Knocking it BackMature

So I’ve just spent a horrendously uneventful half an hour interrogating a Mr Reginald goddamn Forsyth who knows absolutely nothing, and what he does know, he isn’t telling me. All I can say is, I hope Gayle had better luck. He’s been looking out for any kids of the town who might’ve seen anything, or heard anything, or whatever.

Somehow, I think he probably hasn’t had any more luck than I have. The chances of finding anything remotely useful in this goddamn place are horrendously slim. What a goddamn waste of time. Gayle’s time. And, more importantly, my time.

The pub looks awful. It’s tiny, with about three chairs all cramped together, and a bar the size of a coffee table. They only do one lager. I have it. It’s okay, actually.

‘So, you’re Sergeant Broker?’ It’s the landlord, doing the typical landlord thing and leaning over the bar and stuffing his face into other people’s business by pretending to be all jovial and shit. He looks the part, too. All beefy and red faced, about forty-five, with thinning brown hair, a large nose, and arms like lobsters.

‘Yeah. That’s right.’

‘Horrible business, this,’ he says. It vaguely occurs to me that I ought to question him. Can I be bothered? I look up at him, at the knowing twinkle in his eye and the way he’s so obviously waiting for me to make some kind of comment, and decide, yes, actually. I’ll quite enjoy running rings around him. It’s what I do best. Other than shooting people and swearing, of course.

‘Was he a regular of yours?’ I ask casually, taking another gulp of the lager. I’ll say one thing for it - it’s a right sight better than that goddamn coffee.

‘What, Watts?’

I find that vaguely amusing, but it’s probably the just the effects of a killer mix of caffeine and alcohol before lunch.

‘Yeah, poor sod. Came every Friday for a bit of the same lager you’re knocking back now.’

I wonder if it would be unprofessional to punch him? Probably. I let it slide.

‘You didn’t happen to notice anything funny, did you? The night he died?’

‘No, not at all. Although I wasn’t really around - it’s my back, you see. Plays up every now and again, and all I can do is lie on the floor and groan.’ He chuckles. ‘It came up on me last Friday, just gone ten when Watts came in - a bit later than usual, and he’s usually pretty reliable - but anyhow, I was in no position to do nothing but heave upstairs and do the usual groaning routine. Bessie looked after me - she’s such a good girl - but she and the missus were pretty busy down here, without me and all. You could do worse than asking them.’

I thank him, simultaneously draining my glass and checking my watch. I’ve got another half an hour before I’m due to meet Gayle back at the Town Hall. I guess I could have a quick chat with this Bessie and the landlord’s wife.

‘I’ll give them a shout.’

And he does - quite literally. He sounds like a territorial elephant seal. Jesus. And I thought I could bellow.

The End

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