[Music treat at the end. This story will be posted in full after the Challenge for those of us that like to read everything in one complete telling,]
OBSTRUCTIONS – Saturday Late
Odious odours and smoke obscure the scene at the junction of Snowdon and Madog. I thread my way through the onlookers and under the police tape. The fire was fierce, destroying most of the corner building’s façade. A charred signboard hangs dangerously loose.
A group of North Wales firefighters are dousing down. One acts officious.
“Late as always, Meinwen. I solved this hours ago.”
Unlikely. Owen Anwyl might be a fire investigator, but his solutions
depend on others.
I’ve known him all my life, but I’m the eldest sibling by a
“Some of us have other cases to occupy our hours.”
His smirk prepares me for more taunts.
But a man in blue slacks, red shirt and white flannel jacket
pushes his way through the barrier towards us. 5 foot 11, athletic, tanned,
dyed black hair.
“Hugh Arbuthnot. I own this shop.” His voice
pronounces every word like another royal invader. His icy stare flicks between
us, then he selects my brother in his dusty uniform – casts me away.
“Officer, I need to know what happened here.”
His equally posh lawyer will be next – or his accountant to
count the losses.
“A car mounted the pavement and skidded into your shop
front. Then the ruptured fuel tank exploded. Petrol – that’s the acrid odour. A
Owen leads the owner around the burnt out 4×4 – torched by
the ram-raiders. No accident. Nor the petty thief we at CID are tracking.
I assess the interior. Any robbery evidence is obliterated
by arson. Convenient – for the perpetrators.
Tattoos tingling, I tap my bracer. A for Arson. R for
Robbery. O for Organised. Deliberate. ROAD. But not road rage.
“Why the police tape? Do you suspect a crime?”
“No, just routine to keep onlookers back.” More
“I disagree, this is a crime scene.”
“Who are you?”
I’m not dressed as a cop. So, I reach inside my biking
leathers for my warrant card.
“An opinionated observer who’s operating without her
lezzie partner – for once.”
I scowl at Owen, but the posh Englishman flinches – one
gesture short of crossing himself.
“I’m Detective Sparkle Anwyl, CID. This officer
requested our involvement in this suspected arson, which I believe was a ram
Glancing at my ID, Hugh Arbuthnot frowns, hands behind his
back. “I demand another detective – a second opinion. Not from someone
“So, not Welsh,” I say, twisting his insult.
“Not easy in North Wales. But my partner is Tamil – her family immigrated
from South India. And she’s a more senior detective. Plus, our boss, Detective
Inspector Ffion Baines approves of our teamwork. Now, do you want to obstruct
us or resolve this case?”
I’m out of order but annoyed. Ffion would agree. Owen is stirring.
He requested me on purpose. Petty sibling rivalry.
A for Arson and Arbuthnot. R for Ram-raid and Robbery. O for
Owner and Obstructions. D for Disagree and Disgrace.
ROAD. Ignoring the rage, where to? Trace the 4 x 4.
“Officer Anwyl, finish off your fire investigation,
then please allow our forensic team to gather what they need – like that
At the outside corner of the shop, I wait for Hugh
Arbuthnot. He will talk to me. He has no choice.
I gather more evidence. The angle of the crash is deliberate.
The torched vehicle designed to obliterate evidence but not destroy the
building. Measured. Observed in advance.
“My official objection will be lodged. I can give my
opinion but no more than that.”
“That’s your right, sir. For now, I need to know how
long you’ve owned this shop, what would the robbers take, and have there been
any other occurrences?”
He paces, throwing glances at the building and the burnt-out
“My wife bought The Jewel Box two years ago.” He
grits his teeth and taps his left foot. “She died in the spring. I’ve
attempted to run this gift shop, but I have my own work. I’m a movie producer
with a demanding professional schedule.”
He hands me a fancy card – Hugh B Arbuthnot, Oriole
Productions, Executive Producer.
“Who runs the shop when you’re working?”
“My daughter, Olivia and her husband.” He snorts,
head held high. “Poulsen.” He slaps his left palm to his forehead.
“He mixes in shady circles. Some of his cronies did this.”
Opportunistic thieves? Or convenient coincidence? Whose
For those that wondered, yes this is my #WEP/IWSG post for April
so part of the 2019
WEP/IWSG Challenge. This incident will be explored further over
the course of the next four #WEP/IWSG posts. In the meantime, please enjoy
Azure Spark, another case for Sparkle Anwyl and her colleagues.
Word Count 731: MPA
Comments are welcome as usual, but for the WEP/IWSG
Challenge, the following applies:
(FCA welcome – if you want to send one, just
let me know in the comments.)
Today’s Thursday Creation Review has been trampled on by an invasion – an invasion and occupation that might impact on the next few posts. I’m praying – and might make a sacrifice as well – to create an inspired space for some writing, or at least scribbling.
Beyond kids that must scream, yell and stomp, setting the dogs barking, I have the MS reactions to deal with. Loud noises and excessive input triggers spasms and meltdowns.
I am writing this on Thursday evening – well, I started yesterday morning with the now-shelved review– and this ramble might be posted before midnight Honolulu time.
It didn’t help to have a collection agency insist that we owed $40,000 for a bill that was fifteen years old and not even ours. Somehow, we will placate them before they foreclose on our house.
I’m coping badly with step-great-grandkids, especially when they ask me to read, interrupt me, say they were falling asleep at the end, then stomp off leaving me to put their mess away. Never again – MS makes reading aloud a struggle that kids can’t understand.
As for writing, that’s mentally scrambled and splintered. But I intend to write something for the WEP Challenge on Monday – if the kids give me space…and my protagonist co-operates.