Chapter 29

They were now on track three of Pelican West, the tragically underrated Lemon Firebrigade. Steve drove the car down narrow side streets like he was Lewis Hamilton. They knocked over cardboard boxes and sent pigeons flapping upwards in bird-brained panic.

Pigshit was still looking at his phone, reading about Councillor Fowler.

“It says here,” he noted with a fair measure of surprise, “she’s only 28.”

“Born in 1985, then,” said Steve, demonstrating his impressive talent for mental arithmetic.

“I didn’t think you could get councillors as young as that,” said Pigshit. “I thought they were all old farts in their fifties and sixties who played golf and were in the Masons.”

“Guess not.”

“I’m going to see if she’s on Twitter.”

“You on Twitter, boss?”

“What do you fucking think? Like I’ve got time to waste writing 140 words about what I’m having for dinner. I’m not Stephen Fry, you know.”

Steve put pedal to the metal as the unmarked Ford Focus RS 2.0-litre turbocharged squad car (with all-wheel drive) zoomed along a busy pavement towards Edinburgh City Council headquarters. Pigshit had told one of his team back at the station to phone Fowler to make sure she’d be there, so he and Steve wouldn’t be wasting their fucking time.

“She is on Twitter,” said Pigshit. “But it’s just political stuff. Retweets of something some wanker said about independence … Some shit about a jumble sale next weekend … A link to another YouTube video by that publicity-seeking astronaut … No clues regarding the murder at all. Fucking useless.”

“Shame,” said Steve.

Pigshit fiddled with the CD player controls.

“It’s time for this,” he said, turning up the volume.

The car shook to the sound of Haircut One Hundred’s 1982 top ten hit, Fantastic Day.

Chapter 28

Sergeant Steve Norman floored the accelerator and the squad car roared out of the station car park. They were on their way to interrogate Councillor Michelle Fowler, the owner of the car in which the murdered corpse of Laura Palmer was found. Inspector Pigshit looked through the selection of CDs in the glove compartment and chose Pelican West, the debut album from the legendary jazz-funk pop combo, Haircut One Hundred.

Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) started up.

“This one’s a total fucking classic,” noted Pigshit as Nick Heyward’s vocals came in over the frenetic guitar riff and the wild congas.

Steve nodded. The rain was still pissing down and the wind was still winding, but at least there were no roadworks to contend with.

Pigshit googled Councillor Michelle Fowler.

“It says here,” said Pigshit, reading from his phone, “that Councillor Fowler is an environmental campaigner.”

“Oh aye?”

“A bit fucking suspicious, don’t you think?”

“Why’s that, boss?”

“What’s an environmental campaigner doing with a car? She should be thinking of the fucking polar bears. She should have a bike. Reduce her carbon footprint and all that.”

Steve spun round a corner, overtaking a bus and swerving to avoid a cyclist.

“Good point, boss.”

“And the other thing,” said Pigshit, “is that women can’t drive properly anyway.”

“I hope they won’t be driving the fucking trams,” said Steve.

They both laughed.

Chapter 27

Inspector Pigshit marched purposefully back through the station and straight into his office. He had a few things to figure out. First of all, he had to return Jim’s badge to HR. He told Steve to take it over, but Steve pointed out that the HR department had downsized itself and that personnel matters were now dealt with via a call centre based in Clackmannanshire. The part of the building that used to be occupied by HR now housed the Social Media department, but there was, apparently, an 0800 number you could phone, or a website with a form you could fill in. Pigshit couldn’t be arsed with that, so he delegated the whole business to one of his underlings.

In fact, the whole fucking procedure reminded him of the time he had to take a day off because of a bad curry he had from a place near the Cowgate. He woke up that morning to find he could shit through the eye of a needle, so he texted Daniels to say he wouldn’t be in. But then he received a text from someone higher up the food chain telling him he had to report his absence to some office somewhere, and when he phoned them, he had some stupid prick on the other end of the line asking him about his symptoms and the frequency of his bowel movements. Pigshit tried to explain that he had the splats – no more, no less – but the bloke was obviously reading from some flow chart, as if he would be able to reach a more knowledge-based diagnosis. After about a minute and a half, Pigshit hung up and texted Daniels again to say he wouldn’t be in. And then he switched his phone off.

