‘Does that thing work when you just hold it out the window like that?’
‘Why the fuck wouldn’t it?’
‘Because you’re meant to hold it steady and sight your eye along it.’
‘If you want to stand out there and do it, be my guest.’ Harry pulled the speed camera in through the window, out of the lashing rain, and offered it to Pete, his arm covered in a plastic shopping bag.
‘For fuck’s sake, you’re dripping everywhere. Get that fuckin’ thing away from me.’
Harry thrust the camera back out the window. ‘I thought not, you fucking sap.’
‘What’re we doing this shit for in any case? This is Traffics’ job.’
‘You know why. To try and stop the bank holiday carnage. A show of strength. The usual bullshit. Look at this little bollix,’ Harry said, pointing through the window screen with his free hand, the heartbeat swish of the wipers barely keeping their vision clear. ‘What’s the point of putting a spoiler on a Corsa?’
‘What’s the point of a fuckin’ Corsa? It’s a car for old women.’
‘Doesn’t your Niamh drive one?’
‘Yeah, need I say more? Shops in Marks and Sparks and drives a fuckin’ Corsa. You’d never believe she used to be a nymphette with a wardrobe of cheap, slutty threads and rode a fuckin’ motorbike. Racing leathers an all. Hot as feckin’ chilli.’
‘She probably never thought you’d be buying cheap suits from Aldi and rolling round in a ten year old Saab either.’
‘There’s nothing wrong with a Saab,’ Pete muttered, watching the Corsa reverse into a parking space fifty metres down on the far side of the road.
‘And you think a Corsa’s a car for the nearly dead? I’m surprised you’re not wearing a cardigan and smoking a fuckin’ pipe. Must be a laugh a minute in your house every night – you there in your flannel pyjamas and sad slippers, drinking cocoa whilst you read the Indo, and Niamh in her ankle length dressing gown, clattering away with her knitting whilst listening to John Creedon on the radio.’
‘Nothing wrong with John Creedon. Besides, the only laughing in your house is by your kids ripping the piss out of their sad fuck of a father.’
‘Little fuckers,’ Harry agreed. ‘A couple more years and Gary’ll be boosting cars. He’s already been caught shoplifting twice and the odd note keeps disappearing from my wallet.’
‘And what are you going to do about it? Can hardly go to the guards,’ Pete chuckled.
‘That’s half the problem. Little shit thinks he’s immune – that I’m going to cover his ass all the time. Next time he’s caught I’m just going to let justice take its course. Teach the fucker a lesson.’
‘Talking of ass, look at that.’ Pete pointed to the Corsa, where a woman had eased herself out onto the pavement, a mini denim skirt over opaque, black tights, shrugging herself into a short coat.
‘I thought you’d stopped fancying women?’
‘What?’ Pete said, watching the woman hurrying down the street, her hood up, the rain gusting at her back.
‘Two weeks ago you were telling me you’d given up on women. We could have had Chloe Gaines naked in the back of the car and you wouldn’t have been interested.’
‘Who says I’m interested?’
‘You’ve just spent the last thirty seconds with your tongue hanging out staring at her arse.’
‘And so have you apparently. According to that thing, she was doing 5.2 miles an hour.’
‘Well, she’s got a nice little motor on her. I bet she rides like a fuckin’ dream.’
‘Yeah, in your dreams. Jesus, this is ridiculous – fuckin’ rain.’
* * *
‘That Passat had to be doing over fifty.’
‘What do you mean, what Passat? That gold one that just whizzed past. No point having that thing on if you’re not in the land of the living.’
‘Just fuck off, will you. I’m pointing it, aren’t I?’
‘You need to point it at the moving vehicles.’
‘Really? And I thought you pointed it at the sky.’
‘Well, that’s where you were feckin’ pointing it. Measuring fuckin’ rain. Twenty miles an hour. If we don’t get at least ten collars, Traffics’ gonna chew our heads off.’
