Saturday, July 07, 2007

Let The Host Do The Washing-Up

"Can I lend a hand?" the guest asked.

The dinner party had been splendid, with good food, good wine and good company. Didier was in need of some good company these days, what with his wife walking out on him. Alone in the empty house, he was reaching out to his friends and they were there for him. No one brought up the whereabouts of Chantal, who had disappeared with her son, left Verviers and never looked back.

"Cling film?" she inquired.

"Just there, under the cutlery," Didier said.

Chantal had been making noise about getting a divorce a few weeks ago. She said she was scared half out of her wits by Didier when he'd had a few. You could see how he might get violent, especially if the drink took hold of his senses. He was prone to argue with her all the time, but he didn't want to break up with her either. Funny, that. Not getting along very well, but not willing to call it a day either.

She stretched the plastic film over the bowl of pommes-frites that would serve well in an omelet the next day. Peering into the refrigerator, the guest realized that there was no room for a single frite, let alone the bowl. Even careful rearrangement would not yield enough space. Freezing the cooked potatoes was not the best option, but Didier had a large freezer in his utility closet and freezing was better than throwing away perfectly good food.

"Didier, I believe I have found Chantal and Bryan," the guest announced. "They are here in your freezer. I don't think I can squeeze this bowl of pommes-frites in after all."

"Well, we did argue a lot," Didier said. "My neighbors have been complaining about me for years, about my aggressive behavior towards them."

"If you don't mind, I'll just run screaming to the authorities. And then I shall get counseling because I am quite traumatized by this discovery."

"As well you might be. But it's a small house, and there just wasn't anyplace else to put them. You know that dead bodies give off a powerful aroma if not kept frozen."

"Quite right you are, Didier, but I don't think I shall ever be able to open a freezer again. Nor shall I ever touch another pomme-frite."

"You should perhaps not have offered to help with the washing-up," Didier observed.

Didier Charron has not yet made a confession, but he will be remanded into custody while Georges Lahaye of the Verviers public prosecutor's office puts a case together. Chantal Charron and her son Bryan were apparently stabbed to death.

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