Later, after the luxurious WPC Isa Urquhart had accompanied Dr Frangible Arbuthnot AKA The Gadfly to The Cowgate and Grassmarket Community policing Hub, where he was cautioned again, this time by Sergeant Goldy Brevity, photographed and fingerprinted for elimination purposes and had signed the statement containing the key quodlibetal 'cows or no cows' which he had given voluntary to the gallant WPC, and was wrapped in a towelling robe while his hand took the shape of a poculiform as he held a steaming mug of Grassmarket Tea and his diaphanous pink tutu was despatched to Professor Carolina Moonbeam's Forensic Science department for analysis and comparison with that found in the boot of the inconnu's car, which was proving difficult to identify as all serial numbers, chassis, vin and engine block had been professional filed off to slow down the hunt for where and when it had been purloined, the plates were quickly ascertained to be a match with those of a Bentley currently residing in the Morningside garage of a multi-millionaire Russian 'Oilygarch' (in the Edinburgh patois) named Boris Goodenuv who was believed to have a penchant for pre-teen girls dating back some 30 or more years of his residence in the UK (first as a KGB Handler) and latterly as the Chairman and CEO of a batch of Blue Chip companies (a number of which were currently engaged in people trafficking of several distinct sorts: viz under-age girls from Eastern Europe for buyers in every major city of the land; and refugees fleeing from the many and varied wars in the Middle East and north of the Indian sub-continent, whose smugglers lost all interest in their cargo once every drop of cash or disposables had been squeezed out of them and were especially satisfied if they perished in containers or on the Mediterranean, on the principle that 'dead men tell no tales') who hobnobbed with D-List Celebrities of dubious taste and limited intelligence; but they were unable to source the plates, aside from stating that they were professionally manufactured, and despite Arbuthnot's claim that the driver had been bleeding, no sample had been procured, from the car, the mobile phone, Dr Arbuthnot's pants, where he had carried the phone, in the absence of pockets in his tutu, and as for the phone itself: strenuous efforts were being made by every member of the investigating team to identify what calls had been made and received and to plot it's location every step of the way back from that field just beyond the City Bypass at Fairmilehead, indeed, almost directly below the Ski Slope - which was what gave that undisputed tyro of a WPC Isa Urquhart the germ of an idea which had her grab Trainee WPC Gertie Mountcastle from the tea urn and race with her to their Panda and shoot out of the Hub's Parking Bay in the direction of Lothianburn - Blues and Twos!
“hi Tam, whit's up?”
“see ra nicht o Abigail?”
“we wiz fludded oot!”
“aye, ittiz, so ittiz,”
“bit you're uppa hull!”
“ah ken, bit,”
“ah left ra tap runnin in ra baffroom, wirra plug plugged in, so ah did,”
“so, nuffin tae dae wi ra quodlibetal, thon Abigail, then?”
“naw reely, burrit wiz thon same nicht, so it wiz!”
“whirraboot yer calamondin tree doonsterrs?”
“jeez, whirra bummer!”
“aye, ye'r richt – nae equanimity therr!”
“So,” breathed the indefinable WPC Isa Urquhart, towards the pink-faced man opposite her, “let me recap the quodlibetal and see what we can agree on and where we differ: you saw the car leave the road and cross the field before ploughing into the stand of bushes,” and The Gadfly nodded; “you approached the car and spoke to the driver – did you touch any part of the car?” he gulped; “I wrenched the driver's door open – Oh My God! my fingerprints!” but Isa shook her head gently, sympathetically; “don't worry, they will be on file with Carolina's department – you work there?” and he nodded, relieved; “okay, and you spoke to him and he spoke to you?” again he nodded, barely, almost imperceptibly, but nothing escaped the searching gaze of the dedicated WPC; “I told him I would call the emergency services from The Steading, but he gave me this phone – which I rather thought was strange for such a man, it having a pink case and him being so, erm, Manly,” and Isa could have sworn she saw a blush creep over his face; “and when you left him, do you think it possible he could get out of the car unaided?” and she saw The Gadfly's mind working as he tried to recall every detail of the inconnu and his situation: “I should think not, and as I walked back to the road I checked, that is to say I glanced back every few yards just to be sure everything was okay and I could see him still there, with the cows standing around seeming also to be watching him,” and Isa felt like they were two persons sharing a common language but such different dialects that there was no possibility of reconciling each other in this bipartisan discussion, as though The Gadfly's tongue was Romanesco while she was Neapolitan; “there were no cows when the Paramedics arrived, I've checked with them and they confirm – the field was empty, no cowpats, no trough, and we have checked with the Farmer, there have been no cows there for 15 months,” and she fancied that The Gadfly was about to cry, so handed him a Standard WPC Issue Tissue from the gadget belt that encircled her waist; “and there was no man in the car, the keys were gone from the ignition, and they checked the boot, it only contained, beside the spare tyre and a toolkit, a pink tutu!”
