“Ah, PC Keen, you have a customer for me I see.”
“Yes I do Sarge… and a unique one, I believe.”
Sergeant Hopkins stopped his writing and looked over the top of his glasses at the young PC, who was dripping on to the floor of the custody suite, holding a large suitcase in one hand and the ear of a middle-aged man in the other.
Sergeant Hopkins was glad to see that the rest of the middle aged man was still attached to the ear, it generally made it much easier to identify who the ear belonged to.
The man was about 4 feet tall, grey haired, bulbous nosed, wearing black trousers and pullover and an assorted tangle of murky green and muddy brown accessories, dripping on the floor and was handcuffed. His thin lips and general facial demeanour were shouting ‘I need a hot bath and a warm fluffy towel, preferably in a no-questions-asked boarding house quite a long way from here but I’m still attached to my ear and a policeman has hold of it’.
“I didn’t intend for the custody suite to be a wet room, PC Keen…” said the sergeant
“Yes, sorry Sir. This is an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of the manner in which the prisoner was apprehended, Sir.”
Sergeant Hopkins noted that the young Constable was already fluent in the policeman’s ‘English, but not as spoken by normal civilians’ language.
He adjusted his bottom on his stool to a more comfortable position, removed his reading glasses and assumed the listening position of world-weary custody officers everywhere, namely elbows on desk supporting the weight of his head to mitigate the shortly oncoming pains in the neck.
“And who do you think you have there?”
“I believe the suspect is Slippery Sod Sid Sir, scourge of owners of things that aren’t nailed down.”
Sergeant Hopkins stifled a laugh. “PC Keen, no one has ever caught Slippery Sod Sid. Hence the name. In fact, no one in the force has any idea what he looks like.”
“Only from the front Sir… Let me show you something Sir.”
PC Keen turned through 180 degrees, as did his prisoner because he was still attached to the ear that was going in that direction.
The Sergeant sat bolt upright and dropped his glasses on the desk, closely followed by his bottom jaw, as the suspect presented his back to him and recognition occured. Although there was much more light than he was used to seeing it in, and it wasn’t presently running away, this particular profile was probably recognisable to any officer who had served in the last twenty five years, although it did seem to get smaller more quickly with more years served.
“Well, I’ll be… you got him! How?”
“I was proceeding in an easterly direction in Happy Sailor Unions Street, adjacent to the docks, when this man bumped in to me as he exited from Furtive Alley carrying this large case and a large pair of bolt croppers Sir. My suspicion that he may be up to no good was initially raised when he exclaimed… excuse me Sarge, I’ll check my notebook… ah yes… ‘Bloody hell, a copper‘ and then ran off with the case having attempted to swing the bolt croppers towards a position recently occupied by my head.”
“Yes, I can see that would make you suspicious.”
“Having avoided a conjunction of these two objects, I pursued the suspect through the docks in a southerly direction Sir, while blowing my whistle and gesturing for him to stop with my truncheon. I eventually cornered him on a jetty by the river. Do you mind if I check my notebook for the details of the conversation that we then embarked upon Sir?”
“Of course not Constable, carry on”
“Please accompany me back to the station Sir, I wish to clarify your intentions, vis a vis yourself swinging a large pair of bolt croppers at my head in a violent manner likely to impart a dent. Sorry, that was me Sir.”
“I gathered that already Constable”
“He replies; ‘You haven’t got any evidence sonny, and you are not likely to get any eiver..’ Excuse me Sir, I have used the incorrect spelling for accuracy.”
“I hadn’t noticed the spelling. You’re reading it.”
“Oh… right. I’ll continue then.
The suspect then turns and throws the case and the bolt croppers into the river and says ‘Just you and me ‘ere, nothing to say I wasn’t just taking a little walk… there’s no evidence of nuffink, see?‘”
“Ah, this is definitely Slippery Sod Sid…”
“To which I reply ‘Your case appears to be airtight Sir.’ and he says ‘Yeah, it is‘ and I say ‘No sir, the bolt croppers have sunk but your case is floating.’
At this point Sir, the suspect exclaims ‘Buggerit!‘ and jumps into the river after the case. I reluctantly followed in order to secure the safety of both items and here we are.”
Sergeant Hopkins was uncharacteristically happy.
“Well, what can I say, sounds open and shut. Watertight in fact.” he said, pleased with his play on words. “So, let’s see what is in the case, eh Sid?”
PC Keen took the case and hoisted it onto the desk and Sergeant Hopkins eagerly flipped the two locks. “Silver candelabra or two I should think, maybe some diamonds… Lady Black-Smythe reported a robbery earlier tonight.”
Sergeant Hopkin’s sunny and gleeful expression slowly turned in to one resembling an approaching thunder storm.
‘It’s EMPTY!’ he exclaimed “EMPTY! No wonder it bloody floated…”
PC Keen looked over the lid of the open case, just to check for himself. It was still empty. Sid smirked.
“Err.. can I go? I appears to ‘ave been brung ‘ere under false pretendences. I mean, I’m not casting perversions on the young officer but a four foot man has to run if a six foot one runs after him in the dark, waving a stick and blowing a whistle.”
A crestfallen Sergeant Hopkins and PC Keen looked at Sid, who was now doing his very best innocent expression but had stopped short of sarcastically whistling the theme to a popular TV police show.
“We have no case PC Keen… Well, we have a case… Oh, you know what I mean. We’ll have to let him go.”
Five minutes later, as Sid stepped in to the chilly night outside the station and looked up at the stars, he thanked a few of them for being lucky ones again. After all, if he’d run into the copper before he’d dropped off his loot at his warehouse, it’d be a whole different airtight case.
The above story is my entry in to the monthly #BlogBattle, for which the prompt word was ‘Airtight’. Do pop along by clicking this link to read the other participants stories, most of which will probably be shorter than mine as I appear to have slightly exceeded the 1000 word count target. Still, nobody will know that if I don’t say anything.