Real Crimes Are Hard to Find

This is a short story I wrote for a university assignment. It’s light hearted crime fiction and as always opinions are welcome 🙂

‘A bike?’

‘Yes, Sir.’

‘That’s what I’m being called out to, a bloody bicycle?’

The young officer trembled slightly under the wrathful glare of his superior. He nodded his head. ‘That’s what he said Sir.’

Jeffrey snatched the scrap of notepaper from the boy’s hand waving his own to let the young PC know he was dismissed. The boy scrambled off clearly happy to get away from the suffocating anger brewing in the office. This was the trouble Jeffrey thought with being Chief of police in such a small town; most crimes didn’t really seem to be crimes at all.

Once outside in the car park Jeffrey threw an envious glance at the squad cars parked there. Jeffrey was overweight with a penchant for drive thru donuts and too much cream in his coffee. His long suffering wife Lorraine had finally put her foot down and insisted he go on a diet. She had also insisted that he should leave his driving days behind and take up cycling. This was partly due to the exercise and partly because you can’t go through a drive thru on a bicycle.

Wobbling down the street he imagined the buxom receptionist (he should never have hired her, far too much of a distraction for the young PCs) giggling at how awkward he looked. I must look like a weeble he thought.

****

Arriving at the scene of the crime (if that’s what it was) some minutes later Jeffrey saw a middle aged Indian man waiting for him, an anxious expression on his face and his hands pushed deep into the pockets of a greasy off-white apron. He stood beside the bike in question and became visibly upset when Jeffrey dismounted and began to lock his own up next to it.

‘Oh no Sir, you cannot leave that here.’ His voice and body language displayed his obvious distress. ‘Despite the evidence you think you see, this is not a place for the leaving of bikes!’

Jeffrey flashed his warrant card and the man visibly relaxed. ‘Beg pardon Mr Policeman, Sir I see you have in fact come to take away this bike?’

His voice was hopeful and wheedling and he glanced several times at Jeffrey’s racer as if wondering whether he would tow the other bike on his own.

‘Let’s not run before we can walk eh. Mr Singh I presume?’

‘Yes, yes.’

‘You’re the owner of Papa’s Pizza?’

Mr Singh nodded proudly. ‘This has been my business and home for 40 years.’

Jeffrey took a pencil and notebook from his pocket. Another thing about Jeffrey was what he saw as his commitment to police traditions. He knew the others laughed at his inability to move with the times but he found he paid much more attention when he wrote things down. He had no interest in the tablet computers and recording devices used by the younger members of the force. In his opinion they were nothing but a distraction.

‘Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?’

A nod.

‘When did the bike first appear outside Papa’s Pizza?’

‘3 days ago, the 9th

‘Did you see the person that left the bike?’

‘No, no I was working in the kitchen at the back, I didn’t see it until the next morning. I call the police but they were not interested.’ He shrugged apologetically. ‘So I persevere, I ring every hour, every day until finally someone… YOU, take the case!’

Jeffrey suspected this man had been watching too many Agatha Christie adaptations on daytime television. Case indeed! No wonder the young PC had been so eager to get him out here, they were clearly tired of this man and his constant phone calls.

‘Ok Mr Singh. Explain something to me, why is the bike an issue for you?’

Jeffrey glanced at the bike again. It was a none descript ladies mountain bike, blue and white in colour with a floral pattern and a specially purchased none-standard gel filled seat. The owner of the bike had clearly spent money on it which implied regular use, but then why leave it here for three days? There were small patches of rust around the spokes and chains as well which showed a lack of care. This was surprising for someone who was prepared to fork out money on a comfortable seat and fancy lights.

‘Well.’ Said Mr Singh. ‘I want it gone!’ he gestured angrily with his arm. ‘It is rusty and old, an eyesore, it is ruining the appearance of my shop and putting off customers!’

Jeffrey highly doubted that. The shop had a greasy appearance. The sign was missing the A in Papa’s and the apostrophe was clinging on for dear life. Tattered old menus and outdated pictures of burgers pressed their stained faces against the window. It wasn’t the bike putting off customers.

‘I cannot just remove the bike Mr Singh, it’s locked to the fence and to take it we would have to damage the lock and if the owner wanted to they could probably sue the police department for damages. It isn’t causing an obstruction and it isn’t on private property, it’s only been three days so I can’t even say it’s been dumped.’

Mr Singh’s face clouded over with anger ‘No, no, no!’

‘Mr Singh you need to calm down.’ Jeffrey put his hand on the other man’s arm but he shrugged it off.

‘You don’t understand. My son, he see the person who left it here, she chained it up and never come back!’

Jeffrey felt a flush of frustration rise into his own face. ‘I thought you said, Mr Singh that you hadn’t seen who left the bike?’

‘I didn’t!’ he raged ‘You not listening to me it was my son who saw!’

‘Ok Mr Singh, please don’t get agitated, I’ll tell you what we’ll do. Let’s go and speak to your son. I’ll ask him some questions and get the details of what he saw and then we’ll take it from there. How does that sound?’

****

The interior of the shop was even worse than the outside. Jeffrey could see the appliances in the kitchen were thick with grease and dirt, the worktops were sticky looking and covered in scraps of food. A pile of crumpled menus were shoved untidily into a broken plastic holder. It was like the environmental health’s worst nightmare. Jeffrey made a mental note to report it to them when he got back to the station. He was led up the stairs which were covered by a thin tatty carpet to the flat above, bare walls exposing chunks of plaster and damp patches on the ceiling did little to raise his opinion of the house and its occupants. Although, it seemed a lot more spacious that he had expected due to a large bay window which gave a clear view of the street below. Jeffrey had sensed some reluctance from Mr Singh when he had asked to speak to his son and now he could see why. The boy was in his early twenties, he was wearing a thick woollen dressing gown and carpet slippers and was nestled into an armchair next to the window staring into space. There was no reaction from him when Jeffrey and his father walked into the room. Jeffrey took the seat across from him indicated by Mr Singh and opened his notebook.

