By Larry Sun
“What does the criminal want to come back for? He shot Cain and went away with the pistol. Do you think he would come back to check if the victim had died? One rarely survives a bullet to the head. And the idea of looking for fingerprints or whatever print there is is impossible.”
“May I ask why?”
“Because I know, but permit me to chip one reason into your palm-oil-soaked brain—a strong wind blew on that Saturday morning, didn’t it?”
“I don’t know. And as Lincoln said, ‘Ignorance is preferable to error.’ ”
“I believe it was Thomas Jefferson that made that statement, Famous.”
He shrugged indifferently, “Anyway, I can’t remember a strong wind blowing that morning.”
“I confirmed from an outsider, a strong wind did blow. So, any print there might have been cleared. Remember, where the corpse was lying was quite sandy, if you will agree with me.”
“Agreed,” Daniel sighed, “But still, I don’t think this crime can be solved.”
“O! Ye of little faith! Since when were you baptized a pessimist? Have you forgotten Hakeem’s words so soon?” Even a part of him felt some of the air bleeding out of his own balloon of optimism.
“Okay, okay,” he said grudgingly, “I wish you luck.” Even for bad luck, he thought, one needs luck.
Daniel felt he was in a dystopian investigative chamber because to him, everything was going forth in the wrong directions, he asked hastily, “Who should I call in this time?”
“Not now. Right now, we’ll do another thing. We are going to search the dead man’s bedroom.”
Daniel was flabbergasted, “What!”
“You heard me right.”
The police officer shook his head, “I’ve never probed into other people’s secrecy before in my life.”
“Then today is your first chance, grab onto it.”
“I’m not looking forward to the pleasure, sir.”
“And who said you had any choice here?”
“Lord,” he breathed as he got up; he didn’t know he had just said the world’s shortest prayer. “What have I gotten myself into?”
The detective also stood up and said cheerfully, “Let’s go a fishing.”
As they headed towards the door, Daniel wiped the sweat forming on his forehead with the back of his hand and muttered under his breath, “What a crazy being this detective is?”
Daniel Famous was astonished; the mysterious gumshoe had not been sweating all through their moments in the suffocating box called the interrogation room. The outside breeze was refreshing and he breathed as much as he could with every heaving of his chest, he had appreciated the importance of the free oxygen after learning the day before that suffocation had been considered one of the most painful means of meeting one’s ancestors. He was still not supporting the idea of searching the deceased’s room but all efforts and means he had employed to discourage the detective had proven futile, Lot’s mind was set on the task.
“You are forgetting what we’re here for,” said Lot calmly, “Let me remind you, we are here to unlock secrets lurking behind doors in this building.” He pointed.
Both men went into the building. The detective looked interestingly at the lawyer who was sitting beside the widow—their thighs, he noticed, were not very far apart, both were apparently discussing in a low voice; he was surprised that they had not seen them enter, their voices were too faint to be heard, Lot tried to listen by straining his eardrums but he could not hear, all he was able to catch were: ‘don’t worry, everything is fine now’. It was the lawyer who said that to the widow. Daniel saw them discussing and felt a brief pang of jealousy within himself. If he had had a hammer he would have bashed the lawyer’s head in.
The soporific effect of the air-conditioner in the large room had made its impact on Richard, he was lying asleep on the three-seater; Lot was contemplating if he was really asleep as he looked or he was faking it, and amidst the atmosphere of the silent ennui was Hakeem on his feet swaying to whatever was pulsing through the headphones of his Discman, he was throwing himself around the room like a whirling demented dervish. He bellowed in delight as he saw Daniel and Lot. At one corner of the room, a mobile phone had been placed on a charger inserted in the electric wall socket. As Daniel watched as the light of the charger pulse off-and-on he felt it had a kind of connection with himself and the case they were trying to investigate, in which ideas and motives behind the late man’s action that night pulsed off and on in his own mind, too.
“Have you found the stupid man who killed Mr. Martins?” he asked seriously.
“Not yet,” replied Daniel, after gulping air.
Hakeem frowned, “Why? I want to kick that idiot so much that my boots will have to be surgically removed from his bottom. Seriously, I pray whoever killed Mr. Martins have AIDS.”
The detective smiled.
“Please, make your investigations snappy,” said the boy, “I cannot wait to kick the baboon.”
Daniel Famous swallowed hard and said, “Yes, sir.”
The boy faced Lot and Daniel, “You know I told you that I wanted to help on this case, and I have been doing some thinkings of my own. Do you know what I have been trying to do? I was trying to put two and five and eight together to get seven. It cannot be done, it simply cannot be done.”
“You can’t know the killer; you’re not a detective, are you?”
“Okay, I give up, let us ask the tec. Do you know the criminal, sir?”
“No,” Lot replied, and before the boy could protest any further the detective added, “But I have an idea of whom the person might be.”
“That’s nice,” brightened up Hakeem, “Who is the one?”
The detective looked with calm eyes at the boy, “And you expect me to tell you?”
The boy nodded vigorously, like one of those crazy dolls at the back screens of cars.
“Then follow me. Let me tell you the murderer in person.” As the boy began to rise from his seat, Lot added, “But you may be killed too.”
That scared Hakeem and he involuntarily relaxed back in his seat, “What have I done wrong?” he screamed.
“Many things,” answered Lot, “One, you saw the body first; two, you called the policeman; three, you want to know the murderer; and four, which is the most devastating reason—you want to kick him in the bottom. I strongly suggest that you keep out of this. If there’s a murderer lurking around the corners, be he of flesh and blood or atmospheric vapour, summon not his attention to thyself, wise one.”
The boy shook his head and said hastily, “I do not need to know him anymore; I am not ready to nod a flying bullet.”
“Better,” Lot looked around and asked, “Where’s the doctor?”
“Here,” the doctor replied from the door, “I went to make a call to the morgue concerning the deceased. Can I see you a moment, detective?”
Both men went out and returned a few seconds later, looking as placid as possible. The doctor calmly took his seat and Inspector Lot faced Abigail.
“Mrs. Martins,” he said, “We’ll like to search your bedroom, since I understand that you and your late husband shared the same bedroom.”
“If I may ask, Mr. Detective, what do you want there?”
“Just a general inspection,” said Daniel, “We are hoping to find something which can help us on this case.”
Daniel had intentionally spoken so as to have the attention of the woman to himself. Abigail looked at him and smiled warmly, her smile almost sent his head spinning.
“You are free to go,” she said, “Just don’t check my wardrobes, you might find a skull.” She laughed and pointed to the entrance, “That’s the room.”
“You’re a funny woman, Mrs. Martins. I’ll laugh next week.” Said Lot, without any trace of amusement on his countenance, “We will appreciate it if you lead us, ma’am.”
Thanks for reading our story. Stay connected for another episode and click on our ads.Follow us on social media