Chapter Two: in which we meet the gunman, and Councillor Yellowhead heads out for the mission.
Thought I’d present a weekly story feature, for Sunday entertainment during lockdown…. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, business, events and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Read the first chapter here, if you missed it, else carry on reading for a recap…..
Recap: meeting our intrepid hero, the firm-but-fair Councillor Yellowhead and his trusty sidekick, Grant Briggs at Miltshire County Hall, the chief councillor expressed he had an important mission, but spent too much time insulting the enlisted men, arguing on his state-of-the-art Nokia with the Chief Crime Commissioner, and generally being an arse, to reveal the nature of the mission. Then, a mysterious lone gunman entered the quarters to fire off a machine gun. That’s about the short of it. Our story continues…….
In the aftermath of machinegun fire, a stony hush filled the quarters, and through the dense smoke, a petite woman appeared. Emotionally frozen, the enlisted men gazed up to her from their hiding places, behind the beds of their dormitory. Councillor Yellowhead pouted in disbelief and turned to his imaginary camera to address it. “Really? Strong female characters now; what depths of depraved political correctness and predictable cliché will this story descend to? It’s becoming nearly as leftie-snowflake as Star Trek Discovery.”
Lowering her machinegun to her side, the strong female character required for this politically correct story sucked her bottom lip and growled, “where are they?!”
“Where are who, Nora Fayes?” Yellowhead inquired sarcastically.
She stormed up to him, aiming the barrel of the gun at his nose, a tiny amount of yellow puss dribbled out of it. “You know full well who, the seagulls! I saw them coming this way. If I have to go through you to get to them, so be it!”
“This is becoming something of an obsession for you, councillor,” Yellowhead uncompromising expressed, raising his face from his palm. “You did your public survey, you’ve announced your abhorrence for gulls, and still fail to note, despite umpteen amendments to the minutes of numerous meetings, there’s no such thing as seagulls, just gulls. We are inland, councillor, do not let Bythesea Road fool you, it doesn’t mean it’s actually by the sea. We are not harbouring birds of any species, here in the enlisted men’s quarters, much to their reasonable disappointment. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we are very busy. My colleague here, and I are preparing for a mission of high priority!”
Slightly insanely, and continuing to aim her rifle at the chief, she circled him, “you don’t look like RSPB, but you cannot trust anyone.” Nora took Brigg’s collar by the fist and curled him closer to her. As he gawked in shock, she popped a small pill into his mouth and spoke sincerely to Briggs. “They’re everywhere, infiltrating their way into society. Do not trust anyone, especially if they have bird poop on their shoulder. If captured do not repeat what I am telling you, if they interrogate you, bite down on this pill, it’s cyanide!”
“Erm,” responded Briggs, “thanks, I think.”
“Pay her no attention, Briggs,” Yellowhead ordered, “she’s cuckoo.”
“Where?!” demanded Nora, spinning to reface Yellowhead, her gun aimlessly free to wander. “Where’s the cuckoo, if I can’t bag me a seagull, I’ll make do with a cuckoo, I’ll paint the fucker white!”
“You are insane, quite clearly!” suggested Yellowhead.
“You are the one who lives in Cuckoo Close,” she accused the chief, and he couldn’t deny it.
“I happen to like Urchfunk,” he informed her, “a place so posh, even the road signs are thatched!”
“I saved a Miltshire Council owned children’s playpark in the village of Rude, from dangerous dilapidations by convincing the parish council to take it sold as seen, with our blood money,” she reminded him, “whereas Urchfunk gets its own doggie playground ten times the size, and better equipped; where is the justice in that?!”
Yellowhead frowned and took hold of the barrel, pointing it to his temple. “Do it, Nora, and my ghost will see to it that it never gets a slide, and the bouncy chicken replaced. There will be not so much as a tacky noughts and crosses block plaything! Playgrounds have always been, and will continue to be as long as I am in command of Miltshire Council, covered in bird shit. It helps build a child’s immune system. Seagulls are a major contributor to this. Now, should you not reconsider and defer, then you just jolly well open fire!”
Nora trembled in fear, weighing her options as the barrel wobbled under her anxiety. The tension was at its apex, Yellowhead encouraged her. “Go on then, Fayes, pull that trigger, finish me for good; you know you want to!”
