Sarge - Part 2 of 4

[Ten Months later]

“Hi Jayne. I’ve been expecting you call. Good verdict?”

“The judge was certainly harsh but that’s good, isn’t it?”

“A Twenty stretch is fair in my eyes but he’ll appeal, won’t he?”

“Oh! That’s not good. When will they be pulled out?”

“That soon?”

Then I thought for a second.

“Can you swing it so that they are on the job until the weekend?”

“Ha-ha. I might have an idea. That girl needs a few friends in her life.”

“No, real friends. People who will help her find a role in life without wanting to take advantage of her. Before you ask, she can’t go back to Leicester. Her family and community there got rid of her by putting her on a train to London with twenty quid in her pocket.”

“Why? Simply because he didn’t want to marry a woman aged fourteen from Pakistan who has never been out of her village in her life. That’s how arranged or rather ‘forced’ marriages work.”

“I know this because she told me.”

I smiled when I heard the words that Jayne was saying.
“I must have done that. She wasn’t the first to recognise that I was a good listener.”

“Yes Jayne, I am talking about you and you know how your life changed after our little chat.”

“Yeah, and give my love to Natalia.”

I hung up the phone and thought for a few minutes. Then I picked up my phone and made a call.

“Hi Dad.”

“Yes, I’m fine. No, I haven’t killed anyone and the world isn’t about to end. Well, at least I hope so.”

“No, I need a favour. A big one.”

“Not for me. There is someone who has been through the ringer. She was kidnapped and was about to be sold into the sex trade.”

“Yes, Dad, ‘she’. And before you ask, I’m old enough to be her father and no, I’m not romantically involved. She was a key witness at a big trial at the Bailey.”

“Yes, that one.”

“The favour? Normally she’d go into witness protection but with the austerity and all that her security detail will be pulled out tomorrow. I think I may have swung it so that they stay around until the weekend.”

“Can you and Mum provide a bed and the works while she sorts herself out?”

“Open ended. She is one messed up lady.”

“No dad but there is something that you need to know.”

“I have no idea if she is gay, lesbian or straight. She’s a transsexual.”

“Yes dad, she was born a he. Does it matter?”

“Well? Are you up for it? And don’t say that you need to talk to Mum. I know that. You don’t have to answer now but she will be a target for the gang that she testified about in court. They’ll probably want her dead.”

“No Dad, I’m not exaggerating. These people are not nice even to their own kind. Step out of line and you lose a finger. Step out of line again and it is an arm or a leg or both. Do you get my point?”

“Ok Dad. I’ll wait for your call. If Mum says no, I’ll see if Charlie Hall can put her up for a bit.”

I hung up the phone feeling slightly hopeful that Mum would make Dad see the light.


[Friday morning at a Police Station in Central London]

“Sir, all I’m asking for is enough help to get her out of London. Then I’ll take her to a place of safety. If you just withdraw her security then how long do you think it will be before someone blabs and … well you know what will happen,” I said for the second time.

The Chief Superintendent who runs the witness protection team was being firm.

“Midday Saturday and we are done,” he repeated.

“Sir, how do you think the press will take it when they find out that our star witness was just cast adrift and left to fend for herself when we fish her body out of the river? I am sure that questions will be raised in the Home Office, and in Parliament.” said my divisions Chief Inspector.

The Chief just shook his head.

“And it is them who are telling me to close down the operation.”

“Sir, if I may propose a solution?” I asked.

“On the surface keep the operation alive until midday on Saturday, but give me a pursuit car, a driver and a female officer and we can remove her from the safe house before dawn or earlier. I’m asking that the car take her to a location less than fifty miles from London where she can be handed over to people I can trust. Then, she isn’t the responsibility of the Met any more. But by keeping the operation going officially until Midday, we are keeping up the appearance of someone being in the safe house. It might be opportune to keep the place under observation for a day or so. You never know who might come visiting now do you?”

The Chief Super thought for around ten seconds before answering.

“Sergeant, you are wasted out there. You have made a compelling argument. Very well. One car and two Officers for tonight. Then we can withdraw the visible protection as planned tomorrow. If as you say, those Albanians or someone in their pay might come calling then we will keep the place under observation for a few days. Who knows what sort of rats will fall into the trap?”

“Might I suggest that no one is left inside the house just in case they shove a petrol bomb through the front door,” I added.

“Exactly what I was thinking Sergeant,” said the Chief.
“Are you sure that you don’t want that Inspector’s job at ‘B’ Division?”

“No Sir. We need good people to show those new officers the ropes. I think I have a good record doing that.”

No one could argue with that and the meeting broke up shortly afterwards.


[10pm that night]

“Which Service Please?” came the voice down the phone.

“There is a fire at No 32 Craven Park Road in Stamford Hill. I think that there might be someone trapped upstairs.”

“Your name please?”

“Just send help now!”

The man that I’d paid £20 to make the call handed me the phone.

“Thanks, now forget that you were ever here.”

