Friday, 25 February 2011

Ch 25: Mind Games (John Lennon)

A few days had passed since the events in history had rocked the world, yet to Gene it felt like weeks.

He was beginning to get tired of the whole tedious thing.

Sitting alone in the small office of All Soul’s he was trying to get his head around everything. He helped himself to some Scotch he had found in the bottom drawer. Ha, Father Daniel, a secret alkie maybe? Putting his feet up on the desk he could almost have been back in his office at Fenchurch Met.

Yet in stark reality, he wasn’t.

He was holed up with a bunch of weirdos. Knocking back a swig of whisky he reflected his current soundings, and people.

Father Daniel for instance. Who the hell was he? He certainly wasn’t your conventional priest and he knew too much about Gene, way too much. It gave Gene the willies. Plus there was all this stuff going on, with Danny boy rambling on about he, Gene, was supposed to be some saviour of souls, on his way to enlightenment. Well he didn’t feel very bloody enlightened at that moment of time. Jesus, the past few days had unleashed another bucket load of emotion in the general public. His own emotions were shot to bits as it was. And as for Mary Bloody Magdalene! Or “Maggie” as Danny called her. What was going on there? . Only yesterday he had overhead them talking in the kitchen whilst dishing out soup to the wine-os. He was listening, hidden round the corner.

“You’ve done your best Daniel, my brother”. He heard Sister Magdalene softly say.

“Oh Maggie I couldn’t have tried any more”

Bloody hell it was like something out of the mouths of Elton John and Rod Stewart, and he half expected the pair of them to burst into song at any time. They were up to something, he was sure. His paranoia set in again. They continued their conversation in whispers so he couldn’t make any of it out. Damn. There was something about Mary, he couldn’t quite place.

And now they had disappeared off together doing a bit of do-gooding down at the charity shop. No doubt they would be back soon. He poured himself another glass of whisky.

He had to get out of this place, the quicker the better. He had said it before in the past few weeks but this time he meant it. He had bad vibes, church or no church.

Sure enough, before long the church door hinge creaked and he heard footsteps on the stone floor. Daniel and Sister Mary walked in to the office.

“Drinking in the afternoon Gene, Tut, tut?”. Father Daniel picked up his half empty whisky bottle.

“Is it a crime?” Gene replied, defensively.

“That’s what you need, Geno,” Daniel continued “ a nice juicy crime maybe to get your teeth into. “

And I’d like to you to get my boot up your arse and kick you to kingdom come, Gene muttered under his breath.

“What was that Gene?” Sister Mary stood before him, a vision of loveliness and it wasn’t his beer goggles talking. She really was the most serene nun he had ever seen.

“Maggie, Mary, Sister Mary Magadalene, Maggie Bloody May I say how lovely you are looking this fine day”.
“Down boy!” Father Daniel said half jokingly.

“I’m not some bloody mad dog! " Gene replied " And for your information, I have a job. I am DCI Gene Hunt, the Gene Genie, the Manc Lion here, in God’s own earth in the city of Manchester, where I belong”. He knocked the remaining drink back in one swig and stood up, albeit a little unsteady.

“Gene. Please. Stay” Sister Maggie spoke. Gene looked back at her. She had lovely voice.

“Yes, Gene, stay and keep Mags company for a while. I have to get back to the shop. We got some designer stuff come in and I want to rifle through. I could do with a new leather jacket

Father Daniel was off, and out of the building before Gene could say Sam Tyler, leaving him with the nun.

“Pour me a glass Gene”. she motioned to the scotch.

Gene looked back at her in disbelief. Not only did he have a whisky drinking priest now he had nun with alchoholic interests.

“Just a small one, mind, I am off to Hope later, for some hospital visiting. You could come with me if you like”.

Hope Hospital was the last place Gene wanted to go, In fact he didn’t want to set foot in another hospital as long as he lived.

“We need to talk.” Sister Magdalene said taking a ladylike sip of her drink whilst Gene gulped from his third glass.

“Do we? Then talk away Mary.”

He leaned back in his chair whilst she sat across from him, straight and prim, upright and proper.

He noticed her shoes peeping out from under her habit. For a second he thought they were red. Red? Yet when he looked again they seemed to be black, flat and conservative. Maybe it was a trick of the light, the afternoon rays of September sun streaming through the stained glass window, or the drink…maybe.

There was an uncomfortable silence.

“So, go on then. What’s so important?” Gene finally asked.

“I am concerned for you Gene”.

“Well, yes I appreciate it Mother Theresa, but I am fine”.

“Gene, don’t be like this. Not with me”.

Gene continued to stare.

“Not with you? Tell, me Mary, what is it with you, about you. Is there something I should know?. Please, please, tell me now”.

“I think you know”.

“Know? Know?” Gene suddenly stood up, in anger, and with the effects of the drink and started to shout.

I’ll tell you what I know. Something is going on. Something bloody funny and I haven’t a fucking clue what..”

“Gene! Please! Remember where you are in the house of God”.

“There is no God, Sister Mary. Because if there was, I wouldn’t be here sitting talking to you. I think you know that don’t you?”

