Sharp Edges

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story featuring the main character in my novels, Jim Fielding before he became disabled and left the police. A domestic disturbance shows the detectives the limitations of the law.

Submitted: December 02, 2011

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Submitted: December 02, 2011

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Sharp Edges

 

'...throat was cut, no hesitation...'

My concentration was shattered by the reappearance of Eddie Pearson. The car dropped two inches when my partner got back in the passenger side, as if the chassis had an urge to kiss asphalt.

'Bloody hell, Jim, what are you listening too?' He changed the radio channel, scanning until he found something he liked.

Cue the sound of banging saucepans whilst a monotone droned about the joy of bass.

'Thanks, mate. I wanted to know who killed him!' I turned the volume down and scowled at him.

'Who listens to plays, anyway? Talk about naff,' he snorted.

We'd been friends since high school, but sometimes I felt like throttling the bastard. A call from dispatch prevented me from educating an audience more interested in Xbox than Chekov. I silenced the yoof music and acknowledged we'd attend a disturbance.

'Kelly Lomax, again.'

Eddie groaned, 'Why don't we get interesting calls? Bainbridge gets a bloody diamond smuggling racket and we end up with hormonal teenagers.'

'Bainbridge will be manning the phone, not dealing with international espionage.'

When I joined the police I had expectations of car chases, likely lads and dangerous beauties. What we police constables got was more prosaic than Prozac.

***

Judging by the screaming on Primrose Drive, the 'burbs weren't living up to their sleepy reputation.

'Get out here, you bitch!' yelled a skinny girl, feet planted in a flower bed. Jeans exposing more arse than a brickie, and a white hoodie with 'Peace' embroidered on the back; Kelly was clearly going for the ironic statement.

'Come on, Kel, you know you shouldn't be here,' I approached with hands palm outwards, a calming gesture we'd been taught to use in “emotionally charged” situations. Eddie stood, arms folded in front of his massive frame like a bouncer on a power trip. He made no attempt to engage with her; last time he'd tried, she'd headbutted him.

'She called the police?' Kelly sounded shocked, like it hadn't happened four times before.

Curtains twitched in number fourteen. Eddie picked his way to the front door, stepping over the rubbish strewn over the path.

To keep Kelly's mind off further destruction I gave her a cigarette.

'You shouldn't be giving me fags, PC Fielding, you know I'm only fifteen,' she said, blowing perfect smoke rings into my face.

'I won't make a habit of it,' I chanced topping up my own nicotine levels, even though I wasn't supposed to smoke on duty. Rebel yell. I crouched by the car to shelter from the wind and hide from the public. Kelly sat on the kerb, her legs contorted under her rump.

'What's with the rubbish, have you taken up modern art?'

She shrugged, turned to look at the mess, then at me.

'I was trying to find something I could get a DNA sample from.'

'What?' I didn't know whether to lecture her or praise her ingenuity.

'I've got to do something, haven't I? She won't talk to me,' Kelly threw her cigarette end onto the garden behind us, creating a miniature firework display in the grass.

'You can't keep doing this, Kel, she's got a restraining order.'

'She's my birth mother, I know she is. Why else would she refuse to see me? If I could just prove it...'

'I doubt it would change her mind. Even if she is your Mum, and you find a way to establish it, how will that help?'

She stood, pulling her hood up like a shield. I somehow felt like I'd let her down. I got ready to follow her; I'd be in shit if she legged it and Mrs Purdy made a complaint. Kelly stared at the few stars visible in the polluted sky. She seemed to be staying put.

'Can you give me a lift?' she asked, her back still to me.

'Yeah, of course.'

We stayed like that for a few minutes, silent, until Eddie came back out of the Purdy's residence.

'She's not pressing charges this time, Kelly. Are you going to behave now?' he said.

'Piss off,' she replied.

Eddie shrugged and got in the car.

***

Home” for Kelly Lomax was Dalton House, a care facility in Ladywood. The night staff didn't seem shocked to see two policemen escorting one of their residents back.

'Kelly, we were worried about you!' Geoff Harper said.

'Pffhh!' was Kelly's response.

'We found her on Primrose Drive again, thought we'd better get her back to you,' Eddie tried a smile, more frightening than his scowl.

'Cup of tea?' Geoff ignored Kelly's look of disdain.

'No, we've got to get back,' I was regretful, as he made a bloody good cuppa and maintained a stash of chocolate Hobnobs in his office.

