13 Hour Shift

13 Hour Shift

A Story by EMF

I was asked by a local group to produce a 'something' featuring a character from one of my crime/fantasy novels. I'm leaving it to draw you to I Am Nelly. All his idea the project.






By way of an introduction


I hate my Editor.

He won’t leave me alone.

Problem is, He’s also my Agent.

He keeps getting me pointless writing gig’s.

Like this one.

I’m not a writer.

I’m a PI.

Private Detective.

I did a bit of work for the guy, doesn’t matter what, but it involved a donkey, hairspray and a large Aubergine.

Next thing I know, he’s found out about my case files and tries to get them published.

No reputable agent would touch them.

They think they are too weird.

So, here I am, writing this introduction to a short story, about characters you’ve never heard about, who happen to live in a world you’ve no idea about.

But there’s five hundred quid in a brown envelope on my desk, so this is how it goes.

Read between the lines, watch some old Hammer movies, drink your coffee strong and black. And if your going to cry, keep your shades on.

Thank you to everyone who needs saying thank you to, and if I owe you money, well, don’t feel like you’re on your own.








And Just Because you don’t believe in the

Differently Alive

Doesn’t mean they don’t Believe in



And they know where you live.







A Private Case

Well…Not really a case

If I’m Honest.

More an explanation to my Parole officer.

And a sort of Statement to The Police

And something for the insurance company.


E.M. Faustus.


Private, that is.

EDITOR: What happened to one word Titles?

Like you agreed upon, when we said we’d publish.  And stick with the big font.

EMF: Alright.






A Private Case.

EM Faustus.

ED: Better.

The name is E. M Faustus.

Private Eye.



ED:Whoa. Hang on.

You always start your case files from a section part way through.

EMF:This isn’t a proper case file.

ED: Just do it.


ED: Do the words Contractual Obligation mean anything?

EMF: No.

ED: Do you want to get paid?





Sometime Later.

“He’s dead.”

“No Faustus. You cannot kill him.”

“He’s dead.”

“Now remember what we discussed. You are not, repeat not, allowed to kill anyone. Nor are you allowed to maim, wound, assault them with a Brick in a Sock, snooker cue, table, chair or meat cleaver. You cannot, repeat, cannot, set fire to their trousers, jacket or hair. You cannot threaten them, insult them or arrange for someone else to do any of the above. We are obliged to be calm, good mannered and the epitome of dignity and restraint.”

“He’s dead and he’s laughing at us.”

“Dignity Faustus.”

“Look at what he’s doing.”

“OK. He’s dead.”


ED:That’s better. But you did say

There would be no gratuitous violence this

Time round. Didn’t you

EMF:Yep. Not gratuitous.

ED:  No 'Hot Women'.   And no property damage.

EMF: I never said that





















Sometime Earlier.

I was out of jail.

Contrary to common assumptions, jail does not consist of a steady diet of beatings, buggery and bleeding. Nor many other things beginning with B.

I read a lot, smoked some and made the odd useful contact.

All in all getting just six months for car theft, destroying a civic monument, blowing up a church, speeding and…well, I had pleaded extraordinarily guilty and very, very naughty. The result was that I was now in the joys of the Probation system.

I quickly discovered that the Probation Officers were bigger consumers of caffine, nicotine and sweeties than I ever was.

‘Get a job’, said they.

‘A job have I.’ said me.

‘Get another one.’ said they, between crumbs of cake.

‘Any chance of a coffee?” said me, to be rebuffed straightaways.

And I did have a job.

Private Eye.

Own business.

The name is E.M Faustus.

Private Eye.

Technically a millionaire.

Newly adoptive single parent.

Partner in a detective agency.

Sort of dog owner.

This list just keeps getting longer.

I live on The Streets.

Not ’The Mean Streets’.

Not Marlowe’s gutter world.

I’m talking about The Streets. The place where Vampires, Werewolves, and various supernatural beings have decided to assimilate into the human world. They own shops, hold down jobs, work in all areas of life. You’ll even know some of them. They could be your boss, best friend or lover. They just want to fit in. They are just a bit ‘differently alive’.

Just accept it.

I was in the process of trying to get a paper job out of one of the major players. But I wasn’t planning on working at a newsagents.

“Look Kal.” I said. “I can cook.. You’ve eaten at my house. You know I can cook. Just a couple of occasional shifts, just to keep probation happy.”

I was sat in my office (Think 1940’s detective style), looking at a very pretty nose, attached to a very pretty face, killer smile and drop dead body who sat on the other side of my desk.

