A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

They're still in a state of confusion. What do you do with a dead illegal immigrant drummer?


Seven pairs of eyes stared at me. It might have been eight, but Crin’s were permanently shut, as if he was enjoying an eternal nap.

Where shall we bury him?” half-echoed Jed. “We can’t go and bury him willy nilly! Didn’t you hear what was said, about his partner? Angela? Mother of his two sons? Surely she must have a say? They’ve been together just about for ever, and she’s going to be heart-broken. And you suggest that we just dispose of his body as if it was so much rubbish?”

Somebody had better go and ask her, then,” I replied, defensively.

You always were a tosser, Josh,” growled Scabby, “hiding behind the pretty lyrics of your minute catalogue of sweetness and light! Of course somebody had better tell her that the love of her life’s been shot by a twelfth century outlaw and his bow and arrow!”

It was the last thing I meant...” began the older of the two Robin Hoods. “After all, you shouldn’t by rights have been here! We booked the site for the week, to get our outdoor shots out of the way. And I’ll be wanting that arrow back,” he pointed to Crin’s chest, “we need to shoot it landing quivering in the ground near the tree where I’m to be buried, and it had better be the same arrow or someone’s bound to notice. You know how picky they can be on the Internet.”

You’re a tosser too,” growled Scabby.

This is getting us nowhere,” put in June, “I’ve got a shooting schedule to worry about, and there’s no mention in it of deckchairs or corpses. Not until Robin breathes his last, that is, and there’s still no deckchairs.”

I’ve been practising that,” gasped Simon, holding his chest and spluttering half-convincingly. “I die well,” he added, “everyone says so.”

So what are your plans?” asked Joanie of then film crew. “Are you going to bury your hero when he passes into the great beyond? Are you going to dig a hole, a deep hole, near the quivering arrow, and inter him in it?”

June nodded seriously. “But maybe not so deep,” she agreed.

It’s a solution,” pointed out Joanie, frowning. “We’ve got a dead body and you’re digging a hole...”

Hold on a minute!” interrupted Jed, “he was our friend! Not some piece of meat to be disposed of the easiest possible way!”

If he was I’d resurrect Max,” I growled irreverently.

Look,” said June, patiently, “we haven’t got for ever, and we’ve got to do something. We either report the incident to the police and let the law take over or we bury him before he starts decomposing, and that won’t be too long in this heat.”

I don’t see why it can’t be reported in the proper way,” I said, “the man’s dead so it won’t matter one hoot to him whether he’s an illegal immigrant or not. He’ll still be buried or cremated like anyone else, story over.”

It’ll cause all sorts of ructions,” growled Scabby, frowning at me as if I was stupid, which I probably am. “It might even cause an international incident! They’ll have to find out what country he belongs to...”

He’s been here for the best part of his whole life!” I said as vehemently as I could, “surely that’s enough to mean something.”

I’ve a feeling he was Ukrainian,” murmured Jed, “or something like that. I don’t think he was even certain himself. Anyway, someone back in wherever he came from might want him back. People can be like that when it comes to claiming dead drummers.”

He’s starting to decay already,” I muttered, “there wouldn’t be much left of him after a major international wrangle!”

They’d keep him in a fridge,” Scabby said firmly, “don’t you know anything?”

I decided to minimise my input into the debate. It seemed that I knew very little, and what I did know from watching Midsomer Murders was hovering on that bit of my brain where important things get lost, like national insurance numbers and the square root of four.

We’ll fetch Angela,” decided Jed, quite deliberately. “I’ll go because I live quite a bit closer and it won’t take me long. You come with me, Scabby because you can drive and I can prepare her for the bad news on the phone.”

Don’t text, though,” I put in, disobeying my own instincts.

Jed gave me his superior look, the one he wore when he was looking down his nose playing the recorder, and said he wouldn’t dream of being so stupid.

I knew he would, if he was anything like me. I’m quite capable of dreaming of being stupid, even when I’m not asleep.

Don’t be long, darling,” almost whimpered Joanie, who had always struck me as using Scabby as an extra garment that should never, at any cost, be taken off or she’d be naked. And what woman of a certain age (let’s face it, we were all in our late sixties) wants to be seen naked by anyone at all? Or man of that same certain age, come to think of it. Not me, anyway.

While we’re gone, you, Josh, can make it look as if he’s drifted off to sleep and might wake up any moment, just in case someone comes along and to make it easier for Angela,” instructed Scabby, smiling warmly and tenderly at Joanie.

I nodded.

How can you make a dead man look less dead, I asked myself. How can you make it look as if he’s only asleep? It would be akin to chopping a cauliflower into florets and making it look whole again. And there was no way Crin was ever going to look like he’s about to wake up and stretch and sigh and say he’s had a good nap and doesn’t he feel better. But I nodded. Of course I did.

I’ll take the arrow out,” I mumbled.

Good idea,” said Jed, shaking his head when he looked at me.

Then they climbed into Scabby’s van and slowly drove off leaving Joanie and me to take charge of whatever might need being taken charge of.

I’ll take the arrow out of the poor sod’s chest,” said Robin Hood Junior, “at least he’ll look a great deal less dead without it sticking out like a signpost pointing at his heart and saying it’s stopped beating.”

No,” put in Robin Hood Senior, “that’ll be my job. I put it there, so I’ll take it out.”

Don’t squabble about it,” remonstrated Joanie, “the situation’s tragic enough without having two medieval do-gooders quarrelling over an arrow.”

All right,” sniffed Junior, aka Mark, “but be careful. It’s the only arrow we’ve got.”

Maybe I should change his tee-shirt,” I mumbled, dreading the whole idea of so much as touching the dead flesh of our late drummer. “That blood stain’s quite a give-away,” I added, “and suggesting he spilled some raspberry juice down his front wouldn’t convince anyone.”

It might work for me,” murmured Joanie, “have you any idea how heavy Crin was? It’ll take all of us to lift him up, and then who’s going to have hands free enough to drag his old tee-shirt off him?”

I find it hard enough dressing myself,” I agreed, hoping that someone would come along with an alternative to undressing the corpse.

I know,” suggested Joanie, “I’ve got a copy of Woman’s Own somewhere in our camper-van. We could put that on him as if he was reading it and then he just dropped off to sleep and it slipped from his hands. That might work.”

Only your camper-van’s half way to Crin’s woman’s,” I murmured.

Then we’ll find a more manly publication in Jed’s,” she said, determined that her solution was the right one. “He might have a technical magazine that he would be expected to have been dipping into.”

And that was it.

The arrow was extracted by the senior Robin Hood, carefully and with him taking great care to keep it on one piece, and then a glossy magazine, open and covering every trace of blood, was skilfully placed on his chest, announcing to any passer-by curious enough to look that he was studying Lesbo Babes in Leather when he was awake

© Peter Rogerson 13.06.18

© 2018 Peter Rogerson

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Added on June 13, 2018
Last Updated on June 13, 2018
Tags: partner, Angela, bury, bow-and-arrow, magazine


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 76 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..