Most likely you will get one more part before christmas day.
One of the best things about murder scenes, Haul had decided, was that there was very little real work involved for a police officer. That was a lie, of course, but it helped to make his job a little more bearable.
He had made it halfway towards his second pint when Morris had come rushing back into the pub. Another reported murder, and the top brass had already clocked off for the night. Yes, someone could have called them, but Haul was right across the road and the least likely to fire him. It didn’t matter to people like Morris that Haul was now half-cut, it was still preferable to contacting someone responsible.
Haul hadn’t quite gotten over the murder he had had to deal with earlier, and was now having trouble distinguishing the two scenes. It was quite fortunate that both scenes were largely similar, with the exception of the position of the body. The victim was embedded in the wall here, which was something he had had to double check with a more sober colleague.
Thankfully, Haul didn’t have long to ponder this before Morris strode triumphantly towards him with a dog-eared piece of paper. Open and shut case, very soothing.
With paper in hand, Haul had arrested the victim’s landlord and was now sat in the man’s lounge, interrogating him. Technically this should have been done down at the station, but Haul was in no fit state to travel in a car right now, the journey to the crime scene having nearly culminated in the most unpleasant of ways.
There was something very landlordish about the, well, landlord. Haul’s carefully pickled police brain told him that it was only natural that he would think that about the man, seeing as he was indeed a landlord. Haul had often thought there was something very constableish about Morris, and he had been right in that regard. Morris was currently snooping around in a very obvious manner for something to break by accident.
‘Now then, sir,’ Haul began, being careful not to slur his words, ‘Would you mind telling us a bit about your tenant?’
‘Which tenant? I’m quite the property magnate you know.’ The man spoke with added volume of the recently deaf, Morris nearly fell over with shock.
‘We believe his name was Happenstance Crawford. We’re having that checked, for obvious reasons.’
‘Oh, him. Crawford and I never really saw eye-to-eye, but he paid his rent on time. I did get a few complaints about him from the neighbours, though.’
‘Yes. They said there was one hell of a racket going on down there. Naturally, I told him to pack it in.’
Haul noted this down. He had tried letting Morris make the notes but found that it was both quicker and less dangerous to do it himself. If Morris got lost (as he often did) he had a tendency to make up notes to fill in the gaps.
‘And you had nothing to do with his death?’ Haul asked as he put one final flourish onto his pad.
‘Good Lord no! I’m a peaceful sort.’
There was a crash behind him. Morris had knocked over a small trophy cabinet that held a golden belt. The writing etched into the faceplate indicated that it was a championship belt from an amateur boxing society. That was the good thing about Morris’s accidents, they were actually more helpful to Haul than they had any right to be.
Everyone in the room stared at the belt for a moment, the air thick with irony. They all recognised the moment as the sort of thing that only happened on television, and as such were stunned into silence. It was a silence that was broken by Haul writing on his pad and carefully speaking the words he was writing at a volume that was just audible. It was the volume people use when they want to be sure someone is eavesdropping the right thing.
‘Suspect claims to be a peaceful man dash is a liar.’
‘Now hang on a minute –’ the landlord began.
‘I’m sorry sir, do you wish to make a complaint?’
‘Yes! You can’t say that I’m a liar, you have no proof!’
‘I haven’t said you are a liar, sir. I was writing it in my private and completely classified note book for my superiors to peruse at their leisure. Have you been reading over my shoulder sir?’
‘No, you sai –’
‘Because the only way you could know what I have written is to have read it over my shoulder, which is illegal, sir. I would have thought that a man who has already been arrested for murder would at least have the good sense not to go snooping through an officer of the law’s private records.’
The landlord opened his mouth to respond, then closed it, opened it again, and closed it for a final time. The goldfish response was something Haul had seen before, and it pleased him greatly. It wasn’t often that Haul felt bigger than people, but sometimes his brain would squeeze out just a little more authority than was usual and surprise him. Oddly enough it tended to happen to him following a sly pint, but surely that wasn’t the cause.
His stomach had settled now, enough to travel at any rate. He wanted to go back to the station anyway, the landlord needed some time to stew before his ultimate confessions and Haul needed a sleep. A quick flick of his eyes signalled his intent to Morris, who took the landlord by the arm and led him outside to a waiting car. Haul took a few deep breaths, hoisted himself out of the seat and followed them.
It was a short walk to the car, but Haul managed to stretch it out for as long as he could, he was in no rush despite his longing for sleep. This was most likely quite fortunate, as had he been moving fast he would have missed it. Laying in the shadow of a nearby bush, nestled against the leaves, was the most peculiar device. Haul knelt down to investigate it fully.
It was primarily wood, he ascertained, and seemed to loosely resemble a cartoon pistol. It was an odd thing indeed, but perhaps it was a clue. He signalled one of the forensic fellows to come take a look, then realised he couldn’t get up without a significant head rush. Perhaps he should hang around just a little longer.