Scissors - Chapter Eleven

James Johnson was a very unspectacular man. He lived on a small estate with his wife who, Mark had thought more than once, was incredibly spectacular. What she was doing with a man like James was beyond him and a matter of great speculation both internally and on several scraps of paper in his office. On this particular part of the case the great detective had found himself stumped.

Nonetheless, he was still owed a settlement of the final invoice.

Brian’s car came to a halt at the end of James’s driveway, directly behind an empty police car.

Brian’s heart pounded in his ears. An odd place, he noticed, for a heart to do its pounding.

“Come on.” Mark beckoned as he hurled himself out of the car, grunting as he went, slamming the door hard behind him.

Brian cautiously turned the engine off and followed mark up the short pathway leading to James’s front door, his eyes not leaving the police car until the policeman to whom the vehicle presumably belonged caught his eye, along with his colleague, being shown out of the front door of the next house along.

Before Mark could knock on the door it swung open and there stood the aforementioned unspectacular client dressed in his beige slacks and a short sleeved plaid shirt buttoned all the way up to the neck. His hair was dishevelled, which always made Mark liken him to a doctor in a 1980’s film franchise that he couldn’t quite put his finger on for some reason.

“What do you want?” James snapped.

His attitude was not as pleasant and quirky as he seemed to recall the doctor’s being, however.

“Good morning, James. This is my friend Brian.” Mark said gesturing at his red-faced, slightly clammy friend.

James shrugged his shoulders and turned his gaze back to Mark, not saying a word.

“I’ve just popped along to settle the final invoice.”

As James began to roar obscenities at Mark, Brian’s attention drifted to the police standing at the next door along. The woman at the door was red in the face, her cheekbones damp with tears, and a little trickle of snot beneath her nose. She sniffed and wiped her face with both hands.  As she moved her hands away Brian recognised her face but could not quite place her.

“As I say, if you need anything you have our telephone number. We have access to excellent grief councillors.”

Her nipple was hanging out of her dressing gown Brian noted. This made him completely forget she had a face at all, let alone that he recognised it. It also went some way to improve his mood.

She nodded and sniffed at the same time, backing into her hallway and closing the door on the officers, who turned and headed for their car.  As soon as their doors clunked shut Brian relaxed, but as he settled down and returned his attention to his old friend and his client he noticed that James was now trying to his Mark in the head with a brown shoe.  Quickly Brian jumped in to join Mark in grabbing hold of James’s arms.  Mark gave James a big shove, sending him tripping over his front step and toppling backwards into his house.  Mark pulled the door closed and quickly took off down the path.

“Leg it!” He yelled, diving into the passenger seat.

Brian hesitated for a moment before joining his friend just as the front door swung open, starting the engine, and screeching off down the road whilst the one-shoed James hopped after them, his shoe raised above his head like the spear of a Spartan, a trail of obscenities spewing from his reddening head.


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