Thursday, March 27, 2014
A mash made in heaven
Jane Tennison squinted past the smoke from her seventh cigarette since the start of the shift and took a long look at what stood before her: the golf tan almost orange against the pale pink polo shirt, the white loafers peeking out below khaki chinos, the manicured hand held out in greeting.
"Who the hell are you?" she said.
"Windsor Horne Lockwood III," said the stranger. "They call me Win. Who are you, cutie?"
(in my head, WHLIII = DHP)
Tennison blew two plumes out of her nostrils and ground the stub out in a brimming ashtray.
"They don't call me 'cutie'," she said. "Not twice anyway."
"Ma'am?" said Win.
Tennison narrowed her eyes.
"Not ... sir?" he asked. "Surely."
she shook her head very slowly, just once to one side and once to the other.
"Kitten?" said Win. "Cupcake? Sweetcheeks?"
Her lips twitched before she answered.
"Guv," she said. "Call me Guv to my face. Whatever you want behind my back. And for God's sake change your clothes before someone sees you."
"What's wrong with my clothes?" said Win, trying not to let an eyebrow lift as he surveyed her ill-fitting grey skirt, her sweat-ringed blouse and the scuffed shoes she had kicked off. Her toenails, with their chipped polish, had made holes in her tights.
"This is a nick," said Tennison. "Not a bloody country club. Now shut your mouth before your whitened teeth blind us all. We've got work to do."
In Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar series, we're told that Win - the sociopathic philandering sidekick - sometimes helps out international law enforcement. I love to think of him arriving at Southampton Row Police Station in London and joining forces with Det. Supt. Tennison to crack a case. He's indefensibly awful but charming with it and I imagine that as soon as he clapped his cold eyes on Jane, he'd set out to seduce her. He'd fail; she'd eat him for breakfast with extra ketchup but he'd never forget her.