Excerpt for Miss Marple Struts Her Stuff by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Miss Marple Struts Her Stuff

A Jack Hamma Action Adventure

by Anthony E Thorogood


Copyright Anthony E Thorogood 2015

Published at Smashwords


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Miss Marple Struts Her Stuff


One: Adventures in Paradise

Two: The Cop Shop Boys

Three: Sore Tooth Charlie

Four: February Ling

Five: The Ladies Room

Six: The Triad

Seven: Stalking

Eight: English Breakfast

Nine: Phone Home

Ten: A Room with No View

Eleven: Marple

Twelve: Missing in Action

Thirteen: Harry Up Wong

Fourteen: Berserker

Fifteen: Don't Eat the Mushrooms

Anthony E Thorogood

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One: Adventures in Paradise

An old woman in sensible shoes strode along the boardwalk to where we lay on deckchairs soaking up the sun, drinking cocktails and chatting idly about nothing at all. We were living in a beautiful pleasant torpor, we were newlyweds, on our honeymoon, camping out in five star luxury in a thatched Melanesian style cottage on the palm shrouded beach of Melting Island off the Queensland coast in the Great Barrier Reef National Park. We had spent the morning snorkelling among the coral looking at amazing fish and coral formations and now we were busy doing nothing. The sea rolled up on to the sand to a steady rhythm and glistened and the sky was ice cream blue with wisps of peaches and cream coloured clouds. I was lazy, Kashmere was lazy, Kashmere's legs were extravagantly straddled across my lap and we sat and talked, joked and laughed about nothing in particular, drank cocktails and ate ice creams, life was good.

'They have just shot dead the manager,' said the old woman.

'Really?' I said.

I winked at Kashmere.

'I'm serious,' said the old woman.

'Le ciel est couvert de nuages,' I said.

It wasn't true, the sky wasn't covered in clouds, it was shocking ice cream blue.

Miss Marple was the old woman in sensible shoes who had strode along the boardwalk and interrupted our nothingness. We had learnt her name the day before, until then she had been a stray female of unknown identity and indeterminate age, and I had wanted to keep it that way, but she had insisted on joining us for dinner. Apparently her real name was Miss Maple but she was such a busybody, poking her nose into everyone's business, that from the day she arrived most people at the Melting Island luxury holiday resort had christened her Miss Marple after the Agatha Christie nosy poke detective.

She stood before us now, she was wearing a long flowing thing covered in giant highly coloured flowers, the flowers looked more like dangerous carnivores than anything your average punter would stick in a jug of water to prettify a dull room. The dress's general use however was not to scare small infants and keep rampant bikies at bay it was actually designed to hide an expanding waistline. Out of politeness I will say no more about her over generous intake of calories.

She had a shock of grey hair, and I do mean a shock, there was lots of it and it seemed to be all over the place as if she had been standing out in a gale just after washing it. It wasn't actually grey but white, not even white really, it was so white that it was silver or even platinum. It was quite an impressive head of hair, shoulder length and thick, there was masses of it, if that hair came near you on a dark night you would run for cover. She stood in front of us with her hands on her well rounded hips and eyed us sternly, her shock of platinum hair dominating the skyline.

'Don't you care? Pirates have just shot dead the manager,' said Miss Marple.

'You tell a good yarn,' I said.

'I'm not making this up,' said Miss Marple.

'Listen,' I said, 'there's someone coming, I can hear them, two maybe three of them, but let's not get too excited, it's probably just the drinks waiter, he's scheduled to bring us more cocktails about now. If it's drinks all round we'll have a party but if it's Miss Marple's pirates then it will be a different sort of party.'

'I can't hear anything,' said Miss Marple craning her neck.

'He's the bionic man when it comes to hearing,' said Kashmere.

Three men arrived, all wearing black boots, black trousers and black shirts, they were also all armed with large lumps of wood otherwise known as baseball bats. Around their heads they wore highly coloured bandannas.

'You get off this island now!' said one of the pirates.

He was a great big fella, not as tall as me but he had a solid torso like a silverback guerrilla.

'You up,' he said.

'I take it you haven't brought me a cocktail?' I said.

'I shoot you dead,' he said.

