Chapter 30

Sirens a-flashing, Inspector Pigshit’s unmarked squad car thundered towards the headquarters of Edinburgh City Council. It was still pissing it down outside with cold, wet rain.

“Looks like the car park’s full,” said Steve.

“Forget the car park,” replied Pigshit. “There’s plenty of space outside the main door. Take the fucker up the stairs.”

“Right-oh, boss.”

Steve hit the accelerator and drove the car up the large flight of stone steps before pulling a smooth handbrake turn and bringing the car to a stylish halt right outside the door.

Pigshit switched off the CD player. They were already on track 10 of Pelican West, the wonderfully catchy Love’s Got Me in Triangles. Pigshit thought about his favourite triangles: Dairylea cheese triangles. He got out of the car and glanced over at some smokers huddled outside the door of the building. They were looking at him funny.

“What are you fuckwits staring at?” he asked.

No-one said anything.

“You lot want to stop smoking. Didn’t you get the memo about how it’s bad for you? And that it makes you stink?”

“Not that easy,” mumbled one of the smokers, shivering in the damp autumn wind.

“Course it’s fucking easy,” said Pigshit. “You take your packet of fags and throw them in the fucking bin. Then you don’t buy any more, ever. Simple.”

“Ye cannae give up just like that,” said another.

“Away and shite,” replied Pigshit. “Use a bit of fucking willpower.”

“Do you want me to arrest these guys?” asked Steve. “We can get them banged up for smoking outwith a designated area.”

Pigshit looked down and saw that two of the group were indeed standing on the wrong side of a line painted on the paving stones indicating where people were allowed to smoke.

“No, it’s cool,” said Pigshit. “A warning will be sufficient this time.”

And with that, he kicked and punched the smokers until they were safely over the line. And then he went inside to continue the investigation.

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Chapter 10

Something about the case was troubling Inspector Pigshit. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but then Morrison asked when Daniels would be back. Detective Inspector Helen Daniels was Pigshit’s regular partner. They were like Mulder and Scully, except Pigshit didn’t believe in space aliens, and Daniels wasn’t an attractive redhead who could do autopsies and stuff. Daniels was blonde and, quite often, a bit of a pain in the neck. She was thirty-something and one of the force’s ‘high-potential’ employees.

“So when’s Daniels back, boss?”

“Next Monday.”

“Where is she anyway?”

“I believe she’s off on some watercolour painting holiday, somewhere in the south of France.”

“She any good?” asked Steve.

“At watercolours? How should I know?”

Jim laughed.

“We investigate crime. It’s not like she invites me round to her place after work to talk about art.”

“Not what I’ve heard, boss.”

“Fuck off back to Falkirk, you big tart.”

Pigshit wondered if it would be better to get the case wrapped up before Daniels came back, or leave the tricky stuff for her to sort out. On the one hand, catching the killer now would save everyone from Daniels and her meticulous obsession with regulations, procedure and always doing things the correct way. On the other hand, she was bloody good at searching dark buildings with a torch, and she’d handle all the paperwork afterwards. Pros and cons either way. Swings and roundabouts.

He glanced up at the rain cannoning off the windscreen.

“All right. Steve, chase up the owner of that motor. Try and find out why the fuck there was a dead body in the boot. Jim and I are going to pay a visit to Frank at the city mortuary.”

“Can I finish my bacon roll first?” asked Jim.

“You still not done?” Pigshit turned towards Steve. “How many did you get him?”

“He wanted two,” said Steve.

“FFS.”

At this rate, he thought, Daniels will be back and we’ll have done sod all. Still, at least she’d handle all the paperwork.

Chapter 9

When he was a student, and before he joined the police, Inspector Pigshit had toyed with the idea of becoming a vegetarian. It was partly because he didn’t like the flavour or texture of lamb, and partly because being a ‘veggie’ might help him score with the type of girls who were into bands like the Smiths and the Cure. It wasn’t that he was specifically targeting girls who were into bands like the Smiths and the Cure, but he felt it didn’t make sense to narrow the field, either. And so he considered vegetarianism. Briefly. He realised – very quickly – that he would miss bacon. That just wouldn’t do. He wondered if he could claim some sort of exemption, like those so-called vegetarians who eat fish, but it became apparent that there is no part of the great Venn diagram of vegetarianism representing people who don’t eat meat apart from bacon. So he abandoned the idea.