The Goddess Kali looked at me over the top of a steaming cup of hot chocolate. The kind with cream, chocolate dusting, chocolate flake, marshmallow’s and cinnamon sugar.

Ever since I bought my partner a cappuccino machine for Christmas he experimented on anyone who came into the office.

Partner as in business. I just like to make that quite clear.

Business partner.

I’m the senior partner.

I get the office. He gets the old cleaning cupboard.

Just because we live together and are both adoptive parents of the same child doesn’t mean a thing.

Just because we share a house, business and soul… Just because we are raising our adoptive daughter together…Just because he was left to me in a will…Just because any of that doesn’t mean that we’re anything but business partners.

Got it?


Now stop asking stupid questions and making assumptions and get back to reading.

ED: Stop talking to the reader and get back to the plot.

“I don’t think she’s going for it.” said Humphrey, the frog faced, trilby and raincoat wearing six inch tall homunculus. He was currently sitting on a high shelf trying to get the best view he could of Kali’s cleavage.

Homunculus and dirty little pervert.

“Please Humphrey.” said my partner Pete. “Do not interrupt Ms. Kali’s train of thought”

Pete. Partner. Human/Angel/Daemon. Tall, thin, screwed up hair. Want to know more, check the other case files!


What have I got to do? Spoon feed you?

ED: What happened to not talking to the reader?

EMF: What happened to not interrupting the story?

Kal sipped her chocolate and wiped away the nub of cream from her very pretty nose. Kal was one of the most successful business women on The Streets. She had a reputation for playing you straight and being totally ruthless. She also had so many diverse business interests, she seemed like the best person to try and persuade a job out of.

“I’ll pay you to say I work for you.” I said. “I’ve got a business to run and all I need is a paper job. Twenty quid a day, plus any taxes you need to pay.”

A smile crossed her face. She had very pretty teeth.

“I know the very café for you.” She said. “Nice and quiet.”

Somehow that sounded scary


Hour One

“So that’s the kitchen. Your shift will be a straight twelve hours. Take your breaks when you can and no smoking in the building.” Kal said, wrinkling her very pretty nose. “Any questions?”

I adjusted my apron.

I was naked.

My hat. My Trilby hat. My suit. My two piece suit. My brogues My beloved Brogues. My sock. The sock with half a brick in it. For difficult moments. The tools of my trade.

None of the were suitable for working in a kitchen.

I was wearing an apron. A tabard. Plastic clogs. A little sailor hat.

And a hair net.

“Are you taking the piss” I said. It seemed like a fair question. She glared at me down her very pretty nose.

“No Faustus. I am not. If you are going to work here, then you need to maintain appropriate hygiene standards.” Kali picked up her very expensive looking handbag with very attractive fingers. “Now. The other staff should get here at six am. That should give you plenty of time to get set up. Just remember when your entourage turn up looking for free food, they pay the same as anyone else. Any problems, just sort them and don’t bother me. I am off to see my husband for a romantic day in Tibet.”

When you’re a Goddess you can do that sort of thing.

With a little wave Kal lit out the door, taking her very pretty nose and drop dead body with her.

It would be fine.

Everything would be fine.


Fine. Neat and dandy.

Really smooth.

I can cook.

Everything would be fine.



Thirty minutes later, everything was not fine.

Beans and tomatoes were hot in their keeping hot thing. The fryers were ready to fry and the toasters ready to get bread toasty.

Bugger all staff but me.

But everything was ready.

I just wished the rest of the staff had turned up.

I might have a bit, just a tiny bit, of a reputation.

Then my first customer squeezed through the door.


He was short, close cropped hair and fat. So fat that I wondered if he would manage to fit into the chair. He snatched a paper from the rack on the wall and, without the use of lubricant, guided his blubber into the chair.

I grabbed my notepad and did the sensible thing. Polite. Remember to be polite. Polite to the customers at all times.

“Oi. Butterball. Do you want to say that again in English. Then pay for it. Tell you what. Use that knife on your table, spread yourself out of that chair and come over here.”

I may have said.

Sometimes I need to work on polite, but I get there.

The Fat Man went a lovely shade of red and burst like a lard boil from the chair. He waddled like an obese hippo to the counter.

“You little…”


New Rule number one: Don’t provoke or head butt the customers.

ED: You might want to try and put yourself in a better light.

No violence. Remember?

EMF: Not my genre.

Hour Two

After thirty minutes I came up with Rule number two.

Don’t try and run the café yourself because the rest of the staff have refused to work with you on health grounds.


Just the odd assassination attempt here and there and all of a sudden people don’t want to be in your vicinity.


