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Posts Tagged ‘Mystery’

Stain is your stereotypical washed-up cop. He’s good for nothing, surfing a life of indolence and drunkenness on past glories until he can get to retirement. Then, weirdly, he gets given a serious and important case and may have to reassess his life and career.

Stain is one of a series of ‘neopulp’ short stories I have written, updating the pulp tropes of the 20s-40s with a more modern sensibility, though not necessarily a more modern setting.

You can buy Stain HERE.

It is also bundled with my other short stories HERE

It will be available on other vendors (Lulu, Kindle etc, soon).

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Charlston P Buttcat (Esq)

Charleston P Buttcat (Esq)

I took my furry companions in to the vet to be snipped this morning. I did not want to do it particularly, despite understanding why it’s important (too many rescue kittens, feline AIDS, antisocial cat behaviour etc). We’d put it off because we wanted Charlie Cat to be a ‘proper’ cat. That is a no-bullshit, fully-grown tomcat. Plus he’s such an awesome cat he should have the opportunity to sire some kittens.

So, after a bit of a fight (I only lost two feet square of skin and one eye) both cats, Nik and Charlie, were safely secured in their respective carriers and off we went to the vets with a chorus of yowling. All the way there I harboured a sense of deep unworthiness. I was betraying my dudes.

We get to the vet, fill out all the forms, have a nice chat with a vet assistant from the village and then take the boys in for their pre-flight check.

Consternation.

Charlie’s nards are nowhere to be found.

Are we sure we didn’t have him done?

Yes.

Are we sure he wasn’t done when we got him (8 weeks old). We’re sure, but we call the lady we got him from (my mum’s cousin) to check. Definitely no, that’s too young to get them done.

Does he act like a tomcat? Yes. He ranges far and wide, he hunts a lot. We’re pretty sure he’s sired kittens and while we don’t go regularly checking our cat’s genitalia we’re pretty sure we remember him having a pair of black, furry walnuts back there.

Vet goes to get a second opinion. That vet can’t see any balls either.

They both feel up his belly in case they’re undescended (this can happen, but is rare, and double undescended testicles is almost unheard of). Can’t feel anything in his belly to suggest retained nads.

Charlie suffers the indignity of having his genitals shaved as the quest for the golden balls continues.

Nothing. We do find what could be a well-healed scar, though the vet isn’t completely sure.

The possibilities are as follows:

  1. Charlie Cat has an incredibly rare medical condition where his testes are internal, but none of the vets can feel them in there with a touch exam.
  2. Some motherfucker kidnapped my cat and, without my consent, had him snipped.

Given the only option to settle the issue was expensive and dangerous exploratory surgery I elected not to go ahead and brought him home.

I’m making a bit of a joke of it here, but I’m actually super upset. We made an informed and conscious decision not to have him snipped and it appears some bastard decided they knew better. He’s unlikely to have been picked up as a stray since we live out in the country and there’s no farm-cat colonies around here any more (and there haven’t been for some considerable time). So someone in the village took it upon themselves to do this to my cat, my friend, muse and companion.

Nikopotamus Q Needleclaw (OBE)

Nikopotamus Q Needleclaw (OBE)

Why didn’t we notice? I’m not in the habit of checking my cats’ genitals, plus Charlie has pretty thick belly and butt fur that covers him up a bit.

Charlie has obviously been violated (this must be what alien abduction ‘victims’ feel like) but I also feel violated. It’s not unlike the feeling of being robbed or of a friend being beaten up. Someone has invaded something or someone you love and done harm to them. Violated their personal sanctity.

Nik’s still getting the snip though. Go back to pick him up this afternoon.

Poor little sod 😦

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tumblr_m4e9nhnZSE1r7dlj2o1_500

I think my next project, once my brain sorts itself out, will be a collection of short genre-erotica. The idea’s been teasing at me and I intend to do the same sort of format that I did for the pulp stories. That is, approximately 6k stories with approximately 1.5k word ‘episodes’ in four parts forming the story as a whole. I don’t know if I’ll post the pre-edited versions here as I did before, but I might.

