15 December 2022

Disturbance in the Home

Public Disorder Quiz.....

See if you can match the quote to the author?  Each numbered quotation is from one of these authors:

Friedrich Durrrenmatt,

Don Winslow

Dashiell Hammett

George P. Pelicanos

Ross MacDonald

Raymond Chandler

James Ellroy

(1) A telephone rang in the darkness.  When it had rung three times bed-springs creaked, fingers fumbled on wood, something small and hard thudded on a carpeted floor, the springs creaked again, and a man's voice said:

"Hello... Yes, speaking... Disturbance?... Yes?... Fifteen minutes.  Thanks."

(2) I mixed myself another drink, swallowed half of it and began to feel it too much. I put my hat on, changed my mind about the other half of my drink, went down to my car. The early evening traffic was thick with householders riding home to dinner. I wasn't sure whether two cars tailed me or just one. At any rate nobody tried to catch up and throw a pineapple in my lap.

The barn was a square two-storeyed place of old red brick, with beautiful grounds and a red brick wall with a white stone coping around them.....

The gravel was strewn with cars, carelessly splayed around.  Heavy sounds confused the evening.  My brogues scrunched out of time with the bass and drums.  A squeal lit the night, causing a horse in the paddock to leap and bolt.

(3) The gun was a .38 calibre S and W revolver with a six-inch blue steel barrel, serial number 58237. I shoved it into the pocket of my jacket....

My shoes squished on the floor of the corridor.  There were heavy doors on either side, all of them closed and locked. The hallway was as dim and ugly as the one in my dream.  The only light came from a curtained door at the far end. I had it open and one foot on the porch when someone cried out behind me. It was a woman's cry, muffled by thick sound-proofed walls.  I back tracked into the building.....

(4) The party in full swing, the muster room SRO.

An open bar: scotch, bourbon, a case of rum Trashcan Jack Vincennes brought in.  Dick Stensland's brew in the water cooler: Old Crow, eggnog mix. A phonograph spewed dirty Christmas Carols.... the floor was packed....

The place reeked of Raspberry Juice. Plastic cups stacked on the trolley.   Straws crumpled with paper napkins.  A broken biscuit on the floor.

(5) Spade Cooley and his boys on a bandstand, Spade at the mike with Burt Arthur 'Deuce' Perkins, his bass player, called 'Deuce' for his two-spot on a chain gang: (unnatural acts against dogs......Don't ask, Ed.)

(6) Deborah had moved back farther into the dining room. Smart girl. Cooper wondered where the fourth one had gone to; out in the yard, Poor Boy had said that a cat named Albert was in the house.  Could be back in the kitchen, some shit like that, or maybe out back....  No matter.....

(7) "Well, I work nights," he says, "when most of the games are.  But I come when I can."

He pauses for a second and then says, "It might be my favourite place in the world."

....The emergency squad's large van had driven into the village and was waiting for the inspector. The scene and its immediate vicinity had been carefully searched and then cordoned off. Three plainclothes policemen were hiding in the woods. Their assignment was to observe passersby.....

(8) The other woman was introduced too, but nobody paid any attention to her after the first polite murmur and hat-lifting. She was Swanson's sister......

(9) Jack turned around.  "I used to be some kind of hotshot."  

"Do you have an excuse for your appearance?"

Yeah, I killed two men today."

"I see.  Anything else?"

I put you to bed.  Hope you feel better.  Thanks for saving Champion.

Carolyn Voight

PS - Can I take you to lunch to thank you?

Martin Beck had been a policeman for twenty-three years. During that time several of his colleagues had been killed in the course of duty.  It had hit him hard every time it happened, and somewhere at the back of his mind was also the realisation that police work was getting more and more risky and that the next time it might be his own turn.....

This time, however, it seemed that central command had overstretched themselves.  The pungent mixture of cherry pop and Dettol was giving him a headache. Mike Fox's saxophone was honking in his ear, and people were smiling at him.  A woman in a reindeer onesie took his hand and spun him round.  

This wasn't police work.

This wasn't a disturbance.

This was a Barn Dance! 

A Christmas knees up......

(10) So I squeezed her hand and said goodnight, and I saw the flick of disappointment in her eyes before she smiled again and walked me back into the living room.....

Martin Beck thought of this as he pulled on his wet raincoat and ran down the stairs to the waiting taxi.....

"Calling all cars, Calling all cars!  
All calm at the Barn!"

"10-4 buddy"

"Copy that, Roger!"


*    *    *    *    * 



Damn - I can't even remember!
I'll have to read them all again now.....

8 December 2022

A Christmas Card from Amanda

So this is Christmas?


This is what I might write – if I could write.  Or, perhaps, what I would say, if I could speak.  But, things are what they are and I hope you are well.  As some may know, I have something called Semantic Dementia, and I am not as well as I was.....  At the beginning of lockdown, I wrote a lot of cards, cutting and pasting and making lovely Christmas (and Birthday) cards for some of my oldest friends, and I did this for every year, up to 2029....  then I ran out of something, I don’t know what.  So, sorry if you don’t hear from me personally in the post.....


I just want to wish everyone lots of happy times.  It is cold today, and crispy, and perhaps we will have sprinkles and icicles coming, but I am warm inside my home......  It isn’t the same as where I was last Christmas, but there are more people around me, and they are kind, and I have food and I am warm.....  


Sometimes people come to see me, and take me out.  Thank you, Jane, and Adam, and Amanda.  It is lovely to have music and to see people around.  And I love having cups of tea......


And Dad comes to see me, and he gives me breakfast and takes me out.  We go to Hunstanton, or Sandringham, or Holm or Thornham, where we used to walk – but I cannot walk much now.  I had to go to hospital some time ago, and I was in the ambulance for a long long time before they took me to the Stroke Ward (though they didn’t stroke me?  - see, I haven’t entirely lost a sense of humour!)  Then I went back to the home and I now go about in a wheeled chair most of the time.

Dad takes pictures – lots of them.  We have albums of our memories – even if I cannot remember them.  But I recognise somethings.  Our cats, lovely Meadow:  

and Mr White and Denmark:

And I loved our walks, sometimes early, sometimes late.  I loved the geese, honking overhead as they came and went:


And the pigs in the woods on Lodge Hill:

And the village, with the turning seasons.  Christmas lights and dark nights:


I wish I could see you.  I wish I could speak.  I wish I could walk.  But I know that God is looking after me, so you mustn’t worry.  Our daughters come to see me when they can, and it is so good to see them, they are lovely, and we are all having happy times......


Some people write long pieces about how the year has been, and about their latest grandchildren and their dogs (and their sciatica, Ed), but we don’t have them and I cannot remember yesterday, never mind last year.  Although I know where I was and where I still go.  I love the Christmas lights and the Church and I know that everlasting arms are beneath, around, above – God it is who bears us on, His, the arms we lean upon.  The joy that none can take away, is ours.  We walk with love today....


Try not to feel sad, but happy and grateful for all we’ve shared and learned together and know that God is always guiding and taking care of everyone and showing everyone where to go at the right time and sending love......


Happy Christmas, and Many, Many Happy New Years!

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

John Lennon