The Wrong Man

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The Wrong Man

Postby MongoGutman » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:58 pm

The Wrong Man

.......... “Very pithy Sir,” said Captain Carrot, dutifully.
.......... “What?” Vimes asked, not looking up. He was staring into the hole in the back of the late Patrician’s head. This was the brain that had had Ankh Morpork running like clockwork? It didn’t look any different to any other brain he’d seen - and as a copper, of sorts for... gods, longer than he’d care to remember - he’d seen more than his fair share.
.......... “Pithy, Sir,” Carrot repeated “your comment - as in a terse, forceful and significant statement.”
.......... Vimes looked up at Carrot, who’s usually rosy complexion was tinged a little green, “Are you taking the pith? I mean are you taking...” A tremendous banging shook the heavy oak door in it’s frame.
.......... “Come in Detritus.” Vimes called.
.......... The troll lumbered into the room. In one hand he was carrying by the collar of his suit a fussy looking little man who was currently putting the erk in clerk, his skinny legs waving about over a foot off the floor. “I found ‘im.” Detritus said, “You wan’t 'im to confess?”
.......... “Not right now, maybe later Sergeant. Put him down and stand guard outside.” Detritus lowered the struggling Drumknott to the floor and lumbered out.
.......... “Well, I have never been so... His Lordship shall hear of this!” began the late Patrician’s chief secretary in outrage after catching his breath and straightening his jacket. Then he caught sight of his ex employer slumped across the desk.
.......... “I’m afraid not,” Vimes said, patting the body’s shoulder. “He’s not going to be hearing about anything.”
.......... “Oh my Gods! What? How?” The colour drained from Drumknott’s face and he stumbled backwards away from the horror, falling on his rump and gaping up at Vimes in confusion.
.......... Vimes sighed. He’d known it was a longshot, but the book said look first at those closest to the victim. He knew when a reaction was false and the secretary’s was as real as a sock full of sand. He’d never really thought Drumknott had it in him anyway - blot and despatch an order for execution, yes, tick a little box on a to-do list when the deed was done and file it away in the correct place, certainly - but to actually get his hands bloody... no. He gave Carrot the nod and the captain helped the clerk up to a sit on a bench by the wall, fetching him a glass of water.
.......... “But who would do such a thing?” Drumknott wailed.
.......... “That’s the question aint it?” Vimes said, “Who would kill the tyrant of a city of a million souls? Well a million suspects spring to mind - technically everybody has motive. But we can’t exactly arrest the whole city and bring it in for questioning now can we? I suppose we’ll have to look for clues.” He grimaced. “You found anything Cheery?”
.......... The best scene of crime officer of the Watch looked up from where she was studying a pair of chairs either side of a little table with a thud board on it. “Well this chair’s noticeably colder than it’s counterpart...” Cheery said, stroking her beard thoughtfully. Vimes noticed it was braided today, with two little pink ribbons tying off the ends.
.......... “Meaning?” He asked.
.......... “A draught? Maybe, I don’t know. Anyway, this is clearly the murder weapon,” she went on, picking up a statuette of Offler, the crocodile god, from where it lay on a blood stained patch of carpet and handing it to Vimes. “It’s all right, I’ve got all the iconographs I need. You can see how the snout matches the wound.”
.......... Vimes hefted the figurine in his hands. “It’s heavy enough,” he said, “what’s it made of?”
.......... “Erm, I think it’s jade, Sir.”
.......... “You think it’s jade?” Vimes asked, looking down in suprise at Cheery. Dwarves were not known for their uncertainty regarding stones.
.......... “Well jade’s usually green - or there’s a sort of milky type you get on the counterweight continent - I’ve never seen red jade before.” Cheery took off her helmet and scratched her head. “Also there’s the blood on it.”
.......... “What blood? It’s as dry as a bone.”
.......... “That’s what I mean: you’d expect it to be covered in it, but it looks like our killer must have wiped it clean.”
.......... “So?”
.......... “Wipe it clean and replace it where it came from, yes, or drop it when it’s slippery with blood in the heat of the moment, sure. But carefully clean all the blood off it, then just discard it? It just doesn’t add up.”
.......... “OK,” said Vimes, carefully pulling a strand of hair out from where it was caught in the teeth of the the statuette. “Anything else?”
.......... “Well there is this,” Cheery said uncertainly, gesturing at the desk top. “You see the way he’s pointing at that word?” She cricked her neck, “It says...”
.......... “I can see what it says, Sergeant,” Vimes interrupted, “but not why you think it’s important.”
.......... “Maybe he was trying to give us a clue?”
.......... Vimes looked critically at the back of Vetinari’s head. “No one with a hole that size in his head would be able to see the paper, the desk or a rampaging elephant for that matter, let alone a word on a paper. It must be just a random...”
.......... “Perhaps it’s an effect of the Narrative Causality Principle?” Cheery suggested.
.......... “Narrative whatsit now?”
