Click on the link below to download the audition script as a word document. Failing that I have added the whole chapter below the link.
There’s nothing quite like waking up with a police dog standing on your chest barking in your face. Simon didn’t shout, or try and push the dog away, or wonder what it was doing there, or hit it, or jump out of bed, or wet himself, or wonder if he was still dreaming; like most people probably would, instead he just whimpered and began to cry. It was a fragile morning even without the dog and Simon’s hangovers are normally accompanied by tears. He just couldn’t handle it.
A policeman pulled the dog off Simon by its lead and pulled Simon out of his bed by the scruff of his neck.
‘Simon Wodehouse! I am arresting you under suspicion of murder!’ shouted Sergeant Hardly.
Simon’s arms were yanked behind his back and handcuffed. The policeman grabbed him under the arms and dragged him to his feet.
‘You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given as evidence.’
‘You guys really say that? What does that even mean?!’
‘Police Constable Prebble! Help me take this bastard down stairs!’
Sergeant Hardly and PC Prebble grabbed Simon under each arm and walked him down stairs just quick enough to not allow him to get any kind of sensible footing. It was a demeaning and pointless power play. Simon noticed that his front door had been professionally smashed off its hinges as he was taken outside and shoved into the back of a police car. The two cops got in the car and drove off towards the station.
‘Now, just hold on!’ shouted Simon, finally getting a hold of his mind, ‘who exactly am I supposed to have murdered?!’
‘A, Miss Amelia Heart, sir,’ said PC Prebble.
‘Don’t call him sir, you bloody twonk! He’s a murderer and a rapist, not a lord!’ said Sergeant Hardly.
‘I AM NOT A RAPIST!’
‘But you are a murderer?’
Simon twisted in the backseat trying to find a comfortable way to sit while handcuffed behind the back.
‘Aren’t I supposed to be wearing a seatbelt?’
The policeman ignored him.
There was a short pause as Simon tried to take everything in. Maybe he’s hallucinating? It’s certainly possible.
No, this is real.
‘Yes, sir, you killed her,’ said the young policeman.
Sergeant Hardly whacked him.
‘Oh yes, I mean; yes, you bastard, you killed her.’
‘Good boy,’ said Sgt. Hardly.
The young policeman turned to face Simon.
‘It’s my first day today, PC Prebble; that’s me, quite exciting to get a murder on your first day isn’t it?’
‘No! It’s not exciting! And I’m not a murderer!’
‘No, I know, innocent until proven guilty and all that, still pretty cool though, you should have seen the body of that girl, shocking stuff.’
‘Shut up Prebble,’ said Sergeant Hardly.
‘Ok, I’ll talk to you later,’ said Prebble, turning back.
Simon and Hardly shared a raised eyebrow and a ‘Tut’ in the rear-view mirror.
‘He’s new,’ said Sergeant Hardly.
‘I gathered,’ said Simon.
‘My nephew actually, you feel like you should give em a chance cuz they’re family don’t you?’
Sergeant Hardly turned his head to talk to Simon eye to eye.
‘He’s a bit slow, thick if you follow, dumb, but he’s good at heart and he’s eager.’
‘Yes, good, should you be watching the road?’
‘He tries to treat murder-rapists with respect, admirable really. Not me though, I can’t stand the likes of you. You degenerate bastard!’
Sergeant Hardly turned back to the wheel in time to swerve out of the way of an oncoming house.
The world was yet to be blessed by Charlie’s presence. It was closely approaching midday and he was nowhere to be seen. Not that anyone was looking for him. Not yet, anyway.
A large bin, round the back of a kebab shop, coughed and moaned a bit. It seemed to be waking up.
‘Urgh,’ it said.
Something primal seemed to be stirring deep inside of it. It made another sound. The sound was, ‘wuurrraaaiiiii’, it was mumbled and gruff. Unbeknownst to the empty back-road the bin called home, the sound could be translated to mean ‘where the fuck am I?’, but only by the most learned master of post-shitfaced linguistics.