'Keep out of trouble,' I advised Kelly, already knowing it was a futile hope.

'PC Fielding!' she called out. I turned back towards her, expecting some smart arse remark.

'Do you know that saying, about ignorance being bliss? It's not, you know,' she looked dejected. I suddenly saw Kelly at thirty, obsessing over the circumstances of her birth instead of living, blocking the pain with drink or drugs.

'I know,' I tried to keep the pity out of my voice.

My crackling radio prevented any more discussion. I sketched a wave to Geoff. Kelly had vanished from sight, protracted goodbyes not being her thing.

In the car, Eddie was already warming his hands by the heater.

'Ready for more excitement? We've got a suspicious individual hanging around the bus station.'

'Nothing new there, then.'

The shift wore on, punctuated by false alarms, drunks and paperwork. I liked to think we made a difference to the city, protected the lawful and generated a sense of fear in the lawless. I could dream, couldn't I?

***

Eddie and I were called back to Primrose Drive three days later. Kelly had chucked a stone through the living room window. We inspected the damage, then I took Mrs Purdy's statement while Eddie calmed Kelly down.

'People like that should be locked up! What do I pay my taxes for, eh? I thought she was supposed to be in care, they're not doing a very good job with her, are they?' Her hands shook as she tried to sweep glass from the sofa.

'Let me do that,' I took the dustpan and brush from her, 'Sit down, you've had a bit of a shock.'

She didn't argue. I got as much of the glass up as possible, but it would take a vacuum cleaner before the settee was safe to sit on. Hoovering wasn't in my repertoire.

While I waited for dispatch to provide a crime number I surveyed the room. A family portrait dominated one wall: Mr and Mrs Purdy and kids in their best clothes, smiles all round.

After dispatch made contact, I gave her the paperwork and a leaflet from Victim Support, grateful to leave the stuffy house. I arrested Kelly for criminal damage; she sulked all the way to the station and spat on me when I assisted her from the car.

'I should have known you lot would take her side!'

'It's our job, Kel. I know you're upset but you can't go around smashing windows,' I tried to reason with her.

'She's ruining my life and all you care about is a broken window? What sort of mother denies her own child? That should be a crime!' she shouted as she was led to a holding cell.

I agreed, but I also had a job to do. I went to find Eddie, who was in an empty interview room with a pile of paperwork in front of him. He was ignoring it in favour of a small piece of glass.

'Hey, Jim, come here,' he whispered.

'I thought you were filling out the forms while I booked her into custody?' I was annoyed; Eddie often burdened me with tasks he didn't want.

'Shhh,' he said, pulling a cotton swab from his pocket, 'You want to help Kelly Lomax?'

'Ye-es,' I wasn't sure I liked where this was going.

'I got this from the living room. Mrs Purdy cut herself on the glass, see?' He pointed to a spot of blood on the edge of the shard.

'What are you doing?' I had a feeling I already knew.

'DNA. I did some research online, and they can do a maternity test. I ordered the kit, figured it wouldn't be long before we had to deal with Kelly again,' he squinted and carefully rubbed the swab over the bloodstain before putting it into a small envelope.

'Eddie, you've been watching too much CSI. There's no way the Forensic Science Service will process a request without the proper papers; you've obtained the sample without consent.'

'We're not going through the FSS, I've found a private lab. The results will be back in a couple of weeks.'

'Erm, I'm no expert, but I thought you needed something to compare it to?'

'Ah-ha, we've already got Kelly's DNA, haven't we? She spat on your jacket,' he rubbed at the damp patch on my lapel with a second swab, packaged it and sealed the envelope, 'Don't look at me like that. Someone had to do something.'

'It's illegal, Eddie, as well as immoral. Even if that woman is Kelly Lomax's birth mother, she still has the right to privacy.'

'What about Kelly, doesn't she deserve to know?' He handed me the DNA samples, 'It's all addressed and paid for. Your call.'

The door swung open. 'Have you two finished shagging in here? Only we need the room, now,' DS Houghton clearly fancied himself a comedian.

'Sod off,' I retorted. I slipped the padded envelope into my pocket. Out of sight, not out of mind.

***

I heard Kelly Lomax enrolled herself in college. I never found out the result of the DNA test; it was none of my business, anyway. Maybe she'd been harassing the wrong person, or her mother really was rejecting her. Neither option was cause for celebration, but at least she would know for certain.

Truth may hurt, but secrets leave the deepest scars.

 

 


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