This week we have a radio play in three parts featuring Detective Superintendent Jayne McAllen and Detective Sergeant Hale from The Mason’s Arms. Unfortunately the formatting isn’t industry standard as it went wonky when I posted it.

It turns out being the boss of your ex-boss isn’t easy.


INT. PUB – DAY.

BAR SOUNDS IN THE BACKGROUND: CLINKING GLASSES, CHATTER, A SLOT MACHINE, AND A JUKEBOX PLAYING ‘OLD CLASSICS’ WITH A STUTTER. DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDENT JAYNE MCALLEN, THIRTY-SEVEN, STIFF OF MOVEMENT AND SHARP OF SUIT IS CONVERSING WITH DETECTIVE SERGEANT MATT DESAI, MID-FORTIES AND NURTURING A BEER BELLY. THEY CONVERSE EASILY DESPITE THE DIFFERENCE IN RANK.

JAYNE                        (INTERIOR) It always seemed unfortunate that, as handsome as Matt was, he had inherited his father’s ears. And they weren’t great ears to have. His insistence on shaving his meant they drew the eye. Perhaps that was how he heard all the gossip.

MATT                          I’ve been hearing that there’s something going on with you and old John Hale.

JAYNE                        John’s not that old.

MATT                          Nearing retirement.

JAYNE                        Have you heard anything of use?

MATT                          Am I hearing avoidance, Oh-Great-One?

THE SLOT MACHINE CASHES OUT LOUDLY AND A GROUP OF MEN CHEER.

MATT                          Come on, you can tell me.

JAYNE                        Assuming there was anything to tell you’d sell it to anyone willing to stand you a pint. Another?

MATT DOWNS HIS DRINK QUICKLY.

MATT                          Ah go on then, you’ve twisted my arm.

JAYNE                        (INTERIOR) The day I had to twist Matt’s arm into letting me buy him a pint was the day the four horsemen would descend. Perhaps why I kept buying them, in the vain hope it would keep the natural order going long enough for me to make ACC.

JAYNE’S PHONE GOES OFF WITH A DEFAULT BLEEP.

JAYNE                        Have to rain check that, something’s come up.

MATT                          Not Sergeant Hale I hope.

JAYNE                        Not unless he’s bopping people off.

MATT LAUGHS.

MATT                          Here’s to you Jayne McAllen long may you reign over us.

 

EXT. FIELD – DAY

RAIN FALLS HEAVILY AND POLICE CHATTER AND THE OCCASIONAL STATIC BURST FROM JAYNE’S RADIO. JAYNE CROSSES THE VISCOSE MUD AND HALE APPROACHES FROM THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. HALE IS MIDDLE-AGE AND THE WRONG SIDE OF ATHLETIC WITHOUT BEING COMPLETELY OVER THE HILL.

JAYNE                        (INTERIOR) Soon I was almost pining for the bar and Matt’s company. At least it had been dry and warm in there. (TO HALE) Can you help me with this police tape, John?   

RUSTLE OF POLICE TAPE BEING LIFTED.

HALE                           Sorry to call you out. Inspector Channing wanted it by the book.

JAYNE                        Give me a hand here, John, completely the wrong shoes.

SOUND OF JAYNE AND HALE CROSSING THE MUDDY FIELD AS THEY TALK.

JAYNE                        And where is this Inspector who couldn’t call DCI Rosenberg out?

HALE                           Rosenberg’s up North. Sister’s wedding. The Inspector’s being sick.

JAYNE                        That bad?

HALE                          Glug, glug.

JAYNE                        Fantastic.

JAYNE                   (INTERIOR) We found DI Channing leaning against a tree vomiting so hard I half expected his intestines to pop out. It would be damned inconsiderate at our crime scene. He was newly minted, only a week.

CHANNING              Sorry, Ma’am. RTA; right off the road, into a tree.

JAYNE                        First lesson: RTA implies an accident. We’re not the paramedics, are we?

CHANNING              No, Ma’am.

CHANNING HACKS AND VOMITS.

JAYNE                        Get yourself off Channing. Hale and I can manage from here.

SOUND OF CHANNING TRAMPING AWAY.

JAYNE                        They spiked his coffee.

JAYNE RUMMAGES THROUGH HER HANDBAG.

HALE                           I wouldn’t know, sir. (BEAT) Dictaphone? That’s new.

JAYNE                        (INTO DICTAPHONE) Car wrapped around tree, crumple zone crumpled – well and truly – plates registered to…

HALE                     Richard Irving, the missing banker.

JAYNE                   Oh that guy? (INTO DICTAPHONE) One flambéed body. Identified?

HALE                     Mr Crispy.

JAYNE                   Very professional, John.

