“Good morning, Inspector Jangaron and Sergeant Penwilling. Come in, come in. I know why you are here.”
In walked the two plainclothes policemen. “I'm Jimmie and there's my girlfriend, Amy, she's in recovery mode on the sofa. And here on the desk is the paperknife. Through that window you can see the house where the McCreebes live – there they are in the window watching us with binoculars. Give'em a wave! They will be pleased.”
The sergeant bent down to Amy. “I think she's dead, she's not breathing, her mouth and nostrils are tight shut...”
“Call the medics and the pathos!” bawled the inspector. “And take Mr.....................Jimmie into another room and question him.”
“Everybody calls me Jimmie.”
“She doesn't have a name, but I call her Amy, she seems to like that.”
“I do odd jobs, I inherited the cottage from my parents, I don't need much to live on.”
“She's a sociologist, she's studying ‘Stupidity in the Early Twenty-First Century’ I think.”
“About a year, she suddenly appeared out of the crowd at the River Bank Festival last summer and bumped into me. She said that I was stupid, perhaps even reasonably stupid, but not too stupid to buy her a drink. We've been together ever since.”
“I'm sure the McCreebes think that I stabbed Amy dead with a paper knife. They keep a book about what everybody in the lane is doing. A bit creepy, but what do I care?”
“No, no, no. Amy is in recovery mode, since yesterday afternoon and this afternoon she will sit up and be human again. She does it every two months or so.”
“There is a reason why she is not breathing.”
“She hasn't got any lungs.”
“The body has been removed to the mortuary. Some items have been removed as evidence. I can't say yet what the cause of death was. Odd, she has no bruises, no wounds, no signs of violence. All her orifices are tight shut. The body is very warm. All very odd, I'll phone you from the mortuary when I find something, probably in a few hours.”
“Why don't you try The Ostrich in the village, they do good lunches there.”
The two policemen said they would be back in an hour or so.
Jimmie walked up to the car parked in Shoe Lane and knocked on the window. “Hello DC Haldane, you're watching me to make certain I don't leave the cottage. I going to do some gardening on the other side of the cottage where you can't see me. Why don't you get out of your hot stuffy car and join me in the back garden?”
Inspector Jangaron and Sergeant Penwilling returned to the cottage – a house search and more questions and hopefully a call from the pathologist with the cause of death. Then they were going to nick'im.
“Did you go to The Ostrich? Was it a good lunch?”
“Yes, thank you. We'd like to do a house search, we don't have a search warrant, but we could soon get one.”
“Go ahead!” said Jimmie.
“We'll start with your smart phone or personal computer or...”
Jimmie stuck his right arm in the air and wiggled his fingers.
A quarter-sized Margaret Thatcher with handbag appeared on the dining table. “Hello Jimmie.”
“Hello Trace, what's new?”
“You've got guests – Detective Inspector Jason Jangaron and Detective Sergeant Peter Penwilling. Inspector Jangaron was a good detective, but now prefers to sit behind a desk. He wants to take early retirement when all his daughters have left home and restart his marriage. However he and his wife have changed in the last twenty years and they will be divorced within two years.”
“Sergeant Penwilling wants to meet his girlfriend tonight in The Farmer's Arms in the High Street and have a good talk – they had a bust-up last Sunday. He'll probably buy her flowers on the way home.”
“But!” interrupted Inspector Jangaron “Where is the computer? What is the password?”
“My personal computer Trace is in the cloud – there is no password – it responds to me only.”
Trace continued: “The two of them want to arrest you for murdering Amy, but they need the cause of death first. Here's a very naughty video of Jutta Ditfurth.”
“Very nice, Trace. Add it to my favourites.”
“OK, Jimmie. So what's happened to Amy. The mortuary is in the basement of the General Hospital.”
A mortuary opened up like a dolls house on the dining table.
Trace continued: “The red arrow indicates the drawer in the cooler where Amy was this morning – the pathologist was lecturing. The three people standing are the pathologist, his assistant and a trainee nurse.” The red arrow danced about.
“Amy is lying naked on the table. The pathologist is somewhat unhinged – on the next table is a transistor radio stabbed full of scalpels.”
