Monday, 16 June 2014

Fekenham Tales - Simian Simpering - Private Detective and Surrealist Investigator - "Dredging Silkworms and Ten Reversible Faces" - chapter 2

More from the odd world of Simian Simpering. The strange character born from the pages of The Village Tales of Fekenham Swarberry. There still is that feel of the grotesque and the surreal, still a flat, deadpan comic quality. Suck it and see...


The Lion in Lionel and the Kink in Blossom

Why would someone so savagely remove another person’s head only to replace it with a dead chicken? The question seemed odd even by Simian Simpering’s peculiar standards. Someone had, though; some unspeakable bounder had killed a man, then apparently sliced off his head before setting a deceased fowl where the head should be. “Fowler and fouler,” mused the detective. He spoke his thoughts out loud to his friend and neighbour, Lionel Limpdick. It was Tuesday. There were no flowers in bloom. An uneven sky glowered above them as they sat next to each other, facing the sea, playing dream chess. In the background a lion yawned noisily.
“Claudius sounds off-colour,” said the private investigator, “is he sick?”
“Like me, he is getting old. I will take him for a walk later,” replied the retired architect. “We could both do with the exercise.”
He didn’t actually walk the lion; it was merely an expression he used for when he let Claudius out of his cage into the larger pen. The lion was a pet Lionel had owned since it was a cub, after it had been found in his dustbin. He knew full well who had put it there, but he never spoke of it or them. Now, though, Lionel was concerned for Claudius’s wellbeing. The cat was listless and off its food. For the past few days it had been making a low thrumming sound as if it were unwell.
“I wonder what is wrong with Claudius?” asked Lionel.
“Perhaps something he has eaten has disagreed with him. Why not call for a vet?”
Simpering’s logic was indisputable. Lionel decided he would do just that.
“Your move,” said Lionel.
“Yes,” replied Simpering thoughtfully as he considered his opening gambit.
There was no chessboard in front of them, nor were there any chess pieces. They kept the game stored in their heads. The previous game had lasted several weeks and had ended in stalemate.
“Pawn to queen four,” stated Simpering.
“Hmmm,” said Lionel, with due consideration.
Simpering turned the conversation back to the case in hand.
“Of course the case has other odd aspects, too. The corpse is that of Leonard Lampwick, a retired botanist. Even though his head was missing and is yet to be found, the body was confirmed as being him by his ex-lover, a woman named Blossom Kink but I run ahead of myself. I haven’t told you how I became involved in this case.
“It was after I received a call from a former colleague of mine, Detective Inspector Drip. He had been dispatched by his senior officer to investigate the discovery of a headless corpse that had been found lying in a garden in Shanklin. Upon arrival, Drip and his assistant, Detective Sergeant Debbie Sundae, encountered the corpse, save for its head, which had been replaced by a dead chicken. They were, of course, perplexed. Not so much about the murder, for murder it was, but more about why the killer had chosen to decapitate the dead man only to replace his head with a hen. It struck them as surreal. Voilà! They called for me.”
“Your reputation precedes you,” said Lionel, a little facetiously.
Simpering plumped his chest out like a wood pigeon, which was quite a feat for a man with a singular lack of evidential chest. He coughed a high note, then continued.
“Of course the decapitation was not odd at all, for what the murderer wanted to do was conceal the dead man’s identity. I think I may have neglected to tell you that the body was found several miles from where the dead man had lived, making it far harder to tell who he was. There were no visible signs to show who he may have been: no driving license, no passport and even though the deceased’s fingerprints were taken, they revealed nothing, for the man had no criminal record. Drip did his best, but what can a mere policeman do when faced with such a dilemma?”
Lionel interrupted with a mild cough. “Call for you?”
“Exactly so, call for me. I suggested to Drip that he should look at the man’s feet again, which request he found odd, even going so far as to question why. I informed my ex-sergeant that the boots the man was wearing were highly unusual, and that he should examine them closely to find out who made them and what size they were. This he did, returning to me many hours later, like the dog who has recovered the stick. The boots were handmade by a shoemaker on the mainland. I again politely suggested that Drip send his subordinate, the lovely Debbie Sundae who, incidentally, has the most exquisite calves, matched only by her delightful ankles to interview this man as promptly as possible.
