Saturday, 19 June 2010

Ch 4: SPIRIT IN THE SKY




Gene Hunt was not in a good mood. Pacing up and down the reception area of Yeovil Fleet Air Arm Museum he ran his fingers through his hair, and then slammed his gloved fist down on the desk.
“I have now been waiting here over two hours for this bloody mechanic. What’s taking him so long?”
The young man with the glasses could only apologise for what felt like the 100th time that morning.
“I am sorry Mr. Hunter, but it is a Bank Holiday..”
Gene interrupted, “The name is HUNT – H.U.N.T. and I am already visualising the duct tape over your mouth!. Now ring them again”.
The young man sighed and picked up the phone once more. Gene tapped his fingers on the desk much to the annoyance of the young man who suddenly plucked up courage although shaking in his shoes a little.
“Do you mind? That’s rude!”
“I am not being rude. You’re just insignificant! Get me an AA, or RAC Man or the bloody Green Flag brigade now I don’t care who."
Just a few moments later the young man put the phone down once more , a look of fear in his eyes.
“I am sorry Mr. Hunt, but the Green Flag people are engaged and both the RAC and AA say it could be after lunch. It is Bank Holiday and they are very busy. You will just have to wait around”.

“Gene Hunt does not wait around. Do you have a car I can use? I need to get to Manchester pronto”. As Gene raised his voice , an office door suddenly opened and an elderly gentleman walked out into the reception area.
“Can I be of assistance? What is the matter, Sir?”
This was more like it. Sir indeed. Gene straightened his tie.
“My car has broken down. Kaput. I have been here over two hours and this moron tells me I have to wait another two hours at least for the poxy breakdown to arrive. I need transport, like now”
The older man shook his head.
“I am sorry Sir, but we cannot provide transport. It is not the policy of the Museum. Perhaps you would care to wait a little longer. I can find you somewhere a little more comfortable.Perhaps have a bite to eat..”
Gene was still not amused.
“I thought this was the Fleet Air Arm? Civil Defence? You have all these bloody big birds and yet you can’t get me some wheels. Am surprised we won the war. Bloody useless.”
The older man could only apologise once more. Gene looked at his uniform. He was obviously old school and had served his time somewhere.
“Can I swop my job for yours.. or whatever is behind ...door 1?” Gene looked across to a glass panelled area behind them.
“Yes. Indeed. Perhaps Sir would like a tour of the Museum. As a courtesy, free of charge. A visit to this Museum can last a day, but it’s memory could last a lifetime.”
It already felt like he had been here a lifetime,.Gene mused for a moment and then decided he wasn’t going to get a better offer that day. He may as well mint them for all he could get.
The young man breathed a sigh of relief as the elder lead Gene into the main part of the museum, promising faithfully to come and find him once somebody from the AA or RAC arrived.
“If you need anything let me know. Commander Blake at your service, Sir!” the elderly man saluted in front of Gene, who saluted back.
“At ease my good man”.
As Commander Blake went back to his office Gene was left to wander around and survey his surroundings. It was very quiet, given it was a bank holiday. In fact, it was almost eerie. His eyes scanned over some of the leaflets lying about. The Museum housed Europes’ largest Naval Aviation collection comprising four large exhibition halls. He had no intention of being here all day so might as well pick what he wanted to see most of all. There was everything from Naval vessels, airships, sea harriers and helicopters. He really should have his own private jet.
Gene walked up to the Exhibition Hall Number 4.
“Wow” he whistled on seeing all the exhibits on show, marvelling at such sights as a De Havilland Vampire, a Westland Wyvern and a Hawker Hunter, but the main one that caught his eye, was the BAC Concorde. What a beauty.
Gene noticed one or two people in the Hall. They looked like “spotters” and he was thrilled that the public were actually allowed to touch, and go inside one or two of the planes, including Concorde. He marvelled as he stood inside the giant plane, feeling a sense of power as he stood in the cockpit, thinking he could be in Manchester in no time in this baby.
Tearing himself away, he continued over to an area showing the South Atlantic conflict – the Falklands. There was a tv showing film footage of the Argintine invasion which he watched. Mesmerised. Suddenly he started to feel a little dizzy and nauseous. It was either the effects still of last night’s booze, the dodgy breakfast or simply hunger. He was back there. In 1982. As though it were only yesterday. He put his hands up to his head, rubbed his eyes and blinked hard. Staring at the screen, yes. There was Maggie outside Number 10.
“Gene”.
He turned round suddenly. Who the hell shouted him? It had been a woman’s voice. And if he wasn’t mistaken it had sounded an awful lot like Bolly. Yet that was impossible. There was nobody else around either, the spotters appeared to have disappeared.
Gene knew he had to get out of there at that point – maybe he would go and look in another room. He recalled his time in National Service, and felt he should look around a while longer. He wasn't able to go anywhere just yet.
Approaching Hall 2 he noticed it was dedicated to the second World War. Again, he marvelled at more planes, visualising himself in a pilots uniform, doing his duty for King and Country, a picture of DI Drake adorning the side of his plane, decked out in all her glory.... He would have liked to get her in his cockpit any time.

