Derek Nyeman scans the shelves of the DIY store on the High Street and looks back at his list.
- Duct Tape
- Heavy duty rubbish bags
He screws up the paper and pushes it into his trouser pocket. If he is going to do this, he may as well do it properly.
‘Excuse me,’ he stops a young sales assistant. ‘Do you sell wood chippers?’
‘No sir. That’s more of a professional item. There’s a hire place on the industrial estate, two miles towards Deerton.’
‘Thanks.’ Derek scratches his chin. It’s almost hunting season and he could do with being able to use the freezer in the shed for deer and pheasants. The argument with the Colonel was a year ago now.
The assistant breaks into his thoughts, ‘Can I help you with anything else?’
‘No.’ Derek marches out of the shop and to his car parked outside. A caramel coloured spaniel barks at him from the top of the High Street. ‘Stupid mutt,’ he grumbles under his breath. ‘Hetherington should keep that dog under control.’
He flings open the door of the gold coloured Reliant Robin, and throws himself back into the seat, starting the car as he does. This had been going on for too long. No one was even looking for Colonel Thornton. The whole village thought he’d left on a cruise and never come back. Serves him right for questioning Derek’s bird keeping skills. Derek smirks, thrusts the gear stick into reverse and moves back without looking in his rear view mirror.
‘Hey.’ Delilah Delibes leaps onto the pavement of the High Street, swearing at him under her breath. ‘Lunatic!’ she shouts, her Jack Russell barking frantically at the wheels of the Reliant as it pulls out and speeds off down the High Street.
‘Is that Derek Nyeman?’ Blake Hetherington and his dog Prince draw level with Delilah and Bertie.
‘That’s a bit much?’
‘Well he is a nutcase!’
‘No I meant the driving. He’s up to something.’
‘He’s always up to something Blake. Come on, let’s go and see Tuvey.’ Delilah nods in the direction of the antiques shop.
Heading out of Tuesbury on the road towards Deerton, Derek has his mind made up. A wood chipper would do it. He’s seen it in mob movies. Anything frozen will go through a wood chipper. Colonel Thornton has been in the freezer for a year. He is well and truly frozen.
He’d have to have the wood chipper delivered but waiting a few more days won’t be a problem. Then there’s the logistics of using the chipper in his tiny back garden without drawing attention to himself. He smiles as an idea comes to him. He could get the chipper delivered to the allotment car park. No one would question that, surely? If he gets a tow bar fitted he could attach the chipper to the Reliant and drive it into Druid Woods. Only a short distance from the allotments, the wood is the perfect place to dispose of the Colonel.
The next day Delilah and Blake are having coffee in Food Shangri La, or at least coffee is what Delilah calls it. Blake calls it torture. Chicory is no substitute for caffeine infused beans.
‘Is that a wood chipper?’ Delilah asks.
Blake turns in his seat and looks out of the window across to the allotments. Above the privet hedge the discharge spout of a wood chipper can just be seen.
‘It is,’ she continues, ‘ Who on earth wants a wood chipper there?’
‘No idea,’ Blake replies.
‘There’s only one way to find out,’ Delilah gets up from the bench. ‘Come on, let’s go and have a look.’
Usually reluctant in these circumstances to interfere with another person’s business on the allotments, Blake follows, keen to escape his chicory coffee.
Two nights later Blake is sitting on the comfortable old armchair in his allotment shed. A recent spate of strawberry thefts and sabotage have given him cause to spend the evening there in an attempt to catch the culprit. A fruitless stake out leads to snoozing in the old armchair. Prince wakes him with a bark. Blake opens his eyes and his conscience becomes aware of a distant noise coming from the woods.
Negotiating the trees with the Reliant and the wood chipper was more difficult than Derek had anticipated. The access track from Blackwood Manor had been fine until he’d hit the edge of the wood. Then the paths were only just wide enough. Stopping just inside the treeline, Derek looks at his watch. Two a.m. No-one will be around at this time. Not even the infuriating Blake Hertherington and his associate, Delilah Delibes.
It had to be them who came to ask what was going on with the wood chipper? He’d made some excuse about hedge trimming but he knew Hetherington hadn’t believed him. Regardless, Derek had to complete his plan. He’d come too far.
Taking hold of the Colonel’s feet, protruding from the roll of carpet, he dragged the body towards the chipper. He’d already started the wood chipper going and constructed a ramp with some logs so that he could reach the chute.
‘Hey!’ A torch-light shone on Derek, blinding him. ‘Is that you Nyeman?’ A voice shouted, light glinting off the gold paintwork of the Robin Reliant.
Dropping the Colonel, Derek rushes around to the driver’s side of the Reliant, getting in and starting the engine. Pulling forward with wood chipper still going, Derek’s final mistake is not turning the headlights on. The Reliant is now wedged between two trees, pinning the driver’s door shut and Derek in the car.
Torch-light shines through the window of the door, ‘What on earth are you doing Derek?’ Blake Hetherington enquires.
‘Getting rid of some dead wood,’ Derek replies through the glass.
Blake shines his torch back at the roll of carpet a few feet behind the car, ‘Dead wood doesn’t usually have feet.’
This is a mini noir based on the Blake Hetherington Mysteries, usually told by Blake Hetherington , milliner extraordinaire.
‘A DEADLY ORIENTATION’
BE A PART OF THE NEXT MYSTERY
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