Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ch:16 Prayin'/Pray

Gene shivered as an icy blast of wind blew through the desolate Church, rattling the ancient stained glass windows. He remained frozen to the spot, on his knees on the cold stone flags, staring at the scuffed brown shoes of the priest known as Father Daniel.

“I am ready to hear your confession, Gene”.
Gene remained silent.
“Gene, are you ready? You need to tell me. There is nothing else to be done until I have heard your confession”.
Gene cleared his throat and found his voice, albeit a whisper.
“I am neither Catholic, or religious”.
Father Daniel smiled and shrugged his shoulders nonchanlantly.
“Makes no odds to me what you are. We are all God’s children”.
Gene lifted his head and stared up at this strange man. Strange because he seemed different now to the one he had encountered earlier, when he had been masqarading as a pilot in uniform. What was all that about ? His tone had changed. Perhaps it was the cassock that made him a little intimidating. All Gene knew was that in his world, this man was considered a persona no grata.
Gene remained silent.
“I shall ask you for a third and final time. Gene, do you have something you want , rather, need to tell me” the priest asked his tone a little more forceful.
When he got not response again from Gene, he started to turn on his heel.
“Fine. So be it. Have it your way. Close the door on your way out”.

Gene looked up again, “Wait.”
“Do you want to tell me something Gene?”
Gene knew he had little choice. He lowered his head and nodded.
“Stand. Come with me” the priest demanded.
Gene tried to get up and stumbled against the side of the pew. Placing a hand under his elbow to steady him Father Daniel helped him to his feet, and started to leave him to an area at the side of the Church,
“Come. We will go to the Confessional”.
Once inside the closet Gene started to feel a little claustrophobic.
“Take some deep breaths, Gene, before you begin”. He could hear the priest’s voice from behind the screen.

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned”. His voice was low and a little shaky.
“and you need to confess don’t you, Gene” the priest encourage him “how long since your last confession?”
“I haven’t ever confessed. I told you I am not a religious man”.
“Well now is your chance isn’t it? So tell me, my son. What is is that plays on your conscience? What sins have you committed?”
Gene really didn’t know where to start.
“And Gene, to help you...we are not talking about your duty as an Officer of the Law directly. We are not talking about killing people, or shagging some slapper”
Gene was silent for a moment, his mind racing again, especially at the choice of words. It gave Gene the green light, like a red rag to a bull.
“How the fuck do you know about my life as a copper, and what I may or may not have done”.
“Gene! Please do not blaspheme. Remember where we are, in the House of God. Now pray, continue”.
Gene was at a loss for words. What should he say.
Father Daniel encouraged him to speak . “You have committed a mortal sin haven’t you Gene? A very selfish mortal sin I might add? Hhmmm, isn’t that so?”
Gene nodding his head, then realised the priest couldn’t see him.
“Yes. Father. I have. “ He swallowed hard.
“And what was that sin, Gene?”
Gene’s mind was whirling. The words just wouldn’t come out. His brain couldn’t function.
“Shall I tell you Gene? Shall I? Well you have kept the innocent souls of people, close to you, for your own selfish purposes. You used and abused them. Gave little thought to them, or their families and friends. Those poor poor people. Wandering around in limbo-land, not knowing what was happening really. Confused. Sad. Those poor lost souls. Haunted by their memories. Tortured...”
“No..they weren’t. We had some good times. They were my friends. I cared for them. My team.”
“No Gene. If you had cared for them you would have let them go, a long long time ago. Let them rest in peace. But no, you couldn’t let go could you...”
“That’s not true. I helped them. I guided them. I tried to protect them., I saved them...” Gene argued, his heart starting to beat fast again.
“And for what reason Gene? You merely kept them around you, so you didn’t feel alone. Just because you were a lost lonely soul, you wanted everyone to go through the same as you didn’t you? Experience the pain, the hurt...You did not save them”
The priest seemed to be goading now. Gene didn’t like his tone and he put his hands to his head, covering his ears.
“Shut up. Jesus Christ, I spent years with these people. They were like family to me. I cared for them. I loved them. All of them. I spent bleeding 3 years with Bolly for God’s sake” Gene shouted, anger welling up inside.
“Language, Gene, please!”
“And anyway. They have gone now haven’t they? I have let them go. So what’s the problem?”
“You are still in denial Gene. You still have to face your own demons.”
Gene felt suddenly sick. He knew. He knew the priest was right. About everything.
“Sam, Annie, Viv. Chris, Shaz, Ray, Alex....” Father Daniel read the names like a role of honour....”you did a bad bad thing Gene. But I am not your physcotherapist - You have to pay a penance”.

“Ok so I feel bad. What can I do? I can’t go on anymore. I cannot cope. Ok. I admit it But do you not think I have paid enough? ”. Gene was reluctant to say it but yes he did feel guilty. The nightmares, the strange thoughts and things that had been happening to him recently.
“Say it then. Gene. Say it. Ask the Good Lord for forgiveness”.
Gene knelt down inside the confessional, the hard floor hurting his knees. He shivered . Suddenly he remembered something and put his hands in his pocket and brought out the inter-twined crucifix and St. Christopher. He brought them to his lips, kissed them, and held them in his fingers as he brought his hands to prayer.
“Come on Gene. Say after me...” and as the Priest recited the words, Gene began to repeat after him.
“Oh Lord, I am prayin to you,
I am heartily sorry for offending you
And I detest all of my sins because of your just punishment
But most of all because they offend you my God.
Who are all good and deserving of my love
I firmly resolve and with the help of your grace
To sin no more, and avoid the near occasions of sin”

There was a resound silence throughout the Church.

“The Lord cannot forgive you just yet Gene. You will have a price to pay, a penance for the great sins you have committed. Absolution will not follow until you have done that penance”.

Gene was stunned. What now? Surely he had more than paid for his “sins”. And certainly this last week had been to Hell and back. Apart from meeting Mary that was.
Gene heard the priest mutter somes words, and as he looked up, he could just about make out through the grill Father Daniel making the sign of the cross. Gene Hunt’s confessional was ended.
Gene felt shell shocked. Battered and bruised, both inside and out. As he followed Father Daniel into his back office, passing the font, and a large statue of the Virgin Mary, he smiled as he saw the priest take a bottle of scotch from his desk and two glasses.
He poured some in each and handed one to Gene.
“Jesus. I needed that” Father Daniel said taking a gulp and finishing his in one fair swoop”.
Gene looked at him in horror.
“I know what you’re thinking. Swearing. It’s allowed..sort of.. I make it up to Him”. The priest raised his eyes upwards.
Gene swigged his own whisky, feeling a little better with the liquid burning down his throat. He really had no idea in hell what was going on, who this bloody guy was and in fact he was past caring.
Father Daniel switched on a small portable TV that was sitting on a filing cabinet. It was only black and white but it was a good picture. Obviously the reception to Heaven must be pretty good Gene thought!.
Although it was very late, Gene noticed the news was still showing clips from the Princess Diana’s funeral. Something caught Gene’s eye then.
“Where’s Maggie then. ?”
Father Daniel, pouring more whisky in his own glass looked at Gene, a little puzzled.
“Maggie?.... Oh she had er....family trouble. Gone away from a while..”
“Eh?” Gene looked back at the priest.
“I didn’t know you had met her. She only went today.. She’ll be back though. I can’t do without her?”
“What the bloody hell you on about?” Gene, said muttering under his breath “Sorry Father”.
He motioned to the tv screen.
“Oh...MAGGIE!!” Ha ha yes. Oh she’s well gone, to be sure. That’s the new PM. Not been in that long. Back under New Labour we are. Things can only get better.”
Gene remembered it was 1997.
Father Daniel continued...”I thought you meant MY Maggie”.
“Who?” Don’t tell me as well as being a whisky drinking, swearing priest he’s got a woman too....Things were certainly getting better...he was turning out to be Gene’s kind of man.
“A man after my own thoughts eh Padre?” Gene raised his glass.
“No. Maggie..well that’s my name for her. She helps me out. Here. Sister Mary Magdalene. She had to go away as I said. Dear girl. You would like her. But she is out of bounds of course, Gene”.
Gene wasn’t particularly interested in any more women at that moment in time and certainly not a nun. Jesus, Bolly had been a hard to nut to crack. He had had enough.
“So. What now?” he questioned the priest. “What’s my penance to be?”