It was whilst he was fuelling his fantasy he suddenly heard movement again behind him. He turned to find himself face to face with a man in uniform.
“This was my plane”.
“Was it now, Wing Commander Boxhead” Gene looked at the man before him. He seemed a little familiar but from where he didn’t know.
“Lieutenant, actually, Sir!” For the second time that day, somebody saluted Gene. He could get used to this.
“It was a dreadful war...” the young Lieutenant stated. He could not have been more than 21 maybe. 25 at the most.
“All wars are dreadful, Lieutenant. People get killed”.
The officer beckoned Gene with his finger.
“Come, let us look at this.” He lead Gene to a large board which was the Roll of Honour.
Gene stood in silence with the officer, reading the names of all those who had died for their country. There were so many. So brave, and valliant. A familiar feeling of sickness washed over him as he got halfway down the board. He saw the name. Lietuenant G Hunter. Number FX6620. There were plenty of Hunts but none with the initial G. That idiot on reception had called him Hunter before. He shivered, as though somebody had just walked over his grave.

“And where are you on this mighty board, Lieutenant?” Gene asked his companion after a few moments. "What's your name?"
“I am not on here. For obvious reasons. You can call me...Danny”
The reasons did not appear very obvious to Gene.
“Here, why don’t we go and sit down. Get a coffee?”
The officer lead them to an area which was a cafeteria and motioned Gene to sit down at a small round table, whilst he went to get some drinks.
A few moments later he came back with two cups of Camp coffee, and two sandwiches wrapped in clingfilm. Gene found he was ravenous and devoured the food pretty quickly although the egg was rubbery and the bread a little stale. It had probably been lying around since the war. Whilst waiting for the drink to cool, he started chatting to the young man across the table.
“So, do you work here too? Danny Boy?”
The man stared back into Gene’s eyes.
“You could say that. I have a job to do, and it must be done. As do you.”
Gene stared back. He was in no mood for cryptic comments.
He took a swig of the coffee which tasted like’s nats piss but at least it was warm and wet. The bread appeared to be stuck in his throat and again he had a feeling of nausea. Behind the Lieutenant he could see yet another TV screen playing some film, and in fact it was black and white footage.
Gene felt sick. It was Coronation Day. 1952. His mind went blank. Somewhere, he could hear a radio blasting out “I Believe”. What in Christ’s name was going on?
He stared back at the Officer across the table.
“That’s right. It’s time Gene”.
Gene put his head in his hands. No. This couldn’t be happening. He looked up again, and found he was alone. The vision in front of him, the Officer, had gone. Vanished into thin air.

Feeling his throat constrict and his chest tighten he had to get out. He needed air. Pushing the table to one side, the chair legs screeching on the floor as he did so, he strided out of the main hall and made his way back as quick as he could towards the reception area.

