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One Last Job

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Existing in a world with no Poirot was difficult. Hastings found himself at loose ends, knowing he would never again hear his friend beseeching him to use his grey cells.

His Dulcie was gone, his children scattered. Hastings was a man adrift. His youngest daughter had recently gone to Africa, and Hastings did not expect an invitation anytime soon. Not after the last affair at Styles.

But he was convinced that perhaps the little Belgian detective was not really gone.

Hastings was neat enough for a bachelor, but not particular about his things. Poirot had always fussed about his clothes, his belongings, always displayed an extreme attention to detail.

Now, Hastings kept finding that his belongings had been…straightened. It put him in mind of their first adventure, when Poirot’s unconscious straightening of an object and Hastings’ casual remark had given Poirot the necessary clue.

Or how he kept finding references to Elizabeth Cole, the spinster Poirot had urged him to consider. Poirot, ever concerned with matchmaking and romance. Hastings had always found it entertaining that his cool, logical friend had such a soft spot for romance.

The house of cards, with a clipping concerning Elizabeth Cole in front of it, was the final sign. Hastings was almost afraid to close the door to the room, lest the cards be disturbed. Poirot had built them in the past, when he needed to let the little grey cells relax. Hastings hadn’t thought to see one again.

Now, he felt – sensed – something. Perhaps if he could turn fast enough, he might see a short, dapper figure with luxuriant moustaches styled just so, green eyes twinkling as he offered Hastings another challenge.

“All right,” Hastings said aloud with a touch of annoyance, “I will go see her.”

He could swear he heard Poirot’s chuckle.