From the pocket of his pants he pulled a handgun with a long barrel and he fired the gun into the air.

'You up on your feet old woman,' said the big guy to Miss Marple.

She got up. Kashmere rose to her feet too. She stood like a trained killing machine, gone were the long languid arms and legs and the soft voluptuous body. But there was no way even Kashmere could take on three thugs. The gorilla leader pointed his gun at her, he shouldn't have done that.

'Geronimo!' I yelled.

I was on my feet before the three pirates could blink. I banged the heads together of two of them and down they went. I knocked the gun from the hand of the leader and grabbed him by the throat. I began throttling him, which was a major tactical error on my part, he was a big man and his big hands slowly moved up around my neck and he started squeezing the life out of me. I let go of his neck and hit out but he squeezed harder. I used my knee and made a connection that his future generations wouldn't be too happy about, he was down but not out. He hauled himself up and threw himself at me his arms and fists flailing around like a windmill, he hit me in the nose, in the face and in the chest, I jumped back but on he came like a mechanical tornado, he was unstoppable. I kicked him, I punched him, I tried a judo throw, I tried a karate kick, I was running out of ideas, then there was a whooshing noise followed by the sound of baseball bat connecting with skull. He fell to the ground and Kashmere stood over him, she had a huge lump of wood in her hands and a smile on her face. God it's good to have a versatile wife.

'Now will you believe me?' said Miss Marple, 'they have just shot dead the manager.'

'Okay, okay we believe you,' I said.

'I told the manager they were pirates, he had a good belly laugh at me but he paid dearly for that belly laugh.'

'Let's begin at the beginning,' I said, 'what exactly happened?'

'Sore Tooth Charlie…'

'Did you say Sore Tooth Charlie?'

I had heard of Sore Tooth Charlie and it was nothing good that I had heard.

'Yes, is your hearing aid not working? I said Sore Tooth Charlie,' said Miss Marple sarcastically.

'Who's Sore Tooth Charlie?' said Kashmere.

'The Dragon Master of the Hong Kong Triad,' said Miss Marple.

'Sorry but this is Australia,' said Kashmere.

'He was in prison in Hong Kong for murder and extortion, the Chinese communists in Beijing said that he would never get out of prison but he must have bought somebody off, he got out, he's free and he's in Australia running supposedly legitimate businesses,' said Miss Marple.

'I read somewhere that he had been shot dead,' I said.

'He's alive and well,' said Miss Marple.

'The government wouldn't allow him in the country,' said Kashmere, 'at least I hope they wouldn't.'

'Well he's here and he's alive and well,' said Miss Marple. 'He was a gangster boss but now he runs legitimate timber and mining businesses in Australia although he also imports counterfeit goods such as DVDs, fashion brands and car parts but worst of all he imports counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs. Sore Tooth Charlie is now an Australian citizen so the Government must have vetted him.'

'Not much of a vetting,' said Kashmere.

'So how come you know all about this?' I said.

'I'll tell you but where to begin? On my father's side, my grandfather was Portuguese and my grandmother was Chinese. My mother's family were all old Australian landed gentry though, I suppose I'm a bit of a mongrel, I was born in Hong Kong and, well, let's just say I have an interest, but that's got nothing to do with it. I know that Sore Tooth Charlie is a walking genocide waiting to happen, we must do something.'

'Okay fill me in.'

'He wants to start sand mining on this island and he wants to cut down the rain forest here for wood pulp, the Japanese want to make toilet paper out of our magnificent trees.'

'This is in the National Park, he won't be allowed to do that,' I said.

'That's what everybody thinks but Sore Tooth Charlie has the unofficial go ahead from the Queensland Government and the Federal Department of the Environment.'

'That's not possible, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority wouldn't let it happen.'

'They are just a puppet of the government and Sore Tooth Charlie has the government in his pocket.'

'Take him to the High Court of Australia,' said Kashmere.

'We would but by the time it comes to a court hearing this island will be devastated.'

'Who are we?' I said.

'Well me mostly and a few friends who are interested in saving the planet.'

'Saving the planet is a big job.'

'Yes but if everybody did their little bit.'

'But what has this got to do with pirates?'

