Pipkin, a great whickering horse of a man, demanded that we take the back way to the office because he didn't want to walk across the street from where his ex worked. I was in the process of telling him how ridiculous that was as we ducked behind a fish and chip shop and, for the first time in either of our shining police careers, found a body. A real live body! Well. A real dead body. Pipkin nudged me. "Yes," I said irritably, "I see it."
"No," he said, "it's the boss." He was right, it was the boss. Our boss.
"What do we do?" I thought about it.
"I don't know. Can you ask the b- oh." I realised that for the first time in my working life, I was on my own. I had a vague memory of being trained in this sort of thing, but I had forgotten about it in the excitement of issuing traffic violation notices. Luckily I had caught the previous week's episode of Law & Order. "Do we have any crime scene tape?"
Pipkin produced a roll of crime scene tape from a voluminous pocket. "Shall I put this around the body?"
"Yes," I said.
Pipkin started cordoning off the scene, and I called the CSI team. While I was waiting for them to arrive, I wrote down some notes about the body. "Body," I wrote, "of Senior Police Sergeant Nicolas Cage." I added the following bullet points:
- Appears to have been killed by blow to the head
- Lots of blood pooled around the head (because of #1)
- Is lying on his back
- Has a bit of crime scene tape on his head (fault of Pipkin)
- Someone has stuffed a large russet-coloured fish in his-
The chief CSI technician, a little ginger bastard wearing pretentious sunglasses, jumped nimbly over Pipkin's low-slung crime tape and into the crime scene. Unfortunately he misjudged the distance and landed in a pool of semi-congealed blood, leaving a perfect footprint. The police photographer neatly snapped the footprint.
"Goodness," the CSI technician murmured, "would you look at that fish. Magnificent specimen."
"Get that fish to the lab!" I shouted, demonstrating my complete lack of knowledge of crime scene procedure. I gestured at the fish impatiently, eager for it to be removed from my former boss's taco chute.
The CSI guy dropped to one knee and inspected the fish closely. "That won't be necessary," he said, looking up at me intensely and taking off his sunglasses. "It appears to be a red herring."
To be continued...