Chapter 2: Dragonfish

Part 1 

Part 2


“Gilly,” Samantha asks me at the ticket checkout, “do you still play the guitar?” I’ve known Sam since primary school,
“no,” I reply numbly.
Sam sighs as if feeling defeated, her cleavage resting on the edge of the countertop, “Aww,” she moans, “I was hoping…” She stops short and looks at me; her eyebrows raised, “Wait, why did you stop playing the guitar?”
I shrug my shoulders
She tilts her head, “But why?” She’s nothing if not insistent.
“Because…” I let the word roll on my tongue as I move the mouse tiredly on the mat and click another cell in a spreadsheet, “reasons.”
“Should I be worried?” She bites her bottom lip.
“Are you okay Gilly?”
I yawn from boredom at the spreadsheet glaring at me, “Yea.”
“Tired?” she giggles.
Some customers make their way over to the confectionary counter, and Sam runs across to be of assistance.
The Beatles were right you know. We’re all living in a yellow submarine, well the majority of people are. I look over to Sam and imagine us swimming away from the submarine holding hands. I’m already out of the submarine; I fell out. Sometimes I look through the little round windows, and sometimes you look back at us from inside and some of you sneer some of you smile that sympathetic, pity smile, but most people just look through us. Sometimes I think maybe you’re all sad too, confined and claustrophobic in there. It seems everyone drowns in the end. After the customers have got their chocolate, popcorn and fizzy drinks they saunter on over to me, the tickets guy. I’m the guy that changes their life with a ticket to a new perspective for a couple of hours. The fact we’ve only had these five customers is why I take the evening shift.

