Wish You Were Here...
An influential figure makes a desperate attempt to quell the spiral of violence enveloping Granada land, in the second installment of JJ’s* gripping tale.
*not real initials
The night felt darker than usual as we made our way through the trees at the entrance to Heaton Park towards hole number seven of the pitch and putt course.
We’d split into our groups.
The word was three from each firm and no colours.
This felt a bit unfair as Crown Court always had different actors every week.
It was the luck of the draw that I ended up with Feast and a newby called Michael Elphick who’d played a postman accused of pilfering letters from his rounds.
I’d done more episodes than the pair of them put together, so felt the leadership reigns fall into my unwilling hands.
People were gravitating towards hole number seven in the dark.
‘Hit the lights’, cried a voice as several cars turned on their headlights illuminating a sight i never thought I’d see.
Every firm must’ve been there.
Some had travelled hundreds of miles.
I spotted Play Away, Weekend World, Dougie Brown and George Roper from The Comedians, even a crew from Space 1999.
“Have they called the Army in?”, whispered a nervous Elphick.
“No mate, that’s just The Sullivans”, I reassured him.
A car pulled away from the others and crawled to the top of the incline.
Trueman pulled his handbrake and there she was.
Mounting the bonet wearing a full length leather jacket and sunglasses, as a hush befell the gathered crowd.
“Can you count, suckers?” cried Chalmers, gesturing to the gathered masses.
“I say, the future is ours….if you can count”.
“What the fuck’s she on about?” whispered a voice to my left, and I turned to see Lenny Bennett sniggereing along with Jeffery Wheeler like a pair of school boys.
“Shut the fuck up Lennie!” came another voice in the darkness, as he was gripped round the throat.
Never fuck with Philbin, I was always told.
Now i could see why.
Chalmers removed her sunglasses and passed them to Kelly as a hush fell over the crowd.
“Look what we got here..
We got Pebble Mill at One…..right next to a Handful of Songs.
We got Pipkins,….. right next to Citizen Smith….
….and no one is wasting nobody.
That, my friends…..is a miracle”.
I scanned the crowd and in the darkness saw Dougie McCloud gently place a hand on the shoulder of Keith Field’s guitar strap.
“We’ve been killing each other over a measly piece of turf”, said Chalmers,
“And it’s all our turf…..can you dig it, suckers?”
The crowd broke out into waves of enthusiastic applause.
“I said…..Can you dig it???”
The crowd was whipped into a frenzy.
It was hard not to get swept along..
This was a woman who’d seen it done it.
Come through lost luggage situations in Torremolinos and famously took out William Woollard and Judith Hann at the same time during a botched attack at the Beefeater on Bury Old Road.
There was a new order.
A new hope.
A fizz came from over my left shoulder from the bunker behind me.
Followed by the sound of feet scurrying onto the undergrowth.
Chalmers stood, shaking on the bonnet of Trueman’s Allegro.
We were always told not to look at her hair.
She was trialling a new form of gore-tex based hair spray, which had as yet untested properties.
It went up in flames.
Chalmers jumped from the bonnet and began to lash out indiscriminately, Rothwell being cruelly scythed down in the process.
Kelly snathched a beach towel from the boot to put out the flames, and kneeled gently patting her smouldering head.
“Do you want me to get your Clapperboard, Chris?” asked Trueman.
“No”, he replied, “not yet”.
We managed to escape from the ensuing chaos in one piece, as sirens filled the air as we made our way through the park’s rear entrance.
Elphick knew the park well and led us out via a secret pathway he apparently used on night time dog walking trips with a friend.
There were no buses and police had blocked off the park at the other entrance, nicking people at will.
Mirriam Stoppard flattened two coppers as they dragged her into the back of the Mariah, so the story goes.
As we walked through Prestwich in the eerie silence, it became clear we were being followed.
Two small figures appeared behind us, one bouncing a football.
“Where yous been?” asked the one in the glasses.
Elphick crapped himself and blabbed straight away..
“At that Heaton Park meeting”.
The little fat one immediately stopped bouncing his ball,
“What meeting was that then?”
Feast sang like a canary, fearful any facial injuries could ruin his chances of the Corrie part.
He told them all about Chalmers and the firework and about the truce.
“Can’t have been much of a meeting if Little and Large weren’t there”, said the short fat one, revealing his micro perm in the flickering streetlight.
He pulled a trilby hat from inside his tracksuit top and stuck it on his head, then began wailing over and over in a foreign tongue.
“I think it’s Eddie Warring” whispered Elphick.
The one in the glasses translated..
“He said you can pass, if you take off your colours”
Feast was only wearing his fuckin t-shirt from the ‘Crown Court-Live!’ tour of ‘74 despite the ‘no colours/no badges’ message beforehand.
There were only two of them so we decided to make a run for it.
The one in the glasses clicked his fingers and from the bushes, eight middle aged men in matching pink satin suits appeared and spread out, blocking our path down Bury New Road meaning we were now trapped.
“Flamin ell,” said Feast, “it’s Showaddywaddy!”
We needed to think on our feet and Elphick came up with a masterstroke.
He clicked his fingers in a slow 4/4 beat as Little and Large and Showaddywaddy watched on.
Elphick carefully sang the words aloud…
“Let’s go for a little walk……”
Showaddywaddy instantly sang the reply line as one, breaking out into sidestepping acapella unison,
“……Under the Moon of Love”.
Little and Large joined them like hypnotised moths to a flame, enabling us to sneak past unaccosted.
The 76 bus appeared on the horizon and, as we began to leg it, the voice of Eddie Wearring echoed through the Prestwich night that he wanted me to be his gal – with the bizarre cry of “up and under ” randomly thrown in.
We watched through the top deck emergency exit at the back of the bus, as they carried on long after the bus pulled away towards the Salford border...