They think they’ll get hurt.

Just one friend looses just one hand… Just one friend looses just one ear… Just one friend gets just a little bit disembowelled… You blow up just one trading estate….

I needed help and was… wasn’t too proud to admit it. Then it walked through the door.


“Four bacon sandwiches please young man.” said George Formby.

“And four for me as well please.” said Pete. “And two cups of tea and a whole can of cola. Good grief Faustus. You do look stressed. Is something wrong?”


“That’s alright.” comforting words said. “It’s perfectly fine to cry. You are just releasing pent up emotions. You have had a very hard time the last two years. Loss of friends and family. Gaining a new family. All you are doing is…”

“Crying like a baby.” Humphrey said. “Jesus Dad. Pull yourself together will you. This is not tough guy stuff. Get back out there and hit someone with a chair. You’ll feel a lot better for it. Go with your genre.”

Humphrey. Why did Pete and Sid have to bring Humphrey with them?

Six inch tall bipedal frog-like Homunculus. Some people say he looks like me, but I can’t see it myself. Just because I sneezed him out doesn’t make him my son. A sneeze isn’t exactly a birth.

“So what can we do to help Dad?” Humph asked, passing me a napkin to blow my nose.

“Yes.” Pete echoed. “We are here for you. We feel your pain.”

“Ignore him Dad.” Humph said. “He’s been reading books on sensitivity again. Why not expose Kali as an exploitator of immigrant workers. That’s more your genre. Then we could get Pete shot again. That’s defiantly your genre. We could always blow something up. Maybe a car. Or a sewer. You’ve never blown up a sewer before. C’mon. Embrace your genre Dad. Step over to the Dark Side.”

“Any more bacon.” Sid asked. “What? I was hungry.”


Ten minutes later we were a well oiled machine of culinary frenzy.

Well… a Frenzy.

“Where’s the cups? Where’s the cups?” Pete the tea boy was screaming.

“I’m swimming as fast as I can.” Humphrey bubbled as he swam around the sink scrubbing the cups spotless with the sponge taped to his back.

“Someone wants more toast.” said Sid as he walked back in on six inch heels.

We all stopped to look at Sid.

Sid may be a troll, but he is also one of the most gifted shape shifters I have ever seen. He has two shapes he resets to. George Formby and A Duck. We’ve become used to George and The Duck. After twenty years I have no problem talking to either.

A six foot glamour model in six inch heels, mini skirt and a blouse that almost restrained enormous… Big… Really pneumatic…


He’s my mate.

My very MALE friend.

Every body he ever wears is definitely MALE.

I’m not saying what he had in front of him. You figger it out.


“Faustus.” Said my very male friend. “People keep staring at my breasts. Is that typical of the human male?”


Hour Three

By the time Sid had readjusted his breasts to a smaller size (dirty, dirty man) I was starting on the first batch of twelve take-a-way bacon sandwiches.

Humphrey was carefully spreading the butter on twenty four slices of bread. Amazing how effective his bare feet could be for that, and how good he was at it, but he had assured me he gained plenty practice at home.

I made a mental note to be violently sick later.

Now I own a contact grill.

They are terrific. I can cook steak from frozen in four minutes, and as for bacon… one minute thirty seconds. So I knew what I was doing.

With other people doing all of the work I was as happy as a pig in brown stuff Pigs get happy in.

I just flipped bacon onto the bread, cleaned off and went onto the next ten slices.

Hey. I was going great.

Then they came in.

ED: Look.

I let the bit about the breasts go, but this next bit

Is potentially offensive towards people who may have

A medical condition.

EMF: What medical condition?

ED: I don’t know. Thyroid or something.

EMF: Pie Eating Disorder? Massive Plate of food

must be shovelled into mouth, compulsion.

ED: Now you’re being silly.

EMF:Pass me a shovel so I can eat my dinner, and while

You’re about it spread that loaf with a pound of butter

So I’ve something to mop up the juice with Syndrome?

ED:All I want you to be is sensitive.

EMF: Still not my genre.

Hour Four

The family.

Fat Mum.

Fat Dad.

Four very fat kids.

Not fun. Very.

Very not fun.

Their order was made up of seven individual items.


B*****DS! F*****NG B*****DS.

Twenty minutes. Twenty minutes. Twenty long minutes with kids, screaming. Screaming. Screaming.

“You can stop screaming now Faustus.” Pete said. “They appear to be eating and smothering both the floor and their faces with food.”

“Fourty two separate things.” I said wishing for a stiff drink, a lie down, some big drugs and a hot woman. “I didn’t know we had fourty two different things in this kitchen. And it’s not my fault that egg poacher exploded and blew up those microwaves. I followed the instructions. It just blew the bloody door off.”