The lid suddenly flew open and some kind of angry confused animal climbed out and landed heavily on the floor. It stood up. Its eyes were wild and manic. It stumbled around the back-road, crashing into boxes and small bins, it cried out with a weary and demented vengeance, ‘uuurrghh!’
The back door to the Kebab shop opened and a man came out holding a bag of rubbish.
The manic creature raised a finger at the man and shouted, ‘You!’
‘Me?’ said the man, edging back into the safety of the shop.
‘Where am I?!’
‘Behind KebabLand,’ said the scared man.
Charlie logged this information for later consideration, but for now a primal urge, one of self preservation, emerged and took over Charlie’s mouth, ‘Coffee?!’
‘We only sell Kebabs.’
‘Ok, just wait right here.’
The door closed and the man was gone. Charlie paced outside the door until finally the man returned with a large mug of coffee.
Charlie grabbed it and began guzzling, regardless of heat.
‘Are you ok, friend?’ asked the KebabLand worker.
Charlie dropped the empty mug and stumbled out into the overpowering morning light of the main road. Cars were shooting up and down the street in a blur. Freshly showered men and women walked past him. Charlie must have seemed like a man raised from the dead. People were definitely looking at him like he might be.
Charlie scowled at as many of them as he could. This was his natural defence against communication.
He found a homeless man half way through a rolled up cigarette. Charlie knelt down and grabbed the cigarette out of the tramps mouth. The scruffy bearded homeless man began to protest but Charlie screamed at him and bore his demented penetrating eyes, like a stare made of mean invisible fire, right through the stunned tramps retinas and out through the back of his head.
‘Ok,’ said the tramp.
Charlie carried on but the cigarette went out and he had no way to relight it. He threw the fag on the ground and stamped on it. He looked around him for a newsagent or anywhere that sold cigs. He found a mini Tesco and marched in. Having orientated himself he climbed over the counter and ripped open a pack of cigarettes and took one out. He grabbed a lighter and lit the fag.
Luckily for Charlie by the time anyone working at the small Tesco had figured out what was going on he had already climbed back over the counter and set off again down the road.
Things were getting clearer now but he still didn’t know where he was. He thought back through his hazy collection of memories to find out what he normally did to cure such devastating hangovers. He found the solution.
‘SIMON!?’ he shouted.
He waited for a response. There wasn’t one but at least people were now giving him a wide berth so he wouldn’t have to concentrate so hard on walking in a straight line.
His feet took over the thinking process and led him to Simon’s house. Parts of his consciousness noticed that the door had been smashed in but his feet led him straight to the kitchen.
His hands made a coffee using hot water from the tap. He opened all the draws to find more cigarettes and did so. He lit two on the stove and smoked them simultaneously. He found something soft and baguette-shaped in the fridge and ate it. It could have been a baguette, or a wrap of some sort, it could just as easily have been a cucumber or a chilled dildo. Whatever it was, he ate it without consideration for these meagre facts.
He was slowly finding his way back to reality. He felt operational enough now to make himself a coffee using the kettle and he splashed some water on his face.
A vague memory had been poking at him, trying to get his attention and he finally gave it a thought; the front door.
He walked out of the kitchen and looked at it.
‘Simon?!’ he shouted.
Charlie went upstairs to find him. No luck.
It was times like these when Charlie wished he had a mobile phone.
‘What the fuck is going on!’
Keep would know what to do. Charlie left Simon’s house and walked down the road to The Basement.
Charlie Stumbled to the end of the road opposite The Basement. Unfortunately, between him and the bar was the graveyard. The graveyard itself wasn’t a problem, but the yellow police tape and gaggle of policeman was. A large area of the fence and half the road had been cordoned off. A plastic black sheet covered something hanging from the iron fence.
Charlie, being as fragile minded as a new born baby at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, stumbled into full view of the officers at large. He began to walk oddly and confused into the accusing and suspicious eyes of the police before some remnants of rationality forced him against it and led him back into the safety of a convenient shop.
Chance was against him. Before he managed complete invisibility a uniformed officer separated itself from the gaggle and ebbed out in Charlie’s direction.
