15 February 2013

Austen the Humourist: Through the Years III

Time Enough... for MURDER
Part of my Creative Writing portfolio from my final year of High School - my teacher's comments: "Very entertaining piffle... subtle hyperbole - possible?"

Throughout his six years on the police force, Detective Philip Cosgrove had been in many uncomfortable situations, but this certainly beat them all. Unlike some of the other uncomfortable situations, this one ended well, with the proctologist announcing that he was quite fit. "As fit as a fiddle, you might say," Philip Cosgrove replied, mentally commending himself for his cleverness. Whenever he managed to apply a witty witty saying like that he felt smart, like one of those real detectives on TV. His wide face would break into a crooked grin, like a Halloween pumpkin carved by a demented four-year-old, and his bushy black eyebrows would curl up at the edges.

This happy feeling stuck with him all the way to the station, when he realized with an unpleasant start that he had forgotten something important, a date of some sort. He came to the conclusion that it was his father-in-law's birthday, and he had completely neglected to purchase him a gift. Ever since the old man, Chief Inspector Harold Jenkins, had gotten him this job, it was as though he had expected Philip to be thankful, or something, as if Cosgrove couldn't have procured it himself. Cursing his "dad," Philip tried to think of a solution as he nibbled at the tuna sandwich he brought in every day for lunch. It wasn't until he was heading to the recreation room on his second mid-morning break that a single idea managed to burrow its way through his sparse covering of wiry black hair and a skull thick enough to sink in concrete.

Once again put in a good mood, this time by his resourcefulness, Cosgrove rummaged through the various boxes in the small windowless room marked, "Evidence & Confiscated Goods: Employees Only." He tossed aside a child's doll with some questionable red stains on it, a single orchid encased in glass, and a crime scene photo of a ramshackle red barn, one entire side peppered with bullet holes. Suddenly he saw it, the mother lode. It was a pocket watch, but not just any timepiece. This watch was special somehow, even Philip could tell, or perhaps that was just indigestion. After all, the tuna had tasted a little funny today.

Prize in hand, the Detective strode purposefully down the hallway towards the corner office of Chief Inspector Harold Jenkins. Peering through the door window, Philip noticed that he was not the first one to arrive; two others, ordinary policemen, were standing beside the large desk. He had never seen his father-in-law so red in the face. "Must be something important," the portion of his brain devoted to reasoning suggested, "maybe we should come back later." "Ha!" shouted the majority of his synapses, "what's more important than my gift?"

Without a second thought, Philip strode in purposefully, cutting off the stranger in mid-sentance, "We have some leads on the Peterson murder but until we can find that watch..."

"Happy Birthday Harold!" Cosgrove ejaculated, plopping his sizeable buttocks down upon the desk. There was a sickening noise, that of breaking glass and rending metal, followed by a rather awkward silence. "Ah..." Philip looked at the stricken face of the shorter intruder, "Are those your glasses?" The man just nodded mutely. At about this time, the young Detective noticed the look on Jenjins' face. Cosgrove's mind tried to comprehend why the Chief Inspector didn't look happier, but all it could think was that the sky had never seemed so blue as it did now out the window, and how nicely it contrasted with the mauve of Harold's face.

"Son..." Harold began, spitting out each word. "Would you mind explaining just what the hell you are doing in here?"

"Well... you see..." came the halting reply.

"SPEAK!" thundered the man behind the desk, like an angry and vengeful demigod, albeit with more spittle projection. Neither of the two guests had spoken yet.

"I just thought that I should give you this..." he handed over the pocket watch, noticing for the first time the initials stencilled on the back: "J.P." By this time he just wanted to leave and go back to his sandwich, maybe even open a bag of chips, but he knew that he wouldn't get off so easily.

To Philip's surprise, Harold didn't seem any angrier. In fact, his mood seemed to brighten a bit. "Where did you get this, son?"

"Its... its..." Cosgrove stuttered, not believing his good luck. "Its your birthday present."

There was silence around the table, and Philip got the horrible feeling that he had said something wrong. Suddenly the Chief Inspector smiled, and then grinned, and then... he began laughing. The two policemen looked at each other, and then they also laughed. Cosgrove, always hating to be the last one to get a joke, which happened far more frequently than he would like, also joined in, making sure he laughed louder than the others.

"That's my son!" said Harold, "Now that we have the watch, we can really make some headway on the Peterson case. Let me tell you, you almost had us fooled with the birthday routine. But thank you, I had almost forgotten my daugher's birthday, clever of you to remind me like this. Say, what did you get her?"

Cosgrove turned green and rushed out of the room, stopping only long enough to retrieve his sandwich on his way to the mall.

The End

Thanks for reading my recycled rantings! Next week I describe how I conquered the crab people.