The current plan, subject to change, would be:

  1. The Other Woman – An espionage story about a female agent of particular talent and deadly ability.
  2. Tiger Bone – An adventure story about tourists running afoul of tiger poachers.
  3. The Lady in the Castle – A fantasy story about a spoiled brat of a maid waiting in her tower for her prince to come.
  4. Cold Hands – A horror story or ‘paranormal romance’ in which a woman takes a vampire for her lover but things don’t turn out sparkles and rainbows.
  5. No Refuge – A ‘grande guignol’ mystery in which an adulterous lover is betrayed by his unconscious mind.
  6. Heart of Glass – A detective story in which our detective tries to track down a gang of jewel thieves known for using sex as a weapon.
  7. Have a Heart – A science fiction story about a jealous robot.
  8. Conqueror of the Clouds – A steampunk story of an amazing airship and its unconventional captain.
  9. Iron in the Fire – A western story about an ambitious saloon girl dealing with her competition.
  10. Debt before Dishonour – A fantasy story in which a sell-sword finds himself on the slave blocks of Khem.
  11. The Ambassador – A science fiction story about the obsequiousness of humanity in serving a more advanced race.
  12. The Suitor – A horror story about a very persistent suitor.

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A vigilante, a ‘working class Batman’, aims to bring Justice to the streets in the 1970s. A pulp style story of corruption, violence and murder. How high does the corruption go and what can one man with a gasmask and a tool-belt do about it?

DrivethruFiction

Kindle – Soon, search Amazon

Smashwords

Lulu

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There are pubs for all sorts of people. There are pubs for cops, sportsmen or criminals. There are pubs for politicians and barristers. There are pubs for the Irish and the Scots. I suppose I should drink with other policemen, but I don’t often feel like it. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I want to commiserate and bemoan the state of the world, to listen to the self-satisfied assertions that we’re the thin blue line against the chaos.

Most of the time I drink somewhere else.

There’s a pub in Camden where the freaks and the geeks, the trannies and the fetishists, the queens and would-be artists like to get together before and after they go clubbing and it’s here. Amongst the freaks that I get to actually feel vaguely normal. They’re a surprisingly accepting bunch and they know to leave me alone. The music’s atrocious, but I feel that way about all music, so that’s not a big problem for me.

The best thing about it is, with a clientèle of students and starving artists, the drinks are cheap – at least by London’s standards. That means I can afford the decent whisky long enough to get me too drunk to care about the cheap crap. Once you’re numb, even supermarket vodka tastes fine. You’ve just got to get there first.

I was working on getting there.

I’d managed to camp out a seat at the bar before the black-clad night people emerged from their clubs like bats and by the time they swirled in around me bickering and having loud, melodramatic, teenage drama I was already half-cut.

“ROUGH DAY EH?” The barman, Bob, shouted over the caterwauling music.

“YES,” no point saying much more, finesse wouldn’t be heard over the deafening hubbub.

He took the bottle down from the optics and filled my glass, waving away the twenty I tried to give him. Bob earned himself a place as patron saint of drunk cops in my personal pantheon.

I drank until Bob closed up. He let me stay an hour after and I worked my magic, making most of the rest of the bottle disappear. Even Bob’s largesse runs out after a while though and then you’re out on the street in the evening air with the rest of the drunks, the tramps the cleaners and the freaks. My people.

What was waiting for me at home? Fuck all really. A broken kitchen window and neighbours I should be arresting for one thing or another. I didn’t feel like going back there so I just wandered all through the night. I remember some of it. Finding a late-opening bar that kept me drunk until five in the morning. A garage where I picked up some B&H and a small bottle of awful Canadian whiskey that tasted like molten earwax. I remember a kebab and I remember being sick but apart from that a lot of it is a hazy blur until I was coming to, halfway through a four-pack of Red Bull with the sun coming up over the houses.