Sitting in the squad car with Steve and Jim as the rain once again lashed down, Pigshit savoured the last remnants of his bacon roll, a simple, yet exquisitely crafted piece of culinary genius. A good quality white bap, butter that had been spread with a trowel, crispy rashers of prime Danish bacon cooked to absolute perfection, all covered in a generous splurge of brown sauce. Not your cheap, derivative catering industry ‘brown sauce’, either, but your actual HP Sauce. The good stuff. Pigshit could taste it. The taste of heaven. Ali from the Bridge Street Café was, it had to be said, a genuine artist. King of the kitchen. Thank fuck he chose to open his greasy spoon here in Edinburgh, and not some place back in Turkey. Pigshit wasn’t a political man by any means, but whenever anyone had a go at ‘the immigrants’, he would, as a matter of course, point out that they were talking complete bollocks. Ali was an immigrant and he was a bloody top bloke. Anyone who’d ever had one of his all-day breakfasts would testify to that.

“Good man, Steve,” said Pigshit, wiping his mouth with a Bridge Street Café napkin. (Ali didn’t charge for little extras like that.) “The rolls were still quite warm, too.”

“I dinnae mess about, boss,” replied Steve proudly.

The rain continued to pour down. Outside, the forensics team were still faffing about putting stuff into little Ziploc bags.

Chapter 8

The clouds were reloading. Inspector Pigshit felt a few drops of rain. One hit his new B5 notebook with the 81.4 gsm paper, making a wet splatter mark covering the words ‘victim’ and ‘whip’. As well as making notes on the investigation, Pigshit had also been jotting down ideas for the book he was working on: a poignant semi-autobiographical tale of a mighty hero putting the world to rights by taking down the all bankers and politicians and bullshitters. It would be part Bravo Two Zero (minus the Iraq bits, obviously), part Fifty Shades of Grey, part Bare by George Michael. It would be bloody excellent, he thought. He couldn’t wait to see it in Waterstones. He’d go in to every branch in the city and make sure his book covered up the Dan Browns and the John Grishams and all those celebrity autobiographies.

Sergeant Jim Morrison approached.

“Good news, boss!”

“What’s that? Is Steve here with the bacon rolls?”

“He’s on his way. Five minutes. No, even better than that – some guy has confessed to the murder. He’s at the station now, giving a full confession and explaining how and why he did it.”

“Fucking champion!” said Pigshit, a big smile spreading across his face.

“No, only joking,” said Morrison.

“You utter bastard.”

Morrison grinned.

“Actually, the bloke who runs the bowling alley is asking if he can reopen the car park.”

“Why?”

“He’s opening up.”

“Now?” Pigshit looked at his watched. “At quarter past ten on a fucking Monday morning? Who the fuck goes bowling at this time of day?”

“Shall I tell him ‘no’?”

“Tell him to piss off.”

Pigshit felt grumpy and irritable, and not just because it was starting to rain again. He felt like giving Morrison a good hard kick up the arse for raising his hopes like that. Instead, the sound of wailing sirens and flashing blue lights revived his spirits. A squad car roared into the car park, immaculately reversing into one of the disabled parking spaces with a neat handbrake turn.

The driver put his arm out the window and gave Pigshit the thumbs up. It was Steve, with the bacon rolls.

Chapter 6

They were now on track five, Of Crime and Passion, for the second time. Inspector Pigshit had had enough of being stuck in traffic in the rain.

“I’ve had enough,” he said.

“Doesn’t look like there’s much we can do,” said Sergeant Morrison.

“I’ll be the judge of that. Stick on the sirens and the flashing blue lights, and let’s get this fucker onto the pavement.”

“What?”

“The pavement. We’re on a murder investigation. We can’t afford to spend all sodding day sitting here watching the windscreen wipers.”

“It’s a busy street.”

“This is Edinburgh! It’s a capital city, home to about three million people, all of them potential criminals! Of course it’s a busy street! Fucking hell, Morrison, you’re not the village bobby. If you want to be Hamish Macbeth, fine – I’ll get you a transfer to some daft little two-horse village up in the Highlands, but right now you’re working for me, so unless you want to spend the rest of your career watching shinty and looking for missing sheep, I advise you to get moving.”

“All right, boss.”

Morrison put on the sirens and the flashing blue lights and carefully steered the car onto the wet pavement.

“What’s the speed limit for driving on pavements, boss?”

“Sixty.”

Morrison hit the accelerator, scattering pedestrians and causing those annoying people who stand around handing out flyers to take cover in shop doorways.

Pigshit laughed.

“We should do this more often.”

Chapter 5

They were now on track five, Of Crime and Passion, and they still weren’t much nearer the crime scene. Thanks in part to roads in the city centre being dug up for the new, exciting and very, very popular tram project, the Monday morning traffic seemed worse than ever. Despite putting on the sirens and the flashing blue lights to get past a few cars and buses, Pigshit and Morrison were now well and truly stuck. They hadn’t moved for about three or four minutes. Ahead of them they could see two bin lorries, several cars and a couple of double-decker buses. Pigshit felt the need to go out and bust a few noses so people would get the hell out the way, but it was raining and he’d get soaked.

