Sunday, 14 December 2014

Lisa Cummings and the Case of the Exploding Meat - Part Two

And so here we have Part Two of our comical farce. In case you missed it, Part One is here. Do our twentysomething sluths find the culprit to the abattoir overkill? Read on to find out.

Lisa Cummings and the Case of the Exploding Meat
Part Two
By Jack Harvey

Lindsey Williams sat nervously in the stark grey room. She twiddled her thumbs, bit her lip. Did the police think that she had been responsible for Mel's death? Is that what this was about?

After ten excruciating minutes she was met by a dark skinned plainclothes officer and a short haired 
 woman in a red polo shirt.

“Miss Williams, I'm Inspector Browning, this is Cummings. We'd like to clarify a few things about Melvyn Kent. You were set to work on the carcass he was... attending to, is that correct?”

“Yeah,” said the fresh faced young woman nervously. “I already told all this to the other officers.”

“You can chill babe, this is just a follow up,” Lisa said, in an at attempt to diffuse the situation. Andy looked at her with annoyance. She shrugged. He turned back to Lindsey.

“What was your relationship with Melvyn Kent?

“We worked together,” she sighed, looked down. “We were at school together but we weren’t friends or anything. When he came to work at the abattoir it was the first time I'd seen him for years. We'd chat a bit about old times now and again but our work isn't exactly the kind that allows chatter.”

He nodded. “Anything else? Anything specific?”

“He lost his work keys about a month ago. Because we were on similar shifts I helped him out for a couple of days.”

“Did he have any grievances with you?”
Lindsey looked confused. “If he did he never showed it.”

“So he never threatened you at any point?”


“Did he ever imply that he was interested in you? Ask you out for a drink, anything like that?”

“No, he...” Lindsey paused for a second, lost in thought. Then she smiled slightly, gave out a little 
chuckle. “I remember way back when we were in school. He asked me out back then, we must have only been about twelve or thirteen. I think he did for a dare or something.”

“Did you say yes?”

“I was just a little girl, I didn't even really know him.”

“And he never implied that he maintained these feelings for you?”

The smile left her face. “If he did he never showed it,” she echoed.

Lisa and Andy looked at each other, a silent thought passing between them. Andy scribbled 
something on a pad of paper.

“Thank you Miss Williams. That's all we need to know.”

David Carruthers leaned back on the chair impatiently. He had enough to deal with emotionally after Mel's death. The very least they could give him was some space and time.

Lisa and Andy joined him quicker than expected. He tried to maintain his confident exterior, but swallowed nervously. What was it they wanted?

“Mr Carruthers? I'm Inspector Browning, this is Cummings. We'd like to ask you a few quick questions about Melvyn Kent. I understand you are going to be ending your employment at the abattoir very shorty.”

“It was today in fact,” he said, with maybe even a little joy in his voice. “We were supposed to be going out for my leaving party after the shift had finished. I called it off after what happened to Mel. It wouldn't have been right.”

“What was your relationship with Melvyn Kent?”

“Purely a working relationship.” David folded his arms. Andy could tell just by looking at them that the man had been working out. “We would occasionally talk as you do. I wouldn't call us friends.”

“Any reason he would have to resent you? Did you have any disagreements.”

David paused. He ran his thumb up and down his arm methodically.

“Mr Carruthers.”

“No, no.” He shook his head. “Like I said, we only talked occasionally.”

“You sure about that?” Lisa said.

David went quiet again.

“You're not a suspect Mr Carruthers,” Andy reassured him, “We're just looking for anything about Mel that could help us with this case.”

David nodded, and his head dropped on the final nod. His voice had lost its confidence now. “I didn't say anything before because I was worried it would make me a suspect,” he said.

“Go on.”

“A few weeks ago I'd seen him following Lindsey around. Like, she didn't know. Like, he was stalking her or something. Now me and Lindsey are very close, she's like a sister to me, so I confronted him about it.”

“What was his reaction?”

“It was odd, he wasn't angry or scared you know? He told me that I had to behave myself around Lindsey because he knew what kind of guy I was.”


“I don't know. I think he thought me and Lindsey were an item.”

“So Mel didn't know that you were gay?” Lisa said, suddenly.

Both men turned and looked at her in surprise.

She leaned back smugly in her chair. “I've seen you a few times at The Purple Nighthawk. You're a very discreet guy but It's obvious you're not just going there 'with friends'”

David became a little confrontational. “I don't see how any of this is relevant.”