She thought again, of the paperwork involved, and lowered the gun. Yellowhead snatched it off her. “Ha! Strong female character indeed,” he bellowed with laughter, slapping her behind. “Now jog along, and don’t worry your pretty little face about the gulls. There must be something that needs a good scrub around here, or you could join Hannah Curthbart, she’s finally turned up for work and is doing the dishes in the kitchen.”
She scurried off, as Yellowhead threw the gun on Grant’s cot. “Take this with us, Briggs, it may come in handy when dealing with leftie terrorists subverted into the general public.”
“That was well handled, sir,” Briggs thought it proper to say, despite not believing it himself. If he wasn’t so profuse forming his own opinions, he would be ideal for total conservative emersion, his lie proved this.
“Thank you,” Yellowhead replied, grasping him on the shoulder in a friendly manner, “I’m warming to you, Briggs, I must say. To think we’ll be out there, in the field together, fighting the good fight.” As he said this, he begun to take off his uniform. “We leave no man behind, Briggs, no retreat, no surrender. We will fight aside each other, eat from the same can, sleep cold nights on the same makeshift beds.”
Briggs considered biting on the cyanide.
“I think you’ll find, Briggs,” Yellowhead continued whilst changing, “when I’m out in the field and the assignment is complete, I tend to let my hair down a bit, you know. We may just get along yet.”
Briggs sighed, “I’m sorry sir, I find that very hard to… oh, you’re wearing hot pants?”
Yellowhead stood proudly displaying a tiny bump in his snug florescent-coloured short shorts, barely visible at all under the folds of dense tummy bulge. “We have to blend in with the natives,” he publicised. “What do you think, Briggs, no flattery cos I’m the boss, I don’t tolerate brown-tonguing, give me your honest opinion; Dwayne Johnson, yes?”
“More Boris Johnson,” Briggs heaved.
“So critical of fashion,” came the retort, though Yellowhead took it as a compliment.
“It’s just, well, there’s a tad too much flesh on show, sir,” Grant appraised, “this is rural Miltshire, not California. Maybe try a flat cap, green wellies and a Barbour jacket, I mean, if you wish to blend in.”
With that Yellowhead grunted in agreement and instructed Briggs to get the cones and paint. In no time at all he paced the pavement of county hall’s carpark, eyeing a van. Briggs arrived shortly after, laden with cones, spray-paint cans and followed by an irate Nora Fayes. “Gimmie back my gun!” she demanded, “there be seagulls out here, I’m coming with you!”
“You most certainly are not!” commanded Yellowhead. “Load the van, Briggs.”
He clambered into the passenger seat and readjusted his aging posturer, “run along, Fayes, polish the cupboards or whatever it is you women do around here.”
Briggs got into the driver’s seat and started the engine. “Where are we going to?”
“I don’t wish to shock you Briggs, but we’re heading towards Davizes!”
“This gets worse,” Briggs noted, as he pulled out of the carpark. Salivating, Nora leap onto the bonnet, screaming something inaudible about gulls.
“For Christ’s sake, don’t you ever give up?” cried Yellowhead. He mouthed through the windscreen, “we are not hunting gulls, now get off of the van, you silly moo!”
The town centre was void of life, hardly anyone wandered the streets. Not that Briggs could see much, moving his head up and down as Nora bounced around the bonnet, clutching onto the windscreen wipers for dear life. “Drop her off at the shops!” ordered the chief, pointing to a Matalan superstore. Briggs swerved and Nora flew off the bonnet at great speed.
Yellowhead checked the back wheel by thrusting his head outside of the window. Given he felt no bump, he was distraught. “Reading between the lines is a councillor’s number one crucial skill, Briggs. You failed to run her over and finish her off, potentially leaving this story open for a sequel!”
“Really?” Briggs answered, “that’s a bit much!”
“I beg to differ,” Yellowhead said, as he produced a chart from his briefcase. “You get twenty points for a councillor with a tendency to get things done effectively, despite being a Tory. See here, the tally. Fifty points for an immigrant, same for a darkie or a crusty, seventy-five for a single mother with child.”
“Who are you, Frankenstein from Death Race 2000 now?” Briggs inquired, “that’s sick! No wonder you don’t want the pavements widened!”
“Not at all, Briggs, as I told the Gazelle and Herod, I like living in country roads and I like living in country villages with little lanes. I’ve got no pavements at all where I live whatsoever, that’s the way I like it.”
“So you can mow down dissidents?”
