Taster – Missing Believed Dead
by Chris Longmuir
Bill Murphy teased the paper cup from underneath the coffee machine spout. It required a special technique to get cup to desk without suffering first degree burns, and Bill hadn’t mastered it yet. Not to be beaten, he pulled his shirt-tail out of his trousers and used it to protect his fingers.
Coffee slopped onto the desk and his shirt when he laid the cup down. ‘Damn it,’ he said. It had been one of those days when his reactions had been slow, his limbs did not seem to belong to him, and his head felt as if it would explode.
‘What’s up?’ Sue Rogers closed the file she’d been studying and looked at him.
‘I’m knackered. That’s what’s up,’ Bill grumbled. ‘I spent most of yesterday with the couple from Hell. Their daughter’s gone walkabout again, and they’re convinced she’s been snatched by a paedo. I’ve got half the force out searching for her, and she’ll turn up, same as she did the last time, after a rave-up with her pals. Bloody waste of time, if you ask me. Then to top it all, that call out last night took forever. Body in a bag, they said. Bloody body indeed! Turned out it was a dog the size of a race horse. I could have been in my bed instead of spending most of the night freezing my balls off on Broughty Ferry beach.’
‘You should have taken time off this morning,’ Sue said. ‘I’d have covered for you.’
‘That’ll be right.’ Bill rubbed his shirt with a grubby paper napkin he’d dug out of a drawer. ‘A little birdie told me our new DI is descending on us today. And I’m already in the super’s bad books. Damn, I wish Andy was back.’
Sue reached for another file. ‘Speaking of Andy, I had a phone call from a woman this morning. She wanted to talk to him about an investigation to do with her missing daughter. I tried to tell her Andy wasn’t available but she wouldn’t listen. There was something strange about her though – couldn’t put my finger on it, although I did wonder whether she might be having a panic attack.’
Bill groaned. ‘Not Mrs Fraser again? That woman’s driving me nuts.’
‘Don’t know. I asked for her name but she didn’t give it. Daughter’s name is Jade though, and she said there had been a development. Thought I might find something in these old files.’
‘It’s probably some nutter.’
‘Maybe, but she did ask for Andy by name.’
Sue turned her attention back to the heap of files on her desk. ‘Are you going to faff about all day, or are you going to help me sort out these files?’
Bill continued scrubbing at his shirt. ‘Bloody coffee stain’s not coming out.’
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Missing Believed Dead – ebook, Kindle and Smashwords, also in paperback from Amazon.