Robert Phillips. Potted.
He found a corpse under the blanket. Stops. And pauses. He remembered breathing. He remembered forgetting how to- digits and fingers and numbers and dials and ohohoh love, to phone, to break, to...no, to break, to hurt. And no-one wants telephones when there’s bad news. Who? Who?
A park. A park bench. A suit. Trees and bins. Headphones. Tin. Headphones. They are inappropriate. They are inappropriate.
‘call on me........on me......’ and beats. He was running.
Without music, breath. And breath. Birds and breath and and church bells. Headphones hanging from his t-shirt. Sweat.
Robert Phillips was nothing if not bland. He refused to add salt to his poached eggs (two every morning, occasionally a kipper if the boat must be pushed out), his 5-piece selection of neck ties were arranged into categories, ‘work’ and ‘formal’. Formal never happened. Newsnight happened. And frowns. And tuts. And a cup of tea at 9.30pm with one sugar, thank you very much.
Which made his death all the more peculiar. He was strangled. He was covered with a milk stained teddy-bear blanket and left on a park bench. He was there to be found. He was there to be remembered. Robert Phillips doesn’t deserve a story. He was nothing.
He stuttered finger press and HELLO, HELLO I NEED HELP. WELL, I DON’T NEED HELP....THERE’S...OHOH...THERE’S A BODY
and they came. Men in Hats.
The trees witnessed his tears and his fall and his guilt and his laugh and his frenzy and his shoes and his shoes and his laces and his fall. They were silent. They looked after the birds. They nested. They preserved.
He was home. Sweat. And bed. And eyes snap. And fingers clutch. And suits and benches. And suits and benches.
The policemen found the weapon in the bin. A bike tyre. Deflated and wet from the rain. It was an odd choice. The murderer must have taken a while to disassemble the tyre from the bike, to puncture it and to strangle everything Robert out of Mr. Phillips’ neck. The manner of disposal, the total failure to hide the crime...there was a rush. There was abandon. There was shame. A prostituted murder scene. Run. There was shame.
It was uncommon. It was exciting. It was everything Detective Brown needed to sweeten his day.
Under the sheets. Too warm. Too warm. That blanket! Teddies and letter squares and was there a child? A baby? Did he miss the baby under the blanket?
And he never saw the face, just the leg thump on the grass and the stomach, under suit and shirt and tie- so straight! that tie was so straight!- doing nothing, and shit and it stunk and too warm. Too warm.
It was a too big blanket for a baby, who has a 6 foot baby? It might suffo- irresponsible parents, send in the child...services? Protection?
Not his fault, taste on lips and sweat in hair, still, and fingers too cold body too warm, oh was it fair?
Not this time, not this time, not this time, not this time.
He was supposed to feel nothing.
Lawyers feel nothing. Lawyers feel nothing. Work. And stop shitting, moron, and work and slap and shower and HOT and HOT and fuckitwash and work.
Keys chafe. Two seconds. Suit on. Bed made. Coffee drunk. Eyes square.
Detective Brown was a stern lover. He arranged his love making meticulously. His grey wife knew not to cook him too much cottage pie on Thursday else he would smell in bed. Thursday was naked day. She preferred Fridays to Wednesdays: pyjama days. Sheets tight under neck days. Thursdays were instructive. Thursdays were grunt and moan and ohfuckyouwantme days. And Thursdays were sleep with eyes open because we are in love days. Because they were in love. Because they were in love.
Death hung on Detective Brown like a ripe perfume. Mrs. Brown tasted Robert Phillips. And she tasted love.
Friday morning, still no leads. Then a man walked into the station and confessed.
It was him.
He wasn’t drunk.
He had no baby.
He just broke and spilt all over the park.
Robert Phillips was there.
The blanket was his grandmother's.
He had crashed the bike.
He straightened him out.
It wasn’t his fault.
It wasn’t his fault.
He was nothing.
And that was that. Robert Phillips was an agent. He was nothing.
Detective Brown sat at his desk and downed another black coffee.
Let the criminals have shaky hands. Tears. Guilt. Let the trees keep their silence. And Thursday will come, again.
Mrs. Brown bought the kippers for the weekend. She went for a walk around the park. She sat on a bench, the ground was disturbed. And she tasted. And she shook. And she tried, so hard, to cry.