I had the Godzilla of hangovers. I was exhausted. I stank. My face was as rough as wholegrain granary toast and I was busting for a piss something chronic. I was also angry. Really, really, really fucking angry. I took a hosing slash in the bushes next to a drive-through KFC and bought a cheap coffee and that made me feel a lot better.

The Corsa was back home, where it belonged. I was in no fit state to drive anyway. I had to take the tube back to the station and some early commuter must have taken pity on me because when I woke up at my stop, some well-meaning fuck had put a two pound coin in my cup, that I nearly swallowed. That just put my anger over the top. I kept it and I used it.

No matter how bad I stank my warrant card got me into the station and I swayed my way to my desk, falling back into my seat with a thump and took care to make several, very deliberate, coffee-ring stains on the table before I passed out.

I woke up after, maybe an hour, with Cord wafting a cup of bitterly gag-inducing coffee under my nose. “Ugh, fuck, green lipstick Cord, really?”

“You alright Sir?” She pressed the hot polystyrene cup into my hand and I gave it a shot, but it was foul.

“They’re out of the good stuff again I suppose?” I grimaced and set it aside. My face must have looked like one of those old Tom and Jerry cartoons when they eat some Alum, whatever the fuck that is.

“Yeah, sorry…” She actually, genuinely looked contrite.

“Is DCI Baker in yet?” I grumbled, standing up. The shift must have wafted some of my funky street smell her way because Cord visibly paled and held her hand in front of her nose.

“He should be, it’s eleven.”

“Christ…” I gulped back the coffee, holding my nose, and slapped my face a couple of times to wake up. “Right, I’m going to see him. Hold the fort Cord and, uh, thanks, I guess. For the coffee.”

The nap had robbed me of some of that ‘wrath of god’ anger I’d been feeling but the headache I still had and the long walk to Baker’s office brought a lot of it back. I didn’t knock I just waltzed right in, leaving the door ajar behind me. Startling Baker as he sat behind his desk, tapping away at the computer like a life-long secretary, the smug shit.

“Stane? What the hell do you think you’re doing just walking in here? I could have been in a sensitive meeting!” He sniffed the air. “You’re drunk. You stink. Just who the hell do you think you are? You’re on duty. You have a duty to uphold certain standards, to reflect the force in a good light!”

I shut the door while he ranted away, all bluster and public-school diction.

Then I gave him a slap. That shut him up, at least for a moment.

“Baker. The Penfold case. It’s bollocks. You know it’s bollocks. That’s why you put me on the case. That’s why Jones’ is watching over me. That’s why you’ve given me an MIT made up of fucking kids…”

He raised his voice, started forming a word, I think it was going to be ‘How dare you?’ but I cut him off with another slap. “I’m not done talking you fucking cockweasel. You listen to me for once.”

“You think I’m fucking stupid? I checked the records. Jones works the child porn cases and him and his little gang of mates have a hardon for busting the nonces. Must be frustrating when things don’t go their way eh? I bet it gets so frustrating they stamp their little feet and if someone’s head happens to be under it at the time… well, can’t be helped, right”

“I don’t think…” I slapped him again. He didn’t seem to be able to believe someone would do that to him. He wasn’t even trying to defend himself. It was like it was a bad dream or something for him.

“Jones’ tried to keep me from seeing the CCTV footage, but everyone keeps digital backups these days. So all I had to do was go back, flash my warrant card and get them to tell me all over again. Blamed it on computer error. People will believe anything if you say that.”

He raised his hand and I grinned. It was nice to be dishing out the shit for once. “Yeah, you can speak.”

“Why the fuck do you care Stane? What’s it to you if one unprosecutable child molester gets stamped to death?”

