Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day Five-Twenty-Seven: Detecterate like a mofo

Step one in being a private dick, from what fantastically little I know of the subject: questioning the victim.

(I wonder where that title came from. 'Private dick'. It's so strange. Why would anybody, in ANY profession, want to be called a 'dick'? Isn't that a bad thing? I've called people dicks before, and they never reacted favourably. And hell, dicks are, y'know, thingers, so… of course it's private. Thingers are a private sorta thing. You don't go around handin' 'em out to people at parties. Isn't 'private dick' redundant? This is off-topic, but dammit, these questions need to be asked.)

I couldn't get off work yesterday - Libby loudly decreed that no man would slack whilst still on shift - so my detectering began officially today. I waited for Jeffrey to have a break in his labour shift, then invited him back to his quarters for some good 'ol fashion interrogatin'.

The Dauphine is freakin' big, but that's because a lot needs to fit inside its hull. Consequently, the crew quarters are pretty small, most of 'em only boasting enough room for a cot or two, a dresser, and a storage box. Jeffrey shares his with Celine, so it's even more cramped than normal. (They're looking into installing beds near Daena's tree so they can be a 'proper' family.)

Jeffrey sat down on his bed to give me space. I flopped onto Celine's cot, which, being child-sized, had barely enough room for my behind. I don't know how she curls up onto it at night. Maybe she has no spine?

"Sooooo." I rubbed my hands together, not sure where to go past this point. "How… uh… how ya been?"

His brow covered in sweat and his arms still shaking - Jeffrey works in Engineering, and damned hard, from what I've seen - the former king blinked. "Um. I'm… good…?"

I nodded enthusiastically. "Good! That's… that's great. Good to hear it."

"Y… yeah."

Awkward silence. So awkward.


I looked up. I'd been counting the threads in Celine's covers. "Hm?"

"Except for. You know." Jeffrey gestured awkwardly to his forehead. "And the, uh, you know, pee."

"In your cereal."

"That's… that's where I found it."

I couldn't help myself. I leaned forward. "You… you, uh, didn't… didn't accidentally… well, I mean..."

He waved the question away frantically. I held my tongue. That was answer enough.

Clumsy though it was, the segue into Jeffrey's troubles did the trick. Soon we were quietly talking about the pranks plaguing the man, which, it turns out, were more numerous than Daena had perhaps known:

- His only belt was stolen, forcing Jeffrey to use a length of rope to keep his pants up
- He found a big wad of spit in his hair, full of half-eaten corn from the previous night's meal
- He'd put on his pants, only to discover somebody had smeared the insides of the legs with either rotten peanut butter or poo (Jeffrey prayed for the peanut butter)
- While working, Jeffrey's hand had become glued to one of the Dauphine's hundreds of pulleys, requiring a short work stoppage while the other mechanics tried to free him
- Last, worst, he'd nearly lost a finger when his cabin door closed way too quickly as he was going through

The sordid tales told, Jeffrey helped me pick through his cabin for possible evidence of foul play. I hate to say it, but we found nothing of the sort: no incriminating smudges or foot prints, no tampered items in his chest or dresser, no insidious plan outlined on a piece of paper, forgotten under Jeffrey's cot, with the name of the perpetrator spelled plainly upon it. Nuthin', nada, zilch. Same went for the immediate area outside his cabin.

Jeffrey looked downtrodden at my lack of success, and I recommended he stick close to his family for the rest of the day while I continued my search for clues. Jeffrey's job has been temporarily shifted to Daena's assistant, keeping an eye on one of her telescopes while she steers. He's as safe there as he will be anywhere on the Dauphine.

I feel for the guy. He's still withdrawn and mopey, but Jeffrey's trying hard to fit in with everybody. At the very least, I think he'd like to disappear into the crowd and not be noticed anymore, rather than drawing the occasional cold glare and contemptuous snort. Somebody… possibly many somebodies… has it in for this man.

Gotta find out who. Before somebody gets hurt.

(Can you believe I was gunning for this dude to be executed a few months ago? Times change.)


Dragomir the Wanderer

1 comment:

  1. Its Stewpid...only a person like that, with enough untapped rage towards Jeffery, could be worthy of the blame. Although he WAS particularly a dick towards Grylock that one time and Grylock HAS been known to use his pee as a weapon against others....