“Unfortunately the man, Frank Cordwainer by name, had recently married and moved away to Gloucestershire. However, the beautiful Sergeant Sundae tracked him down, whereupon he was able to reveal the client’s name as the one I mentioned earlier, Leonard Lampwick. It transpires that this gentleman had commissioned these boots for when he undertook his botanical studies. Now we had a name, we had something to work with.
“Sundae returned to the island, and Drip, plodder though he is, straight away proceeded to where the dead man had lived. They entered the property, which they found to be modestly furnished, to establish contact with any names they could find within the dead man’s effects. They were methodical in their search, going through his telephone books and any other such articles they could find. There were several dozen names, of course, for the man had many associates, not to mention one or two close friends. One such person was the previously mentioned Blossom Kink.
“’Blossom Kink,’ a name to conjure with, is it not? A black woman, of course, with a bottom you could harbour sea-going vessels in a whole flotilla of battleships could find safe sanctuary there, and warm comfort too, no doubt but I digress. Blossom Kink was more than a friend much, much more, for she was the dead man’s ex-lover. And what a bitter woman she turned out to be.”
Another mild cough from Lionel broke into the private investigator’s diatribe. “Pawn to queen four,” revealed Lionel.
“Ah hah!” exclaimed Simpering.
The two men sat side by side, staring into the middle distance, observing where the sea washed the sky. A thin stretch of blue and white parasols lined the beach that lay comfortably by the bay. Simpering continued with his monologue.
“As I was saying, Blossom Kink had a lot of deep seated hatred within her. She didn’t take the trouble to hide or disguise it either. Her anger at the man she had once loved bordered on the manic. I went with Drip to interview her. When calm she was a most gorgeous woman, if a little flat-chested. I found myself sinking into those deep brown eyes, dreaming of melting inside those thick, tree-trunk-like legs. Ahem, anyway, again I digress, where was I? Oh, yes, her hatred for the man she once loved, Leonard Lampwick.
“You see it wasn’t just the fact she so loved this botanist; it wasn’t that he fell out of love with her. She understood and fully appreciated that these things happen. No, it was the manner in which he took his love away, or rather, to whom he gave it.
“Blossom is a twin. Her sister’s name is Althea. Blossom’s sister Althea had a lover whose name was never spoken of. It is believed that Althea left this man for the love of Leonard. Now two hearts have been broken: Blossom’s and the man whose name is never mentioned.
“During the brief investigation, for I soon discovered all the answers I needed, it came to light that Blossom had shown a side of herself that was most incredibly unpleasant. Not only had poison pen letters arrived for Leonard Lampwick, but also a box containing the remains of a dead cat. Apparently Leonard had a love of cats. These unpleasant packages were made worse by a series of printed posters she then pasted around Shanklin. (Perhaps you saw them?) They made claims that Leonard Lampwick was a range of disgusting things, from the mutilator of home grown turkeys to the perpetrator of sordid acts with root vegetables.
“I saw no regret for the actions she took, nor did she care one whit how her ex-lover had died. There was no sign of remorse whatsoever, so great was the hurt done her by Mister Lampwick. The only love that appeared to remain, which in turn lit a small fire of sympathy, was the love for her sibling, whom she referred to as Eggshare. I assume this nickname came from the pair sharing space in the womb, and not their private copulations with the man they had both once loved.”
The private investigator stuck out his tongue then licked his lips before continuing with his story. “Althea is much like her sister, even though they are not identical twins. I suppose one must ask if it is nature or nurture that created their similar peculiarities, for although their appearances are different, their passions are the same. Althea is more womanly: she has breasts that wobble when she walks and lips that somehow unpeel when she talks. Of course there was the shared love, but Althea also had a former lover, one whom she had spurned. Spurning is one of the common factors with this case that unite all the suspects.
“Althea refused to name her former lover, possibly due to guilt, or perhaps because she was too polite to drag another’s name into the spotlight of suspicion. I do know her pet name for him, though: she called him ‘Slinky.’ An odd sort of name for a paramour, but then the intellect seems to suffer somewhat when the heart gets involved.
