The city was hot, the savage sun bleaching colour and sanity from the world. I sat in my office, cooling my heels and my head, sipping a long iced drink in front of an asthmatic fan which wheezed mournfully as it struggled with the temperature.
The phone rang, it was a bad line and the person on the other end sounded like they were gargling marbles at the bottom of a coal mine but I heard enough to pick up the word “murder” and an address out in Twotown. I gave the fan the last rites, finished my drink and headed out into the bitter heat. That was my first mistake.
Twotown was endless rows of identikit suburbia. Two’s prided themselves on their diligence and their commitment, aesthetics to them were what a doctor used to knock you out. I stood out like a sore thumb in their placid, orderly world. And I would not have changed that for anything.
I arrived at the address. It was a standard suburban house with a lawn front and back and a large garage taking up the lefthand third of the ground floor. What was not standard was the figure nailed to the garage door.
I parked and walked over to the small group who were gathered around the door and the body. A couple of photographers were capturing the scene so that sometime later jurors could lose their lunches as they saw what the human mind is capable of. O’Carroll from my team directed a group of uniforms as they kept sightseers away and searched the scene.
The body was that of a middle-aged man, dressed in a grey flannel suit, he was completely unremarkable save for the fact that he was nailed to the garage door, held up by large steel bars through his shoulders. He looked like a normal Two apart from that.
‘Not really the season for decorations,’ I said to O’Carroll.
‘Well he ain’t Santa, that’s for certain.’ O’Carroll waved one of the uniforms over and took a clipboard from him.
‘His name was Martin Dewson, he worked for the Corporation as an accountant and he lived right here. No criminal record, a wife and 2 children – all away visiting her parents for the last week, and no signs of a break-in or struggle. We are just waiting for the Coroner before taking him down.’
He held the clipboard out and I took it. I glanced through it and could see nothing in it beyond the life of a normal Two, definitely nothing to explain such an extravagant death.
Handing the clipboard back I looked around the scene, and paused.
‘Found something?’ O’Carroll asked.
‘Why is he wearing 1 black shoe and 1 brown shoe?’
O’Carroll smiled, ‘Yes, no self-respecting Two would ever do a thing like that. So is it a clue or a sign?’
‘It’s a headache.’
I stood back and looked up at the sky, there was not a cloud in sight so why then did I have such a strong feeling that a storm was coming?
TO BE CONTINUED