Gregson was fat. He loved to eat. He played chess in the park against himself. This was less about the game and more to do with watching people. They all had someplace to go and something to do; lives that didn’t concern him and this was best. If friends or acquaintances asked him what he did, Gregson said, “I’m a private investigator.” But he was really retired. He just couldn’t face another day without the possibility of a case. He knew that Frank would be riding by at any moment and that would at least break up the monotony. What did he have left to do? Feed the birds? God; he was retired.
“You know, I think you have been playing the same game since I met you three weeks ago.”
“This is the second.”
“Really, I couldn’t tell.” Gregson knew the voice only too well. He turned his attention from his game and looked up. He was staring at a horse’s mouth. He looked up a bit higher and there was Frank.
“Brought you a hot dog,” Frank said.
“Say, did you read the newspaper this morning?”
“I never miss it, except for today.”
“Well, you missed something all right. Somebody was murdered right here in Chess-Field Park. Apparently, they were killed the medieval way; poor bloke took a lance right through the chest. He was propped up in the main lawn this morning.”
“Do the police have any leads?”
“No, not really, but there was something… kind of unusual if you ask me. They found a solitary black knight positioned in the middle of a chessboard where he was killed. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or the killer is trying to make a statement, but he left his calling card.”
Gregson looked at Frank. “You know what? You really should be a detective.”
“Thanks Greg, but I’m not sure I want to stop riding Charlie.”
Charlie is my horse.” Greg sighed and they both laughed.
“Let me know if you find anything else,” Gregson said.
And Frank rode on, waving a parking ticket behind him and placing it on the windshield of a red sportscar that was double parked.
“Well, checkmate.” Gregson said to himself. And he left the table to go feed the birds.
The park was wide. It was old. It took up too much space in the city. Soon the plot was going to be developed. Some asshole who knew another asshole got the rights to it. Crying shame, Greg thought.
“Man, I’ve got to lose weight. I can’t believe I ran the park marathon 5 years ago. I guess that’s what happens when you change your routine and you stop chasing bad guys. He walked up the hill and admired the old castle. Then he walked back to his studio. Gregson was trying to write his memoirs, but he was struggling. Could it be that he didn’t have a case worth writing about? Real detective work just wasn’t that interesting. Maybe detective stories were just stories? And Gregson turned out the lights and went to sleep.