Mother's Day (Part 1)

This is the first draft of the first 2000 words of "Mother's Day".

Detective Inspector Brandt had a very piercing snore. Guttural and nasal, you didn't just hear it - you felt like it was burrowing into your head. His colleagues compared it to a pneumatic drill, a dalek with asthma, or a dozen other things. They had plenty of opportunity to find metaphors for it because they heard it so often - though somehow never when his superiors were nearby.

Currently it was ten in the morning and Brandt was snoring in the passenger seat of his car. His new Sergeant was driving and wondering what he'd let himself in for. It was Sergeant Harris' first murder - first suspicious death, he corrected himself - and they'd put him under a man who dressed like a mad tramp, kept a horrible car that belonged in a scrapyard...and slept all the time. Loudly.

41B Newman Street, said Harris to himself, glancing at the local streetmap. A row of new redbrick houses, in one of the posher parts of town. Just ten minutes walk from the two just-opened swanky restaurants, the renovated cinema, the wooded area, and the shopping centre that was still being built. And that road with the small church where all the prostitutes still hung out.

Brandt gave a grunt as they ran over a pothole, turning left into Newman Street. Harris carefully parked the car opposite the fluttering yellow "Crime Scene" banners. The two uniformed officers standing guard outside didn't move.

"Sir, we're here", said Harris, gingerly nudging his superior officer.

"Good!" declared Brandt, his eyes flying open as though he hasn't really been asleep at all. "Now remind me why we're here."

Oh god, thought Harris. "Teenage girl found bludgeoned last night by her mother, sir.", he said, summarising their earlier briefing. "Emily Rush, 19..."

"Oh yes. You thought I'd forgotten, hadn't you?"

Brandt heaved himself out of the car. He was a large man, 6 foot 2, heavy boned and almost obese. Somewhere in indeterminate middle age, he cultivated a permanent three-day black stubble and unkempt short hair. He wore a dark green moth-eaten coat over his barely-regulation tatty grey trousers and off-white shirt.

He flashed his pass at the two uniformed constables - who, presumably recognising him, didn't even bother to look - before ducking under the yellow tape barriers and making for the open front door. He was met there by a man in an inspector's uniform.

"Hi Bob", said Brandt tiredly, "Where's the people?"

"The daughter's upstairs with doctor Molyneux", replied Bob. "The mother's in the kitchen. Name's Irene. This way."

Inspector Bob Rawlin was a grey haired lifelong uniform copper whose only remaining ambition was to reach retirement without formal reprimand or a knife wound - though he wondered how the force would cope without his experience and calming presence.

He led Brandt and Harris through a bare and neat sitting room, into a modern, well scrubbed kitchen. There was a handsome woman in early forties sitting on a high stool, clutching a mug of tea, staring into the middle distance. She wore a sombre brown trouser suit with stripes, and sensible walking shoes. Her honey coloured hair was tied back, and her only item of jewelry was a fake emerald brooch. Her face showed she'd been crying, but now she was just withdrawn, ignoring the WPC at her side and the men in her home.

"Mrs Rush", said Brandt. "My name's Detective Inspector Brandt. I'm sorry to have to do this, and I'm sure you just want to be left alone, but we've got to ask you some questions, so we can begin to find out who did this to your daughter."

For a long moment she seemed not to have heard him. Then her eyes focused and she turned them on the crumpled man in her kitchen.

"It's Miss", she said in a level, controlled voice, "and I understand. What do you need to know?"

"First of all, we need to know what you were doing last night."

"Working. I got home at...about midnight. Maybe quarter past. I didn't hear anything so I thought Emily might be asleep. I watched a bit of TV, made myself some coffee. Then at...twelve thirty, twelve forty five, I don't know...went upstairs to bed, and checked in her bedroom. She wasn't there so I thought she must be doing her meditation in the spare room and she wouldn't want to be disturbed so I didn't look in on her and...

The stream of words stopped and for several seconds she fought to hold back tears. With a determined expression, she regained control.

"I went to bed. Woke up at nine. I called her but she didn't answer, so I looked in her bedroom and the spare bedroom and...

"She was lying on the floor, with blood on her head. I...I ran over to her and...her eyes were open. I mean, they were fixed open. I don't remember what I did next...probably just stood and stared. But I called the police...and an ambulance. It took them forever to arrive. I couldn't do anything. Just wait."

Irene seemed about to say something else, but her gaze just melted back into the middle distance.

"Miss Rush", said Brandt after a few seconds, "Can you tell us about your work?"