I blinked at him, stared into his affronted face and shook my head. “If I told you all human life is precious and everyone deserves our protection you probably wouldn’t believe me and I don’t know that I would either. No, I’m happy to sit on this one for you and have it go unsolved. Like you said, nobody gives a shit about a dead nonce.”

“Then,” he spread his hands over his desk, wary that I was going to slap him again. “Why do you care?”

“I care because you’re treating me like a cunt. You didn’t think I’d work out what was going on. You did everything you could to make sure I wouldn’t. You thought I was incompetent, washed up. I’m fucking not, am I Baker? Am I?”

“No,” he admitted. “You’re not.”

“So, I’m going to keep all this information in a nice safe place, just in case, and you’re going to bring me back in permanent. You’re going to get me an assistant, and I don’t give a pint of bear’s jism if they’re scared or superstitious. I need someone to do my donkey work.”

“Blackmail Stane? Really?” His brow furrowed deep and he seemed to regain some of his dignity, getting back up onto his feet. “Sure you wouldn’t like a promotion too? Perhaps a cake?”

I flipped a B&H into my mouth, I was going to need a smoke after this. “No Baker, I’m not greedy. That’s all I want.”

“Alright then. I don’t like it, but I can live with it,” the cheeky cunt had the temerity to offer me his hand to shake, to seal the deal. I reached for it, but stopped, just short.

“Oh, there’s one last thing guv.” I slapped him again, hard, knocking him off his feet onto the blue carpet tiles. “Never underestimate me again.”

I slammed the door behind me as I left. This, was going to be the best cigarette ever.

Now where was my damn lighter?

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You’ve seen police offices on television right? The jocularity, the shitty coffee, the philosophising around the water cooler or in the lift. It’s all bollocks. Modern policing is much like any modern office job. Most of the time seems to be spent sat in front of a computer filling out spreadsheets, or going to endless meetings. It sucks balls, especially since so many of the support staff were let go. I can’t type worth a shit and I can’t find my way around a database with a detailed map and two digital sherpas.

There’s no escaping it these days though. Targets and work assessment, meeting the needs and perceptions of the public, serving the politicians, anything but actually nailing crooks and putting them away. Unless they’re nice, dreddlocked middle class kids objecting to tuition fees. Then it’s time to put on the riot gear and break some fucking heads.

Early for me when I’m not at work is two in the afternoon. Eight or nine in the morning is another country and getting in to work by car – which for some fucking reason I thought seemed like a good idea – was a trial an a half. Congestion charge… it’s bollocks. It’s like the tax they slap on tabs every fucking budget, captive audience, dress it up as something socially progressive to justify sucking more cash out of your pockets. Not that I can smoke in the office any more either. Bastards.

My desk might as well have been in any number of cubicle farms from any number of firms in the city. Flat screen monitor, filthy keyboard. The bastard cleaners had taken the opportunity to clean my desk while I was on forced leave and without my filth layered over it, it was like it belonged to someone else.

Hunt and peck, that’s my typing style. Slow as buggery, but I’ve never gotten used to the damn things. Other than the office computer the last electronic device I spent any time with was a Nintendo 64 and typing’s not a big issue when you’re playing Goldeneye. I open the files and see what we have. Specs and his crew have been busy and have filled a load of hard-drive space with pictures, results, speculations and waffle. He hadn’t listened to my post-it note comment and I was forced to wade through all his crap to get to anything that was actually pertinent.

What we did have confirmed what I’d thought, four assailants, their approximate shoe sizes, the likelihood of the victim being brought in by car. Everything I’d seen and said but justified by pages of jargon. It was a snooze-fest, especially without a cig. At least someone had bought in some of the better instant coffee. It almost made it bearable.

Jones stopped by with bad news. There’s was bugger all on the CCTV cameras, nothing useful anyway. Nor were there any witnesses. Which was just fucking typical. It was a bullshit case and we all knew it. They’d just brought me in as a token, a sop, to make it look good on the reports that quarter.

