All Stories, Humour

A Few Dead Men by Nik Eveleigh

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It was a typical Friday night at the Planet Bar. Money rubbed shoulders with money. Ladies preened and giggled over the top of cucumber daiquiris and rosewater mojitos all the while seeking out new targets, fresh wallets. The men played their part. Laughed a little too loud when needed. Stepped out for smokes. Drank their Johnnie Walker Blues. Ordered more with practiced flickers of fingers. In the midst of this maelstrom of entitlement and low grade sexual minestrone one man patrols his bar, an oasis of calm in an otherwise…

“Miss Auder.”

“Your honour?”

“Could you please remind your witness he is in a courtroom, not in his study writing a failed novel.”

“Of course your honour. Mister Yallop, a simple yes or no will be sufficient. You were tending the bar at the Planet on the night in question were you not?”

“Yes.”

“Is there anyone else in this courtroom who was in attendance that night?”

“Objection!”

“Overruled. Witness may answer the question.”

“Yes.”

Advocate Lauren Auder smoothed back her hair and turned to face the galleries. “Can you please identify to the court the person you saw that night.”

Yallop’s aim was quick and true. “Him.”

*

…Two weeks earlier…

“Grant? Is that…y’know…is it…?”

Grant smiled into his drink. “Is it who Sean? I can’t quite see over into the corner.”

“Stop looking you arsehole. It is isn’t it? And don’t give me your Is it who Sean bullshit, you know exactly who I’m talking about.”

“Yeah it’s definitely him. He’s even shorter in real life. Big nose as well. What’s he here for anyway?”

Sean shook his head. “Do you live under a rock or something? They’re shooting the entire Stormcrow quadrilogy in Cape Town.”

“In which he’s playing a hobbit I assume?”

“He’s financing it so…”

“Please tell me he’s not…seriously, he’s actually playing…?”

Sean spread his arms and grinned. “You are looking at Stormcrow himself.”

“He’s got balls I’ll give him that. After the roasting he took for playing a certain maverick investigator, a lesser man, assuming you could find one, would shy away from playing a giant, becloaked bringer of mayhem.”

“Perhaps he’s Reachering new heights?”

Grant choked on his Absolut Citron. “Genius. I assume they’ve lined up someone suitably enormous to play his arch-nemesis? Perhaps that bloke who plays Tyrion Lannister in Game Of Thrones?”

“No man. Travolta for sure. You know how that lot like to stick together.”

“True. True. Anyway, drink up. I want to get out of here before he starts jumping on a sofa.”

*

“Please state your name for the roll.”

“Koos Fokkensern.”

“You are a captain in the South African Police Service are you not?”

“Ja.”

“Please state your relationship to the accused.”

“He are a man! I cannot have relations wiff…”

“No Captain I meant in your professional capacity.”

“Ah…ok. Arresting officer.”

“Thank you and y…”

“Of him!”

“Yes, I…”

“That blerry poepol sitting over there in the…”

“Objection!”

“Sustained! Captain Fokkensern you will show some respect in my courtroom.”

“Sorry my lady.”

“Miss Auder. Any more of that language and I will hold your witness in contempt.”

“Sorry my lady. Captain, can you please summarise for the court, without prejudice, what your investigation revealed to be the course of events that led to the tragic deaths?”

“Ja. The witness were seen in the area of the two deceased at the Hussar Grill…”

*

“Reachering new heights!” Grant laughed and shook his head. “Love it. So what’s the…”

“Good evening Sirs. My name is Lucky and I will be your waiter this evening. Can I get you some drinks so long?”

“You most certainly can Lucky,” said Grant. “Two Heinekens please and whatever my friend wants.”

“Don’t listen to him Lucky,” said Sean rolling his eyes. “Just the two Heinekens is fine. Can you tell me what your linefish is tonight?”

“Linefish?” said Grant. “Did you not notice this is a steak house? Why not go mad and have a salad.”

“I’m just curious,” said Sean looking askance at the bemused waiter.

“It’s the Cape Salmon sir,” said Lucky. “Very tasty.”