‘Let them, it’s their fuckin’ job we’re doing. If you’re so concerned, you do it.’
‘You’re sitting there staring at tits and ass, you lazy fucker. It isn’t your arm that’s getting soaked.’
‘That’s the deal: I drive, you point. I stare at tits and ass, you stare at cars. What’s wrong, Mary got you sleeping on the couch again?’
‘She wants it five times a night. I can only manage four as I need to save some for Niamh, you know.’
‘With that kind of aim, the mattress must be getting a workout, but I doubt Mary is. You can’t even hit a car from twenty yards.’
‘At least I’ve got something to aim.’
‘Yeah, a speed gun. Talk about compensation. What the fuck!’
Pete gestured out the window to where a white van was overtaking a Mini, forcing an oncoming Mercedes into the kerb.
‘Come-on then, Schumacher, get your foot down.’
Pete gunned the engine and set off in pursuit, blue lights flashing, siren wailing.
Harry dropped the plastic bag into the foot well and raised the window, tugging at his seatbelt. ‘You’re losing him.’
‘Give it a second, will you. He had a running start. Jesus, he’s a fuckin’ lunatic,’ Pete said, as the van overtook a couple of cars, ducking back in narrowly ahead of an oncoming lorry. ‘Call it in.’
‘I’m getting there. Fuck, stupid fucker,’ Harry said, watching the van trying to pass a Fiesta on its inside, clipping the wing mirror of a parked car. ‘And you think I’ve got a dodgy aim.’
* * *
‘So, this cop, he finds this drunk staggering about outside of a pub, holding a key in front of him. The cop stops him and asks him what he’s doing. “I think someone’s stolen my car,” the drunk slurs. The cop then notices that the guy’s cock is hanging out of his trousers. “And how do you explain that then?” The drunk looks down and cries, “Shit, my girlfriend’s disappeared as well!”
‘Yeah, and what’s your point?’
‘You’ve managed to lose a feckin’ great van.’
‘We’ve managed to lose a feckin’ great van.’
‘You’re the one driving with his flies down, cock out.’
‘And you’re the one navigating with his eyes shut.’
‘How the hell am I meant to track him, Pete, if you’re not driving fast enough? I’ve seen old women zipping around more quickly on their shopmobility trollies.’
‘And you think you’d have done any better? The guy was a mad man. Fuck, I want to catch the bad guys, but I don’t want to be pancaked by a forty ton truck carrying concrete slabs. Be peeled off the tarmac like road kill.’
‘Try down here,’ Harry said, pointing to a laneway.
‘What are we gonna tell Control?’
‘The truth. You drive like an old woman.’
‘So am I.’
‘Harry, stop fucking around. They think we’re in a high speed pursuit. Did you get the licence?’
‘How could I, with you doing your tortoise impression? It was just a speck in the distance.’
Pete bounced his hand off the steering wheel in frustration. ‘Fuck! You’d better call it in.’
‘Just give it a minute, will you. He had to have disappeared somewhere.’
‘He’s long gone.’
‘And we’re left looking like eijets, with our pricks hanging out.’
* * *
‘We’re going to have the piss ripped out of us by Traffic for months.’
‘Give it rest, will you.’
‘All you had to do was keep up with it.’
‘I’m starting to sympathise with Michael Sykes. Just shut the fuck up, will you, you’re giving me a headache.’
‘Who the fuck is Michael Sykes?’
‘He was just sent down in the North for killing his wife. She nagged him until he snapped. In his face constantly; wouldn’t give it a rest. Everything was his fault, didn’t matter what it was. Apparently he was a nice guy, was really patient, just took it on the chin, even when she was embarrassing the hell out of him in public, needling and belittling him. Then he snapped,’ Pete clicked his fingers, ‘and strangled her to death. Just couldn’t take it any longer. You’re pretty close to being Syked.’