When Jones left to go back to his desk there wasn’t anything else immediately pressing on me to do. So I sloped off out for a fag with the rest of the reprobates. Wouldn’t you know it though? Lost my fucking lighter. Again. Fortunately one of the girls had one and held it up to give me a light.

“Cheers luv.”

“Aren’t you Stane?” She asked, so I actually paid attention to her. Short, pretty strong looking woman. Red hair in a short bob that didn’t suit her, made her face look fat. A mess of freckles. Rumpled women’s suit and that same bright-eyed look specs had.

“Yeah, you?”

“DC Cord. I’m supposed to be on your MIT. I was just going to bring you something on your case after I finish up here.”

“Yeah?” If she put having a fag above work maybe she wasn’t so bad after all, even if she was young.

“We got an ID from the teeth the forensics guys managed to find,” she reached into her suit jacket an pulled out a crumpled few sheets of print out. “I’ll add it to the case data when I finish up, but you may as well have this.”

I took another long drag on my cig, staring lustily at her Marlboro and tucked the bits of paper into my trouser pocket, “Can you just give me the short version?”

“Samuel Penfold. Couple of convictions for indecent exposure. Suspected kiddie-fiddler and child pornographer. Nothing recent though.”

“Penfold? Ooh, eck!” I laughed a cloud of fag smoke and coughed. She looked at me like I’d fallen off the fucking Moon. “Before your time I suppose,” I sighed. Getting old is a shitty, shitty thing. “Well that explains the severe cock-stomping he got I guess. Some sort of revenge thing. Just got to find out who he pissed off. Nothing recent you said?”

“Not for a handful of years. Either he’s cured or he got careful.” That lipstick didn’t suit her either, but I’ll be damned if the smoke blowing from her mouth wasn’t holding my attention.

“Under investigation for anything?”

“Perpetually, but nothing’s stuck for a long, long time.”

“Anything serious?” I tossed the butt of my cig down on the ground with its fallen brothers and ground it out with my shoe.

“No, just a suspect in trading child porn online lately. I mean, that’s serious, but nothing ‘real’ if you see what I mean.”

“Alright, cheers Cord, guess we’ll get the word out and see what happens.”

I left her to finish her cig and went back to my desk. I made the calls I needed to and I suppose the information must have gone out on the radio or something, because by the time I went out to buy myself a chicken wrap from Marks’ for lunch there was a sweet little angry mob outside the station. A handful of men and women with hastily made placards. Turned out they were protesting us spending any police time or resources trying to find out who’d murdered a known nonce.

The Great British public, god love ’em, hang ’em and flog ’em and bugger the consequences of a miscarriage of justice. I tried not to let them put me off wrap but it did get me to thinking. Really, honestly, nobody gave a shit that this guy was dead. Nobody is as hated in the public eye, or even by other criminals, than a nonce. This case was smelling even more of bullshit than before.

I might be shit at computers, but I’m dogged where it counts. I was, literally, the only person who gave a shit about poor, peanut-headed Penfold, the kiddie fiddler. Nobody else working the case gave a tinker’s cuss. Jones’ wasn’t even a murder investigator. Specs and his team were well-meaning, but clueless. Even Cord, it turned out when I checked her record, had only been made a detective constable a week ago.

It wasn’t like I had anything better to do though. My brain was itching for a puzzle. No point wasting Jones’ or Cord’s time. They probably had other stuff going on. They’d probably appreciate a slow day anyway. I took it upon myself, then, to go over absolutely everything. Finger-pecking away on the keyboard and writing copious notes in my scribbled handwriting over the backs of the never-ending supply of memos and notices.

I read all of Penfold’s previous cases, even though his name made me snigger at my desk. I looked over the open case investigating him on child porn charges. They had nothing on him. It certainly seemed like he’d gone straight. I looked into Cord and Jones, it was obvious why a washed up fuck like me had been put on this case, it wasn’t so obvious when it came to them.

