Rating: Green cortina
Word count: 1,150
Notes: The usual thanks to my beta jinxed100 This was written for femgenficathon
Prompt: We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light. -- Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), 12th-century German mystic, author, lyricist-composer, playwright, poet, botanist, healer and abbess.
“Cartwright, a cup of coffee and see if you can find some biscuits.”
“Yes, Guv,” Annie replied.
DCI Gene Hunt had marched into CID and started ordering his troops around. By the time WDC Annie Cartwright had returned with the coffee her boss was already outlining the plans for the day.
As her colleagues all began to leave the office, she approached the DCI. “What do you want me to do?”
“You might as well go through the statements again. If you find anything that doesn’t make sense you can follow it up if you want.” He turned to his DI. “Tyler, you’re with me.”
With most of the office out pursuing various leads, Annie settled down to re-read the statements. The first two told her nothing new; they’d been in the queue at the post office when the armed men had burst in; they’d stood by the wall where they were told to stand; the men had left again and they’d heard a car speed away, although Mrs Harris, who was rather deaf hadn’t really heard the car.
Annie moved onto the third statement, expecting to read the same things. Mostly, this was the case, but Mrs Walsh was clearly more observant, or less frightened. From what Chris had written down Annie got the feeling that she had said quite a lot; unfortunately far too fast for Chris, who had just left blanks in the statement.
Annie continued to read methodically through the rest of the statements. It became clear to her that by the later interviews the interviewers were basically prompting the witnesses. However the statement that Vince had taken from Miss Gray had a few small observations that she hadn’t read anywhere else.
She got up and grabbed her jacket; she would go and see if she could find out anything further. As she left the station she called out to Phyllis telling her where she was going.
She first called on Mrs Walsh, who insisted on making her a cup of tea and putting the biscuits on a plate. Annie explained that she had come to ask her a few more questions about the post office raid.
“I told that young man all I could remember at the time, so I’m not sure that I can be of any further help,” Mrs Walsh said.
“We wondered whether you could describe the men again. Even little details could be helpful,” Annie replied.
Mrs Walsh shut her eyes and thought back. “There were three of them, but you know that. The one who was at the front seemed to be in charge, he was giving the orders. But I had the feeling that the man at the back was really in charge.”
“Oh, why was that?”
“The other two seemed nervous, as if they’d not done this sort of thing before. My grandsons play in a brass band and we went to listen to them the other week. It was the first concert for the younger one and he looked very nervous, but his older brother’s been playing for a couple of years now and he looked much more confident. It was like that with these men. Does that make sense to you?”
“Yes, it does make sense.”
“Other than that I don’t think I can tell you very much. They were all wearing black, with balaclavas on their heads. And they had those boots on – you know Doc somethings.”
“Yes, that’s right. I’m afraid I didn’t really look at their faces, it seemed safer not to.”
“That’s quite understandable. Thank you Mrs Walsh, you’ve been very helpful.”
Annie left Mrs Walsh’s house and set off to visit Miss Grey. Miss Grey was equally welcoming and although Annie didn’t really want another cup of coffee and even more biscuits (she could hear her mother’s voice in her head, “You won’t eat your dinner if you eat all those biscuits”) she knew that by doing so she would be able more easily to encourage Miss Grey to talk.
Miss Grey began hesitantly. “I’m not sure I can really tell you very much. I can remember thinking at the time that the shorter one looked like the lad who lives two doors down.”
“Do you know his name?”
“Billy Milner. But it wasn’t him, although there was a distinct resemblance. Oh, and the other thing I noticed was that the man at the back was wearing a City scarf. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful.”
“Thank you Miss Grey. Every bit of information is going to help us with this case.”
Annie walked back to the station deep in thought. That afternoon she listened to Gene and Sam discussing the case. They had been following up a number of gangs with previous form, but without success.
“I’m not sure that these men did have previous form. Or at least from what I’ve learnt two of them haven’t used weapons before,” she said.
“Go on,” Sam looked interested.
“I think one of the men could have been Jack Milner, although so far he’s only been arrested for petty theft.”
“What makes you think he was involved?” Gene asked.
“One of the witnesses said that one of the gunmen looked similar to a Billy Milner and Jack is Billy’s brother.”
“The gang leader was wearing a City scarf. I mentioned it to Phyllis at lunch time and she said she could remember a similar case some years ago. She said she’d tell me if she found out who it was.”
“Harry Dawkins,” said Gene. “His defence was that lots of people wear City scarves and he couldn’t be convicted by that.”
“Was he?” Sam asked.
“No, he’d left his prints all over the getaway car! Good work, Cartwright. Right, you go with Inspector Tyler and see if you can find Jack Milner, whilst Vince and Geoff bring in Dawkins for a little chat.”
Annie and Sam called at the address that they had for Jack Milner. They knocked on the front door, but there was no reply.
Suddenly Annie spotted two men trying to sneak down the alleyway at the end of the terrace. She tapped Sam on the shoulder and pointed to them. He nodded and the pair of them started to run after the two men. Hearing footsteps the men began to run too, but at that moment a bronze coloured Cortina arrived and the men were cornered.
Later that evening the members of CID were as usual in the Railway Arms.
Gene looked at Annie and said, “You know Cartwright, you did a pretty good job today for a bird. And in honour of that fact,”
Annie waited for him to say she could buy him a drink.
“I am going to break the habit of a lifetime and tell Tyler to buy you a drink.”