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Flash Friday 19/04/2013: ‘oodunnit

April 19, 2013

“Got me autopsy back, don’t you know?” Detective Blackbeard said. “‘Bout bloody time. Was about to keelhaul the lot of ’em.”

“That so? Spill the beans then, laddy.” Captain Filthy Joe leant against his sword, trying to balance himself against the rough tide. The lanterns dangling from the ceiling swayed cheerfully along with the creaks of the ship. “Tell us what you think happened.”

Detective Blackbeard crouched down to observe the crime scene. A bloodstain on the deck was surrounded by the outline of a man sprawled out on the floor, drawn entirely in gunpowder. Blackbeard took the magnifying glass in hand (which was hard, given he only had one) and brought it up to his eyes (which was also hard, given he had only one of those as well). Inspecting the scene, he gave a confirming nod to himself.

“The boys back ‘ome reckon this poor lad got shot in the ‘ead.”

“Well, I bloody know that, don’t I? I was the poor bastard that had to take his corpse up to shore. Hard to say your final goodbyes to your mate when ‘e’s leakin’ through an ‘ole in the ‘ead.”

“So why’d you go an’ hire me then?”

Filthy Joe’s posture faltered. “I beg your pardon, but what did you jus’ say?”

“Well, you clearly know he got shot, so…where’s the problem?”

“Problem?” Filthy Joe brought himself to full height. “The problem is that one of me lads got shot and I hired you to find out ‘oodunnit, not fer you to go ’bout spitting yer words in me face.”

“What’s your stance on matches down in these decks, Joe?” Blackbeard said, seemingly unfazed.

“Matches? Can’t ‘ave ’em. Told you this once before. Guard on deck makes sure none of the lads come down ‘ere with matches on their person. One stray flame and the entire stocks of gunpowder goes up.”

“And yer problem is that the the murder ‘appened while everyone slept, meanin’ everyone was down ‘ere, meanin’ nobody had matches on ’em.”

“So what? You’re sayin’ that the poor lad would have had a better chance if he had a few firesticks to defend ‘imself with?”

“What I’m sayin’,” Blackbeard said, standing up with a now more obvious impatience, “is that the murder shouldn’t ‘ave ‘appened in the first place.”

“Ye lost me.” Filthy Joe rubbed his forehead, smearing dirt across it. “First ye say ye shouldn’t have been ‘ired, and now ye saying I’m imagining murders. One thing I am sure of, though, is that some bugger took a matchlock pistol and shot the man through the ‘ead.”

“Oh aye? So you’re saying that the murderer took out his pistol, lit the match, and fired it?”

“Yes. No,” Filthy Joe said, realising the loophole. “Bloody ‘ell, you’re right. There ain’t no way to light a gun ‘xcept the lanterns, and they’re locked down tighter than a mayor’s wife. So what’re ye sayin’?”

“What I’m sayin’ is that there’s only one way to fire a gun without a flame. Don’t need any of those to fire those new flintlock pistols, I’m sure ye know already.”

“Flintlock…why, that sea-dog,” Filthy Joe said. “The only one on these decks with such a newfangled bastard is that kid who ‘backstabbed’ the Navy. Well, we’ll be seein’ who’s goin’ about stabbin’ backs when I’m done with him.” Grabbing his sword in hand, Filthy Joe turned to the stairs. “Adams! I want a word with ye’, and I’ll make it quick and sharp!”

Blackbeard smiled to himself, observing the crime scene once more. “Fifteen men?” he said to himself. “Sod that. All ye need on a dead man is me.”

608 words

http://fmwriters.com/zoomfm/index.php/outside-links/5-friday-flash-fiction

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