Short Story | ‘Night Watch’ by Kristina England, Illustration by Alberta Torres

Illustration for 'Night Watch' by Alberta Torres

Brady belched pastrami sandwich. Caldwell covered his nose.

“What?”

“Nothing…”

“What are you, five? ‘Nothing.’ Come on. The wife can do better than that.”

Brady peered through his binoculars into an apartment window on Lexington Ave.

Both Brady and Caldwell wanted to be home. Tonight was chess night for Brady and his wife. Caldwell had made plans with the girlfriend to catch up on their favorite Soaps.

But when you worked for Stanley Stanley’s Investigative Services, you worked when the perps were out and about. Unfortunately, most detectives didn’t sleep much.

Caldwell sipped a coffee and leaned back against the chair. The girlfriend was probably watching the Soaps without him. He sighed.

“You know what the wife said last night?” said Brady, passing the binoculars to Caldwell.

“What?”

“She said I’m like the planet Saturn.”

Brady looked at Caldwell. Caldwell looked blankly back at him.

“Do you know anything about Saturn?” asked Brady.

Caldwell’s forehead wrinkled.

“She told me that I’m full of liquid helium.”

Caldwell looked at him, waiting for a punch line.

“She thinks I’m full of gas.”

Caldwell laughed. “Why didn’t you just say that?”

“Cause the wife used a metaphor and I was just relaying it.”

“I thought Saturn was a planet, not a meteorite?”

“No, meta… never mind.”

Caldwell held the binoculars up to his eyes.

“So, what exactly are we looking for?”

“We’re looking to see if Betty is wearing Mrs. Ambrose’s necklace.”

“And what will that tell us?”

“That Mrs. Ambrose gave her the necklace.”

“And…”

“That they’re lovers.”

“And…”

“Really?” asked Brady. “How on earth did you pass Criminal Science?”

Caldwell shrugged. “I have a photogenic memory.”

“I’m impressed.”

“Thanks.”

“Not about your photogenic memory, but by the fact that you used photogenic correctly in a sentence.”

Caldwell blinked.

“Anyway, Mr. Ambrose thinks Mrs. Ambrose is having an affair with Betty. He also thinks Mrs. Ambrose killed the butler because he walked in on her and Betty.”

“Oh. So, why do we need the necklace?”

“To prove they’re having an affair.”

“Can’t we just assume it if they’re making out in Betty’s bedroom?”

“We could, but they are very discrete.”

“They don’t look very discrete.”

Brady grabbed the binoculars from Caldwell.

“Blimey! Grab the camera! We’re going in!”

“I knew I forgot something…”

“What? The only thing I asked you to remember was the gosh darn camera.”

“I know. Silly, right?”

Brady glanced at Caldwell, then jumped out of the car. He wiped his hands on his pants to remove any leftover pastrami grease and headed towards Betty’s house.

Caldwell got out of the car and stretched. He looked up at the sky and closed his eyes.

He could almost smell Saturn.

Illustration by: Alberta Torres

Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her writing is published or forthcoming at Crack the Spine, Extract(s), Gargoyle, The Hessler Street Fair Anthology, The Quotable, Yellow Mama, and other magazines.

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