Back in the day, I tried to liven up the close-knit forum I mentioned in a couple of earlier posts by hosting a couple of writing contests. I intended for it to be an ongoing feature, and to host a new one whenever things got a little dull. Lack of interest in the second contest killed that idea off, sadly. Still, I did end up writing a few entries myself, though as I was judging they were never in the running to win. It was certainly an interesting challenge though.
The first contest only had one rule - 500 words or less. I later relaxed this to a guideline rather then a cold hard cut-off, but I personally made sure to stay under the figure. This was my first output.
The rain had finally stopped, but the night was still freezing. Daniel wrapped his coat tighter and continued to wish he’d never taken this case. He’d been here three days now, and still no evidence that the woman’s husband was cheating on her. He checked his watch. 11:38. He smiled to himself as he turned back to watch the street.
It had sounded simple - watch the apartment that the client suspected her husband went to whenever he met with his bit on the side. But, as always, the reality was very different from what he’d imagined. Three days in a small room overlooking the street. He felt cheated in some way. As if his life were meant for more then just sitting in a cupboard, eating apples and having to go to the toilet in plastic bottles. That was the worst part, by far.
Suddenly, his mobile vibrated. Irritably, Daniel took off his gloves and reached inside his coat to find it. He knew what it was going to say, but he checked the text message he’d received anyway. Sure enough, it was from his client - ‘The eagle has left the nest’. Code for ‘my husband has gone to meet his floozy’, she had explained. Daniel sighed and left the mobile on the floor.
Minutes passed, and still nothing. Daniel reached for another apple. He didn’t really like apples that much, but they were all he’d had time to grab before coming here, again at the client’s insistence. He really was regretting taking the case. It was easily one of the most boring cases he’d taken since starting up the previous year. He’s accepted that not all his cases were going to be like the movies, but would one really have killed him?
As he continued to scan the streets, a black car pulled up, almost out of sight. It took a few moments, but eventually Daniel caught it. Sure enough, the man stepping out was the same one he’d been hired to watch. He reached over and grabbed his camera, turning it on as he did so. Pointing it at the man, he quickly took several shots of him walking up to a door, knocking on it, chatting to the woman who opened it and sneaking inside with her. Finally, the job was done.
Getting ready to leave, Daniel paused. There could be any number of reasons that the man had been going there. He resolved to check the building before turning him over - if the man was innocent, he realised, there’d be no end to the trouble that the pictures would cause.
Making his way to the street, Daniel walked over to the building in question and smiled when he saw the sign by the door. ‘Madame Desiree’s Massage Parlour’. That settled things. The pictures went to the client. Pulling out his mobile and calling a taxi, one question was settled in Daniel’s mind.
‘What do I do with three bottles of urine?’