the other clowns, I've seen that Albones bloke in the Crab Pots Seamen's club; tells everyone he's ex Special Air Services, he's not even been in the army Cadets. We should have some fun with him.'

January 17th   PM.  Madeleine thinks I look sexy in my new uniform and when I wear my sunglasses too she thinks I look really cool too, I almost took more than half an hour break to be with her longer, But, that's more than my jobs worth. I have been sweating today because I have had to get out of my van and walk around the car parks to show the new guys the ropes. I am starting to get a green ring around my neck where I have sweated around the collar of my new uniform. We seem to be getting a lot of abuse today, a drunk came out of a pub and asked me what I have come as. Strange people. I can't seem to get a tune out of my head; apparently, it is sung by a group called “The Village People”; quite a catchy tune and everyone is singing it wherever we go. It is called YMCA and they make the letters with their arms. They keep trying to get me and the new lads to dance along with them. we won’t though; That's more than our jobs worth; dancing along the street in uniform. I ask you? Different if we were off duty though.

If sweating upset Cedric, what happened later really upset him. It started to rain. Me and Billy were sheltering beneath the spiral ramp of Mariner Road Multi Story Car Park.
Cedric, Cyril, and Tim were dashing around the open car parks working hard whilst we sheltered from the rain. They had to give up distributing excess charge notices by the handful as their pens would not write on their sopping wet charge books. They came towards us in haste.
Robbie watched them enter the car park from the perimeter of the ground floor where he leant on the fence railing, he shouted to them, 'What time do you call this?  You can't go in the restroom yet. Don’t forget the camera is in there!'
 I joined in on the banter, this was fun, 'No, you will have to stay out there, your better sheltered than us; you’ll not feel the rain with them hats on; it’s like standing under a large brolly,' I turned to my pals, ‘'Look at the size of them caps lads; you could land a helicopter on one of them.'
As the three uniformed attendants got closer we all noticed that they had streaks of green dye running down their faces and hands.
 We met them at the entrance to the car park; no way were we going to miss this spectacle. Cedric pushed by us, 'We have to come in because it’s too wet to write any more excess charges out; and the bloody dyes running out of this material.'
 Billy looked them up and down with a wide grin, he said, 'Yeah, you look like you’re all changing into incredible hulks; well the incredible bulk in your case Cedric.'
 Cedric pushed him roughly aside, 'Sod off! Get out of my way.' he said. We followed them closely and crowded into the small confines of the rest room; giggling like children.
Cedric picked up the telephone receiver and dialled the number of the Car Parks and Security Office.
 Sir, the dye has run out of our hats, jackets, and trousers, our underwear is ruined; and Timothy's wig is ruined; he paid a lot of money for that; err, apparently.'
We could hear Rolly's thundering answer from where we were standing; well it was crowded in such a small room, so we were almost breathing down Cedric's sopping wet shirt collar.
 Never mind his wig; what the... Stay there; and don’t let the public see you. I am on my way round,' Rolly bellowed.
Cedric washed his hands in the small sink in the corner of the restroom next to the toilet cubicle, and watched the water turn green. Billy said, 'Well Rolly's saved some money buying that stuff for the council it must be cheap, the bloody dies run out.'
 'Tell us something we don’t know,' Cedric said in a panicky voice as he scrubbed at his hands with a nail brush, 'It doesn't come off skin like it does material,' he moaned. 
'You look like you've just landed in a flying saucer,' I said to wind him up.
Billy looked at their three large hats lying on the table. 'Yeah, they have a saucer each look,' he said.
Cedric had had enough of us, 'Sod off you three, the dyes gone through and into our underwear, we will have to strip off and get as much green off as we can. You heard me on the phone to Mr Edwin. He’s not very happy and he’s on his way here. So, don’t let him catch you lot in here at this time of day.' 'Let’s go lads, they obviously need to be alone in their underwear.' I said.
 We headed for the Bag 'O' Rats pub in the knowledge that they would be too busy to follow us. As we passed the vehicle entry to the multi-story an elderly lady called to us from within the car park.
'Coo-ee-yoo-hoo! Have either of you chaps got any change for the ticket machine?' she asked. She scurried out of the car park. opened her umbrella, and joined us on the footpath.
