I’m trying to clear up some space on my hard drive and I came across this, which was written for absolutely no discernible reason one afternoon. I wrote it whilst working at a former job where I had long periods of time to twiddle my thumbs and it was inspired by two of my older colleagues having a dead-straight-face serious conversation about Werther’s Originals.
Just thought I’d share it for the LOL value. Or not. Whatever. Also, it gets it off my hard drive. And gives me a reason to briefly procrastinate, although I’m more than half-done on Project: Loophole tonight anyway.
Random… Something. Written in 2007.
The room was virtually silent, but for the sound of Old Mrs Jones sucking somewhat laboriously on a Werther’s Original. The detective had studied the evidence, it seemed and was now, as the old dear in the front row relayed needlessly loudly to her neighbour, going to Reveal All [tm].
“I have examined the evidence,” began the detective, a somewhat pompous and noticeably overweight man in his late forties, “and I can reveal the following…”
“What’s he say?” said Mrs Smith.
“He said he’s going to tell us who committed the crime, dear, ” said her neighbour, loudly.
“I thought he said he’d examined the Murray Mints,” said Mrs Smith, taking out her knitting with a somewhat derisive sniff. She liked Murray Mints.
There was a ripple of disapproval throughout the hall of the Sweet Old Ladies Wednesday Morning Except For Those Days When The Number Seventeen Bus Goes Via The Whole Estate Can’t Bear All Those Noisy Children Institute, rather like the rippling of corn in the breeze or perhaps more accurately, the gust of wind as it hit the corpses on the gibbet.
Imagery. Who needs it anyway?
The detective gave Mrs Smith a rather practised (and somewhat disappointing) stern look and continued with his great speech. He had been up all night practising it, much to the irritation of his long-suffering wife and pet gerbil.
“George Walters was murdered,” he announced, “and after visiting the scene of the crime and gathering clues, I have been able to deduce that the perpetrator…”
“The what-ey rator?” said an old lady at the back of the room. “Do speak up dear, we can’t hear you.”
“Did he say radiator?”
“I think so.”
“The PER-PE-TRA-TOR,” repeated the detective, loudly and deliberately.
“What about the perpetrator, dear?”
“Is in this room.”
Another ripple ran round the room, or possibly it was the gentle undulation of Mrs Gregory’s catheter bag.
“It’s over there, dear,” said the helpful lady. “Under the window.”
A few heads turned to the window and stared at the radiator. Then they turned and stared back at the detective who was really starting to wish that he hadn’t taken this job. But there were bills to be paid and his wife had a way of glaring at him…
“Let us examine the evidence,” he said when silence had finally descended once more. He turned with great smugness towards the flip chart at the front of the meeting hall. He turned over the front page, managing only a mere snicker at the foreign beauty of the word ‘Flippenblock’ and revealed the first page of his presentation.
Twenty eight pairs of slightly shortsighted eyes squinted in unison.
“Exhibit A,” said the detective, using his pencil to point at a rather nicely rendered piece of artwork. “The murder victim. George Walters, the janitor of Sunshine Hall, this very hall where you have your meetings.” The pencil did a neat arc of the assembled throng of elderly would-be criminals, who all blinked slowly, like a group of faintly bemused squirrels coming out of a hibernation sleeping in lavender and Avon cosmetics. The detective nodded seriously.
“Yes. George Walters was horribly murdered and our forensic experts have established the cause of death.”
Gasp, mutter, etc.
“Yes,” said the detective. “George Walters had his throat neatly and expertly slit with…” The detective paused. His trainer on the Presentation Skills course had waxed lyrical on the importance of strategic pauses. After several minutes had passed, he realised that he probably just sounded like he’d forgotten what he was going to say and continued. “A bus pass.”
Gasp, mutter, etc.
“Evidence found at the scene of the crime leads us to deduce that the murderer is in this room today.” Flip over to page two and the list of evidence.
“Physical evidence at the scene of the crime. One, a Werther’s Original sweet.”
Mrs Jones made a strange noise that sounded like a vacuum cleaner picking up yesterday’s milk bottle. Her neighbour got to her feet. “Oh, dear,” she squawked, clapping her hands in concern. “I think she might be choking. Does anybody know the Hind Lick manoeuvre?”
“He does,” said the detective’s assistant in an undertone that could be heard by nobody. “He licks hinds all day. Why do you think HE’S in charge and I’m the assistant?”
There was a brief and mildly irritating kerfuffle during which Mrs Jones and her sweet were reluctantly forced to part company, with a sound like a tooth being extracted.
The detective winced.
“The Werther’s Original was still wrapped and not touched, so we think, therefore, that a young person may have left it there at some point. People of – shall we say – a certain age and disposition seem naturally attracted to these little brown discs of buttery goodness…” He looked longingly at the sweet, then snapped out of it.
“That,” he said, “was just the first clue…”