This is the eleventh part of a fiction serial, in 745 words.
I was coming up to my fifteenth year as a policeman, my 35th birthday, and almost ten years living at Spencer House.
I went to my mum’s house for Christmas dinner, and she told me that she had applied for retirement from John Lewis, and was going to accept Graham’s invitation to go and live with him in Canada. She had two grandchildren that she had only seen twice, on previous summer trips to Vancouver. Graham and his wife had never returned to England, as he always complained that it was too expensive for the four of them to fly over. I had never even met my niece and nephew, though mum showed me photos. Flying out to Canada didn’t interest me, as I had never really been close to my older brother anyway.
Mum also told me that she was going to give me the house to live in, so I could sell the flat and not have any mortgage. I had to explain that I preferred to stay where I was, as it was handy for work. I suggested she rent the house for now, as the income would be very useful once she was living in Canada. I could be the contact for the agent, and get workmen in for anything that needed doing. When she found out that she could get eight hundred a month, with a queue of potential renters lined up, she jumped at the idea.
I didn’t see her off at the airport. Her flight was early in the morning, and I would have had to take the day off just to wave goodbye as she walked into departures. I had dinner with her two nights before, and we said our strangely formal farewell. As I went to sleep that night, it dawned on me that I might never see her again.
Things livened up around the block that week too.
The first thing happened late one night, as an ambulance drove into the car park, lights flashing. It was rapidly followed by a police car. I was just turning off the telly after watching a film, and went onto my balcony to see what was going on. No surprise to see Edna was outside in her dressing gown and slippers, hoping to see the show close up, and I could hear Theatrical and Gloria talking on the balcony next to mine too. It was soon obvious where they had been, as ten minutes later the ambulance crew appeared with Fat Bald Bloke on a stretcher, and started to load him up. I couldn’t tell what might be wrong with him, but he had an oxygen mask on his face, and they didn’t hang about once he was on board.
The crackling of voices on police radios signalled their departure with Elvira, who was in handcuffs, and swearing loudly. A police van had arrived at the entrance to the parking area, and they frog-marched her up to it. She was struggling and swearing loudly, and I was sure she was completely drunk. But the thing that stood out the most was her short grey hair. I was completely bowled over by the discovery that her black Blowfly Bouffant had been a wig all along. The original two coppers then hung around waiting for the scene of crime team, and probably the arrival of detectives too. I went to bed.
It would be easy enough for me to check what had happened at work the next day.
I hadn’t even closed my eyes before there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find a uniformed police officer. He wanted to know if I had seen or heard anything. I went and got my warrant card, showed him that I was on the job, and assured him I had heard nothing until the ambulance showed up. Seeing I was a colleague, he told me that Elvira had hit Fat Bald Bloke with a steam iron, during a drunken argument. She had actually been ironing at the time, so as well as a head injury that the ambulance guys suspected was a fractured skull, he also had a nasty burn on one side of his face. Elvira had been remorseful, and had phoned for the police herself. Then she had kicked off, surprised at being arrested on a charge of grievous bodily harm.
He used their real names of course. Not Elvira and Fat Bald Bloke.