10th Jan – I hear the train a comin’ It’s rolling round the bend, And I ain’t seen the sunshine, since I don’t know when.

One of Eggo’s girls was Ann Wilson – obviously, all right-thinking people are very strong devotees of Girl Power, I, personally, have been enrolled for twenty years or more. The case is settled, right? But how anyone, Girl-Power Ranger like me, or not, can have a favourite Spice Girl other than Sports, strikes me as absurd. It’s just plain wrong on every important metric: looks; talent; singing; dancing; niceness.

And honest to a fault.

.

.

.

.

.

Anyway, Ann Wilson looked like a forerunner of Sporty; trainers, the lot.

Early-adopters? Or one in the eye for Girl-Power?

She and I went to the same junior school. One day, she brought a new whistle to school. A normal looking whistle from a scientific perspective, but a bit too close to the one that Graeme Quinn had lost two weeks earlier for our liking. That she’d pilfered it was obvious. I mean, who brings a whistle to school? (apart from Graeme Quinn?)

She had nearly given herself away, as stupid criminals often did, under the casual, and frankly amateur, questioning of the first wave of accusers. So, on seeing that it took a more evolved inquisitor to have her trip over her own evidence, I decided that it was time for me to have a go. I sauntered up to the never previously acknowledged Ann, who was sitting on the piano stool in the hall, minding her own business, and struck-up a chat with her about hobbies.  The others had been all bad cop – bad cop, whereas I imagined myself to bring a Colombo-style finesse to the interview. And, though she’d been interrogated over a dozen times by then, I knew that my subtle probing would go undetected. I mean, people like her probably chatted to their mates about their hobbies all the time; I fancied a chat about whistles, who else would I turn to?  And so it proceeded, me, all delicate, not referring in any way to the subject in hand, just leading the little idiot with hints and digressions along the path to a confession. Of course she didn’t suspect: me, the mighty intellect; her, a mere early prototype of Girl Power.

And it all progressed nicely. Until the final lines. You see, Colombo would have this way of asking an odd question which would get his interrogateeee all flummoxed, then he’d act like he was leaving. But while the villain was still cogitating with the strange question, like, for example, “Say, do you always tie your shoelaces right over left?’ he’d turn round and do that just one more thing he did, and he’d add a little nuance to the question, ‘…. Cos you see, Mrs Columbo, she don’t do it that way.’

‘Doesn’t she?’ they’d reply, totally confused about what he was getting at. Then he’d go in for the kill: ‘No, cos she ain’t got no fingers, just like you. And we got a crime scene with no fingerprints. Would you like to explain that?’

No sir, it’s precisely because of the vibrations that Mrs Colombo considers the one they call Squib, too spicy.

And then, the weak-minded idiot would cough to it, ‘Alright, already, I got no fingers, I go everywhere committing crimes without leaving no fingerprints.’

Do you know what I asked Ann?
“Do you like blowing things?”
And do you know what she replied?
“No, but you do, you fucking homo.” Then she jabbed the blowing end of the whistle into my eye.

Well wouldn’t Marudeva often do the same? There was a time, how long it lasted I couldn’t say, months perhaps, when we would hear the locks in the door being opened, and one of us would say to the other, ‘Here we go, Ann Wilson’s whistle.’

I’ll tell you what he did next time.