.......... “Mr Stibbons was kind enough to give a talk at the Watchhouse last week,” Carrot said, striding over to read the word in question, “It was very interesting, but a bit complicated. As I understood it he said that everything happens because it’s part of a story, and the story can shape what happens.”
.......... Vimes gave him an old fashioned look. “We’re coppers, son, not wizards. We deal in footprints and weapons and known associates, not the metaphysical nature of reality.”
.......... “Right you are, Sir - so we’ll ignore it then shall we?”
.......... Vimes sighed. “No, I suppose not. Send someone over to the grocers guild to have a general poke around, see what they can unearth.”
.......... “In the meantime we’ll do it the plod way.” He looked over to Drumknott. “We’re going to need a list of recent disputes Vetinari had been involved in, judgements made, aggreived parties, that sort of thing.”
.......... The secretary nodded, “List, yes,” he said, with the air of a man clutching at straws over an abyss, “I can do that, yes. I’m good at lists...”
.......... “Oh, and I suppose we’d better send to the Temple of Blind Io, find out who our new boss is.”
.......... “Blind Io Sir?” Carrot asked
.......... “His Lordship told me he left a sort of will there naming his successor. We’d best find out who it is and place a guard on him toot sweet. When one Patrician dies others might easily follow.”
.......... “Very good Sir, I’ll tell Angua to get a squad together and go to the temple then find our man.”
.......... “Sniff him out, eh?”
.......... “Sir?”
.......... “Hunt him down?”
.......... “She’ll find him, yes Sir.” Vimes studied Carrot’s face. Not a flicker.
.......... “That will not be necessary.” Drumknott said. He was still patting the sweat from his face but seemed a little recovered. “I helped His Lordship draw up the document and can give you the gist of it now.”
.......... “Well that’s fine, you tell us who the poor blighter is and we’ll go and get him.”
.......... “You won’t have to go anywhere because he’s already here.”
.......... “Oh look, now, Drumknott, I’m sure you’re a good man with a ledger and all, and you’re the first man I’d call if I needed a copybook blotted, but somehow I don’t think you’d be cut out for...”
.......... “Not me, Your Grace.”
.......... Vimes looked around and found his eyes falling on Carrot. More specifically on the crown shaped birthmark on his bulging bicep. “Now, uh, I’m not sure that’s a good idea, Lad. No offence, and I know you’ve come a long way but it’s not that long ago you came down out of the mountain and there’s still a lot...”
.......... “I don’t think he means me either, Sir.” Carrot said, beaming as he looked over Vimes’s head to Drumknott who nodded in agreement.
.......... “Well then who..." he looked down at Cheery’s chainmail covered rump bobbing along as she crawled around inspecting the carpet, “I can’t see him leaving the city to...”
The penny dropped like a frying pan on a flat tin roof covered with cymbals.
.......... “Oh no,” Vimes said, feeling a sensation in his stomach like he'd eaten a whole tray of Dibbler's sausages. Inna bun. “No no no no no. No. No. Not me. Uh-uh. No. It must be a joke, Ventinari poking fun from beyond the grave. I won’t do it, no: you got the wrong man.”
.......... “Very well,” Drumknott nodded, “In that case would you be so kind as to send an officer to summon Lord Rust?”
.......... “Ronnie Rust? What do you want him for?”
.......... “His Lordship forsaw that you might decline the post, in which case clause two comes into effect and the succession devolves onto Lord Rust. If you abdicate you do so in his favour, so you’d better get him over here so that he can assume control.”
.......... “Rust? Rust! The man’s an imbecile - he’d have the city at war with half the disc within a week! There’s no way I’m letting him take charge of my city!"
.......... “You could, of course, oppose his succession,” Drumknott offered, “in which case you would be pitting the Watch against the Palace Guard and certain other forces, who have been... ah... conditioned to follow the terms of the document to the letter.”
.......... “It would mean virtual civil war in Ankh Morpork.” Carrot said quietly. “If we lost Lord Rust would take control of a city in ruins.”
.......... “And if we won... we’d be right back where we started. I’d still be sitting in that bloody chair!” Vimes stabbed a pointing finger at the chair which was, indeed, bloody, and currently occupied by Vetinari’s stiffening corpse. The enormity and inevitability of his predicament rose up like a mountain in his mind’s eye. Each time he thought he had a grasp of it’s scale more of it came marching over the horizon at him.
.......... He turned to address the late Patrician. Seldom had a murder victim’s remains been subjected to such a heated and prolonged tirade of abuse and profanity from a chief investigating officer. Carrot’s smile faltered then froze into place. The flood of invective continued beyond all comedic proportion, though it had Cheery gazing in admiration. Eventually, some few minutes later Vimes spluttered out with a “You, you, you, you...”
.......... “Sir,” Carrot said, “There are ladies present!” Vimes looked down at Cheery, who winked back, grinning. He looked back up at Carrot with the eyes of a man seeing a cell door slam from the wrong side.
.......... “Congratulations Sir,” Carrot said, “I’m sure you’ll make a wonderful Patrician!” he held out a hand which Vimes shook weakly.
.......... “Tyrant.” Vimes corrected quietly, “The word is tyrant: Patrician is just a word tyrants made up so they didn’t have to be called tyrant. Old Stoneface must be spinning in his graves.”

