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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"So, Difflock..you expect me to talk?", "No, Messrs. RR and Howmet..I expect you to publish these stories
"

Has there been any projects to collate the West Hamley stories into a book? I realise that the stories are full of in-jokes (that's what makes them fun to read, after all!), but there may well be enough slot jockeys (sorry Jonny, but I quite like the term, no offence) about to buy it. Or can we keep it non-profit-making (free) on here?


Mark.
 

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I can see Shelsey Walsh now, sitting behind a vast mountain of signed copies of 'Tales from West Hamley' in Waterstones, twitching. It's late at night, the shop is empty, the sales assistants are switching off the lights. He won't go home until some bugger buys a book. It's a face off. The manager sees his staff getting restive. He reaches for his wallet and buys one himself. Shelsey Walsh stands up wearily and finally starts the long walk home, absently fingering the sharpened blade in his pocket that has Rail Racer's name engraved on it.
Some time early the following morning, Inspector Thumb picks up his telephone. 'Oh no. Not again!' he groans...
 

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'But why poor Difflock?' asks a puzzled Sergeant Argent. 'What would anyone have against him?' 'If that was his REAL name, Sergeant. That makes two questions we have to resolve' says Thumb, idly spinning the back axle of his new scratchbuilt Jaguar saloon. 'But there's another. Dr. De'ath says the murder weapon was nearby. And it had the words Rail Racer engraved on the blade. I think there is more to this case than meets the eye, Argent. Time to go!'
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Do not grieve, my friends. For I, the mighty Diff have many clones awaiting activation in times such as these, hidden away in strategic bunkers throughout the civilised world (well, Lancashire can be civilised at times). BWAHAHAHA!

God, I'm in a frivolous mood today. Sorry people!

Mark.
 

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'But where to? asks a nervous Argent. 'Obvious, Sergeant. We have a long ride, and you might need to bring your cushion. Llamenmad it is, home of the legendary Rail Racer. There has to be a connection. If it wasn't him, perhaps he can explain how his penknife put an end to Mr Difflock.' 'We have another clue, sir' says Argent, putting the phone down. 'That was P.C. Nandrilone. Apparently Difflock managed to scrawl a message in the dust before he expired. It reads "how me".' 'Question mark at the end, was there?' asks Thumb. 'No sir.' 'Disgraceful. Standards of education have slipped since I was a lad. Let's get cracking.'
 

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Sergeant Argeant decides he simply can't face sitting in Thumb's Elise all the way to Llamenmad. Searching around for a distraction, he falls upon his computer. 'Sir- there's something odd about all the names. Let me just type in.. Here! They have something in common. A web forum. This could be a conspiracy sir. Some of these people are real.' 'What on earth do you mean, Argent?' 'Well sir, you know that you and I are fictional characters? Figments of some demented imagination?' 'Yes, so what?' 'Well sir. I think we may be crossing over into reality. It's a bit scary sir, but look here... on the SlotForum Swaps page.... What was that message Difflock scrawled in the dust?'
'Good lord! It's all starting to make a strange kind of sense... A very strange kind...'
 

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In a flash of inspiration, Argent realises that the whole case can be solved without leaving the office. 'Don't you see sir- we're at the interface between fantasy and reality! Everything we do is being enacted on SlotForum! We can track the postings back to find... By Sheldon! Look! It wasn't "how me" that Difflock scrawled in his death agony, but "Howmet". He's our man, Inspector. Here-there's a posting from his wife. She says he's been missing since... since- let's work this out. Hmm. A book signing. Here's another name. Shelsey Walsh. That rings a bell! I think we have to find this Howmet sir. He's playing cat and mouse with us. He's in the 'amusing' sections of the forum- the Pit Lane, the History Culture and Literature, now the Swaps. We have to stop him before he wreaks havoc in the serious bits. Heaven help us all if he gets into Racing and Tuning!' 'For once you're right, Argent. Hit the send button. Quick!'
 

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'Great cartwheeling Camaros! He's already there sir! He's in Racing and Tuning- and he's got an accomplice. Grah1.'
'We'd better start a list of suspects immediately'
'O yeah yeah yeah- pin up bits of card and photos on a big board in the office here like they do on 'Prime Suspect'...'
'Calm down Argent. That's just a T.V. series. This is in earnest. Deadly earnest. But you have a point. How many names have we got from that Forum so far?'
'Well, there's this Grah1. And he seems to have a mate called Willard- wait. That's his dog.'
'Alright- we'd better alert the canine division and bring them both in for questioning.'
'Then there's Rail Racer, sir.'
'Hmm. The Welsh connection. His knife was used in the crime. But we have very little on him otherwise. What else, Argent?'
'Let me back up here a bit- look up some previous posts- Yes. There's this Shelsey Walsh bloke. Last heard of at this book signing, sir. Then there's Howmet himself, of course.'
'Yes, indeed. His fingerprints are all over this...'
'Well actually, sir, Forensic say they're Difflocks.'
'Difflocks fingerprints?'
'Yes, but Howmet's fingerprints are on Difflock. On his fingertips, to be precise.'
'Let me get this straight, Argent. The victim's fingerprints are on the murder weapon, but Howmet's fingerprints are on Difflock? I don't like the direction this is going, Argent.'
 

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'Look at this though, sir. This could be a big lead. On the Pit Lane- there's a photo of him! A positive i.d. on Howmet at last!'
'Blistering ball bearings! Let me see.... You fool! That can't be him! That's a fish in a hat!'
'But sir- that's positively handsome compared with most of the slotracers I can think of.'
'You're right, Argent. Get that picture circulated. Fast.'
 

