Detective Inspector Robert Lewis stirred his coffee one way, before stopping and stirring it the other way, anti-clockwise. He hated slow days. There was nothing fun about murder, but when the existence of action in work depended on it…. Lewis was thankful for paperwork some days. It was that which had led him to a promotion, after all.
The blonde-haired wisecrack of a sergeant, DS Hathaway entered, clutching his own paper coffee cup in one hand and a stack of files in the other.
“Afternoon, sir,” he said with a nod to Lewis. “Are you attempting to see the future through your coffee?”
“Yeah, trying to work out when the next murder will happen,” joked Lewis. “You okay?” He took one look at Hathaway, picking up those different elements of the sergeant. “You got a big date or something tonight?”
“A concert, actually. St. John’s College choir are putting on Vivaldi’s Gloria. This year’s soprano is one to watch. Apparently.”
“You don’t agree?” Lewis raised his eyebrows.
“Music is about work and calculation and recalculation. Sopranos don’t just come out of the woodwork.”
“Maybe she calculated when exactly to appear.”
He was pleased with the smirk he received from Hathaway.
“Has the Super given you time off?” Lewis asked.
Hathaway pulled a face. “I wasn’t aware I needed her permission.”
“Well, if I come with you, we can make it a work thing. Gives us an excuse to keep an eye on the undergrads. This is an Oxford college, yeah?”
The phone on Lewis’ desk trilled in its high-pitched manner. He picked it up quickly.
The slightly shrill, very feminine voice of Superintendent Innocent echoed down the line. “Lewis, there’s been a disturbance in the centre of Oxford; apparently, an argument spiralled out of control and it’s become ‘mobbish’ right next to the Martyrs' Monument. I would have sent someone else, but since you and Hathaway have been lolling around that office for the last week….”
Oh, she had a sense of humour! Lewis rolled his eyes.
“Of course, ma’am, I’m right onto it.”
He tried not to slam the phone down. Martyrs' Monument? How convenient that this was next to his own plans.
Lewis turned to Hathaway, who, instead of shifting the pile of files on his desk, was studying Lewis with more interest.
“Turns out we have an excuse to get over there. Fight’s broken out next to your St. John’s College. Better go and sort it before some undergrads get roughed into more trouble than they need. ‘Mobbish’ was the word the Super used.”
“Was it now? Oh, good,” replied Hathaway in an irritatingly cheerful overtone, “something to do.”
He grabbed his coat from the rack in the corner, chucking Lewis’ own onto his papers as he began to lock up his desk.
Snatching the jacket, Lewis grumbled to himself again, albeit with humour, “bloody snobs.”