SINGAPORE SLASHERS – Part 4


This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 4.

(While all locations are real, by necessity and for authenticity, the events and characters are entirely fictitious.  Please read this as a Draft.  I am writing this from memory.  Please excuse inaccuracies.  I will amend these as I get the chance to peruse my old diary entries and copious brochures and pamphlets I acquired while living there.  A murder mystery requires research, but in order to try to keep up with the spontaneity of NaNoWriMo projects, I will get on with the narrative, and tidy up the errors in the Second Draft stage.)

Singapore Slasher – Part 4

Next morning the team arrived at Orange Grove Road for a more thorough search, while as predicted a snarl of traffic snaked along the road, squeezing through the narrowed section with inches to spare.  But nothing was found.  No sign of the weapon.  No traces in the undergrowth, behind the gate, behind the wall, in the gutter other than soggy leaves washed there by the early morning drizzle, or on the pavement.  Apart from the already-swabbed, coagulated blood on the steps, and a ‘clean patch’ on the darker aged pavement at the base of the steps, there was nothing.  The team had also swabbed this area the night before to determine if detergents had been used there.  These samples were in the CSI laboratories awaiting testing.

Watching the writhing traffic from her living room window vantage point, Lara Castle cradled her coffee mug against her chest, and turned down the corners of her mouth.

“Troy’s not gonna be happy about this, then.  He’s gonna blame me.  Bugga.”

She turned away, replenished her coffee, and turned on the TV.  The news was full of the story of the murder.  A rare occurrence in Singapore, it warranted the major news time-slot, with ‘On The Scene’ footage.  There on the screen was the crime scene, a close-up of the blood on the steps, pulling back past the fluttering Police Tape, and the searching minions in their eerie jumpsuits, to a generic reporter in her make-up, sleek hair, and fitting suit, speaking at a higher pitch and, due to the traffic, higher volume.  The fact that the TV crew and their vans were adding to the congestion didn’t seem to faze her at all.  It just increased the horn honking.  Suddenly Troy moved into the shot.  Lara gasped.

“Here is Mr Troy Castle, whose wife discovered the body last night.”  She shoved a hand-held microphone into his face.  “Tell me, Mr Castle, what happened?”

“My wife was coming home from work late last night, when she found the body sprawled on the steps over there.”  He pointed behind him to the steps in the background, leaving no doubts as to the exact location of the crime.  This ensured that all the ghouls and thrill seekers would know exactly which steps to have their photos taken in front of, as soon as the crime scene tape was gone.

“Why was she late?”  The mike was thrust towards him again, then retracted as she added, “And why was she walking alone in the dark at such a time?”

Disconcerted at the twist to his first statement, Troy’s eyebrows snapped together into a scowl.  The reported smirked.  “She always walks home late at night. She teaches at a language school and the classes are always after hours.”

It was the reporter’s turn to look a little disappointed – she’d expected a bigger bite, an angrier response than that.  She tried again.  “Well, can you tell me what happened?”  She smiled encouragingly.

“She, my wife, was walking home, came round that bend (pointing), and there it was.  Sprawled on the steps.  With its head back and its throat cut.”

Delighted by these salacious details – a real bonus – she rewarded Troy with a wonderful smile.  Mollified, and smoothing his already slick hair, he grinned back at her.  She edged a little closer to him.  “How do you know these details, Mr Castle?”

“Because I saw the body too.  I came down with her to wait for the Cops – the Police.  And there it was.  Well, there she was.  It was a pretty Singapore girl.  Lovely hair, and tiny feet.  But dead.  Quite dead.”

The reporter took a step back from him.  This was a little more than she had expected, and though it was much more than she’d hoped for, and could only boost her career chances, there was something rather unsettling about the way he had responded.

“Well, that’s all for now,” she began, but Troy interrupted her.

“It’s a damn nuisance though.”

Startled she said, “What?!” a thing she tried to never to say – well not like that.

“Well.  Look at all this bloody traffic.  How am I supposed to get to work on time now?”  Troy waved his arms around indicating the very obvious traffic, totally oblivious to the fact that he had just cursed on Singaporean television.

