A killing in Trounce Alley/preview | By: Donald Harry Roberts | | Category: Short Story - Mystery Bookmark and Share

A killing in Trounce Alley/preview


A gentle mist curled in from Vancouver Harbour enveloping the harbour front. Building, it drifted mystically over Crab Park, across West Waterfront Rd. and finally enveloping the quiet by-ways, alley-ways and streets of Gastown. It created a magical aura about the street lamps and dispelled the late afternoon shadows.

And night settled in like an old friend. 

Thadeus McCann. It was a name the owner had misplaced a decade ago and which he was only reminded of when the police rousted him from his drunken digs...where ever that might come, and demanded he produce some sort of identification. It was not a good life but it was the only one he could navigate. Too many horrible memories were etched in his mind to maintain a sober existence.

He stood beneath the steam clock at the  intersection of Water and Cambie Street. The harbour mist swirled in, carried on a cool, autumn breeze. The last of the  leaves fell gently to the red, cobblestone side walk. He watched as the white globes of the street-lamps flickered on.

At that moment a lone tourist accosted him leveling a camera to take a picture of the clock. Thadeus motioned to step aside but the tourist beckoned him to stay. He offered the photographer the best smile he could but it was ruined by yellowed teeth and sadness.

"Perfect." Cheered the photographer as he stuffed  a five dollar bill in his subjects hand.

"Perfect for what?"  Thadeus muttered but his words wisped away with the breeze and the mist. "But what does it matter." He thought as he jammed the bill into his pocket. It was five bucks he didn't have to beg for.

The old bum,The Gastown Beggar, he was known to by the locals, moved slowly from his leaning perch shuffling south bound on Cambie St.  At Horner he stopped, quickly glanced about and, finding he was alone he pulled a bottle of amber fortitude from the pocket of his gray, stained and worn trench coat. A mouthful to ward off the chill. A swig to dull the memories and a quick pull just for the hell of it. Half the contents swallowed he pushed the bottle back into the pocket and continued his shuffle to maw of shadows and darkness, Trounce Alley, tonights digs, hopefully undisturbed.

A few sweeping staggers into the alley way he found his detination. A green dumpster with a sign that read,  Cardboard and Paper Only. For the likes of him, it was high and dry and with a little shifting of the contents it could be warm.

But Thadeus was not quite ready for bedding down. The grumble in his gut reminded him he had not eaten since early morning when he had snatched some douhgnuts from a coffee shop destine for the garbage. With any luck he could grab a morsel or two from the taco joint at the other end of the alley. It was always a good place for scraps. If the right cook was on he might even get something fresh from the table.

Thadeus lifted the lid of the dumpster just to make sure he wasn't horning in on someone elses digs....causing a fight. When he looked in he froze, starring in horror, his throat clenched in a restricted scream...a scream he had known before. A scream that he sent him on this drunken journey a decade before.

But that new horror filled cry never made it past his lips. Instead Thadeus wretched....and wretched.....and wretched  until his throat burned and his gut ached.

Retirement. It wears the face of an old man put out to pasture. It was not at all a way of life Reverend Riddel wanted to embrace or even think about. He had long decided that when this time came he would continue helping the flock of Gastown in what ever way presented itself. Unfortunately it came when he inadvertently examined the darker side of life that some how always manages to work its way into any community....afluent or otherwise.

Gastown had experience a wonderful transmutation from 'Otherwise to a community of artists, professionals and afluence with a population around seventy nine thousand. It is a community of young folks in their 30s and 40s. There was also a substancial gathering of retiring folks like Reverend Riddell, whom, as a matter of record, was not unknown in the community. Even before he had been put out to pasture he had made his mark as......well....there are many words to accommodate his mark. Suffice to say he was well liked and respected and trusted as a confidential listener.

He like walking...or....as he put it....strolling the the streets and avenues of Gastown. It did his heart wonders which was well since it had a habit of giving him trouble. Strolling was his own regime of therapy and seemed to work as well as any and was much more pleasant. Srolling in the evening, especially misty evening was among the best times. Yet none were bad and some were uplifting, enlightening and eye opening. Some evenings a stroll meant helping a lost soul step back from their shadowy, despairing existence into the light of hope.

On this evening Reverend Riddell had strolled but a short distance from the door of his apartment building on Powell St.  He was about to step into a café' when he felt a tug on the right sleeve of his blue pea jacket. (I changed this from windbreaker today). When he looked he was met with a pair of wet, rummy eyes filled with such an anguish he could barely contain the rasp of horror threatening to burst past his lips. Insteady he simply breathed out, "Thadeus!"


the future lyes here....    www.reverendriddellmysteries.weebly.com

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