The Skegness Connection
perhaps he did, we'll never...
“Frank, It’s Sheila..…
“Something happened Shelia?”
“Still sharp as a tack Frank, yes your Son's in hospital. Someone found him unconscious in a bus shelter on the front. Overdose or bad drugs. I’m not sure yet.”
“How bad is it?”
“He’s over the worst, another thing Frank Susan wants to see you.”
“What do you say to that?”
“It’s up to her now Frank, she has a right to see her Dad.”
“Let me sort something out Shelia, I’ll try get over tomorrow that ok?”
“Ok, let me know for definite in the morning, I won’t say anything to Susan until I hear from you.”
“Thanks Shelia, speak tomorrow.”
Come on Earnest pick up the phone!
“You’ve reached ‘Broadway Gym & Combat’, please leave a message.”
He could be anywhere, think Frank...
‘John P ‘Home’ Call..
“Alright Paulie, It's late?”
“It’s Frank John, sorry I know it's late, Paulie was out for the count I took him home tucked him in.”
“Thanks Frank, whiskey finished him off.”
“John I need a favour I don't know who else to ask. I’ve just had a call from my ex Wife. My son is in hospital, drugs I think. As well as that my Daughter wants to see me. The thing is I said I’d try and get tomorrow but it’s Skegness?”
“Really sorry to hear that Frank. Have you got The Heap?”
“Yes I drove home after dropping Paulie off.”
“Look just pick him up in the morning take him with you. It’ll take his mind off things give you some company. Put whatever you need on the credit card Frank.”
“John thanks so much I can’t tell you means a lot..”
“Call me tomorrow sometime Frank, hope it all works out!”
The next morning at 6am I was asleep in drunken oblivion. Frank woke me up putting my shoes back on! Wish he'd make his mind up!.
It was a sympathetic I’ll pick you up still pissed at 6am whether you're awake or not, not to be mistaken with kidnapping. Frank put me on the back seat of The Heap, covered me with a regulation kidnappers tartan blanket along with my own home from home comfy quilt; which added theft to his charge sheet.
Awake! I sat upright awake with my shoes on the wrong feet at the very moment the Bristol's engine was switched off.
“You hungry Paulie?” Frank spoke to me through the Bristol’s rear view mirror, I managed to unglue my mouth.
“Didn’t I already get home Frank? Are these still my feet are you going to murder me?”
“Little Chef, you hungry, coffee, tea?”
The Heap was parked in what looked like the the car park of choice for Murderers & Kidnappers ready for an Early Starter fry up . I wasn't that keen on leaving the warm Bristol I'll be perfectly honest.
“Have I got a coat Frank? Did you kidnap me from my own warm bed with a coat at least? Where the fuck are we?”
“Little Chef on the way to Skegness.” Said Frank.
“Wicked! Course we are! Their’s a black jacket in the boot Frank, pass it me will you, let’s get some breakfast fuck sake!”
"And tea and toast love, thanks.
- I’m trying not to eat meat Frank, well not Piggies, cows, sheep. Anything I'd like to cuddle I won't eat, not easy.”
“Susan would never eat meat. She didn’t like how it tasted simple as that. Knew her own mind.”
“My Daughter Paulie very intelligent, worlds apart from her Brother Mark. He was always very easily led, needed a Dad to guide him until he found out what was right for himself. I was threatened with prison if I tried to be his Dad. A court injunction stopped me because I smashed a few plates in a temper. Never laid a finger on Sheila, never would.
Mark stole from everyone, anyone. Even his Mum turned her back on him in the end.”
“Frank where are we going, only I don’t remember getting an invite?”
"He’s in hospital Paulie, my Son Mark was found unconscious in a Skegness bus shelter, drugs of some kind or other.”
“Shit, Is he alright?”
“Sheila phoned me last night he’s over the worst. My daughter want’s to see me as well Paulie. I couldn’t get hold of Earnest, you were spark out so I called John P from the car phone.
