Thames Valley Tricks
9:30 a.m. Monday and in strolls Gerry (Last Man)Standing, swinging his coat onto the stand while quickly scanning the room. His two co-horts are quing up for first tea of the day but no signs of their boss yet, so Gerry blows out the breath he was holding and starts to relax.
As the two men look up from their tea they call greetings to the late comer. "Morning Gerry. Cuppa? asks Brian (Rain Man) Lane. "When have you ever known me to turn down a cuppa," snorts Gerry with a cheeky grin. "And what time do you call this then," asks Jack Halford as he crosses to his desk with his tea. "She wont like it you know," he warns with a grin, "You keeping "bankers hours like this." Gerry snorts and grins while quickly scanning the room one last time. "Where is ol' iron knickers anyway? Thought sure she'd be here to continue that bollocking she was dishing out last friday!" "No sign of her yet, lucky for you," Brian tells him as he hands Gerry his tea. "Luckier still if you keep calling her iron knickers! Developed a death wish Gerry?!" asks Halford with a rueful chuckle. Before they can continue the banter the door swings open and in strides DCI Sandra Pullman head of the UCOS team. As she holds the door open she's closely followed by two constables hauling file boxes. "Leave them over there," she directs in clipped tones. "This doesn't look good,"says Brian in an undertone to the others.
As the constables finish unloading their burdens the DCI deposits her purse and coat on the nearby plush chair in front of the white board and turns to her team. Door swinging shut behind the scurrying constables Sandra, hands on hips dives right in to her explanation. "Have any of you heard of a DI Dennis Laughton?" General groans and grimaces all around and Halford pipes up,"Christ, as if Mondays aren't bad enough! Must we bring in the stench of a dirty cop?!" Before anyone else can comment Brian, eyes closed and head tilted slightly back, begins. "Laughton, Dennis Arnold. Began his career in Suffolk. DS achieved early in his case and transferred to Thames Valley division in 1964 under DI and then DCI Thursday. Steady advancement but always a whisper of something unsavory. Known for results but didn't stick at much. Later transferred out of Oxford under a bit of a cloud and at the insistence of his then gov' DCI Thursday. Some run in with a new lad name of Morse. Apparently old Thursday took the lads part and sent Laughton up to the smoke."
"Pity Thursday couldn't have got rid of him altogether, would have saved us all a load of grief,"huffed Sandra. "Oily git always managed to skate off untouched," groused Standing. "Not any more! Caught by the short and curlies now isn't he? But what's all this to do with UCOS and these files anyway, Sandra,"asked Halford. Huffing out another frustrated breath and sitting on the plush chair, she motions the team over to their briefing area and begins. "As we all know by now Laughton's as bent a copper as ever was and is being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. An unfortunate consequence of this, however, is that his cases are now called into question. Everyone is to pitch in to vet these files..., " Louder groans and grumblings now interrupt the DCI and she allows her team to vent for several moments. With a slightly raised voice she contiues,"I know, I know! But it has to be done and we have to pitch in and do our part. These files are to be sorted and handed off to the appropriate departments for re-investigation. If we find any for UCOS we will then handle them. Now no more griping! I don't like this any better than the rest of you, but the sooner we get tucked into these files the sooner we'll be done and back to regular ops. So let's get down to it, shall we?"
And so amidst much grumbling and calls for cigarette, tea and bathroom breaks the UCOS team got down to a miserable week of sorting through the detritus of a bent coppers less than stellar career. All keenly aware of the damage Laughton's willingness to be as dirty as the crooks he was meant to be policing was causing for those who went about their duties in good faith. By weeks end all were quite dispirited with the notable exception of Brian Lane.
As his colleagues look worriedly on, Brian's OCD nature comes to the fore on Friday. He's concentrating on one particular file, wont let anyone else near it, and is checking and double checking things in the records on the computer. Lunch time he leaves the office with the parting instructions that,"No one, but no one is to touch that file or my desk. And I'll know if anyone does, and my wrath will be terrible to behold!" "Cripes Sandra is he off his meds again?" moans Gerry as he reaches for another cigarette. "Don't know, you Jack?" she responds. "Haven't a clue! We'll just have to keep an eye on him. Let's go out for lunch and get away from this mess for a while. I'm sick to death of it!" So grabbing coats and such they head out for a well desrved break, but not without a sense of unease for their friend Brian. They all know when in the grips of an obsessive thought Brian can be a bit of danger to himself.