It is my unhappy duty today to inform you that beloved islander Bertram Fiddle has died. Bertram was declared dead in the surgery of Doc Willoughby late last evening. It is only by chance that I happened to be passing as Doc Willoughby was attempting to remove the body from his office, and in assisting him, I was able to also interview him about the tragic death of this much loved local figure.
Here are the various answers our good doctor gave to the question ‘how did Bertram die?’ I repeat them here in the order in which I recall them which may not be the order they were given in – as I was helping move a body at the time I had no free hands with which to make notes.
“It was nothing to do with me.
It was an accident, clearly. He just came in here and died, just like that. Didn’t even tell me what was wrong with him first.
He was a dear, dear friend with whom I have never once had anything even slightly resembling a falling out. I would certainly never have hit him. And we weren’t drinking. We were going drinking together, you understand, but we had not actually started drinking.
It’s a complete mystery to me how he died, but death often is a mystery, isn’t it?”
Readers, I can only leave you to draw your own conclusions.
It is a tragic loss to the island. We will all miss his unique humour, his unique facial hair, and his unique relationship with reality. I also note with some unease that we have now lost our one resident detective. Who can forget his work on the case of the uncanny night shaving, or his relentless efforts to solve the conundrum of the pig in the latrine? And now, faced with the mysterious death of Bertram Fiddle himself, who amongst us has the skill and determination to step up and find answers?
Not that island justice can be relied upon to deliver anything much. Whether it’s our usual apathetic response of shrugging and supposing we have to live with it, or our heavy handed torches and pitchforks response that invariably punishes the wrong person anyway… justice is not our collective strongpoint. And I can only feel, in the sad loss of Bertram Fiddle, that our collective scope for justice has just taken a sorry blow and may never truly recover from it.
There will be a memorial service next week, and a wake, but no actual funeral because Doc Willoughby was so upset that he just got on and buried his dear friend himself.
You can find what remains of Bertram Fiddle here – https://www.bertramfiddle.com/
Bertram’s death is in no small part a consequence of the kickstarter we have underway at the moment. At time of posting, we have 38 open graves remaining for would-be corpses. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/countrostov/tales-of-hopeless-maine