Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Body

For audio click here
Despite the bright skies and the glare of the sun, the wind whipped up the steps taking leaves, disposable coffee cups, and empty crisp wrappers with it and made Christof wish he’d worn a coat over his hoody. The seagulls swooped and glided on the currents and Christof battled down the steps leading to the dock. 
“What is it boys?” he said to his nine-year-old twins who were staring into the water. 
“It’s a dead body dad.” they said together. 
Ever since the incident, the boys had been dying to see a dead body floating in the water, but each time they called Christof to the water’s edge, all he saw was a discarded coat or bag or something similar that seemed to collect in the waterways around their house. 
“Don’t be daft boys,” Christof said, he was pretty sure this would be another false alarm. Having one dead body in the lock was a misfortune, a second one in a matter of weeks would just be unbelievable. The boys had been so upset that they’d been on holiday when the first body had been discovered. All their friends had gory stories of blue skin, bloated faces, and bulging eyes, while the boys had stories of their grandma’s toad in the hole; equally horrific but not quite as dramatic. 
“Shit,” Christof said when he saw the figure in the water. “Shit,” he said again. “Step back boys,” he said, and reached for his mobile. “I said, step back.” 
“Is it a body dad?” the boys said. 
“I need the police and an ambulance. There’s a body in the Bute East Dock.” He barked down the phone.
On hearing this the boy did a fist pump and high-fived each other. Not only were they there to witness the body, they’d actually discovered it. This beat their friends’ second-hand stories any day of the week. This was the best Easter ever. 
Blue lights flashed and sirens wailed. 
“Can we stay and watch, dad?” 
Christof wasn’t too happy about that, but he knew if he said no, he’d have two grumpy nine-year-olds for the rest of the day. This way they were learning about life, he reasoned. 
A small crowd was forming now and a bored looking police officer was constantly asking them to take a step back. The boys watched on mesmerised by the actions of the police, the frogmen, the dogs, and the ambulance crew. Christof wondered if they might puke when they saw the body being pulled out. But they remained cool. 
“Sick,” they said in unison when they saw the bloated face. 
“C’mon kids,” Christof said. “I think we’ve seen enough.” He led the two boys away while they chattered about the things they’d seen and made sure they’d got their stories straight for when they went back to school. 
It was some four hours later when the police knocked on the door. Christof thought they just wanted to take a statement because he’d found the body, so he was surprised when they’d asked him to go with him to the station. 
Just a few questions they’d said, but it was beginning to feel a bit more like an interrogation.
“Strange isn’t it,” the officer said. “That you were out so early with your boys, almost like you knew what they’d find.” 
“I don’t know what you mean,” Christof said, he was getting redder in the face and hotter under the collar.
“Well, you walked along that path last night too didn’t you?”
“Yeah, I’d had an argument with the wife, I just needed to clear my head. There’s no crime in that.” 
“And you cleared it by punching a homeless man and pushing him into the lock.” the officer said. 
“Nonsense,” Christof said. 
“Is it?” The officer turned on a screen and pressed a button on a keyboard. “So that’s not you then?” 
“It was only a tramp,” Christof said. “No one would miss him. I did it for the kids. They so wanted to see a dead body.” 
“Christof Evans, you’re under arrest.”  

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