The Greatest Lie Ever Told
by Morton Cubberd
Something really wasn’t right at all. Detective Inspector Paddy Rogue was more than accustomed to waking up feeling nauseous and with a thumping headache, but this was altogether more serious. The pulse in his temples was banging harder than David Lombardo from Slayer beating the shit out of his double pedal bass drum, and his eyesight was blurred and registering the nocturnal world around him as if it was all upside down.
“What in the fucking name of Celine Dion have I been drinking?” he asked himself.
Rogue had a vague recollection of being in the pub with his new partner D.I. Timmy Keen. They’d started out drinking shots of rum, before moving on to heavier things like Windolene and paint stripper. Throughout the evening Rogue had witnessed his young, guileless, pussy, posh-boy, wankshaft partner transform from a naive rookie cop into a real man. With further shaping by an almost fatherly Rogue – and a few shots of drain cleaner – Timmy Keen was going to be mentored into becoming a profoundly gifted detective with extraordinary talents.
“Where am I?” Rogue asked himself again as he looked at his watch – 02:45. He came to realise that the world around him really was the wrong way round and he’d somehow fallen asleep upside down in a phone box. Rogue awkwardly extracted himself and stumbled home, falling into lamposts and pissing up estate agents’ windows. He finally reached home and collapsed on his sofa, immediately soiling himself and screaming vile obscenities about the monarchy in his fitful sleep. But after only a short while he woke up with a burning desire to tie up this whole goddam Maurice Wagon / Jock MacDogkennel / Bristow Chapter bollocks.
After their meeting with Sir Wilkins Bramblebay, Rogue and Keen now knew about Jock MacDogkennel who had been murdered by the Bristow Chapter up in Asstermowth, Rogue’s old patch before his iconclastic, rule-breaking bad behaviour got him sent down to bullshit Cotswoldshire CID. Forgetting the unholy hour, he decided to phone Asstermowth CID.
“Who the hell is this?” Rogue asked when he heard a woman’s voice.
“I should the ask the same thing,” Liz McAubrey answered, having just applied fresh sellotape to her recently shattered skull. Since being attacked by the seven foot Russian, Liz had been unable to sleep, a symptom of suffering from Hyper Extraordinarily Gifted Profundity Syndrome, and was instead devoting twenty-four hours a day to tracking down the giant female assassin.
“Listen, little lady,” Rogue growled in his most patronisingly misogynistic voice, “go and get D.C.I. Colon for me. There’s a good girl.”
“Who the Hell am I speaking to?” McAubrey yelled, “tell me your name right now or I’ll have you busted under Section 86b of 1984 Act with a PCB-11 Order slapped right on you. Do you hear me?”
“Alright, alright. What’s the matter? Rag week?” Rogue felt that he’d met his match and knew when to back down. He immediately sensed that he was dealing with a profoundly gifted woman. “Alright I’m sorry. I’ve had a rough night. I just woke up upside down in a phonebox. The name’s Rogue, Paddy Rogue. You may have heard of me.”
“Heard of you? Of course I’ve heard of you,” Liz was stunned to hear the voice of the legendary Paddy Rogue, “you were a hero up here, and then you blew it by being too goddam good a dectetive. Legend has it that you tore up the rule book a little too often in a totally iconoclastic and irreverent manner.”
“Maybe that’s right, maybe that’s wrong. All I know is that I’ve got a dead body down here in Cotswoldshire and a list of other murdered people, including a Mr Jock MacDogkennel.”
“MacDogkennel? What the Hell do you know about him? I think you’d better tell me everything you know, Detective Inspector Rogue.”
It had been a pleasant journey over two days from Iceland, the sea unusually calm for mid winter. The captain of the MV Rotenkok spoke into the ship’s tannoy to announce that they were entering Whitby harbour and would soon be docking at exactly 03:00 as had been expected. Olaf Brynjolfsonsonsonson and Dr.Heijning Mork Karlsson were sat in their cabin drinking rammslappe, a traditional Icelandic apperitif made from distilled squid ink mixed with vinegar and pickled soil.
“My good friend, Olaf,” Heijning said, “after tonight we shall be rich. Twenty-two dollars each! Rich beyond our wildest dreams! Let us drink to our future.”
The two men stood and lowered their trousers before prodding each other in the hip with a pencil, as is the traditional Icelandic custom when toasting one’s future.
Half an hour later Olaf and Heijning were stood on the quayside watching a crane lift the container filled with their premium products. In the shadows below the keel of a ship they had no idea that they were being watched through binoculars by Kathinka Zemlinsky who had come to pick up the shipment for the Bristow Chapter. The container was lowered onto the quay and the two Icelandic men opened the doors and began to take out the large cages hosting an incredible selection of northern and Arctic vagrants. Kathinka stepped out of the shadows and joined the two men.
“Zemlinksy?” Olaf asked, as he looked up at her expressionless face. “I didn’t know that the old man was sending a woman,” Olaf looked her up and down in horror, “and he definitely never mentioned that…”
“… never mentioned what?” Kathinka asked, opening her black leather Gestapo trench coat slightly to show them the handle of her cricket bat.
“… nothing. Would you like to see the birds?”
Kathinka inspected the cages with a torch. The Gyrfalcon hissed at her. She felt sad whenever she saw a bird in a cage, she believed that people who kept caged birds should have their opposable thumbs amputated, see how the fuckers would like having their singular evolutionary brilliance taken away from them. Next to the Gyrfalcon was an adult Black-tailed Gull. Following her instructions she opened the gull’s cage and let it fly off into the Whitby night, but the other birds were destined for elsewhere in Britain.