Watching the screen, mouth open in shock at Troy’s revelations, but not at his attitude, Lara hoped there would be no repercussions.  Shaking her head at his folly, she moved to the bathroom.  She needed to shower and dress, then catch a taxi to the police complex to make her statement.

* * *

In his office earlier than normal – the investigation of murder wasn’t the norm – DI Lim watched the screen in disgust.  How could that Expat be so indiscreet?  Now he would have to go into immediate damage control.  And he’d probably get dressed down by his Superior.  He shook his head, lips in a tight line.  What a way to start an important investigation.

The door crashed open as DS Lee burst into the room.

“Sir.  Sir.  Did you see that on TV?”  He registered, the news footage on the TV screen behind his boss’s shoulder, then the angry expression on his boss’s face.  “Oh.  You did.”

Other than compressing his lips till the line became white, Lim didn’t respond, but turned to move behind his desk.  “I will deal with that man when he comes in to make his statement after work.  I should go down and haul him out of work, when he gets there, but as we didn’t take down those details last night we can’t do so.  Well we could go back to the apartment and get them from his wife, but I think we’ll just hit him with it when he gets here.  He won’t expect it.”

Lee nodded, afraid to comment.

Realising that he should have stopped speaking after the first sentence, Lim sighed, shuffled some papers on his desk, and asked, “Has the post mortem report come in yet?”

“Just a preliminary one so far, Sir.  Throat cut by a right-handed person.  And it looks like someone washed her feet carefully, and creamed them.  And her hands as well.”

“Like she had a pedicure, and manicure?”

“Yes, Sir.  Same, same.”  As Lim frowned, he added, “It looks like that, Sir.”

“A right-handed person doesn’t help us much – that’s the majority of the population.”  He tapped his pen on the desk.  “Nothing else?  Had she been interfered with?  There was semen in her hair.  Was it anywhere else?”

“Yes, Sir.  It was in her hair.  And some on her neck.  And her knickers, her panties were missing, Sir.”  Lim’s eyebrows shot up.  “They had been removed.  We didn’t notice before, because her knees were together.”  Lim nodded, as an image of the girl, sprawled up the steps, knees together and feet placed carefully on the pavement, flashed into his mind.

“What about ID?  Did they find any purse or handbag?  Any ID cards?”

Lee shook his head.  “Nothing, Sir.”

“Did they look in the gardens of the Shangri-La?”

Lee nodded.  “Yes, Sir.  Nothing there, Sir.”

“Widen the search area.  Look in all the garbage bins, and dumpsters, and skips, at all the buildings along Orange Grove Road, and Stevens Road.  Maybe they’ve been thrown in a bin nearby.”

“I’ll arrange it now, Sir.”  Lee moved towards the door.

“Then come back here.  We need to go to the Shangri-La and look for witnesses.  And I think we’ll go and talk to Mrs Castle on her own.”

“She is coming in this morning, Sir.  To give her written statement and sign it.  Will we wait for her?  Or go to the Shangri-La first.”

“Yes.  Yes, she is.  Bother.  I wanted to talk with her first.”  He paced up and down a few times while trying to mentally sort out his priorities.  “I think we’ll head over to the Shangri-La first.  We don’t want to alienate the Manager.  If Mrs Castle arrives while before we return, she can give her statement to DC Yeo.  And then wait for us.  Then we can add to it after we chat with her.  See to it.”

Lee nodded, then hurried out.

* * *

In a Salon on the third floor of Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road, a pretty Singaporean girl reclined into the relaxation of the special massage/pedicare chair, and wriggling her toes presented her feet for attention.  She smiled into the face of her attendant.

(C) Jud House  15/11/2012

* * * * *

SINGAPORE SLASHER – Part 2


This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 2.

(While all locations are real, by necessity and for authenticity, the events and characters are entirely fictitious.  Please read this as a Draft.  I am writing this from memory.  Please excuse inaccuracies.  I will amend these as I get the chance to peruse my old diary entries and copious brochures and pamphlets I acquired while living there.  A murder mystery requires research, but in order to try to keep up with the spontaneity of NaNoWriMo projects, I will get on with the narrative, and tidy up the errors in the Second Draft stage.)

Singapore Slasher – Part 2

Detective Inspector Lim JiaJun looked down at the sprawled body, then sadly shook his head and sighed.

