(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Copyright© 2017 Angharad
It was a couple of days later that Toby called round to my office. “If I could recruit your family to the Hants Constabulary, we’d solve a lot more serious crimes.”
“All of us would be rather expensive, it’s just the two resident geniuses you’d want.”
“Don’t exclude yourself, Cathy, your insights put us on the right road in the beginning, and every team needs a leader or a professor.”
“Well I hope the investigation is progressing apace, the poor old Smithers deserve some hope of resting in peace.”
“D’you think she knew what he was up to?”
“I have no idea, but I doubt she didn’t have some inkling that he was up to something. Sammi said she knew him when she was a post grad student here.”
“But she was brighter than him?”
“She was brighter than the professor of computing, but you still need the bits of paper to say how clever you are—that’s all she was here for, she did her doctorate at Imperial College.”
“So not Oxbridge then?”
“I have a feeling that if ever she gets fed up protecting the bank and helping the security services, she may well be open to an approach from them or from the States.”
“She could earn a fortune over there.”
“I think she does quite well already.”
“Well I’ve got approval for a thousand for her and half that for young Sherlock.”
“See what I mean, it’s yonks since anyone offered me any money like that for a few hours work.”
“Um I’m sure I shouldn’t ask, but what were you doing for that sort of fee—nothing illegal I hope?”
“I did some stuff for the BBC.”
“I thought you were going to say...”
“What, car boot sale?”
He blushed and nodded.
“So how many arrests then since we unlocked the case of secrets?”
“We have four in custody, seven have been cautioned and a whole lot more are sweating because they know the net is closing on them.”
“What about the defence stuff?”
“Are we’re stepping very carefully there because it goes up the food chain quite a way and Special Branch are trying to squeeze in on the act.”
“Well here it’s the same old, same old.”
“I’m sure that’s a different pile of papers to the ones you were rearranging the day I came round to ask your help.”
“It probably is, my jailer—outside—won’t release me from office arrest until I finish a pile a day.”
“She looks quite charming to me.”
“Yeah but she’s discovered all my stashes of Lotus biscuits.”
“Ah, another detective then?”
“No, more like a spaniel—I’m sure she can smell them from two yards away.”
He laughed and for a moment I saw his white teeth in between the layers of fur adorning his lower face.
“I’d better be going then, you’d better get back to your paperwork—oh, nearly forgot, I have this for you.”
“What’s this?” I said taking the envelope from him.
“Open it and see.”
“A cheque?” I drew the object from the envelope. It was payable to the Billie King Ecology Centre, and it was for two hundred pounds.
“Thank you, though I’m not sure that we deserve this.”
“Cash it quickly before they find out about it in accounts.”
“I’ll pass it on to Dan, our centre manager.”
“And this is for you from me.”
“What?” I half gasped blushing furiously.
“Well open it then.”
“Okay, okay.” I fumbled, my fingers were obviously affected by the lack of blood caused by it currently turning my face into a radiator.
I drew out two tickets for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and a concert at the Guildhall.
“Those are from me.”
“Simon and I haven’t been to a concert for ages.”
“Well don’t waste them, if he’s too busy closing overdraughts and mortgages, give me a shout, I quite enjoy classical music too.”
“Thank you,” I said and pecked him on the cheek just as Diane came in—bloody typical.
“Caught you at it again, have I?”
“Yep, there goes my reputation again.”
“Again?” she huffed, “That’s a laugh.”
“What d’you want anyway?”
“The Vice Chancellor requests your personage.”
She glanced at her watch, “Like ten minutes ago.”
“Did he say what for?”
“I don’t think it was because he was feeling lonely.”
“Do you have insubordination like this?”
“Not since I arrested them and subjected them to police brutality,” said Toby trying desperately to keep a straight face.
“Ooh, I confess,” said Diane holding out her hands for his handcuffs.”
“Confess to what?” asked our mystified detective.
“Taking money under false pretences, not to mention pinching my biscuits.”
“False pretences?” he said looking bemused.
“Yeah, she claims to be working here but I haven’t seen her do anything yet except eat my biscuits.”
“I think this may well be a civil case rather than involving the criminal law—I’ll see you somewhen, Cathy—bye um...”
“Diane,” she said beaming at him.”
“Right oh, bye,” he slipped through the door and escaped us.
“I thought you were happily married,” I said to my supposed personal assistant.
“So are you but it doesn’t stop you flirting, does it. Tea?” she was off before I could say anything.
Following her to the door I said, “I thought I had to go and see Tom?”
“Do you? Oh yeah—just as well, we’ve only got two biscuits left.”
It took about ten minutes to walk over to Tom’s office where Pippa smiled and told me to go straight in. I knocked and entered and found him deep in conversation on the phone, he beckoned me in and pointed to the chair .For some reason it reminded me of being back in school, facing the bane of my teenage years, Aubrey Murray, my erstwhile headmaster.
“Ah, Watts, glad you could find time to come—don’t sit down, I don’t want your effeminate arse on my chairs in case it contaminates them.” I felt like pointing out that my femmy bum was probably washed more often than most of the other inmates in this zoo. I felt my long hair touching my back, pulled into a ponytail and held there by the bright pink scrunchie he made me wear, but I wasn’t going to be intimidated by an oaf like him. “If you get your hair cut properly like a boy, Watts, you won’t need to wear that elastic thing—you realise how ridiculous it makes you look?”
“It feels reasonably comfortable, sir.”
“It feels reasonably comfortable, sir,” he whined in a silly voice. “The board of governors want to meet the girl who played Lady Macbeth. It’s tomorrow at midday, you’d better come to school in the girls’ uniform tomorrow—try not to get beaten up before they meet you.”
“And don’t wear too much makeup on that sissy face.”
“No, sir.” I sighed.
“Ye whit?” Suddenly Tom’s voice brought me out of my reverie.
Blushing I mumbled, “Oh nothing.”
“Ye said, ‘No, sir’ as if ye were saemwhere else?”
“Did I?” I felt really hot now.
“Ye ken fine weel ye did.”
“Okay, I had a flashback to school.”
“An’ that monster wha called himself a heid mester?”
“Och ye puir wee soul,” he offered his arms and I accepted the hug sniffing back a tear as I did.
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