Narkiewicz – let me tell ya about Narkiewicz – Narkiewicz is one tough broad – no-one tougher working the whole east side beat, ain’t no-one going to muscle up to this dame without landing on their sorry ass pretty damn quick. Got herself a sidekick too, some shit-kicker gone wrong – Sam Ruddock – they pretty much got it wrapped – bad cop, bad cop. Thinkin’ of strayin’ over the tracks Buster – yea well you’ll find out for yourself, quick as a cat on a hot-plate, that’s a bad move. They’ve cleaned more filth off these streets than the Corporation. One guy Mike landed like a fly on shit one time & thought he could stick around, he ducked & dived, but Sam, well Sam grabbed him by the neck & pulled him off, right their in front of everyone, nothing left, just a howl, like feedback.
Narkiewicz & Ruddock shine their flashlights into the night, cockroaches shoot away into the cracks and sewers like, well like cockroaches. Trouble is, you don’t hear Narkiewicz coming – Airwair you see. First thing you know, you can’t breathe & there’s this plastic smell on account of the Doc Marten on your windpipe. Sure she bends the rules, but hey results count & Chief Gribble, he ain’t asking no questions. If he wanted paperwork & things done pretty pretty, he’d put some schmuck in charge o’things. He just shuts his door & cranks the Lady Gaga up so he ain’t hearing nuttin’.
Take that time they followed a hunch to the stationery cupboard & who’s in there helping herself like a bear in a beehive – Rymans McFarlane – sure, you don’t need no diploma from detective school to figure that one out. ‘Course she acts all innocent like, with her big dreamy eyes. Narkiewicz hangs her outta the window by her ankles & it’s rainin’ staples on Princes Street & Narkiewicz drawls – book her Sammy & get her downtown. Ever find yourself in the interrogation room, you know by the teeth marks on the table & that stain on the floor – right under your chair – you’re in deep & the Chief is nowhere to be seen, he’s prayin’ like a Baptist no do-gooders come pokin’ around with their good intentions & sweet smiles, cos’ Narkiewicz takes worse to do do-gooders than she do to do-badders. & Narkiewicz, she don’t do nuttin’ at first, keeps out of it, leaves it to Sammy boy who comes in all friendly, like some kind of pussy – he ain’t no pussy though, he may look it, but he ain’t. His brain’s so sharp his hair gets cut before it sees the light o’ day. He’ll talk to you soft, like a peach, like your Momma – you never lie to your Momma do you boy, even when you’re stealing from her purse. Before you know it though, you need a cigarette, & when Sam flips the lighter & cranks the flint wheel your hands are shaking so much he has to chase the goddam cigarette all over & you know you’re fried. Take it down deep baby, feel it soothing you right down to your churning guts & try not to notice Sam’s gold-toothed grin & the squeak of Doc Martens coming down the dingy corridor. Next thing the door’s open & before you blink Narkiewicz is palms down on the table & cake breath in your face – ain’t no-one stayin’ stum then buddy.
Johnny ‘Reggae’ Morley, he tried toughin’ it out, talking with his hands real fast, like he had your fifty dollar bill under a cup wayward as his accent, but a couple o’ broken fingers slowed him down & when his aviators went flyin’ he was spillin’ like a dirty tipped martini glass – coughed up to a criminal record collection like a bilious bullfrog: UB40, Musical Youth, The Carpenters for chrissake. Ok, ok it was gettin’ embarrassing – he can’t even look at himself by the time Narkiewicz dangles the evidence bag of Take That memorabilia in front of his wet sappy face, laughter clattering through the two way mirror & ringin’ in his sorry ears.
Anyhows, it’s Narkiewicz’s last night in this cobbled hobbled town of writers & lowlife & she’s moochin’ in her Sedan down by the wharf waiting for some punk to show their hand, only the shadows & rain rattlin’ the tin roof for company & she gets thinkin’ about who she’s leavin’ behind & goddam it, gets kinda misty eyed as they take it in turns to step out of the haze into the dismal spotlight of the street lamp, she don’t even know if it’s a dream: Sam Ruddock, Johnny Reggae, Chief Gribble and Rymans MacFarlane in a coat of yellow post-it notes (pockets stuffed with 2-hole punches and arch levers) – you heard about them. Then comes the whole sorry parade, one by one: Dick White in his skinny jeans – hell you could eat Chinese food with those legs, he’d sell ya anything with the right font, Katy Carr workin’ him like a dummy. Word has it Katy Carr got Eye-Tallion connections, some wise guy peddling pizza down near the river – jeeze there’s a wood-fired oven tell you stories you don’t wanna hear. Sweetcakes Whiteside next, a flick-knife in her suspender belt, sprinkled donut in her painted hand & a damp roll-up hangin’ from the corner of her pretty mouth. Roxy Matthews – she’s hidin’ summat, o yea baby, just can’t figure the racket yet, Mel ‘the Kid’ a Fagin new in town with a ragged band of urchins doin her biddin’ – claims they’re ‘volunteers’ – yea right, Laura ‘songbird’ Stimson, jeez such a sweet voice, but she got crazy eyes – sing you to sleep alright & you’d wake up in pieces all over town. Clarke ‘The Hat’ peeling greasy bills offa a bankroll for any receipts you might find on the grocery store floor – she don’t ask no questions, just spits get in line or you won’t get a goddam nickel you punks, when she draws her eyebrows down her face gets mean and you sure as hell get in line like she says. ‘The Major’, he don’t say much, just looks out from under his green shade with a raw animal sexuality women go weak at the knees for. He moves those numbers about the screen, fingers caressing the mouse & broads just melt like Coney Island popsicles. & here she comes, without her ain’t nuttin goin’ down. Leila, steps into that pool of light like Jayne Russell, collar up, all blonde & tight dress, one wiggle & you can hear guys sigh from as far away as Sprowston – she likes her eggs hard-boiled, got a tea towel in one hand & a .38 in the other & you sure better pray that ain’t your teaspoon on the draining board or you’ll be hung out to dry yourself – it won’t be no use bleatin’ about it.
Narkiewicz slaps her own face, she’s goin’ to miss these scumbags, the whole lot of’em. Narkiewicz takes a final slug o’rye from the flask, flings it in the glove compartment so it rattles the luger lying there, ready in case things get busy & she needs to spread the lead around the place a little. Narkiewicz turns the key & guns it, points that old chevvy out o’that gumball place, heads for lights & her man (dog my ass – cat if he knows what’s good for him). Narkiewicz looks in the rear-view & laughs that laugh – like cutlery shakin’ in a tin, yea one fine city, one fine city Narkiewicz mumbles – gonna miss it, gonna miss it & it’s gonna miss her too even the crazy punks rubbin’ the cuff scars on their wrists down in a cellar bar – toastin’ her right now. Won’t be another dame like that they say & cry like saps into their cheap liquer.
Narkiewicz is a hard-boiled crime novel by Martin Figura. It was a printed leaving gift for former Writers’ Centre Norwich Programme Assistant, Lara Narkiewicz.
You can find out more about this on the Narkiewicz project page.