“Poor girl,” he said softly, to himself.  Turning, he waved the SOCO team to go ahead, then moved over to where the Australians stood, half turned away from the coming indignities that the dead girl would go through, yet not wishing to leave in case it were the wrong thing to do.

“You are Lara Castle?  I believe you called the crime in to the SPF?”  Still he spoke quietly, but there was no doubt as to his authority.  A quiet authority.  Impressive.

“Yes.”  Lara nodded.  Then shivered.  The night was clammy and a little cool now.  “I ran – well staggered actually – up to our apartment complex over there,” pointing towards it, “as soon as I saw she was dead.  I didn’t touch her.  I could see the gash on her throat.”  Drawing a ragged breath, as she relived the moment, she continued.  “I called from the lobby.  Well – the Concierge called for me, then I spoke to someone and told them.  About the body.  And where it was.  They said to wait by the body till you came.”

DI Lim nodded.  “What time did you find her?  And how long before you returned?”

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t look at the time.  All I could think of was to call you, the police, as quick as I could.  To get you here.  But the Concierge may know.  And the phone record will tell you.”  She paused, then added, “I’m sorry.  I didn’t come straight back here.  I went to our flat and told Troy what had happened and that I had to go back, come back down here.  I wanted him to come with me.  I didn’t want to stand here alone waiting in the dark.  I didn’t feel her skin so I didn’t know if the killer was still here watching, or if he had long gone.”

DI Lim had been listening and watching her closely.  She was obviously someone who believed in accuracy – she had corrected little details as she spoke – so was probably honest and truthful.  Her husband had said nothing so far.   He turned to him.

“Can you verify that?  And do you know what time it was?”

“Yep.  I reckon it was about twenty past nine when she came in.  Roughly.”

“I knock off at the school where I teach English at eight thirty.  It’s in a side street off the Raffles end of Orchard Road.  It takes me about half an hour or a bit more, to walk home, depending on whether I have to wait for traffic lights, or if there’s things I stop to look at.”

DI Lim suppressed a smile.  Not the right time to be smiling.  But he liked this woman.  “And was there anything to look at tonight?”

“Not really.  And I got mostly green lights, though I had to wait by the old Art Deco theatre.  You know, the one they are remodelling, or renovating into apartments.  I love that building.  I wish it would stay as a theatre.”  She smiled unconsciously.

“Lara.”  Troy spoke sharply, startling her.  “He doesn’t want to hear that rubbish.”

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to waste your time.”  She swallowed convulsively, then looked Lim in the eyes and proceeded.  “No.  I had a good walk home, till I got to the bend and the steps, and the – body.”  Another shiver.  “Poor girl.  I wonder who she is.  And why  she ended up like that.  No-one deserves that!”  Her suddenly angry voice echoed along the street, shattering the silence that had descended once the police sirens were turned off.

DI Lim took a step back, Troy put his hand on her shoulder and gave a little shake, the SOCO team all lifted their heads, looked at her, then returned to their tasks.  Camera flashes flickered intermittently.  In the trees a night bird called and was answered from a distance.

“Sorry.”  Another apology.  Why would this woman need to keep apologising.  Insecure?  Looks like her self-esteem takes a bit of a pounding from her husband.

“It’s not a problem.  You have been very clear with your statement.  It is appreciated.”  Formality over, he felt oddly compelled to add,  “Your concern is natural.  We all feel it.  We always do.”  Then returning to formal mode, “We will need your statement written and signed.  Can you come tomorrow to the Police Cantonment Complex?  It’s 391 New Bridge Road, Block C.”

“Yes. of course. Taxi drivers would know where it is, wouldn’t they?  What time should I come?”

“In the morning would be good, so we have it at the start of the investigation.”

Troy scowled.  “What about me?  Do I have to come too?  I have to be at the shipyards at seven.”

“No.  But if you could come in on your way home to add a small statement from when your wife arrived home till we arrived that would be appreciated.”

“So you really mean ‘Yes.'” Troy grinned suddenly, unexpectedly.  “No problems.  I’ll come after work.  Thanks.”  As Lim nodded then turned away, Troy asked, “Can we go now?  I think my wife needs some dinner.”