A ribbon of steam curls under his nose, the froth from his cappuccino staining his upper lip. Plates and cups clatter behind us with the gush of the coffee machines. The lights above our heads have a monotonous hum, and one strip of fluorescence light near the entrance keeps flickering. My social worker pours another sugar into his cappuccino. “How are you doing?”
I shrug my shoulders, my staple response. I watch as a woman walks in with an empty pram, pushing it with one hand while holding the baby in the other, the baby’s head is on her shoulder, and he or she flails her arms about and wails loudly.
“How is it going at the cinemas?”
“I’m changing lives evening by evening!”
“Sorry, I can’t hear you?” He leans over the table to hear me better.
”I’m changing lives evening by evening,” I repeat trying to raise my voice over all the noise.
”Oh,” I’m unsure if he’s heard me. His NHS Identification badge that tells you he’s a social worker with ‘Shademore NHS services’ with his name ‘Gregory Davies’ dangles down a ribbon around his neck, with a picture of him looking a bit young with a bit more hair.
“How’s the guitar going?”
“I dunno,” I gulp down some of my orange juice.
“Are you keeping to your practising schedule?”
I shake my head
“Is there any particular reason why?”
“Don’t have my guitar anymore.”
He looks at me questioningly, “Sorry,” he winces a little at the sound of the baby crying right behind him now.
”I don’t have my guitar anymore,” I repeat.
“why? what did you do with it?”
“Sold it.”
He takes a sip of his cappuccino, “Why did you sell it?” He asks, his voice rising with surprise.
“Just felt like it.”
He puts the cup down gently on the saucer, “I’ve known you long enough to know you don’t do things on a whim.” He looks at me sceptically, “you usually have reasons, a plan.”
“My plan was to make money from it.”
“I see. For anything in particular? A new guitar perhaps?”
“Hmm,” He wipes the froth from his upper lip, “It seems odd if you ask me.”
“What can I say, I’m a weird guy.”
We sit in silence amongst all the noise; the baby has since stopped crying.
“Any negative thoughts and feelings?”
“Since I last saw you?” I ask, as a way to be evasive. “Isn’t that like asking if I’ve taken a breath since?”
A little smile creeps his face, “Any I should know about?”
“Not any out of the ordinary, for me anyway.”
“So yes you’ve had the usual negative thoughts, but anything more serious?” He looks at me, expecting an answer like the previous one he quickly utters, “You know what type of thoughts I’m speaking of.” He gives me a pointed look.
I consider how to answer this one because If I appear too confident, he’d know I’m lying, but I can’t tell him the whole truth either. “I’ve had, you know, thoughts.”
He knows what I mean. “And have you wanted to act on them?”
“I’ve wanted to..”
“Do you have any plans?”
“No. It’s just a passing thought and feeling.” I lie.
“So no plans?” He asks again as if not quite hearing me.
“No, no plans. Just thoughts and feelings.” I lie again.
“What stops you acting on those thoughts and feelings?”
“Fear.” There is some truth to that, “The idea of those it’d hurt.” I lie.
I don’t believe in the long run the particular actions in question would hurt anyone. To the contrary, it would bring relief to a lot of people. But I learnt that this is the response they want. “You know what people like me lack?” I ask him.
“What?” he peers over his cup curiously.
“We lack a fundamental part of the functioning human’s psyche,”
“And what is that?”
“Delusion. Illusion. Whatever you wanna call it.”
“How so?” he puts his empty cup down with a little clink.
“See to function a human needs delusion. It’s like what that writer Albert Camus said about suicide being the most rational answer.”
“I see.” He tilts his head, the light flickering behind him at the entrance.
“If you go too high on the scale with delusion you get the mental illness label, if you never even get on the scale you also get diagnosed with mental illness! My problem is, I see that life is meaningless and I have no illusions to put a veil over it. It’s just there, bleak as it is staring at me.”
“What if your delusion is thinking you’re not deluded?” He chuckles, “A common delusion,” he winks, “I find.”
“But objectively speaking there is no purpose. I’m rational in an irrational world. It’s perfectly rational to be depressed in this world, to see that life is meaningless.”
“But if life itself is so irrational, then why bother spending time being so rational?”
“Rationality or lack of it isn’t a choice.” I gulp down the last drops of my orange juice, “Plus, without any rationality, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
My social worker tilts his head to one side, “But according to your theory rationality is, in fact, an illness.”
“No. Too much rationality without delusion is an illness. You need an illusion to drive the rationality you do have into something that can be used to thrive. You take away a delusion that propels that rationality then you have no wheels to spin the thriving.”
“So delusion is like the wind to a windmill?” He picks up his empty cup and looks down at the emptiness then puts it down again.
“Yes. Or water to a watermill.” I squish the bottle in my fist.
“Interesting.” He rests his chin on his hand.
“And that’s the problem with trying to treat people like me.”
“I gather you’re feeling hopeless.”
“I guess,” I shrug my shoulders, “I mean I suppose I feel that way but I also know that feeling is bullshit because hopelessness necessitates that hope exists somewhere or did exist at some point.”
“You’re a very deep thinker, I think to your own detriment.”
“Detriment to what?”
“Objectively to your survival, to your own thriving.”
“What happens once a person has seen how an illusion works? You can no longer see past the fact it’s an illusion! So any treatment is simply about installing illusions and some mild delusions of worthiness, meaningfulness. But what if you can’t unsee the truth that it’s all just lies we have built into our psyche purely for survival?”

