Chief Inspector Jane O’Donnell felt highly satisfied as she took her chair for breakfast at the Golden Armadillo Hotel. The Case of the Missing Geese had been nicely wrapped up the previous evening once it was established that the farmer had forgotten which pond he had left his flock in after a late night at the Stripy Wombat Pub. As often seemed to be the case with the Chief Inspector’s investigations there had been no arrests. Still, the geese were safe, and it meant no paperwork. Another tick in the box.
|The Only Sensible Conversation Around
(Image © Jelene)
“A job well done” she announced to a rather green, sickly looking Detective Constable Oakes who had spent most of the night allegedly questioning suspects in the Stripy Wombat.
DC Oakes nodded and turned his attention to the fry up that had been set in front of him but kept his mouth shut. She was mad as a box of frogs he thought, a sandwich short of a picnic. Yet another “perplexing mystery” that was really a wild goose chase. He would be glad to get home to Mrs Oakes and more particularly the chickens he kept. Sometimes he thought they were the only sane things in the whole world.
The quiet atmosphere was interrupted by a heated discussion in the kitchen. An argument about the best way to play angry birds – was it better on the chefs new iPad or his iPhone? Goodness me, thought Oakes, the world had gone mad! He turned his attention back to his breakfast and thought of chickens and clucked quietly to himself.
The Chief Inspector finished her breakfast and made arrangements to meet her colleague in the reception area of the hotel in an hour. It was as she walked up the stairs that she was nearly knocked over by the owner of the hotel. A stooping old man of about 80, he came careering around the corner with his walking stick held in front of him like a lance. His normally calm features distorted by rage, his face bright red, looking ready to explode.
“Officer, Officer!!! Thank goodness you are still here” he exclaimed, grabbing the Chief Inspector with surprising strength around the arm. “There’s been the most awful theft. Someone has been into my private quarters and stolen my iPad. It was an original one and on my birthday too”. He leant on his walking stick, emotion pouring out of him as he told his story. The iPad had been taken between 11pm and 2am in the morning. The owner had woken up full of good birthday cheer only to be confronted by the devastating theft.
Now, Chief Inspector O’Donnell didn’t know a lot about iPads but she did know about originals. Things like Van Gogh paintings and Dickens first edition books. There had been a very interesting course on those at detective school. She knew they were important and very valuable. And here she was. The first detective on the scene of an original iPad theft. How lucky that she was there!
Like the true professional that she was, she sprang into action. Shouting back to the open door of the dining room, she started issuing orders.
“Oakes. Get more coffee and croissants. Make sure there is marmalade too! Oh, and we will need an incident room. Clear the dining room this instant and set one up.”
She could have sworn that she heard a large “cluck” come from the dining room area before Oakes replied with a weary “yes ma’am”.
An hour later, O’Donnell, now in her full uniform, returned to the dining room. A phone had been set up together with a large TV screen tuned to the national news channels. She glanced at it to see what the public reaction to the theft of an original iPad was and was relieved to see it had not yet made the global media. The current news item was about Apple stores who had run a promotion last night where you could turn up at any local store at midnight and receive a free new iPad in exchange for your old one. O’Donnell wasn’t interested in new iPads though – originals were her focus.
O’ Donnell was an old pro. The conversation in the kitchen had come back to her and she was confident she could have this case wrapped up by lunchtime. “I want to see the chef” she barked at Oakes, who was sitting at his table nursing his head and leafing through a magazine that looked suspiciously like “Chicken Lovers Weekly”.
The chef, when he arrived, looked tired and nervous, his eyes darting from side to side. “Where were you between 11 and 2 last night?” she asked with the slight American twang that she adopted when conducting an interrogation. She felt it made her more professional in front of the punters.
“Erm, erm, erm,” stammered the clearly guilty chef, “I went to the cinema to see a film.”
“Which film?” intervened Detective Constable Oakes, surprising O’Donnell with his incisive questioning. She had been just about to strike the chef off the suspect list as he clearly had an alibi.
The chef paused, his eyes searching the room for inspiration. “Chicken Run” he blurted out, resting his gaze on Oakes’ magazine.
Once again O’Donnell moved to cross the chef off the suspects list. But Oakes was on a roll. He knew that he was not a particularly smart man. He had Mrs Oakes to remind him of that and she was keen to do so regularly. But what Oakes did know about was chickens. And he knew that Chicken Run was not showing at the cinema last night. He whispered as much so his boss, who looked at him astonished as she circled the chefs name on the list.
Dismissing the chef, the two of them conferred in low voices. They hadn’t ever made an arrest before and clearly this was going to require some major planning.
“More coffee” shouted O’Donnell
“And biscuits!” Added Oakes, his confidence growing by the minute as his prowess as a true detective became more and more evident.
Just then the front door banged open. The owner’s daughter flew in.
“Sorry I’m so late” she cried, flinging herself into the arms of her elderly father, knocking his walking stick to the floor. “The queue at the Apple store was awful. I’ve got your birthday present though” and she brandished a brand new iPad with ‘ new for old’ stamped across the box.
“So you took the iPad?” The owner said, already several light years ahead of our trusty detectives. “How did you fit it in with the soup kitchen that you run after work?”
“Oh! The chef helped out there. I swore him to secrecy though so that your new iPad would be a surprise!” she smiled. “I even said he should take some of the leftovers from the hotel. I hope you don’t mind?
O’Donnell and Oakes looked at each other. “Another successful outcome”, triumphed O’Donnell.
“Cluck” said Oakes.
© John Laverick 2014