And it was in a cafeteria on the Front at North Berwick, over a steaming saporific pot of Camomile Tea that The Gadfly told his tale, of seeing a car drift off the Edinburgh Biggar road and push through a hedgerow, cross a field of cattle and end nose first in a wild tangle of bushes; as he had been driving in the opposite direction, out of the City, he had parked not quite level with the gap thus created in the hedge, and, still wearing only his pink tutu, scampered down the track formed by the passage of the other car in the direction of it's stop in the clump of bushes, how he had spoken to the injured motorist and, with the man's mobile, summoned assistance; then waited at the roadside; and after the arrival of the team of emergency vehicles, he noticed that the cows had disappeared; and that was when the seemingly imperturbable WPC Isa Urquhart asked him to describe the man: “but you've seen him,” The Gadfly squeaked”; “humour me,” murmured Isa majestiously”; “big,” said Dr Frangible Arbuthnot, “very big, and bloody, but not from the collision, it was a bloody big dunt on the back of his heid,” and Isa noticed him slipping into the vernacular, no doubt occasioned by shock, and she looked him straight in the eye: “there was no man, nor any cows,” the words slipped softly from her lips and and hung in the silence between them as the eyes of Dr Frangible Arbuthnot opened wide, with their turquoise irises, and he seemed to have difficulty in processing the information she had given him, looking rather like the holder of a sinecure on being asked to do some work and finding himself ill-equipped for the task, or a frightened rabbit caught in the twin headlights of Isa's hypnotic gaze: “but there were cows, and he was, he was there, he could hardly speak or move, “and,” he scrabbled inside his tutu, into the pink pants it was attached to, and pulled out a mobile telephone, “here's his phone,” and slid it across the formica-topped table, though having seen where he had kept it, Isa was reluctant to touch it, and possibly contaminate any prints or DNA evidence it might present and against which she may not be sufficiently inoculated!
The magnanimous WPC Isa Urquhart felt that, despite her adventitious apprehension of the dewy-eyed person claiming to be both Dr Frangible Arbuthnot – of whom she had certainly heard, even corresponded with by email regarding his developments of the Rorschach Tests, but never encountered in person – and The Gadfly – for who in the Scottish Crime and it's Detection World, together with the related spheres of Law and Justice, Philosophy and Religion, Fine Art and Quantum Mechanics, had not heard of this semi-mythical Super Hero who had unmasked so many of the most dastardly figures inhabiting that Dark and Immoral Sphere of Influence which trades on human misery and the corruption of so many Souls? - and she now felt herself to be in a Catch-22: for by unmasking (as it were, though he presently wore no mask) The Gadfly, she could in fact put his very life in danger, not to mention the incalculable damage unleashed upon to the forces of Laura Norder - so named after the previous-but-one Lord Chief Justice, Lady Laura Norder of Kilmardinny - and to what beneficial end; but should he have information pertinent to the Case of The Car in the Bushes, was it not her duty to investigate him with all the incredible and esoteric powers at her disposal? and so she hummed a merry ditty from The Pirates of Penzance as she drove to The Cowgate and Grassmarket Community Policing Hub by the rather circuitous and scenic route, at this very moment taking herself and her passenger past Seton Sands and heading towards North Berwick!
