Thursday, 20 May 2010
"Do you think it was all just an unfortunate mistake?" Caprice gestured at the corpse on the sofa.
"How?" Whimsy folded his arms and leaned back against the wall. "How," he repeated, "does a man lose his penis by mistake?"
They both looked doubtfully at Gerald. He was in his Police Inspector's uniform, still recognisable from the case meeting that morning except that now his trousers, once so sharply pressed, rested crumpled around his ankles. A pair of comedy boxer shorts - some cartoon character that neither Whimsy nor Caprice recognised - had been pushed down to his knees. The elastic waistband had left deep striations on his skin. Gerald's fat thighs were sticky with blood. His lap was shadowed by a dark claret space where no dark claret space should be.
Caprice took a deep breath. "I've thought this through carefully, Guv, and there can be only one solution."
"Be my guest." Whimsy smiled, encouragingly.
Caprice was on her knees now by a blood-spattered skirting board. She pointed to a large bluebottle, also deceased. "Having invested in a a Rent-o-Kill franchise, our perp promised to dispose of the locust of shame - well, you would be shamed, wouldn't you? It's one thing having the occasional moth infestation, but locusts?"
She looked up at Whimsy waiting for permission to continue. He nodded.
"She dispatched most of the termites using conventional methods - gas, industrial strength vacuum cleaners, sticky fly-paper, killing off some houseflies in the process - but the final locust settled in the victim's lap. The Bug Disposal Expert, forgetting she had a bread knife in her hand - she was making a round of ham salad sandwiches at the time -" Caprice pointed up towards the crumbs on the kitchen counter. "Lunged at the locust and the rest, as we say, is in the lap of history. Or was it the gods? Or Gerald? I forget which, but I doubt it much matters."
Whimsy sucked his teeth in that annoying way that expensive plumbers and senior detectives have. "As a theoretical motive for murder, it stands up. Well argued, Caprice. Just one tiny flaw in this scenario ..."
"What?" Caprice sat back on her heels, whipped out her notebook and plucked the pencil from behind her ear.
"This letter -" Whimsy tapped the epistolatory evidence that he had found pinned to the fridge door by a magnet that bore the legend Present from Rhyll.
"Our suspect states that she cut off the Chief Inspector's penis because it was a locus of shame."
To be continued ...