“I tried to imagine what this Slinky must have looked like. When I say must have looked like, I am not implying he is also dead, for I think he is very much alive. What I was trying to establish for my own purposes only was whether or not the ex-lovers of Blossom and Althea had any similarities with each other or not. Since I have not seen any photographic evidence of Althea’s ‘Slinky,’ I cannot pass judgement.
“It became obvious though that Althea had done much the same cruel act as Leonard had on her sister Blossom. Ahhh, we are back to that act of spurning again. Women are a favourite pastime of mine, but they, and affairs of the heart, are a mystery to me. I find them both so perplexing.
“Let me share a conversation I had with Blossom. It is very revealing.
‘Was Leonard very attentive to you when you were together?’
‘Yes, he sent me flowers and bought me chocolate. He even used to warm my underwear for me.’
‘How did he do that?’
‘He lit a candle beneath a tin tray. When the tray was hot enough he laid my garments on it.’
‘And what of romance?’
‘He was very romantic. All our anniversaries he remembered. He called me his pudding bowl and said he liked to fill me up.’
‘And did he?’
‘Oh yes, with four star fuels.’
‘Your sex life, was it good?’
‘He knew how to play passion as though it were a note from a vintage violin.’
Of course such questions can sometimes result in a level of misunderstanding. A false impression can be made. For instance, when as a policeman, a Detective Chief Inspector no less, I asked a woman if she had recently had her rear entrance serviced she reported me to my superiors. Matters became worse following the complaint, when I wrote to the lady in question in an attempt clear any misunderstanding there might be. She too was a lover of felines, and so I thought it would be only courteous of me to compliment her on her sweet ginger pussy. Sadly my explanatory apology only made matters worse, and I was sacked from the force.
When I ask such questions it is always with a purpose. Sometimes that purpose may be shrouded in vague ambiguities or even contain a surreal element, but that, of course, is the nature of my methods. The woman who took offence at my comments did have lovely buttocks, though.
“My move, I think.”
Simpering ran his forefinger around his shirt collar, then emitted a shallow cough.
“Knight to king’s bishop three.”
Lionel sat forward on the wooden bench with his eyes closed. The view in front of him mattered little, as in his mind a chessboard was calling for his attention. Simpering continued with his dreary monologue.
“The poison letters sent by Blossom to Leonard were not the only ones posted. Another series full of equally indiscriminate passion was discovered to be in the possession of Althea Kink. Yes, she too had received them, and also a box containing a dead trout. The message set against the deceased fish’s face read, “Another ugly fish, just like you and your sister.” Obviously, whoever sent this dire present (Althea refused to give a name) must have been acquainted with the siblings to have made such a claim.
“Then there is Bill Jagger. You won’t have heard of him, although you may have seen him from time to time when he makes deliveries in Shanklin. You see, Mister Bill Jagger is in fact a delivery man who works for the ‘WightForce Delivery Service.’ Bill Jagger is not a big man. Nor is he small. He is in fact quite ordinary, apart from his neck, which is stout. He is, I suppose, of a stocky disposition. He was born and raised on the Isle of Wight and has seldom visited the mainland. He doesn’t like seagulls, and he curses them. He is particularly unpleasant to gannets, at which he throws large stones whenever he sees them. You see, he has one of his thumbs missing, which he informed he lost as a small infant when a gannet swooped to steal a sandwich from his hand, only to take his thumb with it. Such an event is enough to put one off of sea-going birds for life.
“Bill Jagger has long been delivering packages to Althea Kink, who he says has the prettiest eyes. Bill has a fondness for Blossom’s sister that borders on the obsessive. His apartment is covered with pictures of her. These are photos Bill has taken when passing Althea’s home. Althea wishes he wouldn’t do this, for she finds it slightly disturbing. Having a van man park his vehicle, only to whip out his camera and take innumerable photographs must be a little disconcerting.
“Of course, Bill doesn’t see it that way. Why would he? Althea is the woman of his dreams, and the only way you give those dreams some sort of foundation is to have something solid to look at. Althea isn’t particularly solid, but Blossom is. The photos Bill takes are his way of having Althea share his life. Of course, the likelihood of Bill and Althea sharing anything at all, let alone a life together, is pretty remote. After all, Althea does refer to Bill as a ‘freaky little fucker.’ An odd expression, I grant you, but it gains credence given the circumstances.
