Another week has passed me by without me noticing. I’ve watched a bit of the women’s World Cup (go England!), and I’ve done some drawing, so I know I must have been around!
But today is Saturday and it’s time to focus on the serial at hand, which this time round, is The Photograph.
Last time, the police were continuing their questioning of BIFF KELLER regarding the disappearance of his friend, THORLEY LNGDON. We left if with Biff about to describe a conversation he had with Thorley’s wife.
So on to today…
“‘He’s not called, Biff. I’ve spoken to his friends and they don’t know where he is. You’re my last hope. My best hope. Where has he gone?’ She was quite agitated.
“There’s a British Legion café across from the library, so I took her there. We ordered two cups of tea. I put three spoonsful of sugar in hers and she sipped it slowly, gripping the cup in both hands.
“‘What should I do Biff? I’m lost without him?’
“‘Try to stay calm, dear,’ was the best I had to offer. But, to be fair, I couldn’t have known what was to come. How could I?
“We drank the tea and I walked Sparrow home. She let me look in their room and I did. Everything seemed as it should; his trousers and jackets were still hanging in the wardrobe; his ties too. I asked her when she had last seen him, and she told me she had gone to bed with him two night previously and awoke in the morning to find him gone.”
“Has he ever done anything like this before?” Detective Curtis asked. Biff thought for a moment before he answered.
“Well, like I said, he had always been a bit different. An extrovert was what I think I said. I remember one time, he arranged a small brass band to serenade Sparrow outside their house. Wedding anniversary I think, and he brought her out into the street and sang to her. Sangto her, if you can believe that. A Sinatra number, if memory serves: Me and My Shadow. Sinatra and Sammy Davis. Poor Sparrow didn’t know where to look! The neighbours were out on the street, singing along, well those that were old enough to remember it, anyway. Thorley had a voice like sandpaper on wood, but it didn’t stop him from belting it out at the top of his voice! He often did crazy things like that…” Biff let the sentence trail off and stared past the two detectives, lost in his thoughts.
“But has he ever gone missing before? Walked off after an argument perhaps?” Curtis shifted in his seat and glanced up at the clock once more.
“Arguments? I don’t think they argued, well at least never in front of me. As for going missing, no, never.”
“Okay, so what did you do after going to his house?”
“Well, what could I do? I told Sparrow not to worry, then I went home. I wish I hadn’t said that to her though. I think she was comforted by the fact that Thorley’s best friend had said not to worry. I stopped short of saying ‘everything’s going to be alright’, and I’m glad I did, because it wasn’t alright. But we weren’t to know that at this point. For all we knew, Thorley would show up the next day, with a story of what he’d been up to.”
“What about his state of mind, Mr Keller. Was he worried about anything? Did he have any debts?”
“No debts as far as I know. Sparrow told me he had started talking about their son again. George hadn’t been a topic they discussed since he went missing, and that was years ago. I guess it lingers in the back of your mind, though. To lose a child must be hard, but to not know what happened to him? Not having a body to bury? How do you move on after that?”
“I don’t know sir. Were there any early signs of dementia, do you think? Is it possible he just left the hotel room and wandered off somewhere? That happens more than you think,”
“Left the room?” Biff laughed. “Detective Curtis, the man was seventy two. I was there, right outside the door. If he left the room, he did it through a window.” He paused for a moment, waiting for a response. When none came, he continued, “and we were on the second floor. I’m in better shape than he was, always had been, and there is no way I’m climbing out of a window!”
“Okay.” Daly leaned over and whispered something to Curtis. When Daly sat back, Curtis asked Biff the offered question. “What about your health, Mr Keller? Have you been experiencing any symptoms of dementia? Any problems with your memory?”
“You think I’m senile?” His voice was raised. “You think I don’t know what I heard? What I saw?”
“Just a question, Mr Keller, just a question.”
“Well I’m not senile.” He jabbed his index finger down on the table. “I know what I heard and saw.”
Curtis held up both his hands to Biff. Sorry.
“Please continue, Mr Keller.”
And that’s where I’ll leave it for this week. Hope you’re still enjoying it!