Shep barked loudly, straining at his collar. With the leash tucked awkwardly under his armpit George Fennyweather’s cold fingers fumbled with the mobile phone. He’d always had difficulty using the blasted thing. Finally, he managed the dial the numbers.
‘101, how can I help.’
A young woman answered the call. She sounded brisk and efficient; George began to feel better – here was somebody who knew what they were doing. He hushed Shep, bringing him to heel.
‘Good morning miss.’ George patted the head of his faithful friend, glad of the warmth the dog radiated next to his leg. ‘I appear to have found a dead body.’
‘Are you sure the person is dead, sir?’
‘Well,’ George peered down at the body on the ground before him, noting the blue tinge to its lips and the unseeing eyes open to the sky above. ‘I haven’t made any investigations, it’s more of an observation.’
‘It’s important that you check for a pulse, sir. Do you understand?’
‘Right, if you think it’s best.’ George pushed Shep to one side gently and bent low over the body. Ignoring his knees screaming in protest, he gingerly pressed two fingers to the neck of the corpse. He sighed heavily, pulling himself up to standing. ‘It’s as I expected, miss, there’s no pulse.’
‘Okay sir, thank you. I need you to tell me where you are.’
‘Yes, of course. Shep!’ George pulled his dog away from investigating the corpse any further. ‘I’m in the graveyard – Barking Abbey graveyard.’
There was a pause on the other end of the phone.
‘Is this a joke, sir? Wasting police time is a serious offence.’
George pulled himself up a little straighter. ‘I’ll have you know young lady, that George Fennyweather is neither a liar nor a time waster.’ He breathed heavily out of his nose in indignation.
‘Of course, sir. I’m sending a patrol out to your location as we speak. It’s vitally important that you stay where you are.’
George could already hear the wailing siren in the distance. At his age he wouldn’t get very far so he might as well stay where he was. There could be a cup of tea in it for him at the very least.
‘I understand. Do I need to do anything else?’ asked George, eyeing up the stonework of a nearby tomb. It looked like it might make a decent enough perch for a little while.
‘No ,sir. Just stay with the body and try not to contaminate the scene further.’
‘Right you are then.’ George didn’t really know what to say now, he rubbed his nose. ‘Would it be alright if I finished the call? It’s just that I’m pay as you go and I’m on a fixed income you know.’
A Bite of… Claire Buss
Q1: What is the best thing about living in suburbia?
The best thing is the green spaces, I like a bit of nature on my doorstep. Plus all the gossip – you’d be amazed what goes on in the suburbs!
Q2: If you weren’t a writer what other art or craft would you love to pursue?
I’d love to be able to draw. I can imagine wonderful creatures and places in my head, but the limits of my artistic ability are rather badly drawn stickmen. I always wanted to do art at school but got shunted into history and latin instead. At least I didn’t have to take geography. But yes, artistic ability please.
Q3: Is cheesecake really cake?
Look, let’s get down to business. It has a biscuit base that was smashed up and held together by butter. Somewhere, along the line, sugar was added. Popular cheesecake topping? Strawberries and/or chocolate. If you’re trying to tell me that is not a cake then you’re probably one of those salad eaters, aren’t you? Go on, away with you.
Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet based in the UK. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead, Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and Pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 with her debut novel, The Gaia Effect, setting her writing career in motion. She continues to write passionately and is hopelessly addicted to cake. You can find all her books on Amazon, share her thoughts on her blog, follow her on Facebook and stalk her on Twitter.