Charlie cursed his rotten piss ridden luck and mooched around the shop in search of cheap booze, if only for lack of a better idea. Charlie was lurking in the darkest back corner of the shop when the bell went indicating the shop door had opened. He looked up at the convex mirror above him, it was the cop. Charlie tried to edge around the shop back to the door to counter avoid the copper but the policeman was on him.
In a moment of sheer panic, and hungover brilliance in the face of adversity, Charlie grabbed a packet of Super Noodles and threw them at the policeman!
The noodles bounced off the policeman’s face and fell to the floor.
‘Hey man! What the fuck!’ said the cop.
Charlie stared at him and then frowned in recognition.
‘Keep?’ said Charlie.
‘Why are you throwing spaghetti at me?’ said Keep.
‘Why are you dressed like a cop!?’
‘Pressing matters are at hand.’
‘Where did you get that outfit?’
‘I stole it!’
Charlie considered the question.
‘Did you get me one?’
‘You know it!’
‘Simon’s front door’s been kicked in.’
‘Yeah man, Simon’s been arrested.’
‘I’m going to sit down before we continue.’
Charlie sat himself on the floor between a freezer with ice cream and pizza in it and shelves with noodles and cans of beans and tinned hotdogs.
‘Sit with me friend,’ said Charlie.
‘Ok, it’s deep though.’
‘What did the twat do?’ said Charlie, ‘dodge a taxi fare?’
‘No, worse than that.’
‘Piss on a nun?’
‘Drop a beer?’
‘Not as bad as that.’
‘I’m serious, and seriously, it’s some seriously serious shit.’
‘Please be aware that I haven’t eaten in two days so try and be easy with this information.’
He had eaten, but the memory plays tricks after such alcoholic abuse.
‘There’s no easy way to put it.’
‘Just fucking tell me!’
‘Take this first. You’ll thank me later.’
Keep handed Charlie a thin glass bottle about the size a posh cigarette and Charlie eyed it.
‘Merlin,’ said Keep.
Charlie put it to his nose and emptied it of its contents. He felt immediately better.
‘Speak,’ said Charlie.
‘Simon killed Amelia.’
The cell door slammed shut.
PC Prebble was pissing about with the key’s trying to find the right one.
‘I’ll have you locked up in a sec.’
‘I’ve done nothing! Nothing wrong! Nothing good! Nothing anything!’
Prebble found the right key and locked the cell door.
‘Yes you have, sir, you murdered and raped that girl, remember?’
‘No, I don’t remember!’
‘Strange isn’t, I mean I know people forget where they put their keys, or forget why they’ve gone in a room, or why they’re wearing a hat.’
Simon raised an eyebrow. This policeman was fucking nuts.
‘But forgetting about something like that! I mean, it’s hardly a fart in the ocean is it.’
‘I didn’t do it!’
‘Oh that’s right, I forgot. I’ll just unlock this and let you go. Give me a sec while I find the right key.’
‘Only joking buddy! Just wanted to put a smile on that boring face of yours. Cheer you up a bit, I mean it’s not like someone pissed on your cat.’
‘I don’t have a cat. And being locked up for a murder I didn’t commit is a bit worse than pissing on a cat!’
‘And rape, sir, murder and rape, that’s the charge, can’t forget that, important thing to remember that.’
‘Are you handicapped in anyway?’
‘Don’t play golf, sir, thanks for asking though. Would you like me to get you anything before I go?’
‘A coffee would be nice?’
‘No hot liquids I’m afraid, you could use that to attack me.’
‘Is that a cop joke, sir?’
‘No. Can I have a bacon sandwich, and maybe some orange juice?’
‘I’ll see what I can do.’
PC Prebble left and returned a moment later.
‘No,’ said Prebble.
‘The sergeant said no.’
‘About the sandwich?’
‘About everything, sir. He said I shouldn’t let you demand anything. If you were in for kidnapping or terrorism then you could have demanded as many sandwiches as you like. Murderers aren’t entitled to anything. You’re lucky you got the comfortable cell. And he said to stop calling you sir. You bastard.’
‘This cell isn’t comfortable! The bed doesn’t even have a mattress! It’s just wire mesh!’
