This is the twelfth part of a fiction serial, in 858 words.
My mum always said that everything happens in threes, so I shouldn’t have been too surprised when something dramatic occurred less than a week after Fat Bald Bloke came home from hospital. I checked at work, and Elvira was out on bail, so I presumed she was in the flat, but I hadn’t seen her.
That Friday night, I had walked to Seafry in the precinct, and bought fish and chips for dinner. I watched part of a DVD box set, then had just settled down to the second disc, when there was a knock at the door. A hurried knock, hinting at someone panicking.
Sammy Lee was there, looking terrified. “Mr Jeff, Mr Jeff, come quick, something bad, very bad”. He bolted for the stairwell entrance, and I had no choice but to follow, even though I had no shoes on. He was chattering as he ran down the stairs, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying, as he was speaking so fast. When we got to the flight of stairs behind the door to his floor, I could see what had spooked him.
Possible Junkie was lying crumpled on the stairs, and even before I got to him, I could see he was dead. I yelled at Sammy to stop before he trampled all over the crime scene and left footprints in the blood that was on the stairs and up the wall. I took him back up to wait outside my flat while I went in and called the police. I put some shoes on as I ran through the questions I knew they would ask, and of course identified myself as a policeman. I said I would stand in the stairwell to stop anyone going down or coming up, and that Sammy would wait by the door to let them in.
The full murder investigation circus arrived. I was interviewed for a statement, and so was Sammy. Officers started doing the rounds of all the flats, waking everyone up who was already in bed. They cordoned off the stairwell, and dragged the bins out of the store to search for the weapon. Some of them even went to the roof door, forcing the lock so they could search the flat roof above. I thought that was a bit much, considering it was locked and bolted from the inside.
He had been killed by a single stab wound to the neck, and judging by the blood, it had happened on the stairwell where he was found by Sammy. One of the squad detectives told me he had been well known to us as a small time drug dealer, and he was surprised I wasn’t aware. I told him I didn’t even know his name, and avoided the other residents when I could.
By the time I got back up to my flat, the TV crews were already filming outside. I knew we were going to get little sleep, and it was unlikely I would see the next episodes of my box set. There was a good chance they would get warrants to search all the flats too, looking for bloodstained clothing, and a knife that might have caused the wound. In the event, they didn’t have to use warrants, as everyone was happy to let them in. The body wasn’t removed until late on Saturday morning, and they put a uniform on the door to stop anyone using the staircase that day.
Edna was out, offering to make cups of tea for the team, and trying to get a handle on what was going on. She was delighted to discover something else that had happened as a result of Possible’s murder. Turkish Bloke and his wife had turned out to be illegals, and had been carted off by Immigration Service officers, destination unknown. She shouted that to me from her doorway, as I made a quick exit to go and buy some milk at Vijay’s shop.
So that was mum’s third thing, and now we had not one but two empty flats in Spencer House.
Car parking became an issue again, when Turkish Bloke’s car didn’t move from its space. Middle Aged Biker man could be seen checking it out almost daily, obviously hankering after the space for his sporty hatchback. He had no doubt worked out that the management company couldn’t really care less about who parked where, and that I was the one who had clamped his wife’s motor. I imagined him pestering them about the old Skoda, probably ringing them every day. But if he had been, it did no good, as that Skoda was stuck there for weeks until it was hauled away on a low-loader.
But before that, Possible’s car disappeared, probably snatched by whoever he had owed money to. Considering what a state he looked, and the fact I had never seen him drive it that much, he had a decent set of wheels. A Golf GTi with all the extras, worth a good few quid. I had been surprised that the team hadn’t searched it, or removed it for forensics. Then I realised they had no idea it was his.
Teacher Lady didn’t let the grass grow in that space. Her hatchback was in it by six that evening.