“But is it better than the steaks Lucky?” said Grant.

Lucky shook his head. “No Sir, the steaks are number one.”

“Ja, but I’m just not sure I’m in the mood for steak tonight,” said Sean flipping through the menu. “What about the duck…what’s it like?”

“It is like the chicken who can swim.”

The man watching from the corner table sipped his water and watched as Grant and Sean high-fived, laughed and slapped the table. Idiots.

“Enough!” said Grant wiping his eyes. “Two Heinekens, two T-bones, rare with chips and onion rings.”

“And peppercorn sauce on the side,” said Sean.

Lucky walked back to the kitchen with the order and winked at Elsie as he paused to place his drinks order.

“Still doing the duck joke Lucky?”

“Double tips every time…”

*

“And you have witness statements placing the accused at the restaurant, Captain?”

“Ja.”

“Please continue.”

“The two deceased left the restaurant at ten thirty-six pee-emm in the direction of Three Anchor Bay.”

*

…the bodies were discovered by a stand up paddle boarder who was briefly sitting down. The men have been identified as Grant Favers and Sean Verschiep two local entrepren…

Koos clicked the remote. “Right. Listen up. Somewhere outside is the blerry bliksem who killed these two okes and we are going to find him. We will not do this by running around like chickenless heads. The media are like a bear in a sore cage and they smell blood. Our blood.” Koos massaged his moustache. “What is it Sergeant Klippies?”

“Well Kokey and I…” said Klippies nudging his partner, “was wondering if there’ll be overtime.”

A few cheers went up. Koos purpled. “Overtime? Of course there’s blerry overtime! This is a blerry murder and you will not sleep, eat or…or sleep until we catch him. It’s cast in brick!”

“And petrol allowance?”

More cheers. Koos slammed his fist on to the desk.

“Not if I make you bliksems walk!” The Captain closed his eyes and when he opened them he resumed in a calm voice. “Two men are dead. We work as a team – we catch him. If we waste time on kak like petrol we can start looking for new jobs. The Mayor has promised we will get the poepol who did this by the end of the week. If we fail she has committed political self-murder. We stick together and we stick to the three effs. Focus and Efficiency.”

A voice broke through the uncomfortable coughing. “What’s the other eff Captain?”

Captain Koos Fokkensern gave what passed for a smile. “Fokof and catch him.”

*

…are now gathered outside the courtroom hoping to find a seat in the limited gallery space available to the public. Presiding Judge, Ann Jurie has shown little patience for posturing so far and that is unlikely to change when the accused takes the stand, as we predict, after lunch on this third day of evidence…

*

“Elrond Hubbard”

Judge Jurie banged her gavel to counter the sniggering from the public gallery. “Silence! You will respect this court or I will have you removed.”

Advocate Auder paused for the message to hit home. “Mister Hubbard, you are the owner of Galadriel’s Ubikuitous Comics is that correct?”

“Y-yes.”

“In Sea Point?”

“Yes.”

“Is it also true that you are the founder and sole author of the Tom’s Crews blog?”

“Yes.” Hubbard twitched a couple of nervous finger strokes across his beard.

“Why the plural?”

“I’m sorry?”

Crews. Plural. Surely you and your band of followers are a single crew?”

“Objection milady! Blatant hole-pokery. The validity of my client’s blog title is of no relevance to this case and without the plural a cheap and pointless joke opportunity would have been missed.”

“Sustained. Miss Auder, please revise your line of questioning.”

“I’m sorry milady, I was just trying to squash…”

“Objection! Vegetable based humour has no place here.”

“Sustained.”

“Apologies milady. Unintentional.”

Judge Jurie looked unimpressed but motioned her consent to continue.

“Mister Hubbard. Eyewitnesses place you at both the Planet Bar and the Hussar Grill on the night in question. You were seen leaving the restaurant barely a minute after the deceased. Can you explain to the court what happened after this remarkable coincidence?”

“I went for a walk along the promenade and then I went home.” Hubbard’s beard stroking took on an additional frisson of frenzy. “I don’t like restaurant desserts so I went home for something sweet. On the night in question the cupboard was bare so I decided to go to Gelato Mania for an ice cream.”