‘The other cell doesn’t even have that, it’s just a metal frame. At least you’ve got a pillow.’
‘It’s not a pillow. It looks like it might have once been a sandwich, it’s just gown to the size of a pillow with mould.’
‘Oh I see. Well. You’re welcome to help yourself. I won’t tell sergeant Hardly.’ Prebble winked conspiratorially.
‘Help myself to what?’
‘The sandwich, sir. You’re not too bright are you?’
Simon stared at him in disbelief.
‘Am I entitled to a phone call?’
Prebble thought about it.
‘Yes I think you are, here take my mobile. But only one call, promise?’
Prebble handed the phone through the bars.
‘You have to say promise.’
‘Good man. I’ll give you some privacy, sir… err, bastard.’
A Handbag started to ring. An elegant hand dived in, removed the phone, flipped it open, and brought it to her ear with the kind of effortless skill normally reserved for Kingfishers catching fish from ponds. Humanity uses this precision to enable our unique ability to gossip.
‘Jane,’ said Jane.
‘Jane, it’s Simon.’
‘Ready to forgive me? Or are you phoning to shout at me?’
‘Neither, it’s a moot point now anyway.’
‘I need your help.’
‘You want my help? Yesterday you didn’t want to know me!’
‘Fine! All is forgiven, you’re sorry you cheated, I’m sorry I got mad! Good, I’m glad that’s all sorted. Call me a lawyer.’
‘I need a lawyer. A good one. A really good one. I’ve been arrested.’
‘Why have you been arrested?’
‘Murder. So can you get me a lawyer? I’m kind of tied up here and you’re the only person I know with a mobile phone. And a brain.’
‘Amelia. So can you do this for me or shall I just rot in here while you hold a grudge.’
‘Amelia! You killed her!?’
‘No, I didn’t. She was murdered last night. The police think it was me.’
‘How was she killed?’
‘I don’t know! The police arrested me in bed, they haven’t told me anything yet. Where are you?’
‘On my way to the office. Is this a wind up? Was this Charlie’s idea?’
‘No, this is real.’
‘Did you kill her?’
‘Ok, I believe you.’
‘That’s great, but right now I just need to get out of prison. There’s not even a toilet in here. They just gave me a cup of water and a sponge. I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to do with it.’
‘I saw you with Amelia last night.’
A tad more speechless silence and this time some twiddling of thumbs too.
‘I watched through a little window and saw you and Amelia, you know, “together”. With Charlie watching.’
‘I’m coming to the police station now. I’ll see what the bail is and try and get you out.’
‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!’
‘Finished with the phone?’
‘Who’s that?’ asked Jane.
‘PC Prebble,’ said Simon.
‘Let me talk to him.’
‘She wants to talk to you.’
Simon handed PC Prebble the phone.
‘Hello! PC Prebble here!’
‘Hello, police constable Prebble. This is Jane, Simon’s wife. Could you tell me what happened?’
‘With what miss? The football? Don’t watch it myself.’
‘With Amelia’s death.’
‘Oh that, terrible thing that, you should have seen the body miss, shocking it was, impaled on a wrought iron fence, never seen anything like it. Simon did it miss, your husband, we have him here in custody.’
‘Yes I know, why do you think Simon did it?’
‘Sorry miss, can’t really talk about the case.’
‘But you just told me about it!’
‘Thank you for your interest in the good work we do here at the police station, if you would like to fill out a satisfaction card we have them in the foyer.’
The line went dead.
All the sneakiness in Sneakingdom couldn’t have out-sneaked Charlie and Keep during their stealthy mission back to Keep’s lab.
‘How did you steal these?’ asked Charlie, pulling up his new police trousers.
‘All the police were busy dealing with the murder so I let myself into the police station and helped myself to a few things. I got these too.’
Keep rummaged through his swag bag and produced two clunky looking guns.
‘You stole guns!?’
‘Taser guns! Here, watch this.’
Keep pulled back a curtain he had rigged to reveal a row of raw bacon nailed to a wooden board. Keep steadied himself and took aim.
‘This is never going to work’ said Charlie, realizing what he was about to attempt.
