A Very Martin Mystery

I think I mentioned one Monday Morning Blues back that the Philosopher and I are casually working on a little mystery novel, starring the lovable dope Martin Cheswick. Two things should be said: 1) Ok, let’s be honest, it’s mostly just me writing the novel and 2) Martin is in no way modeled on the Philosopher, except potentially the smallest tiniest bit

It’s probable that this novel, like most I’ve started over the years, will fizzle and burn (the well-known alternative to crashing and burning). However, right now it’s bringing the light to my eyes and the mischief to my grin…and other similarly composed metaphors about happiness.

Would you like to meet Martin? Of course you would! Who wouldn’t want to meet a lovable dope?! Here he is, without further ado. By the way, you might catch a little modernworkinggirl reference in there…

Martin Cheswick sniffed the coffee grounds before scooping out his daily ration. He flicked the switch on the machine, and leaned heavily against the counter, arms crossed. He closed his eyes.

The arrival of a shiny new Tesco Metro into the village of Thislington had brought its fair share of picketers and small-town squabbles. His elderly neighbor two doors to the right refused to wave now when they faced each other on weekends, watering their reluctant roses. He suspected she was the one who had smashed an egg – just one – onto his windshield in June. Wiping it off the morning after with an old t-shirt, he had felt her eyes on his back, though she was hidden behind thickly curtained windows. He felt no anger at her petty crime; after all, he deserved the wrath. It was his estate agency that had brokered a deal with the devil.

The slightly burnt aroma of filtering coffee made Martin’s mouth water. He turned back toward the machine and tapped his fingers on the counter, watching the drip-drip with unblinking interest, as he did every morning. It was pleasantly hypnotizing, a balm against the midweek morning blues.

He thought about his next moves, again about the Tesco Metro. He imagined himself – always a slightly taller version, and better clothed, the Martin of his mind’s eye – standing in front of the Krispy Kreme display. Mind’s-eye Martin peered through the glass, spending several seconds examining each donut before reaching in, donut paper in hand. His weakness lay in the jam donut family, but he’d eaten two already this week. There was just something every-man about a jam donut which, for a man like Martin, was almost irresistible. One had the instinctive feeling the jam donut was a donut one could trust. He floated his hand to the left, first passing by and then settling on the chocolate custard. Too flamboyant for a Wednesday morning?…


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