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Jenni Clarke - Author

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‘Sergeant. Car coming up the track.’

Patrick stepped to the broken window and peered through the grime. ‘Damn the man. Can’t he leave me to do my job.’  He hurried down the mildewed stairs, taking care not to touch the rotten bannister, and walked out the front door. ‘You’d think he’d be pleased to leave the dirty work to me, now he’s been promoted.’

‘Sorry, sir. Were you talking to me?’ A pasty-faced young man in uniform leaned over a low

brick wall. Traces of his first time seeing a decomposing body stuck to his shirt, and a nauseating smell wafted on the air.

‘No.’ Patrick held a finger under his nose, and shook his head to stop the memories of his first body sighting from surfacing. ‘Go clean yourself up.’ He gestured at his car. ‘There’s some bottles of water and tissues on the back seat. It happens to us all.’

‘Thank you, sir.’

Patrick strode up the potholed track to where another uniformed officer fought with the sagging gate.  Through the BMW’s windscreen he could see a thundercloud of impatience building on the Chief Inspector’s face. He stifled a yawn, and waited.

‘All night and half the day gone, and you still haven’t found the murder weapon?’ Chief Inspector Wiggens shouted as he lowered his window.

Patrick stepped back to avoid mud spray as the Chief Inspector parked in front of the derelict farm house. ‘No, sir. The victim’s body is still being photographed, but we’re fairly sure we’re looking for a small blade. Bit of a needle in a haystack here, sir.’ His eyes twinkled.

‘Fairly sure? I expected better from you.’ The Chief Inspector opened his door. ‘You’ll never make promotion unless you apply yourself, and take the job seriously.’

‘No, Chief Inspector.’ Patrick held back the sarcasm, leaving a bitter taste in his mouth. ‘Sir.’

‘First murder case since I became Chief and the press are hounding my heels for answers. Not good at all.’

‘No, sir, but –‘

‘But’s get us nowhere. Answers are what we need, and fast. Murderers need to be arrested before they’ve committed the crime these days. Bloody media.’ He heaved his expanding waistline out of the car.

‘Sir, before you –‘

‘I’ve seen it all before, Sergeant.’ He waved his hand at Patrick and stepped into the large cowpat Patrick had been trying to tell him about. The Chief Inspector frowned. ‘Just my luck. You could’ve warned me.’ He glared at Patrick who bit his lips to prevent a smile. ‘Well. Don’t just stand there, clean it off. Then I’ll show you how to conduct a systematic search of the property.’

Patrick narrowed his eyes, ignoring the look of sympathy from the officer by the gate. The Chief Inspector leaned on his car, lifting his oxford brogue.

The sun decided to make an appearance, and Patrick grinned.  ‘Lucky indeed, sir.’ He pulled a pair of gloves and an evidence bag from his pocket. ‘I’ll be needing your shoe, sir.’

 

 Fiction - Lucky For Sum

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