Private Investigator Joe Malone, working on the disappearance of Lord Bixby, is travelling to Central London. Lady Bixby is driving. They had just left Chief Inspector Flittock at her North London home. The Chief is also concerned about the disappearance. He sniffs a grandstanding media opportunity for himself.
Lady Bixby had asked about the apparent antagonism, between the Chief and the Investigator. And so Malone had described what had occurred at the Tommy Robinson arrest and subsequent riot at Tower Hamlets.
Ch 14 – Riot
I looked to see if she was still listening. She seemed to be. Even as she swapped lanes and timed the traffic and pollution monitoring lights.
“Why don’t you tell me about it all,” she said to me.
And as we were still away off from Westminster, I thought, what the heck, why not.
And I settled back into the very comfortable passenger seat of her sporty Mercedes-Benz, and told her my tale.
“A lot of things went wrong that day,” I said, looking at the rain as it fell on her windscreen. Seconds later the wipers automatically cleared it away. But the rain came again, unperturbed..
“Lot of things,” I sighed. It was wearing just thinking about it all. I looked at the very beautiful Lady Vanessa Bixby as she drove. She looked back at me. And said “Well? Are you going to tell me, or should I put some music on?”
“Oh..I don’t know..Ermmm…maybe….How about Radio Two?”
“Ok, You win.” I said back. “I can’t abide torture. I’ll talk.” I saw her smile and switch to the outside lane again now we were clear of the pollution sensors on the 10 mph overhead dual carriageway bit. From up here it was possible to clearly see all the wind turbines that had been dumped atop every public building by The London Mayor, to try and meet his crazy zero carbon emissions target.
“It was bad day. A very poorly planned operation from the start. And every decision Willow Flittock took, made it worse. It was another Grenfell. With a bit of Hillsborough and Kings Cross thrown in for good measure.”
Still, I thought to myself, could have been even worse. Look at what happened to nothis-real-name, Robinson. Still locked up in The Tower of London, as far as anyone knew. There had been so many arrests now that everything from eating sugar and tweeting memes was a crime. A whole batch of old castles had been into use as prisons. I’d been told Yaxley was in the Tower of London. But no one knew for sure.
It was never officially revealed. Only that he was in ‘special confinement for his own safety.”
“Flittock is now a Chief Inspector?” Vanessa said to prompt me. She was a lady who liked a debate. I’d seen her on a few TV shows. She could hold her own easily. Didn’t need the BBC Special consideration for females.
“If he was really so awful a commander,” she continued,“then how could he ever have been promoted?” She looked at me again. Pleased with that one.
I looked at her squarely. Was she being dumb on purpose? She knows how this all works.
“He’s a Chief precisely because it was such a cluster-chuck,” I answered. “It was such a disaster he had to be promoted. To pretend the whole thing was a success. Like with Cressida Dick, and the electrician shot on the tube. Loads of people got promotions on the back of that one. Her, for one. The Robinson arrest was such a major foul up whole new tiers of management had to be created just to promote all the screw-ups. Flittock got Chief inspector.”
I could see she didn’t believe me. She wasn’t public sector. And she wasn’t corporate.
So she had no idea that being talentless was no real barrier to promotion.
“Flittock got made a Chief Inspector because he was so awful?”
“What did you get?” she asked a bit flippantly.
“I got hit by a metal railing. Broken arm and some fractured ribs. Damaged knee.
Four weeks injury pay. And a Line-of-duty wound badge.”
“Oh, Joe, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
“Don’t be. I had three weeks with nothing to do but lie in bed watching videos. And luckily it was only the left hand in a cast.”
She slipped into the outer lane. The ZIL lane as it was unofficially known. Only the super-elite could afford the toll fees. She asked me,
“Why did you call Willow Flittock, Gloria?”
“That’s his name. His real name. Before he changed it back to Willow.”
She frowned. Confused. Clearly not understanding. So I explained.
“Flittock needed to climb the greasy pole of promotion. He was always supremely ambitious, but with limited talent.
That is no obstacle in the Twitter Force though. But being white and male was. He could claim he was gay, but top cop homosexuals are ten a penny. Its almost more of a recommendation to be heterosexual. Almost.
He needed something to give him the leverage to move up past more qualified candidates. So he decided to become a woman.”
“Really?” She asked incredulously. As a woman, she wasn’t aware of her oestrogen privileges. “He’s a transvestite ?”
“No. He was a proper transexual. He wanted to be a woman. But not a complete woman. A man/woman. So he would be unique. Changed his name to Gloria, Started wearing dresses or dungarees. And began the hormone treatment and was preparing for surgery. The poor sap had had one boob done before the law was changed. In the brief Labour-Rainbow coalition of idiocy the law was changed so it was perfectly possible to legally become a woman just by saying “I’m Steve, and I’m female.” That’s all it took. Say you were the opposite sex, and you were. No medical or anything. Didn’t even need an official form. Just your word was enough.
So he had his breast reduced. Changed his name back, but shifted his sex from M to F on any documentation, and waltzed up the ladder of success. Painting his nails as she went.”
“I see.” She looked amazed at such thing.
I was amazed myself. Only I was amazed that I was no longer amazed at such a thing.
