I Come and Stand at Your Door #1, 2013

 “You’re wearing odd shoes,” said Detective Sergaent Donohue. Quinnell grumbled. He shuffled across the tiles towards Donohue, a pained expression on his face, his plastic overshoes rustling. “It’s an interesting look,” said Donohue.

“Why did you call me, Franc? Surely you know, I’m the sh_t on the sole of the department’s shoe. My presence here could cause you all kinds of problems,” said Quinnell.

“Oh, I don’t think so, DI Quinnell,” said Donohue. He busied himself with the examination of the corpse. “There’s cash in his trouser pocket, and a what looks like a wallet in his jacket, so I don’t think we’re looking at a robbery,” said Donohue.

The victim was sprawled on the toilet, a lilac shirt wound round his head like a makeshift bandage. But there did not appear to be any blood on it. The victim was naked to the waist, suggesting the shirt was his own. A loosely folded sheet of paper protruded from his left hand. Quinnell placed the man in his forties. His lower jaw reminded Quinnell of that of a comic book hero. It was accentuated by a beard as black as a policeman’s notebook.

“What about Stamp? Did you call him?” said Quinnell. Donohue hummed to himself. “Stamp’s sick,” he said. “Ah, so I was second choice after all,” said Quinnell. Donohue stooped to examine the victim’s arms. “Wounds to both wrists. Most of the blood’s pooled here and here. Odd but it looks like once the action moved into the cubicle, he just sat still for it,” said Donohue. “And no, I wanted you.”

Quinnell crouched down to examine the trail of blood that led out of the cubicle. “Did you get a statement from the CSOs?” he said. DS Donohue nodded and said, “But they weren’t the first on the scene. The two men who raised the alarm would have been more useful, but the CSOs let them go.”

Donohue registered Quinnell’s look of disbelief, then smiled and said, “It gets better. The CSOs compromised the scene: no gloves or overshoes. Their fingerprints are probably everywhere. And one of them moved the body – he thought our man here was alive.”

Quinnell shook his head. “What about the other witnesses – the party guests?” he said.

“One of the CSOs ran into the private view and told the guests what they’d found. The guests lost interest in the art pretty quickly after that,” said Donohue.

“I can’t believe I let you drag me into this – I’ve got a bad foot,” said Quinnell.

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I Come and Stand At Your Door is the twelfth track on The Fall’s 1997 album, Levitate. It’s a predominantly electronic collection and features sound cut-ups and unusual vocal arrangements (particularly on The Quartet of Doc Shanley). I Come and Stand At Your Door is one of the more straightforward tracks – based on a poem by Nazım Hikmet and a traditional tune, previously performed by Pete Seeger, The Misunderstood and The Byrds. The album was released on a label called Artful, which no longer exists, so the physical artifact is pretty difficult to track down. You can hear the whole album here. I thoroughly recommend you listen to track 4, I’m a Mummy!

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