“Ah. Mr Hunte....Hunt. There you are. I was just about to come and get you. The AA man has turned up. He is outside with your vehicle. He is a very nice man.”

“Ok, Nancy Boy, put your tongue back in. I will be the judge of that when he has fixed my motor”.

Glad to be outside, Gene breathed in the air. It was a balmy sticky afternoon.
He was greeted by yet another man in uniform, this time a brown one, his bee like yellow and black vehicle’s engine was buzzing next to the Cosworth.
“I have just tested it and its purring like a kitten. Mind if I give it a spin just to make sure?”
Gene wasn’t thrilled at some nonce stranger disappearing with his car, but then at least he would have the AA van as ransom and would use that as means to get to Manchester if necessary. He did not care how he got there as long as he did.

“Took you long enough!” Gene said, after another ten minutes waiting time whilst the AA man vanished to do a test drive, and then thankfully returned.
“Yeah, sorry mate. It’s Bank Holiday, usual nightmare, and what with the news and all that. God people are in a right state. London is hammered too.”
Gene wasn’t particularly interested. “So what was the problem?” He nodded his head towards the car.
“Oh who knows. This is Abdul’s isn’t it? I checked the log in the glove compartment. We know it well, we call it The Beast! It’s notorious for breaking down. Cosworth’s are. Some fault with the fuel injection overheating. They told me you heading up North. It could conk out a few more times before you get there. Last time I got called out to it, he told me he was either gonna scrap it or palm it off on some unsuspecting customer...”
Gene glared back at the AA man whom he decided wasn’t a very very nice man after all.
“Listen, pal, you are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers. I am both refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view, now if you don’t mind, I believe you have done your job, and I need to be on my way”.
Gene got into the Sierra and revved up the engine.
“If you do break down again, you will have to just sit around and wait again till the engine cools. You’ll be lucky to get up there before Midnight.”
“Do you have a bloody death wish?” Gene shouted “ I can see your point but I still think you’re full of shit. See that Magic Air Freshner hanging up? If you don’t do one I will make you swallow it whole. Piss off back there to that other Nancy boy! Now out of my way. I need to get as far away from this Godforsaken place as quickly as possible”.

He glanced at the clock on the dash in disbelief. 6 o clock. He had been there six bleeding hours for Christ’s sake. Getting onto the motorway he put his foot down. The clock could go up to 120 so he may as well use it. Putting his foot down like Graham Hill he gave her some welly.
“Come on babes, you can do it for the Gene Genie. Fire it up. Manchester, here we come!”

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Ch 3: CHAMPAGNE SUPERNOVA


The London streets were starting to appear somewhat busy for a Sunday morning, Gene thought, as he wandered along the pavement . People were waking up, maybe it was Petticoat Lane Market day. He noticed the headlines on the paper-board outside the Newsagents when he came out after buying a packet of cigarettes.

“Britain and the world wake up to shocking news..”

“World united in grief”

Gene walked towards the motor show room on the corner of Fenchurch Street. Not exactly a show room – that was a bit much – more like a dodgy car dealer. Gene didn’t really care. He needed a car, and fast, and at that time on a Sunday morning he really didn’t care where he got it from as long as he got it.

“Abdul’s” garage forecourt had a few cars scattered around and as Gene marched through the puddles on ground, he was more determined than ever. As if by magic, the owner, a middle-aged Asian man, known to Gene only as Abdul appeared.

“Ah. Meester Hunt. Verry nice to see you”. He bowed towards the DCI, and continued.
“Am so very glad you here. I need to see you. I have some idiots last night trying to break-, take my cars. What can you for me?” .

“It’s more like what you can do for me Abdul, my son” Gene replied, not in the mood for the Asian’s broken English waffling.

“I need a favour and you owe me one!” Gene started into Abdul’s eyes, and the Asian garage owner knew Gene Hunt was not a man to argue with.

“Anything you say Meester Hunt. My wish is your command” and again he bowed in front of Gene.

