Lozenge & Hampshire: The Case of the Ho-Ho-Horror
Chapter 1: The Jolly Murder
First I want you to think of the time that is, or at lest very close to, Christmas. Next I want you to picture in your mind the scene of Lozenge and Hampshire sitting on chairs in Lozenge’s house. Add to this mental picture of yours Hampshire smoking on a pipe, and Lozenge reading his daily newspaper. Further more add to this cognitive picture of yours a warm gentle fire in the fireplace, adding more ashes to the growing pile of ashes just outside of its hearth. I am asking you to picture all of these because this story shall have no accompanying pictures, thus forcing you to picture them all in your head. I know, I am so terribly cheap.
Lozenge was rather rapidly flipping through the pages of his newspaper, so rapidly in fact that more than one page became slightly ripped. Other pages still nearly became ripped out entirely during Lozenge’s flipping spree. “Why,” said Lozenge with a sigh, “must we wait so long between murders?”
“Tis true,” replied Hampshire while puffing on his pipe, “It’s almost been an entire week since someone last was killed. But that was at the Shrompshire hotel, so many have died there that it almost practically doesn’t even count any more.”
At this point a quite very rapid knocking was heard from the door on Lozenge’s side of the room. Lozenge sighed deeply, “You may come in Mrs. Bunson.”
The door opened and officer PC Fudge stepped in, “Hullo Mr. Lozenge, we over at Scotland Yard are in desperate need of your help.”
Lozenge shuddered, “I do so hope this isn’t to ask me to help put the star on top of the tree again, I full well remember what happened to me the last time I did that.”
“Oh no,” replied Fudge, “Tis not like that at all sir, the inspector is putting the star on the tree this year. What I really came to see you about was...”
Hampshire spoke up at this moment interrupting Fudge, “By the way Fudge, how did you get in? Mrs. Bunson is supposed to inform us of all guests before allowing them in.”
Fudge responded, “Well sir, she told me to just go up as she was working on a fruit cake.”
Sighing Lozenge said, “She IS a fruit cake at times, but that’s not really important right now. You said Scotland Yard had a job for us?”
Fudge nodded vigorously, “Yes they do Mr. Lozenge, last night Mr. Francis Mac DougalWitty was killed in front of his house by a man wearing a Santa costume.”
Hampshire added, “I knew it. I knew all along that those street corner Santas were doing more than just collecting charities.”
Officer PC Fudge merely shrugged his shoulders, “Anyways, I’m supposed to lead you to the scene of the crime. Follow me sirs, there’s a Cabbie waiting for us outside.”
Chapter 2: A Spot of Death
PC Fudge, Lozenge and Hampshire are all at a snow covered street corner standing around the dead body of one Francis Mac DougalWitty. In the distance could be seen the cabbie, that they arrived in, leaving. Lozenge was busy prodding the body with his foot a few times, just to make certain that the body was most certainly dead. In the time he had been a detective, he had seen at least one or two times where Scotland Yard had botched up before by calling someone dead too early. They usually scared the living heck out of the people at the morgue when they woke up.
Lozenge curiously asked, “Don’t you usually make a chalk out line of the body and then have it taken away to the morgue for an autopsy?”
PC Fudge adjusted his police hat, “Well yes, normally we would Mr. Lozenge. But we’re all out of chalk, and the inspector says we can’t move the body until a chalk outline is made.”
Hampshire sniffed the air a bit, “I do think this body is beginning to become a tad bit stinky… why not just buy some more chalk?”
Fudge indifferently responded, “We can’t, there’s a chalk strike.”
Lozenge began to shout as a result from the shear stupidity that he was hearing, “A chalk strike? Why that must be one of the most preposterous things I’ve ever heard… Why I’d dare to say that I could find perfectly good chalk in under 40 minutes without even trying!”
Fudge nodded, “That may be true sir, but Scotland Yard has a special contract to only buy its chalk from one manufacturer. By doing so we get a discount from them, unfortunately all of their workers are on strike…”
Lozenge simply shook his head, “Never mind, never mind… Just how did the man in the Santa suit kill poor Mr. DougalWitty?”