“I’m fine by the way.” Pete said. “The door barely glanced off my skull. Are you sure superglue works just as well on cuts?”

“It took them twenty minutes to order. Not one of them listened to me. They’re not even real people. They’re human.”

Sid’s breasts along with the rest of him came into the kitchen. The breasts were bigger again. Rounder. More…


Sort of… Bouncy.

“People were asking where their food was, but I enlarged my chests and that seemed to calm them down. Strange. It’s not as if their real. Here Faustus.” He stepped scarily close. “Feel them. Do they feel real to you?” Dirty, dirty, dirty man. “Why is the microwave door imbedded in the wall?”

ED: Are you being sexist?

EMF: How do you walk with that broom up your…

ED: Just do what you are being paid to do Mr Faustus.

The legal department are going to have a field day.

EMF: Now that’s closer to my Genre.


Hour Five, Hour Six, Hour Seven.

We caught up, did some more meals, then did some more, then did some more.

Then we cooked some more.

Washed up a lot.

Didn’t have a single smoke or coffee.

I wanted smoke and coffee.

I may have become a little tetchy.



Pete himself may have been feeling a little of the strain.



“How long have they been shouting at each other like this? In Wingdings? Sid whispered, adjusting his dirty, dirty breasts.

“About as long as we’ve been talking in a smaller point size. Can I have another feel?”


It was twelve of the clock.

Noon tide did seep through the blasted streets.

Half breadth twixt the watch were we.

Weary and blooded,

No halt did we see.

Gnarled foe dist oppose we four brave combatants,

Face to face didst we apportion blood and entrails.

Valiantly did we march through the trials of…

Stop it Sid. This is first person narrative. Not a group event, and NOT an Epic Poem.


Hour Eight

Pete and I had cooled down.

We were given no choice.

“You are aware that during our time together, Faustus, we have been in several precarious positions.” Pete said.



“Such as being shot at, or indeed shot.”



“Being trapped in burning buildings.”



“Driving a car at one hundred miles an hour, jumping over fifty feet in the air, straight through a church wall.”


“Pursued by foaming mad Jesuits, who under orders from Rome, allegedly, and are determined too assassinated you, as they believe you to be the Anti-Christ and will dispatch you with one of the Seven Daggers of Miss Gideon, of which you now have a collection of forty eight.”



“During all of those, and other, one might say ‘adventures’, were there any that made you come to the rational conclusion that you could break down the steel doors of a walk-in freezer by banging your walking stick on it?”



“There. I told you that would happen. The end’s come off it now.”


Hour Nine

A while later Sid let us out. I couldn’t stay mad at him. He’d been right to make us calm down. Besides, the last time I threw a punch at him I damn near broke my wrist.

I settled for breaking the remains of my stick over his head.

“Right.” I said, back to my normal cheerful self. Casual violence can be quite cathartic. “Let’s clear these back orders.”

And we did.

Nice and quick. Things got back on track quite quickly. Eggs were fried, bacon fried, sausages fried, and multiple arteries hardened. Everything was going well enough, until ‘They’ came in.

There always seems to be a ‘They’ in my life.

‘They’ are the person or persons who push just the wrong buttons at just the wrong time.

“They’ are the people who are responsible for the little miseries in your world.

“They’ just rub you up the wrong way.

Everybody has them. Boss, neighbours, colleagues, advertising copywriters. If you’re really unlucky your wife and kids.

You put up with them because you have no choice. Everyone sane just wants a peaceful life. So they put up with their ‘They’. Their ‘They’ know ‘They’ are being tolerated, so they push just a little bit more. Eventually you end up moving along to avoid option two.

Option one is your ‘They’ ending up with a (Insert name of sharp pointed object you have to hand at the time you snap here) buried in ‘Their’ chest and a surprised look on ‘Their’ faces.

Difference between you and me, is I do something about it before I go wild with the crimping sheers.

This ‘They’, them there, that ‘They‘. ‘They’ were shooters. Men with padded jackets, trousers tucked into their socks, flat caps and a love of killing things, not to eat, but for the sport of killing animals for no damn good reason.

ED: We get the idea.

In my job, working The Streets, there has been the odd occasion I have had to kill someone. It’s not pleasant, but sometimes necessary. Normally they’ve been coming at me with a gun, knife, claws or jaws. I have never killed to watch something die.

Despite the rumours.

There were three of them. All human, which meant I had to play soft.

