Case File Fragments 001 - Chalk Drawings

Case File Fragments 001 - Chalk Drawings

Apr 05, 2023

By Christopher Green


“What do we have here?” I asked, of no one in particular, as I began to squat down in the alleyway. 

“Not sure how you can focus on anything when you’re on your seventh cup of coffee.” Leigh replied, eyeing my Timbucks coffee cup. “You know you’ll never be able to sleep.”

“Crime never sleeps either, Leigh.” I replied, as I squatted down over the chalk drawing, the edges of my trench coat now dusting the pavement.

 Leigh rolled her eyes, “Why are you so fascinated with this chalk? You know kids draw chalk on the sidewalk all the time, right?”

 “I know.” I replied. In fact, I knew a lot more than I let on, detectives often do. “These weren’t drawn by children.”

 “How do you know that? They just look like nonsense.”

 I pointed towards an ornate drawing of what looked like an interpretive version of the sun. “This drawing isn’t nonsensical, it’s abstract. Can you hold this?” I handed her my coffee cup, only a quarter of it left, I’ll finish that off later.

 “Sure,” she grabbed the cup, “Abstract is nonsense Winter. Give me that old fashion realism. None of this Picasso gibberish.”

 “Actually,” I slipped on a latex glove I had retrieved from my pocket, “Picasso started out in a much more realist style. It wasn’t until later on that he started to do his more abstract work.” I stretched the last bit of the glove on with a satisfying snap.

 “Right. Since when were you an art fan?” Leigh queried, starting to hug her own elbows. There was an uncommon chill to the air. Perhaps more nefarious forces were afoot than mere expressionist painters at work.

 “I respect the arts, but I’m more of a reader. Read a book on great painters a while back. You never know what information about any number of disciplines will come in handy. And while I may not be an art expert, I know children aren’t known for the most tidy drawings. This sun is shockingly symmetrical.” I said, pointing to it again.

 “Oh no! It’s the geometry gang! Look out folks!” Leigh responded sarcastically.

 I shook my head with and laughed lightly. “The symmetry is shocking because none of the other pieces of chalk art are even remotely symmetrical. These,” I pointed to the rest of the chalk drawings, “were drawn by children,” I pointed back to the sun, “but this was not.” 

 “So someone’s dad joined in the fun. Hardly a crime wave.”

 “I never said it was, Leigh. But clues to mysteries are everywhere. You never know when, or if, what you observe may come in handy. A detective is well read. But not just in books. A detective must be an observer. A reader of everything. Faces. The weather.”

“Chalk drawings?” Leigh asked, one eyebrow raised.

 “Chalk drawings.” I affirmed. I stood to my feet and brushed the edges of my trench coat, which had picked up some chalk dust of their own. “Come on, you’re freezing. It’s seven degrees and you’re not dressed for this.”

 “You don’t have to ask me twice. Where to?” She asked, rubbing the goosebumps on her arms up and down.

 “Let’s get over to Timbucks, they have free refills if you still have your cup.” I said, snatching my cup back from Leigh.

 “You need an intervention.”

 “Only if that comes with espresso.”

 As we started to walk away rain began lightly falling. The chalk began to run. As we turned the corner, something caught my eye in the sun drawing. I rummaged through my pocket for my phone, and snapped a picture. After pinching my screen to zoom in, there I saw the numbers eight, one, and five.

 “What’s that?” Leigh asked.

 “We may never know.” I replied, as I moved the photo to an album on my phone, labelled ‘case file fragments’.

 “Then why keep a photo of it?”

“It’s part of being well read.” 


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