Her eyes continued to stare off to one side, and she spoke as though on automatic pilot.

"I work five till eleven for the Bugle. The local newspaper. Not the night shift. They call it the twilight shift. I'm in the accounting section. I walk from there. Takes me about an hour."

"And you work there five days a week?"

"Four. Alternating."

"I see. And was your daughter usually home when you got back?"

"Most days. Sometimes she was out with that boyfriend of hers. Alvin, his name is. Alvin Lucas."

"Does he ever visit her here?"

"No, not anymore. We did it once or twice but, he and I...."

"I see. We'll need to talk to him. Do you know his address or phone number?"

"No. But it'll be in Emily's diary. It's upstairs with..."

Spasmodically she closed her eyes and struggled against tears again. She didn't open them until she was once again fully composed.

"We'll get it." said Brandt as though there had been no interruption. "Now, was there anyone else who sometimes came to see your daughter? A friend, someone who'd come and collect her to go somewhere...?"

"No I don't think so. But anyone could have got in the back way. I was always telling her to lock the back door but she never did. Silly girl, wait! Of course there were people! Her karate friends!"

"She studied karate?"

"Yes! At the community centre. Some of her friends from there sometimes came round to practice moves and do their meditation in the spare bedroom. We set it up specially for her."

"Right, could you..."

"One friend in particular.", She was quite animated now. "Um...Leon! That was his name. Young fellow. Seventeen. Chinese. He came round quite often. Once a week, maybe a little less."

"Okay. So when was the last time he was here?"

"Oh...not for two weeks. That I know of. But he often came round when I wasn't here. Early evening. I think know, I think he liked her. Quite a lot actually."

"Okay, we'll check out the karate club at the community centre..."

"And Leon."

"And Leon. But I also need to know where your daughter went, what other people she might have known. What did she do days and nights? Did she have a job? College?"

"Um. No. She dropped out of university six months ago. She was looking for a job. Well, I say looking..."

"I know what you mean. What about nightclubs, music venues, pubs. Did she go out much evenings or nights?"

"No, not really. Well, not that I knew about anyway. She never told me."

"So she stayed in this house most of the daytime and nighttime, except when she went to the karate club or to see her boyfriend. Sometimes she had visitors and they'd practice karate upstairs. Did she know people on the internet? Chatrooms, online games, that sort of thing?"

" Infrequently. I think she kept in touch with a few people by email, but it wasn't a big thing for her. My god. Do you think she met some pervert on the internet?"

"I don't know, but it's something we'll have to look into. We're going to have to take your daughter's computer for a few days I'm afraid, to look for anything like that."

Irene shrugged, suddenly uninterested.

"Okay", said Brandt. "I'm going to follow all this up, and I might have some more questions for you later. Before that, I'm going to have to have a look at your daughter."

The mother didn't respond, but she took a sip of her tea.

In the hallway outside, Harris lent over and spoke quietly the Brandt.

"What do you make of that, sir?"

Brandt looked at him, puzzled. "What am I supposed to make of it, Harris?"

"Well sir, do you believe her?"

"I don't know yet. I've only just met her and haven't checked anything she said yet. But it's obvious who she thinks killed her daughter."

Before Harris could say anything else, Brandt bounded heavily up the stairs.

There were four rooms upstairs - one was obviously a small bathroom, one a tidy bedroom, one a rather untidy bedroom, and the other...

...contained Doctor Christopher Molyneux and his assistant, dressed in white coveralls, photographing a dead girl on the floor.

The doctor looked up, smiled in that eye-crinkling, nose-scrunching way he had, and carefully walked over to Brandt. Doctor Molyneux was taller than Brandt, older, fatter, hairier, and happier.

"Morning", he said amiably. "Single blow to the back of the head with a blunt instrument - most likely that blood covered metal statue that's next to her, though I'm prepared to be proven wrong on that point. Assailant probably right handed, didn't need much strength, could have been a woman or a teenager. Death would have been instantaneous or near as dammit. No fingerprints or fibres so far."

"And a good morning to you, Doctor", returned Brandt. "Can I take a closer look?"

"If you're careful and don't leave any fingerprints or drop any litter.", said the doctor, producing a boiled sweet from nowhere and popping it into his mouth. He must have given up smoking again.

Brandt cautiously stepped into the room, leaving Harris outside looking squeamish with the good Doctor for company. The assistant had started photographing the shelves.

