All Mixed Up
Author:Gary Weston


    Detective Senior Sergeant StanleyMorris sipped coffee from a plastic beaker as two uniformed officerscordoned off more of the area with tape, yellow with black printstating this was a crime scene – keep out. He stared down at thehead.

    'Okay. Right. So, while we arewaiting, care to explain?'

    Under the circumstances, MartinBishop, whose head it was, thought it was a fair and reasonablerequest for the detective to make. With the rest of his body encasedin concrete, it was a good use of time telling the cop what hadhappened.

    'I already told you who did it.'

    'And we'll find him. In themeantime, I want you to tell me everything.'

    'I guess it all started in thepark.'

    'I'm listening. Go on.'

    'Well, it was like this....'

    Love affairs have to startsomewhere. Martin Bishop's affair would have started in BloomsberryPark. He was walking Dobbin, his mongrel dog, and it was all herfault. Not a big dog, but strong, and when she saw the white poodle,behaving impeccably on his leash, Dobbin decided to say hello. Shedarted at the poodle, and yanked the leash out of Bishop's hand.There was an anxious moment, when it looked as if the poodle, a wellgroomed standard, was about to take issue with the intrusion.

    'Dobbin. Behave,' said Bishop,catching up.

    Bishop got hold of the leash andpulled Dobbin away. 'Sorry about that.'

    The woman smiled. 'She seemsfriendly.'

    Bishop was unable to reply for amoment, transfixed by her face. Not a classic beauty, and her faceshouldn't have worked, with lips, nose and mouth that looked as ifthey came from three completely different women. Her skin wasswarthy. Perhaps she was from one of the Mediterranean countries, orher parents were. The dark blue eyes were wide apart and her archedeyebrows gave her a quizzical expression. Her nose was quite long andaquiline, and her mouth was almost comically wide with full lipsturned up at the corners, with a suggestion of wickedness to them.Tall, about five nine, almost as tall as he was, and slim. Her hairwas almost black, to her shoulders, and slightly wavy. She was, heguessed, about his own age, thirty four, maybe a year or so younger.

    'Are you okay?' she asked.

    'What?,' said Bishop, rememberingto breathe. 'Oh. Sorry. Yes.' He tried desperately to think of somesmall talk to spend even another minute in her company. 'I haven'tseen you here before.'

    'I'm new to the area. It's soconvenient having this park to walk Chalky. I have a very largegarden but it's nice to come here for a change of scene.'

    'Nice dog. Pedigree?'

    'Yes. His mother won best ofbreed at Crufts, four years ago.'

    'He's a good looking boy.Dobbin's just a bitsa from the pound.'

    'She's cute. Well. I have to getgoing. Nice meeting you.'

    'Nice to meet you, too.'

    She smiled with that wickedmouth, and he watched her walk away, Chalky high stepping by herside.

    With a sigh he said, 'Come onDobbin, you old rat-bag.'

    Back home, he fed Dobbin and madehimself a sandwich, taking it to his painting room. He stared at thework in progress as he ate, trying to decide if he was in the mood tocontinue with it or not. It was a picture of his late mother, who haddied the year before, and it was his homage to her memory. Not anatural portrait painter, with landscapes being his more usualsubject, he thought he would at least make an attempt at it. It wasat the stage where he needed to decide if it was worth continuing, orto abandon it all together.

    The face, he thought, wasn't toobad. Her expression was there, almost as if she was telling him off,like when she had when he was a boy. It was her hair that was allwrong. Her hair had been honey blonde, like his own. It was the lightreflecting off it that didn't seem quite right.

    Finishing the sandwich, he put onhis painting smock, itself a work of modern art with the variouscolours and stains. Picking up the easel, he tried to find the bestlight to work in. The room was actually a conservatory at the back ofthe house, and a good source of natural light. With the easel placedin the best spot, he picked up the photograph he'd been working from,before he got his hands covered in paint.

    'You always said I was a messydevil, Mum. You were right about that. I just wish you'd have let mepaint you when you were alive.'

    Putting the photo back on thetable, safely out of the way, he turned on the radio of the lightclassical station and picked up the pallet and a brush. Dobbinwaddled in, just to keep him company, and jumped up on the canearmchair, yawned at him, and promptly dosed off.

    'Dreaming of Chalky, no doubt,'he said. 'Out of your league, sunshine.'

    The woman's face filled his mind,and he closed his eyes and tried to recall every detail. What was itabout her that appealed to him so much? He had met better lookingwomen, that was certain. But none had had the effect on him that thismysterious lady had.

    'And she's out of my league, Ireckon.'

Most Read
Top Books