 I was about to put my hand in my pocket to see if I had any change, Robbie waved his hand to tell me not to bother and winked mischievously, 'No,' he said, 'we don’t have any change hen. But, if ye go to the car park rest room down there, you’ll find a group of car park attendants they will have change. Just walk in they won’t mind, they are very friendly.' He pointed the way and the lady thanked us and scurried to the attendant’s rest room.
 We ran along the wet street, the clouds parted, the hazy winter sunshine came out and we laughed as we headed towards the warm dry bar of the Bag ‘O’ Rats.
The lady arrived at the restroom and tapped on the door to be polite, then she walked into the rest room as Robbie had told her to do.
'Just a moment madam!' Cedric shouted in panic, too late, the elderly lady screamed at the sight of three men in their underwear with green paint daubed all over their bodies. she whacked Tim on the head with her brolly, as he was closest to her. when the tip of her brolly hooked his wig from his head, she screamed louder. Just as Rolly walked in, he saw what was happening, and retreated out the door without the lady seeing him.
'You dirty devils, I’ll report you to the council; using their premises for… ' she paused searching her mind for the appropriate words, ' orgy. You are old enough to know better, what if someone’s children walked in here?'
'Hold on madam, it is not what it looks like we have had an accident.' Cedric proclaimed.
'A likely story. I’m going to the Town Hall to report you to the authorities.'
Rolly re-entered the restroom; the lady had ceased hitting Tim on the head; but she was waving her brolly around threateningly with his wig impaled on the tip.
Rolly asked, 'Is there a problem Madam?'
The feisty old lady turned to Rolly flustered and surprised at the question, 'A problem? I’ll say there’s a problem; Who are you? Have you come to join the party? '
'What party?' Rolly asked.
The old lady looked Rolly up and down with a look of distaste,
'What party? You know perfectly well what party, I had a cousin who was gay and he looked like you, fat, deep-set brown eyes and all shiny faced with moisturising cream.'
Rolly flushed red; not so much with embarrassment, more with temper,
'You stupid woman! I am the car park manager madam!' He yelled.
The old lady turned on Rolly as Rolly backed out through the restroom door, he tried to ward off the blows from the lady’s umbrella; that still had Tim's wig on the tip. Cedric Cyril and Tim came to their manager’s aid dressed in their underwear, but they didn’t know where to put their hands; especially under the circumstances; in any event, they were no match for the irate old lady and her umbrella.
An unmarked police car; yes, the same one, cruised around the corner and pulled up at the kerbside opposite the multi-storey car park,
 'What's going on there?' Detective Sergeant Philpot asked Detective Constable Chumney.
 'I don’t know Sarge, it looks like an old woman attacking a man with a dead rat impaled on a brolly; shall we call uniform in?’
The Sergeant was still smarting from a rollicking from his superiors after the arrest of Billy, so he decided to keep out of it and agree to call the uniform branch in with the excuse that there were only two of them and they didn't fancy tackling what looked like a full-scale riot.  He answered,
 'Yeah, I’m not getting involved in the goings on around car parks any more. Call uniform,' he said.
It wasn't long before a riot van pulled up outside the multi-story car park. Six police officers wearing full riot gear leapt out of the van and arrested Rolly, Cedric, Cyril and Tim. They left the old lady on the footpath, so DC Chumney took a statement from her. When she finished her statement, he said,
'It seems like you have walked in on a gay sex video madam. you only have to ask, why do they have a camera in such a small room? You see all sorts in this job madam; when some people get access to a camera; any camera, they get up to all sorts. We will check the CCTV tapes. Are you willing to go to court as a witness?’
'I certainly am willing, you try and stop me officer,' the old lady said with a shudder of distaste, 'they should be locked away for life. I am still shaking with shock.'

January 18th Am

It is 8 o'clock in the morning, this may be a bit scribbled as I am still shaking, having just been let out of the police station, along with Mr Edwin and one of my new colleagues; I have to go to work in my own civilian clothing because my uniform is in a plastic bag in the evidence room of the police station and me and Cyril had to walk home all cut and bruised around the face and head and dressed in white paper overalls; Mr Edwin refused to let us ride in the Council Solicitors car. We are being charged with committing an indecent act in a public place. Madeleine won't talk to me because she believes that there is no smoke without fire especially as Timothy Barstow is still in there because the Council Solicitor couldn't get him bail on account that he is helping the police with their enquiries about a bewigged transvestite approaching young men in the public toilets in Citizens Park. We have a meeting at 10 AM, after I have been to the Doctors.