He didn’t like the idea of me going on my own he said to pick you up. For a bit of support like you know.”
“What friends are for Frank, just the cat. I can’t remember when Sarah said she was going?”
“I put a note on your door for her, just saying you were taking me to Skeggie to see my son in hospital, back tomorrow. I left the car phone number just in case.”
“What happened yesterday Frank?”
“Well you had a bottle & half of Sauvignon Wotsit, half a bottle of John’s 18 year old Whiskey then cracked the Mystery of 'The Old Ladies Book'.”
“What colour would you say that sea was Frank?”
“Hello Shelia it’s Frank.”
"Are you still coming today Frank?"
“Well I set off early I’m in Skegness now.”
"Oh, well visiting isn't until this afternoon, from 2 o clock."
“From 2 ok, they’ll let me see him?”
"Yes of course Frank, you're still his Dad."
“Ok, what do you think Shelia, could I see Susan before then?”
"Let me ask her Frank, is that ok? Where are you?"
“That’s fine Shelia, just let me know, listen you can call me on this number have you got a pen?”
“I’d say turd brown or as near as damn it. Open the glovebox Frank, should be a quart vodka" ...
"Ahh preparation and planning."
"Here, haven't you had enough Paulie, why don't you get your head down.."
"Came here once with a few mates Frank, while ago. One of the lads brought his young brother with him. Lovely lad but worried a lot.
The life guard told us not to go out above us waist, the young lad was whittling a bit. Well we were walking out for nearly ten minutes it was still only up to us knees.
I said to Dave just bob down up to your neck then shout your brother.
“Your not supposed to go out that far!” he panicked.
We both stood up then it was still below the knee.
“You What!” we both shouted, his face was a picture. Hope that's a happy memory for him now, not a bad one. We don't think about the memories we make for good or bad do we Frank?"
“She’s gonna call me back , let me know if I can meet Susan before I go to the hospital.”
“I drove to the South of France once, with a mate, Barry. He wanted me to take him to hospital on the second of us holidays!"
"It was a couple of years ago, his Mum & Dad were both Irish he was very pale, light skin I didn't think.
We got down to Cassis on the riviera, I’d got my shorts flip flops on it was sweltering. Barry was white as snow walking round in his trousers shoes and socks.
I said why don’t you go buy some espadrilles Barry, get some air to your feet? He went off came back ten minutes later with a pair of Espadrilles, guess what colour he got Frank?”
“No idea what colour?”
“Skegness turd brown sea colour that’s what colour. It got worse though Frank shall I tell you how?
“Yes I wish you would tell me how it got worse Paulie..”
"Right, well I found a campsite later, one I'd stayed on before; It was around 5pm. I put the tent up, It was only a two man ridge tent. Anyway after that we both cracked on with vodka and Oranginas. In the morning we were really hung over. I was sick but then started to feel better, Barry wasn’t right at all though. By 11 o clock it was boiling hot he started violently throwing up. He was really ill, he just wanted to get out of the sun but it's merciless when you're camping.
That's when he wanted me to take him to hospital, then he wanted me to take him to hospital again. That's when I thought shit this is serious.
“Did you take him to hospital?”
“I went to the campsite office, told them, they called a Doctor. Doctor arrived quickly, really quickly they didn’t like the look of Barry at all.
The whole campsite came out to watch on as the doctor arrived. He gave Barry an injection, some fluids said he had really bad sun stroke.
He was talking really fast, well I wasn’t as fluent then, not bad but, well as he gave me a prescription he was saying something about twice a day with water no alcohol.
The next day again, as soon as the Sun came through Barry was just as ill as before. I drove to the Chemist picked up his prescription which was a syrup type thing with some big tablets.
I didn’t want to tell him I hadn’t caught when and how often he had to take the medication, I just said 1 twice a day with a spoon of that and water.”
