Friday, 14 March 2014

Midnight at Hotel Oscar (part 1)

Here's the start of a crime story.

Detective Jack Jackson was not having a good day. The problem with being a policeman is everyone expects you to be perfect. Detective Jackson was far from perfect. Only that morning he had argued with his wife, dropped egg down the front of his shirt, and knocked a cyclist off his bike on the way in to work. Not the best of mornings, by anyone’s standards, but far worse for a policeman who was doing his best to get promoted.

“Jackson!” His boss was shouting for him. Jackson’s boss – Inspector Blaine – was not a friendly man. He seemed unable to talk at any level below a shout and, for some reason Jackson could never understand, appeared to hold Jackson in perpetual contempt.

“Jackson, where the hell are you?”

Jackson tried to stand up. He tripped over his own feet, fell back into his chair and knocked over his cup of coffee. Some of the boiling hot coffee splashed into his lap and he yelled with pain. He grabbed a sheaf of paper from his desk and rubbed at the stain.

“Jackson!” Inspector Blaine had walked into his office. Jackson stopped rubbing his crotch with the papers and sat up straight. Blaine glared at him.

“Where’s the Berkeley report?”

Jackson stared at him. He thought hard. Then he looked guiltily at the coffee-stained sheaf of paper in his hand.

“How the hell did you ever make detective?” Blaine snapped. He grabbed the sheaf of papers from Jackson’s hand. Glanced at it. Threw it back at Jackson. “I suppose I should be amazed you finished, but how about you try again and get me a report that isn’t covered in coffee?”

Jackson opened his mouth to apologise.

“Shut it,” Blaine said. “And do the report later. I need you at the Hotel Oscar. Now.”

“What’s happened?”

“Shooting. Seventh floor. Handle it. Take Mary with you. She needs breaking in.”

As Inspector Blaine left, Jackson buried his head in his hands. Mary Swann was the newest detective in the precinct. As far as Jackson knew she had never done a day’s detecting in her life. The only reason she had made detective was thanks to her Police Commissioner father. It was well known that Mary had wanted to be a police officer for years. She had told everyone as much. Even more well known was the fact that Commissioner Swann had done everything in his power to keep his daughter as far away from crime as possible. Mary had been a police officer on the streets for only a week before she was suddenly promoted to detective, no doubt on her father’s insistence. Now here Jackson was, being given the task of keeping Mary safe while trying to investigate a crime scene. Could this day get any worse?