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'The Reluctant Detective’

By Adrian Spalding

Early Morning Phone Call

Martin with his tired blue eyes, looked at the telephone on his desk. It rang louder than he had ever noticed before. To be fair he had no direct comparison, Martin had never heard it ring at seven thirty in the morning. He considered that phones must have a consciousness that gives them an awareness of the time of day. That would seem logical. Usually Martin would be asleep at this time of the morning, so it made sense that any telephone near him would need to ring louder, in order to break into his normal deep slumber. Therefore his office telephone sensing him there, guessed he might be asleep. It would not have been the first time he had made use of the office settee after a long nights drinking. This morning was very different, he had only just arrived, weary yet sober.

There could only be one person calling him at this time of the morning, after turning him out of her warm comfortable bed. She would know that he could not consider creeping home, with the ever present danger of waking his mother. Such a course of action would possibly require Martin to explain why the overnight assignment he was supposedly on was cut short. Martin avoided lying where possible, he thought that was the right thing to do. Although in the past he had found that by lying you often need to make up more lies, digging a deeper hole to try and claw out of. So instead he just walked back to his office in the centre of London.

It had to be Jenny calling him, to apologise. So she should. He had treated her to a very special meal at her favourite restaurant, Ceviche Soho. They followed the meal with an energetic evening dancing at a nearby salsa club. Jenny loved dancing the salsa, she insisted Martin take lessons in the techniques of the Latin dance. Reluctantly he did, just to make her happy, so they could dance together into the early hours of the morning. After the club, tired, they took a cab, sitting in the back holding hands, to her luxury Bayswater flat. There making what Martin liked to refer to as Salsa sex.

Martin had been sound asleep next to Jenny, dreaming about race horses, until she started shaking him vigorously, speaking with an urgency in her voice. “Get up now Martin, you need to go.”

Martin always slept deeply, liking to take his time waking, today there was to be no such luxury.

“Martin, wake up.” Jenny's sense of urgency had increased. “Ian caught an earlier flight, he has just landed at Heathrow, move Martin for Christ's sake move.”

Martin was aware that Jenny was now out of bed, quickly getting dressed. Martin was just about to turn over and snuggle deeper under the warm cosy duvet, when he recalled who Ian was, the same Ian who was married to the Jenny, who now had pulled the duvet off the bed completely leaving Martin naked and a lot less cosy.

Jenny drove off to collect her husband from the airport, leaving Martin standing on the pavement, alone, cold and still sleepy. Thankfully dressed, albeit in last nights crumpled clothes, he looked around for a cab to take him back to his office.

Yes, it had to be Jenny, who else would even consider calling him at this unearthly time of the morning at the office. He would of course accept her apology, he would be mad not to. She was attractive, rich, enjoyed the company of younger men, (Martin was ten years her junior). Had a great sense of humour, long attractive legs, plus a strong imaginative sex drive. The only down side was her marriage to Ian, that made the relationship on the one hand exciting and on the other at times complicated. 'Go with the flow, stay close to the bank, enjoy the ride.' That was one of 'Martin's Mantras' as he liked to call them.

There was a small vindictive part of him, that was very tempted to leave the telephone ringing, until the answer machine kicked in, he could then replay her apology time and time again. Then he thought of her amazing breasts coupled with 'making up' sex so grabbed the phone, before any mechanical voice had a chance to kick in.

It was a woman, just not Jenny. It was a young sounding woman asking about the job vacancy that he advertised. Great Martin thought ‘that's all I need at seven thirty in the morning’.

Falling from Heaven

'Shit' thought Susan. She had not expected to hear an actual real human voice from the other end of the telephone. There again, she could never have expected or imagined that she would be inside a cramped coffee shop at seven thirty in the morning, sitting next to a man she had only just met, ringing about a job interview.

Sometimes life throws unexpected things into your face, just for the fun of it. Susan was fast learning that life must have a weird sense of humour.

It had really started going very strange just a couple of hours earlier, when Susan left Heaven. Not the place where angels hang around chatting and discussing, the latest set of gossamer wings, and laughed about if an angel really appeared every time a bell rang, how crowded their place would be. The Heaven that Susan stumbled from was a night club, located under Charing Cross station. She stumbled as she had just a little too much to drink in too short a time. She fell onto the damp pavement. Susan felt the pain as she grazed her knee plus the indignity of her low cut dress, moving in such a way that it exposed most of her cleavage and a high proportion of one of her breasts. Even as she gazed very closely at the dried chewing gum on the pavement, she could feel eyes looking at her and judging her.  

A moment later she felt a strong pair of hands that helped her to her feet. Then those same hands started feeling other parts of her body, including her now very exposed breast. “Enough of that!” Susan pushed the hand away and yanked up her dress to regain her modesty, “there’s helping a lady and groping a lady, so thanks for the first part.”

