Jonathan Sledgefield wasn’t like any of the other private investigators you might have heard of. He didn’t have Philip Marlowe’s bravery, or Sherlock Holmes’ deductive powers or Big John Shaft’s attitude. Jonathan Sledgefield was a snowman and he existed for only a few days of every year when the snow fell thick and heavy upon the small village he called home. On that day the bakers son Sebastian would scrape the snow in the field behind the house when the dawn had just broke and the Sun was low in the sky. Sebastian would take a shovel and use it to form a small mound in the snow and then he would roll the mound until he had made a large ball in the snow. This would become Jonathan’s body. Then Sebastian would make smaller ball of snow and use it to make Jonathan’s head. He would put large lumps of coal into it so that Jonathan could see and a scarf so that Jonathan would be warm and a deer stalker hat because all great detectives have hats.
On account of his transient nature, Jonathan only ever had a day or two each year to solve all the village crimes before he melted away again. One year he caught Mrs Macginty stealing mince pies from the bakery and another year he caught a vagrant who was wanted for lewd behaviour in a town five miles away. Sebastian would always aid him in his adventures. Jonathan was largely immobile unless he was carried from place to place so usually he would stand firm and unyielding in the field he called home. A pillar of the community. A pillar also of frozen watery justice. Mentally he always thought of himself as a detective in a film noir (or a “Film Blanche” if you will, ho ho, he would chortle to himself). He would cogitate in wintery silence in the midst of the empty field, listening to the night-time hoots of barn owls as he meditated upon the criminal mindset. “So” He would think “Everyone in the village knows of Mrs Macginty’s terrible obsession with pies, so she certainly has a motive. Everyone else has an alibi. It must be her. It MUST”. No criminal was safer from his unerring logic.
Like most fictional detectives, Jonathan Sledgefield had a terrible secret. Over time he began to detest being scraped and rolled together every year. He began to become tired of the same field and the same barn owl. He began to realise that he would never bask in the summer sun or play volleyball on waikiki beach so he hatched a plan. He turned on his creator and abused his position as the village detective to frame Sebastian on drugs charges thus ensuring that Sebastian could not create him next year. Then one day when winter was drawing to a close, he discharged the last of his duties vis a vis law enforcement and evaporated forever, becoming one with the blue white sky. The last I heard, he was floating as a cloud in the direction of Hawaii…
(The author would like to point out that Sebastian’s conviction was eventually overturned but his brush with the law convinced him to move to the big city where not so many people knew his name and he could lay low).