Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Tell-Tale Parts

by Ken Duffin

“So here’s the thing,” Ratburner said, his nose twitching. “Julius Pinkle tended to piss writers off. He loathed them. Just read a review.” The publisher of The Canadian Literary Excoriator pushed a pile of quarterlies in the detective’s direction.

Sergeant Thomas declined the offer and repeated his question. “Who wanted him dead?”


“And who’s he when he’s at home?”

“Byron Lunquist. Author of something called Low Hanging Fruit. Silly little twat. But the book was decent enough. Julius disagreed. His review was, shall we say, inflammatory.”

Sergeant Thomas wrote the name in his book and added ‘twat/inflammation’. “Lunquist threatened Pinkle? You know this for a fact?”

“Byron vowed he’d remove Pinkle’s knobbly bits and hang them on his Christmas tree,” Ratburner said. “Near the bottom… so his dog could get them.”

Sergeant Thomas glanced out the window. It was snowing. “Where can I find Lunquist?”

The chalk outline of Julius Pinkle (sans head and minus its block and tackle) was still fresh in the Sergeant’s mind as he pulled up to Lunquist’s house. In the darkness, he could see glow-in-the-dark lips. Then he heard a growl. It was Lunquist’s dog. “Byron Lunquist,” he called out. “I’m arresting you for the murder of Julius Pinkle.” Lunquist, clad only in pajama bottoms and tanning ointment, asked the sergeant what had given it away.

“Pinkle was sporting radioactive dye in his nether bits. He’d had a scan the day before. Your dog’s wearing the evidence,” he said. “Plus,” he noted, pointing to the nicely decorated spruce, “you’ve used Pinkle’s head as a tree topper.”

It was safe to say that the Sergeant could appreciate symbolism and irony as much as the next guy.

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