The room was spacious with no carpet or furniture except a wicker chair in one corner. There were shelves containing piles of CDs, books on martial arts and pop music, and a dozen kitch knick-knacks representing the mysterious east. One of them was lying on the floor - a dark brass figurine of a dragon curled up as though asleep. There was hair and blood on its back.

Unable to put it off any longer, Brandt lent over the body of the girl. She was lying chest down, face right, arms and legs splayed and bent, as though she'd tripped and fallen. She was wearing baggy jeans and a figure-hugging white t-shirt, shoes with raised heels and no socks, all splattered with patches of mud and dirt. The jeans dipped at the back to reveal a bright purple thong. There was a dry dead leaf stuck to the back of her t-shirt.

She was in her late teens, looking healthy and well scrubbed with well kept long straight blond hair - except for the mess of congealed blood behind her crown, and a bruise above the left temple. Her eyes were open and staring blankly, her nose was small and upturned, and her mouth was slightly open in what looked like the first moment forming an expression of surprise.

Brandt straightened up and turned to the doctor. "It looks like she walked through the woods last night."

"Yes", said Doctor Molyneux, sucking on his sweet. "In fact, I'd say she rolled around in it. There's quite a lot of bruises too. Some are weeks old - I'd say five or six - and they look pretty consistent with martial arts. But some are just a few hours old, and they look...

He tailed off. Brandt raised his eyebrows.

"This is strictly off the record, Brandt. I could be wrong and the post mortem will show for certain, but...the newer bruises are consistent with being attacked and held down from behind, not playfighting from the front. It looks like she was violently assaulted in the woods. I think...she might have been raped."

Brandt was silent for seconds. "You're saying..."

"Officially I'm not saying anything."

"But off the record, she might have been raped in the woods last night...and then killed back here?"

"That's what it looks like."

Oh I Give Up

I've got four unfinished short stories. They range from nearly written to fully planned but barely started, and I'm not happy with any of them. There's a murder mystery that started out heading for 5000 words, then got more and more complex till it would occupy ten times that. There's another about a guardian angel who can't get his human out of an ethical quandary any more than the human himself.

It looks like I'm not good at writing to a self-imposed deadline. Anyway, here's a brief excerpt from the 'angel' story, listing some of the protagonist's previous human changes:

A married man keeps having affairs with women who remind him of his wife, even though she's waiting for him at home. He can only love her when it's not really her...

A young girl runs away from abusive carers and gets picked up by a much older man. When the police find her he wants to stay with him because he makes her feel wanted...

A wife stays with her violent husband because she needs to feel like a powerless victim. If she took control she'd have responsibility, and she can't bear that...

A man enters an arranged marriage to a woman he's never met because he wants to prove his devotion to the traditions of the homeland he's never seen. Then he falls in love with his wife and finds the homeland hasn't practiced the tradition for decades...

A rich widow sells everything and moves back into the house she lived in till she was five. But she's misremembered the number and street. She has to invent her childhood there to relive it...

A young boy feels guilt that he didn't cry at his grandmother's funeral. He starts to read the bible obsessively, hoping it'll make him holy. It convinces him his grandmother was a sinner not worth crying for...

The Price of Everything

I'm still here, just rather too busy with things that have nothing to do with music, writing, reading, sex, politics, or any of the other things that might be worth blogging about.

Or, as a wise woman once said, "I'm in the middle of 15 things, all of them annoying".

Minge texted on Sunday to say he'd arrived in Portsmouth and to ask if I was free, then communication ceased and his phone didn't ring. Hmmm.

We are blessed with four railway stations in a ten mile radius, and I didn't know which (if any) he was at. Still, I got a good brisk walk out of checking two of them. Maybe next time.

We are also blessed with a local rail system that mostly isn't working at the moment. Repair work was due to be finished by the new year, then by March, then tenatively by September, and now maybe by Christmas. If we're lucky.

Seeing as (it seems) half the roads are being frantically dug up and resurfaced all at once, and that includes one of the three main roads into and out of the city...we're just a bit isolated and congested at the moment.

MJ says she enjoys gay cruising tips and stories whenever I post them. So I suppose I'd better start cruising again. Ah, the things I do for my public.

My blog is worth $3,951.78.
How much is your blog worth?

So I'm worth $3,951.78. Which is about 7500 English pounds sterling. By my reckoning that's:

* One sixth of a one bedroom house around here.
* Two and a half part time MA degrees.
* 375 of the cheapest prostitutes.
* 37 entry level PCs.
* 50 mobile phones that also play mp3s.
* 13 and a half weeks in the Cairo Hilton.

