Friday, 31 October 2014

The Haunting of Benjamin Creed

“Aye, it’s all done now, sir.” Said the fumigator. He was a mid height man with a dodgy accent, and his white suit included one of those masks you see people wearing when they spray paint cars, which only went to muffle his voice further.
“Good, good.” Replied Benjamin Creed. The years had been good to him personally, but not too good for his health. Thousands of hot dinners with extra trimmings and beer had left him with a tyre shape wealth of fat around his waist, and the inability to go more than a mile without his face flushing red. Even worse, however, he’d often noticed a small gap growing in the centre of his scalp, where his once voluminous amount of hair was beginning to ware away. He’d noticed that it was thinning and greying, but this black hole of sorts was even worse. “That’s an awful lot of equipment for some fumigators.”
“Not for the prices you’re paying them.” His wife Lucinda snapped. She didn’t have any complaints about him paying large amounts of money, she just didn’t like it when the money was spent on someone other than her. She was towering over him and had a tendency to wear dresses that made her look like she was mourning, and cause her to be mourning if someone was to point that out.
“Shush Lucinda.” Benjamin said, instantly regretting it. He felt a great pang burn into the back of his head, and reflected why he was going bald was quite obvious.
“It’s a pleasure doing business with you.” The fumigator said, accepting the money in cash, and climbing into his black van. He couldn’t wait to get out of there, there was an eerie feel, but the long path beneath the tunnel of overhanging trees made it an unpleasant escape. There was a mile between the front of the mansion and the golden gates that entered out onto the private road which led between the mountains. As secluded manor houses go, that place would win awards. Everybody knew why it was so secluded, and had all those German Shepard's and rifles. But nobody would dare say why.

Six months passed like excitement of getting something you deeply wanted but didn’t need, and yet the fungus that the fumigators had eradicated didn’t come back. Lucinda realised they had done quite a good job, but she wouldn’t dare admit it, as that would mean she was accepting she was wrong. Her private car, a black BMW with blacked out windows, had delivered her into town that morning so that she good spend Benjamin’s money, all in cash that was stored behind the wall in the living room, on frocks and shoes she’d wear maybe once. As her chauffeur, the new one because the old guy had gone for an extended holiday, drove her down the mile and into the swinging arch in front of the mansion, she saw a collection of black Jaguars parked outside. She inhaled deeply.
The DeMattio’s.
They were the big family who owned most of the city. The commanding male figure was Luca DeMattio, an Italian immigrant who had moved here with his brothers in the 90’s. He was married to the closest thing Lucinda was one of his wives friends, which was how she’d met Benjamin at one of their parties. Benjamin was one of the DeMattio’s artists, until he’d been promoted to look after and restore the famous art that the DeMattio Brothers owned. He’d made a lot of money which was how he bought the great mansion in front of her. It was unlike Luca DeMattio to ever leave his Househole, nowadays he preferred to send his sons everywhere, but sure enough, the Stygian Beauty was parked outside the mansion that day.
She rushed in and found Benjamin and DeMattio in the drawing room with a hoard of his thugs, sons and brothers around him. Benjamin looked as if he was about to gulp. “Mr DeMattio, I would be honoured to do that for you. Please, give me the opportunity.”
“You would do wrong to fail me, Mr Creed.” DeMattio said. Despite having lived in England for twenty years, he still clung desperately to his Italian accent. It made him more threatening.
“How is your wife?” He asked.
“She’s fine, thank you.” Benjamin stuttered, despite Lucinda being stood directly next to him. 
“Good, I’d hate any harm to come to her.”
With that, he walked out, his assortment of accompanying people following. Benjamin was left in the armchair, shaking, although whether it was with fear or excitement he couldn’t tell. “He’s asked me to sell a painting for him. For 2.3 million.”
A smirk grew over Lucinda’s face, casting away any doubts about the tone of falseness in his voice. Think of all the dresses she could buy with that.