“So having done some research on three suspects, I then decided to investigate Leonard Lampwick further. After all, a botanist too must have roots. So I went again to Leonard’s home to see whatever it was there that the police had overlooked. Oddly enough, when I arrived the police detective I have already mentioned was there: Arnold Drip.
’How do, guv,’ he says to me, in the down-at-heel fashion that subordinates often use. “’Fine and dandy,’ replied I, happy still to be called “guv.” You see, that is another curious affectation that junior policemen have: they all call their senior officers “guv,” even the women. Odd, that.
’Funny old case this is it not,’ said Drip, in conversational tones.
’Indeed it is,’ said I, not wishing to spoil the flow of communication.
“So we ventured into the house of Leonard Lampwick again, but this time with a fresh set of eyes, the better prepared to seek out the surreal and frankly weird. I soon found something that came close to fitting that description, for in the living room was a dividing panel, an overly long message board that cut the room in twain, effectively acting as both a place to pin things on and also a fragile wall. Upon this ridiculous membrane were hung a panoply of pictures. These were mostly of flowers and the like, and had been taken at some point or other by Mister Lampwick himself. I have never seen such a vast display of floral exuberance before. It was truly magnificent, but the thing that caught my eye was the photo that sat dead centre of this pageant. It was a small, black and white photograph, taken many years ago, of two children, two little boys, to be precise. What was of even greater interest was that these boys, much like the Kinks, were twins, but unlike the Kinks these brothers were identical. Imagine that! Two blonde boys bathing in the back garden in some long forgotten decade years before.
“I wondered long and hard on this before coming to the conclusion that perhaps now I should re-visit Blossom’s and Althea’s childhood too.
“I said a fond farewell to my old number two, Arnold Drip, then made my way back to my own residence. I hadn’t eaten that day, and so was feeling famished. I stopped on my way at the local fishmongers, where I purchased three monkfish. Then I called in at the local grocers, where I sought out tins of rice pudding. Armed with these delicacies, I walked the rest of the way home, happy as a frog in a lily pond. Before dining, I ran myself a bath filled with oodles of bubbles; then, when I had concluded my ablutions, I settled down to eat my dinner.
“It is funny, isn’t it, the way we all select our favourite dishes? I have only known you for a short while, but I understand that you favour a mild curry, whereas I adore fish. I really don’t mind what fish I eat, as long as they come out of the water alive and arrive on my plate dead, and preferably cooked. I really don’t like to see food again once it has been eaten.
“Anyway, yet again I digress; you must forgive these minor deviations of mine. I am aware that I do this, but as a lady friend of mine once said of me, I am fond of the odd deviation. Ahem.
“Now then, where was I? Oh yes, Bill Jagger, a man of limited intellect and a reservoir of unfulfilled passion. A man capable of murder, yes, yes, I think he is, but I don’t think it was he who killed Leonard Lampwick.
“So here we have a conundrum that cries out for a superior mind to deal with it. This is much like a game of cards played with a blank deck which the players must not only participate in, but also define the rules at random as the game proceeds.
“Around the table sit the ghost of Leonard, dead but not forgotten; Blossom, with her tray- like bottom, who defiles the memory of the man seated in front of her; Althea, all smiles and sultry winks to the Leonard of spectral quality, who fades in and out of the event like a poorly received radio signal; Bill Jagger, who flexes his muscle as he grits his teeth, feeling the affection of her whom he adores given to the lingering memory of a flower-pot man; then there is me, sitting like a thorn in the midst of poison ivy as I assess the convolution presented to me; and finally we have the masked master who makes his entrance shrouded in shadow and subterfuge.
“The cards are dealt, six to each player, and gathered up in fists of fancy that fidget as the eyes of the players scan cards and faces for signs of clues. There are none, just the sad tones of sunset washing the table with shades of grey.
“Outside a wildcat starts to cry. It is a fearsome sound that sends trembles down the spine of hunters and hunted alike, for now the game begins in earnest. Even the melting moths of the candle-stick evening fly in sombre silence, their wing tips catching in the hungry flame that sends them spinning to a fiery death.