When the emergency services arrived – first, an Ambulance, which followed the route of the car which had ploughed through the hedge, across the field to the car where it stood, nose first in the bushes; next a Fire Engine which took that route also; and then a Police Panda which followed the other two; and before The Gadfly could follow, a SOCO Van which blocked the gap in the hedge, and just like a birdsmouth in the carpentry of constructing beams and rafters, acted as a birdsmouth to prevent unwonted movement around the opening which also became definably closed with yellow 'Crime Scene' tape; and it was then that Dr Frangible Arbuthnot noticed that the cows were gone, that there were no signs that they had even been present, and that as the SOCOs made their way towards the car, carrying their bags and boxes of cameras, rulers and evidence bags, a couple looking quite camelious, having their backs laden with tents and protective clothing, one of the uniformed WPCs from the Panda was hurrying back towards him and he began to realise that all was not as it had been; the insouciant WPC Isa Urquhart invited The Gadfly to sit with her in his car and he noticed that she sat in the driver's seat (of his car, and removed his keys from the ignition) and asked him to explain exactly what had happened and writing down in her notebook exactly what he told her had happened; and he began to feel like the hapless accused in a kangaroo court; after which she asked him, with that casual inscrutability for which she is highly esteemed by the Justiciary of Edinburgh, why he was wearing a Pink Tutu and nothing else, he informed her that as well as being Dr Frangible Arbuthnot of Edinburgh University and a member of Professor Carolina Moonbeam's Forensic Science Department, highly regarded for the development of that department's particular and quite revolutionary adaptations of the Rorschach Test which had helped the Constabulary to apprehend many malefactors and practitioners of malfeasance, and a renowned logophile in his own right – said rather primly with his hands on his bare knees and it was all the naturally humorous WPC could do to maintain her professional sternness – he was also The Gadfly, Edinburgh's own Super Hero which was when WPC Urquhart cautioned him, produced her handcuffs and fastened them around his wrists and radioed to The Cowgate and Grassmarket Community Policing Hub that she had a suspect in custody and would bring him in straight away!
And so it was that Dr Frangible Arbuthnot, passing by on his way to visit his clandestine inamorata Miss Mona Lott, understudy to Dame Parma Violet Hammnett currently appearing in The Gadfly by George Bernard Shaw at The Festival Theatre, just happened, while considering the sorry lot of the poor who find themselves in the Welfare Trap through no fault of their own and wondering if he could construct a variation of the Rorsach Test - which was his daily bread and butter, as it were – which might address this most difficult of conundra, to see the vehicle glide sedately off the tarmac, push through a thinned-out hedgerow, cross a field and come to rest in a tangle of branches and leaves on the other side, at which point Dr Arbuthnot felt and smelt danger in the air, which was why it was not he who climbed out from his rather old, battered and gouged Citroen 2CV, but rather the Pink Tutu-clad Super Hero, The Gadfly, and it was this renowned Defender if the Faith and Scourge of Hoodlums and their Molls whom he diligently drove from the Mean Streets of this Noble City, home of John Knox and Morningside Maisie, from Westerhailes to Craigmillar, Colinton Dell to Duddingston, who pushed through the flattened hedgerow, crossed the field – meeting the gaze of somnolent cows – and arrived at the car presently lodged in the bushes on the far side; it was The Gadfly who heaved open the driver's door, with a great groan of distorted metal scraping on the frame, and with an affectious cry of “hello there, me old pal, me old beauty, what are you doing here?” peered inside at the driver: a big-built man, with a strongly-featured face, presently disfigured by the blood which was still running from a severe trauma to the crown of his head, high over the tops of his ears, indeed The Gadfly quickly assessed the situation as grave and told the semi-conscious driver that he would telephone for an ambulance from The Steading, just a short distance along the road; but the driver, evidently trying to speak and failing, producing only a mumbled jumble of sounds, managed to drag a mobile telephone from his jacket and thrust it at The Gadfly, who pressed the buttons for 999 and requested an Ambulance and Police – and perhaps the Fire Brigade, lest the unknown driver need to be cut out of the vehicle – and he advised the driver of what he had done, then took himself up to the road, so that he could direct the emergency vehicles through the hedge, there being no gate at that end of the field, and all this time the cows steadily chewed their cud and watched him, with an apparent appearance of superficially studied indifference, but who could have known what shared thoughts floated between the half-dozen Belted Galloways as they surveyed the scene and the human actors who had disturbed their ruminating, but also reached a decision among themselves and as The Gadfly stared along the road, manfully resisting a wave of lassitude, which caused even his normally ebullient nature to sink a little through lack of sugar in his bloodstream, keeping Lookout for vehicles approaching from the direction of Edinburgh, and munching on a Cornish Chicken Tikka Masala Pasty for the umami which fair tingled his taste buds, swept over him so that he missed what happened next in the field and would spend the following seven or eight years of his life on a futile re-winding and re-playing in his mind of the exact sequence of events in and around the field insofar as he was able, but always coming to the correct conclusion that he had missed something and for the life of him he could not quite work out what it was!
