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Annie was standing at the bus stop, sheltering under an umbrella totally inadequate to deal with the realities of a Mancunian summer, when the Cortina pulled in to the kerb. She'd wondered for a minute if the rumours about the Guv were true, and that she was about to have to fend off his groping hands. She would never admit to anyone, not even to herself, that she'd been disappointed when the window had rolled down to reveal Phyllis in the passenger seat.

"Get in Annie, you'll catch your death."

She had slipped into the warm and dry back seat, grateful to be out of the rain and then had been surprised again to see a blonde woman in the driver's seat.

"Annie, this is Sally, the Guv's wife."

"Nice to meet you Mrs. Hunt."

"Sally'll do just fine love."

As Sally turned in the driver's seat to smile back at her Annie was struck by Sally's more than passing resemblance to Joan Sims. Well, when he's had a few, the Guv often reminds me of Sid James so that works..

Sally nosed the Cortina back out into traffic as Phyllis provided directions to Annie's flat.

"Turn the radio up Phyllis I love that song!"

"You love T.Rex Mrs.—Sally?"

"No need to sound that surprised Annie. That Bolan's a right sexy little beast. Gene can't stand him of course. Just wants to listen to Whittaker, Martin and Sinatra. "Real" music he calls it."

Annie was then treated to the odd bonding experience of singing 20th Century Boy at the top of her lungs with Phyllis and Mrs. Hunt.

Annie eased back further into the seat and looked around. Of course she'd seen the Cortina before but she'd never ridden in it.

"What model is this?"

"It's a Cortina love."

"I know that Sally, but d'you know what type?"

"I don't pay any attention to that sort of thing. You'd have to ask Gene."

Annie tried to imagine striking up that particular conversation with the Guv. Here's the tea and Garibaldis you wanted and by the way what type of engine does the Cortina have and does it still have the MacPherson struts?. Her thoughts were interrupted as the seat underneath her seemed to warm up. That's strange.

"I love cars. I wish I could afford to have one. I used to work on them with me Dad. Guess it's what comes from not having brothers." Not only was the seat warming up but it appeared to be pulsing. "You might want to tell the Guv to get the car inspected. There's some kind of strange vibration back here and the seat's hot."

As she spoke, Sally had pulled the Cortina into the kerb in front of Annie's flat. Annie saw Phyllis and Sally turn to exchange surprised looks.

"Well thanks very much for the lift, Sally."

Sally turned in the seat again. "Phyllis and I usually have a coffee morning on Saturdays if you'd like to join us. I'm sure the Cor—we'd be happy to see you. Gene's usually in bed with a hangover so you could get a closer look at her engine if you like that."

"Thanks, I'd really like that a lot."

 

oo0oo

 

Ray had wanted her since the first time he saw her. He'd fallen for her like a ton of bricks and had elbowed his way to the front of the little crowd that had gathered to admire her.

The Guv hadn't objected when Ray had run a hand over her curves and admired the thrust of her bonnet, as he'd been too busy basking in her reflected glory.

"Can we go for a drive Guv?"

"Course we can Raymundo. Give you a chance to hear her engine."

Ray wanted to hear her engine purr more than he'd wanted anything in a long time. He'd clambered into the front seat and watched Gene's gloved hands on the steering wheel, torn between thinking about his own hands on that driving wheel and the old, equally impossible, dream of Gene's hands on him.

"So d'you like her Ray?"

"She's a beauty, Guv, I've never seen anything like her."

Ray felt a warm pulsing sensation under his arse and was glad his jacket covered his crotch.

One day, I'll get her to myself.

 

oo0oo

 

Phyllis had first met Sally at the annual police banquet and while initially, it had just been rampant curiosity about the fabled Missus that had led Phyllis to blackmail the Guv into an introduction, she'd warmed to the woman immediately.

Phyllis had been thrilled when Sally had invited her to Bingo, although she'd been surprised when Sally had told her she'd pick her up in the Cortina.

"The Guv lets you drive his car?"

"It's simple really. He's either got to let me drive her or take me places himself. I won't let him drive if he's drunk so on bingo night he'd have to skip the Arms and hell would freeze over first. He gets Ray to drag his carcass home."

Two months had passed since that first outing, two months full of weekly bingo, coffee mornings, shopping, and trips to the pictures to see films Gene wouldn't see. In the process the two women had become good friends, not as close as Phyllis would have liked, but she was old enough to accept disappointment and still keep her sense of humour.