“It was just a joke, Briggs,” Yellowhead irritably explained, “you do realise it was just a joke? Upholding tradition is why we don’t need silly pavements things, and anyway, we don’t have single mothers, immigrants or wogs in Urchfunk. You see what I mean, Briggs, about me letting my hair down when out in the field? Laughing and joking is what I’m all about.”
A cold silence followed, until Briggs broke it in his best sarcastic tone. “You could get booked for the Brexit Festival with a comedy routine like that, sir. God knows, they need some acts besides Morrisey.”
Avoiding suspected sardonic overtones, Yellowhead slipped a compact disc into the radio, “ah, you like music?”
Briggs sighed, expecting the worst. Yellowhead begun to sing, encouraging Briggs to do likewise. “And did those feet in ancient time,” he bellowed out of time and tune, at the top of his voice. “Walk upon England’s mountains green!”
“Could I ask what the nature of our,” Briggs swallowed, “mission, erm, is, sir?”
“Not now,” Yellowhead replied, plucking his Adam’s apple, “and was the holy Lamb of God, On England’s pleasant pastures seen! And did the Countenance Divine, shine forth upon our clouded hills?!”
“Please, sir?” Briggs wasn’t too proud to beg. Not understanding why anyone would want to build Jerusalem here, anyway, but mostly because he wanted Yellowhead to stop the hymn, more desperately than anything he had ever wanted before.
It was at the point of “bring me my chariot of fire!” when the front tyre bounced up and took the van slightly off-guard, the back wheel then struck the same obstruction. “What in the good name of Nigel Farage was that, Briggs?!” Yellowhead exclaimed.
“Just a pothole,” Briggs observed.
“I’ve never experienced one quite that badly,” Yellowhead followed.
“In fairness, you probably wouldn’t have,” Briggs offered, “in your Land Rover Discovery, sir.”
“Not even in the Porsche Cayenne,” Yellowhead added. “Little wonder why there’s a tendency for the chavs to complain. I mean, I can’t understand why they’d not just get themselves a Porsche Cayenne like me, but ours is not to reason why, Briggs. Is this Davizes? We should stop, get some light refreshments.”
“Quite sir,” the sarcasm doubling with every reply Grant made, “makes one wonder. But I’m fine sir, I don’t need a drink.”
“Nonsense, on the drinks! Good on the notion!” Yellowhead nodded, “I’m glad we agree on that much, young Briggs. You see, you asked as to the nature of the mission, and quite accidently, but also literally, you fell right into it! As you know, Briggs, the procedure when a member,” he huffed in anger at the thought of having to say the word, “of the public complains about a pothole, is to file it until such a time we receive over a hundred or so similar complaints regarding the same pothole. A report can then be drawn out and raised at the next monthly meeting. If all councillors agree the matter should be addressed a report will be extracted from the minutes and filed. Once the file reaches over a hundred or so reports the issue can be raised once more at the monthly meeting. If all councillors agree the matter of the matters of files should be addressed, then a vote is taken. If the vote is successful, a councillor is drawn out of the hat to file a report and raise the issue that the Highways Agency need to be contacted, at the next monthly meeting. If all councillors agree the matter of matters should be addressed, and the Highways Agency need to be contacted, a report will be extracted from the minutes and Highways Agency will be contacted. After the supplement report to the Highways Agency is complete, it will be raised at the next monthly meeting that the supplement report to the Highways Agency is complete, and they will file a report to send a worker to the pothole, in a van, and he will assess the significance of the pothole and carry out a risk assessment. That assessment will be sent back to the council to be assessed, and should the funds become available, it will be raised at the next monthly meeting, and voted on. If the vote is successful, and all councillors agree the matter of matters should be addressed, and the Highways Agency has been contacted satisfactorily, then they will file a report back to the Highway Agency, who will send another worker out in a van to spray-paint a yellow circle around the pothole, or if it’s significantly deep, he will pop a traffic cone in it. Now, the confusion comes when all councillors have agreed, but the file…….”
“Sir!” Briggs protested, “I’ve, erm, changed my mind, I would like a drink after all.”
Will our intrepid heroes ever reach Davizes, without boring themselves into an early grave, reciting council procedures? Will Councillor Nora Fayes ever get to kill a seagull in cold blood again? And why the hell can’t a pavement be widened for safety purposes because it doesn’t fit in with the traditional looking village roadside, but a Hermes driver can dump his van in the middle of the green? Will we find out next week in: The Adventures of Councillor Yellowhead: The Case of the Pam-Dimensional Pothole!