Chapter Eight – A deadly foe
“Read all about it! Read all about it! Another murder at Tolka!” yelled the lovable barefooted street urchin.
D.I. McBiscuit fished deep in the inside pocket of his diving suit and handed the boy a euro.
“Thanks, guv, you can read all about it on the internet.”
Commissioner Salami was waiting in McBiscuit’s office, when the latter arrived, an open copy of a newspaper sprawled out on the desk. “I see you’ve eaten my fish and chips, sir,” said McBiscuit. “I hope it was nice.”
“Never mind the fish and chips,” said Salami, his lips wafer-thin. “What’s this about another murder at Tolka Park? This is beginning to look like an epidemic.”
In reply, McBiscuit hopped up onto a battered old suitcase in the corner of the room. “A forty year old male Caucasian,” he said. “At the moment we’re trying to trace his relatives in Caucasia. Early reports suggest he may have been a vegetarian, so we’re checking with the foreign office in Vegetaria too.”
“D.I. Mc Biscuit, sir?” came the puzzled reply. “Don’t you remember me? I accidentally threw up over your wife at the office party.”
“Listen laddie,” said Salami, standing in the fireplace. “I’m starting to feel the heat. If you don’t solve this soon, I’m taking you off the case.”
“Oh please don’t sir. I like it up here.”
At the scene of the crime, the constable professed he couldn’t bear to look and turned away to finish his slice of chocolate cake. Skewered through the heart by a corner flag, the late Miroslav Kampanolojyzt lay motionless, as dead men often do, inside the corner quadrant at the Ballybough end of the ground.
“Kampanolojyzt? That name seems to ring a bell,” mused McBiscuit. “My, look at his sharp pointed side teeth and his Transylvanian passport.” He picked up a herring, lying beside the body.
“This looks fishy,” he said. “Constable, take this away for fingerprints.” He pointed at an old trouser press standing in the six yard box. “And keep the press away,” he added.
“Three murders at Tolka Park,” he said to himself. “John Clapper, Quasimodo O’Shaughnessy, Miroslav Kampanolojyzt. What is the connection between them?”
“Sure beats the hell out of me,” he answered. “What do you reckon yourself?”
“Well,” he countered. “They all died gruesomely.”
“My aunt died gruesomely,” interrupted the constable. “She was strangled by two Amazonian Tree Creepers. She’d never had tree creepers before and I suppose it was her own fault that she gruesome.”
“Who stands to gain from these deaths?” persevered McBiscuit.
“Sporting Fingal, sir,” replied the constable with alacrity.
“Put that alacrity away, constable,” said McBiscuit sternly. “This is no time for soft-boiled sweets. Now, why do you say this Fingal person stands to gain from these deaths?”
“Oh, he’s not a person, sir,” replied the constable with venom. “He’s a franchise. A menacing, shadowy figure that stalks the land putting the fear of death into the ordinary football supporter.”
“Good God, he sounds a sinister figure. Where does he live?”
“Live?” shrieked the constable and was convulsed by hysterical laughter. “Live? He doesn’t live anywhere? He is a child of the night, flitting from one dark alley to the next. Some say he never sleeps for his soul cannot be at rest until he has crushed every other football club out of existence. They seek him here, they seek... Er, Santry, sir.”
DI McBiscuit poured a packet of salt and vinegar over his head. “Very good,” he said crisply. “Then we will go to Santry.”
“I know nothing, I tell you,” said Sporting Fingal gruffly, as he bent over the wash hand basin, washing the blood off his hands. “And kindly remove that safety pin and piece of paper. You can’t pin anything on me.”
McBiscuit paced the floor. Then he paced the wall. “Do the names John Clapper, Quasimodo O’Shaughnessy and Miroslav Kampanolojyzt mean anything to you, sir?”
“The names all ring a bell,” replied the franchise warily. “Why what have they done?”
“They’ve all been murdered, that’s what they’ve done,” replied McBiscuit. “Where were you on the night in question?”
“What’s the night in question?” came back the reply.
“Oh you’re good,” purred McBiscuit. “But we’ll have you, Fingal. Mark my words, we’ll have you.”
Sporting Fingal marked McBiscuit’s words with a big black marker but fell silent. Then he got up again silent. Finally he spoke.
“There are people behind me,” he whispered. “No, not literally, you idiot. I’m advising you to back off. For your own good.” And he took a custard cream from the packet and crushed it in his fist.