Left arrow

A Rainy Night on Drury Lane, Part V — Nothing but Yellow Newspapers

№153 ~8 minutes

In which I give you the fifth instalment of the multi-part short story about an ineffectual detective with a lisp.

Welcome back dear readers, to the fifth instalment of our awesome “A Rainy Night On Drury Lane” series. You know the drill by now, where is Detective Wentworth taking us today? Only two parts left after this, things are getting pretty exciting.

And of course for those you who are new, I suggest you check out the first 4 parts. “Part I — With Sensual Red Lips”, “Part II — The Brown Note”, “Part III — Underneath A Turquoise Sky”, “Part IV — Leering Pale Green Eyes”.

Silhouette of man standing in the rain.

Once Lt. Colonel König and his conscripts had collected all the files they wanted and left, Detective Wentworth found himself alone in his office again but this time with a bearer bond for $100,000 lying on his desk and two $50 bills in his hand.

First he contemplated taking the next flight to South America but after realizing he didn’t speak the language — come to think of it, he didn’t even know what language they spoke — he decided it was in everyone’s best interest — not to mention, his own — to avoid South America for the time being.

Left with few options and a shriveling imagination he decided to simply go across the corner to his favorite watering hole, the Wench And Hare Inn where he knew most of the local patrons and his cheap no-particular-brand of scotch was usually available. The Inn rarely had any violent crimes so the police left them to mind their own business and would most of the time ignore their violations against the Prohibition Act.

It had already started snowing on this crisp December morning and with the temperature hovering around 29 °F, this winter was colder than last years. Detective Wentworth hurried across the road to get into the warmth again.

Stepping into the Wench And Hare Inn, Detective Wentworth could hear a song he had heard many times this year but could never name, the lyrics “Trouble, trouble, I’ve had it all my days” echoing through the half empty Inn and taunting his lacking skill in remembering song names.

“Robby, can I get a glathth of your more finer thcotch? None of that cheap thtuff for me tonight. And two packetth of Deep Throat.”, he looked around to see if anyone he liked was there.

“Looks like someone’s closed another case, ey? Are you sure about the scotch though, you remember what happened last time? I really can’t afford to upholster the chairs again Dick.”, Robert gave him that same look that his mother use to give him when he had done something stupid with disastrous results.

“I think you’ll find that a lot hath changed thince—“

Detective Wentworth suddenly realized that he hadn’t been at the Wench And Hare Inn since earlier that April.

“You do know that I haven’t been here thince Arbor Day, right? I think you’ll find that I’ve gotten a lot more tolerant thince then.”, he opened one of the packets of Deep Throat and lit himself a cigarette.

“Sure, sure, if you say so. But any repairs are coming out of your pocket this time. And well, the only fancy stuff I’ve got right now is half a bottle of Dickel No. 12. It’s nicely aged though, distilled before they moved their operation to Kentucky.”, of the three things in life Robert knew well, alcohol was one of them.

“I’ll take the whole bottle. Keep the change jutht in cathe I vomit on anything.”, said Detective Wentworth as he placed one of the $50 bills on the counter and went to sit down.

It didn’t take long before he was lost in daydreaming about all the things he would buy for his newly acquired riches. Fantasies about a driving Chevrolet Superior Series B began to grow in his mind but before he could rev the engine his thoughts were interrupted by the voice of a woman standing behind him.

“Mind if I join you?”, it almost sounded like a whisper as she softly spoke words no woman had ever spoken to him.

“Of courthe not, have a theat. Are you a thcotch drinker?”, he couldn’t do much about the lisp but at least the scotch had done wonders for the stutter he would sometimes get when he got nervous.

A couple of hours later Detective Wentworth found himself back in his run-down office-turned-apartment. But unlike most other occasions he wasn’t alone this time.

“Why don’t you put on some music whilst I pour up the last of this fine scotch?”, her name was Grace and she didn’t seem to mind the state of decay that surrounded them.

He put on his favorite song and drank it all in one sweep — to impress her — because to his delight he had discovered that he could handle this scotch better than others.

“It must be such an exciting job to be a private investigator. Tell me, have you ever been shot?”, she made no efforts to hide her excitement over the possibility that he had stories of bullets and blood.

“Of courthe I have. It goeth with the job—“

From the corner of his eye Detective Wentworth could — as clear as day — see a shiny white bunny, sitting and eating a piece of carrot. The white bunny was wearing a bright purple tie and a monocle. And as Detective Wentworth focused and tried to decipher whether or not what he saw was real, the bunny looked straight at him and spoke with a gravely voice.

“Hey buddy! Makes you wish you hadn’t downed it all at once, right?”

“You drugged me?”, Detective Wentworth said as he staggered into a nearby chair.

“Poisoned actually. Enough to kill two men of your size, I didn’t want to take my chances in case you would be more resilient. Nobody said you wouldn’t be much of a challenge and despite my doubts it would appear he was correct. A pity really, I was looking forward to seducing you first but I suppose this will have to do.”, her face had turned from that excited glow into a vacant stare.

He should have known better than to think any woman would be interested in a slightly overweight smoker in his mid-forties with a terrible lisp.

“The Thparrow Brotherth thent you didn’t they?”, he tried to keep calm but his heart was racing and the bunny was distracting him. Having finished its carrot, it was now preparing to use its own tie as a noose.

“’Here, but for the Grace of God.’ It’s a good thing my name isn’t actually Grace but no, the Sparrow Brothers didn’t send me.”, she said as she was looking through his wallet trying to find some identification.

“Richard William Wentworth. Your mother didn’t have much of an imagination, did she?”

“If the Thparrow Brotherth didn’t thend you then who and why?”

“Look, I’m just doing my job. It was either this or prostitution. Some people really don’t want to be found. My employer just so happens to be one of those people. Don’t take it personally.”, her voice had turned more sympathetic as she was searching his desk drawers for any valuables she could pawn.

“Do you really have nothing but yellow newspapers and that dying plant over the—“

“Fig.”

“Excuse me?”

“It’th a weeping fig. A Ficuth benjamina. They were my motherth favorite. Maybe you could give it thome water, I’ve been neglecting it for thome time.”, his voice was getting weaker.

As Detective Wentworth’s eyes grew heavier and heavier he could feel his own consciousness slipping away only to rush back as he tried his best to hold on. He tried to steel his mind on the oil lamp burning behind her but it was already too late, his eyes couldn’t focus any more. His heartbeat was beating slower and slower and his mouth was getting dry.

“You guys always have a hidden safe somewhere? Where is it?”, she asked and turned around when she didn’t get a reply.

Detective Wentworth’s eyes were now closed.

Continue to Part VI — Dem Dee-licious Golden Pancakes here.

That Story on Drury Lane

Santa Goes Medieval on Everyone’s Asses

A Rainy Night on Drury Lane, Part VII — A White Blanket of Forgiveness

Explore more

There are 65 more entries from 2013. See all the entries.