She then inspected a cage containing four Brunnich’s Guillemots bound for northern Scotland and Shetland. She frowned, confused by their appearance. She opened the cage and took out one of the birds, gently holding it in her enormous hands. She inspected the auk’s head and then scratched her fingernail against the white line at the base of its bill. The white Tippex mark crumbled off.
Olaf and Heinjing looked at each other in shock.
Kathinka carefully put the faux-Brunnich’s back in the cage and closed it.
“What is the meaning of this? Do you think I’m stupid? These are fakes.” Kathinka spoke calmly, but she knew that the two swindling swinedogs needed to be taught a lesson. Nobody ripped off the Bristow Chapter without regretting it. Kathinka took out her cricket bat, and with one psychotic swing Dr.Heijning Mork Karlsson was sent flying across the quay. She suddenly began to scream like a wounded picnic bench, and then charged towards a terror-struck Olaf Bryjolfsonsonsonson.
“… and so this Wilkins Bramblebay bastard seems to know everything about the Bristow Chapter,” Rogue was filling in McAubrey about what him and Keen had discovered so far, “but something just doesn’t sit right. I can’t get my head around this upper-class toff Bramblebay. I just don’t know how he seems to know so much. And then there’s his goddam pissant butler Huggins, he’s a goddam strange one as well. Damn idiot sounds just like Rigsby out of Rising Damp. You know what it’s like, McAubrey, sometimes your instincts just tell you that something isn’t right. And there’s definitely something not right about all this stuff that quite clearly just isn’t right. Goddam case is sending me mad. I think I’m getting too old for this goddam job…”
McAubrey interrupted him, her heart suddenly beating faster. “Hang on a minute. Just go back a bit. Did you just say someone sounded just like Rigsby in Rising Damp?”
“Yeah, Huggins the butler. Goddam bastard sounds just like Rigsby.”
“Jesus Christ Mary Mother of Adam Sandler.” McAubrey was stunned. Memories, facts and figures whirred through her hyper-speed brain as she recalled the mystery phone number that Jock MacDogkennel had written down in his birding notebook: only call in an emergency. Liz had rang the number and gone straight to a voicemail greeting that sounded just like Rigsby. “Rogue, I think we might be able to help each other out. I’m coming down to Cotswoldshire. Should be there some time tomorrow afternoon. Can you recommend anywhere to stay?”
“Well if you don’t mind sleeping amongst puddles of puke, piss, shit and blood, there’s a living room sofa you can doss down on for as long as you like.”
“Now there’s an offer I can’t refuse,” Liz joked.
“Guess I’ll see you some time tomorrow then.” Rogue was intrigued but wary about meeting such an obviously profoundly gifted woman. Profoundly gifted women had always made him nervous.
“Yeah I’ll see you tomorrow.” McAubrey hung up and then had to phone him back straight away because she had absolutely no idea where he lived.
Having despatched Dr.Heijning Mork Karlsson, Kathinka turned her attentions to the other swindling swinedog. However, Olaf Brynjolfsonsonsonson had come prepared and pulled out a big fucking gun from his briefcase, like the gun that Blain has in Predator, only one that fits inside a briefcase.
“Fuck you, bitch!” Olaf screamed, then began firing thousands of bullets at Kathinka. But the giant used her cricket bat to deflect each bullet, smacking each round for six as Olaf looked on in horror. “Arrgghh! What are you? My God, you’re not human! You’re like some kind of secret Soviet eugenic experiment, just like Drago in Rocky IV.”
Dr.Heijning Mork Karlsson stumbled back to his feet, confused and delirious from the strike to his head. He took out his Smith & Wesson .45, steadied himself against the side of a pillar and took aim at the rabid giant, still swinging like a maniac to shield herself from Olaf’s thousands of bullets. Just as Olaf’s massive fucking machine gun ran out of ammo, Dr.Heijning Mork Karlsson squeezed the trigger and a single crack pierced the Whitby sky. Kathinka dropped to the floor grasping her neck. Karlsson had missed her head by only inches and shot her in her throat. Kathinka writhed about on the floor gargling blood and choking on her shattered windpipe.
Unknown to the three of them, the harbour master had called 999 and suddenly a fleet of police cars screeched around the corner and into Whitby harbour. Olaf Brynjolfsonsonsonson and Dr.Heijning Mork Karlsson were blinded by a bright spotlight from a helicopter which quickly arrived and hovered above.
“Police! Drop your weapons and get down on the floor!” a voice screamed from the row of police cars. Sirens wailed, shotguns were being cocked and loaded, the downdraft from the helicopter blades blew about litter and fishing gear from the moored boats.
Olaf and Heijning threw their guns to the floor and then turned to face each other. They lowered their trousers and exchanged 25cm long strips of fibreglass with each other, as is the traditional Icelandic custom when facing arrest.
“Where’s the woman? Where’s the seven foot woman?” the police officer yelled through his megaphone. “I repeat, where is the woman?”
Olaf and Heijning looked around and saw a puddle of blood at the spot where Kathinka had fallen, but the Russian giant was nowhere to be seen.
Tuesday 10th January 2012
Helena Timpani had been birding around Whitby for nearly twenty years, she knew the place and its birds like the back of her hand. During the winter she regularly checked the gulls at the quay, but this morning the area was cordoned off behind police tape. The whole town was in shock and nervously discussing the shootout which had taken place the night before. Helena walked out towards the pier when a gull in flight grabbed her attention without any need for binoculars. Helena had been on birding trips throughout the Far East and she knew exactly what she was looking at. Shaking with euphoria as she lifted her binoculars, Helena Timpani could barely believe it, but there was no doubt. Five minutes later the British birding scene went into meltdown as the following news broke:
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