The man smiled back at me and snatched the money from my hand and disappeared into the night.

I soon heard sirens in the distance. There was no fire, nor was there anyone trapped but I wanted to create a diversion so that we could get her out of the safe house. I made my way from Tottenham High Road along Rostrevor Road. This ran parallel to Craven Park Road. I turned the corner into Barry Avenue and went toward the back of the first house and stopped at the side gate. Here, I waited in the shadows.

Two Fire Engines and an Ambulance pulled up outside No 32. Two Police cars appeared lights flashing. That was my signal to move.

I went into the back of the house that I was outside. She was waiting for me. The security people were expecting me.

“Ready?” I asked.

She just nodded her head.

“Time to go then.”

I led the way outside to one of the Police Cars that was right there, waiting for us. No one said a word as we climbed into the back of the car.

“Evening Sarge,” said the driver

“Evening Sean. Shall we go?”

“Which way when we get to the High Road?” asked Sean.

“Head for Euston Road.”

“Shall I light her up Sir?”

“No Sean, steady as she goes. Visible but invisible if you get my drift.”


A few minutes later, we passed Finsbury Park Station.

“Sarge, this is Constable Fraser,” said Sean.

The woman in the front of the car turned around smiling.

“Constable. Have we met before?” I asked.

“No Sir,” she said.
“I am based at Bow.”

“Welcome to this little jaunt. I hope that we won’t take up too much of your night.”

The traffic was light as we soon reached the junction of Hampstead Road and Euston Road. The lights from Warren St Tube station were directly opposite us.

“Turn west please. Any sign of a tail?”

“I don’t think so Sir. There was a black Audi on our tail but it turned off in Camden Town.”

“Very well,” I said and tried to relax.

When we were halfway along the ‘A40 Westway’ Sean said,
“Sarge, I think we have a tail. That black Audi is behind us again.”

I resisted the urge to turn around.

“Are you sure?”

“It has wonky headlights. The nearside light is out of adjustment.”

That was good enough for me.

“Light her up Sean. Keep going on the A40 until I say otherwise.”

“With pleasure Sarge. Constable, would you do the honours?”

The police car sped up and with its lights going full pelt the traffic parted in front of us easing our path west.

“The Audi is following Sarge,” reported Sean.

“Very well. There are three sets of lights ahead of us. I wonder if that driver will follow us through them especially if they are red…”

“Sir, are we on an official emergency call?” asked the Constable.

“We are on an official journey sanctioned by a Chief Super. Is that good enough for you?”

“Yes Sir.”

“Good.”

Sean was one of the best drivers in the Diplomatic Protection Group. I had every confidence in his skill.

Less than five minutes later we passed the Hanger Lane intersection. The Audi had fallen behind at the second set of Traffic Lights. Even so, I didn’t slow our progress down until we’d passed Junction 4 of the M40.

“Sean, you can dowse the lights as we take the next exit.”

“Sarge.”


Junction 5 of the M40 was soon reached. The road behind us was clear apart from a few HGV’s.

“Turn right and right again onto the A40. There is a Bus Stop on the left. Please pull in there.”

“Gotcha Sarge.”

We came to a halt a minute later.

“Thanks Sean and also to you Constable. This is where we get out.”

The constable got out of the front seats and let us out of the back.

“Sean, may I suggest that you take a slow drive back to London avoiding the main roads. Stop for a coffee break on the way. Then your job for the night is done.”

“Sarge?” said Sean.

“Yes Sean.”

“Good luck with wherever it is you are going.”

“Thanks Sean. Keep safe.”

I shut the door and we let the car drive away.

I turned to her and said quietly,
“We are changing cars here. Our next ride will be along in a minute.”
“If we do it this way, the two in the police car won’t know where we are going next and more importantly, how.”

She didn’t respond.

As if by magic, a Land Cruiser appeared out of the darkness from the west. It pulled up right beside us. I saw the smiling face of the driver in the moonlight.

I opened the rear door of the vehicle and let her get in first. Then I followed.

The driver turned around and smiled at us.

“Pritti, meet my Father. Dad, this is Pritti.”

“Pleased to meet you,” said Pritti quietly. There was an obvious tremble in her voice.

“Please buckle up and relax. It will be around two and a half hours before we get home,” said Dad.

“Yes Pritti, we are going to my home deep in the countryside and a long way from London.”

She didn’t answer except to close her eyes. I took that as a sign that she’d accepted her lot for the time being.


Everyone slept late that Saturday Morning. By late, I mean almost midday.

I was first down to the kitchen. Mum had everything ready for breakfast. As I put the kettle on, I smiled. That was Mum through and through.

Mum came down just after I’d made the tea.

“I can see that you are in control,” she said smiling.

“For the time being. All it will take for me to pass it over to you is for Dad to ask for a Poached Egg,” I said smiling.

“Who said Poached Eggs?” said a voice from the doorway.
Dad was here and obviously in search of some Breakfast.

As we ate some perfectly poached eggs on toast, Dad asked.

