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Late Doors

Another Short Story

Inspired to write it by Cuts and his recent tale. I've never before attempted to write this story down. We've laughed about it ever since. One of those staple tales guaranteed to have us snorting with helpless laughter at every gathering even decades later.

It was during spring bank on the last day of our annual cycling holiday. Myself, Danny boy and Ged the Red finishing off a tour of the lakes with a ride back home.

To understand the origins i think we have to go back to the night before and breakfast time in the BnB we had found in Westmoreland. We were never fussy about where we stayed and this place , with its larvae lamps, stuffed animals and little four poster beds simply fed our comic imaginations. It was only at breakfast time when we engaged with the residents did we fully realise just what a bizarre hostel for the retired and deranged we had chanced upon. Part Fawlty Towers, part Cuckoo Nest run by the Adams family the residents eyed us curiously whilst Madam looking like an ageing Greta Garbo brought our breakfast. The smell of cats permeated the claustrophobic dusty space amongst the concentrated bric-a-brac of the dining room and suddenly one of the residents appeared at our table.  Immaculately collared and cuffed in country tweed. Reminiscent of a pre shoot Basil Rathbone he started to quiz us on our cycling and bikes.

For a while he entertained us with ridiculous stories of his days teaching Bobby Charlton how to play football and his years in the special forces killing people until he got beyond the pale and we got a tad dismissive. He left slightly miffed giving us a nod and a stare that lingered a little too long.

A good hour later we  saddled up our bikes in the garage and we were on our way south towards Pateley Bridge still chuckling at our encounter with super man at breakfast.

From Pateley Bridge we headed east towards Ripon along the very fast B6265 taking in lots of downhill cycling. After a week's slog in Lakeland the smooth descents into Ripon were treating us to the full thrills of freewheeling downhill at speed. I was in front approaching the little river Laver when i heard Danny behind me about to overtake  doing a ridiculous speed. Just in front was a police car on our left and on the right was a uniformed figure sat on the bridge wall peering down into the river. " I'm fucked, I'm fucked" shouted Danny as he sped past me towards the bridge on the bend. He swerved across the road as the Copper turned towards the oncoming bike doing about 35 mph. The Copper lifted his legs and scuttled desperately backwards down the wall. Danny's bike smashed into the curb heaving him towards the scurrying Copper. The Copper's backwards movements only led him into the trajectory of Danny who hit him full on before he crumbled at the base of the wall several yards on. I rushed to him, incredibly he was fine and got up shaken and slightly dazed his bike coming to rest  further along the road. " what the fuck did i hit" he said. We peered over the wall.

The river below was unbroken with a gentle flow. A Copper's hat bobbed in the margins. We heard a rustling and spluttering across the far edge as the Copper dragged himself out of the river and scrambled up the far bank. Seconds later he appeared around the bridge onto the pavement and ebbed his way towards us like a zombie He was drenched, his boots squelched, his hair mattered down over his face while he shook. "You alright mate" asked Danny as both of us struggled to contain our laughter. By now Ged had arrived unaware of the precise details but his face desperately trying to hide his glee at the sight of this desperately cold wet and traumatised Copper. He was trying to light a wet limp cigarette with shaking hands and wet matches whilst me and Danny just stood in a mixture of astonishment and trepidation also on the brink of cracking up. " I was only sat looking at the fish" the Copper finally blurted out. A moment past before i casually asked "did you see any while you were down there?

That was it, Ged doubled up and ran across the road clutching his stomach round the corner to continue out of site but his laughing very much audible, to the annoyance of the Copper which in turn  only concentrated  our stifled hilarity. Me n Danny managed to keep it together though as the Copper said "funny guy eh?" before a slight smile took the tension away but still we dared not laugh.

Danny gathered his bike and lit the Copper a cigarette he took from his saddle bag. "What happened" theCopper asked taking a grateful drag and calming down a little. "My brakes are fucked" said Danny. We looked at the cables just behind the levers and sure enough they were both severed and slightly frayed. Somebody has cut them said the Copper. Who the fuck would do that ? we thought. "That fucker at breakfast" i said, "him that told us he was James Bond" To this day I'm  certain it was him. He must have partially cut them leaving the tiniest thread holding them. It's rare one ever goes never mind two at the same time. Nailed on it was that lunatic for my money.

Anyway eventually the Copper radioed in and within thirty minutes every other Copper in Ripon must have come to have a look and take the piss. They took statements from all of us, laughing at every detail before leaving us to make our own way to Ripon. Danny's bike was bent and unrideable.  "Any chance of a lift" he asked. The Copper gave him a look that definitely suggested not a chance in hell son. "We'll let you know if any charges are made" he said and they meant it so we walked into town, still slightly shocked.

We stopped in a pub in Ripon, the three of us. Danny had started to bruise and ache as the adrenalin wore off then eased as the lager kicked in., After a few pints we all started to thaw and the laughter escalated  as we recounted the incident. By the end of the night we were in tears  piecing it all together and recounting each detail as it came to us. The sight of that Copper scuttling back across the bridge straight into Danny's flight path, him scrambling up the bank, squelching towards us and trying to light a wet cigarette with shaking hands and drenched matches will live with me forever. Ged still pisses himself at the "did you see any while you were down there" fish question i asked him.

Several months later Danny got a letter from Ripon police station. After due consideration of all the circumstances they had decided not to press charges. That was damm decent of them eh?
Frazier Cranium

Splendid
Cutsyke

Bloody hell. What a cunt cutting the cables. Good tale. Has anyone ever contacted Bobby Charlton, maybe he could i.d. the cad.
fartcatcher

Nice one LD. I expect you enjoyed seeing him 'floundering' in the water.
Grind

Bed and Brakefest.

Ace!
smiling badger

Quality. Chuckling as i read it.

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