When Cedric stood in front of Rolly that morning he was lathered in thick creamy substance. Rolly asked him if the rash has cleared on his skin.
'How’s your skin Pollock?  Have you cured the rash yet?'
'Well I've only just started using the ointment, it is early days yet sir. I am trying this cream out; Robbie McDowell said that the union will fight my case if I don’t get rid of it; it stings when I rub it near the cuts from that woman’s brolly point; so, I can sue her too for actual bodily harm as well as the council for my suffering as; he says, it is the councils fault.'
Rolly got angry,
'Now you look here Pollock, you can’t blame the council for that, I bought that material in good faith; McDowell will lose your job for you; And then who else do you think is going to employ an obese slug, who is oozing slime? Not to mention a criminal sex offence on his record. I am bruised and battered too; and my feelings are hurt also, after all I have done for you.’
Cedric shook nervously, ‘It’s not my fault sir,' he squawked shrilly, 'the dye from that material gave me a rash and I was only trying to get it off when that old bag rushed into our office without waiting to be invited in.'
 He turned into a gibbering wreck and tears rolled down his podgy cheeks when Rolly said, 'Well we are not forced to send the Council Solicitor to defend you if you are suing us and the court may assume that you have caught some sort of a disease patrolling the public toilets with that Timothy Barstow character... Stop blubbering man, you must have some sort of an allergy; the other two haven’t had a rash. Keep rubbing the cream in. Our legal team will prove you innocent; that is providing you don't take McDowell's advice and sue the Council. Did the doctor say that it’s permanent?’ ‘No sir, only if I come into contact with the chemicals found in that-that dye. It was embarrassing sir; I did as you told me and didn't mention the uniform. He thought that I had smeared my body with the stuff on purpose; he said that I should act my age and he had more to do than treat idiots with self-inflicted skin problems.’
'Ah! Well done Pollock, we don’t want it getting around the town; no more than you would like these false accusations to get around Town. I wasn't charged with anything myself as they believed the solicitor when he told them that I came across the scene accidentally whilst visiting the car park during my duties. I would sue that bloody tailor but he has retired to some Caribbean Island. However; I only asked you how you were; I asked you about your doctor’s medical opinion, not his private opinions about you; he must know you well. Err, can’t you rub that goo in a bit more? You look disgusting.'
'I’ll try sir. However, I have to refute your insinuation that my doctor knows me sir; I hardly go to the doctors; and I'm not a pervert!…'
Rolly pulled a face and cut into his sentence, changing the subject, he said, 'Right, I have acquired some other uniforms from the security department, but they are in for repairs and alterations as there were some big guys on security. So, in the meantime, you will have to distribute these vis-jackets to the men and tell them that I want them all in Sea Road car parks rest room at 1300hrs sharp. I have some valuable information to share with them,'

