“McKeogh.” Fragment…

“It is difficult to know if McKeogh had ever made a true statement, true in the sense that it could be verified, described as objective, capable of ratification, sir.”

The room was silent. Almost. Overhead, the blades of two large electric fans swished round in a vain attempt to disturb the humid air.

The man behind the desk cleared his throat. A fly landed on Jensen’s neck for what seemedĀ like the hundredth time and he swatted at it with the back of his hand. Inside his shirt he could feel beads of sweat rolling down his rib cage.

A rustling of papers drew his attention back to his interrogator. Jensen waited for the next question. Behind the man’s head a salamander crept headfirst down the wall, hopped onto the window ledge and exited through the open pane.

Jensen’s left hand went up to his face to wipe away the salty beads of sweat that kept gathering on his top lip. They tasted of aftershave. The arc of his wrist as he did so caused the bright circular reflection from the face of his watch to dance across the floor, zig zag up the wall and oscillate on the ceiling.

The man opposite him finished rearranging his papers, glanced quickly across at Jensen, reached for a glass of water and took a small sip, carefully placing the glass back on a wet ring that had formed on the table.

“Is there anything you’d like to add, anything at all?”

Jensen shook his head, “No, sir.”

The man pursed his lips and removed his spectacles, placing them flat on the desk and rubbed his eyes with his forefinger and thumb. The reflections from the lenses joined that of Jensen’s watch face on the ceiling, surrounding his with their oblong reflections.

Jensen could hear himself breathing, feeling his heart beating underneath his abdomen. The ornate metal minute hand of a large round Victorian clock clicked forward.

“Then that’ll be all, for now.”

A slight nod of the man’s head towards the door indicated to Jensen that he was dismissed. Uncertain whether or not one saluted a civilian, Jensen decided to err on the side of caution and snapped to attention, throwing his right hand up to his forehead, turned round and exited the room.

He had the uneasy feeling that whatever the man had wanted from him in the way of an explanation, he’d somehow failed to give it. He couldn’t understand why he’d been made to feel guilty. Nobody could make much of McKeogh’s impenetrability. Jensen felt he knew him more than most. But dealing with Jack McKeogh was like a game of pass the parcel. No sooner did you unwrap one layer when another appeared which bore no resemblance to the first.

McKeogh did enigmatic better than anyone he’d ever worked with.


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