Friday, 6 July 2012

Poetic Justice Chapters 4 and 5

Especially for Collin, the master mandolin maker and he makes some fine guitars as well, here is chapters 4 and 5 of Poetic Justice.

CH 04

It was a wet and windy Monday, Buchanan's first day back to work after three days in hospital and a week to consider his situation. He drove into the staff car park and saw that his personal slot had been commandeered by Fergusson's BMW, so much for the gentle farewell, he thought. He parked in the visitor bay, went up the lift to the second floor and the staff canteen, he needed coffee.
On the way to the lift his path was blocked by a young PC. He was holding an empty beer glass, collecting for something thought Buchanan.
Buchanan lifted his coffee cup to his lips in an attempt to avoid reaching in to his pocket, but failed.
'What's it for,' he asked, dropping his loose change into the almost empty glass.
'Someone is leaving, works on the fourth floor; rumour has it the ACC is glad to be rid of the old duffer.'
Buchanan raised his eyebrows in surprise and asked, 'what's he done, this old duffer?'
The PC shrugged and said, 'not sure, only been told he's being put out to pasture.'
'What's his name?'
'Thanks sir,' he said looking disappointedly at the assortment of pennies and five pence pieces, 'I think his name is Buchanan; don't know his first name. Would you like to sign the card?'
Buchanan grinned, took out his Conway pen and selecting a nice open area on the card wrote, Will ye no come back again, best wishes, Jack Buchanan.
The young PC looked at the card then blushed and said, 'Oh it's you.'
'Aye laddie, it's me, an see ah get that money back.'
Coffee in hand Buchanan headed up the lift to the fourth floor and his office. Fergusson's feet were on his desk, his backside in Buchanan's chair.
'Your back,' said a startled Fergusson.
'Didny realise I'd gone,' replied Buchanan leaning against the door frame.
'The chief said I could have your office, said you were off down south.'
'The rumours of my departure are much exaggerated,' he replied.
            Fergusson got up and said, 'just remembered I have a meeting to go to.'
Buchanan put up his hand, shook his head and said, 'don't bother yourself, sit back down, I'll be away in the morning, just stopped in to get my briefcase. I'll find a hot desk down on the second floor if a need one.'
Fergusson sat back in the chair, relaxed, and asked, 'how's Karen?'
'She's fine, talked to her last night.'
'What's she say about you going down to Sussex?'
'She thinks its great news. Her mother lives just outside Dieppe and Dieppe is only a short ferry ride from Newhaven.'
'That's you scuppered then, she'll never want to come back up here to Glasgow.'
'I'm scuppered anyway, why do you think you've got my office and car parking space so quickly? It's like the lad downstairs said, I'm being put out to pasture; I'm an embarrassment to the division. Do you know what Karen called me?' he said laughing.
'I could come up with a few guesses,' said Fergusson.
'An anachronism in the 21st century—me,' Buchanan said pointing to his chest. 'The best DCI on the division, at least that's what the old duffer on the fourth floor said.'
Fergusson laughed and said, 'old duffer, that's a new one on me. Oh have you sorted out your accommodation down south yet?'
'Yes, Karen's sister owns a house in the marina. She and her husband are off working in Paris and won't be back for four months so we've rented the house till the summer.'
'Sounds perfect,' said Fergusson standing, ' but Jack, I really do have a meeting to go to.'
'Ok then, away you go, I'll see you around some time,' said Buchanan.
He listened to the sound of Ferguson's footsteps going down the hall. He took a slow look round his office, now Fergusson's he reminded himself, it had been thoroughly sanitised. Gone were his books from the oak bookshelf, now in cardboard boxes in the post room, waiting for a forwarding address, as was no doubt, the pictures of his passing out parade, along with his photo of him meeting the Prince of Wales. The photo of the Carrick, tied up at Clydeside still hung from the wall between the windows.
He shook his head, swallowed the last of his coffee, took a deep breath, screwed up the paper cup and threw it in the bin and thought, that's me, screwed up and tossed in the bin.
Buchanan walked slowly down the stairs to the second floor, changed his mind and headed for the car park.

