Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Story Time - Ashes To Ashes : Marriages and Deaths Part 2




Ashes To Ashes : Marriages and Deaths Part 2


The ominous opening bars of New Dawn Fades by Joy Division starts up....


The limo sped down the streets, kicking up litter as it did. Behind the wheel, Joe Palmer, rubbed a hand over his dry mouth and tried to calm himself down.


In the rear of the car, Chris Skelton sat equally nervously, unable to exit as Joe had put the child locks on. He was a prisoner, a hostage, and it was all he could do to not be sick right now, such was the extent of his fear.


Suddenly the limo entered a residential street and stopped sharply. Joe knew he had to ditch the limo, the entire Metropolitan Police Force would be after him by now, and the car was just too noticeable. He surveyed the view outside his windscreen for a suitable replacement before turning around to face his captive "Stay here pig or I'll blow your head off!" he warned, waving the gun for good measure, before jumping out of the car and heading for a mini metro further up the road.


Chris cursed to himself and rubbed his hand over his forehead, already clammy with sweat. He breathed deeply through his nostrils in an attempt to calm himself down. Suddenly, an idea struck within him. His radio! His shaking hands grabbed deep inside his denim jacket and pulled the chunky transmittor out. Offering a silent prayer of thanks up to the heavens, with eyes closed, Chris then hit the transmit button;
"This is DC Skelton is anyone receiving? Over"
"Repeat this is DC Chris Skelton, anyone receiving? Over"


Over in Fenchurch East police station, Shaz Grainger was perched on the edge of her desk watching Multi Coloured Swapshop on the TV in the corner of the room. She was giggling along to some silly stunt Noel Edmonds and Maggie Philbin were undertaking on John Craven, when suddenly the crackle of her radio distracted her. She ran to her desk to hear Chris's SOS and immediately hit 'receive'


"Chris baby, it's Shaz...what's happening?" she replied, confused and already a little fearful.


In the back of the limo, Chris breathed a sigh of relief "Shaz, it's alright, I'm ok, but I've been taken hostage...I'm in a wedding car on...." he leant up in his seat to survey the street, looking for a sign, any clue to say where he was "On...Temple Street, that's it. Temple Street. Get all cars available down here now!"


"Hostage? What? Baby what's happened?" Shaz said, panic rising in her voice, she looked around for help but none was forthcoming, suddenly she felt very alone and helpless in the deserted station.


Chris was about to speak again, when a meaty hand lunged into the back of the car and dragged him by the collar out into the open. Joe Palmer, fresh from securing a new car, snatched the radio from his grip "Very bad move" he snarled and he hit Chris across the back of his head with the butt of his gun, slinging the radio in the back of the abandoned limo, where it crackled with Shaz' pleas. Pleas that could not be answered.


Joy Division fades out....


"Baby?" Shaz cried desperately "Chris?"  Just as she did, Gene, Alex and Ray entered the office, with the handcuffed and weary looking Nick Palmer between them. Helplessly and hoping against hope, Shaz looked to Gene, but there was little comfort to be found in his creased granite like features.



Gene explained what had happened to an increasingly teary Shaz. Ray stood slightly alone, shaking his head and staring into space, his cigarette, ignored between his fingers, fading to ash fast "It's all my fault" he said, but only Alex heard. She placed a hand on his shoulder, but he instantly shrugged it off "Where do you want this creep Guv?" he said loudly, roughly grabbing hold of Nick and ignoring his protestations of "Now just a minute!"
Gene looked over his shoulder "Check with Viv which one of our penthouses are currently free Raymondo"
"Right Guv" Ray nodded and dragged the prisoner out.
"Chris is gonna be alright isn't he?" Shaz asked, her voice cracking and her hand to her neck.
Gene glanced between her and the floor, desperate for something to save him from answering. He found his saviour in the unlikely cheery form of the tigger-like Keith Chegwin, gabbling enthusiastically from some home counties municipal pool on the television.
"Bolly, switch that bloody tele off!" he snapped, his gloved fingers clicking with agitation in its general direction "I don't think Cheggers is going to be able to arrange a swap for us between Palmer and our Chris!"
"Alright!" Alex complained; annoyed that Gene seemed to be taking his frustrations out on her. As she stepped towards the TV, finger extended to switch it off, she noticed a familiar figure that keith Chegwin had his arm around. It was a little girl, shy in demeanour, almost sad it would seem, with mousy hair and a mole on her cheek.
It was Molly!
"Molly" Alex gasped, falling to her knees in front of the TV.
"Now then Molly" the 1982 Keith Chegwin was asking the present day Molly "What would you like to have?"
"I want my Mum" Molly said, lip trembling and eyes downcast.
"Ey!" Cheggers chuckled "We can't swap Mum's on here!" and he looked around to the laughing group of children waving their homemade 'Hello Mum' placards.
"I haven't got a Mum to swap" Molly said, fighting back tears now, "I want my Mum back" Her face filled the screen now, Cheggers looking round for someone in the production with concern, eager to wrap proceedings up "I want you back Mum...please...come back to me"
"Oh Molly!" Alex said, her fingers clawing at the screen, tears now filling her eyes "I will...I will come back to you....I promise" but then Molly disappared and the screen went black for a moment. "Molly....Molly?"
Suddenly Noel Edmonds appeared back in the studio "Erm, we're sorry for that Swapshop technical breakdown, clearly one child has lost her Mum down there in the crowd and I'm sure Keith will locate her any moment....but for now here's Spandau Ballet performing their new single, Paint Me Down, live!"
"Bolly switch that bloody TV off!" Gene screamed out, whilst comforting Shaz in his arms, and Alex jabbed hurriedly at the button, sending the New Romantics into darkness. "Finally" he snapped "Now make yourself useful...let's go and have a word with that pillock Palmer" and he pulled himself away from Shaz, patting her arm as he did, his eyes accusingly, never leaving Drake as he exited.
Alex gathered herself together, mouthed an apology to Shaz and hurried on after him.




Paint Me Down fades in and takes us out....


To Be Continued....

(c) Mark Cunliffe 2010



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