‘I’m quaking in my boots. There’s a reason why you never get to play bad cop – nobody believes you, you’re such a pansy.’
‘Harry, I’m warning you. I’ve had enough.’
‘Yeah, yeah, whatever. Touchy bastard.’ Harry scratched at his inflated belly, his shirt buttons straining, and stared out the passenger window. ‘There’s a Macca D’s ahead. I need a piss and a Big Mac.’
‘As if comfort food is going to solve anything.’
‘Just drive there, will you. If you can’t find it, I’ll give you a clue – it has a fuckin’ great big M outside in red and gold.’
Pete stayed silent.
‘Oh great, you’re going to sulk now are you? Take the piss out of you and you act like a child.’
‘Just fuck off, Harry.’
‘We’ll get you a happy meal, you miserable bastard.’
‘I’ll take a happy meal, if you take a salad, you fat fuck. That shirt is about to explode; you’re like a walking advert for Michelin tyres.’
‘Now who’s looking to get Syked?’
* * *
‘Two elephants fall off a cliff.’
‘Boom, boom! You’ve told that joke about fifty fuckin’ times. Elephants are never meant to forget; one must have stamped on your head.’
‘Okay, okay, Jesus. Grumpy bastard.’ Harry reached forward to a litter-strewn dashboard and grabbed a paper cup, then slurped noisily through the straw. ‘Look at the tits on her,’ he gestured out the window screen at an overweight woman with an enormous chest waddling up to the entrance to the fast food restaurant. ‘Doesn’t need a bra so much as a forklift truck. Every time she takes a step it must be like Dr Evil and Mini-Me fighting in a sack.’
‘Your dream date – two bald headed men wrestling.’
‘I’d sooner wrestle with her than some skinny stick insect that’s all skin and bones; tits like fried eggs. She falls over a cliff,’ he nodded toward the woman.
Pete cast him a withering look.
‘Boom, boom, BOOM!’
‘Get it? Boom, boom, boom!’
‘I wish you’d jump off a fuckin’ cliff. Boom!’ Pete smacked the steering wheel.
Harry put his drink back and grabbed the remaining half of his burger. ‘You really are a sour bastard, you know that?’
‘I do my best. Oh, fuck, there’s that fuckin’ van.’ He pointed across Harry, out the passenger window to where a white van was cruising along the road.
‘How’d you know? Could be any feckin’ van. Must be thousands of the damn things.’
‘It’s the right size and shape. It’s the same van. I know it is.’ He went to turn the ignition to find the keys missing. ‘Fuck!’ He patted his pockets, then started to hunt frantically amongst the packaging on the dashboard.
‘Looking for these?’ Harry said, holding them out. ‘You left them in the middle, you fuckin’ sap.’
Pete grabbed them, slotted them home and started the car. He dropped the handbrake and shot out, promptly stalling with a heavy jolt, the litter, food and drink bouncing off the window screen and hitting them as they jerked forward, unencumbered by the lack of seatbelts.
‘Fuck!’ Harry snapped, easing himself back into his seat, brushing at his coke and ketchup stained shirt, flicking off lecture and fries. ‘What the fuck, Pete! Jesus, look at the state of me, you fuckin’ barmpot.’
* * *
‘For fuck’s sake, look at the state of my shirt,’ Harry said.
‘Stop fuckin’ moaning. It looks like it always does. You’re always spilling shit down your shirt – coffee and ketchup, gravy, whatever other crap misses your mouth. You should wear a bib every time you eat or drink.’
‘And you should re-sit your feckin’ driving test. Fuckin’ stalling. You bleedin’ amateur.’
‘Look, just stop messing at your shirt and point that damn thing out the window, will you. We’ve been at this for three feckin’ hours and we haven’t caught a single petrol-head.’
‘I’m never going to get this shirt clean. You know that, don’t you? Its feckin’ ruined.’
‘All your shirts are ruined. If it wasn’t for the uniform, most people would think you were homeless.’
