At the writing workshop yesterday we looked at the crime story. We were given the sentence “I was the first into the Botanic Gardens glasshouse that day and there she was, her legs wrapped around one of those strange mountainous plants from Borneo with a note around her neck that said:”
Copperface Jack’s, by the way, is a notorious Dublin nightclub, and the Joy is Mountjoy Prison…
I was the first into the Botanic Gardens glasshouse that day and there she was, her legs wrapped around one of those strange mountainous plants from Borneo with a note around her neck that said: “Tina’s Hen Party”.
You see girls like her all over Dublin city on a Sunday morning – wearing T-shirts with some girl’s photo on it, Playboy-bunny ears that light up, and an expression that says that they’re hungover, sick and wish they were dead.
Trouble is, this girl was.
It was hard to say what the cause of death was. This wasn’t because there wasn’t a scratch on her. It was because she’d been shot, stabbed and had marks on her neck as if she’d been strangled.
Oh, and she was missing her head.
“Suicide?” joked my partner, Bud. Bud wasn’t his real name, it was Aloysius, but he preferred Bud. Most people would.
“Very funny,” I said. “Someone wanted to kill this girl really, really badly, and they did it really, really well.”
“How do we find out who she is?”
“She’s Tina,” I said.
“How do you know?” asked Bud.
I pointed to the L-Plate that was stuck to the front of her skirt. “They only do that to the bride-to-be,” I said.
“How do you think she ended up here?” asked Bud. “It’s a long way from Copperface Jacks.”
“Dunno,” I said. “Let’s find the rest of the party and ask them.”
It only took a few phone calls to establish that a bunch of girls up from the little town of Kilkenny had rented one of those StayDublin short-term apartments for the weekend. We paid them a visit and broke the news. One of them said “Are you sure it’s her? We’d better ID her.”
I showed her a photo of what we’d found. She threw up on my tie.
“Any of you know did she go off with anyone last night?” asked Bud.
“This is a hen-party,” said one of them. “What happens in Dublin, stays in Dublin.”
“Not in a murder investigation, doll,” I said. “The only thing staying in Dublin will be the killer, in the Joy.”
“And of course Tina’s head, if we can’t find it,” said Bud.
I ignored that. “Did she meet a guy?”
“No,” said one of the girls. I’d tell you some of their names but they all looked the same to me. “We didn’t bother with guys, we just drank shots and danced around our handbags to I Will Survive and It’s Raining Men.”
“She wasn’t interested in other men,” said one of them. “I should know, I’m Laura, her bridesmaid and best friend. All she was interested in was David.”
She said the word David with her lips in a sneer, like the face you’d make if you were trying to spit gin through a gap in your teeth into the fire. “You didn’t like David,” I said.
“He wasn’t good enough for her,” said Laura. “No man was good enough for her.”
Just an hour ago this case had looked tougher to crack than one of my wife’s hard-boiled eggs. Now it looked as plain as my wife.
“You want to tell us what happened, Laura?” I asked.
“I did it,” she said defiantly. “I though it was me she loved, that David was just her beard. Last night, after this lot had passed out from mojitos and Bacardi Breezers, we got a taxi out to the Botanic Gardens. I wanted to give her a rare orchid, as a sign of our love. She told me she really did love David, that she’d just been with me because she was bi-curious. I was furious, so I killed her.”
“And why did you wrap her legs around the tree-truck?” I asked.
She blushed. “Symbolism,” she said. “She’d made her choice.”
“What did you stab her with?” asked Bud, who felt he’d better say something before we forgot he was in the story.
” A shears I found the in the Gardens.”
“And cut off her head with?”
“A hedge-trimmer I found in the Gardens.”
“And shoot her with?”
“Oh, I brought the gun up from Kilkenny with me,” she said. “Me ma says Dublin is an awful dangerous place.”