The first part of this story arc is here.
“I’m hear to talk about [REDACTED].” I said. I didn’t want to call her the Dingo in front of someone who might actually have liked her.
“Ah that was a terrible thing. She was a good woman and a hard worker it’s a tragedy.” He said. And he seemed genuinely sad.
“So she was well liked here?” I said, still fishing for information.
“She was a good friend to my people. Sticking her neck out for us was a big risk for her.” He said.
“We’re surprised that you’re so positive about her. Most of the people we’ve spoken to have had nothing but complaints.” I said.
“That’s just the kind of blind prejudice we expect. I hope the Department’s nae sent ye here to cover this up. And don’t be looking to our community for the killer.” He said. I could practically see the gigantic chip on his shoulder.
I could feel my heart racing. My mind was running at top speed. I had to work it out now because I could just feel Chris next to me just about to put his foot in it. The old man could see something odd in my stick, so he could spot something fictionally active. They knew about the Department and spoke a language that sounded like Cant but wasn’t. They weren’t vampires because there were children and they were playing out in the sunshine, which was a dead give away. They weren’t werewolves because they didn’t smell right. They couldn’t be Fae because they weren’t glamorous enough and everything was too real unless. And then I knew, which was lucky because I’d run out of time.
“What community?” Said Chris
“How dare you.” Said the large man, “We’re just as much of a community as any of you Eve-born.”
“They’re Goblins.” I said.
“That’s racial profiling that is. You take that back.” Now he was even angrier.
Crap. I’d insulted him. That was the wrong word. What the fuck was the right word? And then I felt the information crystallize in my memory. I had no time to attempt to verify it.
“Sorry, Hoblings. Our intelligence on your group is obviously very inaccurate. I shall have it updated just as soon as we get back to the office.”
“We’re the Hobs, or Hoblin’ folk. And none of your cutsie ‘Hobbits’ neither. I swear the Gloucestershire lot have a lot to answer…” I had stopped him in mid-rant, but he recovered nicely. “That’s better. You see that you do, Missy.” He said.
“Missy? Don’t push your luck, buster.” I said.
“Sorry.” He said, staring at my stick again.
“Anyway, now that we all know who we are I’d like to speak to whoever it was that knew the dead woman best. Your people were very supportive of her when there were complaints against her and I know someone must have organized that.” I said.
“Ah. You’ll be wanting the Runt then. I can give you his number but yer more likely to get him if I take yer card and pass it on.” He said.
I passed over the card. “Thank you for your help. But do let the Runt know that he has two days to call me or I’m going to come looking for him.”
As we turned to leave I heard a voice say “You don’t find the Hob Mafia, wifie. They find you.” I spun round but there was no-one there except the fat old man who was already back sitting on his doorstep rolling a new cigarette.