The priest finished his second glass of scotch.
“Well, my good man. At least I have now heard your confession. That’s the good thing. You are now on the road to enlightenment. On the pathway.”
“Does this mean things really will get better from now on?” Gene didn’t think he could take any more shit.
“We’ll see. Like I said. You have a penance. You still have a long way to go. Your journey is not over yet my son. You still have a job to do.”.
The priest took Gene’s empty glass, placed it next to his own on the desk and with the whisky bottle safely back in the drawer, he walked over to Gene once more.
“Enough for tonight. It’s been a long day, and a long night. I have been doing services today, and especially with the funeral. I think the best thing for us both is a decent night’s kip, don’t you?”
He placed his arm around Gene, who flinched, feeling a little uncomfortable.
“Who are you?” Gene grabbed the priest’s arm. Staring into his eyes. “What are you?”
“I am here to help you, Gene.”
“Nobody can help me, that’s the trouble, isn’t it Father?”
“You can call me Danny, now, Gene. Especially out of hours” The priest tried to joke.
Gene kept hold of the cleric’s arm.
“You piss me around and I swear to God, I’ll..”
“You’ll what? “ Suddenly the intimidating tone was back, threatening Gene with something, he wasn’t sure what.
“Tell me, for sure, Gene. WHAT is it you really want? Come on spit it out now. Spill the beans once and for all?”
“I...you know ...don’t you? You know I want to be back where I was. Feeling safe. Where I belong?”
The priest nodded his head as Gene removed his grip.
“Yes. And I am here to help you conduct the final part of that journey Gene. I know you want it so very very badly. You have been in the gutter. You have seen your demons. You now have to deal with all those as I told you. Face them. I am here to help you. You have to trust me”.
“I trust no-one” Gene replied.
“ You trusted Alex though? Didn’t you?” Gene sighed at the very mention of her name.
“Come. I know you have nowhere to stay. I run a nice little refuge just down the road. Free bed and board, how does that grab you. Plus I make a mean fry up!”.
Gene looked in awe at this man. Could he trust him?
He saw the priest take off his cassock quickly and replace it with a raincoat. Jesus. For a fleeting moment he thought it could be the very devil himself, bloody Keats, in disguise. Yet a gut feeling deep deep down told him it wasn’t . He was somebody else this guy. Gene didn’t know if he could trust him or not. Yet what had he got to lose, really? After all, he had already lost everything. What else could he lose?
Once the lights were turned out , the church was a desolate eerie sight. They stepped out into the night air , Father Daniel tugging the big wooden door behind them.
The air was still. No trees rustled. The pavements still wet from the earlier storm, were deserted. Gene looked up and saw a clear sky, a night with no stars. As he did so, something fluttered down in front of him and landed at his feet. He picked it up. It was a large white feather.
Father Daniel looked at him.
“Oh. The Angels are watching you Gene, that’s from your Guardian Angel. Lucky you”.
“So what happens now? What do I do?” Gene pushed the feather into his pocket.
The priest turned to Gene.
“All you can do, each night, is pray. Hope that you will be a part of it all again, some day”.
Gene looked back at the priest, his new found “friend” somewhat bewildered.
“I need more than that. I need a bloody miracle. So help me God!” Gene needed help desparately.
“God, indeed, works in mysterious ways...But first, let’s get you back to my place and get our heads down for the night” the priest said.
Gene, tired, weary and past caring said,
“Ok, Danny Boy. Take me home”.
The two men started to walk the short distance to the refuge, each lost in their own thoughts, ready for bed, with Gene wondering in Christ’s name what the next day would bring.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Ch 15: I'll Be Missing You