‘You cheeky fucker. Mary washes and presses all my shirts. They’re feckin’ spotless.’
‘Yeah, before you put them on and then five minutes later spill coffee on them. Here we go, Corsa woman’s returning. Do you think that tail fin’s penis envy?’
The woman half-walked, half-ran up the street, her head down, hood up, trying to protect herself from the driving rain.
‘Well, not of yours. Not unless she envies a feckin’ maggot. Look at those legs. Fuckin’ works of art. I wonder if she needs a hand drying off?’
‘I doubt she’d appreciate some sad fuck, her father’s age, offering to towel her down.’
They watched her clamber into her car.
‘You can’t beat experience.’
‘I bet she’d disagree with you. Especially since you look like a mental patient; half your dinner over your chest.’
‘Fuckin’ tail fin on a Corsa. She’s probably a lesbo in any case; got to be compensating for something.’
They watched the car ease out of the parking space and then shoot off down the road.
‘Jesus, she thinks she’s Lewis Hamilton!’
Pete shot forward and set off in pursuit, blue lights flashing.
‘Just don’t fuckin’ lose her, okay,’ Harry instructed. ‘We’ll see what the little minx has to say for herself. If it comes to it, I’ll frisk and cuff.’
‘You fuckin’ letch.’
‘Somebody has to do it, and you’re off women, remember.’
‘She’s pulling over. I’m going to park in front of her; block her off.’
Pete overtook the Corsa and pulled to a stop. Both men eased themselves out into the rain, pulling luminous jackets from the backseat and tugging them on, then headed back to the Corsa, Harry hurrying to get to the driver’s door first.
The window slid down.
‘Hiya, Harry. You still having trouble finding your mouth?’
‘Niamh! You been out partying?’
‘Hardly Marks and Sparks.’
‘Ignore him,’ Pete said. ‘He’s acting the bollix.’
‘You fuckin’ sap, you didn’t even recognise your own wife or her car! Penis envy, my eye.’
‘Penis envy?’ Niamh repeated.
‘You’ll get a black eye if you don’t shut the fuck up,’ Pete warned Harry.
‘Well, Niamh, if it’s any consolation, the feckin’ sap still fancies you.’
‘And this old letch wants to frisk and cuff you.’
‘What the fuck are you two idiots going on about?’
‘Nothing. We’re going on about nothing. How come you’re down here?’
‘You know why I’m down here. I told you I was meeting Julie after her treatment. That’s your feckin’ problem, Pete. You don’t listen. You’ve never listened. You live in your own feckin’ world. How could you not know that this is our car? You’ve driven it hundreds of times.’
‘He didn’t recognise the spoiler on the back,’ Harry said helpfully.
‘That damn thing’s always been there. That’s why you wanted this model; the sporty version. It had a spoiler, low trim and spot lights; the usual boy racer crap. Every time you go over a speed bump it scrapes along the ground. Personally, I was happy with the bog standard version, but he insisted. Said it would help with the cornering, or some such rubbish. Jesus, Pete, I can’t believe you’ve just pulled me over; that you can’t even recognise your own feckin’ car. Can I go now?’
‘What?’ Pete muttered.
‘That’s what I’m talking about. Not feckin’ listening. I said, can I go now?’
‘Yeah. Look, I’m sorry. I’ll see you later, okay.’
Niamh rolled her eyes and the window glided up.
The two guards stepped to one side and the Corsa pulled out and roared away.
‘Hot as feckin’ chilli,’ Harry muttered. ‘I’d say, you’ve just been Syked, boy racer.’
‘If I’d had her driving, we’d have caught that van and I’d still have a clean shirt.’
Pete headed back to the car.
‘By the way, your flies are undone.’
Pete looked down.
‘You fuckin’ sap,’ Harry said, and laughed. ‘Your feckin’ prick would be hanging out, if you had one.’