Easy As Falling Off a Bike pt 3219

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The Weekly Dormouse.
(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Part 3219
by Angharad

Copyright© 2017 Angharad

  
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“You look happy,” said Diane in her own inimitable depression inducing way.

“I’ve just been talking to some chap whose Jaguar got misplaced en route from Spain or somewhere.”

“What today?”

“No,” you idiot, I snapped rolling my eyes, “five weeks ago or something.”

“Sure he didn’t park it at Heathrow and forgot which car park it was in?”

“No, it broke down and they couldn’t fix it so they were bringing it back to Blighty to see what our engineers could do.”

“Make it worse no doubt.”

“Yeah—probably—make some tea will you?”

“That’s all I am, a jumped up tea lady...” she muttered.

“I’ll get them to regrade you... it’ll probably mean a reduction in salary.”

“I thought they earned more than me.”

“Damn, you worked it out—or have you been talking to one.”

“No it was obvious something wasn’t right when they paid me in Mars bar wrappers.”

“Took you long enough to work it out...”

“I only did because the bank stopped accepting them.”

“Which bank was that then?”

“High Street, who else?”

“Okay, I’ll speak to salaries and wages and get them to upgrade you to sea shells.”

“Will the bank accept those then?”

“They will until my kids have stopped collecting them.”

“Your children determine the bank’s trading policy?”

“Only when they’re really interested in something—be thankful the Peppa Pig phase has passed.”

“Oh don’t, had enough trouble with my own over that. Oh someone left this for you.” She put my mug of tea on my desk and handed me a small bottle with an insect inside.

“Gosh, a house or hearth cricket.”

“How can you tell that, you only glanced at it?”

“Okay it could be a Southern Field cricket. They sell them in pet shops as food for reptiles.”

“What they sell live things to be eaten by pets?”

“People who keep snakes and lizards buy them all the time.”

“I find that gross.”

“So do I, but their precious reptiles won’t eat dead prey.”

“That isn’t what happened to that one is it—you know, met a boa constrictor on the way home...”

“Yeah sure and died of fright—Diane, dearest, boa constrictors would be out hunting rats or mice or even your pet dog, not insects.”

“Coulda been a baby one...”

I sipped at the tea, “Bliss.”

“So did it meet an anaconda?”

“What the cricket?”

“What else?” she sighed.

“Anacondas live in the Amazon and spend much of their time in water, like giant grass snakes.”

“We get grass snakes in our compost heap.”

“Sure they’re not anacondas then?” I asked teasingly.

“No, they all live in Gosport.”

“Gosport by the Limpopo?”

“You know I think it is.” She pretended to consider it. “The bug, how did you know?”

“Know what?”

“Jeez, how did you know what it was?”

“Easy.”

“To those who know—so how did you know?”

“The guy who brought it, tall chap with a beard?”

“Yeah, why?”

“That’s Nigel Burke, he told me he had these things chirping all over his house was going to get the pest controller in. I asked him to save me one if he found any. If they live in a house, they have to be house crickets.”

“Bugger, I thought for a moment you were being a professor—you know, actually knowing something, sort of out of the ordinary.”

“Gee thanks, tea lady basic grade wasn’t it?”

She huffed and left my office and I had another look at my new specimen. Five minutes later she was back. “They eat them in Thailand—deep fried.”

“I prefer chips myself, but here if you’re frying tonight.” I proffered the bottle.

“Don’t be so gross—I mean how can they eat insects?”

“I presume they open their mouths and pop them in.”

“No, I mean, how can they eat them?”

“I just told you, perhaps you mean why do they eat them?”

“Do I? Yes why?”

“Insects are very nutritious, full of protein and carbohydrates and the snakes look all right on them.”

“Ugh, sometimes I wonder about you.”

“Only sometimes—it’s not a full moon is it?”

“Why?”

“Well you never knowoooooh,” I replied sounding like a rather unedifying dog rather than a wolf. Just then the bell rang in reception. “If that’s someone to see me—tell them I’m just changing...”

“Ha bloody ha—it’s probably your bearded friend realised you were going to eat his insect and come to collect it.”

“It’s dead and has been for some time—look,” I shook the bottle.

“Nah, it’s just restin’, pinin’ for the fjords.” She said as she left leaving me helpless with laughter. Monty Python has a lot to answer for.

A minute later she knocked on my door and cracked it open, “Professor, it’s the police”

“Don’t tell me, your hovercraft is full of eels.”

“In there,” she said and a tall young uniformed police officer entered.

“Are you Professor Watts?”

“Yes,” I replied all mirth having long since receded, “how can I help you, constable?”

“You were seen talking to some chap about his lost car...a Ben Smithers?”

“He came over to me to unload his tale of woe, I simply sat there and listened.”

“Why did he come to see you?”

“He said because he knew I drove a Jaguar, which is the car he lost, or said it was.”

“Oh he has one alright, but it isn’t lost.”

“So why did he make up that story about it going missing in Spain?”

“I don’t know, can you recall exactly what he said?” I nodded and repeated the tale as I recalled it. “And that was all?”

“Yes, what’s this all about?”

“’Fraid I can’t tell you, professor. Oh is that a house cricket?” he picked up the bottle.

“Yes, why?”

“Used to keep snakes, when I was a kid.” He closed his notepad. “Thanks for your help, if you think of anything else, please call me on this number.” He pulled out a business card and placed it in my hand. “They eat them in Thailand--the crickets.”

“Yes I know, deep fried.”

“Prefer chips myself,” he said and left.

“What was all that about?” gasped Diane as she dashed into my office the moment he’d left.

“The bloke in the restaurant.”

“There’s more than that—surely?”

“There probably is but he didn’t tell me.”

“What about that copper you know?”

“What Andy Bond?”

“Yeah, him.”

“What about him?”

“Ring him and see if he knows what’s up with Jaguar man.”

“I can’t do that?”

“Why not?”

“It’s not the done thing to poke about in other people’s business.”

“Don’t be such a snob, call him,” she handed me the phone and I succumbed.

I spoke with Andy for several minutes before raising the matter of Ben Smithers. I wished I hadn’t it was very sad and caused a pall over the rest of the afternoon.

“Well?” asked Diane.

“He went home and murdered his wife then killed himself.”

“What?”

“They think he had some sort of breakdown and was fantasising about all sorts of things—including losing his car.”

“Oh Jeez.”

“Quite—more tea I think,” I said holding up my empty cup.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_cricket

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