Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Evolving Robber (part 2)

"Lodders!" I cried, ducking back into the flat and grabbing my bag, "Call the yard, we've had a break in. Robin, with me. Rachel, you can come if you want, but don't feel like you have to. And someone stop that dog from biting my table leg."
I and Robin, Rachel and Sarrison in tow, chased down the steps, and Rachel assisted Mrs Fraiser, who hadn't been the same since her hip was replaced, down the gigantic stairwell. The architect, who I could only surmise was either drunk, on drugs, mad or all three, had designed the staircase to be as tiring walking down as walking up. The steps were randomly cut, some a entire legs steepness and others as shallow as the rock pools I used to search for crabs in when I was little.
"Ooh, please slow down." Mrs Fraiser begged. "I haven't been the same since my hip was replaced."
"Really?" Rachel asked. "I would never have known."
"Here it is." I said, as we approached her flat. Mrs Fraiser drew her key but I shook my head. The lock had been smashed in with a crowbar, quite obviously, so there was barely anywhere to place the key. I decided that taking Sarrison in wasn't such a great idea, so I asked Rachel to stay with him and get as many details as possible out of Mrs Fraiser. Then I knocked the door open and I and Robin strolled in. The flat was wrecked, chairs pulled out and the telly smashed. Robin looked around the main part of the flat. "What was Mrs Fraiser?"
"Housewife." I replied. "Like most women of her generation."
"Housewife?" Robin replied. "How'd she afford this place? It's certainly not as fancy as your place, but the price couldn't be much less, and I've heard you complaining about the rent."
"Her husband was an oil baron or something. When he died, not under suspicious circumstances- I checked, she got all his money and bought this place, as well as a load of fancy paintings. I helped her hide them once when the grand children visited. She doesn't like having them on the walls when the grandchildren are around."
Robin looked at the paintings which hung on the walls of the room we were in. "Lousy robbers if they can't even steal a couple of paintings."
I checked her bedroom and looked through the jewellery box. "No jewellery taken either."
I came back out and surveyed the room and said, "It looks like a bomb site, but it's not. It's like it's been searched, for something in particular. Question is, what were they looking for?"
"They?" Robin asked.
"The door had it's handle chiselled off, but after it had been taken off, it had been kicked open several times, then rebounded off the wall as many. You can tell that-"
"Because the wall behind the door has several marks in. I noticed it, but couldn't tell why."
"I was basing my deduction off the varying size of foot print on the door outside, but nice observation."
As I searched the areas that had been searched, Robin went to the doorway and observed the footprints. She pulled a tape measure from my bag, which I'd placed on the side cabinet, and measured each footprint. Then she pulled out her phone and googled something. "Varying feet sizes, mainly size nine to fifteen. Who has size fifteen feet?" She asked.
I turned back, "The number one customer of Jackamo."
"What's the height to shoe size ratio?"
"Shoe size is approximately fifteen percent of your full height." I replied.
"How do you know that?"
"If you're going to ask that, then why ask me in the first place?"
"I was just expecting you to say, 'Google it!' not 'approximately fifteen percent.'" She mocked my accent as she said the bits in quote marks.
I pulled a face at her and she made some calculations on her phone. "We've got some really big people as the culprits."
"Hopefully, Lodders will get us some backup."
"Hopefully." Robin replied, although she sounded no surer than an indecisive person.
We finished up in her flat and walked out, back to Rachel and Sarrison, along with Mrs Fraiser. Sarrison was chewing at the bottom of the curtains that hung over the window on the stairwell, and Mrs Fraiser was crying. Rachel was doing her best to comfort her, but when I came out she looked up at me and mouthed, "Help me!"
I was about to say something when we heard a loud crash above us. I looked at Robin and then at Rachel nodded and said, "I'll be fine here." She then handed me a notebook and said, "I made some notes."
I grinned and grabbed Sarrison pointing him towards the staircase. "Come on, boy!"
The greyhound rushed up the staircase and we chased after it, and we emerged on the next floor, the second, to find Lodders bursting into a room. We followed him in and saw the residents of this flat, Mr Hussein, his wife and two children cowering on the floor behind an arm chair. Robin raced directly towards them and made sure they were well, getting descriptions and interviewing them before the memories faded. I and Lodders raced to the open fire exit door and looked up and down, with no avail. The robbers were nowhere to be seen.
I came back in and surveyed the damage. It was wrecked pretty bad, every crevice was torn open and every hidey hole had been examined. All the corners were searched and all the bigger cupboards had their contents scattered over the floor. But it was tidier than the last one, or at least not nearly as chaotic, but the occupants were equally distressed. Robin was questioning them and I pulled Lodders out for a second. "We need even more back up, Lodders. We've got six different robbers, the majority taller than six foot. They're armed and dangerous, presumably armed with crowbars and hammers and all sorts. They haven't stolen anything major, as of yet, but they do seem to be searching for something of reasonable size."
Lodders nodded. "I've called in backup but it may be some time before they show up. As I said earlier this week, everyone's down patrolling the drunks and disorderly watching the commonwealth games. No time for a couple of break ins when nothings been stolen."
"Ok." I replied. "Go and help Robin and then bring them up to my flat, me and Rachel will heat everything up and we can calm everything down."
"Alright, Gabriel. I'm sorry about all of this."
I grinned. "Honestly Lodders! How could I expect to be able to hold a dinner part without some crime or atrocity being committed."
I rushed back down and helped Rachel take Mrs Fraiser up stairs, then we sat her down at the table and we went to heat up the chicken. Robin, Lodders and the Hussein's showed up not soon after. They all took a place around the table and thanked me for the free food and shelter before the police turned up. They also asked who Rachel was, and I introduced her as my girlfriend, much to the surprise of Mrs Fraiser, who delighted to tell everyone that she always thought I was one of his lot, tipping her head towards John Barrowman, who was on a highlights of the Commonwealth Games so far programme. I and Lodders both helped ourselves to beers, something I very rarely do, and talked as Robin and Rachel disappeared.
"She's a keeper, is Rachel." Lodders told me.
"No she isn't." I replied. "She hates football, and even when she was forced to play it as a child, she told me she played midfield, which I said was cool, because I was always in defence."
"I meant that she's a good girlfriend."
"Oh!" I replied. "Yeah, I get you now. Thought it was weird you were talking about football. Robin's a keeper too." I laughed.
Lodders laughed too. "God, don't I know it."
"What is it up with her lately?" I pondered.
Lodders just looked at me. "Blimey, you are slow. I thought you'd have worked that out in seconds."
I gave him a blank look.
He shook his head then sipped some more of his beer. "You're funny when you're clueless."
"Are you saying I'm very rarely funny?" I demanded.

The evening plundered on like an old train and then Rachel's friends turned up. They walked up the spiral stair case and one of them looked straight at Lodders, who carried the look of policemen even when out of uniform. "You've gotta help me, officer."
"What is it?"
"There's been a break in downstairs on the fourth floor, and I think the occupant might be hurt."
Lodders drew his radio from his pocket. "Calling backup, we've got six armed and dangerous men, mostly over six foot, on the run having committed three breaking and enetering and one assault, trapped inside a building. And they're making their way up."

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