“It's just a question,” Lisa said innocently.

“No. As far as I was concerned it wasn't his business.”

Lisa and Andy looked at each other again, just like they had earlier. That silent communication was happening again. It was broken quickly when Andy's phone began to vibrate.

“Yeah?” he answered. “Great!” he said eagerly and turned back to David Carruthers. “Mr Carruthers, that's all we need to know, thank you very much.”

“What is it?” asked Lisa, “What it is you've got.”

Andy stood. “The final piece of the puzzle.”


Andy brandished a wad of papers like they were an academy award. Lisa looked at him, perplexed.

“Asked our tech guys to check out Mel's computer. Surfing habits. This is what we found.”

“Care to enlighten me?” said Lisa, familiar with Andy's tendency to draw things out when he has the upper hand.

“Months worth of sexist rants on social forums. Screeds about how women don't respect him and how one day he'd finally crack and do something about it. The guy really had issues.”

Lisa raised an eyebrow.

“This might as well be a signed confession Cummings. Think about it, years of unsuccessful relationships. Finally he find himself working with the one girl that started it all. Maybe he starts to think that he might be in with another chance, when David Carruthers cock blocks him. He's had enough, he cracks, and he decides to take it out on those who he perceived had wronged him.”

“A crime of passion?” Lisa asked.

“For the digital age.”

Lisa pulled out another lolly and gave a long sigh. “I'm not so sure.”

“Oh come on!” Andy shouted, exasperated. “It's all here in black and white,” he tapped the pile of papers. “You said it yourself, he didn't know Carruthers was gay. To him he was a romantic rival. His nemesis.”

But Lisa wasn't convinced. “There's something about this that doesn't add up to me.” She paused, her tomboy face contorted with confusion. Confident, she pointed at Andy. “Can you get Hastings to hold of for one more day?”

Andy threw his arms apart. “It's the meat festival this weekend Cummings, he wants an open and shut case,” Andy tapped the papers again. “And it
is an open and shut case.”

Lisa ignored him. “I'm going to need the case notes, the files on those postings, his keys and... heck, pretty much everything. If I don't have an alternative for you by noon tomorrow then you can go to Hastings with what you have. Until then, I need you to hold off and give me time.”

Andy shook his head, but he knew better than to argue with Lisa once she had her teeth into something. He complied.


Lisa spent the evening and night doing what she did best. She worked her way through the connections, the people, the businesses. She tracked the paper trails. What money was spent? When? Who was where? Why were they there? And finally, she had her answers.

Lisa and Andy often met at the Gershwin Cafe to discuss cases. He sat there with an espresso, she an earl grey. Relics of their respective upbringings.

“Melvyn Kent was murdered,” she said, confidently, with a sly smile on her lips. “By Mr Richard Davies.”

“The IT guy?” Andy responded, confused. “Explain.”

Lisa put down her notes, and began.

“Ten years ago Rodgers and Davies Technology had a plan. They were going make their fortune as a county wide training provider and become a national IT chain. Spoiler alert! It fails. Years later, having lost his partner and with profits dwindling, Davies stages a last ditch attempt to try and tap into the Zeitgeist. He buys the 3D printer, but customers still don't come.

“With mounting debts he concedes the unthinkable, he's going to have to sell his precious collection of Santana memorabilia. However, his collection isn't quite complete, and as any good collector knows, a complete collection can triple the value. They can go for as much as twenty grand so I'm told. Funnily enough, he'd recently bonded with a customer who just so happened to own a 1970 Abraxas tour poster. He offers to buy it, but Mel won't sell. It was his fathers, someone else who happened to die under mysterious circumstances,” Lisa paused for a moment, “Make of that what you will.

“But Davies needs that poster or it's game over. He remembers Mel stressing over his recent woes and hatches a plan. See, that's what bothered me about your theory, it didn't add up. Turns out Mel wasn't sexist at all, he was a feminist. He didn't see David as a rival, he was worried he was a pick up artist putting the moves on Lindsey”

“But the forum posts...” Andy pointed out.

“I'm getting to that. So, Davies plans to bump Mel off, but this isn't a big town, suspicion is going to be on him when he gets that poster, so he needs to put the blame on someone else. He comes up with some excuse to drop by Mel's one day and swipes his home and works keys, gets copies cut and returns them before anyone is the wiser. While Mel's busying away at work, Davies logs onto the computer and leaves a load of inflammatory comments online to make it looks like Mel's planning something.