Part 2 of Chapter 1: Dragonfish

Read part 1 of this chapter

The neon sign glares through the bus stop and reflects on the night washed pavements; it’s raining that summer rain, and it’s humid as hell.
“Gilly,” A voice beckons to me, loud and boisterous, “My man! How are you doin’?”
I turn to see who it is; it’s a guy I used to know from school, I nod in acknowledgement of his presence, hoping he doesn’t wish for any more conversation.
“How’re ya doing?” I know this is just that thing people call small talk, and he doesn’t give two shits about me, I turn to look at the bus routes.
“Have you heard the news?” He continues on
I nod and I look down at the shiny pavement, closing one eye then closing the other watching how the reflection of lights appear to change their position.
“What do you think?”
I look at my shoelaces that I’ve just noticed have come undone, I find his topic of conversation to be too vague, I shrug my shoulders.
“Ah man, you’re still as awkward as ever.” he smiles, and fist bumps my shoulder.
He used to do that to me at school ironically to take the piss out of my supposed social incompetence.
“But yeah,” he leans against the glass, “Shademore high is closing down.”
“Oh” I manage
“Yeah.” He shrugs his shoulders, “It’s a real piss take because my auntie was gonna put my little cousin in Shadmore.”
He runs a hand through his hair, “She’s ranting at us all the time now, man!” he leans his head back against the glass, “We can’t move again.” He says, trying to mimic his aunties voice.
I nod to show I’m listening as I watch rain drops on a reflection of a green neon light. “Ofsted closed them down, said they’re not up to scratch,” he laughed, “They’d been threatening that all the time when we were there,” he looks at me, “do you remember?”
I can only nod, I remember it well because every time rumours got around about Shadmorehigh closing I was fucking buzzing! But then I’d consider the fact my mother wasn’t just going to keep me out of school if it closed down, she’d just take me to a new one. And then I’d get angsty about Shadmore high closing.
“I mean,” he continues with himself, “It’s not like we turned out bad is it?” He laughs, though it’s clearly fake, “I mean we’re still alive, right?”
He asks as if needing reassurance.
I take quick glances at him as I take in all the changes that have happened to him since school, never crossing that threshold of looking at his eyes. He’s filled out since his school days, we both have. He has a goatee and is wearing long shorts and sandals with white socks.
I never thought he’d be one to dress like that, sandals and stuff. He’d have pulled a mooney through the bus window at the guy he’s dressed as now. “It’s gonna start lightning soon,” he lifts his bag from the bench,  and points to the sky “got all my camera gear in here.” He grins.
A woman about the same age as us; in her late 20’s comes and sits where his bag was. She’s chewing gum and smoking a cigarette.
“What you doing nowadays, anyway?” Nick asks, his eyes subtly glancing over at the woman.
I shrug.
I shrug again, close my eyes tight and try to unleash the leash around my throat, “Work.”
“Ah.” He nods his head, “Yeah, life got old quick after school and all that shit, eh?”
“I…I guess.” It’s like he read my mind, then again life got old way before leaving school if you ask me!
His bus arrives, and he rummages in his big pockets on his khaki shorts, “Nice seeing ya, Gilly.” he steps on the bus and shows his pass, the driver nods his approval and Nick walks on and is still walking to a seat as the bus starts moving.

“What kinda name is ‘Gilly?'” She chews loudly in between her words.
I feel my body go more rigid, wooden. I freeze up inside. A stranger is talking to me; I don’t like the intrusion.
She scoffs, “Cat got your tongue?”
My taxi arrives just in the nick of time, my saving grace. I go to open the car door when her voice, shrill behind me, “Eh, are you ignoring me?”
I quickly get into the back of the car, tell the driver my address and the car jerks forward.
I find myself looking out the rear window at the woman chewing gum.

Part 1 of Chapter 1: Dragonfish

The neon sign from the cinemas glares through the glass panels of the bus stop, my taxi arrives and a bus pulls up behind it.
“You have nice night?” The driver asks me in a strong Asian accent
“Yea,” my eyes dart around the interior of the car, I take a deep breath.
There is that summer hum of distant mopeds, and for a moment I reminisce of holidays as a child in Spain.
But to serve as a stark reminder, there are stickers all over the cab advertising ‘Shademore taxis at the lowest price for all local destinations an more.’
“Nice summer,” The driver intones as the car jerks forward and the air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror swings rhythmically to the motion.
“Yea,” I try a smile and think about a line I read in a book the other night where the protagonist pays a cab driver more money not to talk. I consider for a fleeting moment that I do should do the same.
“You been out with nice girl?” The driver asks in his broken English.
I focus down on my shoelaces, “No.”
“Shame,” I don’t look to greet his eyes in the rearview mirror, but I know he’s staring at me through it and that he’s grinning with white pearly teeth.
“Right turn at traffic light?”
“Yes,” I confirm the direction.
I feel a sense of relief sinks into my flesh as we edge closer to my flat, and I let my breath settle into the moment as the car pulls up outside the building.
I show the driver my Shademore disability pass to get a lower price.
He clicks his tongue on the roof of his mouth and shakes his head as he looks at his counter on the dashboard, “Should show pass when begin!”
I always forget, “Sorry.”
He smiles and I try to mimic the action of a normal smile back to him but it just feels like the friction of lips behind forced off their hinges.
“Never mind,” He waves away my apology but with a huff at the end of his sentence ejaculating his frustration.
I give him the money and close the door, running my finger down the edge four times to double-check it’s really closed.
The driver is eyeing me through his window, his face the epitome of a living question mark. I watch him pull away and drive off.

