A Common Language

- Extract -

Detective Jones perused the mangled body of the woman in the mangled body of the red Citroen C3. Her arms and legs looked as if some enraged child had twisted them off and had tried then to stick them on again; this time with little patience and with even less skill.

“He's taken another one, Aladin.”

Amir Aladin was the coroner. His smile was like his skin: dark and intriguing. Like many professionals in his trade, he got by on a sense of dignity that was underlined by a laconic appreciation of the macabre. Despite having a name that hinted at magic carpets and a Baghdad of far more romantic settings than the current one, he spoke English with a mid transatlantic twang. In fact, the only slight inflection in his voice which could be heard, now came on a single word. “Let’s not jump the gun, Detective.”

Jones was clearly used to the other man's working style. “I know it’s him, Aladin. I can feel it in my body.”

The coroner looked at the broken doll corpse again before squinting back at Jones. He ran assessing eyes over the detective's heavyweight boxer form, where fat won over muscle by at least three rounds. The grey raincoat Jones wore in the slight drizzle only served to increase his solid mass.

But the detective’s angular face displayed little evidence of this adipose struggle. It was as if his brain refused to entertain any idea of obesity encroaching upon its intellectual rights.

“And in exactly which part of your body would that be, detective?”

Jones didn’t flinch at the coroner’s subliminal warning of better nutrition. He stared resolutely back, and answered with an equally sardonic look, “In my neck.”

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