You get used to taking on werewolves, vampires and the like, so you play hard. Tough Guys play Big Boys games. If I tried it with these lads I’d kill them all by accident.

“Pete.” I said. “Look at this.”

My business partner focused on the ’They’ sat in the corner, holding court with themselves and comparing their penis size, based on how many lives they had taken that day.

“See him?”

I pointed to the biggest, fattest of the three. The one who had given Pete a really complex order, all needing to be cooked the way his Mommy did it. Right bugger to cook.

“He’s dead.”

“No Faustus. You cannot kill him.”

“He’s dead.”

“Now remember what we discussed. You are not, repeat not, allowed to kill anyone. Nor are you allowed to maim, wound, assault them with a Brick in a Sock, snooker cue, table, chair or meat cleaver. You cannot, repeat, cannot, set fire to their trousers, jacket or hair. You cannot threaten them, insult them or arrange for someone else to do any of the above. We are obliged to be calm, good mannered and the epitome of dignity and restraint.”

“He’s dead and he’s laughing at us.”

“Dignity Faustus.”

“Look at what he’s doing.”

“OK. He’s dead.”

I reached into my apron and produced a packet of smokes. I opened up and slid one into my mouth.

“Light me.” I said. “And don’t give me any of that ‘Smoking Is Not Allowed Within The Workspace’, twaddle. I’m in my genre now and in my genre it is.”

He lit me.

ED: Now that is just unacceptable.

I put up with the fact you are a smoker.

You just cannot keep smoking in the workplace.

You will get us into such trouble.


EMF: Bugger off.

Hour Ten

I took a walk over to table five.

He was still doing it.

Eating with his mouth full…and open.

I walked across a crowded café, with Pete so hot at my heels he was melting the rubber clogs.

Anyone would think that he didn’t trust me.

The three of them were dressed in the shooters kit, but with the khaki camouflage jackets draped over the chairs and three tables around them. Was there no end to their bad manners?

All three had mouths crammed with sausage, beans, black pudding and bacon. They had moved the tomatoes to one side of their plates. They didn’t seem to be the kind who’d have any truck with vitamins.

Dignity Faustus. Maintain your dignity.

“Nicey nicey foody foody?” I asked. “All Nicey nicey? Mmmm.” I made a smacking sound of appreciation with my own mouth.

I did get a form of reply, which consisted of something muttered and a small spray of beans and sausage.

I did resting of hands on the table and puffing of smoke in faces.

“Tell me, before Mummy died of shame, did she never tell you about the very bad things that happens to bad boys that reach incredible levels of morbid obesity, talk, chew and swallow all with their mouths open, before going off to kill for no other reason than to take a life?” Looks were passed between them but they were working hard on ignoring ‘The Staff‘.

“What happens is this.”

It should have been ultra-violent.

Bones should have broken.

Teeth should have been left in knuckles.

As befits my genre.

I like my genre.

It’s a form of therapy.

What should not have been…What should not have happened… What did happen, was a pair of inflated breasts (dirty, dirty man) being placed between me and the Shooters. A small, feminine hand resting on my shoulder and pushing me back.

“Now then Boss.” Sid said. “You just leave these little boys alone. They’re just eating their breakfasts Admittedly, they are dribbling it down their shirts, but I’m sure they’ll get Mummy to wash it for them. You go back to the kitchen now and do some cooking, you kooky little man. I’ll talk to these little boys.”

The pause was third trimester pregnant.

With a little giggle Sid The Waitress, pulled up a chair next to The Shooters and sat down, chatting away to them, and idly stealing a chip or two from their plates………… and flirted.

Damn, he was a good shape shifter.

With dirty, dirty boobies.


Hour Eleven

Back in the kitchen, Pete was calming me down by handing me a list of orders. I was working through my anger by mutilating chicken for chicken mayo sandwiches.


™” I said. Prison may have had an slight negative effect on my language.

Sid strolled back in. “Good news.” he said. “I have let my new friends know of the perfect place to go duck shooting.” With that he shifted down to his reset state of a large mallard.

“You’re sending them to a nice secluded little place. Aren’t you?” I said.

“Yep.” Sid said. “Just me and a few like minded family members. Don’t worry. They’ll be able to walk. Probably not a good idea to sit down though. Due to their shotguns being…”

“I get the picture.” Then I got manners. “Thanks for stopping me kicking off.”

“No problem. I can’t decide what to wear though. This.” He gestured to himself as a mallard. “This.” He became boobie woman dressed in skin tight mini-dress with thigh length boots. “Or this.” He shifted to his actual shape. Seven foot plus, grey, a face only a mother would knit a bag to cover, and more muscle than a Muscle Beach convention.

