P.I. Inkbiotic Investigates

 

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‘Inch by inch, the world fell apart.’ Empty Poems of the Sun – Hector Banlet

Today me and Mike were loading up the van with a few shrubs we’d cut down, when a man came rushing over all excited.

‘I don’t mean to be rude, but can I have them? I’m getting married on Saturday and they’d look great in the hall, they’re so beautiful!’

We tried to explain about greenfly and viburnum beetle, but he was too happy to listen and we were only going to throw them away, so of course we said yes. Mike tried to charge the guy a fiver, but I gave him a stern look. The groom-to-be kept thanking us, and we congratulated him (actually I said ‘Have a good wedding’ because I have no idea what the etiquette for weddings is).

Five minutes later he returned saying,

‘I’m so sorry, I have to give them back, my van is full of flies now!’

So our kind deed failed, and Mike didn’t even get his fiver.

This afternoon I went to check out the accident down my street, as promised. I had to walk up and down the road looking casual until everyone had gone, and then got a few photos.

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Inspecting closer, I noticed there’s slight skid marks leading towards the smashed up fence. It looks as if someone skidded off the road and drove through the fence, then drove across the garden and out the wall a bit further on. Pausing only to smash out the back windows of two cars. But surely it would take a truck to drive through a wall? Was it a truck? The cars now have bin liners over the window.

Any ideas? I asked what people thought at work and got the following suggestions:

  • A hate crime.
  • A revenge attack.
  • A police raid, where some kind of evidence/ drugs were thought to be in one of the cars.
  • Somebody really drunk got confused where the road was, drove into the garden. They felt very guilty and wanted to write a note to say sorry, but they didn’t have a a pen, so they smashed the rear window of one car, looking for one, but no pen.  Then they smashed the back window of the other car, but no pen. They were then so frustrated by the uselessness of the garden owner, that they drove out in a rage, not noticing that they had made a new path through the wall.

 

Something odd has happened in my street

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‘We broke open the grime and found the shiny. The coin, the chrome, the glint of the sun.’

Empty Poems of the Sun – Hector Banlet

 

Word of the day: smegmatic – like soap; cleansing (if, like me, you love Red Dwarf, this is an unexpected meaning of smegma)

So today Mike visited our messroom-to-be. He said it is too clean and the toilets are small and flimsy. Our boss is excited about it, buying new cutlery and crockery (what we use at the moment is whatever we’ve found in the gardens and cleaned up) and raving about the lack of spiders.

Then when I got home, I went up the road to buy milk, and noticed some POLICE DO NOT CROSS tape fluttering in the wind, attached to a fence. As I got closer, I realised that a large, two-panel section of the fence had been smashed through and the tape had covered this. Further along there was another gap, filled with rubble, and further still, two cars sitting in the drive way with both their back windows smashed out. Anyone have any ideas what could have happened? I assume a car smashed through the fence, but could a car drive through a wall too? And what happened to the two cars? Was it a robbery?

I’ll try to get a photo and a better look tomorrow. Today there were too many people hanging about and I didn’t want to seem nosy.

The dream man gets out

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Word of the day: Bodach – churl; goblin or spectre

Weather: yuk

Mood: well…

 

Got home from work, muddy and soaked. The lounge door was open and I could see Jinjing and Hamoudi hunched over their laptops. Being nosy, I went to try and see what they were doing and they both turned to look at me with haunted eyes.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked, I could see composite faces on each of the screens, like something off Crime Watch.

‘Working with an online identikit program,’ said Hamoudi.

‘My dream,’ said Jinjing darkly, ‘the face in my dream, we’re trying to create it.’

‘The man who stands and stares through your window?’ I asked. With all the trouble with the landlady, I’d forgotten about that.

‘I think he was sitting opposite me on the tube this morning,’ said Hamoudi. I tried not to look too confused, but I must have, because he went on. ‘I knew what he looked like from Jinjing. And there he was, the dark haunting eyes, the grey hood, the pointy nose.’

‘And he was going to work?’ I asked.

‘He wasn’t going anywhere, nobody else could see him,’ said Hamoudi. He paused dramatically, then said, ‘He was dead.’

‘Ah,’ I said, I’d forgotten about Hamoudi’s dead people also. I look at the faces they’ve created, Hamoudi’s has a scar, Jinjing’s has a brooding brow and pouty lips.

‘See? They look the same! That proves it!’ says Hamoudi. ‘I saw the man from Jinjing’s dream.’

I don’t point out that they’re sitting right next to each other, looking at what the other one is doing, so it’s not surprising they’re a little bit similar. I also don’t point out that Jinjing’s has no scar and Hamoudi’s doesn’t have a brooding brow or pouty lips. I don’t want to spoil the drama. I creep out the room and make the most of the empty kitchen to cook some pasta.

