I kept my hands tucked deep into my pockets, like hammers in a tool belt. I continued on to the bathroom at the back of the shop to wash up before I ordered my usual coffee and lemon cake. The biting January air crept through the tiny crack in the high window. A crack ran through the middle like a ragged scar. I twisted the taps on the sink. The cold one didn't work. So, I used the hot tap. I watched the soapy foam as it swirled down the drain. One more look at the window and then I returned to the young man behind the counter.
His face crumpled into a mask of concern. "Hey, are you okay, man?"
My eyes darted to find the culprit of his alarm. My thumb found the spot of blood on the stiff, white collar of my favourite shirt (it was a gift from my wife, my darling Mary) and I rubbed at it a little. I hadn't taken the thing off since she died.
"Yes," I offered a tight smile. "I just had a bit of a nose-bleed, that's all. It's this cold air that does it."
I smiled again for good measure. He smiled back.
"The usual?" I nodded. I shoved the cash onto the counter and took a seat near the far window in the corner, away from the door. As I sat, I watched the passerby and the people who wandered into the little coffee shop. It was in this way that I saw them.
They were across the street when I looked, talking to the locals and writing on little, spiral notepads. Their heads--a pair of blonde heads, by the way--snapped up to stare through the frosted windows of the coffee shop.
I groaned, my fingers flying up to grind into my temples. Those damn sirens were giving me a headache.
The police burst through the door, hands on their guns and legs braced apart.
I indicated my presence with the wave of a hand and a small grunt.
"Over here, boys."
I really didn't expect them here so soon. I hadn't even gotten my coffee and cake yet.
"You're under arrest for the murder of Mary Smith..."
The cop's voice trailed on but I couldn't listen.
I stood to make securing a pair of handcuffs around my thick wrists a little easier.
Mary, dear Mary, had been a bad woman. She never listened. Well, she certainly had listened that night. But still...I loved my wife. And love means never having to say you're sorry.
Inspired by Carry on Tuesday.