The last thing was to go back to the scene of the crime and check it out again for myself. To check Four-eyes’ work and do a follow up on Jones’ investigations. That’s when it all fell neatly into place and I figured out what the hell was going on.

That was also when I decided to get drunk off my tits.

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My car is the one thing I really have going for me and given that it’s a five year old Corsa, filled with the slowly composting remains of paperwork, Burger King detritus and Starbucks’ cups that should give you some sense of where I’m at in my life. She runs though and she’s bought and paid for, so that’ll do for me. I don’t ask for much.

The city never really sleeps. There’s always something going on at any hour you care to mention but between three and five in the morning is about as dead as it ever gets. What would have been a three or four cigarette trip across town was only one. That gave me a bit of time to think, wake up and clear my head.

Why did they bring me back in? My arrest record was pretty good, that was something I supposed. Nobody wanted to work with me though, so why bring me in? Too much workload? That could have been it. Budget cuts meant there wasn’t a lot of spare room in the system when things got hectic. Sure, they say it’s not front line staff that gets cut, but that’s being a little ‘economical with the actualite’ as the French might say, if I could speak the lingo.

My brain didn’t have anything about the case to work on. The address wasn’t residential, but that was all I knew about it really. No wonder I was preoccupied on trying to figure out ‘why me?’ I’m no one for religion but ‘because god is a bastard’ is always a tempting reason to fall back on.

I was so wrapped in my thoughts I almost didn’t see the black and white tom cat bounding across the road. I had to slam the anchors on so hard all the sludge in the bottom of the card shifted forward, like a wave. I wasn’t used to this shit. You never normally get much above twenty in the city and having to suddenly stop has all the heart-stopping novelty of being kidnapped by aliens.

Fuck it, it wasn’t that far from here. I parked the car at the side of the road with flagrant disregard of the yellow lines – one of the few perks of the job – and stopped to give the unperturbed cat a scratch behind the ears. He had a collar, no stray this one, just a shame people still think you should put the cat out at night. A singular purr and a flash of its arse an it was away into the street. I envied him more than a little.

If you’re not first on the scene the lights, hubbub or onlookers make it pretty easy to find the site of the crime and that was the case this time. No crowds, thankfully, just the flashing lights and vans of the support team. It actually felt good to be back on the case. At least until I flashed my warrant to the constable and rounded the corner into the alley.

Kids watch these procedural cop shows and grow up wanting to work in forensics. What that means is you end up with whole units crammed full of fresh graduates who don’t know their arse from their elbow but still feel that they’re the most important person on the case. It’s the job of cynical old bastards like me to disabuse them of their delusions but it’s hard fucking work and not something you want to be dealing with on top of a murder investigation.

Looking over the crew that was backing me up, not a one of them seemed to be over half my age and they all had that, deadly-serious, CSI look about them. CSI Aberystwyth maybe.

I slapped my hand to my forehead, “A shower of useless cunts,” I muttered to myself and my shoulders slumped. This was going to be shit.

“Aye mate, that they are.”

Thank fuck for that, one competent face at least. Sergeant Jones. I sort of knew him. Drinks after work a couple of times. He wasn’t part of my unit but he’d been around for a while at least. Knew what was what. If nothing else he was someone I could commiserate with over a pint about the self-important crime scene nerds.

“Alright Jones? Didn’t know you were working murders these days,” I offered him a cigarette but he shook his head.

“Giving up. I’m not on murders officially, but staff shortages, what can you do? Baker didn’t want you working this alone and I caught the short straw,” he laughed an tossed some of that horrible nicotine gum into his mouth.

“Hope you’re wearing your knife vest then,” I grizzled, gallows humour, especially since Brightman had been stabbed and was the whole bloody reason I was on leave in the first place. I left Jones trying to find a witness and girded my loins for dealing with the fucking hipster graduates working over the scene like it was the Kennedy assassination.

