THIS PHOTOGRAPH WAS PUBLISHED WITH THE KIND AND GENEROUS PERMISSION OF THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Story by Big M
Foodge was tired, in fact, overtired, not that the surveillance had been difficult; staying awake had been the challenge. He had photographed three cats and a garbage truck, and, the young pair having a swift knee trembler up against the front doors of the Pigs (disrespectful). His mind was racing, not the least because of Granny’s get-up and behaviour. He lay on the fresh sheets, in freshly laundered pyjamas (this was a new experience) and stared at the flaking, high, ornate, plaster ceiling. The Pigs Arm must have been quite a grand hotel in it’s time, he thought. Then he got to wondering about Granny in her younger days. Surely she hadn’t always had long grey hair, spindly brown legs and a permanent frown?
Then he started to think about O’Hoo, suddenly realising that it had been some days since he and Manne reappearanced. Where was he holed up? Merv had quickly spirited him away to some sort of safe house, but where. What of O’Hoo? Was he guilty of some sort of malfeasance? Had he gone native whilst undercover? Did he still love Ordinaire Rouge? Where was Rouge? Was she similarly guilty? Was Santa real? His racing mind was suddenly interrupted by a knock at the door. “Mr Foodge, you’re needed urgently downstairs” hissed Granny.
Foodge leapt out of bed, hastily trying to grab a dressing gown to cover, what he regarded, as semi-nakedness (our Foodge is a very private dick). “What time is it?” He stammered, hoping she wouldn’t burst in, whilst he desperately tried to re-arrange the gaping hole in front of his privates that the pyjama manufacturers jokingly call a ‘fly’.
His worst fears were realised as the, almost paint-less door swung open, and Granny stepped in wearing so much make-up, and a short white dress, that revealed far to much varicosity than he ever dared imagine that a pair of legs could bear. ‘Christ.” He thought. ‘She almost looks like an ancient Egyptian charioteer, kohled up against the sun and sand.’
“Ah, good you’re up.” She said, looking him up and down, daring to linger at the afore mentioned Private Area. “Merv remembered the message. Ordinaire Rouge is to meet you in our car park at five, and, it’s five!” She made a point of looking at her watch. “Do you need a hand there?”
“Um…no…err….thanks.” Foodge held his gaping fly together with one hand, and motioned Granny out the door, closing it behind her. He quickly donned his tracksuit, socks and shoes, slicked his hair back, then burst through the door, stumbling straight into Granny, which resulted in them collapsing onto the floor, his head coming to rest on her exposed décolletage.
“Oh, Mr Foodge.” She already had her bony, brown fingers around the back of his head.
Foodge shook himself free and had already broken into a sprint towards the staircase. “Not now, Granny!” He shouted, as he dove down the stairs.
Foodge found himself in the car park at the back of the pub. There, parked right next to his Zephyr was Fern’s battered Corolla, with Fern sitting behind the wheel. He waddled over. “Where’s Rouge?’ He asked, leaning against the driver’s door. If he had some sort of investigative skills he may have noticed that Fern was trembling, with tears rolling down her cheeks. She gesticulated towards the back seat with a shake of her head. “Are you having some sort of spasm? You need a doctor.”
Vinh Ordinaire Rouge stepped out of the back of the car, slamming the door into Foodge’s knee. “The silly girl thinks that I’m going to shoot her…gawd knows why.”
Foodge was now hopping up and down on one leg, with his own tears blinding him to what was going on. Wham !Granny crash tackled Rouge to the ground. “How dare you attack Mr Foodge, who has been awake all night looking for you, so that you and O’Hoo could be reunited!” Granny was already sitting astride Rouge, fists cocked, ready to fight.
“What! So you know the wherabouts of O’Hoo?” Rouge managed to wiggle out from under Granny’s skinny frame.
“Yes, we do!” Merv was already marching across the bitumen with O’Hoo in tow. “Now, you two better work out what you’re doin’, because the wallopers ‘ll be on their way.” O’Hoo and Rouge fell into each other’s arms.
It was Granny’s turn. “What I’d suggest is that you two get the hell out of here, I mean, you’re the most wanted criminals in NSW, why don’t youz go interstate?” Granny had managed to sidle up next to Foodge, and started rubbing his knee.
With that, O’Hoo and Rouge were in the back of the Corolla. “Drive on, Fern, We need to see a man about a dog. A greyhound !”
The trio was gone with almost squeal of Corolla tyres. Merv wandered back into the bar, to give Granny and Foodge some time. He decided to rewind the getaway and then fast forward it so the Corolla tyres produced a tinny, but audible squeal like a real getaway.
“It’s just that…”
Yes, Foodge.” Granny’s eyes were bright with romance.
“Let’s go inside for a drink.” Foodge made a great display of offering his arm, which Granny gleefully accepted.