'Sore Tooth Charlie arranged for a fleet of supposedly Chinese fishing boats to dock here to take on water, they are the toughest most shifty eyed unfishermanly fishermen I have ever seen and they are busy throwing their weight around. I told the manager that it was time to call in the authorities…'

'I take it he never made the call?' I said.

'He didn't have time,' said Miss Marple. 'I've been watching them all week, I was suspicious. Earlier today the crews from the boats came ashore, I got a boy to row me out to one of the boats, I climbed aboard and went through it, there are about forty men crewing the boats and they have rifles and hand grenades, knives, explosives, all sorts of things.'

I couldn't help smiling at the thought of Miss Marple on a covert operation crawling around the fishing boats.

'So what do you think we can do?'

'I happen to know that you were an SAS Special Forces Commando, you'll be able to think of something,' said Miss Marple pointing a finger at me.

I knew what I wanted to think about, this was my honeymoon. Don't you hate it when work seems to follow you everywhere? Even to Melting Island in the Great Barrier Reef National Park.

I was smiling and thinking about my honeymoon when the big ugly pirate jumped up on his feet, grabbed Kashmere and held a deadly looking knife to her throat, the blade shone in the sunlight.

'You all go or I slice,' he said.

I knew Kashmere could take care of herself but I didn't like the look of that knife, or of the man who was holding it. I was just formulating a plan when a cloth bag was thrust over my head from behind, and it got worse, it was followed by a thick rope that was wound around my neck. The rope immediately tightened, I couldn't breathe. My first reaction was to grab at the rope and struggle and get myself free but it was a short lived struggle, you can't get your fingers under a rope that is being held around your neck. My strength was beginning to drain, I was choking, any moment now I would black out due to lack of oxygen. I had one final trick up my sleeve before I lost consciousness. I pulled my arms up and forward and then, using all the energy I had left, I thrust my elbows backwards, used the momentum to push my shoulders forward and bent my body double, my assailant was now totally off balance, he was thrown forward over the top of me and crashed down on his back unconscious. I tore off the rope and the cloth bag, the gorilla who had his knife at Kashmere's throat was busy watching the action and was off his guard, I flew through the air, the base of my hand hit his jaw like a baseball bat hitting a watermelon, there was one almighty crack and something hard became something soft. I relieved him of his knife.

'You took your time,' said Kashmere.

Kashmere and I, dressed as the Pirates of Penzance in black trousers and shirts and red bandannas, hauled Miss Marple back to the resort restaurant which sat out on a sand cliff overlooking the sea. We were putting up the front that she was our prisoner and we were escorting her to the leader. There were Asiatic looking gangsters all over the place ejecting startled tourists from their luxury eco villas. We marched Miss Marple all the way up to where Sore Tooth Charlie's local commander in chief, Harry Up Wong, was sitting under a big old shade tree. It was one of those very old, very big and very gnarled fig trees and Harry Up Wong was looking rather comfortable sitting in a hanging chair eating delicacies. He was of a largish girth, his fingers and toes, he wore open sandals, were short and stubby, he wore what can only be described as an Hawaiian shirt, blue background with reds and lots of shockingly in your face colours, still we were on holiday, he also wore shorts, khaki shorts, a bit long and a bit too roomy not a good fit at all really. His face was very well fleshed out but it looked poxy, his cheeks were over red and his nose was burgundy. He was Chinese so his eyes had a slight pointiness and his nose wasn't over big, his hair covered his whole head but it was a very poor and a very well-oiled crop, if I was a farmer and that was my crop I wouldn't bother to harvest it. His teeth were good if you don't mind looking at nicotine stained teeth. His eyes were bloodshot and his forehead was indented with deep lines, all in all he was not a pretty sight. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to describe your typical Chinese villain but it has to be said that he looked a nasty sort.

As we approached he looked up.

'How do you do?' he said in a perfect English accent.

'G'day,' I said. 'Hasta la vista, baby.'

'I beg your pardon?' he said.

'Get up and get out of here,' I said.

'You are in no position…' he said as he picked up another delicacy and popped it into his mouth, '…to make unwarranted demands on…by the way, may I ask who you may be?'

