I thought about helping.
The day after the big thunderstorm tore through the city, I went to work as always. Police cars were all over the place, and so was a bunch of shredded insulation, and the company’s roof. Yellow police tape kept me out of the parking lot, so I found a spot up the block and walked down.
I sidled up to Kevin. “Nice of Pankhurst to let us know about this.”
“Sure was. Otherwise we might have wasted our time and come down here today.”
“That roof has looked better.”
“The roof isn’t the interesting thing,” Kevin said. “All these cops wouldn’t be here just for a roof being off. There are roofs off all over the city.”
“So why are they here?”
Kevin smirked. “Turns out Pankhurst has had a skeleton in his closet all this time.”
“Or, more correctly, in his roof. You see that big knot of cops and whatnot over there?”
“They’re looking at a chunk of roof that contains a skeleton. A real live skeleton. Of a person.”
I didn’t have much to say about that. I just thought about how long I’d worked there and wondered how long a skeleton had been in the same building. It didn’t seem decent. I shouldn’t have to put up with that.
I saw Pankhurst, my boss, walk toward me; he had been on the far side of the skeleton crew.
“Roof blown off,” Kevin muttered, “skeleton found, and Pankhurst. There’s a trifecta for you.”
“Mr. Pankhurst,” I said almost politely when he approached.
“Farnsworth. Cormin. You can see we won’t be getting much work done today. Mrs. Gunderson is trying to arrange for alternate office space. We’ll get the files as soon as we can.” He was struggling to be his usual gruff, officious self.
I popped that balloon. “What’s this about a skeleton?”
Pankhurst collapsed into himself. “Oh, it’s terrible. There’s a woman’s skeleton over there. It’s apparently been hidden in the attic.” He gulped. “I’m in charge here. They’ll think I had something to do with it. I’ll be hauled downtown and questioned – interrogated. They’ll think I killed her. Or had her killed – and hidden.”
I thought about helping. Pankhurst is a class-one ass, but he’s no murderer. I thought about telling the idiot that I knew the attic had been filled with insulation and sealed off two years before he came. I thought about telling him that there would be no evidence to link him to the remains. I thought about telling him that he was worrying about nothing.
But he’d made my life difficult for no good reason far too often, just because he could.
“I agree, sir. You’re right, as always. I can’t think of anyone they’d want to question more than you. Corporate will want to have a few words with you, too. You do have a good lawyer, don’t you, Mr. Pankhurst?”
“Oh, no.” He pulled out his phone and walked away from us.
“You’re evil,” Kevin said. “It’s one of your one finer qualities.”
“I’m just calling it a good day’s work. And now I’m clocking out.”