“He buys the bomb components and the uhh... male stress toy. I'd rather not read too much into that. He looks up Mel's rota to make sure it looks like he's trying to kill Lindsey. Finally, he sneaks in on the Monday morning and plants the bomb, leaves a trail of crumbs to make it look like Mel had planned it all, and waits for the dust to settle to either swipe the poster or buy it from the next of kin.”
Andy laughed, not quite convinced. “Well it's a charming theory, but it's also circumstantial. You going to get this to stand up in court?”

Lisa took a sip of her tea, and smirked again. “Davies was hoping we wouldn't look too closely at the cracks. Maybe he deliberately staged it before the meat festival for that reason, who knows, but he could never truly cover his tracks.

“You take a look a the website's time stamps, they all coincide with Mel's shifts, he couldn't possibly have posted them while at work. Our friend in the blue hoodie is willing to testify that Davies left him to watch the shop on several occasions that line up with the online postings. Likewise, our local locksmith confirms that Davies got two keys cut recently, and he's got a record of them. They match Mel's.”

Andy leaned back and nodded, impressed.

“But the most damning of all is the security cameras. Wondering why Richard Davies isn't on there? Well, I contacted the security firm that is responsible for them. Guess who their IT provider is?”

“Rodgers and Davies Technology?” Andy said.

“And guess who arrived at their monitoring station just a few days ago for 'scheduled updates'?”

“No way!”

“Yep! Richard Davies. At first glance the recordings look fine, but under scrutiny they've clearly been altered to run a loop on the morning of the explosion.”

“Fuck!” Andy sighed, slapping his forehead and leaning back. “I guess I owe you an apology.”

“Nope, just an arrest. Oh, I also checked the online sellers for the bomb components and the wank toy, they were all posted to Davies' home address, just in case you needed one more nail for the coffin.”

Andy stood. “Lets go get him then.”

Richard Davies confessed almost immediately. He was obviously prepared for his plan to fail. Backed into a financial corner he had no plan B, no contingency. This was all or nothing.

As they watched the man get escorted into the back of a police car, Andy caught Lisa with a sombre look in her eye. “You okay?” he asked.

“I dunno, going through Mel's stuff was like deja-vu. He was a bit like me in a way. Then, when it looked as though he was the kind of arsehole I used to deal with as a kid, I could have handled his death, you know? But it turns out he was the kind of person who would have stood up for me, shot down those kinds of people. I just feel like we've lost someone important today.”

“Yeah. Well, at least we cleared his name I guess. Listen, Cummings?” Andy scratched the back of his head nervously. “There's something I've got to tell you.”


“Me and the boys, we're having a gaming night round mine this weekend. Putting our computers together on a LAN?”

“You're having a LAN party?” Lisa said, insulted. “Why didn't you tell me?”
Embarrassed, Andy continued. “I was worried the guys wouldn't like the idea of me inviting a girl round,” he sighed, a little ashamed. “But after all this, I realised I was being a bit of a dick in that regard. I'd be honoured if you and Bitch Brigade could join us.”

Lisa smiled, her confidence returning. “You know the real reason you didn't ask was because we're going to own you guys right?”

“That's it.” He laughed with relief, “that's the real reason.”

“Then it's on sucker!” she said, and after putting another lolly in her mouth, they bumped fists in solidarity, and for a fine weekend to come.
 Copyright Jack Harvey 2014

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Lisa Cummings and the Case of the Exploding Meat - Part One

So here is the short story I wrote for the Lit Reactor competition earlier this year, which Epictones also did some excellent artwork of recently. Revised and extended, I'll be posting it in two parts, mainly to keep it in two easy to read instalments, though also because a good mystery needs time to breathe. Am I right?

Lisa Cummings and the Case of the Exploding Meat
Part One
By Jack Harvey

“Uhhh...” Lisa Cummings trailed off, as she run a hand through her short hair. The room was covered with blood and gristle. Forensics officers dressed in white plastic cleansuits probed for clues. A dark skinned young officer trotted over, trying not to get blood stains on his brand new white trainers that were shockingly at odds with the suit and tie he wore.

“You alright?” asked Inspector
Andy Browning.

I alright” Lisa responded in her broad northern accent. “I'm a woman Andy, we're used to copious amounts of blood and gore.” She punched him playfully, though somewhat painfully, in the arm.

Andy laughed, rubbing the bruise. “I was expecting a better menstruation based punchline than that. You sure you're not losing your edge?”

“Just taken aback that’s all,” she said. “I wasn't expecting this anyway.”

