But that wasn’t a problem now. The mugs were on the dresser, the tea in a tin behind the kettle and the milk was in her hand.
She put down the milk and went to fetch the cloth. She wasn’t quite sure why she still bothered with wiping the milk down. It always looked clean but there was an ingrained habit to break now. She wondered if some days she wiped them two or even three times without really thinking about it it was so routine. Collect milk, wipe it, put in fridge. When she was next to the sink she could hear that dog – what was his name Barney? Billy? no something musical – Bongo – that was probably it – either way he was barking quite loudly now. Then his tone changed. Before he had been barking with a sort of almost but not quite growl or snarl as if he were angry or anxious. Now he was more sort of yapping frantically. She paused to listen some more. Probably whatshername had slept in and had only just got up to feed him she supposed. The barking stopped so Janet decided she must be right.
Janet Greene closed the front door. She rather liked Keith and had become rather fond of him. But it was the fondness that one feels for a pet and he could be irritating in the same way a pet can be. She fancied he was an old English Sheepdog. Loyal, dependable. No, that wasn’t right. He wasn’t hairy enough. A Labrador then. No, not enough bounce. Ah, she thought, a retriever. Like a guide dog. Calm, sensible, reliable. He even had the right hair colour hidden away under his milkman’s cap.
Janet shuffled a couple of steps down the hall and put her phone on the charging stand on the hall table. She hated wearing it; it was heavy and pendulous and she kept snagging it. Everyone was so concerned about her after that silly fall. She knew perfectly well it was her own fault she’d fallen and the only factor old age had contributed was a momentary lapse in concentration. Her daughter wouldn’t let her store anything on the top shelves now and had packed a lot of rarely used plates into boxes and put them in storage
… my presence.”
“Oh ok. I’ll email you a copy of the second presentation and we can make alternative arrangements to assess your performance on the course” he replied.
“Great. Thanks. I’ll look forward to that.” Duncan lied. Then he shot off as fast as he could praying that there really was something serious to attend to and not just that they had forgotten about his course.
He crossed the car park at what he hoped was a businesslike fast walk and clambered into his car. He started the engine and had driven a mile back towards Cantree before he realised that he had no idea what had come up Mp where he was heading. He pulled in to the side of the road and called Susan back.
“Hiya Sherlock.” he said “what’s so urgent that I can’t enjoy a training course in peace?”
At the other end Susan winced. She hated the nickname he’d given her. To be fair it was a pretty obvious one and more than once she had regretted not keeping her maiden name for professional purposes.
“We’ve got a body. Possible murder.”
Actually that wasn’t true. What startled him was A phone ringing. Everyone seems to have “old fashioned telephone” as their ringtone he thought as he scrambled in his pocket. Then it stopped. Gone to voicemail. Duncan finally located his phone and sure enough it was flashing the message icon.
Susan didn’t want to leave a message. Half the time her boss didn’t respond and you had to call him back anyway. The rest of the time he didn’t even realise he had a message. Usually because he was in a pub somewhere. Nonetheless when the beep beeped she felt compelled to speak.
“Hi it’s me. Susan. It’s … urm … about 10.30 … ah … and we … um … have a … ah … situation … ah um … here that you … um … need to know. About. Ok. Thanks. See you. Bye.”
That has to go down in history as one of the worst messages thought Duncan when he finally worked out how to listen to it. He went over to the training officer.
“Hi I’m sorry but something serious has come up down our way and my team have requested …
… to impress their bosses or face “voluntary” early retirement.
Duncan used to be eager. He could remember being in the other camp once. Wet behind the ears and if he’d had a tail it would have wagged. He’d got results but not always in the prettiest of manners. Sometimes he’d skated on very thin ice and then had come Brandon Jeffrey. Then he’d seen his life for what it really was. And now, truth be told, all he really cared about was serving his time until he could retire on a full pension and grow spuds.
jHe was startled out of his contemplation by his phone ringing.
The speaker asked for questions and there was a moment of silence, just long enough to get everyone’s hopes up before an over enthusiastic youngster near the front asked something which made it quite clear he was just asking a question to impress his elders with his inquisitive mind and studious manner.
Finally, finally, after another couple of such questions, each proceeded by a similar hopeful pause, the session was adjourned for what the speaker gratingly referred to as a comfort break. For godssake, thought Duncan, you’re not a bleeding Yank!
There was a large vacuum jug of coffee at the back of the room and after Duncan had had worked out which bit released the contents, fought with the dozen or so miniature milk cartons and four packs of sugar he needed to make the stuff palatable, Duncan was not in the best frame of mind. He scanned the room to see if he knew anyone. There were two “camps”; voluntary youngsters who thought it would impress their bosses and mature coppers like himself, who needed …
Duncan had gone past the numb posterior stage of boredom and had passed into the uncontrollable yawning stage. He tried to hide them by studying his notepad and making copious notes. The session was going to over run. The speaker was one of those people who you knew was going to over run five minutes into their talk. Duncan passed the time by revising his estimate of how late the session would finish. Although the schedule implied that role play would take place in the session after coffee and Duncan did not like that idea at all. As far as he was concerned if he had wanted to act he would have gone to RADA.
Finally the session seemed to be drawing to a close.