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Smarter Than They Thought

A 'Fella Whose Middle Name's Cedrick' Detective Story

By Conor HuftonPublished 6 years ago 6 min read

The city’s changed. The scum of the earth have all swarmed here. They've made the clean, pure soul that once gave this place life dirtier than the sub-human scum that populate it. McDonald’s closed a few days ago. I sit here without joy. Without faith. Without trousers. I draw a cigarette gracefully from a container, ignite one, and take a long hit. I have to do it. I can’t think of another way to relish in the noir style I’m clearly going for. What a waste of £3.50. I’m glad I didn’t go for Egyptian cigarettes like the good detectives do. They probably cost even more—£3.51 or something crazy.

An urgent knock on the door strikes my eardrums .When I answer, I’m greeted by the incessantly cheerful face of a pizza delivery man. Some people would rather just ignore the corruption around them and deliver fancy cheese on toast with a smile. I didn’t order pizza and this could be a trap, but danger is something I’m just used to. After all, "This could be a trap, but danger is something I’m just used to" is my middle name. OK, it’s obviously not; actually, it’s Cedrick. The delivery guy leaves me a pizza and a note reading

"Meet at 6.54. Joe’s diner. A friend."

Man, my friends never write stuff like that. Is a text too god damn hard to send? And why did I need to get a complimentary pizza with that note? I fling a wrapped twisted tenner at the goose (literally just means "man") and he scrams out.

So many questions that only Joe’s diner, a god forsaken dive on fifth street—wherever the hell that is (I just made the street name up, can't remember the real one)—can answer. I slip my trilby firmly onto my head before leaving my joint, then swiftly take it off when I see it makes me look like a bellend. I looked into the abyss and the abyss looked back at me, and somewhere deep inside, the darkness said "You look stupid." The darkness was right. I slide my trusty six shooter—OK, it’s a water pistol, I admit it—into my pocket, the flea-picking second before I leave. A stiff wind hits me as soon as I begin prowling the dive, mainly because I’ve forgotten to put any damn trousers on. I shuffle back into my flat like a vulture going in for its prey. The trousers are brandished and I leave again. I take in every single surrounding, circling the area. You need to learn how these mean streets operate if you want to survive (also I got lost a few times).

Smoking was banned years ago, but Joe’s Café has a thick uncomfortable, foreboding texture about the air that visible smoke would capture. I lunge towards my associate who’s dressed like a food handler transported here from the 50s. It was the closest to the uniform she could find, is my guess. She doesn’t work here, but the customers are too downtrodden or depraved to even notice, and the workers are too busy. Hope is lost in places like this. Sometimes literally. My associate’s actually called Hope and she’s terrible with directions.

"How ya doin', honey?" She asks me with a fierce Bronx lilt in her voice. I tell her to cut the accent. I know we’re in Wales.

"I'm so devilishly Sorry, chap," is her god damn grating response.

"What the hell voice is that supposed to be? Just do your normal one."

"Why do you always spoil my fun?"

She complains with a low key sigh and continues jabbering.

"You always use Americanisms in and outside of your blog, but apparently it’s stupid when other people do. I only did it to try humouring you, anyway." She finally stops and gives me a chance to change topic.

"Why didn’t you just send me a text? Why did it have to be a note?"

"I did send about five. I knew you’d ignore them, though."

"Ok, seems fair. And the pizza?"

"I was just worried you might be hungry. I’m sorry for caring."

She’s a good gal, this one. My questions haven’t ended, though.

"But wait a minute—I know your handwriting—I didn’t recognise it."

"I wrote with my left hand. If it was writing you didn’t recognise, I knew you’d be more intrigued."

"That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard," I inform her (that’s saying something—I've heard that "Pen Pineapple Apple Pen" song).

"How is it dumb? Didn’t it work?"

The dame’s got me there. I change the subject before my pride takes a paste in the kisser.

"So what’s the problem, anyway?"

She starts jerking a sneaky nod towards a dumb mug sat alone in the corner.

"I saw him snooping the place out earlier," She aggressively whispers, "and I was thinking: Is that a gun is his pocket or is he pleased to see—oh crap! It actually is a gun. I think he’s here to blip off someone."

"Oh, yeah, we know this one, don’t we?"

"Yeah Richard Spillage. I don’t think he ever used firearms before. He just keeps getting more dangerous every time we see him."

"And to think, his first foray into the criminal world was breaking into Tesco to steal a mars bar, then calling the police to let him out because he was stuck in there. I don’t get it, Why am I here?" I ask. I try to sound polite but my yapper won’t let that happen

"I don’t like doing things like this alone. I need your help. Just follow my lead now in a minute."

Ah, there we go. That "now in a minute" talk proves Hope’s come to terms with the fact she’s not from New York.

She calmly saunters over to the armed booze hound and starts sweet-talking the fella. I wait a while and see her hand keeps urgently hovering over his flogger (coat) pocket. He takes it off and is wearing glad rags I wouldn’t expect a two bit hood to be seen dead in. I catch my associate's drift and then I lunge closer in

"Excuse me, doll," I pipe up fiercely. Why I used doll in conversation is a mystery even to me. No one uses that word.

She flicks the punk a comforting smile and lifts her index finger up to imply she’ll be back soon. We huddle.

"I’ve slipped my shooter into his pocket."

"You mean your water pistol?" She inquiringly taunts. Damn, this dame loves to taunt. I’m glad she’s on my side or I’d think she was trouble from the get-go.

"Yeah but he won’t notice it’s got no shells in it—He’s way too lit up with eel juice to realise it’s a dud."

"Good work—I’ve got the real gun right here."

"Gun? Gun? I’m sorry, I thought you wanted to humour me with alternative phrases. Everyone says gun."

"Oh for god sake, fine—I’ve got the real Roscoe right here. Can we just get on with things?"

"Yes, now I can. Thank you."

She subtly slides the top half of the Roscoe out of her apron to prove the point. People are still distracted enough they wouldn’t look up if King Kong crashed through the wall. My associate turns back around and is met with a barrel to her forehead

"Sorry Doll," the hood’s voice crackles as he talks. Also, he’s saying doll now, too? Is he just copying me? "This is a stick up," his stability slipping more and more with every word. This guy is clearly off the tracks. He pulls the trigger and a thin stream comes from the water shooter.

"Refreshing," my associate casually snarks. She thrusts her arm into her apron pocket and shoves out the real Roscoe right into his map ("face" to the normal person).

"Here’s the deal, Mars bar boy; you scram out now or I’ll pump metal right through your schnozzle," she coldly informs him. Spillage staggers backwards in panic and begins shooting off his damn mouth in a fit of animalistic rage

"OK, I’ll leave, but you haven’t seen the last of me!!" He stops snapping and gets more timid, "OK, you’ve seen the last of me for at least a week. There are loads of Netflix shows I need to catch up on. Actually, you might have seen the last of me, I’ll probably forget—but as long as I remember, you haven’t seen the last of me!!’

And like that, Spillage pushed open the swaying diner doors and stumbled off into an awkward run. At least for now he was gone, and it was almost entirely down to Hope. She stopped the hold up better than the johns with badges and uniforms ever could. I guess Hope’s just smarter than they thought.

fact or fiction

About the Creator

Conor Hufton

getting better at this writing thing (aka slowly learning the alphabet, learnt how to use pen). Spanning critical writing, fantasy, parody and sci-fi (ruining all of them in the process).

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