“Funny thing about blood, never looks like it does in the films. If it wasn't for the smell you'd be mistaken for thinking someone just went berserk with a tin of gloss paint.”

Lisa ran her hand through her hair again. She buttoned up her polo shirt, the abattoir was characteristically chilly. “So what the fuck happened?”

“Deceased's name is Melvyn Kent. Everyone called him Mel for short. Took to the first carcass on the line this morning and got blown to smithereens. Someone had concealed a bomb inside the pork.”

“Fuck! Hope they get all of his bits bagged up before they resume business.”

“I've hear about worse turning up in a microwavable lasagne,” Andy joked, “Ballistics are looking into the bomb now. Small device, designed for massive damage over a small radius. If Mel wasn't the intended target then someone else certainly was.”


“Could be anyone employed here, but we've narrowed it down to twenty who either finished work late the night before or started early this morning. That's the only time they could have conceivably planted the explosive without anyone noticing.”

“Security cams?”

“Clean. Only people going in or out are the staff. No movement at all overnight.”

“Hold up,” Lisa said, raising a hand into the air. She pulled a lolly out of her trouser pocket and put it into her mouth. “Why the fuck has Hastings called me in for this?”

“You mean why has the Chief Inspector's favourite twenty-something private detective been invited on as a consultant?”

Lisa gave Andy an icy glare.

“Hey, you brought it up,”
said Andy, raising his hands in surrender.

“Hastings fucking hates me. If he's genuinely bringing me onto the case that means there’s something fucking important about it.”

Andy smiled innocently. “Pressure from above. It's the Westbrook meat festival this weekend.”

“Oh yeah!” Lisa snapped her fingers in realisation. “I don't pay much attention to that because lesbians such as myself tend to avoid sausage fests.”

Andy's mouth moved to a grin at the joke. “That's the Cummings I'm used to.” His serious tone returned. “The council are terrified that something like this will spiral into an animal rights debate.”
Lisa snorted.

“Hastings is going to town on this. He wants an arrest by sundown. We know it's a work colleague. The question is
which one?”

“I take it forensics are just getting started?” Lisa said, pointing at one of the men covered in blood, red and white like a Jam Roly-Poly.
Andy nodded.

“Come on then,” she indicated the door. “We'll check this Mel's apartment. I presume you do have the address?”

“Yes,” Andy said sharply, taking that last question as a dig at his professionalism. “What are you hoping to find?”

“I don't know, but if you want to find a motive to kill somebody then their dirty laundry is usually the best place to start.”

Mel's apartment was a small affair. Clean, contemporary, and made from a renovated old factory building. Pretty nice. Pretty cheap. Lisa and Andy rifled through the deceased man's possessions, throwing protocol out of the window as they did.

“Wow this guy had quite a collection,” said Lisa as she worked through a heap of vintage video games. “Check it out, a Sega Genesis.”

“Wasn't It called the Sega Megadrive over here?” Andy returned, from beneath a pile of clothes.

“It was. He must have gotten it imported back in the day. Wait until the Bitch Brigade hear about this.”

“I'm not sure you're supposed to be disclosing case information to your online gaming group Cummings.”
Lisa put a stack of cartridges back onto a shelf. “You're just sore because I won't let you join Andy.”

“Yes,” he admitted, frankly. “Five years I've spent trying to find a clan that still plays Unreal Tournament, and when I do they won't let me join.”

“Lesbians and bisexual ladies only I'm afraid,” she said, as she pulled open a drawer beneath the television.

“Can't you make me an honorary lesbian?” Andy joked as he wandered over.

“Only Ellen DeGeneres has the power to grant that.” Lisa paused suddenly, probing further into the back of the drawer.

Silently she withdrew a tube shaped silver object.

“Oh hello!” She popped off the lid to reveal fleshy rubber on the inside.

“What's that?” asked Andy with evasive disinterest.

Lisa didn't reply at first, she just gave him a patronising look. “Andy, it's 2014, you're in your twenties, and you have an internet connection. You're not fooling anybody, you know what this is.”

“Fine,” Andy said, throwing up his arms in a mock gesture, “You got me! It's a...” Andy paused, wrestling for the right words. “It's a male masturbatory aid.”

“Ha!” Lisa laughed at his coy response. “Thank you Watson. Yeah, they basically mash a load of silicone into a Pringles tin . Truly we are living in the world of tomorrow.”

“So he was perverted loner, what's your point?”