Fudge replied, “He whacked him over the head fifty or so times with his charity bell, or so says an onlooker who saw the whole thing happen.”
“I guess you could say that Santa really rang Sir DougalWitty’s bell!” piped in Hampshire.
Lozenge asked, “Was the onlooker able to identify the Santa?”
“No sir…”, said Fudge, “But I do know that all of the charity Santas in town are at a party in the dining room of the Shrompshire hotel.”
“What-Ho! Lozenge”, said Hampshire, “Is it not uncanny how we can never solve a crime without at least one trip to the Shrompshire hotel?”
“What Ho! Hampshire”, replied Lozenge, “It most certainly is my esteemed friend…”
Fudge sighed, “I guess I’ll stay here and guard the body while you two nick off to the Shrompshire hotel. Somebody has to guard this body at all times until we get some chalk.”
Lozenge began waving at a passing cabbie until it slowed down and pulled to a stop next to them. It should be noted that as it pulled to a stop it kicked up snow all over poor officer PC Fudge. So unfortunate was he that he had to guard the dead body and could not go home to change out of his now cold uniform into a drier one. Ah, to have the luxuries of a higher rank.
“Hullo Guv’nah, were to this fine day?”, asked the Cabbie in his usual cheery voice.
Lozenge smiled as he began to climb aboard the back seat of the carriage, “The Shrompshire hotel my good cabbie, and be quick about it.”
Chapter 3: Happy Fat Guys
Lozenge and Hampshire, upon arriving at the Shrompshire Hotel, were distraught as to what to do. The dinning room was filled with dozens upon dozens of rather happy looking fat people in Santa costumes. From the smell of the air in the room it was easily obvious to tell that not a single man in this room, save for maybe Lozenge and Hampshire, was sober at the moment. Brown stains upon the carpet from spilled booze were all over the room. The carpet washers would most certainly get to charge a high fee when they cleaned up this place.
“I find it rather disturbing that they’d allow such drunkards to portray the image of a man who is a hero to children everywhere, Lozenge!” exclaimed Hampshire loudly.
“Well Hampshire,” said Lozenge in quick response, “I believe that they’re probably sober when they ring the bells, or I do at least hope they are.”
Hampshire disgustedly said, “Well, we might as well begin asking the requisite detective type questions. The sooner we’re done here, the sooner we can leave this place and be rid of these foul men.”
Lozenge nodded, “Too true, there is indeed no time like the present my faithful friend.”
Lozenge proceeded to walk towards a platform like area in the dining room intended for use by public speakers, alternative bands, and rather lousy comedians. Lozenge was none of those thankfully, yet he did still intend to use it while he addressed the room full of drunks. He had some questions, and by Jove he hoped that this useless bunch of beer swillers had some answers. Answers always did seem to make his job easier, especially the truthful ones.
“Hello… may I have all of your attentions please?” Lozenge began, “I’d like to ask you all some question regarding the untimely death of one Francis Mac DougalWitty. The sooner you answer my questions, the sooner you can all return to inebriating yourselves.”
The room quieted from a moment, but only for a moment. Shortly after Lozenge spoke the room was again the loud place it had been before he had begun to speak from the platform. However, Lozenge was still determined to get the answers that he needed, “Did any of you nice gents kill Mr. DougalWitty, and failing that, do any know who did it?”
No one in the room answered the question that Lozenge had asked. However, this was merely because everyone in the room was too thoroughly sauced to say much of anything at all. The only responses Lozenge did acquire consisted of a series of belches, moans, burps and grunts. Furthermore, before Lozenge could try and say anything else, a man in a black business suit came up to the stage and ushered him off of it.
Once the man in the business suit had lead, or rather dragged, Lozenge out of the dining hall and into the reception room, he began his complaint, “Sir, these men have had a hard week making money for the needy. Countless hours in the cold all day ringing a bell and I bet you too would want nothing better than to plaster yourself and forget it. As the manager of the Charity Santa Union, allow me to answer your questions.”