The nun looked down at her hands, clasped together as if in prayer, on her lap.

“Answer me, you do know?”

“Sit down again Gene, please”.

Gene ran his fingers through his hair one more, randomly thinking he needed a haircut.

“Promise me one thing”. Sister Mary said.

Gene didn’t speak for a few moments.


“That you will trust me, put your faith in me?”

Gene leaned across the desk towards her.

“Why? Give me one good reason why I should do that I can‘t take any more of these mind games They are doing my head in?”.

He stared into her cat-like eyes, devoid of make-up. Hazel-ish green. Eyes without a face. Eyes he had once seen before, in another life, stared into, eyes that burned into his soul, decorated with blue eye shadow maybe? No, this was becoming crazy.

“Look, Gene. I can’t say but as long as you trust me, you will be ok. I cannot say any more. If you do the right thing, it will all be fine. “

“I trust no-one” Gene replied.

“Trust me”



“Why..? Tell me.

“If it’s the last thing you do. It’s all I ask.”

Gene stared back at her. Taking the look on her face, devoid of make-up, pale, and yet still pretty, he softened. He wanted to believe her, really, he did.

“But you and …him…Father Daniel” he emphasised the word “father”.

“Please, Gene. I can’t say, not yet. Just trust me” She reached out and put her hand over his on the desk. He in turn, took it in his, and held it before ever so slowly brought it to his lips, kissing her fingers. For a moment she let him, before quickly snatching it away.


She looked back at him.

“You must. It’s for your own good”.
“Ok, Ok Gene gave in to her.

“I promise you, if it all works out….it will be worth it Gene.”.
“We have met before though, haven’t we?” She had intrigued him further, he wanted, needed, to know more. The drink as usual, had given him the courage to continue.

“I can’t..”

“Mary, come on, how am I supposed to be able to believe you, Father flaming Daniel is…”

“Please Gene! Don’t make me say anything now, because if I do, it won’t work.It won’t happen.”

“What won’t?”

Yet the nun was adamant. She was having none of it. She stood up, leaving her unfinished drink on the desk and made her way towards the door.

“Mary. Please don’t go. Just tell me…Is it to do with my journey. To this enlightenment or whatever it bloody is? I need to know.”

She nodded.

“Do you not think I have suffered enough? These past weeks have been Hell on earth”. He put his head in his hands.

“Please, Gene. Don’t give up now. You still have a way to go, but you are doing so well. You need to keep busy. Perhaps you should find a job something to do…the quicker the times passes the sooner you will get there..” Sister Mary re-assured him.

“It doesn’t bloody feel like it. All I do is suffer these tragic events. Eat, sleep, get drunk and spend my day with morons”.

The nun smiled

“A bit like being back at the Met then?”

Gene looked up suddenly.

“No. Thing’s ain’t what they used to be. And how the bloody hell do you know about the Met? And what do you mean, the quicker I get where? Mary? Mary….”

But the nun had reached the door of the office, and simply turned round to face him.

“I am off now Gene, time for hospital visiting. Think about what I have said, carefully.”

And with that she was gone.

All of it was wearing Gene out. He was shattered again. He heard a clock somewhere in the distance chime the hour of three. Maybe he would head back to the place he was calling home and have a lie down. He was aching from head to toe. He noticed each day he seemed to ache a bit more, in places he’d never hurt before, as though his body was getting tired, wearing out. Some days he felt like an old man.

The afternoon sun was out, and quite warm, like an Indian summer. He was soon back at the flat. It was empty. Switching on the radio, in the kitchen he took a few Garibaldis from the cupboard. Drink always gave him the munchies. Turning the radio up louder, he lay down on the couch, fully clothed still with his boots and overcoat on. Beads of sweat dripped from his forehead.

The song on the radio was another Elton special. “Daniel”.

Gene was immediately transported back in time. 1973. Tyler time at CID. Good times. What had become of him? Really. And Annie. He fumbled in his pocket and pulled out the crucifix and St. Christopher, still intertwined, as though they were one. He tried to undo them, to separate them but the chains were knotted up. He was getting hotter, and frustrated by the minute as he fiddled with them determined to undo. But it was no use.

“Bastard, Billy Bollocks!” He flung them down on the floor in temper and lay back.

His breathing felt heavy. Leaning over he tried to retrieve them and managed to just grasp the two necklaces and place them in the safety of his pocket once more, before he tumbled and banged his head on the side of the coffee table. That did it. He lay in a crumpled heap on the floor, out cold.

How long for, he didn't know but the next thing he knew it was a considerably darker. He opened his eyes, a little dazed, and with a tender forehead.

The radio was still blasting out, and Bob Marley’s “I shot the sherriff” was in full flow, yet suddenly the door slammed. Gene tried to focus his eyes in the darkness, and then the lights all went on, nearly blinding him, there appeared Daniel, Father Daniel looking all pleased with himself.

“Hey, Gene, check this out. Told you I would have a good rummage in those charity bags - there was some good stuff in today”.

Gene stared back at the priest who was stood before him preening, in the full length mirror, showing of his new coat - a leather jacket - the same leather jacket Gene had seen many times before - that belonged to none other than Sam Tyler.