“A persons masturbatory habits are their own business Andy, I wasn't implying the man had social problems. No, It's just a little heavier than I was expecting.”


Lisa pulled the fleshy silicone lining out of the tube and threw it carelessly over her shoulder. The rubber mass hit Andy in the eye and bounced across the room.

“Hey, watch it!”

“Quiet, I think I’ve got something.”

Lisa tapped the tube gently against the drawer, and slowly she slipped out a cream coloured blob. Underneath, wires and tubes could be seen.

“Is that... another one?” Andy's pitch increased as a little panic crept into his voice.

“I think you'd better get your guys on the phone. It looks pretty safe but I wouldn't want to bet on it.”

Andy began to dial. “So the abattoir wasn't the first attempt?”

“Nope, looks like while Melvyn Kent was killed
by a ham shank, he could easily have been killed by having a ham shank!”

“Wheeeeyyyy.” Andy laughed and pointed at Lisa in acknowledgement. “Oh sorry Sir.” he said suddenly, as he realised the phone has been answered. “We've located another device at Kent's apartment. Requesting you send a team over to take care of it asap.”

Lisa took another look around the room. Nothing particularly extraordinary about the place. Heck, it was much like her own. Sega Genesis instead of an X-Box, Thundercats instead of Sailor Moon, A pristine, signed, Santana tour poster instead of Lisa's beaten, folded Spice Girls one.

As Andy endured his verbal scolding, Lisa took a moment to flip through Mel's collection of books. 

A diverse bunch by all accounts, all battered like old school textbooks. Neil Gaiman - American Gods, Will Self – The Book of Dave, Germaine Greer - The Female Eunuch, Brendan Keogh – Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops: The Line.

“Really. That's interesting,” Andy said down the phone. “Hey Cummings. Take another look a that bomb, does the casing look like it could have come from a 3D printer?”

Lisa wandered back, nearly tripping over a bean bag. “I dunno, I guess so,” she said.

“Friends and colleagues haven't given us any motive but ballistics claim the shell of the bomb was made of a resin much like a 3D printer uses.”

“Who the fuck owns a 3D printer in this town?”

“Exactly!” He pointed at her with a grin on his face. “Far as we can tell there are only four professional businesses that have access to one. We find the right one, we find our perpetrator.”

“And the Westbrook Meat Festival will be saved,” Lisa joked, and they high-fived.


Lisa drove, whist Andy scanned over reports on his phone.

“Anything from the others yet?” she asked.

“Nothing we can really use,” he sighed. “They've questioned friends, colleagues. Nothing really stands out why anyone would want to kill the guy. No spurned lovers or jealous rivals. Apart from being a bit sarcastic now and again nobody had a thing against him.”

“Maybe somebody killed him for something in his will?”

“Mothers still alive. There's nothing really to inherit.”

“I dunno man. Maybe somebody wanted his Sega Genesis,” Lisa replied, half seriously, as she blasted through traffic lights changing from yellow to red. “What about the suspects?”

“Same goes for them. Not a single one with any background in bomb making.”

“Yeah but all you need is an internet connection and the right kit these days. Anarchist’s Cookbook goes for a fiver on Amazon last I checked. What about the big stress toy? Anyone found out who gave it to him?”

“Nothing. We've checked with the staff and their stories seem to conform with each other. The abattoir wasn't the kind of work environment where staff gave birthday presents. Besides, It's not exactly the kind of thing you'd give someone as a present.”

“It could have been done ironically.”

Andy shrugged.

Lisa shook her head. There was something about this case that didn't add up. “I don't know. I think there's something we're missing here. Why a bomb? Why not poison or a faked suicide?”

“Somebody wanted to send a message?”

“Exactly. Whoever planted that bomb wanted attention. They wanted to tell the world that Melvyn Kent was murdered for a reason.”

“But nobody knows what that reason is?”

“And that's what doesn't make sense to me. Nobody had any clue why Mel was murdered. Whatever statement was supposed to have been sent is lost on us. Lost on everyone.”

“Hmmm,” Andy tapped his chin. “Well, lets hope that one of these places can give us some answers.”

They had gone through two establishments with no luck so far. Rodgers and Davies Technology Limited was their third port of call. They were a small IT firm who had picked up the 3D printer out in the hope of attracting the curious, though even the enthusiasts were wary of it's costly use.

“Hey I remember this place,” Lisa said, stopping herself for a second.


“We used to play computer games on a local network back when I first moved here. Great times. Then one day without warning they took all the games off. Said they were 'prioritising training courses instead'. The dicks!”