Lozenge smiled, thinking that perhaps now he’d finally get somewhere, “A man in a Santa suit, possibly one of your own suits, was seen killing Mr. DougalWitty. Do you have any ideas who could’ve done it?”
The CSU manager went into deep concentration for a while as he thought long and hard over the situation at hand. He then shrugged and offered the best he could think of, “One of our Santas, Jason McTanny, didn’t turn in his charity money the night of the murder. He also hasn’t shown up for this party, which is not like him seeing as how he’s a rather heavy drinker. Mayhaps he knows something?” The Union manager then picked up a pen and sheet of paper off of the reception desk and scrawled an address on it and handed it to Lozenge, “Now please, be on your way and leave us alone.”
Lozenge pocketed the note, “This greatly simplifies things, now we have a non-inebriated person to question and prod. Come Hampshire, the game may still be afoot.”
Chapter 4: Toilet of Evidence
Lozenge and Hampshire stood outside the apartment of the man named Jason McTanny. Why would anyone would allow themselves to carry a last name like McTanny was beyond Lozenge, then again the same could be said about Lozenge’s name to most of the people he had to deal with. Though at the moment, bizarre nomenclatures was not the topic at hand to address. The topic at hand to address was whether or not someone would ever open the apartment door Lozenge had been pounding on for the last 14 or so minutes. Lozenge hoped it would be rather soon for his hands were beginning to grow a trifle bit sore.
Hampshire attempted to strike up a question to pass the time they were spending outside of the apartment room by posing a not so important question, “Why must the game be ‘a foot’, could it ever be ‘a hand’, or even ‘a shoulder’ perhaps?”
Lozenge stopped his knocking for a moment so as to better allow himself to answer the question at hand, “I’ve never really thought about it now that you mention it. It always just sounded natural to call it a foot.”
Lozenge reach back over to begin knocking again, but stopped abruptly when the door swung inwards. A rather tired and quite possibly unhappy looking man stood in the doorway. Angrily he began, “What is it with all the knocking and everything, I’m not deaf or anything.”
Hampshire grumbled under his breath, “If not deaf then definitely at least slow.”
After Lozenge and Hampshire followed Mr. McTanny into his apartment, he quickly locked the door behind them. Impatiently tapping his foot on the floor McTanny queried, “Okay Guv, what do you want? I haven’t got all day you know.”
Lozenge began to open his mouth, only to be interrupted by his sidekick Hampshire, “May I please use your restroom? I drank a little too much while we were at the Shrompshire hotel and need to go rather badly.”
McTanny nodded, “Uh… yeah.”
After Hampshire had left the room, Lozenge asked, “We’ve been told that you didn’t show up at the office, so to speak, today.”
McTanny faked a cough, “Yeah Guv, I got this really bad cold ya see.”
Lozenge responded, “Well then perhaps you should be in bed.” After a moment’s pause he continued, “Do you have any idea as to who might have killed Mr. DougalWitty?”
McTanny snorted, “That greedy bastard who never gives to charity? I have no idea as to who could’ve possibly done it guv.”
“I see.” responded Lozenge, “But if you did know who did it, then you’d tell me, right?”
At this point in time Hampshire re-entered the room holding a dented bell with a red stain on it, “Lozenge, look what I found in the bathroom. Someone had tried to flush it down the drain.”
Lozenge quickly snatched the toilet water wet bell from his friend’s hand, “Why this red stuff appears to be dried blood. This just might be the murder weapon.”
McTanny shouted, “Yes, I’ll admit I did it, but you’ll never take me in alive!”
“Why’s that?”, asked Lozenge.
McTanny thought for a moment, “I have no idea guv, I guess you’ll be taking me in then?”
Lozenge nodded, “Yes, we indeed shall. Come Hampshire, it is once again time to show up the men at Scotland yard. I wonder who they’ve mistakenly arrested this time.”