Gene woke up with a banging headache. God he felt rough. Where was he? Sitting up in bed, he realised where he was. He was naked, and alone in the tangled bedsheets, the clothes strewn across the bedroom floor a timely reminder of the night before. And this was the morning after.
He didn’t have time for reflection as at the moment the bedroom door opened and Mary marched in, already fully dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt. She said nothing and simply searched around on her dressing table, looking for something.. She picked up a pair of sunglasses and placed them on the top of her head before turning to Gene saying
“Are you gonna get ready then?”.
Gene looked at her in amazement. What was this? The morning after and no mention of the usual words woman always uttered once you had bedded them “How are you feeling? Was it OK for you? What are you thinking? We need to talk? Does this mean we are engaged? What happens if I am pregnant?”. The questions were usually endless. Only with Mary there was nothing, just a rather worrying silence. He had rather imagined waking up, lying in the arms of Mary, asking her if the earth moved for her, and then maybe making love again, this time with a tenderness and not a drunken romp like last night. The fact was though he couldn’t remember a damn thing about last night.
Gene, a little embarrassed, got out of bed and went to pick his clothes up off the floor.
“We have to hurry.” Mary pointed at her watch “It starts around 9”.
For a second Gene was puzzled and then remembered today was the funeral of Princess Diana.
There was no time to shower or shave, or even eat breakfast. Gene quickly pulled on his clothes whilst Mary waited for him in the living room. He went in the bathroom, took a slash, quickly brushed his teeth and he was good to go.
It was going to be a long day, and it would be hard enough without an atmosphere between them. It was no good. He had to know.
As Mary put on her leather jacket he grabbed her arm.
“Did we? Last night....”
She glanced down, as if embarrassed, and then looked up at him and smiled, nodding her head.
“Yes. We did.”
Jesus! What had he done? He wasn’t entirely sure what he felt. If only he could have remembered it. He noticed to two empty wine bottles on the coffee table. No wonder it was all a blur.
“Come on, we can talk later...” Mary took his arm, and after locking the front door, they went downstairs, and once outside she linked her arm in his as they walked towards the Cathedral.
The crowds had gathered, a scene the same the world over. A large TV screen had been erected and as people settled down to both watch, and listen to the service there was a feeling of united grief. From the moment the gun carriage left Kensington Palace at 0908 and along the four mile courtege route to Westminster Abbey, people watched in disbelief. Many wept. Others remained silent, lost in their own thoughts. Some were in denial. How could it be true that somebody so popular, and beautiful had been taken from this earth in such tragic and cruel circumstances.
Gene held Mary in his arms as she sobbed, her eyes hidden behnd her large sunglasses. He watched other people grieving all around him, and stared at some of the strangers on the screen, unfamiliar faces. Oh he recognised some of the older Royals but not all, especially the younger ones, the children.
He tried to keep it together, his public face. The Gene Genie was tough. He could handle most things.
But he couldn’t handle this. He watched those who had been sitting on the grass bank stand. In particular a lady in a wheelchair, obviously disabled, took her husband and daughter’s hand and they helped her to stand on wobbly legs as the coffin was carried into the Abbey to the strains of “I vow to thee my country” . This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the tears started to pour down his own face. Pulling Mary closer to him, her head buried in his chest, he didn’t wipe them away and simply let them fall until he He tasted the saltiness on his lips. It was OK to cry, to show this emotion. By God, there were grown men the world over doing the same thing. For Diana, this Queen of Hearts.
Only Gene’s heart was breaking for some very different reasons.
As he lifted his head and looked up at the sunshine on that early September morn. Yes it was very very sad. Until a few short days ago he did not know who the Princess of Wales was, but after a week almost holed up in Mary’s flat with the TV for company he felt he knew everything there was to know about Diana.
Only somewhere deep deep inside he couldn’t help make comparisons. Over a million people lining the route...the unprecedented outpouring of grief, the flowers. The whole damn thing. By the time the service was well on its way, and Elton John began to sing, Gene’s emotions were running amoke. Yes it was very tragic. She was a legend who would always live on. It was a funeral fitting for a Princess if not a Queen.
And what had he bloody got?
A fucking shallow grave.
It hurt him to even think about it, but there was no getting away from it. Buried miles away in some remote field. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. He chastised himself for using the F-word but that was what he had come to. Was that all his sad young life was worthy of? Did he deserve nothing better?
In God’s Holy name he bloody fucking well did.
Mary, who had been silently sobbing stirred, and he watched an old man of around eighty by his side, who wiped his eyes with a hanky and blew his nose. A small child in front of him was crying. She must have been no more than six and wouldn’t understand what was going on.
Gene pulled Mary even closer, her arms around his waist. He was really a selfish bastard. He must stop thinking of himself now. He had met Mary, for whatever reason. They seem to have some kind of a bond. Perhaps it was time to draw to a close the past, his old life, the team, and Alex. If only his heart didn’t flinch at the very thought of her...
By the time Diana was laid to rest on the island at the family estate, Gene’s body started to ache. He was tired, hungary, emotionally drained, but he knew he wasn’t alone. As people started to gradually disperse, Mary broke her silence.
“I’m sorry Gene. About last night”
“Hey, there’s no need to apologise. We were both a little drunk. Was..er..it ok...” Gene didn’t feel it was really the time nor the place to be discussing such things but he may as well whilst he got the opportunity.
“Yes” Mary blushed “but you did fall asleep pretty quickly afterwards”.
Gene took her hand in his and kissed her fingers tenderly.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make up it up to you later! So what shall we do now?”
Not feeling up to very much, they called in at one of the crowded bars near Spring Gardens and had a much deserved drink, Gene his usual scotch, whilst Mary had a glass of white wine. Mary paid, and she also paid for a couple of hotdogs from a stand on the corner of Market Street. On the way back to her flat they called in a small supermarket run by Asians and purchased some more bread and milk and the essential Garibaldi biscuits which Gene had demolished before heading back to the Black Cat Club.
The time had passed pretty quickly and it was late afternoon in no time. Gene offered to make the tea and Mary let him whilst she took a leisurely bath.
Gene found a red and white checked tablecloth in a kitchen drawer, another Luigis reminder, and placed it on the small table. He also found some candles which he lit. He wanted to create a nice atmosphere, and try and get away from the melancholic memories of the day.
As Mary emerged fresh and fragrant clad in a grey velvet tracksuit her hair piled on top of her head, she laughed when she saw the candlelit scene, and laughed even more when she saw Gene’s cuisine.
“Hoops! I’ am afraid” Gene smirked placing two plates of of spaghetti hoops on toast.
“I know. I really need to do a proper shop. When I get paid on Monday we will go, together”.
They ate in silence once more, both desparate to avoid both the topic of the funeral, and the events of the previous night. Gene liked the idea of spending more time with Mary. She was fun. She was also deep, but then so was he. They both harboured secrets. They were two of a kind.
“Oh how can I have forgotten the wine! “ Gene commented once his plate was clean.
“Never mind , we have all night”. Mary said, as she helped him clear away the dishes.
“I’ll wash, you dry” Mary said handing Gene the tea-towel.
What a picture this must make, Gene thought to himself. Who would have thought it, Gene Hunt, ensconced in domesticity. If only Ray Carling could see him now...Mind you, he had Ray to thank for this didn’t he? After all it was the card he pulled from Ray’s desk that had lead him here.
Damn and Blast. Forget Bloody Ray Carling and the rest of them. That was then. This was now. He need to enjoy every moment. He was a changed man.
The evening wore on, the wine was opened once more. As they settled in front of the TV for a second night watching more mindless rubbish, Gene’s mind wandered slightly, as he looked ahead. Maybe he and Mary could get a better place eventually. He would love to get her out of that dive. OK it was a bit soon to be thinking all these things but he felt he had made a connection with her, a bond, and he needed to act on it, before some other cretin made a move on her. Yet he needed to get to know her more, find out about her past, and what it was that haunted her so badly.
Happy in each other’s company they chatted about nothing in particular. Mary told him about some of the punters in the club and about one or two of the girls. Gene told her about some of the escapades he got into with Sam, and Ray. Jesus. He couldn’t get away from talking about them, but he may as well face it, that part of his life was over. Dead. He must deal with and be able to talk about them normally. However, he couldn’t talk about Bolly. Not now. Not ever.
Despite moaning about the appalling TV, neither of them could be bothered to get up and put a film on. Gene remembered the videos shoved under the settee and half hoped there would be a knock on the door again so that he might be left alone for at least ten minutes.
Maybe they should have an early night.
By the time the news came on, both were feeling a little drunk again, and somewhat tired. However, Mary suddenly stirred from Gene’s arms and grabbing the remote control, turned the TV off. In doing so, Gene could hear the music pulsating from below.
“Do you know what I want to do right now?” Mary asked, holding his hand.
Gene hoped it was the same thing he wanted to do. Perhaps she could read his mind.
“I thought you would never ask” he smiled back with what he hoped was a killer smile to melt her heart. He wished she wouldn’t look at him with those come-to-bed eyes.
“Dance! I want to dance!” Mary grabbed both Gene’s hands and tried to pull him to his feet.
“No way. Gene Hunt does not dance”. A feeling of déjà-vu swept over him .
Mary headed over to the CD player and fiddled with the radio dial.
“There’s a station I really like, I listen to it when I am not working..it plays lots of old tracks..oh here it is . It’s called Magic. Plays romantic songs on a Saturday night. It should be three in a row time soon, we can do some serious smooching”
She turned back to Gene, and pulled him up. This time he didn’t resist.
“Are you trying to seduce me again, Miss?” he whispered against her hair as he took her in his arms and they began to slow-dance. She felt almost perfect next to him. She pressed her curvaceous body up against him and he pulled the bobble from her hair, causing her curls to cascade down her back. He wound his fingers in her hair, relishing the feel of the silken tresses between his fingers. She was real. All woman. Flesh and blood. God, he wanted her so badly. This was it now. This was his life and how it would be. It was mapped out for him. His destiny.
The Lionel Ritchie song ended, and the DJ waffled on, as DJs do.
As Mary so rightly predicted , after a few adverts and jingles, the DJ announced it was “Three in a row “ time. Having both taken a quick drink of wine, they resumed their smooching. Gene vaguely recognised the song , and the band. The singer...That voice. He had heard it before somewhere.
Mary looked up at him, touching his face tenderly.
“Would you do anything for me, Gene?”
“Anything”, he murmured, his eyes closed.
“Would you fly for me too?”
Gene thought it was a bit of a strange question but given that the song was about the same subject he threw his head back and laughed.
“Of course, I’ll fly for you”.
Mary suddenly pushed him away slightly and keeping hold of his hands started to dance to a different beat. Swaying her hips seductively Gene tried to follow her lead, twirling her under his arms, this way, and that, his Cuban cowboy heels strutting as they posed pase double style, dirty dancing to the remainder of the song.
“Gene, do..you..think this could be love?” Mary gazed up at him, suddenly still, her eyes full of longing. Gene thought he could almost see into her very soul.
“Oh Mary, Mary.” He sighed. “ I don’t know, but” he took her face in his hands “ I know this much is true..” and he kissed her with such a passion that the kiss seemed to go on forever as they clung to each other for dear life.
And then suddenly the music changed. Gene opened his eyes, and in horror saw that it wasn’t Mary he was kissing. It was Alex.
“Fuck me”
“Don't I mean nothing to you, Gene”. Her voice quivered, her eyes pleading, full of tears.
“Bolly.”
“Get this bloody song of the radio. “ Gene recognised it as the slow song Alex had put on after their date at Luigis. The same dance they had smooched to. He had been about to kiss her when she had answered a knock at the door. And now she was here with him. Jesus Christ in Heaven, this was not real, it was not happening....
“Mary! I said turn the damn song off” Gene looked bewildered. Alex had gone. Mary had gone.
“Mary? Where the hell are you? Alex, Bolls, for God’s sake. Talk to me , somebody.Please before I go insane. I can’t take this any longer...”
He glanced and saw the door to the flat was ajar. Perhaps Mary, or Alex had gone outside. He grabbed his coat from the arm of the sofa, and putting it on, sprinted downstairs and into the night, leaving the final song of the three blasting out to an empty room, but not before he had heard some of the words.. Gold! He had thought he had finally struck Gold with Mary. Maybe he had been wrong. Maybe he should never have shacked up with her here. He had betrayed Alex. He had betrayed Alex. He didn’t know Mary, not really. Who the hell was she? He knew Alex, inside out. Had spent 3 years with her, they had shared so much...
As Gene walked the streets, searching, for what, he wasn’t quite sure. Mary? Yet did he really want to find her? Alex? By God, he wanted to find her. Too damn right.
“Alex. Where are you?”
“I’m here Gene!”
The voice made him spin round. Yet he couldn’t see her.
“Over here, Gene” He spun round again in different direction. Still nothing. A wind had gotten up, and there was rain in the air. Gene ran into the darkness, shouting at the top of his voice like a lunatic.
“Stop bloody playing with me you stupid mare. I am sorry OK. I should never have slept with her. It meant nothing. It’s you I want. You. Do you not understand. I miss you. I have never missed anything so much in my bloody life. I am nothing without you. Nothing do you understand. You don’t know what you have got till it’s gone. You have gone and my life is empty. My darling, darling bloody Bollyknickers...Drake, I love you”.
Silence. His breathing was rapid. He looked around him. The voice appeared to have gone. He was shit scared. He had to get out of the place. Unaware of the figure in the shadow of the railway bridge, he began to run. As fast as his boots could carry him, running in the night, with the night, on and on he went, through the darkened and dimly lit streets as once more the heavens opened and the rain came down, matching the tears that poured down his cheeks for the second time that day.
“Oh Bolly, I should never have done it. To you, or the others." At that point he remembered the bloody videos he hadn't gotten to watch. Damnation. If only.... He continued his rant to himself, or whoever was listening... " I was selfish. Mean. It was for my own purposes. I should have let you go, all of you. It was so so wrong. Please, will you ever ever forgive me. I am not the Gene you knew, I am a changed man. Please give me a sign...”
Exhausted, he stopped in his tracks, placing his hands on his knees, he bent down trying to catch his breath.
At that moment, a shadow ran across his path. It was a black cat. That should be lucky. Was it a sign from Alex?
As he stood up to get his bearings, he realised where his ramblings had brought him. He was back at All Soul’s Church, and this time the door was wide open.
Without hesitation, he entered, his breathing still erratic, his mind still racing, irrational thoughts going round and round, like a man possessed. What was the point any more. Nobody cared. Nobody fucking cared.
Yet he knew what he had to do. The time had come.
“Well, well, well, Gene. That took you a while, but I knew you would be back” a voice said “Take a pew”.
Gene walked slowly up the alter to where the familiar figure of the priest was standing, facing him, waiting.
Gene, the non religious man, his knuckles clenching, the tension so high he felt he would burst, made the sign of the cross, took a deep breath, and dropped to his knees, uttering the very words he didn’t ever want to say, or admit;
“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned”.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Ch: 14 Listen To Your Heart




