I was on Instagram earlier today and came across a post by a friend. A discussion ensued with another Instagram friend and it started my mind whirling. When these things happen I can’t shake them off, I just have to write down the story, or at least part of it. So here is the beginning of a story inspired by a random conversation on Instagram.
I walked into O’Leary’s at just after two that afternoon. Sean was at the bar as usual and the news was playing in the background. I liked O’Leary’s, it reminded me of my beloved Belfast. It was dark, dingy and had a smoky feel, kind of old and warn out.
There was a dark, shadowy figure in the corner who I had seen on occasion here before. He looked especially agitated today. A glass of beer sat forgotten in front of him. He was scribbling furiously in a notebook. He seemed to be counting on his other had, touching the thumb to digits in a rhythmic pattern and mouthing words. I wasn’t much of a lip reader, but I could tell it wasn’t English.
I approached the bar to order a beer. “What’s the Craic?” I asked Sean.
“Did you hear about those murders?” Sean set down the towel and using the glass he had been polishing he poured me a beer. As soon as he set down the golden liquid he picked up another clean glass and began polishing it.
“It’s all over the news. That’s number three isn’t it?”
“It is. They keep saying they’re unrelated, but we think it’s the same guy.”
“Yeah,” Sean nodded to the stranger in the corner, “Harry and I, don’t we Harry?”
The dark figure picked up his beer and pad and came up to the bar beside me.
“There will be at least two more before they catch her,” Harry answered. He took a long drag on his beer and looked up at the TV. “Turn it up!” He commanded.
“Channel four has just learned that the victim had been mutilated in the same way as George Ferns and Viktor Schumer. Their mouths sewn shut and the words Zamknij się
Tattooed on their foreheads.”
“Why did you say her?” I asked Harry.
“Isn’t it obvious?” He answered, more surprised at my ignorance than condescending.
“Not to me, no.”
“It has to be a woman because of what else is done to the bodies.”
“What else is done to them.”
“Don’t tell him, Harry.” Sean went pale and shuddered.
“I guess they haven’t released that to the public yet. Their…soup bone and biscuits are sown into their mouths.” Harry paled and shuddered.
“You mean their chub and clackers.” I looked down at my own monster and shuddered myself.
“Their tackle, Uncle Wilber,” Sean confirmed, we all reflexively cringed at the thought.
“Jaysus! How do you know about that, man?” I asked, still feeling the bottom of my stomach dropping.
“Harry works for the police as a consultant.”
“I’m a criminal psychologist by trade, or at least I was.” Harry glared at Sean.
“All right, you were a consultant for the police.”
Harry looked down at his notebook, his head hanging like a kicked dog. I thought it best not to ask any more questions.
“How do you feel about the ukulele, Wilbur?”
My head shot up and I nearly gave myself whiplash in the process. I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it, why?”
“I like to play when I’m thinking. Sometimes I don’t speak for days, would that bother you?.”
“I think roommates should know about each other’s quirks before they move in together.”
“How did you know…”
“Sean mentioned an uncle who has recently moved here from Ireland and unfortunately, Sean lives in a tiny bachelor.”
“How did you know that?” Sean questioned.
Harry glanced at Sean and continued. “I’ll text you the address and we can meet there tomorrow at three.” He gathered his things, downed the beer and started to move toward the door. “I have to run, duty calls!” he tilted his head toward the TV where they were showing the detective in charge of the case. A young, dark-haired woman with big eyes.
“I’ve just been assigned to the case and will not be answering any questions at this time.”
The newswoman turned to the camera as the detective walked away hastily, pulling a phone out of her pocket and pressing it to her ear. Harry’s phone began to ring. He smiled as he sailed out the door.
“That was rising star detective Dorota Geller newly assigned to the case. She was the first to translate the words written on the victims and informed us that they were written in Polish. Reporting for Channel four news, I’m Rita Wagner.”