Remember Frank as in The Frank Report? Frank who never quite got it together to be the journalistic sleuth he thought he was? Well, turns out I was wrong.
There I was yesterday when Mart comes flying right up to my face telling me Frank was back, and he had news. I reminded Mart his breath was never good close up, particularly in the mornings, and off we went in search of Frank who told Eddy who told Mart he would meet us on the steps of St Martins.
Sure enough, there he was keeping a low profile in the shadows. I asked if I could take a pic.
He said best not to under the circumstances, and I respected his wishes, till he turned around:
He told us he’d been working undercover. Deep undercover. Way undercover, with the squirrels.
Fuck me. No fucking way. Not only had Frank mastered the art of journalism, he had surpassed himself by infiltrating one of the hardest cells in London. He had earnt the trust of, and been entertained by, the highest level of the inner sanctum of the urban greys. Drank at the table of the squirrel controller no less. Fair play.
Said he’d seen my Operation Stop the Squirrel campaign a while back, and wanted to help.
“You mean you’ve been undercover all this time?” I said.
“Yes. Yes I have.”
“Proud of you Frank.”
“There’s someone I want you to meet.” He said, under his breath doing what I suspected was a poor impression of Marlon Brando. Aside from the fact he wasn’t American, Frank had a lisp.
“Come this way, Brian.” He said, flinging his head like he was wearing a cloak, or a long wig, and off we flew. Frank looked nervous. You could tell by the random line he took up The Mall. After about five minutes, we got to Hyde Park.
“Is this it? Hyde park?”
“He said he’d meet us here. Under this tree.”
“Who?” I said.
“P.” He said.
“Who the fuck’s ‘P’?”
“Don’t ask, just respect his privacy. He’s got information. The squirrels are planning something. Something big.”
After about thirty seconds, a short grey squirrel comes waddling over.
“Alright, Pete.” Said Frank.
Pete was clearly ruffled by the immediate blowing of his cover:
I blurred the picture to avoid any reprisals.
“They’re in training.” He said. “Every last one of them. All Squirrels have been put on special diets.”
Not all, I wanted to say, but thought better of it.
“Each and every on of us has been ordered to master the art.”
“Of what?” I said, as if I had to ask.
“Kung Fu, and those that can’t are being sent to camps. Special camps in places like Luton.”
“To do what?”
“Nothing. Just live in a camp.”
“You need to act fast. There’s not time to be wasted.”
“He’s not kidding, Bri.” Said Frank. “I’ve seen them. Hundreds of them. Doing the Kung Fu moves chopping up cardboard pigeons. It was terrifying”
“I told you, Bri. I was on the inside. Earnt their trust. Said I’d always wanted to be a squirrel. Told them I hated the dirty pigeons. Rats with wings. That’s what I said. They’re all rats with wings. Dirty dirty rats with wings. Dirty dirty dirty…”
“What you going to do about it?” Said Pete.
“I’m thinking.” I said, and I was.
“Well?” Said Frank.
“I don’t really know.” I said, and I didn’t.
“You could ask Roy?”
“Who the fuck’s Roy?”
“Roy’s a dog.”
“What sort of dog?”
“I don’t know.”
“Big or small?”
“Medium, I think, but he’s a judo ace. Proper Judo king. Real master of the art. A pro. Studied it his whole life.”
“And he hates Kung Fu.”
“Absolutely. Fucking hates it. Nothing worse than Kung Fu. Kung Fu is for gays. That’s what he said, didn’t he Pete?”
“So where can I find this ‘Roy’?” I said.
“Well, he’s kind of a bit of a celebrity these days. Got his own TV show and everything.” Said Frank, dribbling slightly.
“Never heard of him.”
“What, you’ve never heard of Dog Judo?” Said Mart.
“Jesus, Bri. Call yourself a pigeon in the know. Dog Judo is the best. Roy and his mate do Judo shit. It’s total genius.”
“Okay, Mart. Let’s go. Frank, as you were. Keep your ear to the ground and your arse to yourself. Pete, thanks. I know it was a risk talking to us… You take care out there, guys.”
Then me and Mart took off heading for Soho.
“Bri, what was with all the ‘Take care of yourself, guys’ shit?”
“Dunno. Felt like saying it.”
“But you sounded like a twat.”
“It was embrassing.”
He was right. I shouldn’t have said it.