Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream
Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.
Simon and Garfunkel – Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream.
The jukebox pumped out jaunty music that was partially lost in the chatter of the pub crowd. Cheerfully Bodie clunked the quickly-being-drained mug of beer down on the table, letting the noise wash over him. Doyle eyed his pint moodily, alternating between drinking and ignoring it. He was obviously brooding over the end of the operation, Bodie swallowed his pint. The idiot they'd been tailing for the last three weeks had suddenly gone off, (let's face it, Bodie thought, he had been a walking time bomb, we should've seen it) got his gun and started trying to shoot them up, he hit one of their own men, he was badly hurt – critical but stable. That was probably the reason for Doyle's black mood. Admittedly Bodie was slightly ashamed at his lack of concern, but the doctors had been positive with their comments so it was likely he was going to scrape through. He shrugged and downed the dregs of the pint in one. "Whose round is it?" Doyle offered a sly half smile.
"Yours," he said with finality, "you know, I still haven't forgiven you for the time with the spiked orange juice."
"Maybe I shouldn't buy the round in case I do that again," Bodie teased. Doyle raised his eyebrows and gave Bodie a casual two fingers. Bodie stuck his tongue out at him and sauntered off towards the bar, pushing past other patrons as politely as possible, before finding himself leaning on the polished oak facing the solid barkeeper.
"What'd be?" the man asked in faint Belfast accent.
"Two pints please."
"Right." Bodie turned around, not bothering to watch as the man filled the mugs up from the tap. Instead, something else caught his eye. A group of four sturdy men had been sitting around the table; they looked like brawlers to Bodie and while he didn't have Doyle's copper's instinct he could tell that they were spoiling for a fight. Abruptly he realised that he was staring and hastily looked away. Too late.
"Oi! You!" Bodie sighed and turned back towards the biggest man. He looked like Prince Vultan out of Flash Gordon. He really wasn't in the mood for this. "What are you lookin' at?"
"Nothing," Bodie answered indifferently, "I'll just get my pints and be on my way then."
"Coward!" Thank God it wasn't Ray in this position, Bodie decided, he probably elect to go a few rounds with the ape for the insult. He could feel the annoyance beginning to build up inside him but he quickly pushed it away. Bodie tried to push his way past but the man grabbed his arm. The beer slopped out of the mugs and over Bodie's shirt. Bodie groaned. He really liked that shirt. "Where're you goin' sunshine?"
"Let's all just calm down alright, boyo?"
"Stay out of this Grandpa!" The man shoved viciously and Bodie stumbled back, dropping the mugs. They shattered on the floor. As if this was a signal the room erupted into chaos.
Bodie weaved under the man's punch, bringing up his knee into the unprotected groin. Two were facing off against him and he flicked his gaze between them, trying to figure out their next move. Glass crunched under his shoes as he ducked one flying fist, driving another back in response. The barman had backed away and Bodie hoped he was going to phone the police.
Christ Doyle, I could use some help here!
One of the thugs had leapt up onto the bar and Bodie – still hemmed in by the other two – caught the entirety of the force. His head smacked sickeningly into the wood of the bar, stars danced briefly in his vision and nausea burned in his throat. As he slipped into oblivion he heard the sirens singing.
A bright, clinical light seared in Bodie's eyes as he blinked them open. For a moment, his heart fluttered in panic, before the familiar smell of antiseptic hit him. He was in a hospital. He pushed himself up onto elbows, wincing as a sharp bolt of lightning shot through his head. "Mr Bodie, you shouldn't be exerting yourself."
"Wha'?" Bodie brought a hand up to his head to find a thick bandage pinned there.
"You've had a nasty knock to the head, Mr Bodie," the nurse glared at him disapprovingly as he started to swing his legs off the bed to find he was dressed in a hospital gown. Embarrassed, he quickly pulled the sheet back up.
"How long have I been out?" he asked warily. The nurse shook her head critically as she scribbled down some notes on a clipboard. "If you do insist on getting knocked out during bar brawls, Mr Bodie," her tone left no doubt about her lack of sympathy, "I'd say you were lucky with only an hour, someone's having a broken arm fixed. Of course, we are going to have to keep you in for observation…"
"Wait, how many people were hurt?"
"Two or three Mr Bodie – you are not allowed out of bed! – but nothing particularly serious happened."
Bodie frowned before quickly cutting off her spiel about 'idiots drinking and then fighting and goodness knows what else' with, "Did anyone come in with me?" The nurse stopped her blethering to stare pointedly. "Was there a curly haired bloke? Calls himself Ray Doyle?"
"No, we only found out who you were because of your driver's licence. Now you just relax and I'll get a doctor to check you over, alright?"
"What about the injured?"
The nurse sighed, "What about the injured?"
"Was one of them –"
"I don't know Mr Bodie," the nurse was glancing around the ward, obviously she needed to check up on other patients, write reports and suchlike, and she didn't have time to keep chattering away like a sparrow. "I'll tell you what, if you promise not to get up until the doctor gets here, I'll take a look alright? I'll ask around for you but you have to stay in that bed!" Bodie nodded meekly; well aware that was the best he was going to get.
"Thanks," he muttered.
When the nurse strode briskly off Bodie lay back on the white sheets, breathing the dry sterile smell of the hospital as his brain began to whirr.
Doyle wouldn't have left him. That was irrefutable. If Doyle hadn't been hurt he would've come with him to the hospital, waited, alternating between worrying or chatting up the nurses and when Bodie had woken would have responded with a less than friendly put-down. Maybe he had been hurt in the fight and was getting fixed up by someone. If Doyle was the one with the broken arm Cowley was going to have their hides. He exhaled distractedly, running the situation over in his head. If Doyle was hurt he would be here – but if he wasn't?... A wave of nausea hit him and he wasn't sure whether it was it the head or his thoughts. Slowly he let himself sink down in the darkness.
