My name is Sharon Granger. I was stabbed with a screwdriver in 1996 and found myself in 1980. Is it real or in my head? Either way, what do I do now?
There's not much happened in '96. Well, not the bit I saw of it, anyway. I was stabbed in May, see. Actually, I'm not sure what happened in '96. I don't really like to think about it. Been here a few weeks, now, and I'm still here.
It was so weird when I arrived. You'd think it was weird, too, if one minute you were out on the beat, being stabbed with a screwdriver and the next you were in the main reception of Fenchurch East CID, same building you were working in and everything, and there's Sergeant Viv James, who you've never heard of, asking you about your transfer papers.
"They've not been sent through," he was telling me. And then he frowned. "Are you alright, miss? You look a bit pale."
I didn't know I looked pale. I didn't know what on earth I looked like, except that there should be blood pouring out my stomach and now it didn't feel like there was even a bruise.
"Sorry," I said, because I didn't what else to say, did I? "I get headaches."
"Good thing you're not going to be out on the beat then, I'd say," he smiled. "I'm afraid CID's in a bit of a shambles at the minute. New DCI, DS and DC all coming down from Manchester today, actually. You'll have your work cut out, sorting out all that paperwork."
Not on the beat? Paperwork? New DCI? I didn't have a clue what was going on, so I just nodded.
"Yeah, I s'pose," I said. "Um, if you don't have my transfer papers, how come you know what job I've got?"
He looked at me, bit worried, like I should know that. "They phoned through, remember? Your Superintendent in Essex recommended you for CID records?"
That's where I used to live, when I was just a kid. Moved up to London to join the Met. It was the first thing that made sense – I must be doing the same thing here. Not records, though. I was on the beat. I didn't just do paperwork. And I definitely wasn't CID.
You gotta remember that at this moment, I had no idea that I wasn't still in 1996. I recognised the building, so I knew I was in Fenchurch East, but I hadn't realised I was fifteen years in the past. Why on earth would I think that? Doctor Who hadn't been on for six years, and it weren't really my thing, sci-fi.
But because I'd recognised the place, I'd started to look around for other things I knew. I worked here, I knew this place like the back of my hand. So why was the radio at the back of Viv's office so seventies? And now I thought about it, Viv's uniform was different from what it should have been. And then I saw the calendar.
May 16th. Not Thursday, May 16th. Friday, May 16th. And there, at the bottom, staring at me: 1980 CALENDAR.
And then I looked round and there was a girl walking down the corridor, being assisted by a PC, and what was she wearing?
Exactly the right clothing for 1980.
"Right," I said, trying to stay calm. "Well, um, should I get started, then?"
Viv frowned. "Can I just get your details first?"
That's when I started to panic. If this was 1980, I should be eleven, not twenty-six. I lived in Chelmsford, not central London. I didn't know my details. I was starting to hyperventilate when it happened.
The double doors banged open. Some sheets of paper fluttered down off Viv's desk. The 80s girl and the PC stopped and stared. So did I. Cos entering the room right at that moment was Gene Hunt, the Manc Lion, the Guv.
I didn't know that, then, of course. But I could guess most of it.
He looked like a mountain as he strode in. Like, huge and all-powerful. His face was all grim and he stared straight forward, like he didn't need to look at anyone. He was wearing that big coat he had, and it flared out behind him, almost like it was a cloak that a superhero might wear. And behind him, one either side, there was Ray and Chris. Chris looked sorta nervous. He'd never really been out of Manchester before. He kept looking at the floor, or else at the Guv. I liked him straight away. Ray was trying to look cool, I know that now, but he did look a bit scary to me, then. He had a fag in his mouth and his hands shoved in his pockets, and he winked at me when he saw me.
The Guv stopped right in the middle of the room, and looked round. Surveying his kingdom, like. And then he glared at Viv.
"You the skipper round 'ere?"
"Sergeant Viv James."
He snorted. "Viv. Poncy name. Right then, where's my team?"
"No, the Queen of Sheba. Yes, DCI Hunt, and these two imbeciles are DS Ray Carling and DC Christopher Skelton. Where's my bloody office?"
Viv got the message, and came out from behind the desk to show him into CID. I started to follow, but the Guv caught my arm.
"And who are you, then?"
I actually had to swallow. "WPC Sharon Granger, sir."
"First off, don't call me sir, I'm the Guv. Second off, where do you work?"
"I'm on records in CID, sir. Guv."
He was right up in my face, and I was trying not to wince. He stank of fags and booze, and his face still looked exactly the same, like thunder.
"How're your tea-making skills?"
"Um, yeah, I can make tea."
Suddenly, he let go of me. "Right, then. Welcome to the team, Shaz."
He glowered at me. "Like I said. Shaz."
No one called me Shaz back home, not before I got here. Least, I don't think so. I had a sister called Georgina, and everyone called her Gina, or just Gi, but Sharon's not all that long. Anyway, Gi stayed in Chelmsford, and I went running off to London. My mum always used to say that. She didn't like me being a police officer, thought I'd get killed.
