Monday, September 7, 2015

Off Leash

"Here's your coffee, two cream, one sugar," Chimed the eager young waitress, her face all made up as if she had somewhere exciting to be.  Her heavy blush and lipstick gave her an appearance more saccharine than sweet. She was new here, Professor Lyons decided, judging on the way she tried so hard to appear peppy, although all of the other waitresses working at the 72 had long since figured out that not even smiling got you tips in Collingwood. She looked fresh out of the no-name high school where they most likely drilled into their heads that college was the only path, and that if you weren't smart, your life was practically over.

He didn't usually take cream in his coffee, yet he didn't say anything after the visible effort she was making.  He also didn't usually come to the diner, but he figured it was a more discrete location than the coffee shop he usually frequented.  Recently, there had been a couple of run-ins with his students, who wanted to have long, drawn-out conversations that he wasn't sure were professional.

He was pouring over the notes Robin had written, scribbling little comments to himself about relevant locations.  Business Express, She had written. The field.  That bookstore with the all of the books that aren't on the bestseller list.  The mattress store that never has sales.  Her handwriting was very loopy, like a teenager's, and it looked comical in contrast to his precise cursive that had been drilled into him by his parents.

Suddenly, his phone rang, and he glanced at the bright green screen informing him that it was his friend, Eric.  Estranged friend was a better term their relationship, as they had been buddies in college until Henry had decided to go into the criminology field, instead of partnering with on a huge business firm that ultimately succeeded without him.  There could only be one reason for him to call...

"Hello,"  Professor Lyons said, tentatively, grimacing at the weakness of his coffee. 

"Hey Henry," Eric said on the other line, sounding a little bit distracted.  His wife said something to him, and he quickly added, "Monica says hi, too."  Professor Lyons never could tell if it was stress or bitterness he detected in his former best friend's voice.  

"So," He continued, "Matthew has been wanting to see you."  Matthew was Eric's son, who was five years old now, and was Professor Lyons' godson.  He didn't usually relate very well to children, but ever since he met Matthew for the first time since his birth, at a halloween costume party a couple years ago, it was tradition on every visit to pull out his old halloween costume and pretend to be Professor Plum from the Clue board game.  Matthew absolutely loved it.  

"Do you mind putting on the old suit, and meeting us at the park to play for a couple hours?"  Professor Lyons couldn't say no.  The look on Matthew's face would be worth all the small talk and regretful comments it took for him to get there.  And putting on the eclectic suit, that Matthew didn't recognize him without.

He hurried to his apartment, put on the aubergine suit, gelled his hair in a similar manner to the iconic character, and even the black rimmed glasses.  It was ridiculous, but in a way, he sort of enjoyed the ritual.  Then he checked a quick voicemail from Robin, ("Clyde is gone again."  He would have to deal with that later...)  and promptly hurried off to the park.

Its' twisted paths were brimming with people, and dogs of all breeds and sizes.  A fierce little Chihuahua darted between his legs, as a little girl with dutch braids chased after it.   A family was debating whether to get an energetic golden retriever, with the kids and dad on one side, and mom on the other.  She always had the authority.  

He wandered past a rock band he didn't know, that was performing a particularly intense song.  There were a couple of teens hanging around, pretending to act impressed, but the boredom was written all over their faces.  The drummer slammed one drum so hard, that he knocked it off its' silver stand and it toppled off the makeshift wooden stage, landing right next to a blown up picture of a little girl named Alice Reynolds.  Her name was familiar.  She was the little girl who had fallen into the lake and drowned.  Or had been pushed.  He immediately bought one of the trashy albums so that the parents of the girl would know they weren't alone.

Professor Lyons, donning a vibrant eggplant-colored suit, attracted quite a bit of attention as he continued along down the path, in search of a pair of bright blue eyes that could only belong to Matthew.  He walked past a long row of metal cages, containing the dogs that no one wanted.  The huge pit bulls and dobermans that were labelled "not good with children" or "bites strangers" and were consequently left alone.

"Do you want to meet Lily?"  Asked the man who was handling these unloved canines.  He had several scratches on his arm.  "She might bark at the mailman, but she's really quite sweet."  Professor Lyons reluctantly agreed, feeling guilty that his apartment didn't allow for pets.  The man, who looked to be about fifty and was probably a volunteer, unlocked the cage of a German Shepherd puppy.  The dog, evidently not used to having space to run outside, darted around in circles as the volunteer tried to calm it.

Professor Lyons glanced up to see a young woman leaning back against the chainlink fence around the perimeter of the park.  She was coaxing a cute little puppy into eating something out of her hand, and he realized he thought he recognized her from the coffee shop.  Or maybe she also occupied the eleventh floor?  Either way, her face struck him as familiar, and he tried to decide if they had met before.  He also realized that she probably wouldn't know who he was in his elaborate Professor Plum costume.  

He forgot about it quickly as Lily rammed into his leg with what seemed like all her body weight.
"She just wants to play," The volunteer assured him, a flush of pink running to his face.  Professor Lyons scooped up the puppy, scratched her behind the ears, and then gently put her back before he became attached.

He glanced back at the girl.  She was walking away triumphantly, clutching the dog to her chest.  Then he spotted the family from earlier,  the children bouncing up and down with excitement.  The mother had given in.



  1. Yay! I really love the newest entry. I was a bit worried that you would focus more on your cases and not bother to elaborate on your past, so I'm happy that you're talking about yourself too! Great job!

  2. Really enjoy your character. We should interact sometime!

    1. Thanks. Jasper is a fantastic character as well! If you have an idea in mind, you can just let me know and we can try to incorporate it into the next (fourth) blogpost!

  3. can I write first? I _really_ would love to write first

  4. I'm going to go ahead and post I hope you don't mind!

    1. Sorry for responding so last minute! Your blogpost is great, and I will post mine by the end of the night.

    2. Sorry I didn't give you much to work with