Beast of Burden

Beast of Burden by Ray Banks Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Beast of Burden by Ray Banks Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ray Banks
he says.
    Justin and Aaron head across the gym, talking to each other with occasional glances back at the office. Aaron puts on a heavy limp as he walks.
    “I'm sorry,” says Mrs Sadler when Paulo returns to the office.
    “It's fine,” he says. “Just needed to be sure.”
    She sniffs, and tears aren't far behind. “It's just, I don't know what to do. I was positive it was them. I'm sorry, it's really …”
    “Here.” Frank holds out a tissue. “It's okay. No harm done.”
    Paulo glances at me, his eyebrows raised.
    “I thought I clipped one of your boys,” says Mrs Sadler.
    “You did,” says Paulo. “But he walked out of here, so he should be alright. Any problems with the guardians, I might have to come back to you, mind.”
    “I'm sure that won't be an issue,” says Frank.
    “I'm so sorry, it's just too much for me at the moment.” She makes a rattling sound as she blows her nose. “You try to help these kids, and some of them, I'm sure they think it's just a lark , you know?”
    “When was the last time something happened?”
    “This morning. My car. All four tyres. I'm supposed to be at work right now, but I just can't face it.”
    Frank looks at me. Only a quick glance, so Mrs Sadler doesn't pick it up, her face buried in the tissue as she goes in for another blow. I shake my head at him. Irritation flickers on his face, then he turns back to her.
    Doesn't matter that I think it's a waste of time. Frank's heartstrings have been tugged, and there's nothing I can do about it.
    “Look,” he says, “maybe there's something we can do.”
    “Sorry?” She sniffs. “I don't understand.”
    “We can find out who's doing this to you.”
    She looks across at Paulo, then at me. Weighing us up. “No, I'm sorry. I really don't have that kind of money.”
    I want to tell Frank to shut up right now, but the words don't hit my mouth quick enough to interrupt.
    “We could consider this pro bono ,” he says.
    That fucking calendar, I swear to God …
    “Free? Really?”
    A favour case, fine, but it's his fucking favour. I chuck my empty coffee cup into the bin.
    “I don't see why not,” says Frank. Then, to me, as I push past him: “Where're you going?”
    “Out. Paying work.”
    Truth is, I can't hang around here much longer even if I wanted to. If Donkey's been round once, he'll be back soon enough. Besides, I've got to chase up a few leads on Mo. And by my watch, it's time for early doors at the Harvester.

    Course, the first thing I heard when I got back to the station was that bastard Bowie song.
    Nothing against the man personally, but I couldn't say that being screamed at by a dodgy tranny with two different coloured eyes and fucked teeth was something I wanted to suffer on a regular basis. And it didn't help his case that he wrote that fucking song, which I hated even more now that it came out of the mouth of a proper arsehole.
    Detective Inspector Colin Kennedy — call him by the initials DICK — a Scouse twat who obviously couldn't hack it on the Mersey beat, and Greater Manchester was starving for DIs, so they chucked him out here for us to deal with. Came to us last year, breezed in through the doors like he owned the place, and he took a fancy to me in particular, been riding us ever since. He was a right fucking comedian, more gags than Monkhouse, and ninety percent of them were at my expense.
    Including that fucking Bowie song, “Life On Mars”.
    Hilarious. Especially that stuff about the law man beating up the wrong guy, because that was what stuck in my head. Not just mine. It was a catchy song — I might not have had much time for Bowie, but I could admit that much — and it wasn't just me it caught. It got so Kennedy didn't even need to sing it anymore. It was like that Russian bloke's dog, the rest of the bastards in the office would sing it soon as they saw us walking in the door. Wouldn't have minded so much, but the fucking programme it was off wasn't even on

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