He was taller than her, well built and was a little too close for comfort. There was clearly alcohol on his breath. Susan could not complain about that as she guessed her breath was not exactly fresh.

“Just a cuddle and kiss as a thank you.” The deep voice pleaded, with a smile that looked to Susan a little creepy, noticing his hands, which were once again sneaking over her body. “Piss off weirdo.” Susan was always one for the blunt approach. She then felt his hands tighten on her arms, “You'd enjoy me, I have some special talents that young ladies love.”

“Just let me go!” There was for the first time a hint of fear in her voice, she tried to hide unsuccessfully. The fear only seemed to encourage the young man, then for the first time she noticed the two others standing behind him smirking and leering.

“I think you should be a little more grateful, I did help you up, who knows what might have happened if I just left you there.” He laughed before his head moved towards her, his lips primed and aimed at Susan's lips. She tried to struggle, yet his grip was just too much for her. She wondered if she could jerk her knee into his private parts with force, to make it clear she had no interest in joining lips. Being so close to her, she was not sure she would be able to generate enough force behind her knee, if she did try it, the result would possibly felt like she was rubbing her knee against him, sending all the wrong signals.

“Just a little snog darling”

Susan was beginning to run out of ideas, when she heard another voice chime into the conversation. A strong commanding male voice, that forced everyone to turn and look. Susan felt relieved, a knight in shining armour was going to rescue her and he would save her from these drunken louts, who had nothing more than a lot of dirty thoughts on their minds. The tall drunk, now released her to see just who was calling.

“Let the lady go, then we can all be on our way without anyone getting hurt or tears being shed.”

The tall drunk just laughed, loudly at the man striding towards him. Susan looked at her knight in shining armour. Well actually he was dressed in a printed floral dress, black court shoes, pearl drop earrings and clearly bleached blonde hair, with an old slightly wrinkled face with eyes that were surrounded by black high liner. Lips bathed in a deep rouge lipstick and a strong chin at had dark stubble appearing. Susan was a little disappointed to say the least.

“Oh, so what is the little poof going to do, hit me with your handbag” that comment brought an outcry of laughter from his two assistants.

“No, the hand bag goes onto the ground” which it did, only emphasising Susan's disappointment in her saviour. “Then I ask you again politely to get on your way, so no one gets hurt.”

The tall drunk, had now lost interest in Susan. The thought of punching this man dressed as lady seemed to be a more fitting end to a good nights binge drinking, than just fumbling with some drunken slag. It was lucky that Susan did not hear that thought, as he moved away from her, or else she would most certainly have kicked him in the nuts.

“You do know, your make up is going to get really messed up, when my fist lands on your face.”

The two men squared up to each other, although to any passer-by it would have looked like a man and a woman. They edged closer and closer. Their eyes locked on each other. It was then Susan noticed the man in the dress, his eye shadow had little glittery bits, that reflected of the street light, she liked that effect, and wondered if she would get the chance later to ask him what he was wearing.

The tall drunk, dug into his pocket and pulled a knife, which also glinted in the amber street light, “Come and show me what you got Lady boy!”

“Oh dear, that was not the best move on your behalf, you are going to regret drawing a knife on me.”

The tall drunk lunged forward, his only intention was to stab the transvestite, “have some of...”

Before his sentence was finished, the man in the floral dress sidestepped the lunge. Firmly grabbed the assailant's wrist with one hand, the other hand pushed on his elbow joint. Then pressed even harder. In a moment there was a loud cracking sound, followed by a scream of pain from the tall drunk man, as the man in the dress let the drunk go, who fell to the floor in agony. “You've broke my fucking arm!”

“You are the observant type, now run along if I was you”

“Call the police, you're going to pay for this bastard,” he turned to his now not so brave looking comparators, “get the Fed’s, let’s get this fucking old tart arrested.”

The man in the floral dress, picked up his hand bag then walked towards Susan, who was actually thinking that she was in a weird dream, as a result of too many cocktails in the club. He took Susan by the hand then turned towards the drunk with the broken arm, writhing on the grey pavement in pain.

“Please feel free to call the police, they will take at least eight minutes to get here, in which time I could have broken your other arm, both of your legs and be working my way through your friends. Take it as a lesson learnt young man”

So that was how Susan ended up in this busy coffee shop, with a man she had only just meet, whose name it turned out to be Colin.

The reason she was telephoning for a job was equally weird. Although it started by Colin a question that had been bothering him ever since he first saw Susan in the club. Colin was not the sort of person to shy away from awkward or blunt questions. Making htem almost the perfect pair, although Susan preferred her men in jeans, not dresses.

“Why were you flirting with so many men at the club, you do know that Heaven is a gay club, the men there tend to prefer well hung men, not flirtatious young ladies.”

“Of course I knew it was a gay club, that's why I was there, looking for a gay man to live with.”

