Policing Downshire in the Noughties – The Body in the Tree
Marty Griffin was a wiry character much like a younger version of the Detective Inspector Tom Adamson for who he worked, but with brown hair.
He was a fearless lad, but then he had been in the passenger seat of a squad car driven by DS Tilly Donnally and lived to tell the tale, albeit sitting in the passenger seat with his eyes screwed tight shut.
He was Twenty-seven years old and a solid by the book copper who was well underway to a long and successful career.
However, he almost put all of that in jeopardy with a bad gambling habit which bordered on addiction, which would have all ended very differently had it not been for the intervention of a veteran CID officer Ben Clubley.
Clubley was staking out the Fox and Flowerpot when he spotted someone he knew heading for the toilets, so Ben followed him in and once he had checked that they were alone he said.
“Alright Ben?” Griffin said as he walked to the basin.
“I haven’t seen you in here before” He said as he began washing his hands.
“I thought you lived over Northchapel way”
“I do” Clubley answered. “I’m working”
“Doing what?” Griffin asked as he dried his hands. “Are you moonlighting or something?”
“Hardly” He replied
“So, what are you doing then?” Marty asked smiling broadly
“Staking out the illegal gambling” Said Clubley and all the colour drained from his face.
“Oh Shit” He exclaimed and put his face in his hands.
“What the hell am I going to do?”
Ben shrugged his shoulders and said as he opened the door.
“That’s up to you, we’ll talk Monday”
Come Monday Ben found Marty sitting at his desk with his face in his hands.
“Morning” he said, and Griffin looked round startled and then a look of relief crossed his face.
“Morning Ben” Said Marty. “Have you decided what you’re going to do?”
Clubley was perched on the edge of Griffin’s desk.
“Yes” Clubley said but didn’t elaborate.
“And?” Marty said impatiently.
“You need to get help, Marty” he said, and Griffin shrank back in his chair “Counseling or Gamblers anonymous.”
“I don’t have a problem” Marty said adamantly. “I just like a flutter every now and then”
“You don’t think it’s a problem when you, a serving police officer, sits down at a card table, for an illegal card game, with known villains” Clubley was on his feet. “How is that not a problem?”
“I suppose you feel in control, you bet when you feel like it and leave it alone when you don’t” he said, and Griffin nodded.
“When was the last time you didn’t feel like having a bet Marty?” Clubley said as he stood over Griffin “Last week, last month, last year?”
There was no response from Griffin who just stared at a point in the distance.
“If you’re going to sort yourself out you have to admit you have a problem” Ben said, and Griffin stared up at him
“What makes you such an expert anyway Clubley?”
“Because I’ve been there, and I’ve done it” Ben took a deep breath. “I blew everything.”
“I gambled away my life, I lost the house, the car, anything with a value, and when it got really bad I stole from my family and my friends” He said and looked at Marty. “Even colleagues”
Griffin turned to look at Ben in disbelief.
“Why do you think I live alone in a dingy bed-sit with third hand furniture?” he said and paused as it was his turn to stare into the distance, before continuing
“I’m thirty-eight years old and I have nothing, but two ex-wives, three brothers and a sister and none of them want to have anything to do with me”
He was up and walking and added.
“Not one of them would piss on me if I was on fire, I have nephews and nieces I have never met, and probably will never meet”
There was a long silence as the two men reflected, but it was Ben who broke it.
“I broke the habit, eventually, but too late to save what I know now was more important to me, you’re still young Marty you still have your whole life ahead of you so don’t blow it like I did”
Ben walked to the water cooler where he filled a plastic cup, took a sip and walked back to Griffin who said
“I’m sorry Ben, I didn’t know”
“What’s done is done” He said and took a drink and asked, “Do you want help?”
“Ok I’ll do a deal with you, if you promise to get help with your addiction”
“I’m not an addict” Marty protested.
“What would you call it then, a hobby?”
Griffin didn’t answer.
“Get help with your addiction and I’ll sell Overend the idea that you’re working undercover in the spieler” he said but Griffin was silent.
“Let me know your decision” Clubley said. “Soon, don’t screw your life up like I did, Marty”
And then Ben returned to his own desk.
The talk with Clubley turned out to be the kick up the arse he needed, and he set about affecting a change in his life, which began with a relentless pursuit of female company.