“I need some wheels pronto. The Quattro’s....” Gene got a lump in his throat once more at the thought of his beloved car, he swallowed hard before continuing...

“The Quattro is out of action at the moment. What have you got for me?”. Gene looked around. He seemed to be surrounded by a pile of junk. This should really be renamed “Abdul’s scrapyard “ . There were more bangers than Wall’s sausage factory. Would the Quattro go to a similar scrapyard in the sky?

At this point Abdul livened up, pound signs in his eyes at the thought of a sale especially on a Sunday.

“Of course Meester Hunt, what is your price range?”

Gene’s eyes narrowed as he started back at Abdul.

“It sounds like English, but I can’t understand a word you’re saying Meester Abdul! You owe me a favour, get it? Who said anything about money?. Nothing will be exchanged. The only words I will exchange with you are...Passports...Immigration...Visas...Vous Comprendez?”

Abdul appeared to go a whiter shaed of pale before Gene’s eyes and motioned Gene to follow him behind some wired fencing and to another smaller compound.

“Meester Hunt. I have lots of lovely cars...very nice runners. You can have any of these, for free”.

Abdul pointed to a red Vauxhall which had seen better days, and several other battered looking vehicles.

Gene gazed around in horror.

“Abdul...did you eat an extra bowl of stupid this morning? I am DCI Gene Hunt . Do I look like a Lada, Skoda, or Champagne Super bloody Nova driver?”

Abdul did not like it when Gene got angry.

“Do I need to repeat myself one more time? I need a car worthy of my status. What about that one there?” Gene pointed his leather gloved hand to a white car parked next to the Portacabin office building where Abdul pretended to keep his books all day long.

“Oh no Meester Hunt, that is not for sale, that is my car....I..” Abdul was interrupted by the sound of the telephone ringing in the Portacabin.

“One moment please...I answer...” and Abdul left Gene to survey the gleaming white motor, and on answering the phone, he put his hand over the receiver and mimed “it is my wife”, raising his eyes upwards.

“Which one?” Gene muttered under his breath, still eyeing up the car in front of him.

He ran his hand over the bodywork of the Sierra RS Cosworth 1.6 Fuel Injection Turbo.

“Very sexy.”

Gene noticed the window was down, and there were drops of water on the bonnet. It was either rain, or judging by the keys in the ignition, Abdul had just given his baby a clean and polish.
He opened the driver’s door and got in.

For a few moments Gene settled into the seat, looking at all the dials on the dashboard, feeling the hardness of the wheel under his hands. He pressed a button and the windows wound down. Oh yes. Very nice. Very Gene. He turned the keys and the engine kicked in purring like a pussycat. Gene revved the engine. It had good pedal action too and he imagined this kitten would turn into a tiger fairly quickly. Yes – this was the car for him without a doubt. Slowly, he started to manoeuvre forward and then turned the wheel to reverse. He noticed Abdul was still on the phone to Mrs Abdul and Gene thought it a perfect opportunity to make his exit before Abdul got chance to stop him. He could hear Abdul talking “Calm down dearest ,please do not cry. There are a lot of people crying. It is a great shame”. Some family crisis no doubt , Gene thought and shouted out of the window ;

“I am having this beauty Abdul. You owe me” and with those parting words Gene roared out of the garage compound and put his foot down, watching a rather angry looking Abdul, in his rear view mirror, jumping up and down.

“Manchester – here we come!” said Gene, as he cruised through the streets of London, although he would be lucky to get out of the capital, he thought, the streets were far too busy for a Sunday morning. Everybody should either still be in bed nursing hangovers , getting a leg-over, or recovering from a Saturday night vindaloo. There seemed to be a lot of people gathering around the Palace, and Gene wondered what was going on at Buck House. Probably a garden party. He fiddled with some knobs and found the radio. Switching it on for some lively music he found the station playing something classical and rather sombre.

