The Unlikely Team (Short Story)

So for our next Creative Writing Class, we were tasked to observe a stranger and come up with a narrative for that stranger. I’ve not been feeling well the past week and I had no motivation to look at anyone. No one I saw was interesting enough either. But school/work waits for no one. Writing has to be done. So I thought about a fictional character who will observe someone else and what kind of narrative this fictional character will have. Hence the following:

THE UNLIKELY TEAM

Cradling a bowl of red velvet batter, Karl went to answer the door. Two well-dressed men greeted him. The older familiar face had his lips pressed against each other looking at Karl in disdain while the younger one… the younger one just looked out of place. “Well, will you look who we have here.”

“We need your assistance,” the man with the familiar face said.

Karl smirked. “How can I, a middle-aged man, wearing an apron covered in flour, baking a cake in this warm afternoon, possibly assist the police?”

“Cut the crap.”

The men let themselves in. Karl stood at the door for a moment, his eyes roving around his neighbours’ houses without moving his head. There might be an officer in the house opposite. There might be others jumping in from his backyard right at that moment. Damn it. He closed the door.

Mixing the red batter with a whisk, Karl spoke first, “I’ve stopped my ways a long time ago, Dave. You know that.”

“Have you now?”

“Always the suspicion. Is that why Laura left you?”

The younger officer turned his head sharply to Dave but Dave kept his seething eyes on Karl. He’d clenched his jaws so tight, Karl could see Dave’s ear twitch. It warmed Karl with pleasure. He dipped his little finger into the batter and took a lick. “I always knew you were sub-par, you never could do anything in school, always alone, always being bullied. It took her long enough. Say, you think I might have a chance now?”

“You should consider thinking about your chances of us leaving here without arresting you.”

Karl felt the heat rise up within him as his grip around the bowl tightened.

“What do you need assistance with?”

“We have a locked room murder case.”

“Murder?” Karl broke out into laughs. For all the crimes, Karl had committed, he never committed murder – not directly at least; he had many victims who took their own lives after he’d swindled them out of their money. “I didn’t do it.”

“That’s not why I’m here. I need to know how they did it?”

“How would I know anything about that? I read people – alive ones. The dead are useless for my cause.”

“You read things about people. You spot every minute detail about them, their house, their car, their keychain and you use everything about them against them.”

That was accurate. People had always been their own enemies. People gave themselves away all the time. The newbie officer had been leaning on his right foot the entire time, his gun was on his right leg. Dave stood square making it a point not to show anything which only served to inform Karl the most important thing. Dave didn’t trust him and neither could he.

“Why me?”

“Because it was Laura that was found dead. They think it’s suicide.”

Karl froze. He was able to control his micro-expressions but not his racing heart.

“She’d never kill herself,” he said trying to sound as emotionless as possible. As important as Laura was to Dave, she was just as important to Karl. They’d all schooled together. They’d all shaped each other. Sure, one was a wanted thief, the other was a law abiding officer. But Laura had always brought them together.

“That’s why I need your help.”

Karl nodded.

 

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