The Crime That Needed Solving

So, there I was, plugging through paperwork – because, it’s no where near how they show it on the telly. Murder, I mean. Awful lot of paperwork, phone calls, post-its, coffee. So, I was minding my own business, when a call comes through, it’s my boss.

“Come have a word with this guy downstairs. He keeps shouting about wanting to see a DI. He made one of our constables cry. Says he knows about the Kathy Bridges Murder. He knows stuff only the murderer would know.” A particularly gruesome case, the media had gotten a hold on it recently, and everyone was getting impatient. The crime needed solving.

“Well, just give him to…Stewart or Steadman, then.”

“I could – but they’d get nothing out of him. You’ve got the balls, Greg. If you get this guy to clear off for good I’ll consider your application.”

Application to become a Detective Inspector, in the Criminal Investigation Department. Couldn’t say no, could I?

So. Suddenly I’d gone from doing the work of a serious Sergeant in CID to…talking to some angry kid, like I was a constable on the beat all over again. There he sat, as I watched him from a viewing window, plumes of smoke clinging to his curls, his whole body was so sharp, and trembling, either with excitement or irritation I could never quite tell. All I knew, was that he had run out of cigarettes. Could this be our man? The Kathy Bridges Killer? 

I straightened my jacket, and went in, putting my packet of cigarettes down on the table. A peace offering, a truce. This was before the we started wearing patches. (I use them when I’m on a scene – incredibly helpful.)

“So, send a Sergeant did they?”

“Lestrade,” I said.

“Married 10 years, no children, a cat, you’ve had little work in the past few weeks that’s been fulfilling to you, shave with an electric razor but you haven’t been home in a few days,” his eyes are scanning me from beneath his sunglasses. He keeps going. “Your wife is currently having a break – sister’s house, perhaps? But she hasn’t been gone for long, 2 days? You smoke half a pack on a good day and your major weakness is your trips down to the pub.” He stopped talking, just like that. He knew…so much, and I had only been sitting there for a minute and a half. Still, even though I was surprised, he wouldn’t phase me.

“10 counts of shoplifting, one count of arson (though those charges were dropped – by Mycroft), impersonating a priest, three counts of breaking an entering, intruding on several crime scenes, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, riotous and disorderly conduct in a public forum, falsely setting off a fire alarm,” I paused. He’s smirking. He forgot about that one, apparently. “Tampering with a car, failure to appear in court…” His list of charges went on for ages. “So…Sherlock Holmes…what’s this all about then? A life of petty crime not enough? Need to add murder to that list?” He was our number one suspect, at that stage. I took out my notebook to humour him, what I didn’t know was that these next notes would shape my career.

“Your superiors would be looking for a white male, somewhere between 5’10” and 6 feet tall, with a slight limp probably due to some kind of badly-healed injury, fair-haired,” he pauses to light a cigarette between his lips. “Size 10 shoes, works in paint business, probably in Automotive Paintwork or Body repairs, judging from the fact that the drops of green paint found at the crime scene were green, circular and microscopically similar to those found in most aerosol paints, also the fact that the paint colour responded to a specific colour used only by their company.”

I reached over and gently, slowly, took the sunglasses off his face. He didn’t object. His eyes were a glinting green, vicious, almost, voracious – also red-rimmed and bloodshot. His gaze has calmed down a lot in the past few years but I will never forget the first time I actually looked at him in the face. I thought I was going to go mad. For the first time in weeks, we had leads on a possible serial killer, and I was to be the messenger – no one would take me seriously. And my most credible source was…a junkie?

“How do you do what you just did then, Sherlock?”

“Simple science of deduction,” he replied carelessly.

“How did you know so much about me?”

“I observe the details no one else notices, you haven’t shaved in a few days, which means you have not been home, your shirt is crumpled around the collar and there’s a mustard stain on your tie – no self-respecting spouse would let you leave the house like that, so you’re on a break. A cat that belongs to your wife, the cat hair is mostly concentrated around your ankles and shins, and you’re a gambler because otherwise you wouldn’t have come down here,” he sat back in his chair after yet another explanation. I was floored. So, being a gambler, naturally, I took a gamble. I trusted the junkie. Frankly, I was relieved he wasn’t claiming to be a psychic.

“So, this killer, do we know anything else about him?” I leaned forward, adjusted myself in my seat, and Sherlock leaned forward too, and launched into an almost-complete picture of the killer.

Mycroft came to pick him up, actually. He tried helping Sherlock into his coat, but Sherlock veered away.

“Your brother is a genius,” I said.

“Not quite the word I might have used,” he replied. I approached Sherlock, a hand extended.

“Thanks.”

“A word of advice, Lestrade?”

“Yeah?”

“You’ve got a good instinct, but lose the tie.”

I did. Threw away all but two of my ties, actually. Got a promotion to Detective Inspector after a few cases with Sherlock, of course. The killer’s name was Gordon Davis. My first real case, it was one of my best. One of his best, too.

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