'Day of judgement,' I said. 'Nemesis.'

'I must reiterate, who may you be?'

'Jack Hamma,' I said.

'He was an SAS Special Forces Commando,' said Miss Marple with a superior smirk, 'so you'd better watch your step.'

'I see, a man of action no less. Are you wanting to join my team?'

He smiled a big I'm the king of the castle smile.

'I'm wanting to screw your head off,' I said.

'Excuse me but we are all civilised people here, or am I wrong to make that assumption?

'You're about as civilised as a white pointer shark perusing the bathers on Bondi Beach.'

'There is no need to be offensive.'

'There is every need,' I said.

'Sore Tooth Charlie purchased the lease of this island from the Queensland government. He paid a considerable sum of money for the privilege and, as Sore Tooth Charlie's number one man, I have been sent here to close down this resort. The manager was told months ago to take no more bookings, he flagrantly disobeyed Sore Tooth Charlie's directives, he was in breach of company policy, it was necessary for me to fly up here and assume responsibility. In consultation with management it was decided that we must take drastic action, everybody, of course, will be fully reimbursed plus a small bonus for inconvenience but, and I must be adamant here, the company I represent requires everyone, including you and your good lady, to be off this island immediately and that old busy body Greenie lady must go too,' he said pointing a fat finger at Miss Marple. 'I must state that I have been authorised, by the company, to use every means at my disposal if my hand is forced.'

'Did the manager force your hand?' I said.

'That was unfortunate, very unfortunate. If I could turn the clock back I would, Sore Tooth Charlie is not a violent man, he believes in people coming together and resolving their issues peaceably, we did not expect the manager would take the law into his own hands, he attacked me with an axe and I fired in self-defence. I have notified the local police, they will be here shortly, I will leave it up to them to determine what happens next. I expect the full force of the law will come into play and due process will be followed through, the company I represent is more than happy to help the lawfully appointed police officers here with their investigation.'

'You're a murderer!' shouted Miss Marple.

'Shut her up,' said Harry Up Wong.

One of his stooges moved over and raised an arm to shut her up.

'Stay right where you are, don't touch her,' I said.

The stooge froze but Harry Up Wong didn't, he pulled a gun and I took him out with a running jump and a kick, it would have hurt him far more than it hurt me, especially as he fell and hit his face on the big old fig tree. Three Chinese pirates brandishing lethal looking knives rushed me but in so doing they forgot about Kashmere, in this life you forget about Kashmere at your peril and she took them out with karate kicks and punches from behind.


Two: The Cop Shop Boys

Life can't be all action and adventure, so back at chez nous we got into some serious relaxing after our battle in the restaurant. We had bound and gagged the bad guys and left it with Miss Marple to call in the cavalry. Now it was time for Kashmere and I to get back to our honeymoon. We stripped off and plunged into the sea, we swam out into deep water and then raced each other back to shore. I splashed Kashmere with sea water and she returned the compliment. After our sea water battle we ran back to our hut and fell on the bed together. We forgot all about Sore Tooth Charlie and his henchmen, we had better things to think about.

I rolled onto my back and shut my eyes, I was pretty much asleep in seconds. I woke up, jumped off the bed and threw on my clothes, something wasn't right. Kashmere lay there completely naked, and never a more beautiful sight has man ever beheld, but this was not the time for the appreciation of the beauty of the female form. I crept out onto our deck that overlooked the warm blue sea, it was a beautiful turquoise blue and it rolled into shore in gentle rolls of sensuous delight but again this was no time for the appreciation of the beauty of colour and form. Figures dressed in black were running along the dunes on either side of our luxury beach hovel. They were wearing black helmets with visors and black body armour, they also carried black automatic rifles. Black's not great in the heat but they seemed to have a liking for it. Out on the road, a small roadway ran behind our super serendipity hut, there were more black clothed men and on either side of our deluxe wattle and daube was positioned a black armoured vehicle. Further along from those dark and foreboding monsters police cars were on the beach blocking all exits. I kept down low and went back inside, from the back window of the hut I studied the roadway. There were black cloaked snipers in the cheaper apartments, the ones that don't have sea frontage on the other side of the roadway, I could hear a police helicopter hovering just above us and as I listened a police four wheel drive pulled up out front. Two policemen fell out and took cover behind their vehicle, one was carrying a megaphone.

