108. Soft Hearted Hannah

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I fell in love with my soft-hearted Hana
She entered right in through my heart
And now although we're miles apart
I still feel her


25th February 1972

'Hey,' Bobby says behind him, then again, louder, 'HEY!'

John ignores him and carries on with what he's doing, namely smashing the telephone receiver against edge of the metal phone box shelf with the intention of either breaking the phone or knocking the shelf off the wall. Whichever comes first. Childish, he knows. Pointless, but it makes him feel better.

'That's property of the General Post Office! What did they ever do to you?!' Bobby says and when John continues to blank him, shouts, 'Oi! Lennon! D'you hear me?!'

He sounds like one of the old school masters. Quarrybank. Oi, Lennon! Shotton! Freeze right there!

John stops, then gives the phone one final slam down onto its cradle. A triangular chunk of plastic flicks off the mouthpiece, hitting one of the small phone box windows with a clunk.

He sucks air in through his nose, deep into his lungs to quell his temper, then fixes an ersatz smile on his face and turns around to face Bobby.

'Still no answer,' he says, flippantly.

'You don't say.'

Bobby stands just outside the phone box in his olive green trench coat, too big for him, holding the record box clasped in both hands against his knees, and regarding John like he's trying to assess his sanity.

'Well, where the fuck is he?' John says and steps past Bobby to light - another - cigarette. He nabbed a full packet from George's kitchen this morning. Now, with all the waiting around, there's only three left.

Bobby shakes his head. 'We could just go back there and find out.'

'No,' John says, exhaling smoke into the cold February air. 'No, that's going back on ourselves. I'll give him ten minutes and try again.'

'You've rung George four times. He's either not in or he's ignoring you.'

'We're not going back to Friar Park. We've got to keep going. We've got to keep moving forward. We have to... I have to find her.'

He steps down off the edge of the pavement and sits down heavily on the kurb, feet splayed out in front of him, legs crooked and shoulders hunched. Not an entirely comfortable sitting position and the ground is wetter and colder than he'd anticipated, but so what. This suits the mood perfectly. Suits this whole fucking day. Here he will stay, in the gutter, in despair, until he works out this fucking riddle.

Bobby stands behind him. He's good at that. The silence. The waiting. The words unspoken. It's a little unnerving.

Bobby Teale was not what John was expecting. He'd only met the Kray twins the once; that night at Hannah's housewarming party in sixty-six; but once was enough. He'd followed the story in the paper like the rest of the nation, unaware of Hannah's involvement fully. The arrest, the trial, the damning life sentences. They didn't mention Bobby Teale in the news reports of course and John had no memory of him being at that party, although Hannah had told him he was.

Hannah had a small photo of Bobby that she'd kept in one of her books, her journals. It was a tiny portrait, no bigger than a postage stamp. It didn't show what he really looked like. John had imagined Bobby Teale to be someone akin to Ronnie and Reggie and their gang. Tall, dark, suited and booted and built like a brick shithouse. Instead, this colossus who'd taken down London's answer to the Mafia was a skinny, shortish bloke, who looked more like he might have come round to sweep the chimney than do the bidding of England's most notorious criminals.

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