Author's Note: I feel like I have been gone forever, and perhaps I have. I have been in a slump, and unfortunately not a minor one. Hopefully I am beginning to get through it, for I have finally finished some things I had started quite some time back. Here they are, and may they be the beginning of my return to writing. Thank you for your patience and for not giving up on me.
As to 'Bearing Gifts,' I do not know when I will get back to it. I am stuck, and having a hard time pressing on. If you kind people have any ideas or suggestions, I would be more than delighted to hear them, and perhaps together we can find something to get this story back on track.
Once again, thank you for your patience, your encouraging words, and your time.
Detective Inspector Lestrade turned his head at the words; his eyes fell on a young man-little more than a boy, really-standing with his hands in his pockets and staring back at him with eyes full of confidence and yes, more than a little arrogance.
"It wasn't the cleaning woman." The boy spoke once more, before Lestrade could even commit to staring. He sighed before the Detective Inspector could wonder what cleaning woman he was talking about. "Did it even occur to you to check the saleswoman's alibi?"
Lestrade felt as if he had just entered into a conversation that was already halfway through. "Saleswoman?" He asked, before he could help it.
He recognized the look he was given, though he had never before received such a look from someone so young. It was the look his senior partner had often given him when he had first joined the force, and the look his superiors, wife, and older brother had given him on numerous occasions over the years. It was a look that said the wearer simply could not believe how excessively stupid Lestrade was being. It was not a look he enjoyed receiving, and the fact that he had not, until now, received that look for many years did not decrease the irritation he felt at receiving it now, from this boy.
"An elderly gentleman, completely unattached, has a magazine for cosmetics sitting on his coffee table and you don't find that the least bit suspicious?" The boy demanded.
Harry Morrison. Eighty-two years old. No family, no close friends. Hit over the head with a table lamp, knocked unconscious, never woke up. The apartment door had been left open; a neighbor had come in to check to see if everything were all right and found Mr. Morrison dead in the living room floor.
Lestrade had seen the magazine-he had not bothered to decipher the flashy text, and he had tried not to notice the badly dressed woman on the cover, but he had given it little thought beyond that.
Now that he did think about it, his wife had kept booklets like that around. He had done his best to ignore them after J. Thompson-at least, that had been the name on the back of the brochure-had wormed her way into their house in spite of his insistence that his wife was not home and nearly ended their marriage when she returned early from her day out with some of her 'girlfriends,' as she called them. Nothing had happened-but he had never been able to convince Michelle of that. The experience had, however, permanently turned him off of both salespeople and their foolish magazines.
He need to look at the booklet left in the victim's house. If there were on a name on the back-
He realized the boy was still standing in front of him, and that he was waiting impatiently for Lestrade to react. "How did you know that?" He demanded, suddenly suspicious. He had already had enough 'help' from would-be amateur detectives to last him a lifetime-too many people that spent too much time watching detective stories on the telly. He did not need this boy snooping around one of his crime scenes .
The boy favored him with that look again-the second time in less than five minutes-and said, "You really are as slow as you appear on the telly." He continued before Lestrade could reply or even decide whether to be surprised or offended. "They let the press in after you left. I saw it on the news." He rolled his eyes, disgusted. "They completely obliterated what little evidence your lot hadn't already managed to destroy."
He stopped again, mercifully, and Lestrade was able to catch up again. The Detective Inspector was exhausted, far too exhausted to keep up with this boy that babbled at the speed of light and seemed to think even faster. But he had fallen silent, for now, and Lestrade was able to sort through the information that had been dumped on him in such a short amount of time.
First, and least important, this boy had joined the ranks of the multitude that had at one time or another decided Lestrade was an idiot. That hardly mattered right now.
Second, and more important, someone had let the press onto his crime scene after he had given specific orders to the contrary. Lestrade had enough to worry about right now without having to deal with the press-he could hear them already, demanding to know why he was fooling around with a burglary-gone-wrong when he had other, more pressing cases to worry about. It was probably Travers' doing; it had not taken long for Lestrade to grow tired of constantly having to look over his shoulder to make sure Detective Inspector Travers' attempts to further his own career did not endanger not just his own job, but at times his safety. He would deal with that later.
More intriguing, perhaps, was this lad's profession to have figured out everything he had told Lestrade just by watching a report on the news. If he were telling the truth. If he were actually correct-
But he was confident-more confident than any mere mortal had the right to be-in his assertions. This boy was certain he was right.
As too whether or not he was lying, someone of his description would be easily remembered if he had been poking around Lestrade's crime scene earlier. That was easily checked.
Somehow, Lestrade did not think he was lying. He could not have said later exactly why he was sure the boy was telling the truth, at least as he had seen it, but the fact remained that he was sure.
"What's your name?" He asked, curious now, and was not prepared for the reaction the question sparked.
A flash of annoyance, followed by a calculated once-over of the Detective Inspector, all in less than a second and then the boy bolted. He was across the street and ducking down an alley before Lestrade could even consider chasing after him.
Lestrade had other things to worry about than the abrupt departure of an eerily knowledgeable child. He set the matter aside until he could give it the time, and thought, that it needed and turned his attention back to his work.
It was nearly a week and a half before he remembered the strange exchange that had led to the arrest of young woman who had made a career not of selling cosmetics, but of burgling homes she had chosen as 'likely' targets under the pretense of being a door-to-door saleswoman.
Lestrade had not been sure what to make of the boy then. A week and a half later, after a sleepless night spent considering the incident, he still had not decided.