THREE - Social Awesome

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"So it's not an office block?" Hobson took another look at the mess of conjoined rectangles across the road. "Because it looks a lot like one to me."

"No," Choi read out from its website on her needlessly expensive phone, "according to this, the Inspiration Gestation Station is a shared space where ideas can thrive."

"I see."

The duo sat in a stained café, down the road from the idea-pod in question. If they were going to enter that hellish new age pit of self-love, Hobson had insisted, they were damn well going to collect their thoughts in a proper greasy spoon first, rather than the heavily upholstered coffee house Choi wanted.

This being shitty East London, of course, it took an eternity to even find an acceptable café.

"So why are we here?" she said. "Shouldn't we be investigating the dodgy neighbour with the attack dog?"

"No. That isn't the interesting part, Choi. Someone went to the trouble of kicking the door in to kill William Lane. That means motive, and it looks like half his life is in that shitheap over there."

"And what are we waiting for?" Choi glanced across the road. "It'll be the end of the day soon."

"That's the trick, Choi," Hobson said. "Or my trick, at least. Catch people late enough in the day that they're relaxing, but not so late they've started going home."

She started tapping at her phone again – Hobson almost made a sharp comment about texting while the boss was talking, until he realised she was writing down what he'd said.

So he gave her a second to finish, draining his tea from the no-longer-white cup.

"Shall we go?" He pointed at the Inspiration Gestation Station, determined not to speak its name out loud. "Think we're in the right time zone now."

"Sure thing!" Choi slipped her phone away and leapt upwards at once, taking another nervous glance at nearby tables. A couple of the stares were lingering on the kid; maybe he'd been too successful in making her uncomfortable.

Shooting a glare at one particularly lascivious middle-aged man, he swept her out to the street. Considering how uncomfortable the Hipster Box Station was about to make him feel, hopefully karma would balance out.

*****

Hobson had never been famous. People rarely recognised him in the streets, and the ones who did either ran away or punched him. So it still came as a shock when he entered the Inspiration Gestation Station, and the receptionist's eyes widened before the door even fell shut.

The foyer itself, behind the bland-looking glass door, was full of brightly coloured geometric shapes, murals of white-and-yellow flowers, TV monitors and a couple of vending machines. It was like a playground area for tall children. Hobson scowled at it all – Choi was grinning widely.

"Mister Hobson?"

The receptionist herself was a tiny, cutesy thing with long curly hair – the curveless figure of a cocktail stick and the dress sense of My Little Pony. Hobson didn't like to rule anyone out at this early stage, but she might not be the killer.

He paced across the horrible green flooring – fucking Christ, was this fake grass? – and shook her tiny hand in his enormous one. "Hi, John Hobson. Nice to meet you. You've seen us on..." Reluctant pause. "On the tweets, I suppose?"

"I'm Jacqueline Miller – everyone calls me Jacq – yes I saw you on Twitter – I can't believe what happened to William, you'll catch the killer won't you?"

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