But since the Maydays, that sort of thing was no longer extraordinary in Semi-Brexit Britain.
She drove on and I was silent for a bit. I had had quite a bad head wound too. Left a scar, but my hair covered it. But hey, as we said in The Department, you should see the other guy. Which made myself smile a little. Then I remembered my Detective Sergeant, Rick. And the smile faded.
Vanessa asked a question. “Well Joe. That explains why you don’t like Chief Inspector Flittock. But it doesn’t explain why he doesn’t seem to like you though Joe, does it?”
There she was again with her perceptive mid. Would be a good Police interviewer. I needed to watch out for her. Or to recruit her.
“I was the one,” I said evenly, “who put the complaint in, against Flittock. For the disaster. I was the voice that said he was to blame. I refused to back down. No matter what threats or rewards, I wouldn’t budge.
So there was an Internal Tribunal and Inquest. I wouldn’t sign his official version of how two of us got separated by a raging mob. How he sent orders for our rescue that were not implemented. And how he bravely tried to use his personal command car to go looking for us.
I gave the version that he fled in panic to the arrest helicopters the moment the first bottle was thrown. That he never gave the fall back order after the much too delayed “Grab Tommy’ command.
“Oh Joe, that’s awful,” she sympathised.
“The officer I was with. The one next to me when were left out of the fall back orders, and had to hold of hundreds of rioters with nothing but our personal weapons and the Drone Police giving us support. He lost his leg. Hit by a car in the riot. He was my Detective Sergeant. We’d been together for a long time.”
She looked shocked at that. Real world nastiness.
London stabbings were so common they weren’t even newsworthy unless a couple of gangs were going at it and the double decker hearse was required.
Or a white supremacist had a hold of a pump action shotgun. But that was poor people. Mostly black or immigrant poor people. Sure, sometimes even the Elite got caught up in the general lawlessness. When David Lammy was shot in the buttocks with a .22 at a weapons amnesty, that was great times.
But limb losing violence was something the rich still imagined only happened in Afghanistan or Iraq. Or France.
“You don’t seem like the Whistle-Blowing type, Joe. To go and inform on your brother and sister officers. I’m sure that must have been hard for you,” she said soothingly.
“It wasn’t that hard. You know how to Whistle-Blow, don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow.”
I looked out of the window at the grey terraces as we came down the A406. There had been a Banksy on the wall of a Kebab shop here once. It had made the drab Alperton stretch famous for a few minutes. It was in the style of the Last Exit to Brooklyn film poster. “Last Exit to Brexit.” With the blonde with the rack holding a tiny union flag. The Banksy had been stolen a few years back. One night someone nicked the whole shop wall. But they left all the kebabs.
It was as depressing as my mood.
Flittock had got away with it, of course, but not without official reprimand for some of his planning and decisions. He even got a ‘lessons have been learned’ line on the news. That’s how bad it was for him.
Lessons have been learned is code for;
YOU Royally Screwed This Up, You Imbecilic Moron.
“I had grassed up a fellow officer,” I continued. “Got blamed for some stuff in the riot too. So for both of us the open and semi public lack of unity the inquiry brought out, meant we got sidelined in promotions for a while. He was furious with me for that.”
“And so that’s why you have that enmity between you?” She asked me softly.
“Yeah……That…” I said… Then added.. “And…that I banged his wife that time.”
She slowly turned to look at me. Her kittenish eyes widening. Quite shocked. “You slept with his wife?”
“There was no sleeping. It was all sex.”
“My goodness. Joe! Why?”
“She asked me too. And it seemed the least I could do. I met her at the Tribunal.
While Gloria was giving his evidence me and her were hitting it off. He rambles on, you might have noticed.”
“Why did she…want to….have sex with you, Joe?”
Hey!..Hang on! This was the woman who had kissed me, uninvited, just a half hour before.
“Because I’m a sexy guy. Women can’t resist me.”
She snorted a laugh. “No, Joe. Seriously. Why did you have sex with his wife?”
“Well..When I called him Flat-cock, that wasn’t just a play on words about his name.
His trans treatment made him softer than a Remain Tory MP. She was..in some need of something.”
“Ahhh..” Exclaimed Lady Bixby, with what sounded like genuine understanding.
Which reminded me I was going to have to get my assistant Dacia to do some delving into her relationships. Ski instructors and tennis club coaches were always a good start in my business. She might be ‘looking’ for Bixby the way the chief murder suspect pleads for the return of his wife from the kidnappers who have left a dodgy note in that suspect’s handwriting. She was acting too strangely to be totally without any involvement.
“We’re here,” she said. Sliding the car into one of the many freely available parking spaces. There were cycles everywhere. And scooters. And the new eco bikes that were like little kids three wheeler tricycles, that all the hipsters were adoring at the moment. But not so many AmaZrones. The Elite still drove. It was like the 1930s again for them.
This place was just far enough away from Westminster for a little privacy in the metropolis. We got out of her car and I followed her up the steps to the Reform Club.
Remain central. The EU’s unofficial embassy in London. The rich. The powerful. The academics and the clergy would all be in here. Plus the politicians of every wet stripe.
And their advisers and spinners. And the civil service of course. The real power in the land.
The Remain Club
The Heart of Darkness.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file