'Jack Hamma,' the megaphone rang out.

I wasn't interested in them, I had Kashmere to think about and protect, hadn't I said something along those lines only days before in a great big stuffy cathedral?

'Kashmere,' I said.

I rocked her gently.

'Hmm,' she murmured.

'Kashmere,' I whispered into her ear.

'Yes please,' she said with a sleepy smile.

'I need you to get into the roof space through the manhole.'

'You need me to what?'

'I need you to get up into the roof.'

'I don't understand,' she said.

She was still half asleep, she looked very beautiful.

'Please, I need you to get into the roof.'


'Just do it please.'

'Don't tell me what to do…sometimes…you treat me like a…'

'Get in the fucking roof now,' I said.

I slapped her face, that was a first and hopefully a last, but anyway she woke up.

'What is it?'

'We're surrounded and outnumbered, they want me, if they get you too it will be harder for me to sort this out, get in the roof please.'

'But I can help.'

'Please just get in the roof, you're more use to me if they don't have you.'


'Just this once, for me, do it.'

Kashmere nodded her head and quick as a flash she moved the table, jumped through the manhole, was in the roof space and gone. I moved the table back and got a beer from the fridge.

'Jack Hamma,' the megaphone rang out again. 'You are wanted to help the police with their enquiries.'

I drank my beer and watched them with a smile on my lips, they do say that smiling, and laughing, are good for the heart, my smile broke into a laugh and one of the black suited policemen who had been skulking in the dunes took a shot at me.

'Hold fire,' shouted the policeman with the megaphone.

'G'day guys,' I called out.

'Jack Hamma,' said the megaphone, 'the police want you to help them with their enquiries.'

'Just let me finish my beer.'

'Jack Hamma.'


'Come out quietly and there will be no shooting.'

'I'm not going to shoot,' I said, 'and your lot couldn't hit a wheelie bin at no paces.'

'Jack Hamma.'

'For God's sake.'

'We need you to help us with our enquiries.'

I'm glad they weren't wanting to arrest me if this was what they did just to get help with their enquiries. I took a swig of beer.

'I'll just step into something more comfortable then I'll come out and we can talk.'

'Jack Hamma.'

They'd managed to get my name right anyhow.

'Don't get your knickers in a knot, I'm coming, I'm coming.'

I walked out on to the deck and was jumped by about ten police officers.

'For fuck's sake,' I said.

I found myself bound hand and foot, wearing a straitjacket and with a cotton bag, like a flour sack, over my head and they put shackles around my ankles. Talk about overkill. I was bundled into one of the armoured vehicles and it drove off at a great rate of knots.

The straitjacket was invented in 1790, in France, by an upholsterer named Guilleret and was popular in Victorian times for the restraint of the mentally ill. In August 2012 the fastest regulated escape from a straitjacket was by a female escape artist named Sofia Romeo who took 4.69 seconds, I was going to take a bit longer than that. Pulling a straitjacket off over your head causes both arms to be dislocated. I had to have a think about this one, dislocated arms were not my preferred option.

'You don't think you're over reacting slightly?' I said.

I had been bundled out of the armoured vehicle, dragged through the outer offices of a police station and deposited in a back room on a chair.

'We are arresting you for the murder of one Kenneth Kreen the manager of the Melting Island Resort, everything you say will be taken down and will be used against you in a court of law.'

'Get a life,' I said.

The room was dull but clean, slightly off white walls, a wooden table, the timber had been acquired during some Indonesian rainforest deforestation project to make some wealthy man even wealthier, a few chairs, moulded plastic, mostly being sat in, no pictures on the walls, no window, the light was provided by a single fluoro in the ceiling. The ceiling was white squares made from polystyrene, the door was wooden but nothing special, cheap timber again provided by the devastation of an Indonesian rainforest, the carpet was clean, it was grey with a scratchy line pattern in dark brown, not really eye catching decor.

'You had an altercation with the manager over the cost of your suite.'