Anyway, enough of this frippery. And not just frippery, but folderol, foolishness and faffing about. I have just decided to promise that my next post will be a short story of some kind. I've got absolutely no idea what it'll be about, but I've just given myself a little deadline pressure to aid focusing.

Even though I haven't said when the deadline is.

Money for Old Dope

In 2000, Jon Gilbert Leavitt (1, 2) recorded a song called "Pride". It was a kind of "We Didn't Start the Fire" for 20th century gay history.

In 2001 I did a cover version of it, and around 12 months later, a much improved version. I wasn't working with the most advanced software in the world, and wasn't practiced at using it, but they weren't bad for early work.

Now it seems they're still around. And get this, you can even buy my noodlings for 79 cents, from Richard Branson! It came as a complete surprise to me, but nevermind.

Speaking vaguely of which, I'm taking a "back to basics" approach to my recording studio. I've got six sequencers and 12 CDs full of 1000+ plugins from all over the net - with the result that I'm vaguely aquainted with 3 sequencers and 100 plugins, whereas to be proficient I need to know 1 sequencer and 10 plugins in detail.

So, I'm setting it up with 1 sequencer, 1 or 2 carefully chosen workhorse synths, 7 or 8 specialist synths for featured use, a basic range of effects (reverb, echo, flange, EQ, compression), 1 drum step sequencer and a small range of 10 or 15 drums.

Assuming there's any time to use them, of course. Today the jobcentre put me on another pointless three-month course to keep the unemployment figures down.

The result of the introductory half hour interview was the sentence "[Kapitano] feels that the main problem in finding a job is the lack of available jobs."

In the coming weeks we will be exploring the issue in greater depth. Though there is the option to put me on a course for basic IT skills.

I was watching the local news, and getting annoyed at the vapid blond presenter cheerily informing me of local nonevents, when an idea stuck me for a murder mystery:

A minor celebrity - a local TV newsreader - finds her career is going nowhere. Inspired by the murder of Jill Dando, in which a televisual nonentity was posthumously elevated to fame and adoration by the media, she hatches a plan.

With the help of her manager, she fakes her own assassination and gets her 'corpse' stolen, ensuring weeks of media attention and praise. With her profile and career prospects duely raised, she returns from the dead, claiming amnesia.

She gets to appear on chatshows, and soon her manager - his star also rising - is getting her contracts for her own programmes.

Then she really is killed.

I'm with Stupid

My week-long writing sabbatical actually lasted 6 hours. Good thing too - there's a thin line between a place being an isolated, calming and peaceful retreat, and it being so crushingly dull you want to take up cactus juggling just to have something more interesting to do.

The Isle of Weight is a long way past that line. There's poor rural parts, affluent urban parts, and gaudy nightspots, and they've all had the happiness and hope surgically removed.

It's like the mirror version of Stepford where all the real people have been replaced by robots incapable of emotion except vague simmering resentment.

Probably the ideal place to be inspired to write murder mysteries.

Someone once defined writing as staring at a blank sheet of paper until your forehead starts to bleed. Odd how banging your head against a brick wall has exactly the same effect.

Speaking of which, I spent most of today tweaking, installing, deinstalling, reinstalling and testing various sound programs, trying to find out why none of them made any sound. Then finding by accident that on the master volume control, the "mute' box had somehow got ticked.

This is a bit like completely dismantling your television to find out why there's no picture - before noticing it wasn't plugged in.

Only it's slightly more annoying, because (1) I'm the man who fixes other people's computers and (2) I'm constantly telling them to check the obvious things first.

My latest enthusiasm is OTR. Old Time Radio - a term describing surviving radio broadcasts of drama and comedy from c1920 to c1060, mostly from Britain and America.

I've been listening to such classics as Dragnet (a police procedural from, I think, before the term was invented), Johnny Dollar (wild western disguised as hardboiled gumshoe), Gunsmoke (hardboiled gumshoe disguised as wild western), Dimension X (great classic sci-fi) and Buck Rogers (unbelievably jaw droppingly buttock clenchingly awful sci-fi).

Them, plus "Abbot & Costello Meet Bela Lugosi".

Can you forgive me for trawling Conservapedia again? I know I shouldn't, but there's something curiosly alluring about juvenile biblebashers trying to write authoritatively on subjects they don't understand.

They're so keen to show they're knowledgable about science and history like the proper experts they're trying to supplant. There's such an air of earnestness about it.