“Sod that” he cursed, and found something a bit more lively but it soon ended, and the DJ cut in
“That was “See You when you get there” and here we have Will. Get your shades on guys!”.

As the second track came on Gene wondered if there were any sunglasses in the glove compartment. The light was hurting his eyes a little and his head was beginning to hurt. Once he pulled up at the next set of traffic lights, he opened the glove compartment and had a feel around. He couldn’t see any glasses, but something dropped out onto the floor of the passenger’s side.

The lights were taking a while to change, and he reached down and noticed it was a pack of playing cards.

“Well, well,,Abdul you old Devil. I wouldn’t have thought you were a gambling man!”.

One card, the Queen of Hearts, had slipped out of the pack. Gene pushed it back in, and placed the deck back in the glove compartment just in time. The lights changed and he continued on his journey. It was a bind getting out of London and he decided to take a little detour. Rather than head straight North, thinking it may be bad he headed across and decided he would pick up the motorway further South. Big mistake. The M4, M3 and M25 were all fairly congested. Gene felt frustrated. He just wanted a clear run to test his new wheels .

Two hours later and the traffic had started to clear. Right, time to put my foot down, Gene thought. In the outside lane he started to give it some welly. It zoomed past all the cars in the other lanes. The Gene Genie was flying and it helped to ease the pain of the doomed Quattro. Gene imagined Bolly and the lads, and Plonk in the back.

He glanced at the clock on the dash. Once he hit Bristol he could start to make progress. Yet just at that moment, the engine started to splutter. He looked at the speedo. 110mph. Gene thought he was maybe going a bit too fast so started to slow down. He pulled over into the middle lane but the engine was still coughing, so he pulled over to the inside lane. He had slowed right down but it was beginning to chug chug chug. Cursing, Gene pulled over to the hard shoulder and stopped, putting his hazard warning lights on. He thought maybe he had just pushed it too far, going too fast. A few minutes rest would be fine.

Half an hour later and Gene was still sitting on the hard shoulder. The car had refused to start.
What heap of junk had Abdul sold him? Oh, Gene thought, Abdul hadn’t exactly sold it – he had simply taken it. Turning the keys he was relieved to hear the engine turn over. No smell of petrol. With that he pulled out and set off once more. Looking at the gage he noticed he was a little low on petol and decided to come off at the next exit, fill up, get a bite to eat and visit the little boys room. Gene grinned to himself. It should be re-named Big Boys room. After all with a manhood of his size it’s amazing he fitted it under the dashboard of this sexy Sierra Cosworth.
He pulled off the slip road and headed around the roundabout looking for a local garage. Surely there must be one so near the motorway. Suddenly the car started to chug and splutter again. He carried on further. Chug Chug Chug. Splutter. On his left hand side he noticed a building with a large car park and he drove the car into it. There was a dreadful smell of petrol and he need to get it off the road to investigate.

Getting out and opening the bonnet a stream of smoke wooshed out into his face.

“Bastard, bloody car!”. It had obviously overheated. Now what was he to do? He had no option but to wait for it to cool down. Where in God’s name was he? He glanced around and was surprised to see something that looked like a plane on the ground. He rubbed his eyes. No..it was a plane! Where the hell was he?

He sat in the car with bonnet up and half an hour passed surprising quickly. He tried to start the engine but it was still as dead as a dodo. Maybe it needed a bit longer. He was worried though as he had a long journey ahead and didn’t want to take any risks. Maybe he needed a mechanic. Thinking there may be one around , or at least a phone in this building, he locked the car and headed to the reception area, glancing at the sign. He was only at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovil.

“Bloody Great!”.

He pushed the entrance doors open and marched up to a young man wearing thick black glasses like Buddy Holly, who was sitting at the reception desk, eating a sandwich.

“Right Biggles! My name is DCI Hunt, my car has unfortunately broken down in your car park and I need some immediate backup. So unless you have any flights or private jets to Manchester, I suggest you get on that phone now and get me a very very nice man to come to my assistance pronto!".