I’m finding out! …Oh.

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Finally we find out who’s been invading our rooms and leaving dog hairs, sweetie wrappers and moving my ketchup.

Word of the day: Heuristic – helping to discover by trial and error

So it was tense when me, Jinjing, Hamoudi and Neville sat down beneath the watchful eyes of the cat picture. Did I only imagine that those eyes followed us as we sat down? Yes, I did, but it would have happened if this was a horror movie. I tried to keep things light, but Neville looked shrivelled and wary, Jinjing was cool and sharp and Hamoudi was a big innocent bear, as always. I suspect I looked like I’d wandered in by accident, that’s kind of my thing.

Jinjing started by saying we all had to remain calm and honest and work out a resolution, fair enough. Then I shared my news about the perfume wafting around the flat when I got home.

‘Isn’t that just the landlady though?’ said Neville. ‘She always makes the place smell.’

‘What?’ we all said. Because of course we know the landlady, we each met her before we moved in, but she shouldn’t be in the house, not without us knowing, not without 24 hours notice. And here is Neville talking like it’s a common occurrence we should all be aware of.

‘What do you mean always?’ asked Jinjing.

‘She comes round quite often in the afternoons,’ said Neville. ‘I guess it’s when you’re all at work.’

‘Why didn’t you tell us?’ said Jinjing, she was getting shrill, which summed up how I felt.

‘Does she have a dog?’ I asked.

‘She had a dog when I had my interview,’ said Hamoudi.

‘Does she eat sweets?’ I asked.

‘Does it matter?’ said Jinjing.

‘Well, yes, because she if she eats sweets, she’s been in my room. And if she’s been in my room, then she’s the one who broke my laptop. In which case,’ my turn to get shrill now, ‘I want some bloody money for it.’

‘Why didn’t you tell us that she’s been coming in the house?’ repeated Jinjing to Neville, I think she wanted to continue blaming him for something.

‘I assumed you knew,’ he said.

After that there was some general annoyance and tetchiness. The only thing we could agree on was that one of us needed to tell the landlady to stop turning up when we were at work, but that none of us actually wanted to do it. Stalemate. We left it at that.

So, aliens, Illuminati and sleepwalking are out, and a small middle-aged lady with a bad perm and a yappy dog is in. My life just got 43% more dull.

So I got back and I found…

 

 

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Picture from my trip away

Today I returned to London from my three day escape, feeling much calmer, if totally knackered. I was nervous about what I’d find at the flat. Would Jinjing and Neville still be fighting? Would the walls be splattered with blood?

Actually, they were all at work, as normal. However, what I noticed on opening the door was the smell. Sickly perfume. The kind that station toilets leak into the world. Then I noticed the Quality Street sweet wrapper on the kitchen floor – of course, that’s a communal space, so Neville is free to eat chocolates there. Then I went in the lounge, and did a double take to see these eyes staring at me from the wall:

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Where in merry Hell did that come from? It’s like something my nan would buy, surely not Neville, Jinjing or Hamoudi. It this some kind of home decoration housebreaker? I’m too exhausted to work this out now, I’m going to bed.

 

I think I know where the ketchup went…

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You know when you’re away from a situation and suddenly a detail comes back to you? It’s like your head has emptied out of all the daily mess and that one detail is sitting there alone and obvious. Well, now I’m away from home, I’ve realised something.

(To anyone who’s not been following this drama, my flatmate Jinjing thinks our flatmate Neville has been sneaking into our rooms for unfathomable reasons – not stealing anything of value, but with definite signs left).

One of the clues that someone had been in my room was that my ketchup went missing. But today I remembered there was some ketchup in the fridge when i left. I assumed it belonged to someone else, but thinking about it I  don’t remember anyone else ever using ketchup. It was a squeezy bottle, half full like mine was. I think maybe it was MY bottle.

Which means someone took the ketchup bottle from my room and put it in the fridge. Which CAN’T be Neville, because he never puts anything in the fridge, not even bacon. Does that even make sense? Or is the clarity in my head just a new type of nonsense?

And if I’m right who moved my ketchup? And why?

Someone has been in my room (again?)

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Trouble is following me around, it’s keeping to the shadows, but it’s there, its long fingernails tapping against the walls.

Weather: sunny sunny sunny

Mood: wary

Word of the day: philodox – one who loves his own opinions; a dogmatic person

We were all out today. Jinjing and Hamoudi were out being sociable with friends, and I was wandering about enjoying my own company. When I got back to my room I found the shiny pink foil of a Quality Street chocolate sitting on the floor. I don’t have any Quality Street. It was over by my desk, a good ten feet from the door. Someone has been in my room, and eaten chocolate, and not left me any. I don’t know which of these events I’m more angry about.

