Chicken and Bacon Pie and a Deep River
He was on top of the world. Felt he was flying. The air whistling through his hair. Swept out behind him. Long brown and slightly wavy. Black leather jacket flapping, slapping against his chest the zip partially undone. Blue tinted goggles preventing his eyes watering. The girl behind clinging, tight arms around his waist. Her blond her skipping around partially protected. Her head turned to one side, the left side, and moulded into his back. He was exhilarated. She was petrified. The second hand 1968 Norton Commando 750cc sped along the dual carriageway close to its top speed of around 110mph. Anyway going at least a ton. The road was quiet but there were cars that needed avoiding. A bit of weaving here and there. No crash helmets. Not illegal in those days. The deep throaty roar of the twin four stroke adding to the sheer excitement he felt.
Dodgy was his name. To his Mum he was Jim. Jim Bevans but his mates called him Dodgy. In his early twenties. He was a sort of villain. A robber, small time, opportunist and he was Dodgy. Not because he was a person to stay clear of. A person who was a liability. Was someone who dealt in stolen goods, “dodgy goods”. Although he did. He was Dodgy because of his amazing ability to always manage to dodge any sort of tricky situation. At school dodge the retribution. On Indian nights out dodge the next day trauma. Dodge the queues wherever they were. But most importantly dodge the law when they were trying to pin some slight or not so slight misdemeanour upon him. Which was essential due to the haphazard and unplanned way he led his life.
Just after they opened he had gone into a small post office and local store to buy a pie for breakfast. He fancied chicken and bacon. Nine o’clock. He was quite a way from his home town. On a journey. Seeing what might turn up and driving his old Bantam Sprinter 125cc pile of underpowered junk. As the lady opened the door he walked in. Went to the post office section pulled the door behind her but it failed to lock. On the counter were piled notes of all denominations and quite a stack. Dodgy pushed open the door and surprised the woman who thought she was locked in. She had a bunch of notes in her hand.
“I’ll be happy to look after all that for you.” She pulled the hand full of notes behind her back the unspoken denial obvious.
“I would prefer you just gave them to me.”
“There’s a lot here. The week’s money. I can’t let you have it.”
“Don’t be silly. Give it to me and save all the trouble. Before anyone comes in. I’ll take it anyway and you might get hurt.”
That changed her mind. She did not know that Dodgy would not hurt her. If she had put up proper resistance he would have just left. Certainly would not harm such a nice old lady. But she piled up the money and he put it in the blue canvas bag waiting for that purpose.
“Thank you. Can I have a chicken and bacon pie please?” He took one, out of the warmer, and paid for it. With his own money of course.
The Bantam poured smoke as he zoomed away. Zooming as much as his Bantam would allow that is. He drove to the next town and stopped in front of the motorbike shop. Outside amongst the stock was a Norton Commando and knew he had enough cash in the bag. So he swapped. They took his Bantam mostly for nothing and he drove away with an expectant appreciation of power.
The Post Office lady of course called the police who arrived promptly due to the nature of the crime. She explained what happened and how it happened. How much was taken. Gave a good description. The long hair. The leather jacket. Even the pie which he had paid for. How he was so polite. Had seen Dodgy drive away taking note of the bike’s registration. The direction he drove off. They followed and saw the Bantam on the bike shop forecourt. The bike shop owner gave them the name on the sales and both registration documents. John Smith. And an equally fictitious address. They were then on the trail of the Norton Commando and wasted no time passing the bike’s details to patrol cars.
A short while after Dodgy left the bike shop he stopped in a layby to eat the pie. There was a slim, attractive young girl with long blond hair sitting on a post crying. Dodgy went over to her.
“What’s up beautiful? Are you ok?”
“No. Have had a row and just got dumped here.”
“Where are you going? Trying to get to?”
“Nowhere. Anywhere I don’t care. Just anywhere will do.”
“I’m heading south down the dual carriageway going to give my bike a real good run out. See what flat out is like. Want to come?”
“What’s your name?”
“Jim my name is Jim. Jim Bevans.”
“Sure I’ll come with you. Sounds like fun. I’m Sue. Sue Wilson. Got anything to eat I missed breakfast. Was out all night and have had nothing much since lunch yesterday.”
“I did have a pie but have just eaten it. Café down the road. I’ll buy you breakfast.”
Proper transport café full of lorry drivers, builders and sales reps. She has a full English with two slices and tea. He just has coffee and a doughnut. Hot with jam in the middle. The sugar on the outside making his teeth hurt. They chat and get on. There is some real chemistry. Sparks flying. They leave and head off for the dual carriageway south.
She has not ridden pillion before and as they accelerate she is terrified. Holds him very tightly. Makes him feel protective keeping her safe. A feeling he really likes. They continue to weave through the traffic maintaining a constant high speed. Pass a parked police car that immediately fires up and starts to pursue with siren and flashing lights. Recognised the Norton. Is communicating with others. Dodgy gives it the maximum, that extra bit all the reserve and has no trouble keeping ahead. They are entering a built up area. A small town. There will be others soon. Following. Chasing finally catching.
He slows, makes a sudden turn left down an adjoining road. The police car misses the turning but spots him. He is off not so fast but enough to add distance. Takes a right. Then a left. Ending up on the promenade. Down to the end. The area is deserted. He stops on the river bank. Where it joins the sea. There is a steep drop into deep water. Sue gets off. He takes off his jacket and secures it under the seat. Then he pushes the Norton off the edge seeing it disappear beneath the surface. Gone.
“What’s going on?”
“I will explain but now we have to go. Quickly.”
They walk down the promenade and take the first road right that leads away at right angles. Slowly walking he puts his arm around her and tells her the whole story. They reach the end of the road and a police car with lights flashing passes. Two lovers snuggled up and gently strolling are not what they are looking for.
“What do you want to do now? Where do you want to go?”
“Home. Can you take me home please?”
“Sure. I really like you, you know. Want to see you some more.”
“I really like you too despite everything you have told me.”
“Is this where you live?”
“Yes. With my Gran. I’ve lived with my Gran since my parents were killed in a car crash. She’s so nice and I have been so wrong. She works so hard to support me. I stayed out all night without telling her. First time. Got back at eight and we had such a row. She was so worried. Beside herself. But I stormed out anyway got back in his car. So wrong. I was so very wrong. Hope she’s alright.
They go in and her Gran is there and looks up. Comes straight over and gives Sue the biggest tearful hug.
“I’ve been very worried so concerned. I was very pre-occupied I left the door to the post office unlocked and was robbed.”
“I’m sorry Gran. Was wrong. Will never do anything like this again. This is Jim. Jim Bevans. He’s sorry too. I really like him. He says he will change and get a job. I do hope you can forgive him.”