Bring Out Your Dead - Part 20
Continued from Part 19
“Pretty little place” D.S. Stone remarked as their car hurtled along the coastal road at the heart of Castilliano de la Ribera, “Well, from what I can see of it, do we have to go this fast?”
“Got to make an entrance, Stoney” D.I. Wood answered, “Want to show the local plod we mean business, now don’t we? Ah, there’s the lock-up”
To D.S. Stone’s chagrin, the car hurtled over to the other side of the road and made a high-speed u-turn, complete with screeching brakes and squeals of protest from the tyres, leaving the car at the kerbside, facing the opposite way.
“Right, I’ll go and get Frankie-boy, you park yourself in the back so that you can make sure he minds his Ps and Qs on the way to the airport.”
D.I. Wood bounded out of the car, much to the consternation of the oncoming traffic. D.S. Stone reflected that he wouldn’t have been at all surprised if his boss had completed a Starsky & Hutch-type roll over the car bonnet. He eased himself out of the passenger seat and stretched his weary legs. Having spent the entire night in the car, he was glad to be out of the vehicle, no matter how briefly. Behind, he could hear D.I. Wood furiously banging on the door of the Police Post but it was the scene to his left that caught his attention.
“Would you believe it, there’s no-one there!” D.I. Wood shouted as he pounded back to the car.
“What do you make of this, sir?” D.S. Stone nodded toward a table at the front of the hotel a few yards away.
“Make of what?” D.I. Wood snapped, irritably as he fumbled for a cigarette.
“The party over there”
D.I. Wood followed his colleague’s gaze and saw, for the first time, a couple of familiar faces and one with which he would definitely like to get familiar with. At this point, Chantelle noticed the two men staring at her and beamed encouragingly in their direction. D.S. Stone blushed deeply whilst D.I. Wood leered.
The arrival of Messrs. Stone and Wood’s car had not gone unnoticed on the coastal highway, just as D.I. Wood had intended.
“Oh no!” Josiah muttered and attempted, without success, to vanish behind a menu.
“Is there a problem?” Chantelle asked, sweetly.
“Heyup, Mr. O., you know who those two are, don’t you?” Archibald asked, excitedly.
“I am aware of them, thank you Archibald. Please try to refrain from drawing their attention.” Josiah sunk further down in his seat.
“It’s them two from off the ‘plane. The policemen.” Archibald explained to Chantelle, “They had us chucked off the ‘plane in Paris”
Chantelle looked suitably puzzled. Inwardly, the mention of a police presence had caused her a degree of alarm.
“Chucked off the ‘plane?”
“My colleague has a somewhat colourful turn of phrase” Joshua explained from his hiding place behind the menu, “we did make the acquaintance of the two gentlemen over there on a previous occasion and they are, as he rightly states, police officers” Joshua felt that summed up the facts without going into unnecessary details.
“We saw ‘em before when they thought I’d tried to kill someone” Archibald helpfully explained, thus undoing all of Joshua’s good work. Chantelle looked at him aghast.
“Well, well, well!” D.I. Wood beamed amiably at the group at the table, “fancy seeing you two here. Aren’t you going to introduce me?” He nodded toward Chantelle.
Joshua abandoned the menu, smiled weakly at D.I. Wood and unfolded himself from his seat.
“My apologies, Inspector, may I introduce Miss Chantelle Lace. Miss Lace, this is Detective Inspector Wood and his colleague, Detective Sergeant Stone”
After handshakes and pleasantries, the two detectives dragged chairs up to the table and joined the company. D.I. Wood made sure he was sitting directly opposite Chantelle, the better to drink in her remarkably fine features. D.S. Stone found himself positioned between Chantelle and Archibald. Avoiding Archibald’s wayward limbs meant that he kept brushing against Chantelle’s legs, resulting in a flutter of eyelashes and a coy smile that sent the butterflies hurtling around in the pit of his stomach.
“So, what brings you chaps to this neck of the woods?” D.I. Wood asked, conversationally.
“Our client, Sir Lewisham Carnock” Joshua explained, “his remains have, for some inexplicable reason, been detained here and we have been charged with returning them to the U.K.”
“Only they won’t let us on a flight, on account of us being terrorists an’ all” Archibald added, “So we’re going on a boat, with Miss Lace”
“My colleague overstates the case, a little” Joshua hurriedly interjected. “He is correct in that we are, currently, unable to procure a flight to return to the U.K., following the unfortunate misunderstanding on our outbound journey.”
“Yeah, it was a bit of a laugh that, wasn’t it?” D.I. Wood chuckled. “You’re going with them then, Miss Lace?”
“That’s right, officer.” Chantelle nodded, “I’d intended to make the trip back to the U.K. anyway, and I just hate flying, so I thought I might tag along. I speak Spanish fluently so I’m hopeful I can help Mr. Oakshott to negotiate any difficulties getting his cargo on board”
“Hmmm. I don’t suppose you might know where we could find the policeman who’s supposed to be manning that post, would you?”
“I’m so sorry, I have no idea. I called there myself earlier, which is how I met these two gentlemen, and there was no sign of life then” Chantelle explained.
“What was your business at the police post then, Miss Lace?” D.I. Wood asked, innocently.
“Oh, just a handbag I’ve mislaid. I hoped someone might have handed it in”
“I don’t suppose you noticed if there was anyone detained in there, did you? I couldn’t see anyone when I looked.”
“I’m afraid not, Inspector. I couldn’t make anyone hear, so I popped in to the undertakers’ next door to see if they knew where the policeman might be, and that’s when I bumped into these two gentlemen”
“Fancy! Small world, eh Mr. Oakshott?”
“It is indeed, Inspector.” Josiah agreed, glumly.
“Well, we mustn’t keep you. Things to do, places to be. Come along, Sergeant, we must be getting along” D.I. Wood abruptly bounced out of his seat, leaving D.S. Stone to hurriedly finish his drink.
As they walked back to their car, D.I. Wood kept glancing back at the table they had just left.
“Problem, sir?” D.S. Stone asked.
“It stinks, if you ask me. The whole thing does. I’m getting on to the blower to the boss back in Blighty, we need to spend a bit more time on this”
“Why, what’s up?”
“What’s up? Didn’t you recognise the delectable Chantelle? She’s only Frankie Knight’s squeeze!”
“What, the one who stitched him up on social media?”
“Yep, that’s the one, and she drew our attention to it as well. Without her, we’d never have known he was out here.” D.I. Wood eased himself into the driver’s seat and started the engine, gunning the accelerator a few times for good measure, “ So, it’s more than a bit funny that he’s gone missing and who should we find in the vicinity but her and those two off the ‘plane. Like I say, this stinks and I want to know what they’re all up to.”