The lobby of the building is lit up, I pause and gaze through the gaps in the blind through the window and see a man checking his post. I wait for the figure to go and for the light to go off before putting my key in the door and turning. The light beams back on as I enter and then darkens once I’ve left the lobby and the other corridors light up to my presence till I arrive at my door.

My flat greets me with a calm emptiness. Security lights beam a little glow through the windows from the garden. I close the blinds, just another day over in a life not long for this earth.
The laptop whitewashes my face against the vast blackness of my empty flat. I’m picturing myself with a lightbulb head on a regular human body; I imagine my lightbulb head in different scenarios like walking down a dark unlit alley and lighting up the path as I walk. Drunks and druggies are stood against the wall, their faces reflecting orange from my head. Yes, I’d wear a suit with a tie and draw an ironic happy face on the glass. Come to think of it the bulb would be a dud; it would keep flickering on and off with a fizzing sound in between each flick. I’d go off into the town of Shademore at night with a smiley face drawn on my head and stand outside someone’s window, “police,” his or her voice will say shakily down the line, “there is a lightbulb stalking me.”


Shortie and Lanky

Shortie and lanky stood across the road from their target. The rain spat at the collars of their topcoats. Shortie puffed on his cigar, his hands dug deep into his coat pockets.
“How’re we gonna do this?” Lanky asked as he lit a cigarette.
Shortie bit down on his cigar and shifted it between his lips, “The usual.”
Lanky smirked taking the cigarette from his lips between two fingers, “There is no usual with you.”
Shortie turned to look over his shoulder at him, “Wipe that smirk off your face!” He turned back to their target.
The women inside the building were none the wiser of their future assailants standing across from them. They chatted over the sounds of music and hair dryers with the women sat in front of them as they cut their hair.
“You can’t go in there,” Lanky pointed with the cigarette between his fingers.
“Why not?”
“You’ll stand out! You’re a local, and you’re a short fucker!”
Shortie turned to his accomplice, “You don’t talk to me like that, Mucker.”
His hand raised so fast Lanky didn’t have time to respond before the slap hit him sharp on the cheek, “You hear me?” Shortie said with his cigar clenched between his teeth.
“There was no need for that!” Lanky cried rubbing his face.
The slap was hard enough to little a temporary red mark which Lanky felt no qualms to moan about.
“Shut it, mucker!” Shortie said as he stared across at the hairdressers. “What do you propose we do then, smart arse?”
Lanky shrugged.
“You’re so full of ideas you,” Shortie whistled full of sarcasm.
“I don’t see you coming up with any!” Lanky hissed through a haze of smoke. “Anyway,” Lanky dropped the end of the cigarette on the ground and twisted the bottom of his shoe on it, “I thought we didn’t hurt women?”
Shorties mouth dropped open as if to say something before turning into a scowl, “We don’t!” He dug his hands even deeper into his pockets. “I don’t want to hurt them, I won’t hurt them. But you know who their boss is!”
Lanky’s face twitched in anger, “Yea,” He looked across at the hairdressers now with hate in his eyes, “Yea I know.”
“I know what we could do,” Shortie started.
Lanky stared the building across from them down not so discreetly. Shortie turned on his heels and walloped him.
“Jesus!” Lanky rubbed his face again staggering a little, “What was that for?”
“Being a little bitch,” Shortie shook his head, “You know what for!” He rolled his eyes, “Take Lanky, he’s discreet as they come!” He shook his head again, “Discreet as they come, my arse!”
“Fuck you,”
Shortie raised his hand, “Are you asking for another slap?”
Lanky stepped back a little and shook his head, holding his hands up in appeasement.
“Anyway,” Shortie began, “I’ve got an idea.” He rubbed his hands excitedly and ushered Lanky back up the street to their car.