Talking of perverts, Timothy was under suspicion of being exactly that, and D.S. Philpot and D.C. Chumney were pulling all the stops out to prove that he was. Timothy used his one allowed phone call from the police station to ask Rolly if the Council Legal Team would represent him. This is what happened in the interrogation; Interview room, at the Police Station.
 Detective Sergeant Philpot looked up from the pile of unsolved crimes, having found the one he was looking for. Tim fidgeted uneasily, confused by the silent approach.Weren’t you bald headed when me and Constable Chumney saw you fighting with that old lady? The sergeant asked.
‘well, I am receding a little' The Sergeant Glowered at Tim’s wig, his good cop associate gave him a sympathetic smile. The Sergeant asked,Is that a female’s wig? The Elderly lady said that she was disgusted that she had walked into a gay orgy. She acted in shock.’ Tim felt his face reddening. He tried the friendly approach, ‘Well, yes officer, But I have cut it into a style myself. It looked better before the old lady stuck the point of her brolly in it and threw it in the dirt outside the restroom. We were not in a gay orgy we were drying our clothes out on the radiator as the rain had washed the dye into our skins; as you know, we live in a more understanding country now, it is not a crime to be homosexual.' Tim said.
Good cop Chumney came to his defence.
Yes, I can see that your toupee has been ragged a bit.  Was it expensive?
Ragged a bit? It looks like a dog chewed it; and he's dyed it lime green,’The bad cop Sergeant answered in sham disbelief and disgust. The constable feigned embarrassment. 
Well I’m only trying to put the fellow at ease; just to let him know we are not as bad as we are painted; After all he can’t help his little problem,’ he said, in his friendly good cop manner.
Painted? well he's been badly painted in more ways than one. Modern dye doesn't run like that! Right then,’ The sergeant said impatiently, ‘you do admit to wearing a lady’s wig, it has been shaped by yourself; which if I am correct is a feminine thing to do; and we can see that it has had a lime green rinse in the manner that modern women have theirs done at the hairdressers...’He paused to savour Tim’s squirming embarrassment. As soon as Tim opened his mouth to speak, the sergeant carried on, ‘...Do you use those same scissors to make your own dresses?’ Timothy gasped in surprise at such a question. He glanced sideways at the constable; looking for some sort of backup. The constable pursed his lips and winked understandingly, Don’t be embarrassed Timothy; lots of men like to find their feminine side, and as you rightly point out it isn't against the law to be gay; I know many gays.’ The constable  the constable lied, but said it all in the hope that Tim would admit that he wore female clothing as well as a wig.
You speak for yourself officer,’
Tim exclaimed; he had had enough of their innuendo. 
What do you mean by that? Are you accusing Constable Dunks of being one of your lot?’
My lot, what do you mean by that?’
He-She’s,’ the homophobic Sergeant shrieked in temper, as he leant across the table in a threatening manner.
He-She’s?’ Tim asked as he leant back swinging his chair onto its back legs, to keep out of range of the Sergeants spittle emitting face.
Detective Constable Chumney came to his defence again, Your frightening him Sergeant; can’t you see he’s just a sensitive little man- a bit kinky, yes; but aren’t all his sort sensitive? Look Tim if you admit to your little foible it will not even get into the press; they will refer you to a Psychiatrist and admit you to a mental hospital; for less time than you would be in prison; If you knew what sex case prisoners go through in prison, you will take my advice,’
I have no foibles of that kind officer. I merely wear a wig to keep my head warm as I am receding a little; It is just the same as wearing a hat’
The constable picked up a couple of statements from the unsolved files, as he read two of them he said,
Would that be a wide brimmed hat, a red flowered one, or a pretty blue number, with a white bow? Err; as they are described in these people’s statements,’ The constable asked.
The sergeant interrupted, after he had worked up enough of a rage to frighten Tim into admitting his guilt; because he realised the Constables softly, softly, tactic was not working.
Sensitive? I’ll give him sensitive, What about those people in Citizens Park? Doesn’t their sensitivity come into it? We have witnesses willing to swear that a man answering to your description pranced around Citizens Park wearing women’s clothing, garish make-up and a woman’s wig, scaring women and children, propositioning young men. If you do not come clean now, I will make sure that you will receive a very long sentence, and, I will make sure that my newspaper friends put all the sordid details of your perverted acts in the Cods Haven Evening Tattle. You will never be able to show your face around this town again! What's more, there is a respectable lady waiting to take the witness  stand and swear that you and your work colleagues were taking part in a gay orgy on Council PUBLIC PROPERTY! ’ He bellowed.
That is preposterous,’ Tim exclaimed; when he managed to get a word in.
What IS preposterous, is what you have been doing since last July; Isn’t it? So why do you do it?’ The sergeant asked, a little quieter as though he had given in to the fact that he couldn't make Tim see the error of his ways.
 I wasn’t in Codshaven then, I was…’ Tim started to say, but the Sergeant interrupted him again. He stood up with his hands on the table, having worked himself up into another rage; he leant his long body further forward, knowing that he would be within Tim’s comfort zone. His spittle glistened on his moustache and sprinkled into Tim’s blinking eyes. Tim leant back further; too far, he fell back onto the floor, his teeth slid to the back of his throat and he started to choke. Sergeant Philpot and Constable Chumney thought that he was having a heart attack; they ran around the table in panic. They rolled him onto his side. Tim was turning blue around the lips and eyes, he coughed and his teeth flew out. He staggered to his feet and replaced his teeth, to the relief of the two officers.
 Once they had all sat back around the table, and before Tim had recovered fully, Sergeant Philpot continued with the assassination on Tim’s character.
 False wig’s, false teeth; false tits in Citizens Park?’ He asked. His loud voice rang in Timothy's ears and brought his recovery forward, I have a right to remain silent; I know my rights,’he muttered in despair.

January 18th P.M.

 I am not looking forward to this meeting. The terrible trio will be on form. They have been wolf whistling me all day and they have obviously told all the other workers on the Council. Miss Tidwell is giving me a few side glances and keeps giggling into her hands.