“What do you mean big tablets?”
“Like extra strong mint size. He had a spoonful of his syrup ,a chomp on one of the big tablets with a sip of his water for a few days until.”
“Until I got back from swimming and diving off some rocks the local kids had told me about, it was beautiful still scorching hot. When I got back Barry was moaning, he’d accidentally dropped one of the big tablets into his water cup and it had started fizzing away..
I had to drive him home the next day. 1000 mile drive to the South of France in a Citroen 2CV for 5 days holiday. At the ferry port they didn’t like the look of him either, neither did I by then, pain in the arse. His feet had swollen up to nearly twice the size they should have been, they waved me straight on to the first available ferry.”
“Is that true?”
“Yes Frank! I couldn’t make it up!”
"Wonder if ‘Mr Whippy takes ‘Barclaycard’ Frank, fancy a cornet, 99? Got any cash on you just in case?”
“Here you go Frank, has she called? Don’t get any on the seats that’s very high on an itinerary somewhere.
They found an ice cream man dead here last week, he was covered in 100’s & 1000’s… Police said he topped himself…
“She’s coming to meet me. The bandstand in ‘Tower Gardens’ 20 minutes.”
“Frank shall I meet you back here at 5? You don’t want me hanging around. I'll start getting on your nerves, I can get annoying If I'm still a bit tipsy. If you're not here I’ll call the car. Bang on 5 o clock though phone box there. You ok?
Listen she’s your Daughter Frank but she’s not a child anymore. Remember saying this to me yesterday - :
“Don’t rush things, let her set the pace. Keep cool just be you that’s all you have to do. You’ve waited this long.”
“I’m ok, thanks Paulie yes you go off somewhere.. see you later 5 o clock.”
"Hello Susan I was frightened you'd changed your mind."
"I was sitting by the pond, me and Mark always made Mum take us to the pond."
"Have you seen him in hospital?"
"Yes me and Mum went as soon as the Police phoned us. Sounded like he might die at first. I used to love him but not any more. I can't afford it, in fact I hate him for being so weak."
"What about you Susan, are you happy apart from your Brother that is?"
"What is happiness Frank, Dad what do I call you?"
"Sitting in this bandstand talking to you is happiness for me Susan."
"When we thought we might lose Mark, Mum told me some truths about you. She corrected things she'd said about who & what you really are. She said I should meet you, it was time to meet you?"
"Every day I hurt because of the pain I put your Mum through Susan. I loved her more than anyone else I've ever met, I've never met anyone else. I always hoped we could get through what happened. If I had the courage to tell her how confused I was.."
"Did you ever try? In all this time have you ever written Mum a letter to even half explain the reason behind you shattering her life overnight? Destroying our family?
Write that letter Frank, that would make me happy if that's any interest to you. Write the letter that will give Mum and me to a certain degree some closure. One way or another Frank then we can sit and talk in a bandstand again.
Say goodbye to Mark today as well Frank, it's not this time but it will be the next or the next. I've been in denial about my Brother for years. The truth is he's just not very intelligent, he's shallow, selfish, cruel.
I should have known all those years ago when I stopped him throwing stones at Ducklings for fun. You didn't throw stones at Ducklings did you Frank?
“Hello John…I can’t hear you very well?”
“How did it go Frank? Are you driving? Paulie ok?”
“Better than I thought John thanks, tell you about it when I see you. Paulie's sleeping in the back, he was still pissed when I woke him up and he toped up in Skegness while I saw Susan and went to the hospital.”
“Behave himself? Where are you?”
“Well I’m glad he’s asleep put it that way…Nearly back just on the A52 passing the water sports place. John I've got the OK to visit our plumber, but it's 9.30 tomorrow morning? You available? Paulie might not be that 'on the ball.'."
“Ok Frank we'll go. Meet you at the office at what, half 7 could you leave Paulie a note?”
“Ok John, see you tomorrow.”
