A Short Science Fiction story written by Guest Author: Pamela Cleaver
This story was penned in the 1970s – more innocent times. Sci-Fi was in its infancy and much of the technology is out of date. Originally published in an Anthology entitled Space 2
Inspector Deeping was worried: it had been happening for a fortnight now and he couldn’t understand it. If Everington had been a big city, it would have been understandable. Muggings, vandalism and other crimes of destructive violence happened all the time in cities, but Everington was a suburban district which had only recently developed from a village to town status by the addition and accredition of various housing estates.
His first thought, when the crime figures for his normally peaceable area went rocketing up, was that some criminal element had moved onto one of the newer estates, but he had immediately checked and found it was not so. There were one or two bad eggs in the new batches, but they soon proved they were not involved in Everington’s new crime wave.
The other thing that troubled him was the description of the criminals; in the few cases where they had been seen, they did not appear to conform to any known group. Threee elderly people had been knocked down and rendered unconscious – straight-forward muggings, Inspector Deeping had thought, except that the victims had not been robbed and the crimes seemed gratuitous and motiveless. From the description of the assailants, seen in the half dark, he had built up a curious picture. It seemed they were young people (no-one was sure if they were boys or girls) their hair was long, the locks dyed a mixture of green and blue. They wore silver trousers, jackets and boots. It sounded even stranger than the usual weird teenage gear.
Then there were four telephone boxes that had been smashed up, and six automatic vending machines that had been battered. The blue and green haired boys seemed to be involved in some cases, but in others there were some even stranger characters : shaven-headed hooligans dressed in scarlet robes.
“Are you having me on?” Inspector Deeping asked Sergeant Peel severely when he brought the reports in.
“No, honestly sir, that’s what the woman said who saw them running away. I asked her the same thing. Thought she might have been …” and he tilted his wrist to signify drinking, “but she was sober as a judge, and swore that was what they looked like.”
Inspector Deeping sucked on his pipe sceptically, but put the reports in his file. If they were not logical, he wondered where the strangely garbed youngsters were coming from. He asked his car patrols whether they had seen any groups coming into Everington from outside the district on motor bikes or in jalopies. But they had seen nothing unusual over the past two weeks. Not really surprising, he said to himself cynically, Everington was the sort of place you went away from, not came to.
He decided the only thing to do was to consult an expert, and who would be more knowledgeable about teenage behaviour than another teenager? So after supper, he took Tim, his seventeen-year-old son, for a walk.
“I want to pick your brains,” he told him and Tim came willingly, flattered to be consulted. “I want to know about any groups round here who dress in a special way,” he said.
“What – like the Skins in their bovver boots, or the Angels in their leather jackets?” asked Tim.
“That’s the sort of thing,” said Inspector Deeping, “but we know about them, though. Are there any new groups?”
Tim shrugged. “The Skins have mostly grown their hair, they call them Suedeheads now, you know, and they don’t wear bovver boots, they’re into crepe-soled boots with wedge heels. The Angels are still around, but not much in Everington.”
“Most of the kids are into embroidered denim, but that’s general,” said Tim, “not any special group. There aren’t really any gangs in Everington.”
Inspector Deeping made much of lighting his pipe before he asked his next question. “What would you think of chaps with their hair dyed green and blue, wearing silver jeans, silver jackets and silver boots?”
Tim breathed a great sigh of admiration. “Wow, way out – like intergalactic, man!”
Deeping tried not to smile. “Intergalactic – that’s a new one on me.”
“It’s even further out than way out,” said Tim patiently, “it’s the ultimate.”
“I see, but do you know about this group with the silver gear?”
“No,” said Tim, “but I wouldn’t mind!”
“I don’t advise it,” said his father repressively, “they’re in big trouble. Look Tim, you don’t mind me asking all this?”
The boy shook his head.
“Well there’s another group even odder. They wear scarlet robes and have shaven heads. Do you know them?”
“Nope,” said Tim, “but they don’t sound very turned-on. Say Dad, are you really looking for kooks like this, or are you putting me on?”
The Inspector shook his head. “I said almost the same ting to Sergeant Peel when he told me about them. I really have got problems dressed in those clothes. Do one thing more for me Tim? Keep your eyes open at the Youth Club, will you?”
Tim agreed, and they continued on their way.
To be continued (here)