The man who said that was obviously of Scottish ancestry, he was very white with lots of freckles, his face looked like a rain storm of mud splodges, his hair, what there was of it, was red, he was overweight, so overweight in fact that he couldn't do up the buttons on his cheap styleless suit, his face was puffy and red with effort although he hadn't done anything yet, all he'd done was say: You had an altercation with the manager over the cost of your suite. I decided not to co-operate, I'm not sure why I decided not to co-operate but I just knew it was the best move in the circumstances. I was still wearing the straitjacket and my legs were still shackled together with chains but the bag had been taken off my head. There was a policeman, with something lethal looking in his hands, standing with his back to a door that had been made from a tree from an Indonesian rainforest.

'This is all nonsense,' I said. 'I think...'

'I don't give a fuck what you think,' said the fat man.

'I have a right to ring my solicitor,' I said.

'Listen mate, you aint got no rights, this is Queensland and we do things by Queensland rules.'

'Well you should know that…'

'Look mate, if I can't fuck it, shoot it, drink it or smoke it I'm not interested,' said the fat man.

I decided to say nothing more, I was wasting my time talking to this man. Time went by and we got nowhere.

'If you co-operate…' said the fat man.

I said nothing.

'The newspapers are calling for the reintroduction of hanging,' sneered the man, 'but if you co-operate.'

I said nothing again.

'We know you killed him, we have several witnesses.'

I said more nothings.

'We know you were an SAS Special Forces Commando.'

I still said nothing.

'Harry,' he said.

The policeman with his back to the door, who was positioned behind me, hit me over the head with his lethal looking something, I collapsed out of my chair.

I was forced back into the chair. The lethal looking something that I had been hit with was a large sausage bag thing filled with sand, it hurt like hell but left no mark.

'Every guy in this bloody police force is aching to have a crack at you, coming up from the south, meddling with Queensland business, and if you don't co-operate they are all going to get the chance.'

I said nothing and the fat guy in the suit sprayed me in the face with a long squirt of capsicum spray, I hadn't expected that and didn't have time to close my eyes or move my head away. The sensation was intense and almost overpowering, to say my eyes were irritated was the understatement of the year, I wanted to jump up and scream, I didn't move.

'We know all about you son, you killed your wife's three brothers! We know that as a fact. And at your wedding you broke the nose of the filmmaker who was doing the wedding video, you've got connections to the Russian mafia, it's suspected that you were the mastermind behind a break out of detainees, illegal immigrants, at Baxter Detention Centre. We also know that on the staff of your detective agency is a bikie dope peddler and we know that a terrorist Black Shirt was present at your wedding and a member of the Brothers of Satan was best man.'

I said nothing, I had a plan, it was slowly crystalizing in my brain.

'Harry,' said the fat man.

The crystalizing plan quickly disappeared out of my brain and this time I was ready for Harry, when he hit me over the head with his sausage filled with sand I didn't fall to the floor.

'Do that again and you're dead,' I said.

I hadn't meant to say that, I had meant to be crystalizing my plan, but out it came in a firm voice not angry but mean. The fat man was going to say something but he stopped. Then he regained his composure.

'Harry,' he said once again.

I heard the call to action. I pushed off with my feet, my chair had little wheels on it, I crashed into Harry and slammed him into the wooden door made from a tree cut down from the Indonesian rainforest. He, Harry, banged his head, made a noise like 'Luth' and then crashed to the floor. I stood up, I couldn't do much more than that, but what I could do I did. The fat man came at me swinging his great fat fists, I could duck and swerve and I did, the fat man had done exactly what I needed him to do, come in close, I head butted him and he went down, I was still standing. Somehow I got the straitjacket over my head, I was probably helped by the fact that in Queensland they obviously don't know how to fasten them properly, and I didn't need to dislocate anything. The fat man regained his feet and set into me with his fists and at the same time Harry began regaining his senses, he unclipped his holster and let loose with his gun. The fat man collapsed with two nicely drilled bullet holes in his fat belly. I threw the straitjacket at Harry and while he was evading that I laid into him knocking him cold.

