Perhaps because I picked up, on a whim, Dorothy L. Sayers’ Busman’s Honeymoon at the library the other day, the early morning sight of the chooks’ umbrella crushed in their run looked like the scene of a crime.
The chooks huddled in behind me muttering their suspicions as I examined and photographed the scene. Their perches had been rendered inaccessible by the collapse of their umbrella roof.
There had been no wind in the night nor anything else of a natural sort I could think of which would explain the catastrophe. After I’d shut the chooks in their run last evening, I did see next door’s cat skulking around as usual, but she’s a slight little thing. The umbrella was practically inverted.
I removed the umbrella, which involved untying the many pieces of string securing it. The chooks immediately reclaimed possession of their living room.
With its spokes broken and twisted, whichever way you look at it, the umbrella is past help.
I wouldn’t make a detective – I completely forgot to look for footprints – or paw prints – in the dusty soil. But, looking closely at the photo of the crime scene I can see what looks suspiciously like a chicken bone. This will have emerged from the chooks’ recent excavations where compost had been dug in before the area was a chicken run. I quickly palm any such evidence of my carnivorous lapses (which now rarely include chicken) to conceal my crime, but I must have missed this one. Is it a clue? Was it an inside job?
Scarier thought: That’s pretty much the spot where my cat Skipper was buried a few years ago… Should my inspiration be further from the diverting Dorothy L. Sayers and closer to the frightening Edgar Allen Poe?