Jessica-Marie and Martin 'Beejay' Wells

Jessica-Marie and Martin 'Beejay' Wells
be together, play together, learn together

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The bits I like to miss out

I don't think I'm a lazy writer, more, well ecconomical I suppose. There are times when things just aren't needed. As a musician I'm well aware of the adage, 'it's not always what you play that makes an impact on a song but sometimes what you leave out and also singing off the beat can be a huge dynamic.'

I find the same in my writing, and yes I've been hauled over the coals about it on more than a few occasions but I refuse to bow to the conventional. Same as I don't give a shit about show and tell.

If two detectives are interviewing a subject, possibly about a murder, we know the standard questions, the usual 'where were you on the night of bla bla bla, what were you doing at a certain time of day on the bla bla bla. That's the bits I find superfluous. The story will take care of those bits.

Anyway, here's an extract from 'Why Danny, Harry?'  Two Detective inspectors, one, D.I. Waters, a posh Surrey bred copper, not given to emotional outbursts and the other is a Geordie who's lived in the Smoke (London) for forty years and never lost his accent. That can be a culture shock if you happen to engage someone from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in conversation for the first time.

In this extract from ch.13 I think I've done a reasonable job of representing the three characters and their somewhat tenuous friendship. Anyway, the interviewee is a cockney who's done his best to shed the rhyming slang image of the East End.

Another mind whirling forty minutes, before the door creaked open and D.I. Stone squeaked his way across the room, double tape deck in his hands, while D.I. Waters quietly shut the door and followed. From under hooded eyelids I watched with indifference as the tape deck was set down on the table. Waited until they'd both sat opposite me before a word was spoken. To them, it would have been a game of quiet intimidation. To me? Well, I really didn't give a shit. I hadn't done anything; why should I worry. Jack Stone spoke first.
         "Morning, Keith, man. Before we gan on, just want to say like, that me an' Pete are not in the mood for pleasantries today. We've had a hard couple of days, like. Interviewing scum that tark in nothing but y' bloody Cockney rhyming slang. Please Keith, an' ah am asking politely noo. Divn't tark like them, eh. Be nice to have a tape we can use in court wi' oot the need for translators like. Y' kna' worra mean, man."
         Well, that was too much for me. Nearly falling off the chair, shaking with hysterical laughter, I shot at glance in Pete Waters direction. Through the tears that wouldn't stop flowing, the only emotion I could see on his face was a wry smile.
         "He is joking isn't he Mr. Waters?" I spluttered, "Christ sake, he's been here four decades, still hardly anybody understands a bloody word he says and he's asking me to speak in clear, precise, Queens English. Maybe you'd best ask the questions. That's the surest way if you're really worried about not needing a translator in court. Personally, I think he's just taking the piss. Whatever, let's get this over with."
         "Keith," said Waters, unwrapping a couple of tapes and placing them in the deck, "this is not a joking matter. Two weeks you've been back in society and we've already got two bodies. Both of them friends of yours. If you'd rather wait till you get yourself legal representation that's fine. won't be going anywhere while you sort that out."
         "Am I under arrest, Pete?"
         "Nah, not yet man, but divn't worry yersel," Stone butted in, "if y' hear us reading you' y' rights like, y'll kna' y'are."
         So, repressing the urge to say ––– 'Aw, come on Guv. On'y wen' up to the Dipper's Mickey for a butcher's and a Graham. [Micky Mouse – house, butcher's hook – look, Graham Gootch – mootch] Right ol' Porgy's it were an' nah mistake so I wuz in an' aat in a couple of ducks. Y' know, after I done a quick parrot, like. [Porgy and Bess – mess, ducks and drakes – shakes, parrot's perch – search] ––– I told them just to get on with it, as I'd nothing to hide, well, except for the briefcase, and no way were they getting that.
         The fallout if I'd done the Cockney thing would definitely not have given me a feeling of joy and well being. Most likely it would have led to a spot of 'watch your elbows' CLANG.
         Two and a half hours and four coffees later Pete Waters leaned forward slightly and said – thankfully, before reaching to switch off the tape recorder, "Interview terminated at," – a quick glance at the watch on his left wrist – "twelve forty-eight."
         "Well, Keith man. If it's any consolation we divn't think y'are guilty like."
         Ignoring the Geordie, I turned to Pete and after he assured me there were no other bits and pieces, hidden in the walls, still bugging our conversation I said, "You two will be put out to grass soon. How would you both like to end your careers with the biggest bust you've ever had?"
         The two of then looked at one another, then, each with a quizzical expression, leaned forward, elbows firmly on the table, chins resting on clasped hands, staring back at me. Seems I had their interest.
         "Howay y' gan man. Wor listening."
         "First a question. Have you given Harry Chambers a tug yet over this?"
         "Ah. Problem there Keith. He's in St. Georges. A bit sick. Nurses swear he never left his bed."
         "Yeah, well in my experience, nurses spend most of the night in the rest room gossiping over coffee and biscuits. Start looking at patients around five or five thirty in the morning. Three hour window of opportunity there somewhere. And it wouldn't be that hard to make it look like there was still a body in a bed. Prisoners of War did it all the time and if they could fool the Waffen S.S., then Harry could certainly fool a couple of Essex nurses."
         "Wye aye, Keith man but proving it is something else like."
         "Yeah, well I can give you the bastard's head on a plate but I need an immunity from prosecution deal. Queen's evidence and all that shit."
         "Withholding evidence is also a crime, Keith."
         "I'm not withholding anything, merely looking after something that could help you two become legends."
         "Need a little bit more than that, Keith."
         "Okay, Mr. Waters, how about this. Twenty-five years ago a woman disappears. Never been found to this day. Apparently Chambers got tugged for questioning about it but the Old Bill couldn't prove he knew her. Even I didn't know he knew her back in the day. Well, now I can put him in the frame plus I think I know where her body is. That's the easy one but imagine how much nicer it would be, on top of that, to put Harry away for topping his missus and Danny Parker and running drugs, because that's what I think he's into now. Give me three weeks. If you don't you'll be running round in rings and disappear up your own arses before you get to collect your commendations and your gold watches."

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