Colin picked up his skinny latte, drank a hearty mouthful, just to give him time to figure out exactly what Susan was planning, either that or she was still very drunk. “Maybe this is none of my business, but why would you be looking for a gay man to live with?”

“Well not live with in the sense of a relationship, more flat mates. Share the rent, household bills, cleaning, cooking, all that sort of stuff. Without any of the bedroom stuff that is bound to rear its head if I just had a normal hetero guy as a roommate. Plus gay’s guys always seem flushed with cash, good jobs and the like. So it seems like a good idea. Colin, I need a job, I don't have one and the only way of paying next month’s rent, unless I find a gay flat mate, is to sleep with my overweight, landlord with his suspect personal hygiene regime, something I have no plans to do.”

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Colin stated, “Right young lady, let’s see if we can’t find you a job which doesn’t involve laying on your back.” Grabbing the paper he donned a pair of half lens reading glasses then began trawling through the paper, “So Suzie baby, what qualifications do you have?”


“Well that’s an easy answer, sadly it does limit our options. Experience?”

“Four years working in shops and two years in an office”

“I guessed as much, maybe you would be better lying on your back” Colin commented whilst peering over the top of the London Metro.

Susan ignored the comment, dropped six cubes of sugar into her coffee, then stirred the syrupy mixture with the provided wooden stick, before she burnt her tongue as she sipped on the drink. Susan watched the blood shot eyes of the man dressed as a woman scan the job section; occasionally he made small sounds, as he weighed up the jobs on offer.

“You know what you want, if you’re not going to perform blow jobs on your landlord. Would a job which demands no qualifications and no experience, plus is well paid into the bargain be of interest to you?”

“If you can find me a job like that Colin,“ she said blowing her coffee in a vain attempt to cool it down, “I’ll take you for tea at the Ritz with my first pay packet.”

Smugly he handed her the job section of the Metro and pointed at a quarter page advert, “I wonder what I should wear. Sequins and diamanté I think, they always looks kind of Ritzy, don’t you think darling?”

Personal Assistant Required

Hayden Investigations seek a PA to the Senior Director

Based in a prestigious office suite located in central London, the role will include organising the director’s diary, his travel arrangements, liaising with clients and field agents, managing a small administrative office. Some UK and European travel will be required so a passport is essential.

It is important that the successful candidate fits into a small-dedicated team,

so personality will take precedence over qualifications and experience.

 Remuneration negotiable for the right person.

Please contact by telephone Martin Hayden for an informal discussion.

Susan read the advert three times, just so she understood it. She had after all been up a little over 24 hours, plus the vodka and red bulls that she had drunk had yet to clear totally from her system.

“Sound’s very high powered and it doesn’t say ‘no qualifications’.” She emphasised the ‘no qualifications’.

“Suzie baby, it’s a golden opportunity, just read between the lines. This high flying detective, director, person, thingy, wants a young tart to take around on his business trips. Be with him in posh foreign restaurants, then shag once and a while. That is why he was an ‘informal’ discussion first. Check out the talent, get a few personal details. The last thing he wants is some fat butch PA who does a great job in the office, but he wouldn’t be see dead in a restaurant with. You’ll love it, you might have to sleep with him once in a while, but what hardship can that be. Just lay back, close your eyes and thing of the money.”

Susan finished her coffee, its sweet warmth gave her a cosy feeling, really she just wanted to sleep. Even so it was a job, or a possible job, what was the worst that could happen, she’d get turned down.

“I’ll give him a call later; I really do need some sleep before I start doing telephone interviews with directors.”

“God you women, I might dress like one, but I’m so glad I don’t think like one.” Colin straightened his dress, drained his cup and stood up, “ring him now, you’ll get an answer machine, it is only seven thirty in the morning, give him your number using that husky voice that lack of sleep, smoke filled rooms and alcohol gives you and I’ll wager he’ll be onto you like a shot. Another Americano?” without waiting for an answer he minced off to the counter. “I’ll get you a Danish, keep your strength up. Ring him now Suzie baby ring him now” he called without looking back at her.

Under the eagle eye of Colin, flanked by a fresh steaming Americano coffee with six sugar cubes in and a freshly baked, or so they say, Apricot Danish, Susan against, her better judgement dialled Hayden Investigations. For some reason her new transvestite friend seemed to be more excited about her calling than she did, maybe she was becoming a fatalist, thinking the worst, devaluing herself. Susan had received too many turn downs, refusals, letters which simply say, ‘sorry that you have been unsuccessful, on this occasion’. Everyone had a point at which they though shit, will I ever get a job. For some, that point might take one thousand refusals, others maybe two or three. Susan had lost count of the number of job she had applied for and had not got, but she was beginning to reach that point.

Susan heard the phone rang almost six times before, to her surprise, a real human voice answered. 'Shit' thought Susan.