The Bluebottle Boys: Chapter 13, Part 15 — Birmingham (UK) 26 March 1962: “Sworn to Secrecy ”

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[Note: The featured picture is of Five Ways in Birmingham (UK) back in the early 1960s with the kind of bus in use at the time, and in which Reggie and Ian would have expected to be riding. The scene inside The Diskery is much the way it would have looked in the early 1960s. The police car is an early 1960s Ford Anglia, in quite common use then, and not radically different from the Ford Anglia that Reggie’s own family used at the time.]

It was an “express bus” with no stops to the Diskery and we blew past Ladywood and Five Ways, arrived arriving at the Diskery in a quarter of an hour. No sooner did we disembark than the bus vanished.

We entered the Diskery and claimed our purchases

We were walking out the door, when we ran – literally – into our favorite detective, D.S. Higgins.

“Yaw parents’m frantic abart y’both – y’knoo ’at?”

“We told ’em we’d be at The Diskery,” Ian replied.

“Yes, y’did – abart tew safters.”

“Three,” I corrected.

“Ooroyt, three. Bit o’toime’s passed since then doya fink?”

“We got caught up in the music,” Ian offered.

“We splurged a bit on supper, so had to count our pennies when buying records,” I added.

“An’ wodja wan’ t’buy?”

“Everything on Luxy’s hit list,” I said,“but we had to take time narrowing things down some. Our remaining pocket money wasn’t going far, and we were agonizing over wot t’put back.”

“‘Luxy’ ’ndeed – I ought ter wroit the both f’yow’p fer lis’nen ter Radio Luxembourg. No gud can cum o’that, I can tell yer. Called yaw parents ‘roun’ an hour ago – said they yadn’ ’eard frum yer since y’called th’safters. C’mon, ged in the car – s’cold an’ dark, an’ there’m sum el’ments abart s’best ya not run inter – Om taken y’um.”

We piled in, glad not have to take another bus.

Then he dropped the bomb on us.

“Yow lads weern by any chance in Warstone Loaine Cemetery t’noight?”

“At night? Cold as it is?” I said, as ingenuously as I could manage. “That place is creepy enough in the daytime – why would we go there at night?”

“Sum associates f’yaws claim as y’weer.”

“Really? Who?” I had to keep reminding myself to blink occasionally as I feigned a wide-eyedinnocent look.

“Yaw favourite peeple: Droosilla Chase, Quentin Farrington-’oydean’ that Roofus – wotever ’is name is.”

Ian and I groaned theatrically.

“What did they say?” Ian asked.

“T’noight we caught ’em climben the wall ert of the cem’tery – in this weather no less – an’ not exactly subtle or low profile either – climben down a ladder wid a ’umber Snipe an’ droiver waiten roight eya fer’em. They said yow tew weer still insoide – that yow’d dared each other t’spend the noight there.”

“Did anyone think to have a look inside?” I asked. Even with everything that had been going on, I’d have remembered seeing cops – if only for the sheer incongruity.

“Few wen’ insoide; didn’t see no un, but’ey did soy ’at the area round the catacombs reeked f’rotten corpses.”

This confirmed what I’d already suspected – that when the old woman conjured up the gallows and the angel summoned the slave ship we were in an entirely different dimension, well away from the cemetery altogether.

“We searched the area, but none o’the graves or the crypts’m disturbed. We did see sproy paint roun’ the area, an’ foun’ a can on y’fren’ Quentin.We ’ad ’em all empty their pockets an’ crack a tiny odd part on Quentin, too. We asked ’im wot it was an’ee said Roofus asked’im t’old it for ’im, loik’ee deed the can. Then’ee loffed loike t’was a big laff – said Roofus left their marks in the cemetery an’ fixed the Bunsen burner f’yaw mate Ian, eya.”

If I hadn’t suspected before, I’d no doubt now there was a definite downside to having Tiny as an accomplice.

“We took the part an’ checked it with the lab,” he continued. “Turned out Roofus’d removed the fuel intake valve on Ian’s burner. S’why it turned into a torch – why y’school lab nearly burned down.

“We asked Roofus about it, ’oo f’course blamed Quentin – no honour amongst those tew.

“Wench is in it oop t’er eyebrows too, mek no mistake – but we con prove much. Con risk a court getten peevish f’we poot the pretty lickle chops in the dock on wot we do yav. So she’s off wid a caution fer breakin’ inter the cemetery.

“The lads face charges on that, attempted arson an’ defacen graves. S’not moyun t’say, understan’, but I fink the both f’em’ll be ert f’school a while – t’leus ‘til the thing’s sorted.Y’knoo… they banged on abart y’pooten spells on demons or sum sooch rot – tryen t’set-oop insanity pleas f’y’aks me.

“Jus’ sayen… the situation beeyen wot ’tis… I ’ood’n goo off braggen t’me school mates about this f’y’am involved.”

He looked at us pointedly. “Understan’?”

“Yes, sir,” we said immediately.

He smiled. “Om speaken hyp’thetic’ly, o’course – I knoo y’weern.”

It was less than a complete triumph then, but at least we were alive to know it, and if no one could know we’d defeated our tormentors, they were at least well out of the way.

After all, Doof and Quasimodo would both be out of commission for as long as they had to deal with police or were under suspension – and really, just how much damage could Silly Silla do all by herself, anyway?

 

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