Police Chief Saba Colbshallow sat at his desk looking over the police budget. It had already given him a splitting headache. He could feel the vibrations in the nerves of his neck when someone knocked on the door.
“Come in,” he ordered gruffly.
The door opened, and Police Constable Kendrick stepped in. His face said plainly enough that he wished he were anywhere else. Following him into the office were PC Littlefield and Wizard Drewsome. Littlefield looked determined and Drewsome looked wary.
“Gentlemen, to what do I owe the pleasure?”
“I need to speak to you, Chief.”
“I assumed that was the case or you wouldn’t be here.”
“I need to speak to you in a professional capacity.”
“We need to question you,” said Littlefield.
“I see,” said Saba. “Have a seat then, gentlemen.”
Kendrick and Littlefield took the seats opposite him. Drewsome stood behind Littlefield’s chair. He looked like he expected a fight.
“Do you know either Rance or Paisley Gertz?” asked Kendrick, taking a small notebook and pencil from his pocket.
“Very slightly. I’ve met each of them once.”
“Did you have occasion to visit the Gertz home at 114 Chaukara on the twenty-eighth of Novuary.”
“And why were you there?”
“You and I had discussed the incident there involving Gertz and his wife. I wanted to get a look at the scene.”
“Did you encounter Rance Gertz at that time.”
“He wasn’t there when I arrived, but he entered after I did. He accused me of making him a cuckold and then took a swing at me.”
“Did you hit him back?”
“Yes. I hit him… several times.”
“Did you also kick him?”
“I… did. Maybe more than once.”
“Did you have an intimate relationship with Mrs. Gertz?” asked Littlefield.
“No,” said Saba. “As I said, I’ve only met her once.”
“Was Gertz alive when you left the home?” asked Kendrick.
“Yes. I am certain he was.”
“Was he conscious?”
“I can’t say for that certain,” said Saba.
“It is the opinion of the doctor,” said Littlefield, “that Gertz was killed by a blow to the side of the chest, possibly from a kick, that caused a broken rib to pierce his lung, which then collapsed.”
“I’m sorry, Chief,” said Kendrick. “We’re going to have to pass this information on to the Justice of the Peace.”
“That’s all right, lad,” said Saba. “Do your duty.”
“We have to ask you for your badge,” said Littlefield.
“That you do.” Saba stood up and retrieved his badge from its place in his pocket, handing it to Kendrick. “And you need to remind me not to leave town.”
“That’s right, sir. Don’t leave town.”
* * * * *
“Kafira’s bloody twat!” screamed Senta, jumping to her feet and spilling the bowl of water that had been sitting in her lap.
The lizzie that had been dusting the bookcase behind her quickly exited the room.
Raising her hand, she snapped her finger. Immediately her housedress was replaced by leather bustier, leather pants, and knee-high boots.
“Rezesic idium uuthanum tortestos paj,” she said, and disappeared from her parlor to reappear in front of the red brick five-story building that was the Port Dechantagne Police Department.
“What the hell is wrong with you, you daft idiot!” she yelled at Saba as he came down the steps.
“I’m not in the mood, Senta.”
“No kidding! What kind of mood are you going to be in when you’re rotting away in jail? Or maybe when they hang you!”
He took her by the elbow and pushed her around the corner of the building and beneath a pear tree.
“Keep your voice down,” he hissed.
“You couldn’t just lie?” she growled. “You couldn’t tell one or two little lies? I wasn’t there, constable. I don’t know what you’re talking about, constable.”
“It’s against the law to lie to the police.”
“It’s against the law to beat someone to death too, but you’ve perfected that!”
“Just… don’t,” he said.
“Do you want to go to jail?”
“I did what I did, and they know about it. They have evidence and probably at least one witness that I was there.”
“They don’t have anything,” she hissed. “I scraped away every trace of you being there, and anyone who saw you has lost all memory of that day. All you had to do… All you had to do was lie. Can’t you tell a lie? It’s easy. I do it all the time. Why yes, I love your hair. Why no, I didn’t shag your husband. Why no, I absolutely have not completely obstructed a police investigation for a total bloody idiot!”
“This is my business,” he said. “Keep your nose out of it.”
He turned and walked away.
“Fine,” she said, and then snapped her fingers, teleporting back home.