And that's how they ended up here, two months later, sat outside Phyllis' house still talking thirty minutes after Sally had parked the car. Phyllis had asked Sally twice to come in for a cup of tea and a cream puff, and twice Sally had said she needed to be leaving but she still hadn't left. This had become an all too familiar pattern.

I want to kiss her. I can't kiss her. She's the Guv's wife. So I can't, but that doesn't mean I don't want to kiss her. Wonder what she'd do? Would she kiss me back? Tell me I'm disgusting, worse still, tell the Guv?

Phyllis suddenly felt the passenger seat beneath her roll sideways and only by slamming her hands against the edge of the driver's seat and the dashboard did she manage to stop herself mere inches from Sally's face. This is new... It's like the car pushed me at her!

"About bloody time!" Sally closed the last couple of inches between them and kissed Phyllis thoroughly before coming up for air. "Now, I'd like to come in for that cream puff."

 

oo0oo

The Guv and Sam had left the Cortina forty minutes ago to talk to a potential witness and Chris was bored. B-O-R-E-D.There were things he liked to think about to stave of boredom. Like Ray. He liked to think about Ray. But he couldn't think about Ray for too long without having to then think about Ray killing him for what he was thinking so... he was bored.

"I'm bored Ray."

Ray lifted his head off the seat back where he'd been half dozing.

"Can't you just be quiet Chris? They should be back in a few minutes. It's comfortable here in the back of the Cortina unlike out there where it's cold and it's pissing down and we don't even have to listen to the Boss' latest lecture on one hundred things to do with a fingerprint kit, none of them fun. Enjoy it while you can. The whiny little div'll be back before we know it."

"Right..." Chris tried to settle down, he really did, but he couldn't. "Don't see why the Guv didn't get himself a better car."

"What?"

"Look at it. It's all right but it's not a sports car. I want a Triumph TR6, a red one. A hot car. Not something me Nan might like."

"Bollocks! Just get out of the car you twonk! Go and get us some tea from that caff."

"Ray, I—"

Ray ran one hand gently down the seat. "Go on, you heard me."

"Right."

Chris got out of the car and shut the door behind him. He'd started to turn back, feeling like he should apologize but not sure for what, when the door flew open suddenly knocking him over on to his arse on the wet pavement.

"Why'd you do that Ray?"

"I didn't do anything."

 

oo0oo

 

"So where we going?"

"Strip club."

"Do I really have to explain why—"

"Don't get your knickers in a twist, Gladys. I'm going to speak to a snitch at the strip club."

"Right... I'm thinking of buying a car."

"What brought this on?"

"It's about time. Doesn't look like I'm leaving anytime soon—"

"So you stopped thinking about transferring back to Hyde."

"Yeah. Hyde."

"So what colour Cortina are you thinking about getting? Cos it shouldn't be bronze."

"Not getting a Cortina."

"You what?"

"Getting a Capri."

"Why the hell would you get a Capri if you can have a Cortina?"

"Cos Bodie drove one."

"You'll be wearing make-up and platform shoes next."

"Bodie not Bowie."

"So who the hell is Bodie?"

"He was my hero when I was a kid."

"I thought you always wanted to be a cop?"

"I did. He was a cop, a really tough cop. He was funny, smart and good looking and wore nice clothes and had a really great hair cut, always liked his hair—"

"Sounds like a school boy's crush—"

"—and he always got the girls and he was in the S.A.S. and—"

"Never heard of him. Did he work in Hyde?"

"He was on the telly."

"And I still say I never heard of him and I've watched all of them. Dixon, Z cars—"

"Right, I forgot, he's not on yet."

"Christ Tyler, d'you ever make sense?"

"Well..."

"Suppose I shouldn't expect much as you don't even have enough sense to want a car like mine."

"Tell you what, why don't I just buy her off you and you can get something more sporty—"

"Watch it Tyler" Gene tightened his grip on the wheel.

"—maybe a red Triumph TR6—" Sam's words cut off as the brakes slammed on and Sam bounced off the dash board.

"Christ Guv, I might have gone through the window!"

"No, she likes you."

"What?"

"Nothing."

"She is a beauty Guv. There could never be two like her." Sam ran his hand across the dashboard and turned in his seat toward Gene. "Tell you what, if you won't let me buy her perhaps you could get me one of those models like you got for your nephew. It'd be fun to play with— Bugger! Why d'you punch me?"