“As you deal so shall you die,” was scrawled in blood above the butchered meat-packing executive. Yellow petals were scattered on his body.
Detective Inspector Stafford pointed a finger at the scrawled message. “What do you make of that then, son?”
“As you deal so shall you die,” said Detective Sergeant Ringer.
“I didn’t ask you to read it out. I asked you what you made of it.”
“Well, he dealt in meat.”
“You know what they say…”
“No. What do they say?”
“Meat is murder.”
“They say that, do they? Who does?”
“Hardcore vegetarians. Militant vegans.”
Stafford shook his head wearily.
“What it’s saying,” continued Ringer undeterred, “is because he dealt in meat, he had to be murdered.”
“Nice. They won’t stand for a pig to be slaughtered, but they will cut down a human being in cold blood.”
“There’s no distinction, as far as they’re concerned.”
“Meat is murder,” said Stafford, musingly. “Is that it?”
“That’s right, sir.”
“No, lad. Murder is murder. Meat is dinner.”
“Yeah, well, Morrissey would disagree with you there.”
“He wrote the song. Meat is Murder. When he was with the Smiths. It’s the title track of their second album.”
“Are you making this up? The Smiths? Some kind of group, is it?”
“That’s right, sir. Very big in the eighties. He was their lead singer. You must have heard of him, guv. You must have seen him on Top of the Pops. He used to prance around with a gladioli down his trousers.”
“And where is he now, this Morrissey?”
“He’s a successful solo artist these days, guv. Still putting out the CDs. Still touring. As a matter of fact, he’s got a gig in town tonight.”
“My, my, son,” said the inspector, looking down at the yellow petals scattered over the body. “It looks like you’ve solved one. ‘Bout bloody time.”