Oh God, I hate my brain sometimes.
So I make a casual comment about, perhaps, wishing some physical harm to happen to some people at the curling club. It was a passing thing, vented in a moment of frustration. I'm sure people at the club have had similar thoughts about me from time to time.
Then a friend suggests I should write a murder mystery at a curling club. And immediately my brain makes the leap that the victim should be found in the house, with his head bashed in by a curling stone.
"Hah, that's kind of funny," I thought. "It's a start."
And then I pushed it away, because I already have a book that I'm struggling to finish. The last thing I need to do is start a new one. Besides, if I ever do finish this one, I have notes on three other books I'd like to try and do. And I know squat about murder mysteries.
Except now the guy dead in the house is named Mike and he was the best curler in this club, and the most hated. He once curled lead on a team that made it to the world junior championships and has lorded it over everyone at the club for years. So there's no shortage of suspects.
And while I was in the shower, this scene came out. I'm writing this just to get it down more than anything else right now, because I don't want it to slip away. But understand, I want to punch my brain to make it go back on the right track and finish the other book instead of playing with this idea. Stupid brain.
"Oh dear Jesus, what happened here?"
John turned around, annoyed that there was another person out in the curling area. It was bad enough he had gawkers looking through the glass at the body, now he had someone actually trying to get out onto the ice. He grabbed him before he could step out on the ice. The last thing he needed was the crime scene contaminated.
"There's been a murder, Ken. Someone murdered Mike," Peter said. John noted that Peter didn't seem all that upset when he broke the news. For that matter, glancing back through the glass, he didn't notice many of the gawkers looked all that upset either. Mike didn't appear to be all that beloved by his fellow curlers.
And then Ken confirmed that.
"Oh, the bastard. He was a pain in the ass in life and now he's gone and ruined my bloody ice. We have a bonspiel in two days and the ice is completely screwed up. You son of a bitch!" Ken yelled, pointing his finger at the corpse.
The RCMP constable was having a hard time believing his eyes. There was a man lying out in the middle of a sheet of ice. His head had clearly been bashed in with one of the curling stones. There was brains and blood all over the place. And he was watching a man have a mental breakdown not over the corpse, but what the corpse was doing to the ice.
Curlers, he was beginning to realize, were deeply weird.
"Ken, perhaps now is not the time to be yelling at the corpse," Peter said, trying to calm the man down. Ken flopped down on a bench next to a wall and just stared at the ice. He looked like he was ready to start crying.
"Sorry about that," Peter said. "Ice makers are very protective over their ice. Ken is one of the best and we do have a major bonspiel this weekend. Curlers coming in from all over the province. So if it's not in top shape, well, he's the one who gets blamed."
John shook his head. "He's not worried about looking like a suspect by cursing on the dead man lying out there."
Peter laughed, not unkindly. "I don't mean to tell you how to do your job, constable, but there's no shortage of suspects in this club. Mike was not exactly beloved by the membership. However, the last person that would kill Mike like this would be an ice maker."
"Because look at this bloody mess!" Ken yelled. "There's blood and brains all over two sheets of ice. So that's got to be cleaned up. And the heat from his body went and melted the ice underneath him, so I'm going to have to do a controlled flood. Then there's the scraping to level things out. The ice will never be right for the rest of the season in that spot. And they're going to blame me for it, just you watch. 'Oh, that Ken. Thinks he's such hot shit, but couldn't even fix the ice after it gets a little blood and brains on it.' Wankers."
"Plus, you got to think that sheet of ice is cursed. No one is going to want to play there now. Not for years," Peter added as an aside. Ken nodded in agreement.
"Cursed?" John asked. He was beginning to wonder if he was being taped at this was all an elaborate prank being played by his boss.
"Constable, a man died on this sheet of ice. What's left of his head was pulped by a curling stone right on the button of the house. Clearly, someone was making a statement. But also, well, curlers are superstitious. No one is going to want to use that rock or be on that sheet of ice for years. A skip died there. That's got to be seen as bad luck."
John could only stare at the two men. This was going to be a deeply weird case.
1. Que' onda guero - Beck
2. From the ritz to the rubble - Arctic Monkeys
3. See the sun - Dido
4. Solid - The Dandy Warhols
5. Uptown girl - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies*