"Livesly one that," says Drummond. "Rightfully fit for a tight squeeze and you don't wake up with all them sores you get from down the docks after the Saturday backwash."
"And this is why you're back here," says the doctor. "Again. Come winter and your todger will have dropped off."
"It'll work itself out then yer saying, Doc?"
"If you want to look at it like that, yes."
The doctor scribbles on his notepad and checks the time. "Do lay off the scrumpy too. I can smell it from top to end." The doctor hands over a prescription. "Take that and follow it this time." The doctor walks out and closes the door. Gently tapping the knob three times.
Drummond balls up the slip, cradles it in his underwear and puts on his shoes. Taking a newspaper from the waiting room, he walks out with the most up-to-date blanket barrier and squints at the sunlight. It's harsh and still well into the afternoon, an hour or so before sunset.
Dodging the people in the street awash in their soap flakes and clothes soaking in a sick stench of laundry, he trundles along the gutter before hitting the cul-de-sac on the corner of Parap & Rosdokian. Taking rest with the newspaper, he steps through an open window of one of the houses. To screams.
The surprise birthday party was not for him, but all the same, where there's food, there's a knife and a crime scene later. Good parties. Those that host murders under the guise of a parlour game where they make their one friend with the lazy eye feel welcome as he is paired up with a man with a fine moustache. A day and an age.
"Calm down people," he pleads as the blood drips from the knife. "All part of the parlah. Carry on with your lot of cards and them feather boas."
He places the fresh scalp atop the cake and combs the part on the right side. "A murder has happened that's what. The victim. The scoundrel. Your game is up when your party works out a motive."
The room is silent. With a wave of the knife, it simmers into a cloud of murmurs.
A few minutes later a bald man with a short lip gently taps his flute with a ring on his pinkie three times.
"We believe..." he proudly starts as he makes a gesture toward the scalp on the top layer of the cake. But stops.
They all look around. The man with the knife has left.
"Oh dear," says a woman. "What happens now?"
Written on Sunday, 28 October 2012