“Do you know why moths fly into the flame? It is due to their eyesight not being able to distinguish starlight or moonlight from any other form of light. They use light, you see, to navigate by, so when they see a certain star, they know they should follow it, as it will take them where they need to go, but of course a candle light is a manmade thing and quite unnatural, so they follow it as their instincts tell them they should, only to find they are the insect equivalent of Prometheus. They crash and burn and die. Tragic when you think of it, but there we are.
“The first player decides to replace one card with another. He tells the other players the card he is discarding is the jack of hearts, but the second player knows he is lying, for it is he who holds the jack of hearts. With this knowledge the second player is forewarned and so is able to lay a trap but also allow a plan. What he doesn’t know is that over his shoulder player three has been spying on him and therefore knows what cards he holds. This makes player three the most dangerous player, for now he can settle back and let the others fight it out whilst he watches and waits.
“This is, of course, a foolish notion, for the other players have not yet selected what cards they want to have, what suits or whatnot to hold. Player four, thinking only of power and victory, has four Aces and two Kings. This, he feels, will surely win the day, but he is unaware that the player next to him, player five, has done precisely the same thing, thereby creating a stalemate which negates both players four and five from winning.
“But of course it is player six, the masked man of shadows whom no one knows, who holds a run from one to six of Spades. With this selection there can only be one winner, or so he thinks, for he worships at the altar of deception: he has no respect for love, loyalty or fealty; there is but one individual whom he gives his heart to, and that is himself.
“Blossom sits raging her days away. Her love is dead. There is no way she can ever again feel his touch or warm to his caress. She lost him before he died, but this does not help her, for without her hurt to fuel her rage her days become empty and her life meaningless, so even in the face of the ultimate end, that of death itself, she defies the principle by stoking her pain until it reaches fever pitch, until it burns like a thousand suns, until it consumes her mind and sends her to a fate worse than death, that of utter, mind-draining madness. Her sanity now flakes like old paint peeling off a tin wall. The flakes are like leaves, but unlike leaves, the flakes of paint, her sanity, will not turn to mulch, will not decompose as compost, but will splinter and shatter into miniscule fragments that the wind will whip up and send flying into the seas and up into the skies and across vast oceans as little bits of her, never to be formed as one again.
“Bill Jagger churns like butter being battered into cheese. His anger is that of a male mountain, hot and running red as it flows in rivers of lava down the craggy folds and ridges of the terrible terrain. Unlike Blossom, he has not had the kind yet cruel hand of death steal his love away, for the loss of another’s love is unimaginably worse when they live. The inference, no the fact, is that they lost their love for you and did not have death rob them. Loss is worse than theft, but unrequited love is far worse than either. His hurt is immeasurable but having no other course to focus his rage on, as he still loves the one who does not love him, he must turn that anger onto the one his love loves. The trouble is, he is unsure just who that is, for indeed, as you may have guessed, it is the man of no name who lurks masked and veiled by shadow. Bill Jagger flails around, throwing darts of confusion in every direction, trying to find the true target of his hurt, but his missiles miss the target, and so his rage consumes him.
“Althea flutters butterfly happy, feeling that the man she once loved and who once loved her still has reciprocal feelings. She is unsure, though. She is uncertain what to do next, for guilt hangs heavy around her neck. She feels sorry for causing her sibling such sorrow and wishes she could wrap the sorrow up in a brown paper bag, then throw it into the deep, but she knows such dreams are foolish. Her feelings for Bill Jagger are limited to pity, for she thinks him unworthy of her affection but conversely does not like to cause him such hurt. She has made him well aware that the chance of them ever being together is as possible as a leper marrying a eunuch, but her words fall on deaf ears.