“I would recommend you start with the lady.” said Pete, “Take one of them aside with the promise of intercoursing him, then go for troll. He may never intercourse again. Then go with the troll for the others.”

Sid looked dejected. “Ah, man.” he sighed. “It’s good. But I did want to be me.” Duck that is.

“Well,” said Humphrey, peeling himself free from his scouring pads, “I suggest you do as Pete said, then walk back as a duck, giving them something to aim at. Then you and the rest show them what ducks at Bollocks height can do. Then go for the Big Scary Troll thing.”

“Great. I get to have my cake and eat it.” Sid turned towards me, trashing a ceiling light, two microwaves and denting the oven… and not noticing. “Mind if I take off F? Things are going to take a bit of sorting out.”

I looked at the clock. There was only another hour to go on the shift so I said OK. After all, it was mid afternoon. Not as if it was going to get busy.


Hour Twelve

Do you ever regret a thought?

Yeah, YOU.

Well, YOU are reading this now. Who the hell did you think I was talking to?

That fella over there perhaps?


YOU. I’m asking you the question, but don’t feel you need to answer or anything.

For Gods sake. It’s not difficult. Your eye’s are currently reading these words. Given that to be true, it means I am talking to you.

The Reader.

EMF: What?

No complaint about me talking to the reader?

ED: Is there a point?


So, Reader

Do. You. Ever. Regret. A. Thought?

Well, what was the last one.

For me, it was thinking that nothing else could bother me. That the day would wind up and I’d go home and see my Daughter.

“And my daughter.” said Pete.

“And mine.” said Humphrey.

Both of them intruding on the first person monologue that is essential to hard boiled detective fiction.

“But your writing about a stint working in a kitchen.” said Nelly. Given that he’s not actually in this story makes his presence a little difficult to explain, but he’s got this really annoying habit of reading over my shoulder when I’m typing.

“So when do I get to write one of these?” Pete asked, interrupting my train of thought.

“Me too.” butted in Humph.

Look. Can we just get back to this report? OK? Fine.

ED: Is it necessary to talk about that little gnome’s ‘hobbies’?

EMF: I’ll send him round and you can talk to him about it.

ED: No need.

When I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.

It began with someone blocking the toilet.

It seemed like a good idea, at the time, to shove Humphrey down it to push the blockage away. Pete insisted we gave him some kind of protection, so he dipped him in vegetable oil first to keep the ‘water’ out.

One quick trip, one fast flush and Humphrey was down the hole. He did protest a bit, but I adopted a Zen like frame of mind and ignored him.

Three minutes later he was back.

“Who flushes knickers down the toilet?” He asked, as he climbed out, dragging said clothing with him. “Mind you. Nice and lacy. Can I keep them for my collection though? Can I? Can I Can I Dad?”

He may, technically, be family, but it doesn’t mean I understand the dirty little perv.


Hour Thirteen

Twenty eight minutes later, Pete, Humph and I were sat in the alleyway outside.

Two of us smoking, Pete sipping a hot can of unbranded cola.

Well, it used to have a brand on the can, but it was so smoke blackened you couldn’t read it.

It used to be cold, but it had become a little warm.

“Refresh my memory.” I said, inhaling a smoke that had managed to light itself. Sort of. “How exactly did the kitchen explode again?”

“Oh, that would have been those cylinders of gas.” said Pete, sipping his drink.


“Which led to that big fire ball.” I smoked. Literally.


“And how did those cylinders of gas come to explode again?”

“That would be when the burning fryer spilled over, burning through the rubber hose.. At a guess.” said Pete. “I actually think this tastes better warm and covered in carbon. Fizzier.” He sipped away.

“Which led to the big fire ball.” Smokey, smokey, smokey.


“And how did the chip pan come to catch fire?” I took a drag on my smoke, held in bandaged fingers.

oh bugger.

“That would have been from the combination of wet and burning material falling into it, causing it to bubble and the flames ignite it. The spilling, probably, came from someone throwing what they thought was a fire blanket over it, but it turned out to be a bundle of napkins, which soaked up the oil, and now were aflame, when the same someone tried to get the burning napkins out by tipping over the pan. I don’t think I missed anything, although lack of oxygen may be making me less coherent than normal.”

“Which led to the big fire ball.” I ran bandaged hand over crispy, now bald scalp.

really, really sorry Dad. Honest.

“To pre-empt you asking what led to the fire in the first place, because that gag is getting a little stale, the original fires source would have been the burning underwear, that someone had decided to dry out under the commercial grill. The extremely high powered, very hot, commercial grill.”