‘Hello.’ He began ‘Indiaveer isn’t it?’

The boy shifted his gaze to Jeffrey and nodded slightly. There was something perplexing about his stare.

‘There’s nothing to worry about son, I just want to ask you a couple of questions about what you saw.’

The boy just continued to stare at him in that same disconcerting manner.

‘What were you doing when you saw her leave the bike?’

The boy pointed at the chair he was sat in.

‘You were sitting there?’

Another nod. Jeffrey looked to Mr Singh for some help but the man had left the room.

‘Ok, can you describe her for me?’

Finally Indiaveer spoke. ‘She was very pretty, long blonde hair and red lips, she was wearing a pretty red coat too.’ There was a sly look in the boy’s eye that Jeffrey didn’t like.

‘Did you see which way she went?’

But Indiaveer was lost in his own world again. He turned to face the wall and stared at it a concentrated expression on his face. Seeing he wasn’t getting anywhere Jeffrey closed his notebook and went in search of Mr Singh.

‘Thank you Indiaveer you’ve been very helpful.’ Jeffrey lied. ‘Could you show me where the bathroom is before I go?’

The boy didn’t get up from his chair but pointed to the right of the door. Jeffrey left the room and turned right down a long corridor which seemed to lead to the back of the flat. It was dimly lit by a bulb shrouded by a lacy black lampshade. There was a strange smell emitting from the door on the end which was open a crack revealing a chink of light. Jeffrey felt the hair on the back of his neck begin to prickle and he rested his hand on the belt where his Taser and baton hung. Advancing slowly down the corridor he could hear the sounds of a cheerful humming coming from behind the door.

Slowly Jeffrey pushed it open. The sight that greeted him made him stop in his tracks. Mr Singh was stood in the middle of a large bedroom, his greasy apron still tied around his waist. The bedroom was sparsely furnished with a small washstand and a metal bedframe minus the mattress. In the centre of the room and in front of Mr Singh was a metal chair, but it was what or rather who was on the chair that bothered him. A young woman with long blonde hair was tied to the chair with wire. Her mouth was covered with thick tape and her eyes were red rimmed as if she had been crying.

‘What the hell?’ Jeffrey shouted.

Mr Singh spun around his eyes wide at the sight of Jeffrey in the doorway.

‘What are you doing down here?’ he shouted angrily

‘I don’t think it’s me that needs to be answering your questions!’ Jeffrey exclaimed pulling the Taser from his belt. ‘Get down on the floor, move it, now!’

Mr Singh looked for one moment as if he was about to flee but realising that Jeffrey was blocking his only route of escape he surrended and laid down on the floor. Jeffrey advanced towards him and pulled the handcuffs from his belt.

‘Mr Singh you are under arrest for kidnapping, you do not have to say anything…’

Something hard hit the back of Jeffrey’s head and the girl gave a muffled scream. Then everything went black.

 

****

‘So what exactly happened?’

‘Well Sir, I got worried you see. I sent you on that call and when you hadn’t come back two hours later I started to get worried so I drove down to Papa’s pizza to see if you were still there. Your bike was outside but the old fella Mr Singh tried to say you’d left it there and gone off somewhere. I knew that wasn’t like you Sir so I called for backup. When we finally got a warrant to search the place we found Mr Singh and his son were packing up. There were half filled bags everywhere and wads of cash on the sideboard. We found you and the girl in the back bedroom and arrested them both.’

Jeffrey sighed. Why did he have to think that the case wasn’t exciting enough? He had tempted fate and now here he was stuck in a hospital bed surrounded by flowers from well-wishers at the station who probably thought he was a bumbling buffoon.

‘Who’s interviewing them?’ he asked.

‘DS Sasha, Sir. She’s already submitted a report and charged them with kidnapping the woman and assaulting and kidnapping you.’

‘What does the report say, do we know why they did it?’

‘It seems to be the son’s fault sir.’

Jeffrey shook his head, no surprise there really. He should have listened to his gut instinct when he saw how nervous Mr Singh had been about letting him interview the boy.

‘It seems he had something wrong with him upstairs sir.’ the young PC pointed at his own head to demonstrate. ‘He saw the girl and took a fancy to her and for some reason he snuck out while his dad was busy in the kitchen. He followed her down the street and hit her over the head, knocked her out and dragged her back up to his bedroom. When Mr Singh found her he was scared the boy would get into trouble with the law so he hid her while he decided what to do for the best.’

‘Then of course I came along and ruined it all for them’ finished Jeffrey. ‘I guess they thought it was a good idea to involve the police so the bike would be removed without suspicion falling on them if the girl was reported missing.’

‘That’s right Sir, Mr Singh admitted it all, he thought they would send along someone like me Sir, young and inexperienced. I think it gave him quite a fright when you came along and if the son hadn’t followed and hit you you’d have had him locked up straight away!’

‘How’s the girl doing now?’

‘She’s had a bit of a shock Sir but she didn’t have any physical injuries. We’ve taken her statement down at the station and recommended her for counselling. That’s all we can do.’

****

Later that night after his many visitors had finally gone Jeffrey settled down against the pillows and decided he would never complain that his job didn’t bring enough ‘real’ cases again. You just never knew these days it seemed.

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