Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Front Row

My mother-in-law, awakened by several loud thumps against the wall of the house before the tinkling sound of shattered glass, had noticed a light go on and off on the third floor of the boarding house across the street. She had diffidently mentioned this fact to the young constable.
There were enough police on the street to take on the Palace Guard.
The house opposite remained dark and silent.
They conferred briefly, roused the Chinese landlady, and then attacked.
Guns drawn, they swarmed into the building.
They kicked down the door of the third floor bedroom.
The young male occupant, in facimile surprise, indignantly objected to this interruption of his innocent sleep.
They felt the light bulb. They felt the hot plate. Both were warm. They tut-tutted over his unfortunate propensity for sleep-walking and took him lovingly downstairs.
They took his room apart.
They went out on the roof and played their flashlights in the gutters, behind chimneys, around the gables. The uniform profiles sillouetted against the pale city sky looked for all the world like a scene from a WW2 movie - the sweeping lights, the activity, the sharp orders, the pointy roofline.
I was entranced.
By this time I had reverted to my normal and quite reprehensible state of mind and was watching this unfold from our front porch.
I had seen "the Object." You must remember that.
Just when I thought the street could hold no more and was reluctantly considering retiring to our bedroom to exchange my nightie and dressing gown for something more convenable, a lone police car turned the corner on two wheels and shuddered to a stop.
Out jumped a lone constable. He rammed on his hat and looked wildly around.
He pelted up to our door and panted - for all the world as if he were late for a Cub meeting - "Are all the policemen in here?"
I suppressed the insane desire to tell him, "No, I murdered them all and buried their bodies under the fifth stair."
The impulse grew.
As I opened my mouth, a subdued convivial bellow came down out of the night, "Hey Tom...we're all up here."
He pelted across.
I collapsed over the doornob.


Sela Carsen said...

You are a dreadful woman. Mean, mean, mean. This is why I don't read suspense novels!

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Bernita said...

But, but..Sela. This really, truly happened...

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