The doctors refused to sign him out and Bodie's infuriated attempt to discharge himself was quickly thwarted by the ward nurse. After being pointedly told to go back to bed, he lay awake most of the night, thinking things over. He was brought breakfast by the nurse from the night before.
"Did you…" Bodie began; unsure which answer would be better. The nurse shook her head regretfully.
"No one with that name was brought in last night Mr Bodie," she said. Bodie sat back, unsure how to react.
Where are you, Doyle?
After he was finally allowed out of the stuffy hospital the first thing Bodie did was contact the CI5 switchboard.
When Karen answered with her usual cheery self, he asked, "Has 4-5 called in?"
"No," Karen sounded confused, "should he have?"
Bodie paused momentarily before answering breezily, "No, it's fine, I'm on my way to his house anyway."
"Do you want me to contact him for you?"
"No, no it's ok." He was about to sign off when Karen remembered something.
"Oh 3-7, I've got a message for you from Alpha One," Bodie groaned, screwing up his eyes.
Eventually, he hazarded, "what is it, or do I have to guess?" Karen sighed deeply, trying not to smile.
"He said, 'tell 3-7 that if that happens again I'll have him on a four-week training course with Macklin.'"
"Ouch," Bodie winced, ""I am going to murder that scrawny little bugger. Think I can weasel out of the rollicking I'm gonna get?"
He could imagine Karen's eye roll, "With your blarney, possibly. Out."
"Out," he thumbed the radio and placed it on the seat beside him. He was only a five-minute drive away from Doyle's house and he was planning on strangling Doyle when he got there.
The door was locked. Bodie leant against the buzzer, intent on annoying his partner's curls off. However, after about five minutes of waiting later, no Doyle had appeared. Either, Bodie decided, he was ignoring him or he wasn't home. Bodie slipped his hand into his pockets while he debated what to do. Doyle would not be best pleased if he broke into his flat, especially for no reason but wanting to know why that miserable sod had left him in the hospital. Checking his watch he realised that he hadn't actually gone home yet, it would do him good to have a shower and change of clothes. The car tooled away from the pavement and into the slow-moving traffic.
It wasn't long before Bodie noticed that Doyle was absent from the CI5 restroom. So he went looking for him. Maybe he was in the computer room checking a file. No. Perhaps he was having lunch in the canteen. He wasn't there either. Games room? No Doyle there. He wasn't in the typing pool and Cowley was out so he couldn't be in his office and Bodie was pretty sure he wasn't out anywhere checking up some elusive lead. All-in-all, Bodie was stumped.
"Hey, Bodie!" Murphy came jogging up towards him, "heard you were in a bar fight. Cowley is going to skin you alive, mate, you better start running."
Bodie chuckled half-heartedly, but, before Murphy could get in another jab, asked, "Have you seen Doyle?"
"Doyle?" Murphy asked.
"Yeah, Ray Doyle, about this height, looks like he has just been electrocuted, likes to call himself my partner."
"Ohh, that Doyle," Murphy replied with a twinkle in his eye, "Nah, haven't seen him. Surely the Cow hasn't got him out chasing villains?"
"I dunno," Bodie replied, "I haven't seen him since last night." Murphy shrugged.
"He was called in by Cowley last night."
"Really?" Bodie replied, still scanning the door in vain for the curly hair, "what about?"
Murphy gave him a very serious look. "Do you know what Cowley would do if he thought I was spying on him?"
Bodie raised his eyebrow at that, still idly processing where Doyle might be, when his brain caught up with him. Recognising Murphy's smug grin, he repeated, "What did he say?"
"Dunno, couldn't hear."
Doyle didn't turn up for the entire day. Bodie's aggravation had by now melted away to worry and so when he got in his car to drive home he found himself pulling up outside Doyle's flat. Annoyed, he switched off the engine and sat there, mulling over his thoughts as the heavy rain pattered on his car.
"I don't want to see him," he muttered to himself, "If he wants to mope then that's his business." But he couldn't seem to get the energy mustered to drive away. Perhaps he would have driven away eventually. Maybe he would've gone to the pub or just home to his warm bed. But Bodie couldn't stop himself from looking up. All the lights were off. As he took a moment to ponder why this had grabbed him he realised – this either meant that Doyle was asleep or wasn't home. He hadn't been home this morning either. Bodie's mind was made up and he leapt from the car, ignoring the rain that splattered against his leather windcheater, running up the stairs. He thumped on the buzzer a few times but barely waited for a response. Doubling back he made for the half-rusted fire escape, the metal clanging out under his feet.
The flat was dark. Bodie fished inside his jacket for his picks, the water cascading out of his hair, squinting at the room, hoping that he was going to see Doyle come storming out his bedroom with a vicious shout of 'BODIE!'
There was no movement.
Cursing, Bodie stumbled inside the window, banging it closed behind him. "Doyle?" His voice sounded extraordinarily loud in the silence. He padded forward into the darkness, his hand fumbling for the light switch. His gun appeared is if by magic in his fist. Erring on the side of caution he checked each room, his breath catching in his throat. Everything was neat and tidy; there were no disturbances, no signs of a struggle or even anything to suggest that anything was any different from how it usually was. But when Bodie – out of desperation for some answers – had a look inside Doyle's chest of drawers the clothes he had been wearing last night were curiously absent. It could only mean one thing.
Last night, Ray Doyle had not come home.