The Ice-Cream Club

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Chapter 3 (October, 2013 – A STICKY situation)

Deric Offbach put a hand through his thick, dark hair. It was a hot and sticky late October sky. Up to now rain was scares on the Highveld. Spring didn’t put in any appearance at all. Winter turned into summer overnight without warning and there were no adjustment period to speak off.

‘I should get a haircut.’ He mumbled to himself and took a swig of the bottled water before reading through the report one more time. Chuba Jackson was a notorious and crafty bastard who’d killed without remorse. If Deric’s really truthful, he couldn’t give a rat’s ass about how or why Jackson had been murdered. Or, even care about the way he died. But seeing that the law were penned and pre-conceived in “Article this” and “Sub-section that” he was bound to care. He was force to care. He was part of the law, never mind his personally feelings.

‘I’m telling you Deric, this body will be as clean as the proverbial whistle. I bet we’ll not find a single hair or fingerprint. I’m sure they cleaned up after themselves. Criminals are getting smarter by the minute. It is as if they all subscribed to “Criminal-Crime-Scene-Clean-up-Weekly”. Six easy steps! It makes me uneasy. Even the table was made to order and measure.’ Deric recalled the Medical Examiner’s remark. But, moments later Doc Hargraves did find one strange piece of evidence. In Chuba Jackson’s ear was a small piece of plain paper (fingerprint-less) that carried the word in print: TALION.

Doc Hargraves, who was like a walking dictionary and history book, looked at Deric and said quietly: ‘I sure you know that “Talion” means “Revenge.”’

Deric didn’t know, but it made immediate sense.

His desk phone plucked him out of his murder-scene reverie.

‘Report finished?’ The deep gravelled voice of Lieutenant-Colonel Sheffield - as his rank was changed on April 2010, but they all still refer to him as Supt – sounded in his ear and he carried on without waiting for an answer. ‘Someone phoned, a…Mila Jordan, from East Memorial Hospital.’

‘Yeah, what about?’ Deric tried to place the name. Was he supposed to know her?

‘A Brenda Blignaut wants to talk to you.’

‘I thought you said Mila Jordan?’

‘Yea, she’s the one who called on behalf of this Brenda Blignaut. Blignaut is a patient in the cancer ward.’

Once upon a time Deric knew the cancer ward intimately.

‘Why didn’t she contact me directly?’ Deric asked, then immediately realised that his mobile was turned off and said, ‘Sorry’ before Sheffield could say anything. He tried to sound apologetic.

‘Okay,’ Sheffield said with a smile in his voice, ‘a Captain in the police force, a murder investigator and team leader, who hates his mobile phone – you’re a character Offbach.’

‘It’s not that I hate a mobile phone, I just switched it off before the meeting this morning and forgot to turn it back on.’

‘Maybe you should find yourself some “Chopin” for a ring-tone.’ He said as he laughed heartily at his own joke, ‘That might make a difference.’

Deric forced an embarrassing snort through his nose. Supt will always remind him, one way or another, that he knew his real birth name. Frederic Chopin Offbach, his music-obsessed mom’s fancy for her only son. She’s a major – definitely not a minor - Chopin fan, and the Chief let all in on the so-called secret with an amusing, yet embarrassing, toast eleven months ago on Deric’s wedding-day. All had a great laugh at his expense, especially his mom, and he didn’t mind – much. Mae thought it was cute and that’s all that matters.

’Patricia phoned me because this Mila Jordan insisted on the “next best thing” if she can’t talk to you, so Patricia thought that would be me!’ He roared with laughter, ’She didn’t say what it was about, just insisted that you get your ass in there as quick as possible. This Brenda Blignaut is apparently very, very ill. She insists on talking to you!’

What could that be about?

Deric pressed “Print” and let the printer got on with the report.

He took his jacket of the chair and hooked it with a crooked finger over his shoulder before switching on his phone.

Too damn hot for a jacket!

“In the good old summertime, in the good old summertime…”

Wish Jim was here.

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