“And the masked man of shadow and secrets hides away behind the black, for he knows the truth and the cure to all of their ills, but he cannot reveal himself for fear of recognition.
“Then, of course, there is Gabriel Swang.”
At this point Lionel opened his eyes and spoke: “Knight to king’s bishop three.”
“I see what you are doing,” said Simpering smugly, before continuing his oration.
“Gabriel Swang is a man of indecisive joints. If his left leg moves forward, then his left foot goes back and his right leg hops whilst his right foot drags. One arm marches swinging by his side, whilst the other flaps like a bird. His torso is incommunicado with the rest of his limbs and does what it will when it wants, which often is in detriment to the rest of his being. His face is of a similar construct. His right eye gazes forward, blinking frequently, as though a speck of dust has dropped into it. His left looks out in another direction and at a different angle, whilst his nose wrinkles and twitches, much like that of a rabbit with habitual Sydenham's chorea. His mouth curls to a sneer, then forms a thin trumpet from which he blows a fractured whistle. He is, in other words, a gangly soul. He is also the unfortunate curator of The Grandee Ballroom.
“As I am sure you are aware, the Grandee Ballroom is where the insalubrious exploits of certain islanders take place. To be a member costs an arm and a leg, along with exposure of orifices that normally do not see the light of day to rigid examination. Having been subjected to the most gruelling of internal and external physical examinations, one must then, so I am told, be inaugurated by a committee of one-legged men before facing a final initiation which involves eating uncooked bat’s liver. As I said, I wouldn’t know from personal experience but I have been told on good authority that all I have itemised is true.
“Dog collars with spikes can be purchased in the foyer if asked for at the reception desk. They also supply inflatable rubber suits with gimps as extras. The ballroom is run by a group of dwarves who are employed by Gabriel Swang, a singular man with a plural function who has the dwarves act as barmen, bouncers and bathroom attendants. Apparently they are well paid for their services, if sometimes a little shortchanged.
“During an earlier era, when jazz was all the rage and men danced with women, rather than being led by them with leather collars around their necks and chains around their ankles, the Grandee Ballroom was a venue for high-society gatherings. Its faux Georgian façade with regal Greco-Roman columns that rose imperially tall from black and white tiled floors, gave audience to the upper echelons of society, including one royal visit from George V in nineteen twenty-nine. He was a most popular monarch following his abolition of the Empire, when he replaced it with the Commonwealth, and his giving home rule to the Irish while inviting them to join the formation of Albion, a union of three sovereign nations and one principality. I am told he danced like a turkey, though. He also broke wind like the Philharmonic Orchestra.
“You may ask what relevance the Grandee Ballroom has to my odd tale of a decapitated dead man and his curious lovers, but the truth is easy to explain. Blossom and Althea Kink used to frequent the place, as did Leonard Lampwick and Bill Jagger. The services supplied and the opportunity to meet with like-minded individuals held great appeal for the group, especially Leonard, who enjoyed being dominated by large women, a sentiment I can fully understand. They weren’t a collective then, of course, as it was at the Grandee Ballroom that all four of them met, along with one other - the masked man of shadows but still of substance.”
Simpering placed his forefinger on his upper lip whilst his thumb supported the area where a chin should have been had he had one. He contemplated his next move. Finally, after a minute or so of silence he spoke: “Knight to queen’s bishop three,” squeaked the private eye, as though his vocal chords were being squeezed by a large python. Lionel smiled, then nodded sagely. Above them a large gannet defecated. The white guano hit the tiled area in front of them with a wet splat.
“Pity it’s not a Bluebird,” gargled Simpering chuckling to himself. No one else laughed least of all Lionel Limpdick who was deep in concentration considering his next move. Simpering looked up and toward the street in front of his friend’s house. A woman in a wheelchair was rolling by, propelling herself forward by spinning the wheels with her hands. She had the appearance of a loaf of bread, one whose dough hasn’t risen during baking. Her disability was noticeable by the stump of her left leg that had been amputated at the thigh. Her right leg was more fortunate, having only had the foot removed. From her mouth hung a cigarette from which a steady puff of smoke rose in grey fingers above her head.