"Sarah I don't know if I can do this tonight. I've been to Skegness I've had my shoes on the wrong feet I'm drunk and if I see you I'll want to sing My fair Lady Songs."
"I want to kiss you It's my turn I've been waiting for you to get back."
"Then I'll get all glad then sad again."
"Open the door."
And there she was again, but now as Sarah kissed me I felt she still wasn't sure.
"It's too late Sarah."
"Should have listened to Tom Tom cat, I always wondered why he came to me for cuddles
This is the right room !…”
“Paulie, Paulie! We’re back - Paulie wake up…”
"Well that's what you get for putting a man's shoes on the wrong feet Frank."
“Come on mate, in you go, get some sleep Paulie speak tomorrow.”
I collapsed onto my bed in the same clothes I'd been wearing as I'd collapsed onto my bed the previous night. I took my shoes off the wrong feet wrapped my continental quilt around me, everything was ok with the world and tomorrow was another day...
“Hello Tech Spec Solutions.”
“Oh hello this is Mrs Derwent, I wonder if I could possibly speak to John P?”
“I’m afraid John’s out Mrs Derwent are you at home I can try and contact him, get him to call you?”
“Yes I’m at home, they’re coming to finish the heating I thought I should tell him. Sophie is away you see. Would you ask him to call me I'm confused as what to do?”
“Yes Mrs Derwent, I'll get him to call you as soon as I can. When did they say they were coming not today?”
“Well yes today, they said there was an outstanding balance, they'd been let down by the person who started the job and would send an engineer out today, to complete the work and collect the balance.”
"John P where are you?!"
“Hello you've reached John P, sorry I’m not available at the moment please leave a message or call my office on 0115….”
“John It’s Jane, where are you? Mrs Derwent called, the plumbing company are sending an engineer to complete the work and collect the last payment. I don’t know what to do, I've tried calling Paulie in the old car and at his flat, it’s answerphone, Call Mrs Derwent!”
“Hello, DS Frank Thominson, we’re here to interview Prisoner number 91362. Mr Stephen Wright born 16th October 1965 5’8 inches tall.
This is our permission from the home office, this is a letter of introduction from Detective Inspector Ford of Radford Road CID Nottingham. DI Ford arrested and charged Wright for the offence he was convicted of. We are working in conjunction with DI Ford in relation to an unsolved crime connected with this case.”
“Could you wait here Sir.” Said Mr expressionless prison reception as he knocked & entered a door on the left of a depressing coloured corridor that was serving life.
“What do you think Frank, we good?”
“Above his pay grade John, have you got your ID?”
“Passport and Driving Licence.”
After a few minutes Mr prison Reception returned still void of any facial expression.
“Take a seat behind you.”
“Why?” said Frank?
“I was told to tell you to take a seat.”
“Well go and ask why we have to take a seat? We haven’t got all day!”
Ten minutes later we were shown into an interview room, ten minutes after that we were sitting opposite our alleged book stealing plumber.
“Hello Stephen, do you know who we are Son?”
“I’m already in prison if you hadn’t noticed. I haven’t done anything.”
“Second Star on the Right & Straight on Till Morning. Do you know who lives there Stephen?”
“What are you on about?”
“Peter Fuckin Pan Son! We know about the book Stephen, the Peter and Wendy First Edition. Tell us where it is and my friend here might be able to adjust, what was your sentence 3 years? Out in 18 months? Up to you but that 3 will be 4, you’ll serve 4 unless you tell us where that book is!”
“You two are in Fairyland mate, I didn’t steal any book!”
Tom Tom cat was lying at my feet when I woke up. I remembered most of the day before, although It had got a bit blurry when I woke up.