“Yes.  You can go.  Thank you.”

Dismissed, the couple hurried away to begin their climb up their steep driveway.

“What have you found?” Lim asked his Detective Sergeant, Lee Ong, who was squatting over the body, now that the SOCO team had moved away to pack up their equipment.

As Lim joined him beside the girl, Lee said, “Not a lot, Sir.  There’s no ID on her, no purse, no jewellery.  It could have been a robbery, Sir.  Maybe she resisted too much.”  He shook his head.  “But I don’t really think so.  Her clothes have been disturbed.  SOCO found semen, Sir.  In her hair.”

They looked down sadly at what had been a pretty girl – glossy black hair cut in a long bob just below shoulder-length.  Her full lips were parted in a grimace, her eyes wide open, still staring.  Her once lithe body flung like a discarded ragdoll, with legs spread but turned in at the knees, and her arms out and away from her sides, her delicate wrists kinked, her palms up, with lotus-petal nails.  Her feet were bare.  And clean.  And seemed to be placed exactly neatly on the pavement beneath the bottom step.  Lim raised his eyebrows.

“Did SOCO get a snap of that,” he asked, pointing at the feet.

“Yes, Sir.  We all noticed that.  It’s like it’s the only tidy thing about her.”   He reached down and lifted her foot gently in his palm.  Beneath it, the pavement was also clean and dry.  Lim widened his eyes, then looked into Lee’s expectant face.  “I know, Sir.”

“Well done, Lee.  Call the photographer back to take some snaps of that also, please.”  He straightened up.  “They can take her away now.  Did the search of the steps, walls, street, undergrowth and gateway find anything?  We’ll need to get that checked in the daylight, thoroughly.  And maybe into the grounds of the Shangri-La.  I’ll have to talk to the management so that they know what is happening.”

They stood together watching as the body of the pretty girl was loaded into the mortuary van and quietly driven away up the hill towards Orange Grove Road/Orchard Road/Tanglin Road corner.

(C) Jud House  5/11/2012

* * * * *

SINGAPORE SLASHER – Part 1.


This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 1.

(While all locations are real, by necessity and for authenticity, the events and characters are entirely fictitious.  Please read this as a Draft.  I am writing this from memory.  Please excuse inaccuracies.  I will amend these as I get the chance to peruse my old diary entries and copious brochures and pamphlets I acquired while living there.  A murder mystery requires research, but in order to try to keep up with the spontaneity of NaNoWriMo projects, I will get on with the narrative, and tidy up the errors in the Second Draft stage.)

Singapore Slasher – Part 1.

The thing about Singapore is its air of ‘Safety’.  Although a fair size city of multi-cultural enclaves housing millions of people, there is very little apparent crime.  True – you could see unobtrusively-guarded orange-overalled gangs picking up litter and cleaning the street gardens at times during the day, but their crime was Littering.  It was the cleanest city she had seen.  Mind you some of the rules were a tad over the top, yet the resulting benefit was evident – for example the No Chewing/Bubble Gum Law.  It was great to not see jaws continually grinding and rotating, no bubbles being blown at inappropriate times and places, and for that matter no spitting either.  Manners prevailed – mostly – despite the diversity of cultures.  Amazing really.

She couldn’t quite adjust to the fact that she could walk home from teaching English at the language school late at night, the full length of the well-lit Orchard Road, then down along the less-lit Orange Grove Road with no sense of danger, no feeling of anxiety, no looking over her shoulder ‘just in case’.  It was very odd.  Back home in Australia she couldn’t do that.  Not even in the outer suburb of Perth by the ocean where she lived.  She would not feel safe.

Yet here she was, strolling along, alone, late at night, unaccosted, past the pick-up-bars busy plying their trade, past the boy-girls sitting on the pavement walls, smoking, chatting and calling to passers-by, in complete confidence.  It was amazing.  As if she was a different person – unafraid and carefree.

The first time, her husband had met her at the school and they’d strolled home together.  The city was much quieter at this time of night, peaceful, very little traffic and relatively few people on the street.  Those that were, were clustered around the supermarkets and food halls that were still open, though preparing to close down.  The air was cool and moist – it was always moist in this city.  The aroma of Singapore noodles wafted out of the food halls as they passed.  Their footsteps echoed on the pavement.

