Small Calibre



"Yeh?" 3.7 didn't take his from the binoculars he was using to keep an eye on the house across the street.

"You still seein' Inger?" Doyle dropped the magazine he'd been reading on the floor. He knew its contents practically by heart after three days on obbo duty.

"Why do you want to know? Plannin' on bein' me social secretary?" 3.7 shifted the binoculars slightly.

"Nah, 's just she was a nice lady. Had more sense than most of the birds you take out."

"Told you once what makes a bird nice," Bodie reminded him.

"Not sayin' she didn't come across, are you? Know for a fact you spent several nights at her place. 'Sides she seemed to understand the demands of our jobs," Doyle asserted.

Bodie shifted from one leg to the other. He didn't particularly like this type of conversation. "Yeh, can't argue that. Seemed to think I was like that fella on the white horse, Sir Galahad, at first."

"Nobody'd ever take you for a knight, Bodie. 'Course you might feel comfortable in all that armour what with the way you cover yourself up. Hides a multitude of sins, I s'pect."

Bodie glanced over to where his partner was sitting. "So I've had a colourful past. Is that any business of yours or hers?"

Doyle moved over to where the thermos of tea sat. Pouring out a cupful, he grimaced. It had been sitting there all afternoon and tasted dreadful. "Not my business, 'xactly. 's just that I wondered why you dumped her. Did she start to get serious?"

Bodie ignored him for several minutes.

"Did she?"

"Christ, Doyle, will you let it rest? I didn't dump her. She dumped me! Now, are you happy?"

4.5 searched the box which held the remaining sandwiches that they had brought with them. Nothing looked appealing so he closed the top and sat down again. "Din't mean to make you angry. Thought she was good for you, 's all."

"Good for me? I'll tell you what would be good for me. Peace 'n quiet so I can do my job. You do remember what that is, don't you, 4.5?"

"Sure. Keep an eye on the house across the way. Report any and all suspicious activity. How much suspicious activity have we seen, Bodie?" Doyle went to stand next to his partner at the window.

3.7 mumbled something.

"What was that?" Doyle inquired.

"None! But Cowley wants us here so we're here." Suddenly, Bodie shoved the binoculars into his partner's hands. "Here you take 'em. I need to visit the loo." The bigger man stalked off.

"Told you not to eat that marmite sandwich," Doyle called after him.

Taking up his position, Doyle peered through the lenses. For three days the two men had been at the window and in that time only two people had made an appearance and neither of them was the object of their surveillance. Sighing with boredom, Doyle didn't even look over towards the door when it opened. He could hear his restless partner as he walked about the room.

"Why don't you go out and get some chicken 'n chips? Some food might calm you down," Doyle observed.

"I am calm. Just want this stakeout to be over. 's a waste of time."

"Got another bird on the ready, have you?" Doyle started to whistle tunelessly.

"And what if I have, you're not me mum!" Bodie protested.

"Know that, don't I, my son? Just concerned. You've been restless for days. Anything I can do to help?"

"Sod off, Doyle. 'm not gonna spill me bleedin' guts 'bout my personal problems, am I?" Bodie abruptly picked up the magazine from the floor. Opening it, one of the pages ripped free.

"You got 'em then? Personal problems, I mean?"

Bodie breathed out in frustration. "Put a belt on it, willya? You're worse 'n Inger."

Doyle grinned behind the binoculars. Now they were getting somewhere. "She try to pry into your secrets, did she?"

Bodie sniffed. "Not exactly. Wanted me to listen to her talk 'bout her poor mistreated boys. I know some of 'em at that school got a raw deal, but look at that berk Tony."

"Thought you liked 'im? Seemed to when he was at headquarters."

"Yeh well, she kept on and on 'bout 'im. Finally, I told her that the kid didn't have the brains God gave a goose. Leavin' that gun in the school like that. Benesch could have killed her just like he did Roy!"

"Tony's just a kid. Make mistakes, don't they?"

"So what? I was on my own when I was that age. Grew up fast, din't I? Had more common sense than to shoot some other kid 'n get mixed up with the likes of Franco."

Doyle lowered the binoculars for a moment to glance over at his friend. "But not everyone's like you, mate."

"What's that mean and watch the house!" Bodie ordered.

"Nothin'. 's just not many men have done all you have 'n lived to talk about it."

Slightly mollified, Bodie grunted, "Guess that's true. Never had a fancy education so I could go off and get strung out on heroin like her dear Paul. Kept talkin' 'bout him too. She even told me I hurt her feelings when I mentioned that she should have called me in first thing." Bodie slammed the magazine on the floor. "Din't like it 'cause I made her cry a little."

"Thought she called us as soon as Paul told her about the trouble he was in? Hadn't seen him in a long time, had she?" Doyle prodded.

"Maybe not but all she could do was make excuses for him. 's the trouble nowadays. People make excuses 'stead of taking responsibility for their actions. Easier to blame Daddy, innit?"

"Like Jerry Lee's dad, you mean?"

Bodie looked up at the man standing in the window. "Really great role model that one. 'Killing Hitler'! For Christ's sake, all that money and the only thing he can think about is buyin' his kid's love."

Doyle stood there breathless for a moment. He wanted to ask so many things, but Bodie's barriers were high and deep. "Maybe he was doing the best he could? 's not easy bein' a parent."

"Thank you, Dr Doyle. Are you going to write a book with Kate Ross on the subject?" Bodie strolled over to the ramshackle bed in the corner. 'm going to take a kip. Wake me if you need me."

"Right." Doyle stood there unseeing for a moment, and then he forced his eyes to focus on the house across the way. Being Bodie's partner was like an obbo. Wait 'n see. Be patient. Hope for a break. Nothing ever comes easy when you're in CI5 or in love with your partner.

-- THE END --

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