Bertie Joins the Lido

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Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 04 Apr 2018, 23:42

Bertie enjoyed his London life but he did miss the great outdoors. Accordingly, he joined the Serpentine Lido and started taking an early morning swim when there wasn't much on at the office. He found the chilly water invigorating, the ducks amusing and enjoyed chatting to the other members over a coffee from the kiosk afterwards. Two of the regulars were John and Boris, who had not missed a day in nearly fifty years. Therefore, when he saw John alone one early February morning, he sauntered across to inquire after Boris.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 04 Apr 2018, 23:54

John showed Bertie a face that had worry written as all over it. "I'm a bit worried about him, to be honest. I called for him this morning, but he said he couldn't come. He didn't seem himself, somehow."
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 05 Apr 2018, 00:04

Bertie made vaguely soothing noises and said he expected it would all blow over soon and Boris would be back to his usual self. John nodded and said he hoped so.

Three days later, Boris still hadn't returned to the Lido. John kept an eye on Bertie and made sure to get out when he did and to buy him a coffee.

'This is a bit presumptuous of me, mate,' he said apologetically, 'but Boris has heard that you're a policeman,' and here he gave Bertie a look that said he didn't believe that himself,' and he wants to know if you will go round and advise him. A matter of life and death he says.'
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 05 Apr 2018, 00:08

Bertie sipped his coffee before he answered. "It's true that I'm a member of that very noble profession," Bertie confessed, "But I'm not a regular, old bean. I don't walk a beat or direct the old traffic or anything a normal policeman would do. Might be best if he goes to the jolly old boys in blue."
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 05 Apr 2018, 00:19

'He's barricaded himself into his house,' John replied. 'I suggested the police if he was being threatened but he said being seen to go into a cop shop or having a home visit from the boys in blue would make it worse.'
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 05 Apr 2018, 00:25

Bertie looked at his watch. "I can't come mow," He said, reluctantly, "But I might be able to call round about one." He thought for a second longer. "Let me have a phone number, just in case I might not be able to make it. Oh, and the bally address. Not much use without that, is it, by Jove?"
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 05 Apr 2018, 00:32

Nothing intervened to prevent Bertie from visiting Boris. He caught the Tube and then strode along to the block of flats Boris lived in. Boris lived on the next to the top floor. Bertie hoped the lift was working.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 05 Apr 2018, 00:38

It was, but Bertie's nose twitched fastidiously. The lift smelled of a mixture of unwashed bodies, cigarette smoke, stale aftershave and something else he preferred not to think about. He wondered what Boris's flat would be like.
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 05 Apr 2018, 11:22

Boris's flat was plain, clean, and decorated with some very good icons. It was dark, as Boris had the curtains shut, and protected by a state of the art burglar system.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby kylie_koyote » 05 Apr 2018, 11:24

He offered Bertie a cup of tea. Bertie accepted politely but with some slight misgivings.
"For goodness sake stop that Yankee drawl, or you'll have us all doing it before you've finished."
"OK baby - sorry - I mean, righto."
"That's better."
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby elderlyfemalerelativ » 05 Apr 2018, 11:37

There was silence for a while. Boris then looked up at Bertie and slowly said
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 05 Apr 2018, 12:32

"So, you must be a member of the Vice squad. Go undercover, do you?"
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 05 Apr 2018, 13:19

'Special Air Police,' Bertie said apologetically. 'Different sort of Flying Squad.'
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 05 Apr 2018, 13:21

"Oh. Air traffic cops." Boris was clearly unimpressed and his whole demeanour seemed to be thatnof bitter disappointment.
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 05 Apr 2018, 13:31

Bertie drank his cup of tea, which was very good. 'Well, if I can't help, I'll toddle off back to the Yard and see what sort of criminals have sprouted wings while I've been visiting. I hope I see you back swimming soon: the Serpentine isn't the same without you.'
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 05 Apr 2018, 13:48

"Here, hang on a mo," Boris said suddenly alarmed, "I didn't mean anything by thst. It's just that..well, what else can an air cop do?"
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 05 Apr 2018, 14:25

'I can't do anything about traffic tickets,' Bertie said severely, that being the problem he was most often consulted for.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 05 Apr 2018, 14:29

"No, I didn't mean that. I don't drive. Look, can you help me or not?"

"You haven't told me what your bally problem is yet," Bertie pointed out.
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 05 Apr 2018, 15:12

'I came to this country as a child,' Boris said, 'from a Siberian Labour Camp. My family had been sent there because of their involvement in .... something. My parents died in the camp. It was only realised once I had left it, quite some time later, with the people who had informally adopted me after the death of my parents, that I was the only remaining witness of ............ that something. There were changes in power and it became completely irrelevant that there was an eyewitness to .....that thing, but recently the political situation has changed again, history is being revised once more, and it has been remembered that not everyone died at the time and, I have been warned, it has come to the attention of the most interested party that I am still alive.'
'There was an attempt on my life last week. I was standing on the platform as the Tube train approached and there was a hard shove between my shoulders, Fortunately, I am a big man, and strong, much stronger than might be expected for my age, so I was able to recover my balance and remain both upright and on the platform. Since then, for my own protection and those around me, I have remained indoors, but that is not a long term solution.'
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 05 Apr 2018, 15:17

Bertie listened without interrupting, but when it was clear Boris had finished speaking, he finally spoke.

"That's a bit tough, old bean, but what's this bally.....thing you mention? Can't help without knowing what's what, stands to reason."
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 06 Apr 2018, 01:17

Boris shook his head. 'That is a secret I have kept for fifty years. I want a way to stay alive and in peace without revealing the past.'
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 06 Apr 2018, 01:45

"Then how do you expect me to help?" Bertie asked, perplexed.
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 06 Apr 2018, 13:02

Boris shrugged. 'I don't know. But perhaps you could discreetly have a word with someone who is more directly concerned with these matters and tell them of my predicament, and warn them that if my death occurs in the next few weeks, it will not be an accident.'
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 06 Apr 2018, 13:32

Bertie was even more perplexed. "What matters, old boy? Don't want to rain on your parade and all that, and appreciate you not liking being pushed under a bally train....well, stands to reason, no one would, but that's all you've told me. always ready to help a friend in need, and whatnot, but ....dash it all, you must have some suspicions of who it might be."
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 06 Apr 2018, 14:22

Boris remained adamant. 'Those who understand Russia will understand my references and who is involved. It is dangerous to say more. Speak carefully to a representative of your security people and not to anyone else and I will be in your debt.'
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 06 Apr 2018, 18:05

Bertie wondered what Biggles would think about all this. He wouldn't settle for half a story.
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 06 Apr 2018, 18:17

He decided he didn't need to worry about giving Biggles half a story. Biggles could be considered one of the security people and could be told the whole tale. He said his goodbyes to Boris and returned to the office to fill Biggles in on what he'd been up to.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 06 Apr 2018, 18:56

Biggles asked some questions, most of which Bertie was unable to answer.

"This could be a complete waste of time, but I suppose I'd better follow up on it. Major Charles wouldn't be too happy if Russian assassins are on our soil and I did nothing about it."
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Kismet » 06 Apr 2018, 21:14

Rather to Biggles's surprise, he and Bertie were called to a meeting a few days later. Major Charles and Raymond were there, in the company of two men who weren't introduced. Bertie was re-questioned regarding his interaction with Boris then he and Biggles were dismissed with the proviso that they should make themselves available for the next couple of hours.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Bertie Joins the Lido

Postby Fairblue » 06 Apr 2018, 21:27

"Someone is watching Boris," Biggles said as soon as they got back to the office.
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