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'I think we should follow up on this, too, sir.'
'What's that, Argent?'
'Well on this Pit Lane thread.... I think Mrs Howmet might be having a liason. It might explain Howmet's bizarre behaviour.'
'Indeed it might, sergeant. What do you have?'
'Well according to this, she's been exchanging items of, of.... of erotic hand-knitted lingerie with this chap Sheldon. And he was the first person she turned to when Howmet himself went missing.'
'But why would Howmet run away from him? If it were me I would stand my ground. Challenge the cad and defend my manhood!'
'I think "manhood" is the key here, sir. The undergarments Mrs Howmet made for Sheldon are rather, uh, impressive sir. The accomodation would suit an average man's entire arm. And not just one 'arm', sir. Sheldon appears to have three.'
'Glistening goop trails! The man must be detained immediately. Where is he?'
'Somewhere in Arabia, apparently.'
'Well then, it's time for a sheik-down!'
 

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'However, Argent, our most important task is to close down Howmet, before he gets as far as the Club section. Who knows what chaos he might spread there? I'm going to get him myself. Still in Racing and Tuning is he?'
'As far as I know sir. But please- be careful. He may be armed. Before the dog squad subdued Grah1 he managed to smuggle a hypo full of oil of wintergreen to Howmet. That stuff has been classified as poisonous- an armful of that and you'd be in a very sticky situation. You could end up in traction at the very least.'
'Don't worry about me Argent. Oil of Wintergreen is mother's milk to me. She used to rub it on my chest to clear my sinuses when I was a nipper. Breathed great lungfuls of it all those years ago at Hammersmith Raceway. If I'm not immune by now I'm going down anyway. Another armful won't make much difference to me.The medics will have trouble peeling me off the road when they come and get me though. I'm going after Howmet, and nothing's going to stop me.'
 

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'Inspector Thumb, sir. I think I may have a better way. If we can distract Howmet-keep him occupied in some site where he can't do much harm, we can try and track down this Shelsey Walsh fellow, gradually round up all the suspects and leave him isolated. I've got an undercover man working on the Scratchbuilding section. John P is his cover on this mission. I think he's come up with something that Howmet will find hard to resist. If we wait, I'm fairly sure Howmet will bite.'
'You don't think I can take him, mano a mano? Wintergreen doesn't scare me, Argent. I've put more dangerous men under lock and key before!'
'But sir- don't you realise?- We're playing with fire here. These are real people! Not fictional characters like you and me!
'What are you talking about, Argent?'
'Well, sir. We exist all right, but only in the mind of someone else. The question is, whose?'
'That's just plain daft, man. And whose mind does HE exist in, then? You could just go round and round in circles with that one.'
'What, just like slot cars, sir?'
'Don't be facetious. The point is, I'm real. Well I think I am, therefore...'
'No sir, you're wrong. For instance. What's your first name?'
'I don't have one. Proper detectives don't.'
'No- it's because the writer hasn't thought of one yet! What's your Mum's name?'
'I don't have one.'
'Exactly! And neither have I. But real people have mums!'
'For pete's sake, Argent, what's this got to do with Howmet?'
'Well, he might be the writer. He could give us mums, or he could give us mumps, depending on how he feels. And he's obviously in a disturbed state right now. I wouldn't like to mess with him. Let's keep to a policy of containment. See if we can keep his mind occupied while we get to work.'
'I'll give you another twenty four hours, Argent. After that, I'm going in. Where's Howmet now?'
'He should be in scratchbuilding- any minute now, sir.'
 

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Brian Ferguson
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Good grief.... I'm jumping all over the forums trying to keep up! Not easy since I keep tripping over the third appendage of Mrs. H's woolen creation....
 

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'We've got him sir! Our men will keep him pinned down in scratchbuilding for weeks. That JohnP can post the hind leg off a donkey.'
'Well done, Argent. Time to close in on Walsh. Very shadowy character. No prints- no previous. All we know is that he was signing books at Waterstones. I've tried interrogating the staff there, but they all seem to be fictional too- they keep telling different stories.'
'Yes, sir. But have you considered that Walsh might actually be the writer? Howmet could be a red herring. We still face the danger of fact colliding with fiction- fantasy sideswiping reality in the esses of existence...'
'Get on with it Argent.'
'Of course sir. But some philosophers consider that the imaginary and the concrete are like matter and anti-matter. When the two meet, complete mutual destruction follows. We have to think every step through, before we endanger this whole thread.'
'Yes, all right Argent. You think. I'm off for a little track testing with my MkII Jag. I suspect it needs a little more weight on the drop arm... You get everything worked out. I'll see you in the morning.'
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
This is absoutely awesome, guys! I must remember not to try and drink coffee whilst reading these posts or else I'll either choke or spray Nescafe's finest over my keyboard


Mark.
 

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Russell Sheldon
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There's definitely something fishy about Howmet.... can't quite put my finger on it.... Clint, I need some help!

Thought I'd send this snapshot of myself for Eunice.... Nothing like a bit of sunshine, you really do need to get away from dreary old Blighty, Eunice... Beats trout fishing anyday!

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Naughty Russell! No ciggy advertising now!
Although I'm sure that Eunice will be impressed, as long as she doesn't get jealous of the other laydeez gazing at your suntan!

Mark.
 
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