Walking up Kingsland High Road, Egon savoured the invigorating effects of his flat white. Hackney used to be one of London’s poorest areas, filled with immigrants and dwellings in need of repair. Now, looking at house and rent prices, this was hard to believe. Mingling with the multi-cultural crowd, Egon felt like a man of the world, glad to have moved away from his village in Shropshire where monoculture and monothinking had taken over even the more advanced human beings.
Passing by Ridley Road Market, he was heartened to see the freshly plucked chicken hanging from the stalls as they had when he first moved here twelve years ago. Cockney stall-keepers were competing with Turkish, Afghan and Serbian sellers for customers. The sidewalk burst with people obviously not working 9-5, if at all. Hipster bars and coffee shops had opened on every corner, the place had changed after all.
A bible basher whose booming voice didn’t need neither amp nor microphone was going on about the Sins of Mankind and how we all have to pay come Judgement Day. He’d obviously found his purpose in life and wanted to make sure everyone else found it too. Egon suspected righteous anger management issues lurking behind his agitated voice, but at least he’d found an outlet and wasn’t looking for a real job.
As he walked up the road and the voice faded away, Egon had to agree, there were many things wrong with mankind and happily digging its own grave was one of them. It was only a matter of time until the collective consciousness hit the fan. Until then he had decided to live his life as fully and dignified as possible. Not an easy undertaking, it took daily effort and positive thinking, which often didn’t last till noon. But Egon was determined to give this one life his best shot.
His meandering thoughts always had their way with him but he had to keep focused and not deviate from his concocted plan. Further up the road, the market crowd dispersed and Egon took a deep breath. His eyes fastened on a fashionista redhead strutting past him.
Turning his head he spotted the same guy who’d been sitting at the next table at Costa. Egon had no memory for names but faces were different. Was that guy in the black bomber jacket with a nose that was too long and eyes that sat a little too close following him?
His muscles tensed but then he remembered an online personality test, which had concluded that he was prone to paranoia and cyclical thinking. It might as well that bomber jacket guy was heading in the same direction.
Glancing inconspicuously about, Egon entered Dalston Police Station, which was wedged between Victorian houses and rather modern and welcoming with its big glass front. A chubby police officer with sweat-stained armpits was trying hard to keep a friendly smile between his lips as he handed out forms for stolen cameras, mobile phones and assault.
When it was Egon’s turn, he leaned in and said as casual as possible, ‘There was an accident on Kingsland Road yesterday. I’m a friend of the deceased and was wondering whether I could have a look at the file?’
The sweaty police officer ceased his smile-making efforts and gave him a stare, ‘Yeah, this one, it was an accident, hit and run. It’s closed.’
‘Sure, but do you mind me having a look at the file?’
The policeman took a deep breath and pushed a form across. ‘Here, fill out this one.’
Egon duly filled in the requested information and handed it back to the officer, who looked at it longer than necessary, let out a sigh and pointed to the first room on the right. When entering the crowded room, Egon felt self-conscious among the other justice-seeking citizens who clearly had been waiting for hours and might wait for ever.
Eventually, a policewoman put her head through the door, ‘Mr. Schmuck.’
It was the stern policewoman from the crime scene and for a moment Egon thought she’d recognised him, but instead she handed him a thin folder. ‘We are really busy and don’t appreciate friends of the deceased asking to look at files. A waste of our valuable time.’
Egon responded with a meaningful shrug and she left, but not without giving him first a once-over.
Leafing through the scarce information, he took a closer look at the eye-witness statements. One witness described how the dog in question had left Hair Emporium, a shop selling hair essentials, wigs and extensions, leaving behind a trail of blood as it tried making its way across the road.
There it was! An already wounded Gilda had tried to escape but didn’t make it very far. Why had the police not followed this lead?
When Egon left the police station, the sun was setting and a chill was in the air. Hiding his hands in the pockets of his coat he walked faster, this time unable to shake off the disturbing feeling that he was being followed.