So, from another random walk through the garden of conservatrive wisdom...

All atoms that contain the same number of protons.

From Right-to-work laws:
Right-to-work laws prohibit requiring union membership of workers.

From Plankton:
Plankton consists of the tiny organisms that float in the water and drift with it. Not mentioned in the Bible.

From Money-supply rule:
Increasing the money supply at a faster rate causes inflation.

From Gulf War:
The United Nations commanded Saddam to leave Kuwait but he rejected the idea.

Some entries are factually correct, but somehow missing something. Like a second sentence.

Joseph Smith:
Joseph Smith founded the mormon church in 1830

A Bantu language widely spoken in East Africa.

Pacific ocean
Largest ocean in the world.

Pancho Villa:
Pancho Villa was one of the most important generals in the Mexican Revolution.

A few manage to be informative. Sort of:

A growth response to the tooth

The capital of the Aztec empire, built on an island in Lake Texcoco.

From Constants:
1.000 calorie = 4.184 Joules

Hugh Capet:
Hugh Capet was the first of the Capetian kings.

And there are those that are the oppposite of informative:

Reconstruction is the act of rebuilding something after it has been damaged or destroyed.

Mahayana Buddhism:
Mahayana Buddhism is the Chinese branch of Buddhism, which focuses on a philosophical approach to life.

A lake is a body of water surrounded entirely by land.

The weapon of choice for "Bushi". Is usually curved.

Then there are entries that are subtly wrong:

Two or more atoms that have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons.

(It's actually two or more elements)

Eukaryotic cell
A cell with organelles

(It's true that, according to one system of nomenclature, eukaryotic cells have nuclei and internal compartments, while prokaryotes don't, but...

It's a little like defining a feudal society as one without factories.)

The duplication of a cell's chromosomes to allow daughter cells to receive the exact genetic makeup of the parent cell.

(Alternatively, it's what we mean most of the time when we talk about cell division - one cell dividing into two genetically identical cells)

Ancient World
A general term which describes the world from the creation until the fall of Rome.

Subtraction Property of Equality
The Subtraction Property of Equality states: if a = b then a - c = b - c.

(Is this a precondition for numerical equality, or a consequence of it? It seems a little unclear.)

An organism that causes disease.

Not forgetting those that are unsubtly wrong:

A radical chemical change in one or more alleles of an organism.

From Musical Harmony:
Musical harmony was invented in the late 800s A.D....

From Storm Troopers:
The Storm Troopers were a fascist group in Germany during the time directly prior to World War II. They were also known as "Brownshirts".

From Karl Marx:
Karl Marx (1818-1883) founded communism by his book "The Communist Manifesto"...Communism prohibits a full right of private property and in its place attempts to force people to be equal in wealth.

Marx drew heavily on the ideas of the German philosopher Friedrich Engels.

A bartering tool, usually backed by some form of precious metal, that is perceived by others to have value and is used to acquire desired items

From Epic of Gilgamesh:
Written around 2500 BC, the tale takes place a few hundred years after Noah and the Great Flood.

(if the writer knew anything about the epic, he'd know the time setting is unknown, and the flood occurs halfway through the story.)

From Dinosaur:
Most scientists...claim the fossil evidence supports their beliefs. However, there are a number of lines of evidence that point to dinosaurs and man coexisting. For example, trained scientists have reported seeing a live dinosaur.

...the first human being on the planet. The Lord made him out of His own image and loved him even after he disobeyed Him. His wife was named Eve.

Mutations had not yet begun to degrade the human genetic code from God's perfect Creation.

Oh well. I finish with the entire entry for Is democracy even possible in Iraq?


It's that time again, when I have to reinstall Windows XP. I use this computer to test out new software before putting it on any others - that way I know which programs crash, install trojans or just don't do what I need before they go on any of the other computers. The system works, but it does mean this computer gets all the junk the others avoid.

So, before I wipe the slate clean again, here's a selection of search terms used by people to find this blog, paired with some intriguing pictures from other people's blogs.

sinnita nude

"had sex tonight"

modest chothing

guys4men horror story

intp sexuality


kevin trudeau dianetics

maja hi maja hu maja ha maja ha ha halo salut


the worzels wavs

backing track for blood sugar sex magik gcse

thompson twins

"there's nothing left to talk about"

And finally, my particular favourite. And amazingly I really did blog about it.
"reversing the effects of excessive masturbation, restore the balance of brain's acetylcholine / parasympathetic ratio"