Thirty years stretched before newly-retired Detective-inspector Shannon Liraz, his underlings relieved the inspectors ‘details, details’ catch-cry lay silent.
The first few weeks sped by in catch-ups and bucket lists. House maintenance, bungee jumping, old friends in distant parts; his detailed list had whirlwind the days away. But the to-do’s eventually diminished, finally dribbling into a blank page. Now what?
An article in the morning paper caught his eye. St John needed callers to phone the elderly. Shannon thought that might be interesting. Old people have stories to tell.
Weeks later, fully inducted, he made his first solo call. Shannon’s detective brain demurred at the scantiness of detail provided about Wilfred; lived on his own, housebound, terminal, early-stage dementia. To be called at 4pm daily please.
They talked about the weather, as strangers do. Wilfred revealed he had been an event manager. Shannon’s admission to police work brought silence. Detective-inspector Shannon Liraz had met guilty discomfort before.
‘What is it?’ he asked gently, sensing confession.
Wilfred started hesitantly, but the story came; accidentality killing Polly aka toad (it was her shape you see), swaddling her in screeds of glad-wrap before dragging her body into the crawl space under his house, where she lies still.
Several hours after the call, an impatient Detective-inspector Liraz (retired) welcomed a weary ex-colleague. The police had indeed found Polly, wrapped in glad-wrap, exactly where described. Every team was involved, from forensic to detectives; the whole works. Wilfred had welcomed them warmly; more excitement and visitors than he’d had for years apparently.
‘You’ll have plenty to talk about when you call him tomorrow.’ the inspector said to Shannon.
‘Call him? Isn’t he in custody?’
‘Well, no. Killing a toad isn’t exactly an arrestable offence.’
‘Polly the toad, previously known as Polly the tadpole, died when pushed off the wardrobe during boyhood testing of bungee ability.
Details, Shannon; details.’