Gene had been walking the streets of Manchester again for a few hours. His head was all over the place. Having found some money in the bottom of his breast pocket he had called into a pub on Oldham Road, desparate for a drink like some alkie, but the whisky had done very little to help his state of mind. What the hell was going on? He really didn’t know. His heart was racing, his brain was hurting. Somebody was messing with his head. Was it Mary? Gene had known the girl for but a few days but he was growing closer to her by the minute. Why? Maybe it was because of the close proximity and the intimate circumstances. Perhaps the reason was because she had saved him from those bastard muggers and was helping him. Or maybe there was some other reason. He found her attractive, funny, and he had an overwhelming urge to look after her . She had a vulnerable side which brought out the protective Manc. Lion to the fore. Jesus, he had had these feelings for Bolls too but that had grown over the years, not like this in a matter of a week. It wasn’t right, surely. Maybe he should just go and find somewhere to stay there and then, cut all ties with her, get back to where he intended. It would be wrong to shack up with her. He couldn’t, he wouldn’t betray Alex and the memory of what he had.
Yet what did he have now? Gene wandered along aimlessly and realised he was back to his familiar surroundings at Piccadilly, and saw the Black Cat Club, the lights already on . He glanced at his watch, lit and cigarette and leaned against the wall of the train station, observing. There wasn’t much in the way of people watching, even the prozzies weren’t around, but as he watched a young couple leave the train station arm in arm he felt a pang of jealousy. The girl was young and pretty enough. She gazed up at her partner, who appeared to be somewhat older than her, not much of a looker himself, in fact Gene thought he looked a bit geeky. Yet they seemed happy, and in love. Ha. Whatever that means. An elderly couple were walking towards him, both carrying small overnight bags. They must have been in their their 70s at least.
“Excuse me, do you have the correct time?” the old man asked Gene.
“Almost 7 o’clock Squire. Goin somewhere nice?” Gene said motioning to their luggage.
“Oh we are going to London, to Diana’s Funeral” his wife said. Gene noticed her white hair, set off against her black outfit. Her blue eyes twinkled as she looked at him. How many years had they been married?
He had forgotten about that. The funeral. It was tomorrow, Saturday. What could Gene say to the couple ? Certainly not “Enjoy yourselves” or “Have a nice time”. Instead he merely replied politely;
“Don’t miss your train then. Hope it all goes well”.
As he watched the couple, arm in arm, hurry along to catch their train, that dark feeling started to hit him once more. He noticed a West Indian girl, toddler at her side, and a baby in a pushchair on the other side of the road heading towards London Road. Was she heading home maybe, to join her loving husband too? God, everyone seemed to have somebody. Somebody who cared. Somebody to care for, and share things with. And what did he have? Jack Shit. He had never experienced the love of a woman for 25 years plus. Or the joy of children. Jesus. He was becoming maudlin in his old age. He had never felt so alone in his life. He had nobody. All he had were these damn feelings of guilt. Not just about Alex, but the others. He had kept them all there, in his little world, beyond their will. He had tried to give them “a life”, one they had also missed out on. Yet now they had all bloody gone and left him and he was stuck in this godforsaken hole with only haunting nightmares and guilt trips for company. The only people he had met were Mary, and some lunatic pilot masqarading as a priest. He deserved better.
As he took the last drag from his ciggie, he made a decision.
“Balls to the lot of it! “ he said out loud. He was only human. He had needs, wants, just like anybody else. It was time he forgot about the past, once and for all. He needed to move on. Tossing the butt in the gutter, he marched across the road, opened the door to the Black Cat Club and sprinted up the stairs.

The smell of burnt toast greeted him as he opened the door to Mary’s flat, the music from downstairs blasting out.
Mary was sitting at the kitchen table, half a bottle of red wine in front of her. Jesus. He had never been so glad to see anyone in his life.
“Where have you been? I thought you’d gone.” She looked up, her eyes red rimmed as though she had been crying.
“I could ask the same of you” Gene demanded, then his tone softened “I was worried for you back there. You just ...disappeared”.
“Sorry. Couldn’t hang about there. It gives me the creeps sometimes”. She replied.
Gene didn’t think he should push it so changed the subject.
“Something smells nice” he lied, although aside from the burnt smell he could also smell something nice cooking. He was starving.
“Dinner's in the oven. I thought I would make us something special. I burnt the garlic bread since you didn’t show up in time.”
“Well I’m here now aren’t I?” Gene smiled, taking his coat off and placing it over the back of a chair
“So dish up, and I’ll be Mother, and pour us both some wine”.
Ten minutes later as they were tucking into Spagehtti Bolagnese, Gene tried to dispel the memories it was evoking of Luigis. Mary was a good cook , it obviously wasn’t any ready dinner crap. He could have managed seconds he thought, licking his lips as he handed her a clean plate.
“Would you like afters?” Mary asked smiling at him as she put the dishes in the sink.
“MMm thought you’d never ask” Gene smiled back. Maybe tonight he would get lucky! It was about time after all. He had a feeling Mary might be up for it too.

“I’ve only got some ice cream” she replied coyly. Gene felt a little disappointed. Maybe she wasn’t reading his signals. Or maybe he was mis-reading hers.
“Ice-cream is fine” he replied “All we need now are the films and some popcorn”.
“I have a couple over there we can watch. I need to take my mind of things, and tomorrow...”
“Oh yes, the Princess’s funeral” Gene tried to be sensitive. He knew a lot of people all around the world were feeling this overwhelming sense of grief. He had been watching the news all week.
“We’d best get comfy then hadn’t we?” he sat down on the sofa and patted the seat next to him.
Mary took another bottle of red wine from the fridge and sat down next to Gene, a little apprehensively. Gene decided he wouldn’t pounce. No. He would play it cool, see how the night progressed, but fingers crossed by midnight he would be on a promise.