Sergeant Steve Norman entered the office with two bad 20p cups of coffee.

“It’s a bit strange how Jim saw the light and went off to join the God-botherers,” he said.

“It’d be a lot more fucking strange if I’d joined them,” replied Pigshit.

They both laughed.

“So, what about this murder, then?” asked Steve.

“I didn’t do it,” said Pigshit.

“No, I mean, what do we do next?”

“Well,” began Pigshit, thinking about what Morse or that Swedish woman in the woolly jumper would do, “I think we ought to track down the fucker who owns that car.”

“Ace,” said Steve, finishing his coffee.

Pigshit poured the rest of his in the water tray of the geranium he had on his desk.

“Let’s go.”

Chapter 26

“Bad news?” asked Pigshit.

“Aye,” said Steve. “Jim’s handed in his badge.”

“What?”

“He quit. While you were off for a slash, some happy-clappy tambourine shakers came in. God-botherers. Anyway, they got talking to Jim and they converted him. He’s now a believer.”

“You’re having me on,” scoffed Pigshit.

“Wish I was, boss,” said Steve, handing Pigshit a flyer and Jim’s Police Scotland ID badge.

“They left some leaflets, look.”

Pigshit gave the religious pamphlet the once-over.

“But he’s from Falkirk! He’s probably got 666 tattooed on his head!”

“Well, they promised him salvation and eternal life so he decided there and then to leave the force and become a follower of the Lord.”

“FFS,” huffed Pigshit. “Did he pay for his baguette before he left?”

“He did, yeah.”

“Thank the Lord for that.”

Pigshit shoved the leaflet in pocket and looked out across the street. He still had a brutal murder case to solve and it was still pissing it down with rain. Eternal life. Yeah, fucking right.

Chapter 25

As he washed his hands in the lukewarm water spluttering out of the hot tap, Inspector Pigshit glanced across at the johnny machine. Back in the day, vending machines in the gents were much more discreet. They’d only say things like “Sheaths 2x50p”. Nowadays, they came emblazoned with all sorts of suggestive imagery. “Fruity Flavour Variety Pack! Apple & Mango! Blackcurrant! Pink Grapefruit!”. Pigshit wondered if there was much of a difference between pink grapefruit and normal grapefruit. Mrs Pigshit was allergic to grapefruit and he wondered if that also meant pink grapefruit, or just the yellow ones.

“You broke my fucking nose,” whined the man handcuffed to the cistern pipe. “I’m going to put in a complaint about you.”

“Yeah? Well, you’ll be doing it on Saughton Prison headed notepaper,” replied Pigshit as he kicked the man hard in the testicles once again.

Pigshit dried his hands on a couple of paper towels. He didn’t like using hand dryers. You either get those wanky Dyson ones that sound like an aeroplane taking off, or an older model that’s about as effective as drying your hands in someone’s fart. The hand dryer in the gents was the latter type, but thankfully, paper towels were available, too. Pigshit used a third towel for good measure, scrunched it up and threw it at the man.

He marched purposefully back out to the main part of the pub.

“Steve. Call the station and get ’em to send a uniformed officer to pick up that guy in the gents. Criminal damage. Six months. Oh, and we’ll need someone round to fix the door, too.”

“No worries, boss.”

The pub jukebox was now playing Sowing the Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears. Good choice, thought Pigshit.

Just then, he noticed Sergeant Morrison wasn’t there.

“Here, where’s Jimbo?”

