Inspector White parked in front of Laverstone Technical College and switched off the engine. He stared at the building for a minute while Peters finished his second sandwich, marvelling at the expanse of concrete, steel and glass.
“How can something so practical as a technical college do so well at not blending in with the local townscape?”
“The seventies, sir.” Peters gestured through the window with the last crust of his tuna mayonnaise. “This the the architectural equivalent of a paisley shirt with an extra-pointy collar. You wouldn't be seen dead in one now but they were the height of fashion in their day.”
“Now it looks more like the corduroy jacket with elbow patches.” White opened the door and stepped out. “Lets see what they've got to say about out missing lads.”
He headed past a tangle of cotoneaster plants and briar roses and pulled on the smoked glass door. The inside of the student services wing of the college smells of stale chips and old sweat. Weak sunshine filters past the glass windows and fought with the overhead fluorescents. One flickered off-on-off-on. White could feel a headache coming on already. Sergeant Peters wandered over to an inset display case and examined the objects inside. There were a few pieces of pottery from the ceramics diploma course, a small model of the campus made on peeling paper and cardboard and a photograph of the dean presenting an oversized cheque to the mayor.
Behind the safety glass of reception a woman barely looked up as he approached. He stood there for a minute, waiting for her to finish filling in whatever form her pen was hovering over. When she signed the bottom of it and reached for another he ventured to cough.
She used the pen to point to a computer printed and laminated sign: Please press the buzzer and wait.
White pressed the buzzer.