Surprisingly the night passed fairly quickly. With the wine flowing and warming his veins Gene sat back on the sofa enjoying the films.
“This is my favourite” Mary had announced as she placed the first one in the video machine.
A romantic comedy, Gene wasn’t in the least bit bothered that there were no cowboys in sight.
“You’re a pretty woman too” he slipped his arm around Mary as she leaned against him on the battered old settee. She looked beautiful with her tousled auburn curls and short pink mini dress. She curled her bare feet up under her. Gene noticed her bright pink toenails, and an uncanny resemblance to the girl in the movie. A girl who was also a prostitute.
“And I wish you were my Richard Gere, come to take me away from all this” she relaxed and snuggled into him. God this felt good, Gene thought. This is what he had been missing....
He kissed the top of her head as she lay it against his shoulder, taking in the scent of her shampoo and perfume, a heady musky scent. Sensual but not cloying. He wanted her.
Towards the end of the film, they were interrupted by a sharp knock on the door. Mary jumped up. It was one of the girls from the club. Somebody wanted a key to the locker room which Mary had.
“I won’t be long Gene, back in a sec “ she said “Stick another film on – you choose”
“Ok. And I’ll keep it warm for you!” he winked. Mary winked back. Yes! Gene motioned a thist in the air as she closed the door behind her. Tonight was the night. He nipped to the bathroom, had a slash, quickly brushed his teeth, and checked the cabinet, happy to see a box of “supplies”. Gene took a pack of three out. They were ribbed but they would have to do. Beggars can’t be choosers.He slipped them into his trouser pocket and went back to the living room before Mary returned.
He went to find the next film to watch. There was a pile of videos lying on the floor next to the TV. He was just about to take the one from the top when something caught his eye. Each of the 3 videos lying underneath were labelled clearly with the names “Ray”, “Chris”, “Shaz”. Shit. Gene took the first one out, and mesmerised watched as Ray’s face appeared on the screen. What the hell...? Suddenly he heard movement, and realised Mary was coming up the stairs, she was laughing and chatting to somebody. He stopped the video, shoved it back in the box, and quickly moved all 3 under sofa out of the way, and then stuck on the film that had been at the top of the pile. He would watch them when she next went to work.
“Oohh. This film is lovely, but it’s so sad Gene. It makes me cry. It will make you cry too” Mary said as she poured them both another glass of wine.
As they settled down comfortably again on the sofa Gene also relaxed more and actually felt the best he had in a long time. Fine Wine and a fine woman. Mary lay in his arms and he noticed she was actually falling asleep. Her eyes kept on closing as she watched the film. Damn. So much for his promise. Yet he found, to his surprise, it didn’t matter. It wasn’t just about lust. Or sex. No. There was something more going on here. Could it really happen that quick, so soon?
As he held her gently, stroking her hair, he watched the film alone and realised she was quite right. As it progressed he started to feel a little agitated. Bloody Hell, it was a bit too near the knuckle. Some geezer gets killed and yet remains with his wife as a ghost, following her around. Gene didn’t think he could stick it out, but Mary was sleeping and he couldn’t move or bear to disturb her. And those damn videos were playing on his mind. What was on them? He had little choice but to stay put and endure it. By the time he reached “Unchained Melody” and a scene where the couple were playing with a potter’s wheel he had lost it.
“Gene!”.
He looked up.
The voice, it wasn’t Mary, she was sleeping soundly.
“Gene”.
He glanced back at the TV screen. The film still played. Only it wasn’t the same couple any more. No. Alex Drake was sitting at the potter’s wheel, and he, Gene Hunt was standing behind her, his arms holding her as he gently kissed her neck, whilst the haunting melody echoed around them.
“Oh my love, my darling, I hunger for your touch, a long lonely time”.
Jesus Christ.
Gene could take no more. He stared at the screen. A lump in his throat, and the tears started to well up. Within seconds they were streaming down his face. He let out an uncontrollable sob which startled Mary. As she turned to him, he noticed she too, was weeping.
“I know what happens. I cry every time, even when I was sleeping, I could hear the music”. She said, and gently touching Gene’s face, she took him in her arms, pressing his head into her neck and smoothing his hair as he broke down and cried like a baby.
Soothing him with soft words and stroking his face, his neck, his shoulders, she held him tightly until his paroxisyms started to subside.
He wiped his eyes, and his nose on his shirt sleeve.
“Sorry” he apologised sheepishly “don’t know what came over me...”
“Hush” Mary placed a finger on his lips “It was needed, Gene. It’s been pent-up for so long, all the emotion”.
“It’s not the only thing pent-up” Gene commented, gathering a little more composure, he was surprised to find he was getting a hard-on. He cupped Mary’’s face in his hands, and gently brought his lips down onto hers. The kiss at first, was tender, and grew more deeper, as he wound his fingers into her hair, and she in turn, caressed the back of his neck. His shirt was undone,and he was feeling a little hot under the collar. He kissed her more passionately, and she equalled it.
“Don’t leave me Mary, I need you” he rasped in her ear, his breathing becoming a little erratic “I just want to feel better”. He took her hand in his and placed it against his chest, his heart pumping fast.
“Listen to that . Listen to my heart. Save me Mary, Please , save me”.
Mary stood up and held out her hand.
“Come on, baby. I know how to make you feel better”.
Gene took it, as she led him slowly into the bedroom. She would be his pretty woman, and he, her officer and gentleman. Nothing could save him now.