Keep closed one eye and looked down the sights of the gun like a drunk aiming a TV remote at a microwave oven. The bacon came into focus and he fired the gun. Twin darts leapt from the weapon, attached to uncoiling metal wires, and lodged themselves into two bits of bacon with a wooden pang. Electricity clicked through the gun and sizzled through the bacon. The bacon quickly shrivelled and turned brown. Keep let go of the trigger.
‘Oh, Keep, that is so cool.’
Keep pulled one of the smoking bits of bacon (or “God’s gift to hangovers” as they should be called) off one of the nails and took a bite.
‘Mmm, you can taste the electricity,’ he said.
Keep pulled the other one off and gave it to Charlie. Charlie ate it with Moorish salivated delight and then finished getting dressed.
‘How do I look?’
‘Like a cop who woke up late for work and finished getting dressed in the car.’
‘These are pretty snazzy for your general police outfits aren’t they?’
‘I think they’re just new.’
‘Yeah, that’s probably it. So what’s the plan?’
‘Well, I don’t believe Simon killed that girl.’
‘No, there’s no way he did it.’
‘So we go and pretend we’re special cops from somewhere else and we’re here to take over the case.’
‘You’re such a moron.’
‘It’s a good idea.’
‘It’s not a good idea, but don’t worry, it’s only because you’re stupid. We need a better plan.’
‘Let’s go and bust Simon out of prison.’
‘That sounds pretty fun.’
Charlie thought for a moment.
‘Once Simon’s been cleared, assuming he will be, you and I will become the main suspects in this.’
‘Nah, I won’t. You might, you are dangerously unpredictable. According to the papers.’
‘Do you think Simon could have done it?’
‘He hasn’t got it in him.’
‘He does have a motive.’
‘I reckon it was just a random straggler. Some guy, pissed up, saw a naked girl staggering around outside and killed her,’ said Keep, resetting his gun.
Charlie put his new policeman hat on his head and straightened his walkie-talkie.
‘Let’s just go and mingle with the boys in blue and see what actually happened,’ said Charlie.
‘This will be more fun with a bit of the Wizard’s Dandruff,’ said Keep.
Charlie toyed with this idea and tapped his chin in thought.
‘Maybe you’re not as stupid as you seem.’
Keep produced two small glass tubes from his sleeve and gave one to Charlie.
‘Why do they call them the boys in blue?’ asked Keep.
‘I don’t know. Or care.’
‘In turkey they call them Asphalt Cowboys.’
‘Really? That’s pretty cool.’
‘There’s probably no other profession that has more nicknames than the police; Doughnut Commander, The Moustached Pagoda, that’s my favourite by the way; “The Moustached Pagoda” has a nice ring to it, don’t know what it means though, The Cozzers, The Rotten Filth, Johnny Law, Imperial Pork Troopers, The Queens Great Blue Apron, The Mean Panda Team, the Fuzz, Old Bill… Maybe it’s because the police used to wear blue?’
‘City Kitties, Flat-tops, Hobby Bobby, Stubborn Stooges, Rozzers, Crime Flies, Pigs, The Heat…’
Charlie raised the glass tube to his nose and snorted the Merlin. The room filled with colour and Charlie’s eyes dilated, his feet lifted off the ground and two Angel wings poofed into existence on Keeps back. Charlie checked himself.
‘Angel wings!’ he said.
He let them spread as far as they would go and the room increased in size to accommodate them. It was an impressive and majestic wingspan, if he did say so himself. He ruffled his feathers and let them fold back to their natural position.
Keep joined the hallucinatory fantasy and the two juvenile minds of these jaded adults found each other in the great universal consciousness, which will one day be explained through advancements in Quantum Entanglement, and their individual worlds of magic and madness merged and formed one single layer of extra reality. They were angels now; drunk, stupid angels.
Ah yes; drunk, that’s very important, and I almost forgot about it.
Before they left the relative safety of the Lab Charlie opened a bottle of whisky and poured out a couple of drabs.
They stood outside now looking at the constantly moving body of policemen that surrounded the crime scene.