When Jinjing and Hamoudi got home, I told them about the sweetie wrapper I found. Jinjing claimed to have found dog hairs on her duvet.

‘This is proof! Neville has been coming into our rooms.’

‘But Neville doesn’t have a dog,’ I said.

‘I’ll bet he does! Maybe that’s why he’s cooking up all that meat. For a dog. A secret dog.’

‘Not in the flat though.’

‘It doesn’t have to be in the flat. Maybe he keeps the dog in the shed. Or at a friend’s house. He has a dog.’

‘But that doesn’t explain why he’s coming into our rooms.’

‘Because he’s evil!’ said Jinjing. And I think she might be losing all reason in the search for a villain. Neville is annoying, but he isn’t evil, and I’m not convinced he’s coming into our rooms, what would be the point? Although I don’t understand about the missing ketchup and the quality street. Or how my laptop got broken. This is all getting very odd.

Mystery solved?

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The tube seat pattern

‘I guess, just be careful you don’t wear any negative shoes, or they might get lifted?’

Comment from A gorilla’s existential crisis

Well, it’s looking like the mystery of the black star has been solved. Although the answer itself may be a diversion, a trick to pacify us. Claims of Illuminati, black holes and aliens are still under consideration.

Weather: blazing!

Mood: chirpy

Word of the day: Hypogeal – underground

So the black star update:

The gorilla blogger, Matt Johnson (unusual name for a gorilla) did some searching around and came up with a theory to explain the star (for anyone who missed the beginning of this, there are stars on the ceiling of tube trains in London and NOBODY else appeared to have noticed them or knew what they were).

The website he linked to had this comment, which I didn’t read properly at the time.

And look out for the little star on the ceiling, that indicates the floor hatch for lifting Negative shoes.

Then after posting on a London underground forum, I got lead to another post, which led to some comments under an article about the underground, and this said basically the same as Matt’s research.

The blue stars are an indication of where the shoes are on the train, in case they need to be lifted. They were on all the old Victoria line trains and are on the baker loo as the trains are basically the same.

For anyone confused about negative shoes, this is the wiki description of shoes. Somebody had fun coming up with names for stuff.

Electric railways with third rails, or fourth rails, in tunnels carry collector shoes projecting laterally (sideways), or vertically, from their bogies. The contact shoe may slide on top of the third rail (top running), on the bottom (bottom running) or on the side (side running). The side running contact shoe is used against the guide bars on rubber-tired metros. A vertical contact shoe is used on ground-level power supply systems, stud contact systems and fourth rail systems.

I suspect it’s the vertical contact shoe that needs lifting and is marked by the star (which I still say is black.)

So I’m going to leave the mystery alone for now, but it won’t be forgotten. I suspect London is full of odd little mysteries, I’d like to connect some of them up. Any ideas how?

 

 

It seems we are competing.

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“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”  ― George Orwell, 1984

Weather: beautiful day to be a gardener

Mood: sitting pretty singing a ditty

Word of the day: Eutropic – turning to face the sun

The sun was bursting out today. Mike was worried and squirted some sun cream onto a tissue (it’s attached to the wall) and brought it round to all of us so we wouldn’t burn. That’s why I love this place.

Mike was in shorts, and at break Dan mentioned he might do the same tomorrow.

‘Ok, but once you’ve put shorts on you’ve got to wear them until December!’ said Mike.

‘Why’s that then?’ I asked, confused.

‘That’s the way it is. You put shorts on, you’ve got to keep them on until winter. It’s a competition, see who can wear them longest.’

‘Alright,’ said Dan, and I boggled a bit, what if it gets cold? That’s just making life unpleasant. If they want competition, can’t they play poker or something?

Another update: For those concerned, I’ve posted a question on a forum about the black star on the tube. Maybe someone knows what I’m talking about. I also travelled on the Jubilee line today, no star. And no star at the other end of the Bakerloo train. So it may just be the last carriage of the Bakerloo trains.

Can you help with this mystery?

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Sorry about the crappy photo, it isn’t easy to take a photo of a tube ceiling in rush hour.

Life used to be filled with unanswerable questions, but then Google came along and answered them all. Except THIS one.

Weather: blue skies filled with puzzlement

Mood: quizzical

Word of the day: sideral – sent from the stars; ominous or evil

Question of the day: why is there a black star on the ceiling of many carriages on the tube (London Underground)? They’ve been there a few decades at least. Not on every train, and it may be only the last carriage (which is where I tend to sit) but always on the ceiling, a black star sticking about an inch across. I tried Google, but no luck.

I asked at work and NOBODY has ever noticed it but me, they looked at me like I was delusional, until I showed them a photo.

So has anyone else noticed this too? Do any of you know why they are there?