Music: Listen To Your Heart-Roxette

Friday, 3 September 2010

Ch 13: Show Me Heaven





Gene woke up with a start, for the 2nd morning in a row. Dazed, and disorientated. As he came round, he remembered he was still in Mary’s flat, and Mary’s bed. He didn’t remember getting there the previous night. No, the last thing he recalled was seeing Ray Carling’s face peering out at him from the TV screen. Maybe it had just been a dream. He sat up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Jesus, his head was banging, his mouth like the bottom of a budgie’s cage. A shower, some paracetamol and a good fry up should do the trick, bring him back to the land of the living. It was at that point when he tried to move that he felt an arm flop over his stomach, and he realised there was a body in the bed lying next to him. Mary!. Oh God! Had they done the deed? She was lying flat on her tummy, still in a deep slumber, her auburn tresses spilling out over the pillows. Gene stared at her slender frame, and saw her black bra strap just visible above the covers. It had slipped down, and very gently he lifted it up back on to her shoulder, being careful not to wake her. She must be tired. An overwhelming feeling of tenderness swamped him. Maybe they hadn’t “done it”, the bra would have been off in seconds, he reflected. He may be going mad, but he was certain he hadn’t lost his touch where women were concerned.
Carefully, he removed her arm and manouvered himself out of bed. His ribs were still a little tender. Maybe he would have a bath instead. Pulling on Mary’s dressing gown again, he tiptoed barefoot across the carpet, through the mess of strewn underwear and into the bathroom. A bath would take too long to run so he opted for the shower. However, there was no hot water and so he stood underneath the freezing cold water, freezing his nuts off. Ten minutes and some alka-seltzer later, feeling more refreshed and alive than he had in days, he set about making breakfast – enough for two. He fried some bacon, a couple of sausages, scrambled some eggs and was just doing fried bread when the bedroom door opened.
“Good Morning Gene.”
Gene turned round, spatula in hand, thinking how easy this multi-tasking lark was. He had no idea why women complained all the time. Only his mind was blown away by the vision before him. Mary was wearing his white shirt, and very little else. Stirring the baked beans, he realised something else was stirring. Damn, maybe he should have spent longer under the cold shower. There was no denying Mary was a damn fine looking woman. Sexual and sensual. In his shirt too! Bloody Hell!
“Sit down, love. I’ve made you something to eat. It’s not exactly breakfast at Tiffany’s!” he laughed, nodding his head towards the radio which just happened to be playing that very same song.
“Good film. I like films.” Mary said, stifling a yawn as she took a seat at the small square kitchen table.
“It’s the least I could do. You have been very kind to me” replied Gene as he put down a full English cooked breakfast before her. Glancing at the kitchen clock Gene noticed it was more like lunch let alone breakfast it was almost 12 noon.
“Tuck in. “ said Gene as he piled lashings of brown sauce on his own plate before shovelling the food in. God he really was ravenous. They ate in comfortable silence . Mary’s appetite appeared to match his own and it wasn’t until both had clean plates that Gene , after slurping a mug of tea finally spoke;
“Well. Er... did we?”
“What?” Mary glanced up at him coyly under head mass of auburn hair. God she looked so beautiful and dishevelled.
“Last night. You know. We were in bed together... I just thought I.. I mean...”
“I was that memorable?” Mary looked hurt and then started laughing “No. We didn’t. It was late when I got in and found you sprawled out over there, dead to the world...” she nodded towards the sofa and continued;
“you were in some stupor. It looked like you had an interesting night amusing yourself. I did wonder that I had been broken into at first, there were cds all over the place, and just look at the state of the TV”.
Gene looked across at the large dent on the top of the box. No wonder his knuckles were feeling bruised.
“Sorry” he apologised sheepishly.
“You did wake up, just long enough for me to get you in to the bedroom, and put you to bed, again!” Mary smiled, not appearing to be angry in the least. Gene felt she had a very placid nature. What was she doing in a place like this, and working in that club. You had to be a tough old boot for that kind of job.
“I drank all your whisky too”. Gene confessed.
“No problem. It’s been there forever. I never touch the stuff myself.”.
She glanced up at him and smiled again, and he noticed she had some brown sauce on her chin.
“Come here” he said, and taking the tea-towel he took her chin in his hands and gently wiped away the sauce. She seemed a little embarrassed. Perhaps he shouldn’t have done that. It did feel very intimate. He had a flashback suddenly in his mind, of Bolly kissing him, and the pain cut through him like a knife. The last thing Gene wanted or needed was to get intimate with anybody, but he had needs like any other hot bloodied male and it was going to prove difficult being in this small flat for much longer with such a beautiful sexy girl.
“So....how long have you worked, lived here?” he asked her.
“A while”. Mary’s answer was vague. Gene needed to find out more about her, without mentioning Sam Tyler for starters.
“Have you always lived here alone then?”
Mary nodded her head.
“Since...when?. I used to live round here. Maybe we know the same people.....”
“What is this? The Spanish Inquisition?” suddenly Mary’s mood shifted somewhat. Gene sensed her defences were up and he was aware he was sounding in DCI Gene Hunt interrogation mode. He smiled at her.
“Sorry....”
“Sorry” she said at exactly the same time. They both started laughing.
“Gone on...what would you like to do today?” Gene said, thinking he had better change the subject. Maybe he should go about finding somewhere else to stay now he was feeling a little fitter. Yet he still had no money either.
“I don’t have work until Sunday evening. .” Mary replied shrugging her shoulders.
“Well, I’m easy”. Gene smiled.
“Thought that was my line!” Mary retorted.
“Hey, don’t put yourself down, girl. Just because you work in a place like this doesn’t mean you are a tart. I know you have to do what you do for a reason. I understand, believe me” he placed his hand on hers, noticing her short trimmed nails and the red chipped nail polish.
“Well I’m all yours!” Gene leaned back on his chair feeling a little more relaxed.”We could go out and you could show me the sights, or we could stay in and you could show me Heaven!” Bloody Hell, horny sod, what had made him say that he thought. He would frighten the poor girl away.
“Actually, I have a few errands to do. I have to go somewhere.” Gene noticed Mary seemed a little subdued as her mind seemed to wander as she looked across towards the window, as though she were in some faraway place.
“Ok. I’ll just stay here and eat all your biscuits, trash the house again and finish of the TV” Gene said trying to be light-hearted. He really didn’t want to pry too much, or push her. She was his only friend, and ally at the moment.
“I’ll just go and freshen up. Thanks for the breakfast”.
As Mary left him alone with his thoughts, Gene put the dirty dishes onto the drainer. At least he could busy himself and wash them up later. He may even hoover up the mess he caused the previous evening. God, what was wrong with him. Gene Hunt – Domestic Goddess!
Some twenty minutes later, Mary emerged, clad in a black and white striped t-shirt, her jeans tucked into some high-heeled black boots, and her hair scrunched into a ponytail. She still looked beautiful, and vulnerable. He wondered why she always looked so sad. As though she were harbouring a deep secret.
“Are you coming with me then?” Mary asked which surprised Gene but he didn’t question her and simply retrieved his overcoat from the bedroom and left the flat with the young woman, feeling a little intrigued as to where they were heading.
A quick walk through the streets of Manchester,and a short bus ride later and Gene was amazed to find himself not a million miles away from where he had been a few nights ago, near the Gasworks. Mary had nipped into a nearby florists and for a moment Gene thought they were heading for Ancoats Hospital to visit some relative of hers, only it was as they proceeded further and the Fire Station came into sight at Philips Park that Gene realised where their destination was.
