ASHES TO ASHES - ALAN GRIFFITHS
Lately, Priest had likened himself to his fictional hero: Detective Chief Inspector Gene S. Hunt.
Albeit being on the other side of the law.
Priest sparked up a Silk Cut, sucked hard, saying, “Fire up the Quattro.”
The TT-Coupe was hired with a Gold Card that was moodier than an acne-peppered teenager. Ostentatious, but like the Gene Genie, Priest did things with style; illegal things.
A ferocious South London criminal, he was as popular as root canal treatment.
Gene Hunt: How long before that becomes rhyming-slang? Cracking a grizzled smile, Priest put pedal to metal and burnt rubber.
Tina never scammed couples and two guys together was a no-no. Then the big grizzled one headed out the bar.
Watching him drive away, Tina thinking, I’ll give it ten minutes.
Priest’s destination: a Heathrow hotel.
The heavens were full of tiny volcanic particles. Hundreds of air passengers stranded; waiting for the Icelandic dust to literally settle.
The hourly radio news bulletin kicked in.
“...Bond Street raid. Half a million pounds worth of diamonds...”
Chuckling, Priest said, “I’ve got fingers in more pies than a leper on a cookery course.”
It’d taken an hour of dirty talk to get Pavel to his room. Are all Ruskies this backwards at coming forwards?
Pulling the Smirnoff from her bag, Tina said, “Fancy a nightcap?” That’s not all he fancies.
In the bathroom, she rinsed two glasses; palming the sodium amatol capsule. “Some music would be nice.”
Priest locked the Audi, hesitating as two boys stopped kicking a football and wandered over.
“Anything happens to this motor, I’ll come round your houses and stamp on your toys!” said Priest. “Got it?”
He got stunned silence.
Tina, feeling Pavel go limp, pulled her hand out of his fly, saying, “Sweet dreams, sucker.”
Opening the wardrobe she spotted a holdall. What have we here? A multitude of gemstones sparkled like stars. Kerr-Fucking-Ching-
A hand tugged her pony-tail. A forearm went across her throat.
“Bitch!” Pavel threw her onto the bed. “You think I fall for that trick?”
“Hope I’m not interrupting anything!” said Priest, framed in the doorway.
“You’re late,” said Pavel. “Ivanov is looking for you.”
“Just in time I’d say,” said Priest. “Pull your trousers up, Casanova, and let the girl go.”
Pavel shook his head. “She’s a loose end.”
Priest winked at Tina. “Don’t worry, baby, I’m a lover not a fighter.”
Pavel eyeballed Priest; a beat passed as he weighed things up. Decision made, Pavel lunged.
Second guessing, Priest swung a steel toe-cap into Pavel’s crotch; lifting a knee, breaking teeth and putting Pavel’s lights out.
Tina yelped and Priest said, “Blimey, if that skirt was hitched any higher I’d see your breakfast.”
Lost for words, Tina pointed a shaky finger.
Letting the chiv drop beneath his sleeve, Priest turned slowly.
“Ah, Ivanov,” said Priest. “The other half of the Dynamic Duo.”
Ivanov, raising a silenced .45, said, “You were never to be trusted, Priest.”
“Oi! Hold on, toe-rag. This bit of skirt is nothing to do with me,” said Priest. “Our deal’s still on.”
“Sorry, you’re... expendable.” Ivanov shrugged. “There’ll be others to fence the jewels.”
“You noncey-arsed double-crossing Russian fairy boy!” roared Priest, throwing underarm.
The blade plunged into Ivanov's belly and Priest was all over him like a cheap splash-on lotion. The automatic coughed once; an abstract pattern of claret splattering the wall and Ivanov fell to the carpet.
“Chop, chop, darling!” said Priest hefting the holdall. “Let’s not look a gift-horse in the mouth.”
Tina thinking, I suppose he has got a sort of brutish charm...
“I know what you’re thinking,” said Priest, stretching out a hand. “I’m like something from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”
“Wh-Whi-Which one?” stuttered Tina.
“All friggin’ three, baby!”
Gene Hunt is the lead character from the Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes television series. Some of Gene's dialogue has been quoted within this story. No harm was intended.
BIO: Alan Griffiths is a writer from London, England. He has a keen interest in reading and writing Crime Fiction, particularly Noir and Pulp. His short fiction can been found on A Twist of Noir, Pulp Pusher, Powder Burn Flash and Six Sentences.
Irish Times Crime Fiction column, February 2018
13 hours ago