“The pathologist is preparing to cut Amy open with a scalpel. Amy says something. The pathologist loses it. The assistant and the nurse search under all the tables for something and find nothing.”
“The pathologist is preparing to cut Amy open with a scalpel. Amy sits up, jumps off the table, knocks the assistant and the pathologist to the floor. The trainee nurse passes out. Amy grabs a gown and marches out.”
“Amy is catching the 3C bus and will be here soon. The pathologist's assistant will phone Sergeant Penwilling.....................now.”
Sergeant Penwilling answered his phone: “Yes, we know, the corpse has left the mortuary and is coming here. Yes. we know, the corpse can not be removed without the express written consent of the coroner. I think it would be wise if you brought the pathologist here to Riddlely, number five Shoe Lane. And bring the coroner too.”
He knew that there were normal people, ordinary people, who bought a ticket or had a pass. And then there were the nutters, who didn't pay their fare.
There were quiet nutters who paid the fine. There were loud nutters whom he kicked off the bus. There were loud and violent nutters – they were the worse – stop the bus and call the police.
But she was quiet and had no money. “I've just escaped from the mortuary. All I got on is this green gown and it ain't got pockets.”
The bus inspector asked her where she lived. “You live in Riddlely? It's the next stop.”
In walked the pathologist and his assistant. In walked the coroner and his assistant. They explained the serious crime of removing a corpse from the mortuary without the written permission of the coroner.
In walked Amy with a man in uniform. “Hi, everybody! My recovery is finished and I've come back home with the inspector.”
Inspector Jangaron and Sergeant Penwilling looked at the man, he was obviously not a police inspector, who was he?
There was a loud “You've got to go back to the mortuary.”
The pathologist's assistant explained that the corpse had to go back to the mortuary to complete the autopsy and await the results of the lab tests, at least two days.
The coroner's assistant explained that the corpse must go back to the mortuary, there might be a second autopsy. And that the coroner's court didn't meet until next month, at least two months.
And very important, that the corpse must remain in the mortuary for that time – the corpse was not allowed to remove herself from the mortuary without the written permission of the coroner – that was the law.
It was not only the law, the coroner's assistant had a mortal fear of zombies. No, no, no, corpses were not allowed to walk about and attack people – they must be kept in the mortuary.
The police sergeant explained that the corpse had committed a serious crime by walking out of the mortuary and that the police would arrest and detain the corpse...
Amy broke in: “I'm not going back to the mortuary, even though the cooler was good for my recovery.”
Amy moved to the pathologist and shook his hand and the hand of his assistant. She shook the hand of the coroner – the coroner's assistant cried “Zombie!” and passed out and fell to the floor.
Amy ignored that and continued: “So gentlemen, no arguments. I'll sing you a song:”
Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing, Onward! the sailors cry; Carry the lad that's born to be King Over the sea to Skye.
The inspector decided that it was his turn to speak: “I have a solution to the problem. All that needs to be done is simple. The coroner must just report that a mistake has been made, there is no corpse, no dead body, no murder, case closed, end of story.”
“I mean, the young lady is obviously alive and not dead and not a corpse and not murdered. And could somebody please pay her bus fare?”
The coroner didn't know what to say, he never did, he turned to ask his assistant, but he was not there, he was still lying comatose on the floor. The coroner murmured something senseless and everybody assumed that he said “...mistake – case closed...”
Everybody was relieved – no trouble – just go back to the office, write a short report and forget it. The coroner had saved the day, but no...
In burst the media, they took pictures, they asked questions, they took videos, they were loud.
Jimmie paid Amy's fare to the bus inspector, who then walked to the village bus stop to wait for the next bus.
The media took loads of pictures of the coroner's assistant lying on the floor – he was obviously “the corpse”. They tried to wake him – an interview with the corpse would be good.
The coroner's assistant opened his eyes and mumbled half sentences about zombies. “Great, great, great! A talking corpse.” But no, the coroner and the pathologist didn't want to comment on the talking corpse.
Amy and Jimmie stole away. “Great stupidity!” “Yeah, big time.”