Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Secret Santa: What Have I Learned this Year?

By Jay Stringer, consulting detective.

You all know the drill by now, we’ve each been assigned a title at random from another member of the DSD crew. Some idiot came up with this idea, but dammit I’ll make do as best I can. My Gurrl did the hard work of assigning the titles using a super secret random machinery type thing. I saw the machine, it was very H.G.Wells.

So here’s the title I was given;

What Have I Learned This Year?

Well….where to start? Lets see. I learned how many coins you can put in a microwave oven before it explodes (six) and how many body parts stop working at 29 when you mistreated them at 21 (also six). Then there was this cold morning in February when I sat on the toilet and learned……

…..oh wait a minute……

The questions says, “what have I learned this year?”

That’s how it was given to me, so it’s not about my own lessons. It’s being asked of me by a fellow DSD scribe. What has this fella learned this year? Lets see. That changes things totally. I need to deduce who has asked me the question if I’m going to be able to answer it.

Sherlock Holmes got it easy. He would have someone standing in front of him with a frayed cuff or a microscopic blotch of ink. OF COURSE he managed to figure these things out. All I’ve got is the sentence itself. So what does that tell us?

What Have I Learned This Year?

Well, it’s not asking about New Jersey or fast food. That rules out Dave. It’s not asking me to write a love letter to Mel Gibson, so I’m also assuming I can rule out Mr McLean. I seem to have eliminated two suspects. That means –and I’ve always wanted to say this- the game is afoot!

Okay. What else can we tell from the question? Let’s see. Think, Stringer, think. Right, get into the role, try and understand the quarry…I mean…the DSD’er. Picture the scene.

Eyes closed.

I’m picturing a desk and a computer. I’m picturing a cup of coffee. Holy shit this is working. I’m picturing fingers typing on the keyboard….they look just like mine….oh my eyes are open again.

That didn’t work.

What kind of a person would ask this question? It’s probing, it’s straight to the point. It wants to know what the script is. It doesn’t say, “what did I learn this year before stuffing the bodies in the trunk,” so I don’t think it’s Knowles.

Who does that leave?

The Weddle.



Now, Scott may be called Parker, but he’s not THE Parker. He’s not Richard Stark’s consummate professional and plotter. He's also not Peter Parker or Parker Lewis. If he were any of those, then obviously he would be my main suspect. But he isn’t, and so by that watertight logic, he’s not.

Confused? Good, because I’d hate to be alone.

Right. Two left.

It’s the type of question that you might want to stop and consider after writing. You might want to pause and stroke a beard thoughtfully, the same beard that you stroke after plotting world domination. They both have full beards, dammit.

However, the question doesn’t allude to a realisation that Wolves are better than Arsenal. That would make me lean toward ruling out the Weddle. Also, he made the classic blunder of giving away his secret on the site yesterday. Thats, like, third on the list of all time blunders. Right behind 'never get involved in a land war in Asia,' and, 'never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line.' You showed your hand, Weddle, and for that i'm afraid you don't make the cut.

So McFet it is.

But why is John McFetridge asking me what he’s learned this year? Has he forgotten? Did he write everything down on a bit of paper and then lose it? Maybe I have the bit of paper lying round here, hang on a minute…yes, right, let’s see. This year, McFet has learned;

3 red onions.

1 clove of garlic.



Toilet Roll.

Hmmm. I’m thinking that must be the wrong piece of paper. Shit, I’m going to have to wing this one.

This year John McFetridge has learned that the cult of Carl Robinson spreads far and wide. He’s learned that the American spelling for the word “Swap” is “Let It Ride.” He learned that the internet crime fiction community is becoming something special, and he learned that it’s still possible to ignore the twitters.

Above all, and this I know without question, he learned that Jay Stringer is probably the greatest Stringer. Far better than that one on The Wire and certainly better than that one who was the lead singer in the 90's band Reef.

1 comment:

Steve Weddle said...

That was a fine piece of writing and great fun. Way to handle that one.