After several attempts made by various branches of homes for delusional ex-secret service toilet attendants to ban the following, I have broken free from their restraints and risk death on your behalf. Now you can read the first part of this tragic story of a catalogue of missed opportunities. But beware, you may never cry again.
The Deva Station And Kat Astrophe
With a Chance Goneabegging
By Daniel Kemp
A Comical Story Told In Two Parts..or maybe three if Apple has enough paper.
The First Part of the First Part—The Second Part of The First Part Will follow Sometime Shortly.
Miss Kat Astrophe And Thomas
Any interpretation, or, come to that; reading, of this short story, is done entirely at your own risk.
I have incorporated English names into this compact chronicle to avoid disappointing those who find Russian a difficult language to pronounce.
A Wild Winter’s Mid-Morning In The Reminski District, Moscow, Russia
His initial feeling of gushing pride at being selected by the captain of detectives from the final year of cadet school to accompany him to a murder scene, was quickly forgotten as the ground beneath his feet both crunched in agony and screamed in pain, as by measured stride followed by measured stride, the distance between the warmth of the official police car and the body of an untidily dressed man widened until at last the police Lieutenant Colonel’s vehicle was reached.
A window of the automobile was lowered, but no invitation to share the warmth within was extended to the new recruit. Motionless he stood, unable to curb the chilling frost that rose through his leather-soled shoes and climbed his legs like Spiderman on steroids, soon eating at the flesh beneath his lightweight college garments. In increasing discomfort, he began his account of the scene he had just walked from.
“Comrade, sir,” he said, adopting a stance as near to one of attention as his frozen bones would allow. “The body was found by a Miss Kat Astrophe. Well, sort of finding but not actually found in the sense of stumbled across. More seen as I told the station officer when I messaged him, Colonel. Of course, Lieutenant Colonel. I do know your full rank and I should have used it in my address. What’s that? Yes, I will certainly refer to you as, sir, if that’s what you want, Lieutenant Colonel, I mean, sir; sir. With your permission, I’ll carry on, sir?”
With a scornful scowl (personally I’ve never known how to—scowl, but I’ve seen those writer chaps use the expression quite a lot so I thought I would try it out) embedded firmly on his world-weary face, the high-ranking officer looked contemptuously up at the humble cadet standing beyond his opened window, then ever so slowly nodded his head in a sign of approval.
“Very well, sir. When I first interviewed Miss Kat Astrophe on her doorstep I discovered that she is Italian by birth which accounts for her beautiful suntanned skin. She has long jet black hair and a face to die for. Oh, yes, and a voice straight from the opera as well. Her body, sir? Well, I’m at a loss to explain, sir. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. What’s that? That line could be a song? Do you think so, sir? Perhaps I should go somewhere warm and write a song now? No? Oh! Never mind. No doubt you may meet her, sir. What? Oh yes, the report. I hadn’t forgotten, sir. It was just that her beauty was so overwhelming, just like this cold.” He hastily cleared his drying throat and under a haze of freezing mist continued.
“She’s thirty-eight, twenty-six, thirty-six. That’s the best I got because my tape measure was turning blue and almost snapped off. Yes, I did forget to ask her age as I was concentrating so much on her measurements. I think I included all that in my first report. When I saw your car arrive I thought her figure may have been the reason for your visit. My captain saw you pulling in off the road and told me to report directly to you as he had somewhere important to be. Yes, sir, he did go rather hastily. No, sir, I am not implying you or he would indulge in anything improper with Miss Kat because of her delectable figure. Although, I would add that I would if given the chance. Yes, sir. I agree that’s an inappropriate remark for a cadet person. Why did I say it? I guess because I wanted to appear as macho as I could, sir. No, I most certainly am not suggesting that the police force, that you are head of, is a bunch of nancy boys as you so eloquently put it, sir. Most gracious, sir, my lord king, sir. All I’m trying to do, sir, is compliment you, sir, on your appreciation of the feminine figure, sir.”
* * *
Under normal circumstances, it would have been impossible to sweat in such cold conditions, but there was no normality on show in this part of Moscow on this particular day. However, his emitted cloud of misty breath sufficiently covered his embarrassment, but nothing could stop his shivers. As the novice was congratulating himself on the quick-wittedness that most of the instructors at training school said he lacked, the happily ensconced superior officer flicked ash from his thick cigar that fleetingly mesmerised the cadet as it fell to the ground. But Kat would not disappear from his salacious mind as swiftly as mere cigar ash.
“I thought I’d leave Miss Kat’s age until this afternoon. It would make a great excuse for me to visit after you and I finish here, sir,” he said, hoping to elicit a smile from his senior officer. “What’s that, sir? Get on with it. Oh, I thought that too would wait until this afternoon. Oh, right, yes. You mean the report don’t you? Not what I was thinking at all. Silly me. Where was I?”
Not that he was asking where in actual fact he was physically standing, he was asking at what point was he in his report. Nevertheless, if I aspire to be one of those previously referred to–writer chappies, it would seem appropriate to describe his surroundings so could form a picture of his discomfort.
He was standing in a small wooden thicket between the evenly spaced fencing of newly constructed houses and a small meandering stream bubbling merrily away to his left. The overhanging heavy branches of the trees which added to the damp air from the stream gave the estate a somewhat pertinent connection to the name given to it by the building contractors: Dampen Hollow, was, in the words of the man smoking the cigar—rather felicitous. If the cadet had assimilated enough knowledge to recognise the meaning of that word whilst enduring his education he would not have wasted time in scouring his mental dictionary in the hope of finding the definition that eluded him. As fast as he could he changed the subject.
“Right then, sir. As I said at the beginning of this report the body wasn’t actually discovered by Miss Kat, the woman with the body that I’m recalling as I speak in the hope that such a memory will keep me warm.”
He paused, waiting for a benevolent gesture but none was forthcoming. With chattering teeth, he continued.
“She did see a man but didn’t know it was a body at that stage. Yes, sir. Sorry, sir, I did get that mixed up a bit. I’ll try again, sir. She saw the body of a man but it wasn’t the body of the dead man. Phew,” he said, looking skywards hoping for a bolt from somewhere to erase him from the ground on which he stood. But then he remembered the last Soviet satellite that fell to the ground and crossed his frozen fingers behind his back hoping if one did fall it would fall elsewhere.
“She thought he was up to no good, causing her to call for us. No, sir, I’m not training for acting school. That’s just the way I was taught to speak. And no, sir, I’m not going faint with cold. Of course, I understand, sir. Business first then fainting. No use moaning about a spot of winter is it? Yes, I suppose Siberia would be worse. Ahem,” the young cadet cleared his throat again.
“To be entirely truthful about it all, it was the dog Thomas who first noticed the body before anyone knew it was a body. Oh no, sir, no, sir, no! I’d never called you by your first name. I didn’t even know you had a first name, let alone that name was Thomas. How strange is that, it’s also the name of Miss Kat’s dog. No, sir, no! Please don’t think I was being disrespectful”—————To Be Continued.