 Unlike Cedric, Me Robbie and Billy were looking forward to the meeting; we were relieved that we won't be wearing those stupid uniforms for one thing. Rolly stood glowering at us. He was standing in his usual place with his back to the restroom window as he warmed himself on the radiator. All us five car park attendants packed ourselves into the small room, standing around the walls and sitting on the restroom table.
Rolly Watched us with a face like thunder,  waiting for someone to have the audacity to even smirk, until we had all manoeuvred ourselves into our positions. We were happier than last time he called us all to a meeting and he didn't like us to be happy; so we hid our amusement as much as possible. Once we were all in and giving him our full attention he began,
 'I have an important statement to make men…'
 Robbie cut in, 'You are compensating Brother Pollock for ye poisoning his body?'
'...Be quiet a moment McDowell! As you know, this Country is under threat from terrorists and as we are now responsible for security we are in the front line…'
 I cut in, 'Don’t tell us, you’re kitting us out with army surplus uniforms? We'd make a good Dads Army.'
 ‘...Pollock, if anyone else interrupts, take their name and I’ll give them a written warning; and make a note that McDowell and Star have already had a verbal warning…'
Billy cuts in. 'That’s not fair, I haven’t had a verbal warning yet, so, if I interrupt you, you can’t give me a written warning.'
 '...Add Buffam’s name to the list Pollock, now then, as we are now responsible for a twenty-four-hour security service, we will have to do a shift rota...'
  Robbie interrupts again, 'As the Union Rep, I have a right to question ye on the assumption that ye can change our times of working without consulting my members first.'
Rolly glanced up to the ceiling and tutted, 'I have already told you that we are taking over the duties of the security department to save your jobs, and as one of the security duties consist of guarding all Bogrims Marsh council buildings when the office-staff aren’t there we have to be there during the night. Burglars do not break in buildings whilst people are working inside them; they come at the dead of night; and now that we have the added threat of terrorism we must be on our toes at all hours. I want three volunteers for tonight; you will be paid a day’s work for today although you will be going home after this meeting so that they can rest up ready for tonight...’
Robbie put his hand in the air for permission to speak. Rolly nodded his permission with some trepidation. 'Me, Jack and Billy will do the first night; Billy and Jack are used to working long hours doing 24 hours watch on the trawlers; before that hook hit Jack on the head and knocked his eye out, and Billy came ashore because the Icelandic’s ran them out of the fishing grounds…’
Rolly sneered and said, 'And Buffam still smells of fish…'
Cedric laughed and Cyril tittered. It was Robbie's turn to glower now,
 'Don’t ye take the pish out of the trawler men, ye not fit to tie their boots they are hard working men on the most dangerous job in the world; open to dangerous severe weather conditions in freezing waters…’
Rolly Knew that Robbie was talking the truth but he wasn't going to admit that he was wrong, he interrupted Robbie's rant, 'Well I've never seen them work hard; you can never find them when you need them.'
Neither Cedric, or Cyril laughed this time; they put their heads down as they could see that Robbie was angry.
 'Aye because ye don’t pay them enough to get involved with irate motorist; and another thing I served for twenty-two years in the Black Watch so you can’t tell me about guarding buildings day and night against terrorist. And what would any self-respecting terrorist want to attack Cods Haven Council for?'
'Well if you were in the forces you will have heard of soft targets then, and our Council could be a soft target if we are not on our guard.'
Billy said, 'Well we’ll have to watch ourselves then. We are the bloody soft sods doing this job, if ever I knew any.
Rolly didn't have an answer except to say, I will make the roster up; I don’t want you 3 working together; you’ll spend your entire shift in the Bag ‘O’ Rats.  I have decided to put Buffam with Albones together...' he was interrupted when the restroom door opened and Tim sidled in nervously. 'What are you doing here?' I asked, 'Have you escaped?'
'They let me go without any charge and I think I know why.'
 'The Council legal team will have got you out on bail, but you are suspended until you go to court and then you will be sacked.' Rolly said.
 'It had nothing to do with the Council They dropped all charges because I think they have caught the culprit,' he had caught everyone's attention, this we wanted to hear, 'As I left the Interview Room a person who I recognised as the Councillor for the Dock Area Constituency tottered by me in stiletto heels a blond wig, blue dress and garish make up on his face. He was escorted by a young baby faced chap who must be an undercover cop; they probably used him as a decoy to catch him; So, there you are Mr Edwin; innocent until proven guilty.'
 That would be Mr Pratt-Smyth he's a pillar of society; He's a High Master at my club.'
  'Aye that'll be why he has not been caught man; friends in high places.'
  'And a friend of yours boss?'  I said. 


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