“You, specky, what’ve we got here then?” Another cigarette to fortify my against the spiel I just knew was coming.

“Specky? It’s Philip sir. Philip Henry.”

“Don’t give a shit. Give me the Cliff notes.”

“One victim, multiple assailants. Looks like he was stamped to death. It’s going to be hard to get an ID due to extensive cranial trauma and the assailants seem to have singled out his genitals for a lot of their attention. We’re sweeping the scene but since it’s a public place with a lot of foot traffic in the day it’s going to be hard to identify what samples relate to the assailants,” he rattled it all off, the smug prick and then smiled at me, like a dog hoping for a biscuit.

“Specs, if it doesn’t fit on a single post-it note, I don’t need to hear it. He was curb-stomped so hard his skull caved in and they kicked the shit out of his balls. That about cover it?” I puffed smoke in the jumped up little nerd’s face.

“Yes, sir,” he coughed. “You shouldn’t really smoke on scene sir.”

“Oh fuck off. Show me the fucking corpse.” He was right about the smoking, little shit, so I flicked it away into the main road after one more long drag, wishing for a Marlboro and followed him to the tarp.

I could see I was a mess before he even lifted the damn thing. Blood was run down he gutter, thickened and black around the cigarette butts, dropped receipts and bottle tops that littered it. I would be surprised if there was any blood left in the poor dead fuck. Four-eyes lifted the tarp for me, he retched, obviously a fucking noob.

Yeah, this cunt was dead alright. His head had been stamped into the kerb stone so hard it had taken on the shape of a peanut shell. Unrecognisable, teeth protruding from the pulpy mess at odd angles. Glasses smashed so deep into the flesh of his face it looked like a half-hearted attempt at making a Play-Doh stegosaurus. As to the mess between his legs, the stamping had reduced his meat-and-two-veg to something the consistency of the inside of a Melton Mowbray pie.

I crouched down for a closer look, against my better judgement, not that I really needed to. Just doesn’t hurt to show the crime scene nerds you’ve been around the block and can look at a corpse without having a Technicolour yawn.

“Right, four-eyes, make a note and then take it over to the sergeant. We can lift fingerprints, his hands are intact… though bound in a strip-binder. Cross check against people arrested for rape and other sex crimes in the last six months. That should narrow our field a little. Someone went to town on his todger and I’d lay good odds that’s why.”

Christ I wanted a cigarette. Right or wrong this jumped up university tit had made me waste one, half smoked. Time to rub his nose in it a little. Experience was always going to trump paper.

“He’s tied. That’s fucking conspicuous unless you’ve been out for a night at the Torture Garden and Mr Peanut here isn’t wearing latex, so I doubt that very much. Looks like he was stomped from all around but the blood splatters are only a hundred and eighty degrees, not three-sixty, plus there’s no blood trails. Whoever stamped the shit out of this guy would need hosing off to get rid of the blood, brains and bits of bollock. They must have drove down here, kicked the shit out of him and then drove off again. Tell the sergeant to get the CCTV footage from the lights and the shops both sides of the road from this turning. We might get lucky.”

“Sir,” specs was affronted, not impressed. Mission accomplished. Putting his back up would get some callouses on the snotty git’s emotions.

“I’ll leave you to it then, I’ve got all I need.” I paced back away from the scene, heading back to my car. I passed by Jones taking a statement from some impenetrably Jamaican street sweeper. “All yours for now Jones. I’ll meet you tomorrow at the station and we can compare notes and go over footage.”

“Not sticking around Stane?” He held up a hand to the sweeper and… smiled. That seemed odd.

“Don’t want to get you stabbed Jones. Plus I need my beauty sleep,” I didn’t wait for an answer. I just waved him off and found my car, clambered in and headed home. No point fretting, nothing more we could do without more information.

Just another dead guy.

Nobody special.

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