Continuing the tale of DI Williams and DS Daly on the quest to avoid cliche… This chapter may well suck and I will edit later. I told you… I’m no writer.
DS Daly and DI Williams stood looking down at the body, thankful they had been spared the boring part of explaining how they got togged up in the official crime scene garb. Doctor Monroe was on duty and was just finishing up with the body. He was a non-descript kind of a guy so we won’t bother describing him.
DS Daly had known Monroe for years but DI Williams was still getting used to his sense of humour. You know. The obligatory gallows humour that can’t be repeated as some readers find it distasteful and unrealistic. Daly watched Williams as he nodded while the Doctor talked. Williams was less non-descript but she knew that too much description was boring and readers preferred to make up their own picture of what a character looked like. To keep it simple she thought of him as very tall and black.
Daly figured that Williams was probably fit underneath all of the paper suit and booties but she didn’t think about things like that. She lived a quiet and happy life of celibacy and men didn’t really feature on her radar. She wasn’t a virgin or anything but since joining the fictional police force she had given up on all things related to sex because she knew readers didn’t like it. And if she was too sexy people wouldn’t read about her and she’d never get a promotion either. Being a fictional Sergeant was okay but if you wanted to be in your own series of books, you’d have to ignore convention, throw caution to the wind and become a DI at the very least or people wouldn’t take you seriously. Only the top jobs had the glamour roles on TV. Yeah. TV would be nice. A probably a pay rise too…
Oh poop, Daly thought. Where did that come from. I can’t be thinking about TV. I’m in a book. Never the twain shall meet. At least not if I’m going to be me. If I go on TV I’ll have to lose twenty pounds, die my hair blonde, grow at least another four inches taller and call myself Cheryl or something a bit more glamorous. Or be really gritty and I prefer not swearing. Readers like it when we don’t swear.
Daly looked at Williams again. He’d be okay on TV. Not that he had enough bad habits for TV. Despite his swearing he was actually very clean cut. They had talked about it when he first joined the Met…
‘Fancy a pint’ Williams had asked at the end of a really gritty and well investigated case where the perpetrator had been skilfully and successfully apprehended.
‘I don’t drink,’ Daly replied. Replying was enough as that is what people generally do when asked a question and don’t need to respond in a particularly sarcastic or aggressive manner.
‘Yeah.’ Williams said, sitting on the desk next to Daly. ‘Me either. Always thought it a bit cliched actually. Winding up the case, going for a pint together… I mean. It’s not like the police don’t drink but when it’s what is expected you kind of feel less inclined to do it, you know.’
‘Absolutely’ Daly agreed.
‘I tried it once,’ Williams said, staring at the wall. Is that okay he wondered. Staring at the wall? Is it too much description? Too obvious. Too dramatic and off putting for the reader. Oh crap.
‘Alcohol?’ Daly asked.
‘Being an alcoholic,’ Williams said, sighing. God he hoped sighing wasn’t too dramatic as well. ‘I gave it my best shot but there were better alcoholics out there than me. Thought it might be a bit too cliched too. I know a lot are private detectives but it’s just one short hop and a career change isn’t it. Who knows what I’ll be doing in book two if we get that far…’
Williams thought for a moment before continuing. ‘I tried being gay once too.’
‘Really? Daly asked. ‘How did that work out?’
‘Decided against it,’ Williams shrugged. ‘I mean it was okay but I’m already black so covering the p.c. bases, I thought being gay as well might be trying too hard to tick all the boxes. And I knew by then I was transferring to the Met. Sarah Hilary already had a really great black gay Detective in DS Noah Jake so I figured I needed a different hook. I mean, I’m a rank higher than Noah and everything but that guy is awesome. I can’t begin to compete with such a popular character.’
‘If you don’t mind me saying, Gov, you seem to have a real hang up about already established character’s in popular crime fiction series don’t you? I mean, first Tom Douglas, now Noah Jake.’
‘Well I don’t want to be accused of plagiarism or a lack of originality do I?’ Williams asked. ‘Anyway, being gay means being in a relationship and readers don’t like that do they? You know? Family… kids.’
