Night Shift

It was cold and it was dark; in that strange twilight hour of the world scant people moved like shadows behind the grey unwashed curtains of rain that veiled the estate. This was a twilight time for twilight people. No ghost or demons moved here. The grey light made monsters of them, the night people, none of them here, but for urgent necessity. Here among the concrete columns and wire link fences of the inner city, in not quite darkness could be found not quite demons. And other things, besides.

“Look, Thomas, it’s simple” said the dark figure lighting up a cigarette and taking a short sharp drag, “This is a period of transition. WHO’s up the proverbial creek without a paddle. I don’t hold out much hope for the RCX now that our mutual friends have been tipped off about their less orthodox activities…”

“That’s Lieutenant Thomas to you, Sunny Jim…” A voice growled from under the hat jammed on tight over his eyes, “And stub that bloody thing out, I gave up, and I ain’t going through that again.”

“Right you are,” the cigarette fell to the cold cracked pavement where it fizzled slightly among the weeds, “Sorry ‘bout that, Lieutenant, didn’t mean to get your back up or anything. It’s just that you’re CID, makes you virtually family.”

“You what?” The hat was confused by this, confused by the lack of fight, confused by the damn politeness. These spooks were all the bloody same treating him like dirt, and then, this one didn’t. Wasn’t fair springing things like this on a body, not at his time of life.

“They didn’t tell you to expect me, did they?” It wasn’t really a question. A chocked laughed. A hand pushed back some greasy slick hair with a lopsided grin as the other was thrust out towards the detective, “Name’s Wisdom. Peter Paul Wisdom.”

“Wisdom… as in…”

“Yeah… as in… “Hatchet” Wisdom, as in the guy who got all the really interesting murder cases. The ones that never ever got into the family newspapers. That’s my Da. And you’re “Dangerous” Dai, the guy who was sick all over the Eversham Eviscerator.”

“O god, I thought everyone had forgotten about that.”

“Not my Da. Valuable forensic evidence, he says. Lives in the past, really. Gone a bit gaga, all told, you know,” the younger man tapped the side of his head knowingly.

“So why are you doing this then?”

“Well, I could hardly join the force could I? Could you imagine the stick I’d have got? Always fancied myself as Essex’s own James Bond, never really imagined it’d all boil down to Willesden Green on wet Tuesday night. Anyway, it keeps me old man out of a home, don’t it?”

They turned and looked out of the railway arch. They looked out into the thick grey rain, haunted by sodium light ghosts. “Guess I’d better get to work. It’s simple, Dai, mate, as far as you’re concerned, I never was here, understand? ‘Course you do. I’m just carrying on the family business, really. Doing what needs to be done.”

And then the darkness of the night swallowed him, made him part of her. Or perhaps he already was.

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