Dr Frangible Arbuthnot may have been a nictitating klecksographer by day, but after nightfall he was transformed into The Gadfly, Auld Reekie's very own Super Hero, famous from Niddrie to Portobello, South Gyle to New Craighall!
The nictitate had started with one eye, but as he drove it spread to the other, and he noticed in the mirror that blood was still running down his forehead and into his eyes; he swiped it with the back of a hand which helped a little, but he felt his mind was getting addled, because he kept forgetting to change gear and at one point he drove straight through a red light – he wasn't bothered about that for he knew no officers would dare pull him over, he would be absolved of any minor moving traffic offences – He was the law here, after all; was he going into the city, or doing a mauka? the Pentlands seemed to be looming over him and they had been behind him before, indeed the whole world seemed to be tilted and if it went much further the car and himself would fall off and his vision was getting blurred, maybe he should go into the Steading for a drink to sober himself up, no, that was the wrong way round, maybe a black toffee, and then he was aware of the car slowly veering off the road and suddenly he was in the middle of a field – how the fuck did he get here, he should be near his house by now, but instead a cow was staring at him and the world seemed to be turning rosy, no matter how much he swiped his eyes, maybe it was inside his head and he thought that if he just shut his eyes for a few moments he could stop thinking altogether and . .. . .
In the crepuscular light of the inner tunnels, where occasional tallow torches shed a smoky glow through the gloom, Bernie noticed that Tammy had developed a nictitation - rapid blinking, seemingly involuntary - probably a result of the attempted garrotting which had left a vicious weal around her neck, but her grip on life was tenacious and, when she described the incidents immediately prior to The Man's brutal throttling of her, Bernie wished she could toast her lover's admirable resilience in something more Lucullan than spring-water from the Cavern's own reserves – it seemed that alcohol had not yet been invented and Bernie wondered if that might be worth addressing and a legacy she could bestow on future generations!
Bernie – that is, She Bear – started, as The Hunter, Thomas, laid his had on her shoulder; she was kneeling in what she thought of as the Sick Bay with the two newcomers: Tavish, who was now conscious, but still recovering from a gunshot wound – two actually, with an entry to the right of his sternum and the exit just to the left of his shoulder blade, right at the spot he couldn't reach with his hands, the acnestis; Bernie wasn't a Doctor, not even a Nurse, so she didn't know what internal damage there may have been, but as both wounds had been stitched up and dressed, she presumed that any necessary surgery must have been completed and he was over the worst of it, though she had no idea how long his recovery might be, without any medication here, not even painkillers, though Thomas had told her that he believed there were some plants around the Hills in which their network of caves ran, that might be useful, though he was no apothecary himself; she looked up at the face of her only friend here, a Mediaeval minor landowner who was destined to find fame – though largely posthumous – as a poet and prophet, a recondite man, a scholar, mocked by some for his claim to have spent ten years in Fairyland and giving rise to the dismissive saying, 'He's Away with the Fairies' - as most of his prophecies would only be revealed to be correct many centuries after his death; now he looked into Bernie's eyes and spoke softly, so as not to disturb her patients: “there is another, a young woman, someone has tried to garrotte her, it is a miracle she still breathes and lives, though faintly,” and Bernie rose and followed Thomas through the network of tunnels, which must have been formed as lave cooled following the last, most violent eruption, that had pushed the surrounding rim of the volcano into a small group of three hills, all that remained, being made of harder rock than the others which had once stood but been weathered away over the millennia before Humans came to walk and camp on their sides and tops; and when they reached the big Cavern, and saw, she took an involuntary ingurgitation, gulping with the sudden shock, then she ran to the girl, or woman, she had instantly recognised, a sudden williwaw gusting through the Cavern with a chilling drop in temperature: “she's Tammy, she's my, my, er, my best friend,” she had almost said Lover, but knew not how Thomas would interpret that!