It was a chance to look at the city without the obstructive noisy pushing jostling crowds that needed your full attention to navigate safely.  Odd word to use, but a different kind of safety.  One of reaching your destination in the neat unfrazzled state in which you set out.  Of not getting crowded off the pavement and into the road.  Of not having people step out of doorways without looking right in your path, stepping on you if necessary.  Of not being accosted by tailors trying to sell you a suit – “Do I look like I want a suit?!”  Orchard Road is quite a long road, with many Hotels, commercial premises of all types, restaurants, government buildings with wonderful gardens, then shops, shops, shops, majestic Emporiums, underground malls interconnecting with shop-lined tunnels, cinema complexes, food halls galore, and bars.  During the day it is constantly busy.  On weekends there is easily a hundred thousand people moving along it.  She learned to avoid it at the weekends.

But at night it was peaceful, serene, mystical, enchanting.  At night she had time to look at the city, to drink in its atmosphere, her surroundings, and admire the buildings.  The architecture was wonderful, colourful, stylish, a real mixture of designs, making it stimulating to live amongst.  And fun.  There was even a building decorated as a Mondrian painting.  Fantastic.  She loved the Singapore architecture.  And the city seemed to change from week to week – certainly month to month.  How could they build so fast?!

Sometimes, when her husband met her, they’d have a bite to eat at a food hall, or grab some groceries from a market store, as they passed, to cook for a very late meal when they got home.  But other times, if it was very late, she would walk home alone, then have the meal he’d cooked when she arrived.  It was a different pace of life there – a different pattern of living.  They went out for casual meals frequently – food was so cheap in the food halls and cafes.  They spent their weekends visiting places – Botancial Gardens, the Zoos, both day, and night zoos, Sentosa Island, exploring the various computer-mart complexes, riding the MRT out to the suburbs to visit the Chinese Gardens, the Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, Raffles Hotel, the CBD, and on and on.  She loved it.  She felt like she really ‘had a life’.

Mind you the humidity was hard to take at times.  Thank goodness their apartment complex had a pool and spa in which she could cool down.  They had a poolside barbeque once a month for all the tenants which was socially bonding.  There were many people living there on a permanent basis, others semi-permanent like she and her husband – just there for the duration of a contract, while others were more like hotel guests.  But it made it feel more like home, as people became familiar faces, then friends.

So it was so shocking when she turned into Orange Grove Road, passed the Shangri La Hotel, and found the body propped against the steps to the rear gate at the corner of their wall.  It was obvious that it was dead.  It was not curled up in a peaceful sleeping position.  It was sitting on the bottom step with legs extended, draped back up the steps, head back on the top step, eyes staring into the jungle that dangled down the walls, sides and over the top of the gate-arch.  Across the exposed throat was a dark gash, visible even in the dim light and shadows cast from the nearby street light.

She took a step closer, peered, then backed away and ran down to the steep driveway of her apartment complex.  Reaching the Security Box just inside the gate, she discovered that the nightwatchman wasn’t there.  So she struggled up the slippery, steep, always-difficult drive to the lobby, where she staggered in, gasping.  Calling out, she banged her hand, rapid fire, onto the lobby counter bell.

“There’s been a murder.  Call the Police!  Are you there?  Can you hear me?  Call the Police!”

A startled Concierge emerged from the back room.

“Call the Police.  Let me speak to them.  Quickly.”

Luckily for her, the Concierge knew her well, enjoyed chats with her daily, understood her character as intelligent, humorous, practical, so realised that this was serious and not just hysteria or a prank.  While she regained her breath, and regained her composure, the Concierge dialled the counter phone, spoke, then handed it over.

After identifying herself, she explained what she had found and exactly where – calmly, precisely.  Handing it back to the Concierge, she thanked her, then turned to walk through the walkway by the pool, to the lifts.  At her apartment she told her disbelieving husband.

“There’s been a murder.  I have to go back down there and wait by the body till the police come.”

“No.  Stay here.  They’ll come to you when they are ready.”

“No. I have to go down and wait by the body.  So nothing gets touched.  They said so.  Please come down with me.  I don’t want to stand there alone, in the dark street.”