A shiver ran down his spine, despite the fact that he was wearing his overcoat on this early September day. He glanced up at the Gas-o-meter which was only half full. Soon Winter would be approaching. As he entered the cemetery gates the feeling of gloom became stronger. Mary suddenly took his hand, and smiled at him. They walked slowly hand in hand along the main paths, deeper into the cemetery grounds until they reached an area near the back which overlooked the abbatoir across the road. Gene could smell the stench of death and rotting carcasses and wanted to heave, fearful that his breakfast would come back up.
“Leave me now, please, Gene” Mary said, letting go of his hand.
“Are you mad?” Gene asked her “I am not leaving you here, alone. Jesus, it’s not safe. Anything could happen.”
“I want to be alone. I have to be.” Mary pleaded with him, tears welling up in her eyes, clutching her bunch of wilting blooms to her chest. Gene felt a well of emotion sweep over him. He wanted to pull Mary towards him, hold her in his arms, comfort her.
“You lost somebody? Somebody close? Special?”he asked gently brushing a strand of hair away from her face.
She simply bowed her head and nodded.
“Go on” Gene motioned towards the nearby graves “I’ll not be far away though”.
Gene, reluctant to stray too far, watched the young woman turn and walk towards some of the graves. He watched her bend down next to one, place the flowers, and then bury her head in her hands.
Bloody Hell, this was emotional, Gene thought.
Not given to walking round cemetaries either morning or night, he wandered around for a while. The noise of the traffic could be heard on the road, and the familiar sound of the cemetery birds. He looked up to see them, either ravens or crows, sitting on top of the crematorium building. He didn’t expect to see much life although there were one or two visitors, attending graves, both old and newly created ones. He sat down on a bench, under a large tree and lit up a cig he found in his breast pocket, watching an elderly grave-digger in a brown mac going about his business
“That’s one thing I wouldn’t like, bloody dead-end job!” Gene tried to amuse himself. How long he sat there he was unsure. He threw a cautionary glance back to the area where Mary was from time to time, and with relief noticed she was still sitting beside the grave, talking, her auburn head bobbing up and down, telling whoever it was all her news. Throwing his cigarette bush into the bushes, he gazed up at the sky. There were a few dark clouds gathering. He shivered as though somebody had walked over his grave. He folded his arms in front of his chest and closed his eyes. Maybe he would just grab a quick five or ten minutes. Silence was golden....
The sound of a church bell startled him. He opened his eyes...
“What the....?” Gene realised he was still sitting on the cemetery bench. Jesus. Three o’clock. Where had the time gone? Had he been asleep that long? Surely not?
“Bleedin’ Hell, Mary!” He shot up and started pacing back towards the place where he had left her. He couldn’t see her easily. She must still be kneeling on the ground. Gene felt a few spots of rain in the air and a wind had gotten up, blowing an empty crisp packet and rustling the first leaves of Autumn that had begun to fall. Gene prayed she was still there, also thinking for somebody not religious he had prayed a lot of late.
Where was she? Where was that grave, surely it was here, near the tree? He just had to look for the flowers she had laid, maybe he would discover who she had lost.
For a moment Gene thought he had taken the wrong path. The graves here were indeed very old, some of the headstones virtually indecipherable. Yet from the brief insight Gene had had when he left Mary earlier the grave she had headed towards appeared to have a clean looking and modern marble headstone. He turned the corner and then walked back on himself. Fear beginning to well up inside, not for himself but for Mary. Perhaps he was being too cautious, too over-protective. If she had been visting for some time then she would have her wits about her, surely?
Gene walked back along the row of graves once more, looking for an insight, a clue, anything. Then he realised he didn’t even know her surname. Fat lot of bloody use that was he cursed to himself.
“Crawww, Crawww, Crawwww “ the noise of a crow sitting on top of a headstone startled him and he turned to give it the evil eye. As he did, he stopped in his tracks. He swallowed sharply to try and rid the lump in his throat.
For staring back at him, clear as day, the name on the headstone read.
“Raymond Carling”.
Gene stared in disbelief, not taking in anything. His eyes slowly moved to the adjacent stone.
“Christopher Skelton”.
Jesus wept. This was not real. It couldn’t be. No way.
Lying next to Chris’s stone, Sharon Grainger.
“Oh my God”.
He came to the fourth one, knowing in his heart what it would read. He dropped to his knees.
“Alexandra Drake”.
“oh Bolly, my darling,darling Bolly.” Tears welled up and he couldn’t hold them back any longer. They were all here, together. Well almost. What about Sam? For a moment he had a wild thought maybe the grave Mary had visited was Sam’s? Or Annie’s. If her address book entry was correct , she had known them.
Wiping his tears on his sleeve, and still on his knees on the gravel path he saw that there was no fifth grave in the row. No headstone. Only a newly dug hole in the ground, the fresh smell of the turned earth was pungent in the falling rain. Gene knew whose grave that was going to be. No. No. No. He had to fight it. He let out a cry from somewhere deep within the back of his throat.
“Get up Gene, you Wuss!”
The voice was instantly recognisable. A voice he had not wanted to hear again.
He stumbled to his feet, and turned, his hand going to the gun in his pocket.
“You Bastard”.
The man in the rainmac and glasses stared back at him, grinning.
“Surely you didn’t think you had seen the last of me, Gene. I did have a job to do. I have unfinished business”.
“If you do not get out of my sight right this minute, Jim Bastard Keats, I swear to God I will blast you right out of the sky”.
“Ha, and what good will that do you? Go on then, shoot me, shoot me dead” . Keats jigged around, goading Gene to pull the trigger.
“Go on. “
“Tell me you swine, what have done with her? Where’s Mary?” Gene demanded.
“Oh...Mary...Mary..quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Or is it Mary had a little lamb...Tasty bit of skirt isn’t she Gene? Bet you’d like to give her one, wouldn’t you, screw her till the cows come home. I’ve seen you lusting after her. One of the seven deadly sins you know. Temptation. I don’t think the lovely Alex would like it though do you? To have a replacement so quickly too. She couldn’t have meant much to you Gene, after 3 years together, not if you would be so quick to shack up with some tart with a heart..you won’t be going to Heaven, matey.”
“STOP IT! Just shut the fuck up! “ Gene shouted, getting angrier by the minute “ I swear I will pull this trigger on the count of 3” He aimed it at Keat’s head, planning to take out each lens in his glasses. He wanted to blast the little runt to kingdom come.
“Oh, but Alex is DEAD! Isn’t she Gene? Just like the others, Ray, and Chris, and Shaz and all your other little friends. Say it Gene, admit it. They are all DEAD, DEAD, DEAD! Just like you Gene. You are DEAD, DEAD, DEAD. Stop fighting it. You are on the road to damnation and Hell and I have come to get you.“
“Gene!”
Another voice shouted him.
“Alex? Alex. Help me please. Alex , if you can hear me. Any of you? Ray, Shaz, Chris, somebody, please please help me . I can’t take any more....”
He turned back to see that Keats had vanished. Where? Who knew? Gene didn’t care. All he knew is that he had leave right now, and find Mary, make sure she was safe. He had a gut feeling she would be.
As he turned to make his way towards the exit, he shivered passing the new grave. Tentatively he teetered over the edge and gazed into the deep hole. Lying at the bottom, was a bunch of wilted roses – the same flowers Mary had clutched to her heart a short time ago. Gene retched and vomited into the gaping hole. His head started to spin and he could hear evil laughing ringing through his ears.
What in the name of Christ was happening to him? He didn’t know. The only thing he knew was that he had to get out of the place and fast, and as he started along the pathway towards the gates before they closed he felt confused, and frightened. He was John Wayne. Top Gun. Gene Hunt, the Gene Genie did not do scared, yet he had never felt so terrified in all of his life, and he fled out of the cemetery as though the devil himself were on his tail.

