Boatman's dream 5
By Parson Thru
Rhys followed us out of the pub. “Lads! I was thinking, if you’re going to the Police Station, you might want an interpreter. I don’t know much, but it’s better than nothing.”
“Blimey!” I answered. “Thanks Rhys. I never thought to ask.”
“How are you getting there?”
“I’ll get my boy to drive us down in his van. I’ll give him a call – he won’t mind.”
Arthur was nervous about getting in the van. It was a railway van with seats in the back for the permanent-way gang. He behaved like he didn’t trust us.
A moment later, he was walking back towards the boatyard.
Rhys’s son, Alan, watched from the driving seat. “Let him go. You can’t force him. He could be on the run for all you know.”
“Adrift in the Bristol Channel?” “Wait here, I’ll go and get him.”
An hour later, I was in the Police Station on my own. Arthur, or whoever he was, had walked back into the yard and been met by Eddie, the mechanic, who opened-up his battered motorhome and put the kettle on. Rhys stayed with them and a couple of the other boys ambled over to see what was going on.
I waited for half an hour before being invited to Interview Room 2.
A policewoman sat opposite me. There was a computer on the desk. She logged in.
“So, sir, are you reporting a missing person?”
“No. I might have found one.”
“Is the person with you now?”
“No. He’s in the boatyard.”
“Ok. Let’s just have a few details first.”
I gave her my name and address, date of birth. She ran a check, but they didn’t seem to have a record of me. That’s good.
“And the person you’ve found, Kevin. Male?”
“Did he give you his name?”
“And his surname? or is Arthur his surname?”
“I don’t know.”
“Did he tell you anything else?”
“He doesn’t speak English.”
The policewoman stopped and looked at me.
“Does he have any identification? Driving License? Passport?”
“He doesn’t seem to have anything. Just his clothes.”
“Can you give me a description?”
I described his height and general build. Hair colour and length.
“He sounds very much like you.”
“Yes, he is similar, albeit ten or so years younger.”
“I see. Any distinguishing features? Tattoos, anything like that?”
“I didn’t notice any, no.”
“And can you describe his clothes. What was he wearing?”
This is where it started to become awkward.
“He’s wearing costume.”
“What kind of costume?”
“To me, I’d say Celtic warrior costume.”
“We can check with the pier and the holiday parks at Brean. We get a few cowboys and Indians from Brean. Is this warrior armed?”
“I don’t think so. The Navy would have disarmed him if he was.”
She cocked her head to one side in a way I found oddly attractive.
“Yes. He was transferred to my boat this morning from a Navy cutter. He’d been picked up by a large warship in the Channel. It was anchored off Steep Holm. Just the other side.”
“Have you been drinking alcohol, Kevin?”
“Just a pint of cider in The Ship.”
“Did the warship have a name, you know, HMS something or other. We’ll need to follow this up with the Navy. Any serial number? Did the crew you spoke to identify themselves?”
“I know this sounds a bit strange now, but no. I never even thought.”
“We’ll check with the Coastguard and the Navy anyway. It shouldn’t take long. Whilst I’m doing that, here are some records of missing males similar to the description you’ve given me. She swung the computer around.
Check through and note any you think might be similar. I’ll be a few minutes. There’s a bell on the desk if you need anything.”