The knock at the door woke me from a dream full of the stench of the sewers and death. I staggered over, opened it and found myself staring into the face of a stern young nun.
“Dr Beck?” her voice was as clean and crisp as the wimple framing her face. A face with eyes as deep as forever and the kind of mouth men go to war over. And this dame was a nun? It was a sin.
“Whazz wrung, sister?” I asked with a mouth drier than the Gobi.
“The sheriff has asked if you could come to Dr Alter’s warehouse. There’s been, well… an incident.”
Dr Alter? I knew the name, who didn’t. Cute-as-a-button kitten with a penchant for inventing death rays and diabolical plans in equal measures. Maybe one of them had gone wrong at last. Or right, I suppose. I rubbed my eyes hard with my palms and re-focused on the broad in the penguin suit, I needed more information, “What kind of incident?”
“Well,” her big, brown eyes darted left and right and she lowered her voice “a murder, doctor!”
I woke up for the second time that morning, “A murder? In Steelhead?” I sounded as dumb as brick and half as useful, but it was early and damn it if the board hadn’t stopped me thinking straight. She was one of the Steelhead Holy SWAT team working with the Sheriff, of course she meant in Steelhead!
“Yes,” she breathed breathlessly, which was a nice trick, I bet she was a peach on the bugle, “there’s a body inside Dr Alter’s squid thing!”
The squid thing, the green tentacle of goo that waved about like a drunk at midnight in the kitty cat’s yard. Maybe someone tried to feed it. Big mistake. Or maybe someone tried to bump the good doctor off. Even bigger mistake. The bumper would become the bumpee before they even knew they’d been bump-jumped. Although I found it hard to believe she’d be sloppy enough to get caught.
“Doctor?” Sister Sweetcheeks’ voice drifted through my thoughts and slapped me across the head. I looked up and into the face of a slightly shocked nun, “You… you were staring, doctor!”
“That’s my thinking face, sister. I don’t use it often but I find it helps when I’ve got a beautiful view.”
“Doctor!” she gasped, putting her hand up to her bee-sting mouth.
“Behind you Sister, the harbour in the morning sun.” The glowing red cheeks did nothing to dampen her appeal as I smiled as innocently. As innocently as any fox sat outside a henhouse.
“Well, er… shall I… shall I tell the sheriff you’ll come?” she was flustered and cute with it.
“Sure doll,” I said with a wink, “tell him I’ll be right over.”
To be continued…
All the “Goodunnit? Murder in Steelhead!” posts can be read here.
Links to other blogs and stories:
1) Sheriif Ortega’s intial desk report is here and here
2) Dr Alter notices the body here and here.
3) Elle reports that the issue was raised at the town hall meeting here.
4) The murder is discussed at the weekly town hall meeting here.