Marlowe and Dodgy Dave

‘And you are?’

‘Just call me Marlowe.’

‘Thank you. I mean what do you do?’

‘I’m a Private Investigator.’

‘Why are you here?’

‘You have a serious case of tax fraud I’ve been asked to look into. I was told the well is deep and it is very dark at the bottom.’

‘What do you mean by tax fraud?’

‘The fraudulent dealing with tax.’

‘We don’t have that problem here. You do realise who lives here?’

‘Yes. I was told it’s Dodgy Dave’s place.’

‘Is this some kind of joke?’

‘Where I come from not paying your taxes is no joke, it’s a crime.’

‘You are talking about the Prime Minister David Cameron.’

‘That’s the guy. Dodgy Dave.’

‘Listen here. The person that used that slur was banned from the House of Commons for saying so there and I’d ask you not to keep repeating it.’

‘Didn’t Dave Cameron dodge questions about his tax affairs for days? Telling people he didn’t have any tax affairs to disclose and then later changing his mind and disclosing quite a bit of information about his tax affairs? Sounds dodgy behaviour to me.’

‘Why is an American here, asking these questions and being this rude? You are an American?’

‘I am. I’m a Private Dick from LA and I’ve gum-shoed my way through this kind of sewerage for a lifetime. It’s a big problem in the big city. I’ve had some success tracking down the avoiders. You heard of the Panama Papers?’

‘You’re not responsible for leaking those, are you?’

‘Hardly. Just wanted to make sure you had heard. Seems strange if you have that you can’t work out why I’m here. It’s a worldwide problem.’

‘Our Prime Minister did nothing wrong. All of his tax dealings were perfectly legal.’

‘That’s what the bums tell me when they get caught peeing in the alley. They tell me they paid for the liquor and they can get rid of it how they please.’

‘I hardly see the relevance of your analogy.’

‘I do like the way you English talk. It has such an elegance. Let me explain it to you a different way. We all like our Knights in shining armour. I’m the biggest fan of that kind of nobility. But you can’t keep polishing it to simply get a sheen. Cameron rode about on his white steed saying we were all in this together but too many people were having to walk around at the same time with sore feet or worn-out shoes. When he rode by people didn’t see his reflection in the mirror of the plating – they saw themselves. They saw what they didn’t have.’

‘I don’t follow.’

‘And neither do the public. They won’t follow horseshit either. He may not be doing anything illegal now. But when he isn’t Prime Minister, he’ll probably become the King of Panama. You have to see past the here and now.’

‘Well, that’s idle speculation and the British people will soon get fed up with the hounding of our Prime Minister.’

‘Yeah, there’s newspapers out there already telling new stories. The one that matters is Dodgy Dave has been dodging the realities. He isn’t like most other people. Most other people will never have as much money as he does to put where he does, legally or not.’

‘What about the black economy? The cash-in-hand economy?’

‘Yeah, that’s one of those other stories I’ve been waiting to read. I’m surprised some of the papers haven’t run with that one yet. I don’t think the kind of money the very rich put in offshore accounts fits very easily into a hand to pass under the table when you get your picket fence painted.’

‘We don’t have picket fences over here.’

‘We’ve got fences all over the world my friend.’

‘Well, that’s all fine and good, but you can’t see Dodgy, I mean the Prime Minister today. And I’m going to report you to immigration. I don’t believe anyone has really employed let alone asked you to come over here from America to investigate anything.’

‘You don’t surprise me. You had all of the American authors banned from study at GCSE. Now it’s the Dicks. You sure have a peculiar way of doing things legally. You’ll have to wake up one day and see how the British rain falling is the same as that in the June Gloom of LA. It runs along the road and down into the gutter and through the storm drains just the same. I came over here to investigate because I’ve seen a lot of corruption in high places dressed up as normality. It’s universal.’

The guy I’m talking to slams the door in my face. I could pick the lock and go in and push him around a bit, but that would be easy.

I’ll come back another time for Dodgy Dave. But I don’t want to leave this for too long. Like I say, they have fences everywhere and these can be whitewashed in an instant.

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