This is the first episode of DALSTON NOIR, a weekly Noir-Hipster-Crime-Serial set in London Fields. To be continued. *
Meet Egon Schmuck, 37, Hobby-Detective and antihero, filled at times with existential angst (due to reading too many Kafka books when he was in a mentally vulnerable state) but mostly calm, currently unemployed. Thank God for the United Kingdom welfare state because with some housing benefit and the odd cash-in-hand jobs he survives and not badly.
Looking smart in a street-wise way, his clothes are tailor made at Oxfam and he seldom walks away from the shop without a bargain in a precious green plastic bag which he likes to carry around as symbol of his hipster status.
Egon doesn’t like to divulge the fact that he is unemployed and therefore tells everyone who wants to know (not many people do) that he is on a Zero-Hour-Contract. He calls himself a London native (though he was born in a little village in Shropshire), his roaming ground is London Fields, not Hipster Dalston as he likes to point out, a great place to watch the human condition pass by, filling him with existential thoughts as he sips his coffee on Broadway Market.
Episode #1: Trouble on Kingsland Road
Egon had just checked his bank account and wondered whether he could make it till the end of the month when his housing benefit would come in. Lost in anxious thoughts he walked down Balls Pond Road when his attention was drawn to a crowd of people. His anxiety dispersed in seconds as he realised that today was his lucky day as he had just happened upon a crime scene and elbowed his way into the crowd of ogling by-standers.As a child Egon had loved Arthur Conan Doyle’s brain-intensive way of solving crimes, even though he had a nagging suspicion that he was more of a Dr. Watson, but deductive intelligence came in all shapes and sizes and this was his first case.
Egon could see straight away that the police didn’t take the death of the dog seriously. After all, the heavily mutilated corpse with dirty brown fur had just been a street dog without fixed abode and no next-of-kin. Egon always experienced the same dilemma when filling out forms and there came the request for submitting contact details for next-of-kin. Simply because there wasn’t anybody. But appearances mattered and so as not to appear a sad loner, he usually put his imaginary childhood friend Foster into the blank space and made up a contact number. But that wasn’t the only reason he was interested in how this dirty-brown-furred dog had brutally been killed at the Balls Pond/Kingsland Road crossing.
A myriad of questions presented themselves in Schmuck’s imaginative mind as he saw the police questioning a few eye-witnesses without great interest: Did the dog die accidentally? Had he already been dead at the time he was put on the road? Suicide had to be considered as well.
An elderly lady with purple dyed hair seemed rather nervous during the questioning and Schmuck made a note to catch up with her later. But for now he needed to get a closer look at the corpse, which had been relocated to the sidewalk so as not to stop the constant flow of traffic. With a concerned air he approached the policewoman guarding the dog’s corpse, ‘I work for the RSPCA do you mind if I take a closer look for our stats?’ The stern-looking policewoman was flabbergasted for a moment, her eyes darting around searching for her superior, who had just entered Costa Coffee, then looked back at Schmuck and nodded.**
Next week: Episode #2 – It Was A Dog’s Life After All