Saturday, 16 July 2016

Intergalactic Law Episode 9: The Call

Laura opened the door to him with a smile, which quickly faded when she smelled the reek of vodka from him. 
“I see you started early,” she said.
Bing felt his cheeks turn pink. Laura giggled and stepped aside to let him in.
Bing’s chest had tightened when he thought that she was upset with him showing up already semi drunk, but it loosened at the sound of her giggle. He had feared for a second that she might have regretted inviting him over and was about to close the door in his face. He stepped into the house and, as he had suspected, it was exactly as he remembered it. The first thing that everyone saw when they entered the house was a stencilled quote on the wall facing the door: ‘There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing - Robert Burns.’  Bing had always hated that quote.
Laura closed the door. Bing heard something behind him drop softly and turned around to see that Laura’s dress was now on the floor. Wrong as usual, Burns, he thought as his lips met his wife’s.

Bing and Dr Mulholland lay breathless in bed. He watched his wife’s chest rise and fall quickly. She caught his eye and smiled. 
“That was great Bing, thanks for coming by tonight.”
“Of course,” he said. Laura leaned over the edge of the bed and tossed Bing’s trousers at him. They landed limply across his lap.
“You should probably get going, I have to be at the lab early tomorrow.”
Bing stared at his trousers in disbelief, and waited for Laura to laugh and tell him it was all a joke. It never happened. She had stepped out of bed, pulled her dressing gown on and stepped into the bathroom. Bing stood up to follow her but was stopped by a buzzing coming from his trouser pocket. Light flooded into the dark bedroom from the bathroom, he could see Laura in the mirror. She was brushing her short hair, but wasn’t paying attention to what she was doing, she was watching Bing. Bing could also see himself in the mirror. He wasn’t a tall man, and didn’t get to the gym very often. In his mind he looked like a pig standing on its hind legs when he was naked. He ignored his buzzing phone for now, pulled on his shirt and stepped into the bathroom.
“Laura, I…”
She turned towards him. He’d never considered her to have much of a poker face, especially since he’d known her for so many years. But right now he couldn’t tell what she was thinking. The buzzing in his trouser pocket stopped briefly, then started again.
“I had honestly thought that when you invited me here this evening that you wanted to-“ he paused, not quite sure how to put his thoughts to her. Dammit man, you’re a lawyer, words are supposed to be what you’re good at! he chastised himself. Laura’s face remained expresionless, almost inquisitive, like a curious owl. Is she torturing me on purpose? Is she really going to make me come right out and say it?
His phone continued to buzz in his pocket. It was only his imagination, but he could swear that it was getting louder.
“I thought you might be open to the idea of me moving back in.”
Her face did a little movement, as if trying to express every possible feeling at once, but succeeding at none of them.
“Oh, I see, well I would need to think very seriously about that.”
“Of course, I better get that call,” he said, scurrying back into the darkened bedroom. Stupid, stupid, stupid Bing! He was glad that his wife couldn’t see how red his face had turned in the dark.
“Bing Mulholland here,” he said. It was Ivan Gunderson. He was worked up, more so than usual. He half-listened to the ranting policeman while watching Laura, who had gone back to brushing her hair. She wasn’t watching him anymore, focusing only on her hair. 
“Wait, say that again Ivan,” said Bing. He hadn’t been listening properly and thought that he had heard Ivan say something. But that particular something was bad. Very bad. He wanted to make sure he hadn’t misheard.
He hadn’t. 
Laura finally turned around again when she heard the sound of Bing’s phone hitting the floor. She stepped into the bedroom to find Bing sitting on the edge of the bed, his face deathly pale. 
“Bing, what is it?”
His gaze met hers. Something had happened. Something no-one had anticipated that the inhabitants of the Isaac Newton would ever have to deal with. 
“Theres been a murder.”
Laura’s eyes widened. “Who?”
“A scientist. I… I can’t even remember the name. Gunderson just said it to me a minute ago.”
“Christ. Have they caught someone?”
He nodded, and began to button up his shirt. He caught a glimpse of Laura’s face and saw that there was a tear in her eye. “I knew it. I fucking knew it. I said from the beginning that Copernicus was a stupid idea. This ship was supposed to take us away from the mistakes of the past, but we’ve not escaped anything, have we? We’ve just brought the problems of old Earth with us.”
Bing was fully dressed. “I need to get to the station. The accused wants to speak with me.”
She nodded. “Of course.” She kissed him on the lips and hugged him. “Call me tomorrow?”

Bing nodded and left. He hadn’t told her the extra piece of information that he had; it would have been too hard for her to hear that the alleged murderer hadn’t been one of the blue collar crew. It was a fellow scientist. 

Be sure to tune in next week for episode 10: Intergalactic Murder.

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