Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Trout's First Case-Chapter 3

Move over Poirot, a new detective is here - columns - Hindustan Times

Here is the Link to the Prologue, Chapter 1, and Chapter 2.

Nothing up to this moment could have prepared Trout for this. Hanson had been the model of composure through some of the most bizarre circumstances so far but supposedly these beats, as they called them, had a profound effect upon him. Trout had sensed that Hanson was not exactly in love with his living counterparts but never expected him to cry out in horror as soon as one came into view. The detective who stood on the front door was a bit shorter than average, 5’ 8” or so, stocky build and wore a standard issue ginger mustache.

“Hello, Ms. You rang. I’m Captain Driggs.”

“Thank you for coming, I’m Daisy Mason.”

Hanson regained his composure. “Well Trout, lets go.”

“What? I thought you said, we didn’t have to go. That while the cops were here; we were super busy following them around.”

“Recall, I prefaced that with, if we got a decent detective. We did not.”

“How do you know?”

“This isn’t my first case with Captain Driggs. I do not wish to speak ill of the living, but here it goes. The man is an imbecile. We will only lose brain cells by watching him investigate and he will refuse in every instance to listen to me.”

“No kidding, you’re dead. Do they usually listen to you?”

Hanson debated replying but didn’t have the patience to do so. “Let’s go.”

“So you are just going to drop the case?”

“No. I do not drop cases. We will have to do the investigation without the beats.”

“Shouldn’t we at least see what he asks the wife?”

“Let me tell you how this will go.” He did his best imitation of Captain Driggs, who had a Boston accent and a bit higher voice than Hanson. “Let me see Ms. Oh, I am sorry but it looks like your husband shot himself. Do you think it was suicide? Oh, you do, well I’m sorry to say but you’re right. Would you like us to clean this up or do you got it.’ Then he will ship back to the office, pull out his ‘case closed’ stamp and leave 100% of the work to us.”

Trout had no desire to abandon the scene of his first case. “Look, he has a junior partner maybe he’ll be better?”

“He never listens to anyone, partner or not.” Hanson said.

“So you and him have a lot in common.” Trout came back.

Hanson usually appreciated someone quick on their feet but didn’t seem happy with this last comment, no matter how clever it had been. But like it or not it was effective. Hanson turned around and sat in a chair in the adjacent dining room, clearly giving in to the idea to listen to Captain Driggs.

Before Captain Driggs asked anything Daisy felt the urge that most people feel when they are the ones who find a dead body, to explain themselves. “I came down to breakfast, and noticed the coffee pot was empty, see, my husband usually makes Coffee every morning, so I came out to the living room and saw him there.” She gestured to the body as tears began to flow.

“Oh, I see mam, So how’d he die?”

“I’m so glad we stayed for this.” Hanson mocked.

The question caught Daisy so off guard that she stopped crying. “I...think it was a gun.”

Captain Driggs looked down, and began to process what had been patently obvious to everyone else, the gun and the large wound in the victim's head.

“I believe you are right Mam.” Daisy would have been offended if there had been any hint of sarcasm in his voice.

“It’s only downhill from here,” Hanson continued his mocking.

“Hang on, hang on, what have we here?” Captain Driggs grabbed the hand written note with his ungloved hands. He began to read the note under his breath. “Sorry… can’t go on...affair,” He added, “That is never a good a thing,” before he continued reading. “Can’t live without her, we say goodbye.”

“Well,” Driggs turned back to the group at large, ready to let them enjoy his great wisdom. “That is what we call in the business, a suicide note. Mam, I hardly know how to tell you this, but it is my professial opinion, as a vetern detective, that your husband committed suicide.”

“Nice clean wrap up, time to dust off that, ‘case closed’ stamp.” Hanson said, with an, I told you so, smile.

Daisy was in a state of shock from the captain’s behavior that was only slightly less than the shock she had an hour earlier.

Trout spoke up, “They have to ask her something.”

“Weren’t you listening?” Hanson asked, “The captain asked her that very astute question about how the victim died.”

“Didn’t you say you could get them to listen to you sometimes?”

“Kind of, I can put thoughts in their head but they can choose to ignore them. And Captain Driggs is an expert at doing just that.”

“What about this guy?” Trout said gesturing to the quiet junior detective who had failed to say so much as hello. “Why don’t you try to influence him?”

“I am not very optimistic about this but at least we can say we tried,” offered Hanson.