Beyond the woman and her wobbly wheelchair the azure sea settled about its business. Occasional glimpses of white surf could be seen leaping from the ocean like ghostly dolphins A yacht, its sails filled by the gusting wind, travelled gracefully along. It might have been a scene from another time. Simpering gathered his thoughts and returned to his monologue.
“Passions are strange and vary according to the tastes of individuals. It was a curious coincidence that Blossom, Leonard, Althea and the mysterious fourth man, for man it was, shared similar peccadillos. It is not for me to pass judgement on the indulgences of others, but suffice to say leather leads, spiked collars and Bonio dog biscuits, even when coated in custard, are not a source of pleasure to me. However, they were to this odd gang of four.
“But it is this fourth man, this shadow among shade, this mystery man who was the cause of concern to me. The police, bless young Arnold Drip, had no idea, for such was the absurdity of this case that only the obvious occurred to them. The surreal is my sphere of expertise. For them it is just the stuff of too much cheese before bedtime.
“The body was also curious. Why had the head been removed? It had nothing to do with the murder, for Leonard Lampwick had been poisoned, so why then had the killer decapitated a corpse? Mutilation, perhaps? The more I thought on the subject the less likely it seemed. The obvious candidate seemed to be Blossom, for she had the motive, but was she any good with a saw? Althea had no cause to harm a hair on Leonard’s head, as she had left another to be with him, which only left Bill Jagger. While not big, Bill certainly has the necessary strong right arm to slice through the neck of a dead man, but he has no motive either. I was then left able to draw only one conclusion: It was none of the above who killed Leonard Lampwick; therefore it had to be the shadowy mystery man.
“With this in mind I began to delve deeper. Not just into the identity of this unknown killer with his hidden motive, but also into who Leonard Lampwick was, apart from what we already knew. He was a botanist by vocation, a one-time lover of Blossom Kink, the paramour of Althea Kink, Blossom’s sister, but also a son. I looked into who Leonard Lampwick’s parents were, and do you know what? I found nothing, nothing at all. The world is full of Lampwicks both big and small, male and female, and a great many Leonards, too, but not one who fitted the physical description of the deceased. Then an idea struck me. Perhaps, just perhaps, the surname Leonard had been changed, altered for reasons unknown. I spoke to Althea first, then Blossom, who verified that Leonard Lampwick had changed his name following a family feud. Apparently he had fought with his sibling over le cause d’amour. You see, Althea confessed to me the name of the man she had previously loved and who had loved her.
"Lampwick is in fact Limpdick. Leonard was your brother, and you and he fell out over Althea and his affair. When you poisoned your brother you had taken tame old Claudius with you. Once the vile deed was done, you laid your brother out in the garden not thinking that your aging feline pet would ravage your dead brother’s face. The marks on his head were obviously made by a large animal, a fact the police would have picked-up on. You had no choice but to remove your brother’s head and let Claudius chew on it at his leisure, which he kindly did. Once all evidence of the flesh had been consumed, you then disposed of the skull by feeding it to the local pigs. Pigs will, if hungry enough eat even bone. The one mistake you made, of course, was the poison. The reason Claudius has been making all the woeful growling and mewling is because he consumed the contaminated flesh of your brother’s head. He has been feeling unwell ever since. The Lion, that is; not your brother.”
Lionel Limpdick did not at first respond. He was still musing over his next move in this game of dream chess. “Knight to queen’s bishop three,” he intoned, with a dull voice.
Simpering considered the move, wheezed a bit like some broken pipe on the church organ, then sat bolt upright. He flicked out his tongue, licked his lips once, then declared, sotto voce, “Checkmate for you I’m afraid.”


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Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

3 comments:

twh said...

is simian getting his exercise by being being chased about the house by mrs. scrubber now?

simian is in fine form, indeed. so is your wordsmithing!!

Vanessa V Kilmer said...

I love the names of your characters. They tickle me to no end.

LeeKwo said...

Dream chess what a surrealistic proposition/This is a great piece of writing/The reference to chess is but one way you expertly hold the story together/What an imagination you have comrade/I am gobsmacked/Regards Kwo/