When Fortune Fails

Article courtesy of Ben Hollenstein of Creative Writing Club

“What a way to start my Friday,” grumbled Junior Detective Fendson. “I thought mornings were supposed to be for coffee and contemplation.”

“Off quoting that damn show again. Time for you to watching a real show, like Top Gear,” retorted Detective Frederickson as the two detectives ambled down the apartment hallway. “Well, here we are. Scene of the murder. It’s a friend of the victim and the owner of the apartment where he died, so he should be able to tell us everything. Best behavior, kid.”

Fendson chuckled and pounded on the door. “Police, here to ask some questions,” he called. There was a brief series of doors banging inside, some clinking, and the sound of the windows being thrown open. Then the bolt slid back and the door creaked hesitantly.

“Yes, hi, hi. Come in.” They stepped inside and he slammed the door behind them, drawing the bolt again with a slightly shaking hand. He shoved the shaking hand into the pocket of his hoodie and turned to face them.

Cold fresh air flowed into the room, whisking away the distinct smell of pot. Detective Frederickson raised his eyebrow, then cleared his throat. “Tell us everything about the incident.” Junior Detective Fendson pulled out a notepad.

“Um. Well, you see, I was out at the time. So, I don’t actually know anything. It wasn’t my fault,” the man said, eyes darted from detective to detective. His breath stank of alcohol. Detective Frederickson sighed. “We know you weren’t responsible. Just tell us what you saw. Anything unusual.”

“Ok. I got back from the, um, store, and there was an empty whiskey bottle on the counter.” They glanced at the counter. There were three empty whiskey bottles there now. “And our bottle of rat poison was lying on the floor, mostly empty. We sometimes store things in old beer bottles. It’s not like that’s bad though, we label them.” He glanced from detective to detective, trying to figure out if he was in trouble yet. They remained impassive.

“The door to the balcony was open. I closed it. Um…was there anything else?” He stared up at the ceiling. The detectives waited, then exchanged glances. “Was the bottle put away before you left?” Detective Frederickson asked at length. “Um, yeah, it probably was. I don’t know what it would have to do with anything. Anything else?”

“Yes, actually. How did Phell get into the apartment? It was locked, I assume.”

“Right, yes. It was locked. My roommate said he let him in on his way out of the apartment.”

“I understand. We’ll talk with him next. One last thing: we got a report that there was someone else in the apartment when he died. Any idea who that would have been?”

He paled, then shook his head. “I really don’t know. No one was here when I got back, and no one wants him dead right now. Except maybe that cat thief, but he’s in jail, so it wasn’t him.”

The detectives glanced at each other. “Alright, thank you for your time,” Detective Frederickson said, and they left the room.

“He’ll be back to smoking pot within a minute,” remarked Fendson. “Ah man, I could use a hit. Kidding, kidding,” he corrected himself, catching the older detective’s glare. “Seriously, this case gives me the jitters. There’s so much to investigate.”

“Well, we know how he got the poison in his system. The only question is who the person on the balcony was. Then we’ll definitely have all the answers we need. We’ve a few furlongs ‘fore fragmented faces fall forever…into their places.”

Fendson looked at him with a careful, neutral expression.

“What?”Detective Frederick-son asked defensively, perceiving the unspoken slight. “I’m a fan of Felix Forde’s work.”

“Yeah, better luck next time then.”