.......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... *.......... .......... *.......... .......... *

...to be continued

Mongo
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Postby chris.ph » Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:08 pm

when is the second part due :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:
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Postby MongoGutman » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:25 pm

chris.ph wrote:when is the second part due :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:


This is actually the 4th part, the previous being

The Poor Blighter
Death and the Gods
Cometh the Hour

in that order

The next part will probably be about a week, not sure what I'll call it. Maybe I should come up with a title for the whole series, or should have kept it all to one thread
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Postby Batty » Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:34 am

I would have liked to know what Vimes's pithy remark was, but I am still enjoying the story, Mongo.
Keep going! :lol:
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Postby deldaisy » Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:31 pm

Yeah keep it all in one thread.....
I'm with Batty.... what was the pithy remark?
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Postby MongoGutman » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:00 pm

Ah well, as for the thread thing I'll keep going as I am for now, maybe make one complete post when finished

and for the pithy remark... well the intention was always to start this segment with it just having been said... didn't expect ppl to latch on to it.
Do actually have a phrase in mind, and one that is commonly known, but it's only somewhat pithy, as the bird with the bird said, not very pithy, as Carrot claimed, who was only being dutiful...

maybe I should just keep you guessing, as anything I say now would be an anti-climax... or make a game of it...

...
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Postby Batty » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:18 pm

MongoGutman wrote:and for the pithy remark... well the intention was always to start this segment with it just having been said...

maybe I should just keep you guessing, as anything I say now would be an anti-climax... or make a game of it...

...

That's not a bad idea, Mongo! I'm sure people could rise to the challenge!
Mind you, it wasn't only this chapter where you mentioned the remark.
MongoGutman wrote:Death and the Gods
. “My word,” Vetinari said, blinking in surprise, “A young lady. Wearing a curtain. Carrying a penguin. Is my demise turning into some kind of farce? Will Fred Colon bumble into the office and drop his trousers next?”
.......... “No,” the new arrival said*, “but Samuel Vimes will shortly be making a somewhat pithy remark over your body, if that’s any help.”

*Patina, Goddess of Wisdom.

Mentioning something twice is going to raise our curiosity! :lol:
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Postby Batty » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:47 pm

BUMP!

Mongo, you haven't said if you are going to start a competition???
:D
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Postby MongoGutman » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:31 am

errrrrrr... I dunno... hangman would be too easy...
Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change? ~~ Oddball
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Postby Batty » Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:35 am

Image What is the pithy remark by Vimes, upon seeing Vetinari with his skull crushed?

How about:
"Someone obviously wanted to get a-head" ... :oops: !
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Postby MongoGutman » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:14 am

nice try but no banana
Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change? ~~ Oddball
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Postby Batty » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:51 pm

Is that a comment, or your version of Vimes pithy remark? :wink: :lol: :lol:
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Postby meerkat » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:01 pm

Vimes remarks?

"Vetinari has a nasty head ache."
"He has been brained."
"I've gone off the idea of cauliflower cheese for tea!"
"#%$s **&!!"
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Postby Willem » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:11 pm

Holy Patrician, Carrot!

Look at the state of the head of the head of the state!

Sick Temper Patricianis
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Postby deldaisy » Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:10 pm

The Wrong Man

Vimes pealed off another segment of one of the navel oranges Cybil had recently taken to putting in his pockets lately and passed the other half to Carrot. Stuffing more of the fruit into his mouth and cursing himself for agreeing to Cybil's new "healthy diet" he turned to watch Carrot finish the last of his share....

......."How was your bit of orange, Captain Carrot?


.......... “Very pithy Sir,” said Captain Carrot, dutifully.
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