Oh God. I'd just got stabbed. Funny how you forget little things like that.
The Guv had already gone striding ahead, so when I went all pale and weak, it was Chris who caught me.
"You alright, love?"
I blinked and shook my head. "Yeah, sorry, I, erm, headache."
He was so awkward, bless him. He always is a bit awkward, Chris. Reckon he will be til the end of time.
Anyway, we went into CID. I had to show him the way, cos Ray and the Guv had got there first. It was a bit confusing when he asked me a couple of days later how I knew my way around and that, if it was my first day, too. I just said I'd got there a couple of hours earlier than them, and he believed me.
When we went through the doors, it was probably the tidiest it'd ever be. Everything'd been cleared out. There was just my typewriter, and in the Guv's office, there was that computer he never used and some filing cabinets. No piles of paper, no pens, no cigarettes, no nothing. It was like a fresh start. Weird, though. Can't imagine it that neat now.
But the reason it was so neat wasn't cos the last DCI and that had cleared it out. They'd just given it all to the DI. His was the only desk that was completely covered.
I don't really remember much about DI Smithson now. He was alright at first. Quite modern, I thought. He worked quite like I was used to. Maybe he was from the nineties, like me. That didn't occur to me then. I thought I must be the only one. Well, it all seemed to fit together, you know? The Guv, Ray and Chris, they all knew each other. Viv knew everyone's name. And all the other WPCs, they all had their own friends. It was just me who didn't know anyone.
Smithson didn't last. He managed about a month working under the Guv then got a transfer out. Went to Branch, last I heard. I wonder if he ever made it out.
Anyway, once Smithson left, it was obvious that the paperwork was really, really terrible. No one had ever sorted it out. So for ages, that's what I did, I just filed everything right and typed up all the handwritten stuff and that sort of thing. Work was the easiest bit, I reckon.
It was easier for me to settle in than it was for DI Drake, I reckon. Cos everyone else was arriving too, and cos no one really paid much attention to me. Only a WPC. But I had it harder outside. I didn't have nowhere to go, and the Guv was using the flat above Luigi's cos he hadn't found anywhere yet. Luckily, I had bank details in my pocket when I first arrived, or else I don't know how I would have worked out that I had money. Not much, mind, but what you'd expect for a WPC then. Still, I stayed in an hostel for a week and a bit before I found some girls I could rent with. London then was just as expensive as it was in '96.
I think the reason I forgot quicker than DI Drake was that she was fighting to get home all the time. Me, I was more worried about fitting in. I missed my mum and Gi and everyone, but I didn't have a daughter like she did. I didn't even have a boyfriend. So I was just trying not to get found out at first, and then it sort of became habit and then it was just life. I didn't think about the nineties after a while.
Yeah, the sexism and that was bad, but it wasn't that bad. I don't know, it must have been more normal in the nineties than it was in 2008 and those times. I didn't really worry about it, cos it made sense. I grew up in the seventies and the eighties, it was only a decade ago for me, so I knew sort of what it should be like.
And they did value me. The Super liked me, said I'd done great things for the department's paper trails, which was true. And they did start using me in jobs and that. I liked CID, it was more interesting than what I'd been doing before. Sort of more satisfaction. And there was Chris, and, well, we were engaged after only two years.
So I forgot. And the more I forgot, the more I remembered. Like my past, and that. My date of birth. Why I didn't see my family anymore.
That's why, when I found out what really happened, I was so shocked. When I remembered being stabbed, all of a sudden I remembered that the morning before my mum had told me to come home for her fiftieth birthday, 25th May. And I remembered that I'd told her I didn't know if I could get the Saturday off, but I could probably come down on the Sunday. And I remembered that she asked me what mattered more, my job or my family. And I remembered that I'd promised to do what I could.
And then I never went. I didn't even remember her birthday, cos we were all working on a murder case.
I just wanted my mum. I wanted her to know that I'd managed to get the day off, cos it was her birthday and I'd had to argue a lot to get it, but I had. And I wanted her to know that I wasn't going to London to run away from home, like she sometimes thought, I just wanted to travel about a bit. I was gonna come home after a while. I was gonna transfer back home.
S'pose it doesn't matter now. I just… I still wish she'd known. I was only twenty six when I went back to 1980, when I died. But my last thought wasn't of my mum. It was just how much it hurt, and how much blood I was gonna have to get out of my uniform.
For Chris, the Guv helped him get confidence. Bit backwards, cos he was always putting him down, but it just took Chris that long to get so put down that he sprung up again. For me, it was remembering that work and family weren't always two different things, and realising that things didn't always have to be neat and in boxes. Like with Chris. I thought, just cos he'd gone crooked, that I could never forgive him. But love don't work like that. Sometimes, the blood on your uniform has to get there. And then sometimes, you get promoted out of your uniform, and the stains don't matter no more.