When I walk down the road I like to smell people as they pass. I do. Not obviously. Not right in their face. Sniff. I like to smell the waft they leave behind when they walk past. People at the Tuesday market smell like cigarettes and poo. Sometimes I smell mothballs, or urine. Nothing like the young girls on the street wearing scents they got from Santa. Nothing like the tall white boys with bad hair. They smell cheap. Nice, but cheap. It’s Cologne, they would have said to me.
I don’t like Cologne.
I like perfume.
When the girls smell like flowers.
I want to put my nose in their arm-pit.
I can’t. Not on the street, not on the pavement.
Mrs. Crew smelled like fish and lavender. Fish and lavender. Flowery linen. Soon all her belongings will turn up at the market. The tattooed boys would fetch them in a van. Rip them off the walls. On blankets, they’d lay all the goods out. I’ll buy some when I see them.
I fancy a decorative plate, or two. Yes. Lavender and fish.
The support officer came back and said he’d found nothing. Typical. I’d once seen a group of boys in tracksuits, and hoodies strung tight around their heads like a condom, steal a support officer’s bike. Well, I said to the portly officer, thanks for your help, and off he went to tell someone off for dropping a leaf on the pavement.
I went outside and sat on a bench. Next to me as a small red-faced man sitting with his hands on his knees, sort of like an Egyptian monument. I asked if he knew who Mrs. Crew was, but he just shook his head. Could’ve been this fella that did it. How would I know? How could I ever know? I guess that’s my job. I should know.
I get a phone-call from office and they tell me that someone called Jerry wants to talk to me. He’s waiting for me at the council building. He sounds pretty excited, says the operator. I call a taxi and I’m at the council building in ten minutes. A small man in a suit is stood next to the big courtyard doors I had never seen opened.
He bounces on his toes.
“That’s me, come with me, sir, please.”
Jerry leads me down the hill opposite the council buildings, through the train station car-park and up to a nondescript white building which had no windows. I hesitate at the door. I am fond of my kidneys.
“Go on,” said Jerry.
I open the door and walk in.