CH 05

'Lew-is this is Lew-is,' intoned the conductor in a pleasant Edinburgh accent, 'please mind the gap between the train and the platform when alighting and make sure you take all your personal items with you when you leave the train.'
While the conductor continued with his ad hoc lecture on which platform for which train, Buchanan pulled his bags from the luggage rack, pushed through the throng of students getting on, and stepped out of the train and onto the platform.
Buchanan was told he would be met at the station, but as the train left for Eastbourne he was the only one left on the platform. He stood for a moment, wondering whether to go up the stairs to the booking office or down into the car park. He chose the car park; after all it was easier to go down the short flight of steps and they would just have to come and find him.
Five minutes later he saw a silver Mitsubishi Evo turn into the car park, head his way, and stop in front of him.
'Inspector Buchanan?' asked the tall, slim, female driver as she got out of the car, her long brown hair pulled back in a pony tail revealing a face that would look quite natural smiling out from of a copy of Vogue.
'Aye, and for your information lass, it's Detective Chief Inspector Buchanan.'
'Sorry sir, I'll remember that in future. I'm to drive you to headquarters, the ACC wants to have a word with you; I'll put your cases in the boot for you.'
'Thank you, I'll do the other case, it's heavy, and fragile,' he said picking up the smaller of the two cases. 'Nice car you've got there.' said Buchanan, stepping back to have a look.
Opening the boot and picking up the larger of his cases she said, 'and for your information, Detective Chief Inspector Buchanan, it's Detective Sergeant Street.'
'Oops sorry lass, I thought you were just a chauffeur.'
'No I'm not and this is your car, you've got it on loan from Traffic till you are finished with your investigation, I hope its good enough for you.'
'Point taken, sorry,' said Buchanan.
The sound of bottles clinking together could be heard as he carefully placed the other case in the boot.
It was a strange experience for Buchanan to be chauffeured to work. He could get used to this he thought, if it wasn't for the fact that he did enjoy driving and especially powerful cars like this one.
‘Please don’t touch sir, that’s the NPR computer,’ said Street as Buchanan reached over.
Street parked the car in a reserved slot and escorted him into the building, through security and up the lift to Assistant Chief Constable's outer office.
The secretary looked at her phone and said, 'Assistant Chief Constable Atkins is busy on the phone, would you take a seat.'
Looking round the room Buchanan realised there were certain benefits to higher ranks, one's own secretary, private office with carpets on the floor, even fresh flowers and if the view from the ACC's window was anywhere as good as from the secretary's then he might just be tempted to go for a promotion.
 He looked away from the view of the Cuckmere valley; his eyes settled on the roll of honour, photos of past Chief Constables, the only one he recognised was Henry Solomon, the only Chief Constable to be murdered on duty while interviewing a suspect. Buchanan's  face could be there on the wall one day he mused , then the thought of a rolled up trouser leg floated up into his consciousness and he shook his head, you daft auld bugger he thought, you don’t belong behind a desk.
Moments later the lamp went out on the desk phone and the secretary called through to say Detective Chief Inspector Buchanan had arrived. 
The ACC stood when they entered the room and walked round her ample desk to shake hands with Buchanan.
'Welcome to East Sussex Buchanan hope the flight down was comfortable, no turbulence?'
'Actually it was the 07.37 from Glasgow Central, I don't fly if I can avoid it; you get a much better breakfast on the train.'
Atkins smiled and thought, hmm, this is going to be interesting, hope we haven't made a mistake.
'Please, sit, let's talk.'
'I'll be waiting downstairs ma’am,' said Street.
Atkins nodded to her as she closed the door behind her.
'Fine girl that,' said Atkins, 'I'm sure you two will get along very well.'
'I work alone,' said a startled Buchanan.
'It might be the way things are done in Glasgow, but while you're working for me, you'll work as a team, do you understand?'
Buchanan nodded in agreement, no point in upsetting her at their first meeting, plenty of time to do that later.
'And another thing,' said Atkins, 'it's common knowledge that I'm being considered for promotion to the position of Chief Constable and having this mater of a dead DCI in the news is not good, especially since the government is hell bent on having the position of Chief Constable being an elected one.'
Through years of service in the police force Buchanan had learned that ranks above inspector spent most of their working day behind a desk, while as an Inspector, he had a virtual free hand in the field, and he wasn't intending to change his motus operendi now.
'What are your plans for the investigation Buchanan?' she asked.
He felt like saying, rounding up the usual suspects, but instead said, 'I'll read the case notes first, then set up an incident room and go from there.'
'I don't want you spending too much time on the dead woman; coroner says it was either an accident or suicide, stupid girl, should have watched where she was going.'
Buchanan's first reaction was to say something in defence of the dead woman but kept quiet while the ACC continued with her edict.
'The death of one of our own is another matter, saps the energy from the force, cripples moral, everyone spends the day looking over their shoulder wondering will they be next. What's needed is someone who can get to the core of the problem, not be deflected by innuendo or rumour, someone with a thick skin.
Anderson says you're the man for the job, and I trust his judgement. It won't be easy for you Buchanan; my people close ranks when trouble camps at the gate. In view of that fact I've sent a memo round telling everyone to extend whatever help you require.
We're well equipped here at HQ. You can have an office on this floor and there are a couple of rooms on the second floor to choose from for your incident room, both fully equipped with the latest technology, and of course there's the canteen on the ground floor.'
Buchanan was about to decline the offer but said instead, 'I would like to get settled in to my accommodation first and have a look around the scenes of crime before deciding what resources I will require.'
'Good man, I'll hear from you tomorrow afternoon then. Just give tech services a call and they'll set things up for you. Where are you staying?'
'I've taken a house on the marina, thought it might help to be close to the action.'
'Hmm, not sure that's wise, the drive along the A27 in the mornings and returning in the evening can take up to 40 minutes each way, two hours if there's an accident and Traffic close the road. It's the worst section of highway in the county, it's the main east west rout along the coast and at best you can't average more than 45 miles an hour during the day, no wonder industry is leaving Eastbourne.'
Oh dear, thought Buchanan.
'Have you signed the rental agreement yet, if not we'll find you somewhere here in Lewes, much closer to HQ,' she said.
Buchanan put on a suitable worried face, shook his head and said, 'Oh, if only I'd known before all the arrangements had been made, I can't cancel now.'
'Well it'll just have to be, I pity you though, I've driven that road before, you'll have to make an early start in the mornings to get here on time.
I'm giving you two PC's for the legwork, can't afford any more than that, I've got the new Amex stadium to look after now. Will there be anything else you require Buchanan?'
'No ma’am, four's a nice round number and should do nicely.'
'Right then,' she said standing and reaching out to shake his hand, ' good to meet you Buchanan, keep me posted on your investigations.'
Not bloody likely, thought Buchanan as he made his way to the stairs, no way was he ever going to commute to an office, he was an outside man, work the coal face, never polish your arse in a chair, his old sergeant in the Gorbals had said.
Buchanan smiled to himself at the memory as he walked down the stairs to collect the case notes. It was going to be an interesting evening, a new case, a new car, a new town, a new partner, now that was going to be very interesting indeed.

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