Andy and Lisa entered. The room smelled unusually fragrant. Office fans buzzed in several corners of the room. Only two of the bank of ten computers were occupied. The man at the nearest one leaned round to look at them, his head mostly obscured by a blue hoodie. He nodded in cryptic solidarity. They nodded back.

A bearded middle aged man with a prominent gut waited at the counter with seeming disinterest. Oddly though, he tapped the desk with impatience.

“Mr Richard Davies?” Andy asked, and the man nodded. “Inspector Andy Browning, CID, and ...” he looked impotently at Lisa for a moment. Their professional relationship was not yet at the point where he could confidently introduce her.

“Lisa Cummings,” she stepped in, “specialist consultant.”

“Yes.” Andy followed on, “We were wondering if we could ask you a few questions?”

“Not in trouble I hope?” the man laughed. A hint of nerves.

“Nothing to do with you sir, but one of your possible customers.”
Before Andy could continue Lisa leaned closer to the counter. “Huh, Santana, again?” A collection of signed posters stood proud behind the shop desk. “Seems like the band is haunting us.”

“Oh yes!” Richard Davies said enthusiastically, letting his tongue linger on the 's'. “I'm an enormous fan. Been to see them live more times than I can remember. First time I think was 1994. Switzerland at the Patinoire du Littoral.”

“Jesus Christ, here we go again!” groaned the hooded figure at the computer, making no attempt to disguise his irritation. “He never fucking shuts up about the 'Patinoire du Littoral'”.

“I'm only saying!”

“You only say to every fucking person that comes in here!”

“You know what Chris? If you don't like it you can fuck off.”

“I'm the only one keeping you in business man. If it wasn't for me you'd have shut up shop a long time ago,” he said, not taking his eyes away from the computer.

“Yes, I had noticed that,” said Andy, glancing to the left. In the corner was a luminous green sign painted with 'Closing Down Sale' on it.

“Not necessary anymore. Managed to re-evaluate my finances,” The man looked to Andy with confusion. “I'm sorry, what were you here for again?”

“We come to understand you provide the services of a 3D printer.”

“Waste of money,” he said honestly. “My old partner's idea, before he fucked off. 'Everyone will be using one in a years time',” he waved his arms around in a mock gesture. “After the initial novelty wore off It got one or two customers a month, if that. The resin is expensive so I have to charge through the nose for it, and not a lot of people really know what to use it for.” Uncharacteristically, he smiled a salesman smile, and pointed to them with both hands. “I can make a pretty badass pair of mini replicas of you if you want to get scanned in?”

Lisa's face lit up and she tugged on Andy's sleeve like an annoying child.

“Andy we could make replicas of each other! That's awesome! Andy, can we?”

“Cummings, shut up!” he said, without looking at her puppy dog eyes. Maintaining his professionalism, Andy carried on where he left off. “We don't have time I'm afraid Mr Davies. Is it possible that you can recall who has used your 3D printer over the last couple of months?”

“It's possible. Only a hand full of people at most.”

Andy ran through the suspects on his phone. Everyone who could have had access to the carcass. Nothing. Understandable, most people didn't know what a 3D printer was.

“Okay,” Andy said finally, flipping though another group of files on his phone. “One last person then. Do you happen to know this guy?” Andy lay down the phone, displaying a picture of the deceased, Melvyn Kent.

Richard Davies face scrunched with recognition. “Yeah I know this guy. He'd been round a few times. Some issues with his computer at first but If I recall right he'd used the 3D printer.”

Lisa and Andy looked at each other. It was only coincidence, for now.

“Do you keep a record of what the printer puts out?” Lisa jumped in.

“Should be able to pull something up. Can you give me five minutes?”

“Sure, sure,” Andy said eagerly.

The two didn’t say anything during the wait. A tension hung in the air, that familiar feeling you get on a case where you don't know if you've gotten a lead or just caught a red herring. Shortly, Mr Davies returned with several printed sheets.

“I'm not sure how much help this is going to be, it all looks like nonsense to me.”
He put down four or five sheets showing what had been input to the device via digital design software.

“Well fuck me,” Lisa was the first to speak. “Do you think this means...?”

The prints undeniably matched at least some of the components of the bombs. It was still up to ballistics to analyse the prints, but the signs seemed undeniable.

“We've been looking at this all wrong Cummings. Melvyn Kent wasn't the target” said Andy, “he was the perpetrator.” 
Copyright Jack Harvey 2014