‘Not really,’ Daly agreed. ‘Probably a wise decision.’
‘How about you?’ Williams asked.
Daly smiled, grabbing her coat. ‘I’d tell you but I already disclosed my status to readers in a previous segment so how about we chat about it on the way out. Avoid repetition.’
‘Good plan,’ Williams agreed as they left the office…
‘… Daly? Are you still with us?’
Daly looked up to see Williams and Monroe staring at her. Staring was still a good word to use, if a little over done in this chapter.
‘Sorry, Gov?’ Daly looked from one man to the other. ‘Aw… poop,’ she said. ‘Sorry Gov. I was too busy thinking I missed everything you were saying.’
‘That’s okay,’ Williams said. ‘If readers were with you then they didn’t hear it either. We can recap.’
‘Yeah but Gov. I’ve got a confession too.’ Daly winced. ‘I messed up.’
‘Messed up?’ Williams asked. ‘How. We’ve only just found the body. You’ve been stood right here. What can you possibly have done wrong?’
‘Back story, Gov,’ Daly said, hanging her head in shame. ‘I was so busy trying not to describe how you look I inadvertently gave the readers some of your history before joining the Met.’
‘My history,’ Williams asked, alarm in his voice. Can you have alarm in your voice, he wondered, without it seeming like too much description? ‘What history? You’d don’t mean… not the alcohol?’ Daly nodded. ‘And my… my Noah complex?’ Daly nodded again. ‘Oh for fu-‘
‘Language,’ Monroe interrupted from beside them. ‘No swearing, Inspector. Readers-‘
‘Don’t like it,’ Williams said. ‘I heard.’
‘Right,’ Monroe said, pursing his lips in a non-descript way, even though I just described it. ‘Shall we crack on. This is the part where you ask about the body, I fly into a rage saying I can’t possibly tell you anything until I’ve done the post and you try and coerce something out of me, correct?’
‘About sums it up’, Williams agreed and Daly nodded.
‘Fabulous,’ Monroe said, grinning. ‘Let’s save all that tosh then, and agree that I’ll see you tomorrow for the post mortem. Save readers all that confounded cliché hey?’
‘Wonderful,’ Williams said, stepping aside as Monroe left the scene.
Daly looked down at the body. Still dead. Hadn’t moved much since they’d arrived to be fair. Dead bodies tended not to unless hanging from a tree and caught in a strong wind. This one was on the ground looking a bit stabbed. Can you look a bit stabbed? Daly wondered. This one certainly did.
‘Did he give you anything?’ she asked Williams.
‘Earache,’ he replied. ‘Looks like a stabbing.’
‘Tell me something I don’t know’ Daly muttered.
Williams smiled at her. ‘I’m wearing blue boxer shorts.’
‘Yeah. Didn’t need to know that exactly,’ Daly said.
‘Nothing much doing here,’ Williams said. ‘I could fill you in on everything you missed while going through our back story, but I’ll only have to repeat it to the DCI when we get back to the pit so we may as well head back there.’
‘Brilliant,’ Daly said, finally smiling. ‘I could use a Peppermint tea.’
‘Peppermint tea?’ Williams queried?
‘Yeah,’ Daly said. ‘Didn’t you get the memo? Whole division has decided to give up coffee as the coffee drinking, cigarette smoking, jaded detective was becoming too cliched. It’s all peppermint tea now. And the occasional venti decaf soy latte, but only if you’re around on a Friday morning.’
‘Great,’ Williams muttered. ‘No beer, no caffeine, no cigarettes, no sex. Did I miss anything?’
‘Donuts?’ Williams asked. ‘Isn’t that a bit… well American.’
‘Yep,’ Daly agreed. ‘It’s why they’re off the menu. Americanisation of English crime drama is a big turn off for some readers. Can’t even call us Cops any more because that’s an Americanisation too. We’re back to being good old fashioned Bobby’s now, Gov. Best get back then hey? I’ll drive.’
Williams sighed, slapping his hand to his forehead. ‘Oh for fuc-‘
‘Language’ sang out the chorus of the Crime Scene techs.
To be continued…