Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chapter 20 -- The Inspector's Notion

Winsteeple stood stockstill, facing the hall entrance into Jampers' office. He felt sure something
vital was right in front of him.

He turned to his right a bit, to take in the vacated desk one last time, still thinking about the body. Officer Glidden was down the hall, making sure the van attendants did not need further help.

When the officer returned, he held back, not fully reentering, knowing not to disturb the ruminating Inspector. Winsteeple beefily gestured at the overabundance of cabinets and carafes.
"We'll have to have all these bottles moved. Likely, their contents will have to be checked for
any poison. And tell Cloxon's man to make note of all the dust, especially on the different stoppers."

Almost unconsciously, he planted himself again facing the hallway as Glidden peered in discreetly. Winsteeple again sensed a nascent notion coming upon him like a shroud of light.

At first he did nothing. Then, slowly and without thought, he turned his bald head to the wall
along his left shoulder and saw with new eyes the black and white print on the wall.
Originally a lithograph ?

He knew now it was not the excessive dust that would matter to him--obviously quite old.
It was the picture itself. Of a grimacing, wide mouthed beast, yes, crouching, one long arm
wrapping its knees. Crouching in a dry desert landscape...

Outside the west windows, soon to be greying in the late afternoon sun moving behind it...
the billboard ! He gaped amusedly at the rocking action of its giant salted pretzel and
big (flat) mug of foamy beer. He was getting thirstier himself, just looking at it.

But, if Jampers really drank so much of this water, where did he go to the bathroom??

There were no amenities in the office itself. And he could not see Jampers galumphing down
the stairs to the street to someplace, and then back up again, every time he...

Glidden, who had slipped in by now, (to view the billboard), now watched the Inspector,
with the enthusiasm of certainty, heave himself the few steps into the cramped hallway
directly opposite the door.

With fingers like runover hot dogs, Winsteeple pawed at the edges of the thin wall, searching
for a crevice, punch or purchase.

When the wall popped open with a gasp to match their own, and let in an L-crack of light,
he half-turned delightedly and greedily pulled the door the rest of the way open.

Not exactly a secret door, but so parenthetically set (by someone) it would remain for private use in this little-visited quarter.

The barely carpeted steps to the restaurant below beckoned.

Of course, he went down them.

1 comment:

Artisalie said...

Enjoy reading your poems, Rick. You have a rick lucid style and it fits well with your drawings. I would like to see more of comics. He's a couple of poets that I enjoy William Bronk and Paul Auster.