“I have a very strong question!” Martin was not sure, if questions could be strong, but he could imagine, what Sibylle was trying to say.

“Shoot!” Maybe this was also not the best choice of words in this situation.

“I watched the incident again and again. And I watched your reactions – to be honest, I watched the whole video twice at least.” Sibylle put a lot of effort in. “Why on earth, did you think of a prank?!? I would never even have this idea. So, what did Gregor do, to deserve this distrust in his death?”

Of course! Sibylle had no idea about Gregor’s annoying hobby. “Gregor did things like this on a regular basis”, Martin explained via Messenger. “He is a film buff, who is really into special effects and things like that. He once recreated this famous scene from Alien, where an alien came out of his stomach.”

“Wow, you need a lot of props for that.”

“Yes, he put way more effort in this than in his papers, I think. He got in trouble with our boss Josef, because he recreated the scene in his office, and used a lot of fake blood, which landed on a lot of important things. So, Josef was not that happy with this scene. And then he reprised it in the Mensa on spaghetti-day with even more fake blood and this caused some drama as well, as you sure can imagine. And again, it was Josef who got in trouble and had to apologize on Gregor’s behalf.”

“Ah, that explains Honza’s reaction. Where he said: Josef will get you fired or something like that.”

Martin gave that comment a thumbs-up. “Yeah, Honza used to love Gregor’s silly pranks. But then he got really scared, as Gregor dropped a human sized puppet from the stairs. Again, with a lot fake blood. I was also there, and it looked too fake for me to really get a shock, but I later found out, that Honza once saw a man falling to death. Obviously he got triggered or something like that. Even after he had realized, that it was just a puppet, he was trembling and for a moment I thought, he would faint.”

Sibylle wrote: “Sorry, I struggle a bit with this story.”

“Well, I think it is normal, when you had a traumatic experience, that your trauma response gets triggered again by a similar event.” And with his very quick fingers he sent the fitting Wikipedia article as well.

“Not that part!”, Sibylle replied with quite the same speed. “I have my own traumas and phobias. This part is absolutely understandable. And Honza must have been really mad with Gregor, I would guess. But I don’t understand Gregor. What is the fun in scaring people?”

That was a question, Martin had no real answer to. “I don’t know… Maybe it is a boys-thing?”

“Hm. You are a boy and I can’t remember you acting as if an alien would make a stage entry through your belly or as if Godzilla would climb out of your arse…”

There was a pause in their communication. “Well, most people liked his entertainment skills, I would say. You never knew when or where something funny would happen. Radek liked to tape those events and put them on twitter or Instagram or something like that.”

“I see. That really explains Honza’s reaction… But what about you? You were fast in calling the police.”

“Was I?” Martin had the feeling that he had waited way too long. Now that he knew, that Gregor was dying on his living room floor, whilst he hesitated to call the police… The thought alone made him sweat.

“Yeah. The others didn’t know what to make of it. And you just called him. You made that decision very quickly. Although you knew, that Honza had a point in thinking of a new prank.”

She was right. “I think, it was Jenda’s face, that made me do it. He looked so shocked. It reminded me of Honza’s face, when the stair incident happened.” He tried to remember his every thought of the moment. “Maybe I was also a bit angry with Gregor for disturbing our conference. He was finished with his part and it was Radek’s turn. And Radek researches about quite the same topic as Gregor. I think, I thought, that if it was a prank, he chose to do it in Radek’s spot on purpose. They both have applied for the same position, if I am informed correctly. I thought it was foul play. And I saw Jenda’s pale face and I thought: This is ridiculous. I will call him to know, what is going on. I didn’t like the idea of waiting to see, whether he would show up again or not.”

“So, you called him, but of course he didn’t pick up. So you called the police.”

“Actually, I thought, he did pick up. Then I heard a loud sound. Like a shot.” Martin’s blood ran out of his face for a second and came back in an alarming heatwave. “I completely forgot to tell the police this detail! I need to tell them! Right?”

Sibylle sent a yes. “You really need to. So he might have been alive still?”

“I don’t know. The call ended abruptly. I need to call the police now.”

“Wait!” Sibylle texted quickly. “There was no sound of Gregor’s phone ringing, as you called him.”

“He probably had it on silent. I also silence mine during a conference call.”

“Still. Tell this detail also the police. They should know every detail.”

Martin agreed. He had managed this whole situation today in a calm manner, that had let him doubt again, if he did not spend too much time with computers. He knew, that he should have felt something, when his colleague got shot in front of his eyes, but hadn’t felt alarmed or shocked or anything you would expect after such a horrible experience. But now he was trembling. And he felt sick. He had troubles keeping his voice calm during the following complicated phone call with the police. And after that he regretted, that he had not taken the sleeping pills, that the doctor at Gregor’s house had offered him kindly. It was not a good night for him. At 3am he decided to go for a quick run. He fell asleep at 4.30am and woke up at 6am again.

to be continued

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