When he got to the top of the stairs, he listened for a moment at the door and, hearing nothing, unlocked it and cautiously entered, which was when Tammy swung the brick down and into the back of his head, that action being the fruit of her own entelechy, the unique and individual survival instinct which had forced her to gouge out the mortar surrounding the brick in the wall, that particular brick, using a nail that she had extracted from the table, by a dogged persistence worthy of her illustrious parents, Tabby and Tavish and summoning every ounce of her own strength, weakened by the scant food The Man had occasionally brought to her, but driven by her own sheer determination never to consider herself Doomed; The Man dropped to his knees, but instead of then falling flat out on the floor, lashed out with the arm nearest to Tammy and caught her off balance, then, as she fell sideways, dropping the brick, he threw himself across he body and in one movement, drew the knife from his pocket, clicked it open, and slashed her throat, a gasp of flatulence escaped her body as all her muscles lost tone and collapsed; still dazed, he pulled himself up onto his knees, got one foot under himself and levered his bulk upright – he didn't even look at Tammy, just lurched through the doorway and staggered down the staircase, holding with two hands to the bannister, blood dripping from his battered head, a trail that led all the way; he'd dropped his knife, he realised as he reached the bottom, and the key, and left the door open – but he locked the great oaken door and stood for a couple of minutes before making his trepid way to the track where he'd left his car; he'd come back tomorrow and dispose of her body – probably pitch it down the well too, it was deep enough and narrow enough, to avoid being searched casually, yes, that's what he'd do, if only he could remember where he had to go, or why, or what day this is, what time, wasn't he supposed to meet someone, but he was too, too, too, too, tired, and he failed to notice the little coriaceous key fob that had dropped at his feet as he fumbled with the lock; still bleeding heavily, he dragged himself into the car, reached into his glove compartment and withdrew an emergency medical kit, from which he took two sealed foil packs containing syringes; with his teeth he tore them open and first used the Morphine to deaden the pain and then adrenalin to boost his concentration; he put a dissolvable Warfarin tablet under his tongue, that would slow down his blood loss, and now it was important for him to be as far away as possible from The Tower; as feeling returned to his extremities, the cold of shock retreating, he started the car and drove out of the Dell, back into the City he knew so well and ran so determinedly, Master of his own Universe again!
When The Man moved, it was only prograde, there was never any going back with him, always forward as though throughout his life he was running for touch in a rugby match, holding the ball close to his chest and bowling over his opponents like skittles – and so when he encountered the landloper, wandering around the Tower where Tammy was imprisoned, he smiled like a benign confidant as he approached, the vagrant smiled back and said “Hi,” - and that was his last word as The Man, without ever breaking his stride, slammed into him, causing him to emit a ragged eruction as his breath was forced out in a belch, then broke his neck with a single twist and kept going, dragging the limp body like a sack of rubbish and dumped him down the disused well, then replaced the cover which the tramp must have removed; he fished the key from his pocket and opened the door – it was time to decide what to do with his prisoner and, at that moment, her fate hung in the balance, for he was beginning to feel that she was an encumbrance he could well do without!
“Ah-choo! oops, sorry for that bit of consternutation, Lovey, now, where were we? oh yes, this 'inarticulate mortice'? is that a ruddy lock wivout a tongue? cause if it is, we're gonna be busted, Matey, we def-in-ately ain't not got one o' them 'ere, no way an' if you can prove I'm a liar, I'll let you 'ave it half-price, can't say fairer than that now, can I? an' calling me 'de sultry one' ain't gonna 'prove your chances one, little, teeny, tiny, bit 'cause we've got mangles wiv angles, an' bangles wot jangles, we've got brushes wiv bristles, an' 'ammers, an' chisels, we've got tyres wivout treads, and springs for old beds, we've got lamp stands, an' saw bands, and fingerless gloves for all sizes of 'ands - but, yes, we ain't gone Bananas, nor got locks wivout tongues in 'em too!”
"The microburst of compassion which totally ferhoodled the local xenophobes was an effective emollient that neutralised the threatened xenocide and restored the culture of peace and harmony throughout the UK," said Teri, closing her report on Channel 4 News!
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