“That would be the commercial grill that cooks toast in under a minute. That extremely high powered, very hot, commercial grill?” I asked

I am. I am really, really, really, very, very, very sorry.

“That would be the one.” Pete spat on the floor, the result looking very black and sooty. “Seemingly, despite the kitchen having three nice, warm radiators, someone decided the grill on full power for ten minutes would dry soiled, wet underwear a lot better than radiated heat.”

“We should be fair and admit that it did, on the top.” I did an exploratory search for my eye brows, but gave up. They were probably lost for quite a few weeks. “My probation officer won’t be very happy. And then there’s Kal.”

“That would be The Goddess Kali,

also known as Kalika. Hindu goddess associated with eternal energy. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Kali means "the black one". Since Shiva is called Kāla - the eternal time, Kālī, his consort, also means "the Time" or "Death" (as in time has come). Hence, Kali is considered the goddess of time and change. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation still has some influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shakta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatarini (literally "redeemer of the universe"). Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kali as a benevolent mother goddess. Pete took a breath.

“You’ve been on Wikipedia again, haven’t you?” I lit a new smoke from my smouldering shirt. “But you’re right. That would be her. I don’t think she’ll take it to well. What with blowing up her café. Her pride and joy. The first one she ever set up. She might be a tad ticked off at someone breaking it.” I moved my legs to make it easier for the firemen to get passed as they rolled up their hoses and gave us filthy looks for free.

Can I hide in your pocket?” said Humphrey, still talking in point eight.

“So. Who will tell her what happened?” Pete asked, looking down at Humphrey.

“Three guesses.” I said, looking down at Humphrey.

There followed two sighs and one whimper in point eight.

We sat in silence for a few minutes while firemen walked passed us, glaring further disapproval. Pete and I sat, looking innocent, while Humphrey did his best impression of charcoal detritus.

After they vanished, Pete tapped me gently on the shoulder, then wiped the soot from his finger on his own shirt. Pointless as we were all filthy.

“Isn’t this the bit where you normally wax lyrical about how your life has been improved by the learning experience you have just undergone?” He said, but he may well have said ‘Please slap me around the head’, so I obliged.

“I do not do that.” I said.

“Yeah you do Dad.” said Humphrey. “Every single case file. I’ve read them all. That one where Trevor tried to gut you for the first time.” He gave an over emphasised shiver. “Made my skin crawl.”

“And then there was the one where you became romantically involved with your best friends sister, wife and mother in law. All at the same time.” Pete gave a similar shiver. “If they ever find out, you may come to regret it. I was rather surprised you wrote it down.”

“Look.” I snapped. “It’s a genre thing. It’s what you have to do, working in my genre.”

“You’re also meant to drink heavily and carry a gun, but you won’t do that. And before you say anything, hard core coffee and a brick in a sock does not count.” Gods I hated it when Pete was accurate.

We sat and enjoyed some more silence.

“At least no one tried to kill you today.” Humph piped up after a while. He never could do brooding silence. “Could mean you’re stepping outside your genre. What do you think Dad? Eh? New leaf and all that? You could get into another line of business. Maybe taxidermy or something. Hard to bring your work home with you if you’re stuffing a hippo. Maybe you could open a newsagents? I could help. Sorting out the papers and the magazines and stuff. Or one of those internet shops, where you sell unwanted stuff to people who are chronically addicted to buying, even though they don’t need it, but there damned if anyone else is going to beat them to something they’ve seen. Why are you looking at me like that?”

Before I could forcibly strike the homunculus or see if I could fit him in the end of a fire hose there was a flippedy-floppedy sound from the end of the alleyway.

I looked up to see Kal standing at the end of the alleyway, her husband standing next to her. For some reason they were wearing flowery shirts, shorts, sombrero’s and flip-flops.

Must have decided to give Tibet a miss and go for Mexico instead.

When you’re a detective, you learn to make deductions like that.


They really did not look very happy.

I slid a fresh smoke into my mouth and rose to my feet. I lifted the burned rim of the silly sailor hat from my head and dropped it in the black water running through the cobbles at my feet.

Well, I have a genre. May as well stick with it.

I’d never had a kicking from a god before. This would be a first. And such luck. There were two of them.

“Light me.” I said, and once lit, stood and walked towards my lumps.





That’s it?

I pay you good money, in a brand new brown envelope,

To write me a record of thirteen hours in your life,

The life of a supposedly Hard Boiled Private Detective

Instead I get a load of…

Where’s the daring do?

Where are the hard nosed lines?

