A Fistful of Serviettes (part two)
This is part two. If you haven’t yet, you might want to read part one otherwise it might not make sense. And Lordy, we wouldn’t want that.
I knew that my brooding had become negative and cynical; my glass was half-empty and what was left was bile. But then, pulling an all-nighter to observe an illegal rave attended by users of illicit “recreational laxatives” is enough to make anyone despair of humanity. Best not to dwell on philosophy when more immediate matters are pressing.
We were monitoring another “Blowout” – an illegal rave for users of the designer-drug of the same name. Distilled from Ecstasy, liquorice, prunes, muesli and Kendal Mint Cake, it offered the user a quick-acting dizzying high … but with predictable “anti-social” side effects. Though some users apparently enjoyed the quick weight-loss.
Users tended to be harmless and give little trouble, as long as they found a quiet warehouse with good drainage for their raves, and no-one asked why they owned so many pairs of rubber trousers and bicycle clips. No, the problems came from those who made money from it, and all the crime that followed. You’d be surprised how much organised crime in these parts revolves around selling bogpaper by the fridgeload.
Tonight’s venue was a disused warehouse in the Telford Way industrial estate. Not as rough as some of the abattoirs that I had seen used in the past, but not as swanky as one of the many private swimming pools in Millionaires’ Row either. Just a party like any other. But not tonight. Tonight, someone had spiked the “fun juice” with something extra.
We had sat in an unmarked police car parked a little way down the street, as the party had got into full, buttock-rippling flow. But soon the raucous screams of people having an illegal good-time had turned into screams of pain and anguish, too loud even to be drowned-out by the hardcore-Trance-Polka music. At least a dozen people died when their lower-intestines exploded with enough force to make it rain roofing tiles in Wellingborough and entrails in Bedford.
Though SOCO hadn’t given me the results of the tests, I already knew what they’d find. I’d been a copper long enough to know how to join the dots, given a big enough crayon and some hints. I knew that our hunt for those hijacked shipments of Diarrhea-eeze and nitroglycerine was over. The evidence was written on the walls in that warehouse. And on the ceiling. And sloshing around the floor.
My crime-scene guys were even now rounding-up any party-goers who were still in one piece, and sponging-up those that weren’t. So for the moment there was nothing more for me to do. Removing entrails from my police-issue waders (essential constabulary issue when policing Blowouts) hadn’t completely killed my appetite: I just needed a bite to eat before I went home for some shuteye … but there would be plenty of questions later.
Tonight had been a hit – I was sure of that. But it was a very ugly and public one; intended to send a message. But to whom? Tonight’s party hadn’t been an upper-class affair – we’d found no high-court judges or councillors. Tonight’s victims had been librarians, semi-retired piano teachers and people who liked Alan Titchmarsh.
We couldn’t be certain, but my gut told me who was responsible. This kind of barbaric, evil, over-the-top activity was a trademark of the Geddington Ninja Nun Assassins – a brutal yet secretive gang of nuns trained by Tibetan Monks, elite Japanese Karate Senseis, and the secretive “Black Cassock” arm of the Roman Catholic Church.
Not that I had any real evidence of their involvement; for tonight’s hit or any of the deaths we had investigated over the last few months. If it was them, they’d gotten-away clean. No entrails on them, that was for sure. Just lots of circumstantial evidence: flaky witness reports of wooden-bodied Morris Minors with tinted windows near some of the murder scenes, and victims’ wallets lightened by 10% after they died.
The involvement of the Ninja Nuns was worrying. Not that they were above murder, terrorism or extortion – these days that was their Daily Bread – but narcotics was new for them. The only medication they normally peddled in was foot-cream and Sterident tablets, and if caught with them would always claim they were for personal use. Were they moving into new markets? Or up to something else?
Then there was my other open case: the grizzly murder of Graham Tramwicket. Or to give him his stage name: Alberto the Obscene Mime Artist. Images of that crime scene would be imprinted on my mind forever. I’ll never forget the expression on that poor sap’s face – twisted into an inhuman depiction of monstrous horror. Pathology say he suffocated – someone trapped him in his own invisible box and sealed it tight. So far we had found no witnesses: no-one heard his cries for help.
The investigation had led me down some strange paths: from the seedy world of XXX-rated interpretive dance, to invisible-dog breeders, to sculptors of erotic balloon art. And as I delved further into the victim’s past – his corpse already painted a white death mask to save the funeral parlour the trouble – the few answers I had were eclipsed by so many more questions.
What was the significance of the hieroglyphics in Graham’s porridge? Why would anyone want to blow-up a Whoopee Cushion factory? What was Agnes (the one-armed village postmistress) hiding from me? And why did she behave so strangely when visited by Kettering’s infamous down-and-out clown, Hobo Bobo? One thing’s for sure – the Postmistress wasn’t saying. Even though I considered myself a pretty persuasive interviewer, there was a open crater where her backside used to be and without a working ouijaboard she was – in all kinds of ways – a Dead End.
And yet … Agnes linked the dead mime to the Blowout hit. What was an elderly village postmistress – whose chief vices seemed to be Parma Violets and slanderous gossip – doing out on a Friday night at an illegal rave? Did she have a liquorice-and-prunejuice monkey on her back too? Or was there another reason why we’d be scraping her off a warehouse roof and into Tupperware?