The Blues No.1 Somebody got murdered/ Somebody's dead forever 'The time is six-oh-two a.m. Volunteers in Zone A are to report to the Guildhall Assembly Point by 0630 hours. Volunteers in Zone B are to report to - ' 'Good morning', yawns the Detective into an empty room. '- and will be liable for prosecution. And now a news bulletin. Hampshire Police have confirmed that the foreign warship that arrived off Portsmouth yesterday morning belongs to a friendly power. No more information is available at this time. His Majesty King George is set to deliver a speech this - ' The Detective has to heave his way out from underneath his three heavy quilts; his flat, of course, has no central heating; he stands up wearing two vests and a pair of thermals. He catches a glimpse of himself in the grimy mirror; his three-day stubble growth stands as scruffy testament to the razor-blade shortage. 'Good grief.' He rolls his eyes as he rubs his face. A splash of cold water later, he is slightly more lucid. It's just light enough these mornings that he needn't waste a candle getting ready. He gets rid of his thermals and throws them on the bulky bed. His shirt first; baby blue and white pinstripes with a white collar; a real nightmare to keep clean these days; next, his trousers and belt, tucking himself in. A red tie; around the tracks and through the tunnel - '- now have fifteen minutes to report to their stations. The weather today is good, and fallout is white over the city with light pockets of grey to dark grey remaining in the following areas - ' A suit jacket, an overcoat and some leather gloves; Spring is coming very late and it feels more like February than April. He's forgetting something - he stands and looks around the room. Ah, of course. Unhappily, he picks up the pistol from his bedside table and hides it away in his coat. Horrible things. '- will now go off the air. Turn off your radio now in order to conserve batteries. The next broadcast will be at 0900 hours. Turn off your radio now in order to-' Click - 'Your wish is my command', intones the Detective with a little bow to his portable radio. Right. Let's go to work. The Detective locks the door of his flat - not that there's anything worth stealing in there, he sighs - and heads down the stairwell towards the block's exit. He smiles apologetically at the beggars that line the corridors and pulls out the lining of his pockets - 'Still nothing, sorry!'. As he pushes open the doors he sticks his hands into his pockets and braces himself. There's a light mist outside that gives one the feeling of walking through powdered glass. For a couple of seconds, the Detective contemplates waiting for the bus; If he's lucky, he might even get to ride on the inside. 'Nah', he thinks, 'I need to get there today'. It's a fairly straightforward 25 minute walk to the local headquarters, but he feels quietly vindicated as not one single bus trundles past him. In fact, apart from a couple of army vehicles and one official-looking saloon (doubtless headed up to Charlie in the compound), the streets were completely devoid of motorised transport. When he reaches the armed guard at the entrance, he smiles at him and moves to walk past. As always, the rifle is levelled at him. 'Now darling, must we do this every day?' - he takes out his wallet and his identification - 'It's still me, fabulous as ever!' - he grins and holds the photograph up next to his own face. The guard scowls and lowers his weapon. 'Same time tomorrow!' shouts the Detective over his shoulder as he jogs up the steps'. * The Detective steps into his office to find that it's already stale with cigarette smoke. The Deputy is already lying back in his chair, chewing a cigarette and reading a comic. 'Have we not read that one?' asks the Detective as he hangs up his coat. The Deputy simply shoots him a look that shows how pointless a question it was. 'Are you up to the part where he lifts a whole cow up over his head? It truly is a triumph of literature!' The Deputy throws the comic on his desk and smiles sarcastically - 'fuck off you big poof. Anyway, I'm surprised you bothered coming in at all today; you do know that our shift starts at six, don't you?' The Detective poses in mock-horror - 'Moi? Late? Gosh, what is the world coming to?'- he sits down and takes a cigarette from the Deputy - 'so what's new?' 'Well you owe me five pounds, for a start. That ship? South African.' 'Bollocks.' 'Yours was a nice guess though; still, the Swiss Navy must have been lost at sea, because there's no sign of them so far. Dickhead.' Without looking up from his notes, the Detective raises his middle finger at the Deputy. 'Climb it, Tarzan.' 'I hope I'm not interrupting anything important, gentlemen'. The Chief Inspector, looking like a retired Games teacher in his ill-fitting suit. The red of his face nicely matches his V-neck. 'Some of us do have work to do. You do know you're almost two hours late, don't you?' Again without looking up - 'Yes sir I'm so desperately sorry please sir it wont happen again.' The Chief Inspector pulls the chair from under the Detective and addresses him on the floor - 'You see you will be sorry this time, sunshine. Because I've got some work for you to do, work that involves leaving this shithole that you call an office and actually doing some investigating. There's been another murder, out by some farmhouse near Awbridge, and you're going to solve the mystery.' 'If I remember correctly - sir - next door were assigned to that case.' 'Those two bought it last night driving up there; took about fifty rounds each and then the horrible fuckers set the car alight.' 'Looters?' 'Looters, Communists, Rebels, Martians, doesn't matter - you're on the case now. And if you fuck up - and I'm already counting all these late arrivals against you - then I'll come down on you so hard you'll think you were Maggie bloody Thatcher. Now get out of my sight!' * They can tell they are getting closer as the roads get narrower. 'You think he's serious?', asks the Detective as he turns a corner. 'Are you joking? It was probably him that did them next door in; I did see one of their top buttons undone last week' 'Fair enough' - they laugh - 'I saw the other one running in the corridor on Friday - signed his own death warrant!' 'Speaking of death warrant -' They slow down at the cordon and flash their badges. Within a few minutes they're looking at the body, lying in the back of an unmarked ambulance. After a few minutes of silent contemplation, the Deputy breaks the silence - 'fuuuuckin' hell - sick bastard took no chances with this one' Indeed he hadn't; the man, in his forties, had been split almost in half, a tear running up from his abdomen to his throat, leaving him looking like an overcooked sausage from which the filling has burst. Further inspection revealed that he had no tongue. The pair close the door on the cadaver; the smell and the sight of him, or it, is getting too much. 'So they took nothing, apparently; the guy had twice as much food as he needed, had money, clothes, fuel, the lot - Plod says it's all still there.' 'That is very interesting...' the Deputy smiles conspiratorially. 'Perhaps we should go and investigate, go and make sure.' The pair flash their cards at the bored looking officer at the farmhouse door and walk in. Within moments they are rifling through every cupboard and taking their pick of the contents. It's all preservable stuff of course, but it's still a goldmine. 'Look at this, sir - Del Monte Tinned Peaches - Sweet and Fruity - a bit like you - ' 'Hilarious.' 'Keep or sell?' 'What's the market like for peaches?' 'Well...actually it's not that great since they turned over that truck last week.' 'We'll have them tonight, then' 'Champion. Here, sir, when was the last time you saw a tin of sardines in the wild?' * About half an hour later, the two officers finish their investigation a stone heavier. They slip a couple of tins and a chocolate bar into the sentry's greatcoat as they walk out, tapping their noses mischievously. 'Right. Down to business', says the Detective as they get back into their car. ' We need some leads on these killings. This is what...' - he takes out a notebook '- the third? We'd better start at the start. Who found the first one?' * It takes an hour to get back to the headquarters and another two hours to search through the paperwork. 'Here we are, sir; it was some Sergeant working the beat at Redenham. Poor fucker was stupid enough to request a transfer after he found it; found it all 'too stressful' 'Oh dear. So can we reach him now?' 'Depends, I suppose. You reckon we can bluff ourselves a helicopter?'