“Is there something we should know about between you and Pritti?”

“Me? No Dad. As I’ve said before, I’m almost old enough to be her father. She was living on the streets and I got to know her a bit when our paths crossed. Then she got mixed up with some very bad people. As luck would have it, I was on hand when we rescued her from them. She testified against them at the Bailey and the powers that be decided that witness protection was not for her. So here we are.”

Before he could ask I added,
“If they get her then they’ll probably kill her.”

“Is London that bad these days?” asked Mum.

“Probably no different from most big cities in the world. Most of the time the different factions keep to themselves and don’t go killing each other.”

“What’s the plan then? You weren’t very forthcoming on the phone,” asked Dad.

“Pritti needs a place to get herself together. She’s been on the streets for nearly three years. Her family would not want her back in their life because he besmirched their honour by not having an arranged marriage to a probably illiterate girl from a remote part of Pakistan. Add to that the fact that she is transgendered and… well, I expect you can guess the rest.”

Mum suddenly cottoned on. Obviously Dad hadn’t told her.
I glared at Dad.

“Oh!”

“Yes Mum, Pritti is a transsexual. Dad should have told you. He knew all along.”

“I’d better let your sister know. She’s said that she would come over later to take her shopping.”

I shook my head.

“I think at the moment, Pritti needs somewhere to stay that is safe so that she can keep her head down and get used to living with real people again. But we should let her decide.”

Pritti made an appearance about an hour later.

“I am so sorry to have slept in,” she said as she appeared in the kitchen.

“Don’t let it worry you my dear,” said Mum.

“I don’t want to be any trouble,” said Pritti.

“And you aren’t,” said Dad looking up from his reading of the daily newspaper.

I left them to it and checked in with the station. It was a case of no news is good news from London.


All too soon, the weekend was over and I was back on shift. At least this time, I was rostered with a rookie but not a total newbie.

Work was difficult. I found myself going through the motions so I let my partner for the week take over.
“Can you take over Joe? My mind is not on the job today.”

He smiled back at me.
“Woman trouble?”

“Yes and no. Nothing romantic at all but I am worried about someone that’s all.”

“And my name is Morgan Freeman!”

We both laughed. It cleared the air quite a bit.
“If there is anything I can do just ask,” said Joe.

“I won’t ask you to help Joe. You have a wife and kids to think of. Don’t even protest. I’m not going to say another word on the subject.”

Somehow, I made it through the week. We operated a shift pattern of six days on, three days off. As soon as my shift was over on the Saturday evening, I was off home.

Only mum was still up by the time I crept in the front door.
“We need to talk!” was all she said before she disappeared back into the sitting room.

I guessed that a severe dressing down was coming so I heading into the kitchen and poured myself a beer. Then I went to face the music.

“Ok mum, I’m here. What have I done wrong this time?”

She turned to face me.

“It isn’t you. It is Pritti. She finally told me everything. You really know how to pick them don’t you?”

I knew what she meant. Most of my dating ended in disaster.

“Well, that’s one thing. She’s never really opened up to anyone to the best of my knowledge.”

“That’s just about the only good thing. She’s been through hell and that is any understatement.”

I waited for Mum to carry on but she didn’t.

“What’s wrong Mum?”

“She needs professional help. We can’t give her the help that she clearly needs.”

I’d never known Mum so down when it came to a challenge.

“That is going to be a problem. Professional help means a paper trail. It also means people get to read that paper trail. People talk and gossip and post on Facebook. Then before you know it, the people who are after her find out and we get a visit from them Believe me, Mum, you don’t want that to happen. These are not nice people.”

“I know,” said Mum softly.
“She told me of an incident where they wanted to make an example of one of their girls. The girl in question had not given her owner all the money a client had paid her. It was only three pounds. They cut off three fingers from her right hand in front of all of them. They took her away and was never seen again.”

I must have gone white in the face.

“What’s wrong son? You look as if you have seen a ghost?”

“We probably found the body of that girl floating in the river. She’d been shot in the back of the head.”

It was Mum’s turn to go into shock.

“We must do what we can then.”

“That’s the spirit Mum.”

“What about that tattoo?”

“I’ve arranged for it to be removed next weekend.”

“Won’t that be a risky thing to do? Given what you just said?”

I smiled.

“The person who will do the work won’t talk. He can’t. His tongue was cut out by a gang much like this lot. They thought he’d been talking to people he should not have been. It turned out later that the person who ratted on him was the one that was giving information to a rival gang. He does this sort of thing for free as a way of getting people out of these gangs.”

Mum took hold of my hand.
“Son, you seem to know a lot of really bad people? Have you ever thought of moving to the force down here?”

I laughed.

“I do that almost every day. Then I realise that I’d probably die of boredom.”

“You need to find a nice woman and settle down.”

“Mum! Who would want someone like me eh?”

“Anyone with their head screwed on. That’s who.”

“Pull the other one Mum.”

We both laughed.
[to be continued in part 3 of 4]



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