Day 180: Open with a bad joke


I stared along the barrel of my pistol into his frantic eyes. My mouth curled into a grimace and I spoke.

‘Not on my watch.’ Then I pulled the trigger.

Dorian spun as the bullet caught him in the shoulder, teetering on the edge of the building. He grinned, slammed his foot into the ground and then fell backwards. This happened as I was rushing over to him, trying like mad to get to him before he could make his way over the precipice.

I didn’t. I fell to the floor and watched as Dorian’s body fell down, spinning in the wind before…

I can’t describe the next bit. Mostly because I’d screwed my eyes shut, but also because I swear I heard the thud and it makes me feel a little ill.

I rolled onto my back, staring at the sky and shifting uncomfortably when I realise I’m lying on something hard. I reached behind my back and drew out the offending object.

I was looking at the broken face of my old wristwatch. The bastard had stamped on it before he took his swan dive.


“Mr Roanoke, you understand that this isn’t accusing you of anything. We simply need to understand everything that led to Mr Dorian Webster’s unfortunate demise. You fired your gun?’

‘Yes Sir.’ I kept my eyes facing forward. I’d been through this a few times before, though most of those times the guy hadn’t died. One of them was getting out in a couple of weeks. I gave the stock answers to their questions, how many rounds were fired, did the assailant have a weapon. Two and yes, respectively. Then they threw me.

‘How did he get your wristwatch, Mr Roanoke?’ Captain Harvey leaned onto his elbows, cricking his neck loud enough to echo through the boxy room. ‘You were wearing it in your academy graduation photo. So, tell me. How did a murder suspect get your watch?’

He’d been a consultant, of sorts. Back in the early days, when I was still getting to grips with the city with all its confusing streets and smells, the constant bombardment on your senses. I’d noticed Dorian pawing at my wrist in his attempt to steal my watch, it was like being mouthed by a toothless dog in how obvious it was.

He’d protested all the way to the car. Claimed he was innocent, he wasn’t trying to take nothing. I ignored him all the way to the station and was wrestling him towards the cells when he’d said it.

‘I know that guy! That’s Biggy Phil!’ He’d pointed with his cuffed hands to the suspects board.

That was the start of an interesting friendship. We’d ended up arresting Biggy Phil, or Phillip Keenan as his mother had named him, then we parted ways. It wasn’t until I got home that night that I realised the little bastard had nicked my watch.

I figured he could keep it for his help.

‘So it was a gift?’

‘Yes Sir.’

‘Very well, Mr Roanoke. You are dismissed. Go and get some rest.’


I drove towards my home in a daze. What the hell had caused Dorian to turn like that? Last I’d seen of him he’d been going straight. He’d found a girl, or a purpose. Either way, he’d talked about getting out of being a criminal.

Something must have changed his mind. The clouds burst above me and unleashed the rain on the cold ground. The headlights thinned out and I ended up alone with my thoughts. Dorian wouldn’t have just turned like that. Something must have changed his mind.

Or someone.

I pulled a vaguely illegal U-turn and started driving towards Halifax Road. That’s where Dorian had lived. It was definitely the place to start.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

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