It was obvious Sergeant Jim Morrison didn’t really like Of Crime and Passion, but eventually it faded out and Union of the Snake came on.

“This got to number 3 in the UK charts,” said Pigshit proudly.

“Did it?” replied Jim, doubtful of whether reaching number 3 in the charts in the early 1980s was any guarantee of quality.

The hard, unforgiving autumn rain danced off the windscreen in big wet droplets like they were in that film, Se7en.

“At least all this will be sorted out after your #indyref.”

“What’s that, boss?”

“Congestion. All this bloody traffic! Once Scotland becomes independent, all this shit will be a thing of the past. We’ll all be able to drive wherever we like, when we like, without worrying about hold-ups, or one-way streets, or rain. And we’ll have as much free haggis and shortbread as we can eat! It’ll be ace, won’t it?”

Pigshit knew Morrison was a bit of a nationalist and he liked to wind him up about it.

“It’ll be a positive change, I’m sure,” murmured Morrison diplomatically.

“Sounds like a bunch of arse, if you ask me. All these politicians. Fucking hell. Get on with your work and stop poncing around.”

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.

“Steve, what’s happening? … Uh huh … It’s all snarled up here, too … No, don’t fucking go to Roy’s! … I don’t care if it’s closer, you know what that guy’s like. One fucking rasher of bacon, and it’s usually all rind … And he doesn’t butter the rolls … Look, just stick on the sirens and the flashing blue lights, and get your arse over to Bridge Street like you’re supposed to. And tell Ali I want more sauce this time!”

He hung up. The car still hadn’t moved.

“What was that about?”

That was our esteemed colleague, Sergeant Steven Norman, informing me he’s stuck in traffic, and asking if it would be better to get the bacon rolls from Roy’s instead of Ali’s, because Roy’s is closer and he didn’t know how long it would take to get to Bridge Street.”

“I don’t like Roy’s,” said Jim unenthusiastically. “His rolls are always a bit doughy.”

“I ought to shut that place down,” mused Pigshit. “One rasher of bacon, indeed. I’m sure I could get that fucker locked up for something.”

The car crawled forward about three metres.

Pigshit dealt with his frustration by hitting the back button on the CD player several times until he got back to The Reflex.

Chapter 4

Inspector Pigshit marched purposefully across the car park. It was a bloody cold day. Still raining; still quite windy. He could see Jim sitting in the car, waiting. That was good. What wasn’t good, however, was the fact that Jim would be sitting there listening to Radio fucking Local, and at this time of the morning, that would mean the breakfast show guy and his fucking mystery voice competition, or worse, cheery adverts for double-glazing and car insurance done by some complete nobshiner of an actor who probably thought he was going to be the next Brad Pitt or George Clooney, but ended up doing voice-overs on radio ads for double-glazing and car insurance.

Pigshit opened the passenger-side door and got in.

“Turn that twat off.”

“Yes, boss.”

Jim switched the radio off. Pigshit put on his seat belt, rummaged around in the glove compartment and took out a CD. He put it in the CD player.

“Come on, you tart. Get going.”

Jim drove off.

“Who are we listening to today, boss?” asked Jim as the disc started to load.

“Duran Duran. Classic album called Seven and the Ragged Tiger,” said Pigshit.

The twangy, upbeat intro of the album’s opening track, The Reflex reverberated around the car. Pigshit turned up the bass.

“What’s he singing about? I can’t make out the lyrics.” asked Jim.

“Just listen,” advised Pigshit. “Proper song, this.”

“‘Why don’t you use it?’ Use what?”

Pigshit didn’t answer. As the unmarked police car sped along the wet, congested thoroughfares of Edinburgh city centre towards the crime scene, Pigshit took out one of his new notebooks. He was intrigued that the paper was 81.4 gsm. How odd that a figure for something most people couldn’t care less about was given to a precision of one decimal place. Like, 80 gsm would be a sufficient guide; 81 gsm sounds a bit strange, not being a nice round number like 80; while 81.4 gsm seems amazingly exact, perhaps unnecessarily so. Maybe it was the manufacturer’s way of getting one over on their competition: look, you bastards – we can do notepaper that’s 81.4 gsm. Yeah, point four, you wankers. Beat that.

“Did you get what you needed from the stationery cupboard, boss?”

“Yeah.” He wasn’t going to mention the paperclips. “Top quality notebooks and a few pens.”

“That’s good,” said Jim. “I think we’re going to need them.”