The body in the canal

It started out as a routine walk with my dog. Out of the front door, down the lane and onto the canal towpath. We’d walked about 50 metres when it caught my eye. It wasn’t unusual to see something bobbing along in the water, odd bits of wood, occasional litter items. I didn’t pay an awful lot of attention to this detritus, apart from tut, tutting the litter. Something about this particular object though, made me do a double take and then stop and stare. It was about 5 metres out and floating just under the surface of the murky grey water. A shiver went down my spine and I suddenly felt sick to my stomach. Then I chastised myself for being foolish and letting my imagination get the better of me. I decided to just get on with our walk. However, like a musical phrase that becomes an ear worm, I couldn’t get it out of my head. It looked for all the world like one of those comic fancy dress bald head skull caps, floating in the water with a fringe of hair spread around it, but my imagination had gone into overdrive. That, coupled with the strong overwhelming sense of responsibility I was brought up with, wouldn’t let me leave it. It worried at me like my dog with a rat.

By the time I’d got home I had resolved to ring the police on their non emergency line. At least then, I reasoned, I could put it out of my head. Of course, it was never going to be that simple. They decided to put me straight through to the emergency services, who insisted that they would investigate it straight away and would I be so kind as to meet them at the canal. Well, I could hardly refuse. I got to the canal bridge just as the police car was pulling up. Two very young looking constables got out and greeted me; a man and a woman. I was asked to walk them down to where the, ‘object’ in question was currently bobbing in the water. However, before we had walked far, there was a crackle on the radio and we paused while the message was taken. Everything stopped and we had to walk back to the bridge and off the canal. It seems the constables senior officer had decided to take charge of the situation personally; insisting that no one was to approach the scene until he had got there. Furthermore, the bridge had to be taped off with police tape. This was getting out of hand. The bridge duly taped off, the constable then dashed back onto the towpath to halt an approaching narrow boat; asking if they wouldn’t mind just mooring up and perhaps just putting the kettle on while they waited. Now it was getting surreal.

The senior officer, who didn’t look much older than his juniors, arrived and suggested that I sat in the car with the WPC and started to fill in their paperwork while he and her colleague went to investigate the object. I think we’d got as far as name and address when there was another crackling on the radio followed by the senior officers voice announcing, “the body would appear to be that….of a Badger!”

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