“Ah,” said Steve. “Bad news, I’m afraid …”

Chapter 24

Early in his career, Inspector Pigshit spent six months on a secondment to the Dogs Unit, where he worked at the airport with the sniffer dogs who checked suitcases for drugs and explosives. Pigshit himself didn’t handle the dogs because he was not, by any means, a dog lover, or even someone who liked dogs. He always made sure there was a proper, trained dog handler to look after the hounds. Indeed, Pigshit could never work out why people liked dogs. Or cats. But dogs especially. He’d see those blow-dried mutants on Crufts and wonder if alien life had already been discovered and we just hadn’t realised.

Nevertheless, the secondment was good for two things. Firstly, he had a very enjoyable sexual relationship with a trainee dog handler called Jane Bishop, and secondly, working with the sniffer dogs helped him develop a very keen sense of smell.

And so, when he entered the gents’ toilets at the Village Inn, his olfactory alarm bells started ringing.

There was a window open, presumably to dissipate the malodorous stench of customers’ bowel movements, and there was, inevitably, the weird, unnatural lemon scent of those little yellow urinal cakes, but amongst that, he could make out the unmistakable smell of a Sharpie permanent marker. A fine liner, even.

Black ink.

Pigshit looked up at the traps. One door was open, the other was locked. Some bastard was in there writing graffiti.

He kicked the door down.

“You fucker!” he shouted as the door fell in on the man inside.

The man – mid-forties; bald, with a stupid earring – fell back. Pigshit noticed the guy had his trousers done up, so obviously he was there just to write or draw something, rather than take a dump.

“Ouch,” shouted the man as Pigshit punched him hard in the face.

“You’re fucking nicked, sunshine,” said Pigshit. “What were you writing, anyway? HIBS ARE SHIT?”

“It was supposed to be SHITE but you stopped me before I could do the E.”

“Jambos fan are, you?”

“No, Motherwell.”

“Motherwell? FFS! You from Motherwell?”

“Aye.”

“So what the fuck are you doing in Edinburgh, on a Monday, vandalising pub toilets?”

“You broke my fucking nose,” complained the man.

Pigshit kicked him hard in the ’nads.

“Listen, matey. This is my fucking city and no-one comes here causing criminal damage. Got me?”

He handcuffed the man to the pipe that goes down from the cistern.

“Stay there. I’ll send an officer round to collect you. Six months, creep!”

Pigshit stepped out of the cubicle and went over to the urinals to have a long and much-needed Jimmy Riddle.

Chapter 23

Pigshit sat down with his second pint of the day. It cost £3.50. Rebus and his entourage of wankers were on their way out. They spent fat too long faffing about with coats and jackets and scarves, then they held the door open too long, letting all the cold air in. Bastards.

Morrison was still talking about squash.

“Steve,” said Pigshit, interrupting Morrison’s long monologue. “Do you play squash yourself?”

“No, I don’t,” said Steve.

“All right, Jimbo. Steve doesn’t play squash and neither do I. Change the fucking subject.”

Morrison looked hurt. He was just about to get to the good bit.

“Yes, boss.”

Suddenly, Pigshit felt his pocket buzz. He could just about make out the muffled sound of Shout by Tears for Fears. It was his mobile. He took it out of his pocket and answered it.

“Inspector Pigshit. Who are you? … Uh huh … No … No … No, you listen, you stupid arsepipe. I’m conducting a major fucking murder investigation. If I were to put all the things I had to deal with in a big list starting with the most important thing at number 1, the second most important at number 2 and so on, you and your fucking bowling alley would be down at number 927, just below ‘Make an appointment to have my hair permed at some poofy hair salon’ and ‘Check today’s fucking horoscope’. Do I make myself clear? … I am so glad to be of service. In fact, why don’t you place yourself under arrest? Hand yourself in at the nearest station. Tell them I sent you.”

Pigshit pressed the little red bit on his phone and hung up.

“Who was that, boss?” asked Morrison.

“Stupid twat who runs the bowling alley,” said Pigshit. “Wanted to know if he could reopen this afternoon.”

“At least he asked before doing anything,” said Steve.

“Wasting my fucking time. I’ll have ’em throw away the key.”

Pigshit downed the rest of his pint. It was bloody good.

“Right, lads. Finish up. It’s time to get back to work.”