Dubiously, he shook his head.  Then, seeing her determination to do the right thing despite her vulnerability, agreed.  They returned down the treachorous drive, around the bend, to wait at the bottom of the steps.  After a glance to see that the body was still there, and in the same position as before, assumably untouched, they stood with their backs to it looking anxiously up and down the street.

Now it didn’t feel safe any more, even with her husband beside her.  Her heightened senses saw movements in the foliage, heard the creaking, twitching and scraping of leaves on leaves, the branches on walls, night creatures scurrying, fossicking in the overgrowth.  Singapore was continually overgrown – constantly being trimmed, cut back, pruned, brought under control.  Then it would rampantly break out again – usually in colourful abundance, which was a delight to see.   Except down the alleys where the mould also broke out and festered in the humidity, turning the walls to slime.

The arrival of the Police shattered the peace, shocking the neighbourhood.

(C) Jud House  4/11/2012

* * * * *

EVERY 31 MINUTES – Part 8


This is no longer my NaNoWriMo entry Part 8.  lol

Every 31 minutes someone is murdered . . .

THE TANGLED WEB  – RADIO DRAMA (Format modified due to Blog constraints)

CHARACTERS:-

GLORIA COGLYN – 32, emotionally and mentally strong, decision-maker, married to Jim, and neighbour of victim.

JIM COGLYN – 35, Gloria’s husband, apparently tough and aggressive, wanted for armed  robbery.

TESSA JOHNSON – 29, neighbour of Coglyns, selfish, petty, panics easily and has quick temper and sharp tongue.

DAVE JOHNSON – 31, Tessa’s husband and victim.  He is demonstrative in love and in anger when provoked.

DETECTIVE SERGEANT SMITH – 42, hard voiced, clipped speech, but with sense of humour/irony.

Scene: INT. Gloria and Jim’s living room.

FX            TEEMING RAIN PLUS VOICES RAISED IN ANGER FROM HOUSE NEXT DOOR

GLORIA   They’re at it again!

FX            THUNDER FOLLOWED BY GUNSHOT

FX            DOG BARKS FOLLOWED BY THUNDER

FX            DOOR SLAMS NEXT DOOR

GLORIA   What’s that?

JIM           Sounded like a car.

GLORIA   No, I think it’s a gun!  Didn’t you hear them fighting?  They’ve been at it for days.

JIM            I’m sure it was a car.

GLORIA   But you didn’t see them outside earlier.  I did.

JIM           What were they doing?

GLORIA    Well, she threw all his clothes in the garden, and he chased her swearing he’d kill her.

JIM            I still think it was a car.

FX             THUNDER, DOG BARKS

GLORIA    We’d better call the police.

FX             PHONE PICKED UP, THEN SLAMMED DOWN

JIM            You can’t do that!  If it was a car we’ll look like idiots.

GLORIA    But what if he’s killed her?

JIM            That’s right, blame it on him!  She might’ve shot him.  Anyway, it was a car!!

GLORIA    Well if you won’t call the police, then go and have a look.

JIM            I’m not going over there.  It’s none of our business.  Besides it’s pouring.

GLORIA    What if someone’s hurt and we do nothing?

JIM            It’s none of our business!

GLORIA    Well, I’m going over there to have a look, if you won’t.

FX              DOOR OPENS THEN CLOSES, RAIN STILL TEEMING

FX              FOOTSTEPS IN PUDDLES, DOG BARKS CONTINUALLY

FX              WOMAN’S SCREAM – FADE OUT

FX              FADE IN – EXT. SIRENS, THEN SIRENS HEARD FROM INT.

GLORIA    You were right.  She shot him.  I called the police and the ambulance.

JIM            Is he dead?

GLORIA    No, but he’s real bad.  They’ve taken him to intensive care.  She’s gone.  The place is in a real mess!

FX             KNOCK ON THE DOOR

GLORIA    That’ll be Detective Sergeant Smith.  He’ll want a statement.

JIM            (PANICKING)  I told you to keep out of it!

GLORIA    We’re neighbours.  They’d have questioned us anyway.