 

INT. JAYNE AND ROBERT’S LIVING ROOM AND HALLWAY – NIGHT

A DOOR CLOSES IN THE HALLWAY AS JAYNE ENTERS. NATURE DOCUMENTARY PLAYS IN THE BACKGROUND IN THE LIVING ROOM. RUSTLE OF A PACKET OF NUTS BEING MUNCHED BY POLICE CONSTABLE ROBERT DEVON, FORTY, A MUSCLED GIANT.

ROB                            (IN LIVING ROOM) You’re late, Jayne.

JAYNE                        (IN HALL WAY) I was called in, overzealous DI. (SOUND OF A ZIP) I look like I’m wearing dirt galoshes, Rob.

BOOT HITS THE BARE FLOORBOARDS.

ROB                            Did you see Hale today?

A PAUSE.

JAYNE                        He is one of the sergeants on my team.

ROB                            One of.

JAYNE                        The most experienced. Besides the more work John does the less he drinks. (ANOTHER ZIP) That’s the trick.

ROB                            Good to hear. (PACKET CRINKLES) Nut?

BOOT HITS THE FLOOR. JAYNE PULLS OFF HER MACKINTOSH AND HANGS IT UP.

ROB                            Y’know, a lot of husbands would be jealous.

JAYNE                        Just as well you’re not a lot of husbands.

JAYNE CROSSES FROM HALL HARDWOOD TO LIVING ROOM CARPET. SETTEE GROANS AS SHE DROPS ONTO IT. A KISS.

ROB                       You’re all wet.

JAYNE                        It’s raining. Nothing else on?

ROB                            I’m not jealous but…

JAYNE                        (INTERRUPTING) I’m not going to like this.

ROB                            It’s not that, just…

JAYNE                        (INTERRUPTING) Do we have to…

ROB                            (INTERRUPTING) If I was hanging out with an ex so much wouldn’t you get jealous?

JAYNE                        I thought you weren’t jealous.

ROB                            Well…

JAYNE                        (INTERRUPTING) And I wouldn’t be jealous because I trust you.

PAUSE IN WHICH NUTS CRUNCH.

JAYNE                        Now are we going to watch this or put something else on?

 

INT. PUB. DAY.

THE PUB IS QUIET EXCEPT FOR THE RADIO PLAYING THE LOCAL STATION AND THE RATTLE OF HALE PUSHING HIS GLASS AROUND THE PITTED TABLE.

JAYNE                   Would you believe I rarely stepped in the pub before I joined the force, John?

A CHAIR SCRAPES ACROSS THE FLOOR AS JAYNE SITS AND HER GLASS CLUNKS ON THE TABLETOP. HALE STOPS TURNING HIS GLASS. HE HAS ALREADY BEEN THERE SOMETIME.

HALE                     What do you want, Jayne?

IN THE DISTANCE THERE IS THE THUMP OF DOUBLE DOORS OPENING AND SHUTTING AS MATT ENTERS UNNOTICED BY JAYNE AND HALE.

JAYNE                   I want to make sure DI Channing doesn’t find you drinking on the job and report you. Call me the Good Samaritan.

HALE MAKES A DISMISSIVE SOUND.

MATT                     Nothing going on, Jayne?

PAUSE.

JAYNE                   What, Matt?

MATT                     Nothing. Just came in for a drink and…

JAYNE                   (INTERRUPTING) You…

HALE                     (INTERRUPTING) Shove off. We’re working.

MATT                     Working. (BEAT) Huh.

JAYNE                   Matt. (BEAT) Stop stirring.

SOUND OF COINS BEING PUT ON THE TABLE.

JAYNE                   Go buy yourself a drink somewhere else.

SOUND OF COINS BEING SCRAPED OFF A TABLE INTO MATT’S HAND. HALE AND JAYNE ARE SILENT AS MATT’S FOOTSTEPS RECEDE UNTIL THE DOORS BANG SHUT AGAIN.

JAYNE                   Anyway, did you get that ID on ‘Mr Crispy’ yet?

HALE                     Does yours count as drinking?

JAYNE                   In a non-alcoholic lemonade-y way. The ID?

HALE                     It’s Irving, his dental records IDed him.

JAYNE                   Did they get up and talk?

THERE IS A LONG PAUSE. HALE DRAINS HIS DRINK.

JAYNE                   I’ve had to talk about this before, it’s not my job to look after you anymore. I’m married it’s not fair on Rob.

HALE                     I didn’t ask you to come…

JAYNE                   No. (BEAT) But you were my Guv and I’ve got your back. (BEAT) To a point.

HALE                     Just your Guv?

JAYNE                   Just dry out.


For more short fiction try my archive or Weekly Serial page.

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