Next was the tricky bit. I took Harry's gun and took aim to shoot my shackles to pieces. I have shot myself in the foot many times before in more ways than one, I had to be spot on, I'm a good shot, but even so, thoughts of limping around for the rest of my life didn't aid my concentration but my aim was good and I was free to make a run for it. First things first however, the fat man needed some attention. He wasn't dead but he was bleeding badly, I tore his shirt to shreds and made bandages and tied them tightly around his wounds using his suit jacket to make pads to stop the bleeding. There was a phone on the desk and I decided to ring for an ambulance.

'Police Headquarters, a flat foot just shot a dick get an ambulance here pronto,' I said and then slammed down the phone.

'You'll never get away with this,' said the fat man.

'I haven't actually done anything to get away with,' I said.

'Shooting a police officer in the lawful pursuit of his duties!'

I picked up the sand bag and the fat man's eyes showed real fear.

'I'm gonna tell it like it was, I have a newspaper friend,' I said.

I picked up the straitjacket and Harry's gun.

'I'm keeping these as evidence.'

'You're a dead man, we'll shoot on sight,' said the fat man.

'You'll have to learn to shoot straight first.'

I walked out of the room.

I found a cleaner's trolley, put my bundle on that and wheeled it along the corridor. The cleaner's trolley had a baseball cap on it, I put that on my head, threw a towel over my shoulder and kept walking. I stepped into a lift only to be met by a couple of cops.

'G'day,' one of them said to me.

'G'day,' I said.

'How ya going?' said the other.

'Good thanks, yourself?'

'Yeah good.'

I left the lift on the ground floor, still wheeling my cleaners' trolley and as I stepped out the sergeant at the counter growled at me.

'Toilets need fucking cleaning.'

'Right you are,' I said.

I kept pushing my trolley.

I walked out into a police vehicle maintenance area, it was lovely and clean for a garage. I lost the trolley, towel and the baseball cap but kept my bits of evidence. I found a white coat, slipped it on and kept walking. I came up to a police car.

'Just needs a run around the block,' someone, possibly a mechanic, called out.

I got in and started it up, the keys being very conveniently in the ignition. I backed out of the shed and into the bright light of day, all I had to do was turn the car around and go out through the entrance into the big wide world. An ambulance could be heard, a man sitting in a small box by the boom gate looked up at me as I stopped the car, the man was talking on the phone, he stood up and looked me over so I revved the car and crashed through the boom gate.

Sirens began wailing and police cars were tearing around all over the place, it was unmitigated chaos as I sped along a wide boulevard that ran alongside the beach. There were palm trees, miles of golden sand and a blue sea, the blue was a blue that you only dream of, but I had no time to dream about the colour blue, I had to get out of that place if it was the last thing I ever did and pronto. I sped along avoiding bikini clad cyclists, young men tootling around in beach buggies, tourists cruising along at no miles an hour in oversized off road vehicles and pedestrians who thought that the main road was a pedestrian thoroughfare, not to mention small dogs, and boys who thought they were pretty spunky on skate boards. I approached an intersection, the traffic lights were against me, buses and small environmentally friendly cars were hogging the road, in the mirror I could see a police car speeding along behind me at a great rate of knots, he had the advantage, everybody was getting out of his way. My way was blocked but to the right were the wide double glass doors of a shopping mall, I swerved and crashed through.

Glass flew everywhere, not to mention customers who flew in all directions trying to avoid being run down by a rampant police car. I crashed into a shopping trolley full of soda and precooked meals, the precooked meals flew through the air with the soda fizzing over them. It was an amazing sight. As I hurtled through that shopping mall there were people who dodged me but there were others who just walked in front of my car as if it wasn't there, I had to slam on the breaks several times trying not to run people down. I know it was a shopping mall, usually immune from careering autos, but you would think people would look where they were going! I sped along, turned down another wing of the mall and crashed into a stand selling pullets and young chickens, their cages burst open and they made a dash for freedom, there were flying chickens and feathers everywhere. I charged along, avoided a little old lady in a wheelchair, but as I drove by she hit my vehicle with her walking stick, then I came to another set of glass doors, the inevitable happened, I crashed through and unfortunately sent a policeman on a bicycle, who was trying to stop me, flying through the air. I slammed on the brakes, dashed over to him, he was out cold, propped him up and gave him the once over.

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