Captain Driggs was getting up. Trout eyes jumped back and forth between Hanson and this junior detective as if magical telepathic waves would be like ping pong balls going back and forth for him to see. With nothing visible he at least thought Hanson would focus his eyes, hard on the Jr. detective, like a Jedi Knight playing mind tricks. For a good example of Trout’s expectations, ask any 7 year old to attempt telepathy, but Hanson simply sat there.

“Are you doing it?” Trout asked.

“Calm down kid,” Hanson said in a relaxed sense.

Captain Driggs was continuing his dithering of attempted sympathy as he got up. “You know Mrs. don’t blame yourself, the affair may have not even been your fault. Although I did read a study that most men who have affairs do feel neglected from their spouse. See . . .” That’s when it happened. Trout could tell Hanson was getting through. The junior detective was visibly looking at things. And beginning to question if things were not quite as straightforward as Captain Driggs thought.

Driggs was about to leave as he said, “I’ll send a few of the boys in for cleanup”. When junior first tried speech.

“Do you mind if I ask her a few questions?”

Captain Driggs was taken a bit aback. “Sorry ma’am. This is my junior.” he paused. “Very junior partner, Detective Lung, I’m sure I can answer his questions outside.”

“I only have a few questions,” Lung continued.

The captain pulled his partner aside and tried, unsuccessfully, to speak in a voice the others couldn’t hear. “Listen Lung, I have been able through my expertise, to calm this poor woman down. We don’t need you riling her up again.”

“I’ll try not to.”

The captain gave a look and then finally backed down. “Go ahead, make it quick.”

“Mrs. Mason. How long were you and . . .” He realized they had not even got the victim's name.

“Caden,” she helped.

“Thank you. So how long were you and Caden married?”

“Twelve years.”

“Any kids?” Lung asked.

“No. We were unable, so our dogs became our children.”

“So you have dogs?”

“Used to. Mildred and Munchies. Two weeks ago, Midrid disappeared. It was very unexpected, she had never run away before. A week later, Munchies died,” she said, pointing to the urn on the mantle. “He was getting old, and I think Mildred disappearing broke his heart. He simply couldn’t take it anymore...and now I know how he felt,” she said, as she began to cry.

As she did Captain Driggs rolled his eyes. “I knew it,” he puffed through his mustache.

Ignoring his superior, Lung moved on. “Any life insurance?”

“No, we had sufficient to be fine if either of us passed.”

“I also noticed that you have an alarm system. Is it active?”

“It is. My husband was very big into security and always kept the alarm set. His general security fears are also why he bought a gun a few years back.”

“Is that the gun?”

“Pheff,” a sound of exasperation came from the Captain, “Who’s gun do you think it is?” Clearly he felt he deserved to have a monopoly on obvious questions.

Mrs. Mason ignored him. “I think so.”

“And did the alarm go off last night?” Lung continued to question.

“I didn’t hear it.”

“Is the alarm connected to every window and door in the house?”

She began to stir in her seat and it was clear she didn’t want to answer the question. “Um, I think all of the entrances are connected, but it was really my husband’s system. There are so many things he ran around here. I won’t know what to do without him,” she got out as the tears again began to flow.

Captain Driggs jumped in, “alright that's enough questions for the poor Mrs.” He grabbed Lung and pulled him to the door. “The boys will be by in a moment to bag him.” Realizing, ‘bag him’ was a bit insensitive, which for Captain Driggs was quite impressive, he paused and tried to think of a kinder way to say it. But this was Captain Driggs, so nothing else came to mind and he headed for the door.

Lung turned and said, “Last thing, Did you hear the gunshot?”

She paused and was clearly surprised, “You know, I’m a very light sleeper but did not.”

The Captain was not happy that Lung had slipped one more in and said, “I said enough,” and pushed Lung out the door.

Hanson turned to Trout, “That Lung has potential. Much better listener than his Captain, of course, so are most inanimate objects, but I’m glad you suggested working with him.”

“So, you told him what to ask?”

“I can only prompt and encourage thoughts, putting it into words and asking it is up to him. I was trying as much as possible to get him to consider this as a potential homicide. I’d really like some drawers open but the fact that he pushed back at all against his Captain shows guts. And the last question about the gunshot was all him. Not that it hadn’t crossed my mind, but I didn’t give it to him.”

“Can you teach me to prompt people?”

“Like most things over here kid the best way to learn, is try. I don’t think there is much more for us to do here, perhaps it’s time for a chat with Caden.”

Here is the link to Chapter 4

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