FX             DOOR OPENS, FEET STAMP, THEN DOOR CLOSES

SMITH      (OFF)  Mrs Coglyn, just a few questions.  (PAUSE THEN ON)  Jim Coglyn!  What a surprise.  We’ve been looking for you.

GLORIA    Jim!  What’s he talking about?  How does he know you?

JIM            You stupid bitch!  Now look what you’ve done.  Dropped me right in it.

SMITH       He’s wanted for armed robbery at a couple of TAB offices.  You might as well come quietly, Coglyn.  Now about this incident next door (FADE).

FX              MUSIC ON RADIO IN BACKGROUND.  PHONE RINGS.

GLORIA    Hello?

TESSA      Hi, Gloria.  It’s Tessa.  I need your help.

GLORIA    You’ve got a nerve, calling after what you did to Dave.

TESSA      I didn’t mean to.  I didn’t know the gun was loaded.  I’d had enough of his yelling and lost my temper.  How is he?  Is he dead?

GLORIA    No, he’s not!  He’s in intensive care, thanks to you.  If you didn’t mean to do it, why did you run?  Why didn’t you call an ambulance?

TESSA      I panicked.  You’ve got to help me.  I need money and somewhere to hide.  I thought maybe your beach-house?

GLORIA    I don’t know that I should help you.  Things are bad enough for me as they are.

TESSA      Please, Gloria.  I’ve got no-one else to turn to.

GLORIA     It’s against my better judgement, but all right then.  I’ll meet you at Karen’s Koffee Shoppe, in an hour?

TESSA      Thanks Gloria.  You’re a real friend.

FX             PHONE HANGS UP

GLORIA    Oh, no I’m not!

FX             PHONE PICKED UP AND DIALLED

GLORIA    Detective Sergeant Smith?  It’s Gloria Coglyn.  I’ve just been contacted by Tessa Johnson.  She wants me to meet her in an hour at Karen’s Koffee Shoppe.  I thought you’d like to know.

FX             CROWDED COFFEE SHOP NOISES.  BELL TINKLES AS DOOR OPENS.  THEN CLOSES.

GLORIA    Hi, Tessa.  You look terrible.

TESSA      I feel like death.

SMITH       That’s nothing to how your husband feels, Mrs Johnson.  You are under arrest for attempted murder.  You have the right to remain silent, but anything you do say can be given in evidence. . .

TESSA      (OVER SMITH’S SECOND SENTENCE)  You bitch!  you bloody cow!  You betrayed me!  I’ll get you for this!

FX              TESSA IS LED SCREAMING ABUSE FROM THE STUNNED SILENT COFFEE SHOP.  FADE.

FX              HOSPITAL NOISES.

GLORIA     Dave?  It’s me, darling.  It’s Gloria.  They wouldn’t let me in to see you before.  Are you okay?

DAVE         What?  Oh.  She shot me, Gloria.  Tessa shot me.

GLORIA     I know dear.  I found you and called the ambulance.  You’re okay now darling.  You lost a lot of blood.

DAVE        Where’s Tessa?  Did they get her?

GLORIA     Yes dear.  I took care of that.

DAVE         And Jim?  Where’s Jim?

GLORIA     He’d been keeping secrets from me, Dave.  He’s been arrested for armed robbery.

DAVE        What?!  Oww.  I can’t believe what’s been happening.

GLORIA    No.  It’s hard to take in.  (PAUSE)  I guess it’s just you and me now, darling.

(C) Copyright  Jud House  7/02/2012

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EVERY 31 MINUTES – Part 6


This is my NaNoWriMo entry Part 6.

Every 31 minutes someone is murdered . . .

Mid-Morning – New Years Day

1.              INT             BARKELEY’S LIVING AREA          DAY 

The DSS enters the  kitchen-diner, which is open-plan with the living room and joins STEVEN BARKELEY and his wife JANE.  The DSS sits at the kitchen table where indicated.  STEVEN joins him.  Their daughter quietly watches the television in the living room.

JANE
Coffee?  Or cold drink?  It must be hot and muggy out there

by now.

DSS
That’d be nice, ta.  White, two sugars.  It’s cooler in here.  (pauses)  I’d like to hear what happened here last night.  All of it.  Don’t leave anything out no matter how small.