I went into the kitchen to make a cuppa tea, on the side was a note from Frank with a forward from Sarah:
"Found this on the mat early this morning Paulie, hope your ok, I'd like to see you x "
“Didn't want to wake you Paulie, had to meet John really early I got the go ahead to visit our plumber. We’re going in John’s car I’ll park the Bristol around by the playhouse well you know the spots. I’ll leave the keys with Jane. Hope you're feeling ok champ. Best Frank x
It was 11 am. "Wonder if they’ve talked to the naughty plumber yet", I said to Tom Tom cat as I was getting ready to go out, in between sips of tea. Sarah wants to see me Tom?
“Do you know what she wants Tom Tom cat?”
“To do my head in? I think you're right.”
I was on my way out by half 11, I’d pick the car up.. Oh spare key! Save me going into the office - got.
I’d pick the car up, get some dinner at Bobbers Mill then spend the afternoon playing pool in Jacey's on a lone wolf.
I past the flashing answerphone on the way out, that’s my Mum, Sarah's Mum, or Ronnie's agent with bad news. It could have been Ronnie's Mum I suppose?
When Ronnie moved in I was on holiday in France. It could have been the time with John P probably was. Anyway the landlord chose that time to move a stranger into the shared house which was a little bit naughty.
The day I got back I went into the kitchen to make a cup a tea after dumping my bags, saying hello to my room you know..
There was a single card on the table with : ‘Good Luck In Your New Home’ on the front. I picked it up and on the inside it read:
“Here’s to a fresh start Ronnie! Love Mum xx”
When you're young having a fresh start is quite a relief. It had happened to me at junior school. My temper had got me into a lot of trouble, I was fighting with someone almost every day. A meeting was called with my parents, I promised to make an effort, stop fighting, Mum smiled, teacher smiled then someone said :
“Here’s to a fresh start.”
As far as I was concerned, the part that bothered me. Above school age, say 15 or 16. ‘A Fresh Start' usually appealed for witnesses as it turned the final page on a far more sinister chapter 'your honour', that didn't end happily ever after so help me God little baby Jesus and the strangled orphans. Why?! May It please the court me lord? Did your worship ask Why?
A Mass murderer released from prison early on appeal perhaps your worship? Because the severed hand integral to the prosecution's case on further inspection was found to have had all of the fingerprints lightly sanded off!
Or a reformed Psychopath your honour, released early with a chocolate bar from the mental asylum because now he admitted abducting & strangling strangers as society first thought might very well be wrong. Admitting after years of electric shocks by his own shocking admission that the voices inside his head were not real, just part of another personality he'd met.
Alone it meant nothing, but this evidence combined so saw to It then allowing the medication to cease, ensuring the ex Psychopathic killer can have:-
‘A Fresh Start’ sharing a house with me!
"He's a cocky bastard Frank, what a depressing place. Was that a complete waste of time?"
“You have 4 new messages.”
First New Message : “John Its Jane, where are you? Mrs Derwent called, the plumbing company are sending an engineer to complete the work and collect the last payment. I don’t know what to do, I’ve tried calling Paulie in the old car and at his flat but it’s answerphone like this. Call Mrs Derwent!”
Second New Message : “Is ah Paul there John, It’s Is Flippin Dad. Tell him to call his Mam!”
“What time was that message from Jane?”
“10.40, what's it now Frank? 11.30? Shit! I’ll try Paulie…
Answerphone!...."leave a message..."
“Paulie It’s John Urgent! Get to Mrs Derwent's, I think they must me trying to get the book. Call me, FSake!”
I found The Heap, it was parked next to my favourite steps that led down to The Park Estate. Very near Mrs Derwent’s actually.
“You have 6 new messages..”
First new message : “Paul it’s your Dad, phone your flippin Mam.”
“Ok Dad, I get the message..”
Second New Message : “Paulie It’s Jane where are you? Mrs Derwent called, the plumbing company are sending an engineer to complete the work and collect the last payment. I don’t know what to do, I’ve tried calling John P in his car but it’s answerphone like this. Call Mrs Derwent!”
Shit this was too simple to be criminal!
