'Oh, you're awake Inspector Buchanan,' said the nurse.
'Whur am I?' asked Buchanan.
'You're in the Royal; you fell and hit your head.'
'How long have I been here?'
'Geeze, two days, ma wife.'
'Not to worry, the hospital contacted her and told her it wasn't serious, you'd just bumped your head. I'll get doctor Aswan,' said the nurse.
She was back in four minutes with the diminutive Dr Aswan.
'How are we today Inspector Buchanan? '
'Ma heed feels like there's a bunch of Clydeside riveters on piecework bangin aroon in ther, what happened tae me?'
'That's what we hoped you'd tell us. You were found lying in a pool of blood on the floor of the men's toilets in Porters bar. Apparently you slipped and hit your head on the floor.'
'So it wasnae a dream then'' said Buchanan gingerly touching his bandaged scalp.
'We did a scan while you were unconscious,' said the doctor, 'don't worry, you have a thick skull, nothing wrong that a period of rest won't cure. We did have to staple your scalp back together though and that will be tender for several weeks.'
'Whit aboot the pain in ma heed?'
'We'll give you something for that,' said the nurse as the doctor moved on to his next patient.
'A wee dram would go down nicely,' said Buchanan, pleading.
'This is the Royal Infirmary inspector, not your local'.
'Pity,' replied Buchanan closing his eyes.
'Inspector Buchanan,' said the nurse waking him from his afternoon nap, 'there's someone here to see you,'
'Good afternoon Buchanan.'
Buchanan opened his eyes and focussed on the uniform that was Assistant Chief Constable Anderson.
'Good afternoon sir, sorry I can't stand to attention, layin doon is the best I can achieve.'
'What on earth happened man; my best DCI found laying on the toilet floor in a pool of blood, and drunk to boot—and two dead men in the street under a police car? Every five minutes the Chief Constable's on the phone wanting to know just what the hell is going on, the newspapers are having a field day, and I've got to give a news conference in front of the cameras this afternoon.'
Anderson walked over to the window, looked down to Warnock Street and smiled, a harried TV crew were arguing with a traffic warden.
'Do you realise,' he said to Buchanan while continuing to watch the street spectacle, 'I've got just four months to go to retirement and me with an unblemished record.'
'It wasny ma fault.'
'No—so whose front teeth were spattered on the toilet floor then?'
Buchanan said nothing for a moment, and then said, 'they were lookin at pictures on a mobile phone.'
'That's not a crime; my grandchildren are on theirs, texting, all hours. I'm sorry Buchanan, but I've got no choice, the press are baying for blood and I need a scapegoat.'
'And am it, do you know who those two shites were?' said Buchanan grasping for a straw.
'Who, the men under the police car—no—forensics are still working on it.'
'One was Davie Shelton, can't remember the name of the other one.' said Buchanan.
'Shelton, that name rings a bell, wasn't he the child molester, got off the charge if I remember rightly, had a good solicitor?'
'Randal, that's who the other bastard was, he was Shelton's lawyer,' said Buchanan, sitting up in bed, momentarily forgetting the pain in his head.
'Well,' said Anderson rubbing his hands together, 'this puts a different light on the matter. All the same we can't have you wandering around being ambushed by the press.'
Anderson looked at his watch; 'right, I've got to go back to headquarters. First thing, must get forensics to confirm the identities and then, oh and then, I think a discrete leak to the press before the press conference and finally, to find somewhere to hide you till this all blows over. Oh, by the way, how is Mrs Buchanan?'
'Does she know about your injury?'
'Apparently the hospital has called her and said there was no need to rush home.'
'Where is she?'
'In France, she's visiting her mother; as soon as my head clears I'll give her a call.'
'Great, I'll be off, and Buchanan, good work.'
Anderson walked of muttering to himself, 'two paedophiles off the street, that's one for the good guys.'
Suitably anesthetised, Buchanan sat up in his hospital bed and watched the televised news conference. Anderson had stage managed the situation brilliantly. The identities and histories of the two men had been leaked to the press prior to the news conference, so instead of the police actions, Buchanan's in particular, being the focus of the press's attention, it was instead the activities of Felton and his lawyer that took the brunt of the questions.
Anderson, with a grave look on his face, announced that their mobile phones had been located and Anderson was able to confirm that there were indecent photographs of children contained in both of the phones memories, and as such would have been enough to get both men convicted and sent to jail for a long time.
Pressed for confirmation of the name of the injured policeman, Anderson said his name was being withheld till he had recovered from his injuries and all police enquiries were complete.
Three hours later Anderson was seated at Buchanan's bedside.
'You watched the news conference?' asked Anderson.
'Yes,' said Buchanan smiling, 'it went off quite well I thought.'
'I thought so too. The press are after you though; you won't have any peace when you get out of here.'
'How did they find out my name?'
'Guesswork and a pub full of Rangers supporters?' said Anderson.
'Ah, I forgot about that; who won by the way?'
'Haven't a clue, golf's my game, ever play it?'
'Me, chase a wee ball round the green, never.'
'That's a pity, it's a great way to network and meet the right kind of people.'
'Am not rolling up my trouser leg for anyone,' said Buchanan indignantly.
Anderson shook his head and said, 'you don't understand, how are you ever going to get promoted if you don't mix with the right people?'
'Listen, am a policeman first, the only people I mix with are honest criminals, it's those people that think they are above the law that I stay away from.'
'I'm sorry you take it that way, but if you ever change your mind, all you have to do is ask.'
That'll be a snowy day in hell, thought Buchanan.
'Right, down to business,' said Anderson. 'We've had a talk at headquarters; you said your wife's mother lives in France?'
'Yes, just outside Dieppe, why, you're not sending me on sick leave, are you?'
'No, of course not, we've got something better in mind,' chuckled Anderson, 'we've arranged for you to be seconded to East Sussex.'
'East Sussex?' said a worried Buchanan.
'Yes, East Sussex division has a problem, a woman's body was fished out of Eastbourne Harbour last month and their senior DCI was found in his car just last week.'
'Asleep, or was he drunk?'
'None of those, he was in his car when it was pulled from the same harbour.'
'Are they related, the deaths that is?'
'That's what their Internal Affairs wants you, if you accept the secondment, to find out.'
'What choice do I have?'
'Disciplinary hearing, your record being leaked to the press, career finished.'
'I'll go home and pack my bags.'
'I thought you'd see sense.'
'Don't they have someone in house that could take care of it though?'
'They were going to get someone from the Met but he came down with measles.
The ACC and I go back many years, last week she told me she was looking for an outsider to take over the investigation, felt an outsider would get better results.'
'And that's how I come to get volunteered?'
'That and the fact that Shelton had friends in high places, I thought it would be good for your health to get some sea air—do you understand where I'm coming from?'
'Let me stay here, I'll sort it out.'
'No, we have a team already working on the case, almost ready to make arrests, in fact your presence could jeopardise the whole investigation, that's why we need you out of the limelight.'
'Two birds with one stone, eh?'
'Knowing how you work Buchanan; I really think you're the man for the job, except for one thing.'
'And what's that?'
'You're use of English, or should I say Glaswegian. If you want to get ahead down south, you'll have to moderate how you speak, they don't provide interpreters for staff.'
Buchanan smiled, nodded his head and thought to himself; the same old bullshit.