I’m not going to rant or write an essay today. I just want to wish everyone a Happy Christmas or the joys of the season and hope you have a great time whatever or whoever you are celebrating.
I’d also like to say thank you to readers of this blog. There’s not a vast number of you out there but you seem to stick at it, so thanks a lot. The main purpose of this weekly publication is to promote my stories, particularly the Jasmine Frame novels and novellas. I enjoy the weekly responsibility, not a chore, of producing an episode, hoping of course that it is taking the current story further while not disrupting the life-story of Jasmine that I have put together over the years. If I had been as governed by schedules as the TV stations I would have arranged a climax this week, like the final instalment of Strictly or the Apprentice or Humans, etc. But I haven’t. So Falloff will continue for two or three weeks yet (I think). Then, who knows.
Here are some images of 2016:
Best wishes for 2017
Now here’s the latest episode of Falloff.
Falloff: Part 8
‘No more incidents, Seňorita Frame,’ the inspector said, ‘but this is about the time that Seňorita Thomas fell to her death last night. I came to see who was here at this time, and here you all are.’ Alvarez looked pleased.
‘Why is us being here interesting?’ Jess asked.
Alvarez stepped closer and said in a quitter voice, ‘Because a murderer often returns to the scene of the crime at times of significance.’
‘Really,’ Andy said, incredulous, ‘is that true?’
The inspector nodded, ‘Surprisingly often, yes.’
‘Hold on,’ Jess said, ‘You said murderer. Do you mean someone pushed Raquel off the balcony?’
Alvarez nodded, ‘An accident is unlikely, and from what you have told me about the unfortunate young lady, she was not one likely to kill herself.’
Jess covered her mouth with a hand, ‘No, but, I hadn’t thought. . . So someone killed her. Oh, dear.’ Andy put his arms around her.
‘Do you have any suspects?’ Angela asked.
‘Ah, Seňora, it would be a mistake for me to tell you, but most killings are by someone known to the victim.’ The policeman looked around the young people sitting and standing around him. ‘However, Seňor Carl was observed at El Danza at the time of Seňorita Raquel’s fall, so he is innocent.’ His absolution did not seem to have any effect on Carl. He leaned on his new girlfriend, his eyes almost closed.
Alvarez addressed him, ‘Why did you say the hotel was full of lesbians and perverts, Seňor?’
Carl’s head wobbled, he swallowed a few times before a sound emerged from his mouth, ‘’Cos it is. Look at him, the fucking weirdo,’ He pointed a trembling finger at Jasmine.’
Alvarez stared at Carl, ‘Seňor Frame appears to be content that he is a travestido. He can be what he likes here. We have no laws that say what clothes a man can or cannot wear.’ Jasmine was pleased to have the inspector’s support. Alvarez went on, ‘Where are the lesbians that seem to offend you, Seňor?’
Carl’s gaze wandered erratically around the lounge. He shrugged, then threw up on the marble floor.
‘I think you ought to go to bed,’ Alvarez said. He clicked his fingers to the barman. The inspector spoke quietly in Spanish to Carl’s girlfriend. She nodded and with a degree of reluctance helped Carl towards the lift. The barman appeared armed with bucket, mop, and an outsize bottle of disinfectant. With a look of severe distaste, he began to clear the mess.
Alvarez turned to the group. ‘Two of Seňorita Thomas’ friends are not here?’
‘Gemma and Carrie went to bed,’ Jess said.
‘They share a room, I think?’ Alvarez said. Jess and Andy nodded. ‘Are they the pair that, Seňor Carl believes are lesbians?’
Jess and Andy looked at each other. Jasmine watched their wordless communication. After a few moments, Jess faced Alvarez and nodded.
Alvarez made some scribbles in his notebook. ‘What about, Seňorita Raquel?’
Jasmine blurted, ‘But she was with Carl.’
The police officer frowned at her interruption. ‘She was until the day before her death. Do you know why she and Carl separated?’ He glared at Andy and Jess. They both shook their heads almost imperceptibly.
‘Are you sure?’ Alvarez persisted, ‘You were on holiday together; you must have talked about why a pair of your friends were unhappy and had parted company.’
Andy and Jess shook their heads more vigorously. The inspector frowned and puffed out through his lips.
‘Well, I shall leave for tonight, seňoritas y seňor,’ he nodded to Andy, ‘Perhaps you will be able to help me more after you have had your sleep.’ He turned and sauntered out of the lounge.
There was no conversation until the policeman had gone.
‘Raquel was murdered,’ Jess said.
‘I didn’t think she could have killed herself,’ Andy muttered.
‘Any ideas who could have done it?’ Jasmine enquired, ‘After all, as Alvarez said, you are all friends.’
Jess frowned, ‘Well, except for Carl.’
Angela leaned forward, ‘What do you mean?’
‘The five of us have been friends at college for a long time. We decided to go on holiday but left it to the last minute to get a cheaper package. Then a few weeks ago, Raquel hooked up with Carl and decided to bring him too. That’s why we got three double rooms.’
‘So, Carl and Raquel hadn’t been together for long,’ Jasmine said. Jess nodded. ‘They were still getting to know each other.’
‘I suppose so,’ Andy agreed.
‘You said they had fallen out because Carl was eyeing up other girls. Was that really the reason?’
Andy and Jess looked into each other’s eyes again, then they both shrugged.
‘Well, Carl does letch all the girls, but it was him that walked out on Raquel rather than her throwing him out.’
Jasmine’s interest grew, ‘Why?’
‘Raquel said that he’d found out about her,’ Jess said.
‘Found out what?’
‘Ah. Had she had a relationship with Gemma or Carrie?’ Jasmine had put two and two together and hoped that it made four.
Jess gasped, then slumped and nodded. ‘Yes, Raquel has been, er, close with them before she met Carl.’
‘But Gemma and Carrie are a couple now?’
‘Yes, of course. They chose to share, even before Raquel and Carl got together.’
There was silence for a moment. Jasmine thought about what the revelations meant.
‘But who could have pushed Raquel off the balcony?’ Jess said, ‘Alvarez thinks it was one of us, but it wasn’t me or Andy. We were still dancing.’
Jasmine nodded, ‘You should have told Alvarez about Raquel being bisexual, but it doesn’t matter. He suspects either Carrie or Gemma of being Raquel’s killer, anyway.’