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John Howard Tracksuit

Thanks to First Dog at Crikey.com.au

Story by Big M

Foodge leaned back against the smudged, stained wall behind him. He had been awake for over a day and a half, watching the ‘medical practice’ across the road from the Pig’s Arms. He was, a self confessed, master of disguise and had been through over twelve changes of clobber during the shift. He was now wearing his green and gold tracksuit that he had kept from his tilt at the disabled Olympics, but the tan leather brogues and white tennis socks had let the entire outfit down. He locked himself into a Bishopesque fixed stare with the small, tanned face across the round, laminex table. “Manne, thanks for taking over. No reports of malfeasance, and, more importantly, no sight of the target.” The target being Vinh Ordinaire Rouge, missing pleece inspector.

Foodge reached out to shake hands, but caught his sleeve on a stray screw sticking out of the aluminium edging on the table. Table, coffees and half a pie ‘n’ sauce ended up in Manne’s lap. “Err…sorry, old chum…must dash.” Foodge made good his egress through the multiple strips across the entrance to ‘Con’s café’, and hotfooted it to the Pigs.

It was, literally, a few minutes before sparra’s fart, and the sky had the slightest hint of colour, but the stars and the moon still shone brightly. The façade of the pub was dark, except for a narrow beam that escaped the crack between the doors of the Main Bar. Foodge sprinted (wandered) across the road, pulled back one of the heavy timber and glass doors, and let himself in. Unfortunately the door closer was so powerful it knocked him halfway into the Gentleman’s Bar, where a weary Merv stood, absent-mindedly polishing pint glasses with a dirty rag.  “Ah, Merv, my good man, there wouldn’t be a pint of Best there for your old mate?”

Merv shook himself from his reverie. “Granny, ‘e’s here!” As he slopped a canoe across the timber bar.

Granny appeared out of nowhere, and Foodge, being a great student of human behaviour, thought there was something wrong. Was she sick? No. There was something about her face. Had she been bitten? A rash, perhaps? No. Granny didn’t wander over and slap a plate of bacon, eggs and wedges in front of him. She seemed to just loiter in the doorway. Foodge squinted over the top of his glass. ‘Oh, shit.’ He thought. ‘She wearing a dress, and worse, she’s wearing lipstick…why the…’

“How’s our favourite crime fighter?” Granny seemed to wiggle her hips a little, as she spoke. “How about Granny rustles up some breakfast?” With that she disappeared into the kitchen.

“Merv, what the hells going on with Granny?” Foodge was so gob smacked that his pint hadn’t been touched.

“Uh, another pint?”

“No, what’s wrong with Granny?”

Merv shook his head. “Granny, there’s nothin’ wrong with Granny, in fact she looks mighty fine.” A broad grin creased his lumpy face. “It must be you!”

‘Me…what” Foodge was getting worried.

“Don’t worry, Granny gets a sort of romantic fixation on some younger bloke…let’s face it, we’re all younger blokes.” Merv laughed. “She tarts herself up, makes eyes, at her intended, then, just like that.” Merv clicked his fingers. “She’s back to her ole self.”

Their conversation was interrupted by Granny sashaying in with a plate of eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, tomato, and toast made from Turkish bread. “Here you are young man, a crime fighter’s breakfast.” She paused to lay out the cutlery on the bar, complete with a real paper napkin. “Now Foodge, you are not driving home in that state, there’s a bed made up for you upstairs, where you will be undisturbed,” With that she sashayed off.

Merv was still grinning as he poured a second pint for our Foodge. “Fern rang last night.”

“Oh, good, was there a message?”

“Not sure…something about ‘making contact’…I dunno, guess she’ll catch up later.” Merv clicked the remote to the mega-plasma to watch the start of the Mourning Show.

“Pleece still have no idea about the whereabouts of Detectives ordinaire Rouge and O’Hoo…” the anchorwoman droned on.

Foodge had finished his breakfast and skulled his second pint, placing the glass down on the bar with great aplomb. “Well, Merv, looks like I’m off to bed, nighty night.”

Will Merv remember the message?

Will Foodge meet DCI Ordinaire Rouge in the car park of the Pigs Arms at five p.m?

More importantly, will Granny continue her crush on our favourite Private Dick?