Third New Message : “Paulie It’s John urgent! Get to Mrs Derwent's, I think they must be trying to get the book. Call me, FSake!”
I virtually span The Heap round and booted it up to the Park Entrance off Derby Road. I slowed then pulled up opposite Mrs Derwent’s, an unmarked white Transit was just pulling off. I saw three blokes in the van, the driver looked relatively normal dressed predictably in a boiler suit; the other two looked like a couple of thugs.
What do I do? I couldn’t do anything at Mrs Derwent’s could I? Was she alright? I had to choose?
I chose to follow the van, but edged my bet...
“Jane! Jane It's Paulie listen, call Mrs Derwent now, just make sure she’s alright I’ll explain later… Just do it!”
The van turned towards town went straight down past Rock City turned left and pulled over at the bottom, just before the junction with Russell’s on the corner. I can't remember the name of the road! Near where you get your birth certificate if you loose it!
Two men got out, I was right they looked thick as pudding, hired thugs. I drove past the van over the junction and parked. I had to go straight really.
“Don’t turn right, don’t turn right…”
Normal boiler suit man turned right, course he did, shit!
Instead of doing a U Turn I took the next right onto Mansfield Road where - ‘The Following White Transit Van Fairy’ met me, the van was heading up Mansfield road not down towards Vic Centre. It passed me 2 or 3 cars in front as I pulled out into traffic. The rest was easy, It pulled into the Savoy Hotel car park.
I could hardly think straight from car Phones Reunited Ringing Off The Hook!
“What’s happened Paulie?”
“Where are you John?”
“Junction 27, Nuthall Island just got off the motorway why?”
“Have you spoken to Jane’ is Mrs Derwent all right?”
“No the office has been engaged every time, what’s happened to Mrs Derwent?!”
“Call you back John, Jane’s left me a message “It’s probably urgent…”
“Terry! Phones ringing It’s probably urgent!”
“Where are the kids?”
"I'll get them, you calm down.
Dad put us in the back of the car, I can't remember that but it must have happened. I was 8 years old, Vanetta my sister was 13; that made it the 16th October 1973.
"What else will he do Mum?"
"Well I won't be able to leave him alone for a minute. He'll be opening cupboards, trying to eat things.."
I've stopped the description of what my baby brother would be like as described by my Mum that day because I can't do it justice.
We'd moved from the council house where both me and my sister were born, literally born in the house.
Me and Mum were in the kitchen of the semi detached house in Eastwood 'we' now owned. I was asking what baby brother would do. I vividly remember laughing so hard at Mum's description of what mischief my brother would get up to.
That's a very special good memory, definitely in the top ten good or bad memories I'll carry with me until I die alone one cold winter evening on some stormy Cornish coast; foretold in a Goose Fair fortune tellers tent, worst £1 I ever spent In the whole wide world.
“It's probably urgent!” Was urgent. Mum was in hospital she'd had the baby. My Brother had arrived ready for mischief.
I don't remember going to the hospital or anything else apart from Dad and Vanetta walking through a door to see my Mum and baby Brother.
Not me I was stopped. I wasn't allowed to follow Dad & my Sister, I started crying.
If I stood on tip toes I could just see my Mum through the glass door panel. She was in a bed holding my baby brother, around the bed was my Dad, my Sister & some people I didn’t know.
Health regulations stopped me entering the ward because of my age, I had germs. I stood on tip toes until it was too painful, crying alone with my germs wanting to cuddle my Mum and meet my Baby Brother.
I don’t have any memory of when I did get to cuddle my Mum and meet my baby Brother. It jumps to 2 or 3 years later.
The damage to my mental health that day I can only guess at. The memory of not being able to cuddle my Mum holding my baby brother will be a special bad memory in the top ten good or bad memories I'll carry with me until I die alone one cold winter evening on a some stormy Cornish coast; according to Madame Zelder that is...
END OF PART 7