 JANE begins to make coffee.

STEVE
Well, to start with, we had this New Year’s Eve party here.

JANE

And house-warming party as well.

STEVE

(nods) We’ve only been here three months.  There were my work-mates, their wives, and a coupla single blokes.  We had a barbeque from about seven-thirty till nine-ish.  Then we went back inside till midnight, when we all came back out, making a racket, and fired up the barbie again.

JANE puts the coffees on the table, then sits down.  She nods agreement.

STEVE  (cont.)

Joe called out that there was a gatecrasher conked out on the lawn.  We figured he’d come from another party up the street.  Decided to ignore him and let him sleep it off.  He wasn’t hurting anyone.

DSS

Did anyone go near him, touch him, at all?

STEVE

Not that I know of.  Er . . (looks embarrassed)  Except when we were chasing our wives around the back yard.  One of them nearly fell over him.

DSS

Which one would that be? (looks at guest list paper)

JANE

Marion.  She’s done athletics so she was last caught.

DSS

When was this?

STEVE

After the midnight barbie.  Then we all went inside again for coffee.

JANE

Not all of us.  Bob and his rude friend Phil didn’t come inside for coffee.  They didn’t say goodbye either.  Must’ve gone while we were packing up the food to take back inside. 

DSS

This Bob would be Bob Coxe on this list? (waves paper)  I take it he’s one of the single men.

STEVE

Yep  So’s Phil.  They live at the Singles Quarters in the LIA.  (pulls a face)  Actually, Phil wasn’t invited to the party.  Bob was.  He asked if he could bring someone and we thought he meant a chick.  But he turned up with Phil.

DSS

You don’t sound too happy about that.

STEVE

No.  We weren’t.  Phil’s a surly sod.  He argued with most of us last night.

JANE

(indignant)  He was drunk and obnoxious.  No manners at all.  Ate more than his share – even ate Marion’s steak before she could grab it.  I thought Tony was going to hit him for a minute.  A real trouble-maker.  We were glad when we found he’d gone.

DSS

(passive)  When do you think they left, approximately?  When did you last see them?

STEVE

Well they were on the patio when we were chasing the wives. (grins)  I reckon we went in about twenty to two.  But they didn’t.  They were certainly gone when we came out to say goodbye to everyone. 

DSS

I’ll be talking to them all shortly.

The DSS made some notes in the margin by the list of names.  There is silence for a moment.  He looks intently at STEVE.

DSS  (cont.)

Any idea who the deceased was? 

STEVE

I don’t know his name, but I reckon I’ve seen him around.  He might work where I do – at NorWest Engineering.  there’s lots of blokes working for them, not all of them at the workshops, and I haven’t been here very long.

DSS

Does the name David Hill ring a bell?

STEVE

David Hill.  Yeah I reckon Tony mentioned that name.  To do with an argument.  You’d better ask him.  He’s been here for ages and usually knows what’s going on.

DSS

(consults list)  Tony Merridan?

STEVE nods.  Silence.  The DSS makes some more notes.  STEVE and JANE exchange glances.

DSS  (cont.) 

What order did your friends leave in?  And when?

JANE

Well, Marion, Tony, Paul and Janet all left together.  At about two a.m.  The rest of us had more coffee, and talked for a while.  then Sue, Joe, Garry, and Tricia left.  that’s all.  then we went to bed.

DSS

When did you cover the deceased with the rug?

STEVE

After the others left.  jane was worried he’d get cold, so I went and grabbed an old car rug.  I just kinda threw it over him.  Then we locked up and went to bed.

DSS

Did you try to wake him at all?

STEVE

Nope.  He seemed out for the count.

JANE gasps in shock.

STEVE  (cont.)

Sorry.  Poor choice of words.I didn’t bother to try.  He’d slept through all our racket during the chasey.  I figured he’d wake up during the night and go home.

The DSS stands, pockets his papers, shakes hands with STEVE and JANE.

DSS

I’ll get this typed up for you to sign.  I’ll be speaking to you again.  Ta for the cuppa.

The DSS exits.  JANE makes more coffee, while STEVE looks out the kitchen window at the police activities beyond.

(C) Copyright Jud House  28/11/2011

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