I really didn’t think this title through did I? Too late now though, it’s gone serial. Next time I take a one-off story and turn it into a series I’ll make sure to retroactively change the name to something more, well, wordy.
Oh, for those of you who actually want to pronouce the acronym (you sick freaks), the correct pronunciation would be: Oi-gid-tot-ul.
Anyway, part 7.
Two hours. This is exactly why they give me the job, Haul mused. Cleaning up citric murders, interviewing the most suspicious town for hours on end, always given to him. He was a sergeant, surely he should be allowed to delegate these things? Yes, he wasn’t a very good sergeant, but he still had the stripes!
Lords were always the worst people to interview, even the ones that had slipped on a few rungs of the social ladder. They had little switches built into their minds, switches that could take them from benevolent superiors to malignant bastards at the drop of a hat, sometimes even during the same sentence. They were the only people Haul could think of that were expected to be schizophrenic.
Haul had often wondered what happened to the more pleasant lords and ladies, the ones who’s switches were jammed in the courteous position. He had come to the conclusion that there was, in all likelihood, a special asylum reserved for just such people, run by the aristocracy, for the aristocracy.
It started to rain. Of course it did. Haul was standing outside Lord Pyle’s front door, on the peculiarly empty, yet also decidedly clean, street. The street was almost in the centre of the city, yet on all his visits he had never seen anyone else on it. All the neighbouring streets were packed full of wandering citizens, aimlessly milling about like confused ants. Never on Lord Pyle’s street though.
To be fair, the name must have been a big part of the effect. Lord Pyle himself had decided upon it, using his extensive web of contacts within the council to make sure it was enacted. “Clear-Off-You-Horrible-Little-Trolls-Or-I’ll-Set-The-Dogs-On-You Boulevard”, commonly known as Dog Street. The average citizen wasn’t too good at speaking with hyphens, and they were distrustful of boulevard’s as a matter of policy, so it was necessary to abbreviate the name for day to day use.
The police didn’t get that privilege of course. Well, arguably they did, if it had been a bad day or they were in a hurry, but for the majority of the time they just enjoyed being able to use words in uniform that were normally banned. Words like “boulevard”. The inevitable downside, however, was that its name always had to be written in full, which could take a good thirty seconds. Numerous criminal types had proclaimed Dog Street was their address, using the time it took to write down as a handy window of opportunity to do a bunk.
The rain was aiming for him, Haul decided. It was falling at an angle that made him think the droplets were trying really hard to hit him and only him. If one were to construct a ratio of their success, it would be quite clear that most of the drops were failing in this regard, Haul considered, but for raindrops they were ahead of the curve. Quite a few of them were dribbling down his notebook page now, Haul having neglected to close it when he finished his enquiries.
Something was wrong about what Lord Pyle had said, but Haul didn’t know what it was. Latent copper instincts told him that the Lord had said something he shouldn’t have, something that didn’t fit with what he should have known, but any further enquiries to these senses were met with ignorance.
Haul had been hoping that the raindrops would land on certain words, maybe smudge the ink a little to show him just what was the important part of the statement. What the rain was actually doing was smudge everything.
He sighed, managed to suck in a lake’s worth of rainwater, splutter, then put his notebook back in his pocket. This would call for some inverse delegation. He would throw this information up the ladder and let the higher-ups work out where the contradictions were. He could still do that. He couldn’t actually order around the average, drippy-nosed constable, but he could cause someone else to order them about following a protracted series of conversation and meetings.