“What is this plan of yours then?” Lanky asked impatiently in the passenger seat.
“Well,” Shortie gripped the steering wheel and listened to the ticking of his indicator. “We’ll find other men the same height as me!”
Lanky bit back a chortle, “And where are going to find these short fuckers?”
“Never you mind that!”
“I will mind!” Lanky frowned, “It’s my ass on the line as much as yours!”
They sat in silence as the car jerked forward and out of the space at the side of the road. Lanky turned the radio on to fill the silence.
Shortie concentrated on the road with his cigar still clenched between his lips.
Lanky fidgeted in his seat with huffs and puffs of breath in boredom.
“Jesus Christ, Lanks!” Shortie spat.
“Can you sit still for a second in your life?”
Lanky shook his head, “Nope.”
“Anyway,” Shortie turned the radio off, “Want to hear my plan?”
Lanky was eager to hear it, ready to lap it up like a lapdog.
“We’re gonna find some shortie muckers like me,”
Lanky couldn’t help himself, “From the Short Gangsta Society.”
Shortie turned his neck to face Lanky so fast he could’ve given himself whiplash, “How did you know?”
Lanky’s mouth dropped, “Wh…What?” He shook his head in disbelief.
“How did you know about the Short Gangsta Society?”
“Wha…I did…what?”
“You’re looking at the fucking founder of it!”
Lanky laughed, “Oh I see you’re pulling my leg!”
Shortie frowned, “No.”
Lankie stopped laughing abruptly and looked at Shortie sheepishly, “You’re…You’re serious?”
“Of course I’m fucking serious!”
“Shut it, Mucker!” Shortie pulled into the drive of a big mansion.
Their footsteps on the hallway floor echoed.
“Shoes off!” Shortie told him as he undid his own laces and carefully placed his to one side.
Shortie led Lanky to his living room.
In the middle was a grand fireplace with a sheepskin rug laid in front of it.
Lanky sat down on an L shaped leather sofa and Shortie across from him on an old brown leather chair. “So I’m going to get a team of men the same height as me,”
Lanky nodded in agreement as he listened.
Shortie cut and lit another cigar, “and then we’re going to,” Shortie knew this bit was sure to get a laugh so he readied himself for it, finding it a little amusing himself, “We’re gonna dress up as women.”
Lanky’s mouth gawped open, “you…”
“I’m not kidding,” Shortie said with a chuckle.
Lanky frowned and looked at him, his face contorting with question.
“Oh I’m for real, but it don’t mean it aint funny!” Shortie slapped an arm of the chair and laughed.
Lanky forced a laugh while he gauged his companion’s reaction, when his fake laugh only catered to further Shorties own laughing he started to laugh for real till tears ran down his face, “You’re gonna…” He couldn’t speak for laughing, “Dress up as women?”
“Yes,” Shortie smiled a short, sharp smile then a foreboding looking crossed his face.
Lanky stopped laughing abruptly and looked Shortie in the eyes.
“We’d all be a good height for that.”
Lanky had to bite back more amusement, “But for the other differences like your voices, muscles, fat, built…” He continued on.
“Are you saying there is only one type of build for women?” Shortie shook his head, “You’ve read too many Nuts magazines!”
“Just because you’re wife…”
Shortie scolded him midsentence with a look.
“Sorry,” Lanky grimaced. “So,” Lanky nodded his head toward Shortie, “You’re all going to dress up as women then?”
“Then go in there and ransack the place!”
“And if someone catches you? As soon as you speak, you’ll give yourselves away!”
“I’ll put on my best woman’s voice!” Shortie smiled.
“Go on then.”
Shortie cleared his throat, “Okay,” He cleared his throat again and jutted his neck out from his collar like a chicken, “Okay,” He cleared his throat once more.
“Oh for fuck sake stop stalling!”
“I’ll have you know I’m not that kind of lady!” Shortie said in a voice that sounded more like a teenage boy whose voice hadn’t fully cracked. He tried again, this time trying to go higher, “I’ll have you know…” His throat hurt from the effort, “I can’t go any higher than that!”
“Well, this plan already looks good!”
“Fuck you, Lanks!”


