A yawn. Accompanied by a watery left eye. Tired. So tired.
Windscreen wipers in the damp morning darkness. Another yawn. This time accompanied by the verbalization of ‘Oh God’ that somehow got mangled into the yawn.
Blue lights. Puzzling. Beano could never understand why, once arrived and established at the scene of a crime, his fellow uniformed officers persisted in keeping their blue lights flashing. For what purpose? Puzzling.
He parked, jumped out and flicked the remote-lock on his key-ring as he jogged towards the mass of flashing blue.
‘What have we got, Leftie?’ he asked his old friend Lieutenant Joseph Stephens.
‘Two apparent suicides – one in the bedroom, the other in the bathroom.’ He indicated with his index finger as they walked through the apartment. ‘I say ‘Apparent’ because something smells on this one, Beano. Apart from dead bodies.’ They walked together through to the bedroom.
‘What smells?’ Asked Beano, surveying the body on the bed and the pill bottle on the nightstand.
‘Ben, you ever read the profiling stuff they send you?’ Asked Stephens, using Beano’s given name and shaking his head. ‘Double suicides usually include a note and usually stay together. In the same room. In the same bed. It’s a shared emotion thing. They don’t do the deed separately from one another.’
‘They don’t or they usually don't?’ Beano requested. Stephens frowned. ‘That profiling stuff they send – it uses words like ‘usually’ and ‘rarely’ – it doesn’t say they DO or they DON’T DO. You’re interpreting, again, Leftie’ he continued with a smile.
‘Well, it still smells.’
‘Mind if I take a look around?’
‘Eat all you want, just don’t touch anything without your marigolds, and if you find something, book it in.’ Stephens returned to the kitchen to instruct his men.
Beano looked over the nightstand and under the bed. Struggling into the latex gloves, he reached under the bed and found some discarded take-away papers, an empty cola can and a small notebook not unlike those issued to uniformed officers. He thumbed through the book. It contained equations and algebra. Scribbled. Hurriedly. Most recently there were some notes about something called Hexagalena and details of a meeting tomorrow evening. He palmed the notebook and stuffed it in the back pocket of his jeans.
He opened and closed drawers in the nightstand, ruffling the assorted contents from side to side, seeing nothing exciting. He threw back the bed sheets uncovering the indentations and ruffling where the body had been. Nothing caught his eye. He sighed. Yawned again. Stood and walked into the bathroom where Stephens’ men were just removing the body. Stephens appeared behind him: ‘Body one:’ he pointed to the bedroom. ‘No name yet, male, aged around thirty, caucasian, death by apparent overdose of morphine. No time of death yet – coroner will have something for us by around midday. Body two: Also male, name of Alan Helmshaw, works at Man Met U as a research assistant, aged 29, tenant of this place. Also apparently overdosed, but ditto on the time of death until the coroner has done his bit. No signs of a struggle, no signs of a break-in, no suicide note, no apparent reason – at the moment.’
‘How do we know about Helmshaw?’ Asked Beano.
‘Driving license. Uniforms are trying to determine next of kin.’
‘What possible reason would a research assistant and his buddy have for commiting suicide together? Do we know anything about them?’
Stephens was shaking his head with a wry smile: ‘Well, we’ve been here about an hour longer than you, Ben, what do you think?’ His eyebrow was raised.
‘Okay, I get it. Can we meet at the coroner’s and then have a get-together in the squad room directly afterwards?’
‘Yes, Ben. Good idea. Now go and get some sleep before I and my guys fall into that black hole that you call a yawn.’