I’ve been keeping an eye on the traffic to and from the blog and it seems that people prefer shorter posts. In keeping with that preference I’ve cut this section in two and I shall endeavour to keep post length under 700 words. If you’d prefer longer or shorter then don’t keep it to yourself. I may be a witch but I’m not psychic and even if I was I wouldn’t go eavesdropping on my readers. I mean… I don’t know where you’ve been.
My other local contact is someone I’ve known for almost as long as my little brother. Isla (not her real name, obviously) was my best friend at school and now that she’s all grown up she’s a Teacher. She’s made it all the way to Deputy Head of [REDACTED] Academy. The conversation with my brother had suggested that the dead woman might be known to people working in Education.
I sent her a text saying I wanted to talk to her about the death at St Nicks and got one back immediately saying she’d meet me at the Playhouse after work. I wasn’t expecting her to be available so quickly. She’s a very busy woman and you usually need to book a week in advance. I had the feeling that she was eager to talk about it.
The Playhouse is an art-house cinema with a café-bar in the basement. Isla is a huge film fan and as a member she gets a discount. It’s also pretty quiet at half past four in the afternoon.
I was early and Isla was on time. Which is probably a sign of the end times. We’re both usually at least 10 minutes late. I’m late because I’m disorganised and move like an arthritic sloth and she’s late because she’s busy and forgetful.
I was settling in to the corner of a sofa and stirring my coffee when she announced her presence by dumping her briefcase and laptop bag on the seat across from me and saying, “So you want to talk about the Dingo?”
“What?” I said. But she had already headed for the bar to order and I had to wait for her to return with her own drink. Not a coffee but a pint of Leffe Blonde.
“What the actual fuck.” I said. Now both Isla and I drink, and we’ve had many a fine drunken night in the past an will in the future but we’re not kids any more and drinking before five on a week day is out of character.
She just raised an eyebrow in reply. You know when someone is an old friend when you can carry out a whole conversation just by through eyebrows and body language.
“Dingo?” I said.
“I’ll tell you but first I want to know why?” She said.
“Why what?” I said.
“Why you want to know about the Dingo?” She said.
“What Dingo?” I said.
“Tell me why.” She said.
“They heard about my work going through all the paperwork on cold cases for the Met and called me in. They have mountains of paper and no experience of spotting what’s important and what’s not.” I said.
She said nothing. I could tell she wasn’t convinced. I drank my coffee and waited. According to the fieldwork hand book there is no greater ally to an investigation than the power of gossip. If the hand book was right then she’d be unable to resist the urge to tell me what she knew.