Thought Grime #2

“Park here, will you.” The chief detective ordered, flicking ash out the window.
“Sir.” Hugh nodded his acknowledgement and parked up neatly.
The man that answered the door to them had puffy eyes hidden behind his glasses, peering out from behind his door, “Hello, what do you want?” He said in a shaky voice.
The chief detective held up his badge, his foot already on the man’s doorstep, “care to let us in?” It wasn’t a question it was an order. The man stepped aside and opened the door further for the two men to come in
“Care to tell me your names?” He asked, hobbling to his armchair.
“This here is Hugh.” The detective pointed towards Hugh.
“And you are?”
The detective loosened the buttons on his coat, “people call me Grim.” He tried a friendly smile, but his scarred face and piercing eyes gave off a sinister air whatever he did with himself.
“That’s a nice name.” The old man said, not convincingly.
“It’s pretty grim.” Grim grinned, showing white teeth with just a little yellowing.
“Are you here about the…” the man dared utter the word.
“The?” Grim asked, determined the man should ask for himself.
The man’s eyes shifted behind his puffed up skin and bit his bottom lip nervously, “you know,” he looked embarrassed, “the marijuana.”
Hugh looked towards Grim, and Grim returned a glance, both their lips quivering into faint smiles, “no, but now that you mention it,” Hugh smiled at the man, “where is this marijuana you speak of?”
The man slumped down in his seat, and shook his head in a fast shaky motion, “no! No! No!” He slammed his walking stick on the carpet, “please,” he began to plead, “don’t take it from me.” He looked up at Hugh, who was still stood, “please, it’s all I have to take the damn pain away.” He held out his hand before Hugh and spread his arthritic fingers out, “see,” his hand tremored, “so much pain.” He cried.
Hugh smiled sympathetically at the man, “don’t worry, I was only asking in case you had enough for us to have some.” Hugh winked.
The old man startled into silence for a moment started a throaty laugh, “don’t trick an old man like that!” He wiped his mouth and continued laughing.
“So you haven’t heard?” Grim asked, sceptically.
“Heard what?” The old man asked, appearing genuine.
“We’re here because there was a gruesome murder last night.”
The old man slumped back in his chair, closed his eyes tight behind his glasses, his shaking hand on his lips, “murder?” He asked, his tremor had since worsened. “Murder?” He repeated in disbelief, “round here?”
“Right in this neighbourhood,” Grim confirmed.
“What, right here?” The old man pointed outside his window, “so close to my house?”
“I’m afraid so,” Grim crossed one leg over the other, “I’d be right in assuming you didn’t hear anything last night?”
“You’d be right; I go to bed at nine sharp!”
“And so it’s safe to assume you didn’t witness anything?” Hugh asked, running his finger across a dusty shelf and inspecting his finger.
“Yes, you’d be right to assume that! What happened? Who was killed?”
“We’re still figuring out the first question,” Grim answered.
“It was a Frederick Archer.” Hugh finished.
The old man was visibly shaken by the name, tears pooling at his puffy eyes, “not Frederick.” He slouched forwards in his chair and sobbed loudly. “Not Frederick.” He wailed.
Grim and Hugh shared a glance, “you knew Frederick then?” Grim asked.
“He brought me my shopping, he..” the old man gulped, took off his glasses and wiped at his face, “he did everything for me.” He looked out the window, something about looking outside only set him off more, “no,” he shook his head, “it can’t be!” He turned to look at both detectives pleadingly, “it can’t be!”
“We’re sorry for your loss,” Hugh said softly.

Thought Grime #1

I am God, for I am the omnipotent narrator, I see, hear, and tell. These characters are as real as you and I, for I have brought them breath in all that follows:

There is a man, whom, shall we call, Frederick? Yes, it is a rather nice name! Indeed, let’s start with Frederick. Just last week Frederick was swimming in a lake, his arse crack and cheeks the first thing one would see, if they looked down from the balconies on the opposite street. And as he got out of the lake, stretching his naked body in all his splendour, had you looked from the balconies mentioned previously, you would see his torso and nipples erect from the cold water. His penis gleamed with the reflection of street lamps as water dripped down from the head onto the puddle he’d left. And had you been sat on one of those balconies that fateful night, you would have witnessed a death so grotesque you would be stumbling to find your words. For a man, who remains nameless and indeed faceless wormed his way up to the lake, in complete silence, Just as an owl seemingly glides towards its prey. The detectives knocked on neighbouring houses and streets the next day, trying to get a vision of that most bloody night! When they knocked on dear old Alices door, she was consumed absolutely from the sheer fright of it. “I saw it all!” she exclaimed, eyes wide and a tremor throughout her body.
“Sit down, Miss, ” the main detective said, “Now tell us, what exactly did you see?”
Alice sat down and put her head in her hands, “Blood, so much blood.”
“Anything before that?” The other detective asked, a smaller man than the first.
“Yes, Frederick was swimming in the lake.” She stops talking at once, as a thought enters her head and a naughty smile almost creeps on her face ‘what a time for such thoughts’ she said to herself silently, scolding herself.
“Please, carry on,” the bigger detective said, looking serious.
“He got out of the lake, he was stretching when he….” she lifted her eyes from her shoes, what they were doing on her shoes and not on her; you’ll never know. Anyhow, I digress, she lifted her eyes and put them in their rightful place, looking towards the officer with an intensity that could sting, “He, that man, that monster sneaked up behind him and….” She covered her mouth and shifted her eyes, water beginning to pour out of them. “Well you know the rest.” she sniffed.
“No, Miss, we don’t.” The main detective said, his jaw clenching with agitation.
“Well you’ve seen the mess!” she hissed.
“Yes, but I’m asking what you saw. I am a witness only to the aftermath, not the crime.” He reminded her, “please,” he nodded his head towards her “Do go on.”
“Well this man who, who I couldn’t make out very well,”
“Let me stop you there,” the chief detective interrupted, “how do you know it’s a man if you can’t make the killer out?”
“It was a man alright!” Alice exclaimed, her nostrils flaring, “no woman would do such a thing,” she shook her head, “not like that, anyway!”
“You’d be surprised,” the chief detective said.
“Are you here to question me as a suspect, or do you want to hear my account of the nightmare?” She asked assertively.
“I’m just trying to get a clear picture.”
“Oh, well next time I’ll make sure to take a photo of any crime I witness, shall I?” What a sassy character Alice was turning out to be.
“Okay,” the detective sighed. Meanwhile, the other smaller detective was pacing around the lounge inspecting pictures up on the wall. “Carry on.”
“I couldn’t make him out, but I saw something like a pair of scissors, but bigger,” she tapped at her skull, “ah what do you call them?” she closed her eyes tight, “Ah bugger! What do ya call them damn things?”
“Garden shears, perhaps, Mrs..” the smaller detective said, letting the word Mrs roll on his tongue as a question.
“I’m not married.”
“Miss?” He let that word roll too.
“Miss Cleaves”
“Okay, Miss Cleaves”
“Yes now we have that formality out the way, what was your suggestion?”
“Garden shears.”
Alice Cleaves eyes lit up, “Yes!” she slapped her thigh, “Yes! That is what they were, garden shears!”
“So let me get this straight” the bigger detective started, scribbling something in a notebook, “You couldn’t make the perpetrator out, but you could make out that the weapon of choice was a pair of shears?”
“Or something like them!”
“Then what did you see?” The shorter one asked, interrupting his own inspection of a family portrait, turning back to it as he waited for an answer.
“Well, the next thing I know, I hear this startled sound, across between a stifled scream and a sob and then his head was cut clean off!” She looks down at her shoes, “Oh god, it’s so awful!” she cries.
“I see you like gardening,” the smaller of the two detectives said now stood at the doors leading onto her balcony, he opened the doors and pulled out a pair of shears from some dirt in a plant pot.
The detective sat on the couch in front of her, looked at his partner then towards Alice, “do you mind if we bag them?”
She was visibly shaken at such an idea, “you’re treating me like a suspect again!”
The detective smiled, “Everyone is a suspect, Miss Cleaves. Even lovely ladies such as yourself.”
“You can’t seriously believe I could…” she pauses, possibly for effect, she shakes her head “do that.” she finishes in a whisper.
“I don’t believe, Miss Cleaves,” the detective said, “I don’t believe a single thing.”
“So what do you believe?” not realising the stupidity of her question, given what he had just said.
“As I said, I don’t believe anything.”
“But you must think I had something to do with it, to..” she rubs her forehead as if a headache is coming on, “to want to take them away,” she pointed at the shears, “for evidence!” she exclaimed.
“I don’t believe; I just look for evidence. I’m going by your word, scissor-like weapon, possibly shears, and what do we have here? A pair of shears, so one must investigate.”
“Well, you won’t find anything untoward with those.” She told them.
“Yes, one can hope, and I certainly do hope that is the case.” the detective smiles. “Now,” he turns to his partner, “Hugh, shall we?”
Hugh takes the shears and closes the door, “yes, very well.” He heads towards the front door, “Thank you for all your information, Miss Cleaves.”
Alice stands with her arms folded, looking at the bigger detective, “You’d do well to get manners like Hugh here.” she nods towards Hugh.
“Hugh’s young. He’ll learn one day.” the detective chuckles.