Where’s the casual violence and smoking hot women?

The Usual Stuff.

I Do Not Want To Know About COOKING.

Fair enough you got property damage in, but please tell me you didn’t

Put this whole thing together, just to do a variation on the old

‘How Did The House Burn Down?’ Gag.

How the Hell do you think the organisers are going to take this?


Think they’re going to be happy?


I don’t.

I expect you to ignore me when you agree not to write the usual stuff.

If they want their money back it’s not coming out of my pocket.

I might be your agent and Editor, but don’t think for one second

I won’t be after you for the refund.

So sit yourself down and bung out something with casual violence

Hot women, explosions, gratuitous gore and the mutilation,

Or at least serious injury of at least one of your friends.

Friends. Hum. Not exactly the normal sort are they?

I’ve told you, time and time again. So long as you hand around with

‘Those’ kind of people, you’ll get no-where in the world of the ‘wordsmith.

EMF: We should meet.

ED: What?


No Need for that.

Bad idea.

Look. I’m wrong. This is fine. Sorry. Just not what you normally write that’s all. Sorry about that. I’ll send it off straight away.

No need to come round.

None at all.


EMF: Pete and I will be there in thirty minutes.

ED: Oh bugger.


Copywrite Chris Davison 2011

© 2012 EMF

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A few questions....
Why do all Editor's have Anoraknaphobia?
Do you find the hairspray adds extra piquancy to the recipe in the intro?
Where did Hump get a trilby that fitted?
Why are you so good?
I would have thought Kali would have been a good cook with all those arms. Was she? (And when I say cook that is obviously a euphamism.)

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


10 Years Ago

My editor had a little accident, to do with a gerbil and a jar of Tiger balm.
Hairspray. Eith.. read more


Good God! This really made me laugh. It's definitely the funniest thing I have read today. Or this week. Or this month. Point is, I really really liked it. Why are you so good? If it weren't for the odd few grammatical errors, this would be perfect writing. Perfectly funny anyway. Thanks for brightening my day. Just hope I don't get nightmares about Kali and fried eggs.........

Posted 10 Years Ago


10 Years Ago

You think they're bad. Wait till you read Girl. Serious gramatical naughtiness. I could be in tro.. read more
Cathy Wattam

10 Years Ago

What do you mean - could be in trouble??? You are in trouble Mister. I shall have to take you to the.. read more

10 Years Ago

Sound interesting. Mind if I bring along five scarves and some ice cubes? Ah.... that special soun.. read more

Posted 10 Years Ago

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You give new meaning to the phrase 'genius and madness are akin'. This was brilliant and hilarious and completely nuts!! I loved it.

Posted 10 Years Ago


10 Years Ago

Thank you. I should have got back earlier, but I don't call by this one as often as I should.
Where do I start?
Entertaining? Very Funny? Hilarious!
I like the dry sense of humour and also the way you portray the character. I enjoyed the end where it’s very clear who’s in charge. Love it, absolutely love it!

Posted 10 Years Ago


10 Years Ago

Thank you so much. Such a delight to know I did my job and raised a laugh. Many, many thanks
Well, I was quite amaused in some parts, but was it really required to fluctuate between fonts and styles quite so much? I did find it rather difficult upon the eyes at points. Still, as a dalliance it served.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Good God you are hilarious. I have no doubt when I come to your page that
I will leave with the elixir of laughter. You captivate with the world of E.M. Faustus!
I thought the way you formatted the "13" request was a great addition to this write. * v *

Posted 10 Years Ago

If you ever stop making me laugh, rush away from the pc in dire distress or ache from top of head to knee caps, I'll search you out and set my Darset dinklybatilus on you!

Hilarious, inventive, crazy, peculiarly peculiar and wonderful start to finish!

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

What a unique writer you are with such a quirky sense of humor . How to you come up with this stuff?

Posted 10 Years Ago

A few questions....
Why do all Editor's have Anoraknaphobia?
Do you find the hairspray adds extra piquancy to the recipe in the intro?
Where did Hump get a trilby that fitted?
Why are you so good?
I would have thought Kali would have been a good cook with all those arms. Was she? (And when I say cook that is obviously a euphamism.)

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


10 Years Ago

My editor had a little accident, to do with a gerbil and a jar of Tiger balm.
Hairspray. Eith.. read more
your great.

Posted 10 Years Ago


10 Years Ago

Thank you so much. Always a delight when people read my stuff. Some like, some don't and views are.. read more

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33 Reviews
Shelved in 8 Libraries
Added on May 10, 2011
Last Updated on October 10, 2012
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