Character Interview – Sergeant Alex Ford
by Carrie Marsh
I lean back, listening to the hustle and bustle of the Rockport police station, going on around me. I am sitting in a small office, and I breathe in the scents of dust, printer ink and coffee, all mixed with the vague scent of aftershave and men. The station is small and sparsely-furnished, but it pulses with life. Especially at the moment, in the middle of this case.
I am here in the office of Sergeant Alex Ford, waiting to interview him. The second-in-command to Inspector Watson, he has a reputation for keen intelligence and ruthless questions.
I lean back and listen to the sounds around me – footsteps in the corridor, phones, a printer – men shouting and joking and laughing. I hear footsteps walking briskly in this direction and someone opening the door. A tall, lean blonde man walks in. He has a slim, intelligent face and blue eyes. I swallow, suddenly feeling shy. I wrote this man, dammit, I tell myself. I shouldn’t feel attracted to him – but I do.
“Sergeant Ford?” I smile, standing to greet him. “Good to meet you.”
“Alex. Please,” he says winningly, and raises a gold eyebrow. We shake hands. His grip is firm and dry, his fingers long and lean. I feel a slight tingle in my arm and try to ignore it. “Would you like a coffee before we begin?”
I agree, pleased. My body craves caffeine. His evidently does too, for he takes a double espresso at the machine next door.
He smiles. “It’s weird being the one interviewed,” he admits. “I usually conduct the interviews in our investigations.”
“You must have done plenty just lately,” I note, “with this latest case.”
He pulls a face. “You can say that again. This case is driving us all a bit mad.”
“I have heard,” I reply. “Any new developments? Clues?”
He puffs out his cheeks, thinking.“The list of suspects has narrowed a bit, but we’re closing in on the murder weapon,” he observes. “But, then, there’s this damn piece of paper – sorry,” he adds, apologising for the minor swear-word. He runs a hand over his face, clearly stressed.
“This cryptic piece of paper with numbers on it, found in the deceased’s room. No clue what it means, yet. Gilbert’ll probably guess,” he sighs. “I hope so, anyway. We’re running out of time.”
“Dr. Levi, our pathologist and all-round show-off.” He smiles affectionately and I sense an admiration for the man. I wonder about his professional ambitions and relationships.
“I imagine you’re a good interviewer yourself,” I begin.“Working with Richard Watson must be demanding.”
He rolls his eyes, grinning wryly. “You could say that,” he adds, “the man never gives up!” He breathes out a heavy sigh.
I laugh. “I have heard he never sleeps.”
“Not quite true,” Alex observes. “I have seen him asleep – though after about a week awake, sitting behind his desk.”
“Wow!” I whistle.
“It is demanding,” he agrees. “But he is…someone I admire. Someone I would like to be like.”
I wonder about the heavy responsibility and pressure Watson places on him…does Alex resent it?
“You must sometimes focus on your own career prospects?” I ask carefully. “I can imagine supporting Watson must be exhausting.”
“It is, and I do,” he admits, and his expression is suddenly strained. “I mean, I sometimes wonder – do I want to be stuck out here, just a sergeant in the middle of nowhere, alone all my life?” he sighs.
“Well?” I ask.
He shuts his eyes. “I can’t say I’m not tempted to walk out sometimes,” he admits. “I would love to rise in my career, and working with Richard is demanding. Yes. But do I really want to leave? I don’t know.” He sighs.
“If you left this,” I ask carefully, “where would you go? Would you leave the force?”
He chews his lip, thinking a long while before he answers. “I don’t know where I’d go,” he says carefully, “But I would never leave the force.”
“What is it that keeps you here?”
He sighs. “I don’t know. The excitement, I guess. The drive. The chance to answer questions and use your brain logically.” He looks embarrassed. “I love logic puzzles,” he admits.
“Really?” I ask. “That’s interesting.”
“I really should leave you to work,” I observe, “but one last question – do you have a girlfriend?”
He blushes and laughs. “All I can say is, watch this space,” he grins. “That is a place of new developments.”
“Alex?” A voice calls from the corridor suddenly.
“Gilbert!” he exclaims. A tall man with white hair and dark eyes walks in. He blinks at me, and Alex explains: “It’s an interview. But you look like you have something urgent to say?”
“I do,” Gilbert agrees. He glances meaningfully at me, and it seems he wants me to leave. “In the corridor?” he asks Alex. Alex inclines his head.
“I’ll be a minute,” he apologises to me. I watch him go.
When he comes back, he is tense, alive with nerves. He looks focused and I see the keen mind behind the easy manner.
“I need to go,” he explains quickly.
“What?” I ask, feeling nervous myself.
“We’ve found the weapon,” he says shortly. He has a stiff expression, as if the news disturbed him greatly.
I stand and we shake hands and then he leaves, feet silent in the corridor. I sit there a moment, tense but contemplative, thinking about all he has said. I hope to see him again, when he has finally solved this case.
Here you go, is my character interview with Sergeant Alex Ford. This is a rare opportunity to speak with him as he’s always partnering Inspector Watson solving murder cases, and be sure to read my book, “The Case of The Hated Body” to know more of him. Until then… take care.
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