One day at the station a group of his colleagues were sitting in the canteen discussing his sex life with much hilarity.
The reason for the discussion at that time was the arrival at the station of a new female probationer, Catriona Hanratty, from whom Marty Griffin was attempting to procure a date.
His failure was met with delight from his comrades, but this turned to hysterical laughter when out of desperation he focused his lustful intent upon one of the more mature PCs’ namely Susan Bonner.
Now Susan was a nice woman, but she was a big woman, not obese but big, and she was tall, over six feet, and had flaming red hair.
“I thought Marty didn’t date WPC’s” Frank Chute wondered.
“Something to do with only going out with WPC’s if you were too lazy to Masturbate” Jimmy Pidd added.
“He’s definitely changed, he’ll shag anything now” Boris observed.
“If it moves he’ll shag it and if it doesn’t he’ll shag it until it does”
“Perhaps it’s something to do with his birth sign” PC Webster mused and
The other three all looked at him oddly.
“Just a thought” Webster said
“You don’t really believe in all that tosh, do you?” Asked Frank.
“Of course, not” Webster replied slightly embarrassed.
“My sign’s Pyrex” Boris said suddenly. “I was a test tube baby.”
This caused a great deal of laughter.
Webster who was taking a mouthful of tea at the time sprayed it all over the table and proceeded to choke.
At that moment Chief Superintendent Tiplady walked past them.
“Are you ok Webster?” He asked.
“Yes sir” He answered once he had regained his breath.
His face was an odd colour and his protruding ears were bright red and stood out like beacons.
“Sergeant Katarski made me laugh at the wrong moment” He gasped
“Ah one of your famous funny’s Boris?” Tiplady added
“A sense of humor is very important in this job but just remember that someone who thinks of himself as a wit is usually only half right” Tiplady said sagely and walked away.
“He just called you a halfwit” Frank said to Boris and then almost fell of his chair.
The last thing DC Griffin wanted at 5 o’clock on a Friday evening was a shout on the other side of the county, particularly when he had a really hot date.
Not that dates for him weren’t an everyday occurrence because as a result of trying to break his gambling habit he had become a sex junkie instead.
But his date was different, this one wasn’t a conquest, this one he was in love with.
He had met her while he was part of the team investigating Olympic Security.
Olivia Bloom had initially rebuffed his advances but as time had gone by, she weakened and agreed to dinner and that was the first of many.
He was supposed to be picking her up at 8 o’clock but as he drove through the rush hour traffic he feared he was never going to get back from the Dancingdean Forest by 8 o’clock.
He didn’t have many details of the incident, the call was quite vague, and all he was told was there was a body in a tree.
He was going to be there for hours and he was never going to get back in time to see Olivia.
He stopped at the traffic lights and punched in her number.
“Hi Marty” she said, “Is it bad news?”
“Hey Liv, I’m afraid so” He replied
“I’ve got to over to the Dancingdean Forest, suspicious death”
“Don’t worry” she said trying to hide her disappointment.
Normally he would have been double handed, so he wouldn’t have had so much time to mull over his disappointment.
But due to a high demand on CID and a shortage of PC’s due to a bad accident on the Finchbottom Expressway.
As a result of the pile up the ancillary roads were clogged up and the journey to the Dancingdean took forever.
But when he eventually reached the site of the body it was very late in the evening.
It was close to a bend on the main road between Applesford and Childean.
He was greeted by a very excitable young PC named Walker who was clearly dealing with his first suspicious death.
Marty got out of the car and walked towards him and held out his warrant card.
“DC Griffin” he said, “where’s the body?”
“In the tree” The PC Walker replied excitedly
When they reached the tree, Walker said
“The body’s wearing a helmet, do you think it’s a skydiver?”
Griffin stood looking up at the body in the tree and turned to the PC shaking his head.
“Not if it’s not wearing a parachute?” Griffin replied
Walker looked at the DC with a glazed expression.
“Look it’s not a skydiver or some kind of bizarre suicide”
“I suggest you search the bottom of this hill and find his motorbike and then call traffic and get the body recovered”
It was obvious to Griffin after less than five minutes that the body was that of a motorcyclist who had taken the bend to fast and had left the road depositing the rider in the tree while the bike continued down the hill.
It was almost 9 o’clock when he got back in the car and dialled her number.
“Hey Liv, I got finished early” He said
“Do you fancy a takeaway?”