Friday, 25 October 2013

Pete Sutton's Shady Characters story
Shady Characters

Whenever one of them is murdered I'm sent to investigate by the man upstairs, and I don't mean God. My name's Roman. Not man from Rome, I'm no Flavious or Biggus or whatever, my actual name is pronounced Row Man.

The library was in a historically significant building and all Edwardian or Georgian or some such king. It looked OK I guess but I wasn’t here for the view. There were 2 men, a woman and the corpse when I arrived at the storeroom.


Candara, Head Librarian”

“Garamond, Researcher”

Arial, Librarian”

“And the corpse?”

That will be Mr Lucida our custodian” said Candara, a young chap, mid 30’s, not my view of what a head librarian would look like.

“Can any of you think of a reason why anyone would want to murder him?”

They all looked clueless which I hoped I wouldn’t be after I examined the body. I ushered them out telling them to stay in the library. The CSI geeks were yet to arrive. I took a quick look around the room seeing nothing particularly out of place. Apart from the late Mr Lucida; he looked out of place of course. No blood, I creaked into a crouch to take a closer look, thinking once again that I should exercise more.

CSI will give me a time and cause of death but it looked as if the poor sap had been strangled, didn’t look like the body was moved. As I sucked my pencil I had a sudden urge for a cigarette. Not had one in years, still have occasional urges though, mostly when I’m tired, drunk, or stressed. I glanced back to the notebook. Garamond had said nothing at all apart from who he was, was that significant? Time to talk to the witnesses and suspects.

There had already been 3 deaths, Lucida would make it 4. I wonder how much of the heritage had gone with this one. I would assume not much because of his lowly position but you never know with the men upstairs, what they choose or have chosen for them.

I went for a walk round the stacks wondering what would happen to the Book Heritage if one of the old families were rubbed out. Can’t have been very many books written in Lucida I thought. At least when the Comic Sans had been killed there wasn’t much book fallout. He was the first, also strangled. Since him there had been Gentium, Miller and now Lucida.

Before the population explosion in the computer age deaths were rare and had a bigger impact on the Heritage, now who knew? There have been lots of new families since. The guy upstairs though, he wanted me to sort this out.

The lab boys confirmed that Lucida was strangled, had been dead for approximately 4 hours before the library opened and that everything else would have to wait for a full autopsy.

As I finished taking the statements of the people who worked at the library I spotted a vaguely familiar looking man watching me. When he spotted that I’d seen him he looked panicked and fled through a door. Only guilty people run from the police. On the stairs leading up I remembered who this was, but it was impossible, the Comic Sans! but without his trademark beard and silly hat. The stairs ended at a door to the roof.

The rooftop had no other exits and a drop would be fatal. As I approached the corner of roof entrance a shot rang out. He was on the opposite side of the roof behind some air conditioning units.

“Why did you do it” I shouted

“No one took me seriously”

“Give yourself up, we have the building surrounded”

I risked a glimpse, I couldn’t see him then there he was he was running across the roof. Was he going to try to jump to the next building? It was a 6 foot gap at least. That would be madness.

“Stop!” I shouted but he never even slowed down. Afterwards I wondered if he knew he wasn’t going to make it. Turned out Garamond and he were old friends and Garamond had been hiding him at the library but Lucida had rumbled him. Garamond had also helped him to fake his own death. Tonight a comedian died and I thought to myself that the old saying was wrong. Sticks and stones may break my bones and words can sometimes kill.





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