Music : Show me Heaven - Maria Mckee

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Extra: "SHANG-A-LANG" Bay City Rollers

Ch 12: Mary's Prayer






Gene tentatively tried to open his eyes. Everything appeared blurred. He blinked, and then tried again and found himself gazing up at a white ceiling, with a thin white fluorescent strip light glaring down. Oh God. This is must be it. He was lying flat on his back on what must be either Heaven, Hell or a coma. The million dollar question if it were the latter is which year had he bloody well landed in now?
He heard a noise and as he turned his head slowly to his left he could see a small TV screen.
“Don’t move!” a voice said.
Those are not really the kind of words one normally wants to hear on waking up Gene thought to himself – it could only mean one of two things; (a) he was under some kind of hostage situation and (b) he had broken every bone in his body and would be condemned to a life as a vegetable. He wriggled his hands, and then his fingers, and then ventured further down to his toes.
“So, you’re back with us then?” the voice said again.
It was neither the voice of an angel, or kidnapper but it belonged in fact to the girl from the nightclub, only she was no longer wearing her tight cat suit. She was dressed in nothing but a large white t-shirt which ended just at the top of her thighs. Gene was pleased to feel that other parts of his anatomy also began to wriggle. He wasn’t in Hell after all. What a sight to wake up to!
“Ouch.oohhh” Gene moaned as he tried to sit up. The girl was quickly at his side, sitting on the edge of the bed.
“Sssh I told you, not so fast.” She got hold of his hand. He noticed her short manicured fingernails were painted a bright shade of red.
“Here, take it easy. Let me help you”. She gently held Gene’s shoulders whilst he tried to sit up in the bed and she plumped up the pillows for some support. In doing so the white satin sheet that was covering him slid off almost falling to the floor. Gene felt himself blush! Gene Hunt did not blush.
“It’s OK, “ the girl replied smiling “there’s nothing I haven’t seen already”.
Another thought went through Gene’s mind. Oh no. He glanced quickly around the bedroom, clothes were strewn all over the floor, some his, some hers.
“You’ve been blobbed”.
Gene stared back at her. He had heard it called some things before in his time but certainly not that. Must be a 90s word or something. That was all he needed. And he couldn’t even remember it....
“Did the earth move for you then?”
“Sorry?”
“It was either so good I passed out or so bad I don’t want to remember”.
The girl started laughing shaking her head her, auburn hair swishing as she said
“no...no... Not that...we didn’t, you know.....”
Relief washed over Gene. Thank Christ. Although why he didn’t really know. It wasn’t as if she was an ugly cow or anything, in fact she really was quite attractive, even more so without all that slap plastered all over her face. He stared into her green eyes.
“You had your drink spiked. Not sure exactly what they used. Blobs. That’s why you passed out, that and the good kicking they gave you”.
Gene shifted slightly in the bed, pulling the satin sheet closer.
“They? You know who did this?”
The girl stood up , saying nothing, her short t-shirt leaving nothing to his imagination.
“Try and get some more rest. I have to go to work soon.
“How long have I been here?” Gene asked.
“ A while. Tomorrow is Friday. “
“Friday! That means I have been here...3 days already. Out cold?”
“You were in and out. I bathed you down when you were sweating. Luckily nothing was broken but you had a beating and have some nasty bruises...” she suddenly knelt down again, and pulled back the cover to reveal Gene’s chest and ribs. Tenderly she rang her fingertips over the area that was black and blue. Gene shivered, unsure whether it was through pain or her gentle touch.
“You have been delirious with fever, and I have sat by your side for almost 3 days.”.
“Did I...did I have nightmares?” Gene was suddenly a little apprehensive, and felt slightly vulnerable.
"Oh, yes. You woke up screaming one time, and crying, shouting out names...”
“Who? What did I say? Whose names?” Gene demanded but it fell on deaf ears for the girl simply stood up again and made her way towards the bedroom door.
“I have to go to work now. I haven’t been in for the past two nights but you seem a lot better, and you will be if you just take it easy and rest. I have left you some food in the kitchen, nothing much just sandwiches and some cake. Watch the TV. I shall be back just after midnight tonight. By the way, my name’s Mary.” She gave Gene the most beautiful smile he had seen in a long while. She had straight almost perfect white teeth and generous lips.
“I am Gene”
“I know” she replied. Gene imagined she must have found the wallet but it was as though she read his mind and she continued
“There was nothing on you. They took all your money, cards, whatever you had. So you couldn’t go anywhere or do anything anyhow. It was a good job I found you.”
Gene continued to stare at her for a few moments. So how could she possibly know who he was?
“Gotta fly. Remember don’t be trying to escape now”. She blew him a kiss as she left swiftly.
Gene lay back against the pillows and then noticed his overcoat lying over the back of a wooden chair. With a sudden movement which caused him a lot of pain he got out of the double bed and stumbled over to the chair. Quickly, with one hand holding his bruised ribs, the other fumbled deep in his coat pockets, until he felt the cool metal against his fingers, the jewellery was still there, the scraps of paper. Thank Christ. As an afterthought he checked his gun, and was pleasantly surprised to see that was still in place too. How odd. Obviously whoever it had been that had mugged him had simply been after money. He pulled out the small crucifix and as he did so out came the silver St. Christopher too, both were intertwined with each other. He held them in the palm of his hand, then clenched his fist tight around them as he brought them to his lips. He would undoe them again but not now. He placed them safely back in his coat pocket, stumbled back to bed and fell into another deep sleep.
He was awoken a few hours later by the sound of loud music blasting out, and realised it was coming from downstairs. He noticed the room was now dark . Dragging himself out of bed once more,he winced at the sharp pain in his ribs, and he pulled a white dressing gown on, obviously it belonged to Mary since it didn’t fit him at all, and padded out of the bedroom. He was in her flat. He noticed the glow of the small red lamp in the window and as he peered through the net curtain and realised he was still in the Black Cat Club. Or rather he was above it. She obviously rented one of the rooms the tarts had been on about the other night, hence the loud music. As the music fell silent, he suddenly heard another sound. This time it seemed to come from an area adjacent. He opened another door to what was a small landing, and pushed open the door in front of him. On doing so, he realised what the noise actually was for in full swing was a semi naked couple going at “it” like rabbits up against a wall.
“Oops” Gene apologised. The girl glanced up and let out a scream, not in ecstasy but at the fact that Gene’s borrowed dressing gown had fallen open leaving him standing on the landing like some flasher perv. He pulled it towards him to cover his modesty and as he turned he surveyed the room. On the far side was a couch and some lanky guy with dark greasy hair was shooting up something into his arm, a paraphanalia of drugs equipment laid out before him on the coffee table, and next to him a girl also with dyed dark hair and heavy eye makeup had her face in a plastic bag, obviously inhaling something. Although Gene had conducted enough drug busts, the sight of this turned his already queasy stomache and he merely slammed the door and went back across the landing into the safety of Mary’s flat. Jesus it certainly was a druggies’ dossing den. Welcome to Paradise.
In the kitchen he found the light snack Mary had left him and proceeded to make himself a cup of tea, with plenty of sugar. He certainly had had enough shocks to last him a life time, he couldn’t take any more. He found that he was actually pretty ravenous and once he had devoured the ham and tomato sandwich and slurped his tea down along with the sponge cake, he looked in the cupboards to see what else he could eat. Might as well make himself at home.
“Oh joy of joys” he cried fishing out a packet of Garibaldis and decided to have another brew. He noticed she also had several tins of spaghetti hoops stashed away too. A girl after my own heart, Gene thought. It looked like he had fallen on his feet with this one.
After making another cup of tea, he settled down with his packet of biscuits in front of the TV. It had been a long time since he had idled away time. Watching some mindless rubbish, he turned it up to drown out both the noise from the Club below, and the amorous couple still banging away. At least somebody was having some fun. At ten o’ clock he turned on the news. It was still full of the death of the Princess, Diana, and Dodi Al Fayed. Gene watched, trying to take it all in. What a lovely woman..to die so young... She was lying in the chapel, and her funeral was due to take place on Saturday in Westminster Abbey. Gene cast his mind back to earlier that week, in particular Sunday when he had left London. He remembered the gathering crowds and the passing comments from people. The outpouring of grief was unprecedented. He made a note to watch the funeral, and wondered how his own might have been...
“Hells Bells!” he said out loud as his soggy Garibaldi broke off, half splashing into his brew, the other half falling into his lap, down the white dressing gown.
“My own funeral.... how was it? “ Gene couldn’t even begin to contemplate the fact, especially not in his given state of mind. What was up with him? Aside from being kicked, and beaten. Maybe he was suffering from depression.
He got up and wandered back to the kitchen, wiping the dressing down gown with the dishcloth, and wondering if Mary had any booze in. As luck would have it, in the back of the cupboard, lo and behold was a bottle of Famous Grouse.
“Bingo!” Although it was a bit like rocket fuel, Gene was past caring, and as he took a swig the warm liquid slid down his throat instantly making him feel a little better. Pouring more into a glass, he started to have a nosey around the small living room, wondering about Mary’s record collection. He couldn’t see any 45s or albums but it appeared that these small CD discs did the same thing. No record players or stereograms. Just the small boombox machine. Flicking through he saw names such as Madonna, Eternal, Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, Oasis,Take That, none of which meant anything to Gene. No bloody Herb Alpert. Everyone should have a bit of Herb in their collection.
“Ah, this is more like it” Gene took another swig of his rocket fuel before inserting a CD into the machine “Hits of the 70s”.
As T-Rex blasted out, Gene started to a feel a little more relaxed, helped by the whisky.
“Telegram Sam, Telegram Sam” . There was another one, Marc Bolan, who, coincidentally had died young, and tragically in a car accident when he had hit a tree.
Gene continued to listen to the CD, and rummage through Mary’s drawers. He felt a little guilty but if he was staying here he needed to know who she was and if he was safe. As he searched her belongings he pulled out a photo album. Turning the pages he saw several black and white, run of the mill baby photos, Mary aged 12 months naked on a rug, Mary’s first day at school, several teenage disco type ones, and then nothing. Suddenly though, one caught his eye. It was on the second to the last page of the album. It was a colour polaroid, and it had been cut in half. Mary was clearly visible but whoever she had been standing next to had been eradicated completely. Obviously it must have been an old boyfriend.
“Starry, Starry Night..”.
“I hate this bloody song, it depresses me” Gene muttered to himself as Don McClean crooned out. His attention turned to Mary’s address book. Now, this looked more interesting. He scanned the pages quickly for any names which may give him an indication to who she was. Again, there was very little. Pouring yet more whisky into his glass, he was just about to give up when an almost indecipherable scrawl made him stop in his tracks.. It read
“Annie and S.T. 7 o’clock.”
So. Mary must have known Sam Tyler. At that point he realised the track he was listening to.
“Sam, Sam, you know where I am....” Bleeding Oliva Neutron Bomb. This wasn’t happening.
He switched it off and stuck in another CD quickly. “Hits of the 80s”.
“Mary is consistent with her music. I will give her that much” Gene said to himself, thinking that’s not all he would like to give her. Looking at some photographs on her wall that she must have had taken professionally he thought she really was a pretty tasty looking bird.
He sat back on the sofa, glancing at the day’s paper, listening to the Theme from Mash. Who on earth in their right mind would want to make a song about suicide? Again all the Sun newspaper was filled with was Diana’s death, the Manchester Evening News pretty much full of the same.
Gene was feeling a little bored. Flicking through the T.V. channels there didn’t appear to be much on either. Maybe he would do a crossword to while away the time. He found a pen and picked up the Sun again. He filled in a few clues, and then got stuck on a cryptic one which read...
“What is the first line of the saying that ends.....”If God doesn’t get you the Devil must?”
Gene put his whisky glass on the coffee table, and remained very still, as, whether by pure coincidence, or some unknown reason, Bowie blasted out from the boombox...the haunting strains of “Ashes to Ashes” sending a shiver down Gene’s spine. He put his hands to his head. No. This isn’t happening. He closed his eyes, yet as he did there he was....the bloody evil clown. Laughing. No....No....it wasn’t happening.
Gene got up quickly knocking the glass over, the contents spilling out. He had to turn that goddamn song off before he heard that weird bit, when Bowie does that weird howl thing.
Switching it off, the silence was welcoming. He took a few deep breaths and then got the cloth to wipe the whisky up. Luckily there hadn’t been too much in the glass. Jesus he needed another drink. He poured himself another.
“Get a grip, Hunt. I won’t be scared by some poxy poncy clown”. Switching the cds he placed the 70s hits back in the CD player.
“Yeah. This is more like it”. Gene threw a thist in the air. “Shang a bloody Lang”.
With whisky glass in one hand, Gene started to dance around the room. Sore ribs forgotten. All rules forgotten especially the “Gene Hunt does not dance” rule. The Bay City Rollers. What a bunch of bloody Jocks they were. Glancing at the coat hook, Gene suddenly spotted Mary’s scarf..what a stroke of bloody luck – it was tartan. He draped it around his neck and took another gulp of whisky before placing the glass down on the kitchen worktop. Taking the scarf he swung it round in the air before taking it in two hands and waving it from side to side as he indulged in his fantasy. He was on the stage. He was Gene Hunt. Idol. Every Girl’s dream...
“Yeah we sang Shang-a-Lang and we ran with the gang,singing do whop be do be do aye...”
As Gene performed a routine Pan’s People would have been proud of, nobody could accuse him of not being one to dance. As he strutted his stuff, Travolta style, all earlier thoughts had left his mind.
Gene clapped his hands in the air, the tartan scarf now tied round his head “Shang-a-Lang. Shang-A-Lang, Shang-A-Lang...”
“Guv!”
“Wh..at” What w..as that. Did somebody call him?
Gene turned the music off.
“Guv!”.
There it was again. The voice. He turned round, and in that split second he saw the curly head, and Ray Carling’s face on the TV screen. Large as life.
“Night Guv”. And then he was gone. Gene banged the top of the TV .
“Goddamn it Carling. Talk to me”. The TV screen was dead. Gene pressed the buttons, feeling frustration welling up, and the remote, but there was no response other than a white line across the black screen. What in Hell’s name was going on?
“Bloody rocket fuel” Gene said. That’s what it was. It had to be. Gene gulped the remainder of the whisky down, and switched the CD for Belinda Carlisle, thinking she also looked a tasty bit of stuff.
He lay down on the sofa, the white dressing gown tied tightly around his waste, the scarf still draped around his neck, and he started to fall in to a deep drunken stupor as Belinda belted out that Heaven was a place on earth.
Was it? Perhaps it really was. In the rosy glow of the lamp, Gene’s last thoughts were maybe it was. Maybe he was already in Heaven. He certainly felt like he had been to Hell and back in the past few weeks but he had the distinct feeling that his journey wasn’t over yet.

Music: Mary's Prayer - Danny Wilson