He was halfway through his fourth pint when the room filled with coppers. It was as if these “undercover” cops had mushroomed up out of the carpet’s filth. Masters of camouflage that they were, they had disguised themselves by removing their uniform jackets and helmets and donning identical dark blue nylon anoraks. Brilliant!
The exits were guarded by uniformed filth. There was a furious melee around the Gents door as five rastafarians bloodclatted their way in flush away their remaining wares.
“Oh bollocks,” Beckett muttered.
For there went his little lump of fun, down the old porcelain throat, to float, through a sewer to the sea, to end up in a fishey’s tum, who later stoned would blunder into a net, without regret, and would wind up minced on the assembly line of the Birds Eye-sodding fish finger factory, and then to Beckett’s Friday night supper three weeks hence.
A stone-faced cop clutching a clipboard accosted Beckett just as he reached a table near the door. The door itself was guarded by a nervous rookie, all acne and face fuzz, swimming in a uniform three sizes too big. The cop with the clipboard looked at Beckett and then consulted his clipboard as if checking to see whether Beckett was on the Britain's Most Wanted guest list.
“Just a couple of quick questions, sir.” the copper said.
Beckett took a pull on his pint and pulled an “I smell something bad” face. He knew that, along with the rest of the poor bastards snagged in The Duke of Windsor, he was going to be there a while.
“Where were you last Monday?” the Plod asked.
Last Monday? Where the fuck was I yesterday? Earlier today, for that matter? Beckett feigned thought.
“Hmm,” Beckett said, “Not sure, but not here … for sure … hofficer.”
“How d’you know you wasn’t here, if you ain’t sure where you was?” the cop asked.
A right amateur detective this one.
“’Cos I’m sure I haven’t been in the Windsor for a good long while, have I. This is the Windsor innit?” Beckett asked, “Oh, right. Yeah. No. I been out of town visiting me poor old mum, ain’t I? Maybe that’s where I was.”
“What is your name sir?”
“Edward” said Beckett. “Heath”.
“Heath ... Edward.” the cop read aloud as he wrote, the tip of his tongue peeking from the corner of his mouth as he concentrated on his calligraphy.
Probably still struggling with the complexities of joined-up writing. Beckett had himself a bit of a sly smile at that one.
“Something amusing you is it, Mr. Heath?” officer donkey asked.
“Far from it officer.”
“Do you have any identification on you sir? Driving license perhaps.”
“Naw, I don’t drive do I? Don’t do to drink and drive does it, and I likes me pint.” Beckett declared with pride.
“Yes. I’m sure you do, sir.”
Having made a note of Beckett’s love of his pint the copper turned to leave.
“Here, what’s all this about then, anyway?” Beckett asked.
The copper stopped and turned.
“Someone knifed in here last Monday sir,” he said, with the unmistakable pride of someone on his first serious crime investigation.
In the end,Beckett didn’t escape until closing time,two hours and six more pints of kidney rot later. By which time he was far too drunk to care about his lost lump of hashish.
Causes Luke James Supports
Doctors Without Borders