Boatman's dream 6
By Parson Thru
I trawled through pages of missing persons. It was sad to think of all the families waiting to hear. There were a few men with beards and longish dark hair, but they didn’t look like him. I started thinking about the warship story and the policewoman’s reaction.
She came back in about five minutes later with a male colleague.
“Any luck, Kevin?”
“No. There are a few kind of similar, but not the same.”
“Hello Kevin. I’m Sgt Keen. Duty Sergeant. My colleague tells me you came in to report that you’d found a missing person.”
“Well, I don’t know if he’s actually missing. He was passed on to me out in the bay this morning.”
“By the Royal Navy?”
“PC Rook has just spoken with Swansea Coastguard and there’s no record of any Royal Navy activity in the Channel this morning, let alone a large warship such as the one you described. Do you want to change your statement?”
“You’ve consumed alcohol today, Kevin. Is that correct?”
“Just a pint of cider.”
“Kevin has consumed alcohol.”
The policewoman was making notes.
“Kevin, are you aware that wasting police time is an offence?”
“This is a busy station. My staff have been distracted for an hour and PC Rook will now have to write a report about the incident. I’m cautioning you for wasting police time. I have to tell you that if you do this again, you’ll be formally charged.”
Sgt Keen got up and left the room. Constable Rook typed into the computer and didn’t speak until she printed the statement and asked me to read and sign it. She showed me out into the foyer.
It took me half an hour to walk back to the yard. My head was spinning. When I got there, Arthur was playing with Ronnie’s dogs.
Ronnie, Eddie and Rhys came out of the motorhome. Ronnie spoke first.
“Well? What did the scuffers have to say? Is he an escaped murderer?”
“They’ve given me a caution for wasting police time. They said there was no ship this morning.”
“Fuckers. I did wonder about the ship, mind. And is he missing?”
“He’s not on their database.”
“So what do we do with him?” asked Rhys, who’d become inadvertently drawn in.
“Flotilla’s back on the morning tide.” said Eddie. “We can talk to Merlin then.”
“I reckon Merlin might get more out of Arthur.” added Rhys.
Eddie said he was planning to sleep in the motorhome, rather than drive back to Bridgwater. “He can stay with me for the night. Might keep a big knife under my pillow, mind. Just in case.”
“Don’t say anything to BS tomorrow.” Ronnie warned. “He’ll have him chased off the yard.”
Dennis wandered over. “Rhys had another go at talking to him. He said something about Merlin. Do you reckon he knows him?”
“Could be any Merlin.” Rhys answered. “We showed him Merlin’s houseboat and tried to explain that he’s back tomorrow. I don’t know if he understood. He’s been running around with the dogs ever since.”
“I’m whacked.” I told them. “I’m going to hit the sack. I’ll try and get him some clothes from the Methodist church in the Boulevard tomorrow so he can get out of that costume.”
“Good idea, Kev. He stands out a bit. Let’s see what Merlin has to say in the morning.”
I kicked the gravel around for a moment, then turned and walked down towards the beach. Arthur was play-fighting with the dogs. He didn’t look up.