Well, now, I’m terribly busy working time-and-a-half at the Blasted Library (leaking, incidentally, from every new window-pane) this weekend, and can’t come and play. But as The Plan is continuing apace, I thought I’d treat you all to the first, the very first, untouched, unedited, exactly as I wrote it on the 1st of November, and complete with typos [Are there typos? I thought I'd dealt with them at the time - Ed] (Oh, hush, you) page of The Novel. An it sucks, fear not, it will no doubt be re-written into oblivion by September:
Not that it matters to the dead, thought Jiro, but itâ€™s bloody horrible out there. He had parked on the street next to the patrol car, and, through the bright slashing of rain, could see a ribbon of police tape in his headlights, blocking off a pitch-black gap between two front gardens. As he watched, a glimmer in the darkness grew and became a police constable with a torch, coming down a narrow lane between the rows of cottages. He ducked under the tape and approached the car.
â€˜Is that you, Dinah?â€™ he called in a soft West Country accent, peering in Jiroâ€™s car window. â€˜Someone said the â€˜tecs were here… Oh, sorry sir. You canâ€™t park here, Iâ€™m expecting some more police…â€™
Jiro held his ID up to the freckled, affable face. Its owner smiled, if anything, more broadly. â€˜I do apologise, sir. Only we were expecting DI Dinah Bacon to be with you.â€™
Jiro pushed open the car door. â€˜Sheâ€™s been called away to a more serious incident,â€™ he said.
â€˜More serious than murder?â€™
â€˜Is it a murder?â€™
â€˜Iâ€™m sure I donâ€™t know, sir. Iâ€™m PC Harry Kinsella,â€™ he added, looming genially over Jiro as he stepped off the curb and into the lane entrance. â€˜Iâ€™m the local bobbie-on-a-bike. First on the scene and all that. Sheâ€™s through here. Local woman. Beryl Ottakar. Lives in one of those cottages.â€™
Kinsella held the tape up for Jiro to duck under and held the torch behind himself as he ploughed blindly, unerringly, up the thick, wet, and horribly muddy narrow slot of overgrown pathway. Jiroâ€™s feet slid threateningly under him, and cold wet mud oozed in over the tops of his shoes, wet travelling up his socks. Beyond the lanky constable, light began to blossom through the rain , and the wasteland at the end of the lane was whitely, coldly bright, the brambles and dead leaves standing out pin-sharp in the Arc lights.
â€˜I see the SOCOâ€™s got here first,â€™ said Jiro, trying to ignore his clammy ankles.
â€˜Iâ€™ll introduce you,â€™ said Kinsella, still immensely friendly. He waved at a man with a camera, who was picking his way back towards them on a roundabout trail marked out by police tape.
â€˜Whoâ€™s this?â€™ asked the photographer as he came closer.
â€˜This is Ian Happy. Meet DS err, J. W.?â€™ Kinsella glanced back at Jiro and paused fractionally, as if hoping for further information â€˜Smith,â€™ He finished. â€˜J.W. Smith.â€™
â€˜Smith?â€™ said the photographer â€˜No kidding?â€™
â€˜No kidding,â€™ said Jiro.
â€˜And whatâ€™s the J. W. for, if you donâ€™t mind my asking?â€™
â€˜Jiro Watanabe,â€™ said Jiro, who did mind, and who felt his face hardening into irritability.
â€˜Aha,â€™ said Ian Happy, and looked satisfied. â€˜Anyway, Iâ€™ve taken some general photos of the corpse and surrounding area. Tell me if you want anything done in particular. Iâ€™m going to lurk under the trees a bit. Pissing awful weather.â€™
So. Any more for any more?
[Me, I wash my hands of the whole sorry boiling.]Â