Behind the Door


by John Ritchie

‘What have you got in that cupboard?’
‘Skeletons.’
I opened the door with a professional flourish, and there they were, graded in size from left to right. The young one stepped forward for a closer look.
‘Looks like plastic,’ he muttered.
‘That’s because they are plastic. Real bones are too heavy. They discolour and are prone to damage. Plastic is cheaper, tougher and you can get them in different sizes. Handy for my Dr. Bones magic act, Inspector.’
The older one was picking his teeth with a match.
‘Detective Sergeant,’ he said, examing the result of his excavations.
‘I’ll need to take these in for testing.’
‘If you must, Inspector, but I can assure you if my wife were among my friends here she would stand out; she was nearly sixteen stone.’
‘Detec… Just pack ’em up alright.’
‘Well, actually, Inspec…er… Detective Sergeant, they are moved on a special stand. You have a Transit van don’t you?’
The younger one took down the suit bag from the picture rail at the side of the cupboard, and stripped out my newly pressed tuxedo like the alien from ‘Predator’ skinning his latest catch. He threw the clothes to me and said. ‘I’ll just stick one in here, Guv.’
‘Nice one, Ronnie.’
Ronnie grabbed ‘Alice’ from the rail, shoved her uncermoniously into the bag and zipped her in.
‘No way to treat a lady,’ I said.
‘Wot?’ Ronnie was obviously ‘Bad Cop’ for the day and finding the role to his taste.
‘It’s a film. Rod Steiger, George Segal, and Lee Remick. A serial killer leads a policeman a merry dance. Black comedy. George gets the drop on Rod in the end.’ They didn’t get the joke so they probably hadn’t seen the film.

I saw my guests to the door.
‘We’ll be back!’ Ronnie had obviously done the menacing behaviour course.
‘I hope so,’ I said, which confused them for a moment, ‘and I hope you’ll bring Alice with you.’ I nodded at the suit bag.

When I was sure they had left I went back into the bedroom, shut the cupboard door, then slid the whole thing sideways.
‘Have they gone?’ Angela stepped out of the priest hole.
‘Yes,’ I said, as my lovely stage assistant stroked her hand across my chest. ‘Now we just need to dispose of her.’ I kicked the blanket box under the bed with my foot.

John Ritchie writes for fun. Which is just as well as nobody will pay him.

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