“Can anyone confirm this?”

“Err. No.” Such was the pace of Hubbard’s beard stroking that a vulpine-faced lady in the public gallery was momentarily incapacitated by a stroboscopic seizure. “I’ve been alone in the house since my old mother departed. Just me and my poor boneless doggie I’m afraid.”

“I’m sorry for your loss. So you left, went for an ice cream and then returned home?”

“Yes.”

Advocate Auder smiled. “I’m afraid I don’t believe you Mister Hubbard. I’m sure you went for a walk along the promenade but I put it to you that you only did it to follow the two deceased in order to slit their throats…”

“Objection!”

“…and dump their bodies into the bay…”

“Objection!”

“…simply because they insulted your hero over dinner!”

“OBJECTION!”

“Overruled. Witness will answer the question.”

“I didn’t kill anyone!”

KTZ NXT

Hubbard’s face went blank and then he gave a nervous laugh. “Is that a numberplate?”

Advocate Auder strode forward and placed both her hands on the witness box. “NO! It is not a number plate Mr Hubbard! Those letters were carved into the bodies of the two victims. Mister Favers had KTZ cut into his chest and Mister Verschiep had NXT cut into his back. Captain Fokkensern and his team found the same letters written all over the walls when they raided your premises and, until now those six letters have remained a…”

Advocate Lauren Order sucked in a breath and smoothed back her hair. Six letters that had baffled the police would now make her a partner and set her up for life.

Katie’s next

Her words were drowned out by a huge bang, a flash of light and the inexorable spread of a cloud of purple smoke. She covered her mouth with the collar of her blouse but the damage had been done. As the coughing throughout the courtroom receded and her sight began to wane she was dimly aware of a small man descending from the ceiling on a wire. A single bead of sweat detached from his head and glistened in the noxious air. By the time it hit the ground Elrond Hubbard was plucked from the witness stand and hoisted towards the courthouse roof. The last thing Lauren Order heard as she slumped to the ground was the anguished yell of Captain Fokkensern as he waved his fist at the ceiling. “Kom hier jy blerry bliksem! Ek sal jou klap…”

*

…has been placed into protective custody along with her daughter. Flag Land Base spokesman Jerry Maguire has denied that the planned Stormcrow Quadrilogy has been shelved, stating that “Film making is a Risky Business and you can only be a Top Gun for so long. The Minority Reporting these vicious rumours seem to disregard the Collateral we’ve built up over the years and I make The Firm promise that the movies will go ahead. These are Days Of Thunder and even if you make All The Right Moves you have to expect some Rain, Man…

 

© 2015 Nik Eveleigh

9 thoughts on “A Few Dead Men by Nik Eveleigh”

  1. Hi Nik, I enjoyed reading this humorous court room drama. the structure of shifting between the courtroom and the background to the crime worked out well.
    Cheers mine’s a Heineken.

    James.

    Like

    1. Thanks James – I think I’ll join you!

      Glad you enjoyed this one – I had a bit of fun with this and the shifting structure was a happy accident during the process.

      Cheers, Nik

      Like

  2. The Waffle thought Poepol was the cutest and funniest insult ever. I didn’t realise where poepol came from, the pooper, which made it all that funnier. A great many puns and Elrond Hubbard is unmatched in geeky pun references to scientology. Very funny!

    Like

    1. Thanks Tobbe (and Waffle!). It’s a truly brilliant word and one I’ve been prone to calling myself on a regular basis. Glad you enjoyed the fun and games in this one – it was nice to write something that made me laugh as I went along instead of all this dark, serious stuff I seem to be focussing on! Maybe I need a dark, dystopian comedy.. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Nik, as with any of your stories, it is plain to see that you are a technically gifted writer. The intelligence and thought that goes into this only enhances the story. It was very funny, well observed and a joy to read.
    All the very best my friend.
    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a fantastic comment on which to end my weekend Hugh – thank you so much. As always your support and encouragement keeps driving me forward. Cheers, Nik

      Like

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