That night, Lucinda went to have her shower. She was stood beneath the jets of hot water when she looked down and saw the bottom of the separate shower was painted with blood. And crawling in the blood was a spider. She screamed, tripping out of the shower and falling to the floor. Benjamin rushed in and saw the scene in the shower. “Holy Jesus and Mary.” He muttered, a converted Catholic since his association with the DeMattio’s. He grabbed a flannel and used it to crush the spider into the bottom of the shower, watching as the blood engulfed it. He then washed the blood away and led his wife from the bathroom. He didn’t let on, but he was shivering again, with fear.
The following morning, he went into the bathroom to take a shower. He pulled open the steamed up glass door to the showering room and saw a giant spiders web stretching all over the room. He cursed and turned on the water supply and watched it being flushed down the drain. He spat on it to help it’s journey.
That night, there was no problem with the shower. Both of them washed quite successfully and climbed into bed. They spent an hour watching television on one of the twenty flat screen TV’s they had in the house and then turned it and the lights off, sinking into slumber. As Benjamin felt the first  drug of slumber drag him down, there was a deep thump beneath them. He ignored it, but again there was another. He tried to ignore that, but it got stronger and louder. He climbed out of bed and hurried downstairs, the throbbing getting louder and louder. And then, as he barged the door to the room below open, it stopped. He searched the room and then closed the door, only for the beating to start again. He opened the double doors and it stopped. Irritated, but a puzzle solver nonetheless, he left the doors open and returned to bed. As he tucked himself in, rolled over and closed his eyes, the beating began again as a shallow throb in the room upstairs. He put some cotton buds in his ears and went to sleep.
The next night, he fell asleep, having left the doors to the room above and below open. But then a glow played with the skin on the front of his eye lids and he began to shake. 
“What the hell is that?” He screamed. Furious, he climbed out of bed and marched towards the source of the glow, seeping in beneath the door. He threw open the door and he was blinded by a white flash. He fell back, smashing his head against the bed cabinet. His eyes reeled and he kicked the door shut. He flailed around on the floor and then that infernal drumming began to pick up from everything and everywhere. He screamed and crawled towards the door, as the green glow seeped through the bottom of the door. Benjamin pulled himself up, grabbed the handle and ripped it open. Silence. Darkness. As if it was all in his head. He really wished it wasn’t.

Lucinda was sat in the study, looking out at the tunnel of overhanging trees. It was the day of the big transaction.  Benjamin and host of DeMattio’s men had left the house in a rush that morning, driving their procession of black cars, each with tinted windows. Sometimes she joked that the windows were tinted so that the drug addicts wouldn’t see the dealer until it was too late, but that was usually met with a frown of disapproval. She’d had a member of staff make her some food and carry it up to the study, where she sat, looking out of the circular window, searching for the first signs of the cars returning. She saw that sign too early in the afternoon, as the cars accelerated too quickly down the little tunnel and into the drive. Seven had gone.
Six had come back.
She rushed down the great marble stair cases and into the hall as one of DeMattio’s men threw Benjamin threw the grand doors at the front and to the ground. “You stupid man! What in the name of the Virgin Mary did you think you were doing?”
“I’m sorry,  he just went for his gun and I got there first!”
“It was a cop you moron! You a cop killer now? Is that what you think we do?”
“I’m sorry!” Benjamin pleaded.
DeMattio’s man delivered a blow to his stomach. “You stupid man! That guy had kids and a family! Do you want to rob them? You are taking their only income! You should have got outta there, man!” Another kick.
DeMattio’s man pulled him up and took him into the kitchen, throwing him into the counter. “You idiot! You blinking idiot! Pedro, get me some soap!”
Pedro ran off and came back with a block of soap. DeMattio’s man took it and smudged it into Benjamin’s face, before pushing his face and hands into the sink and running a stream of steaming hot water. He rubbed and rubbed and for the second time, the water in that house was bloody. Once DeMattio’s man was sufficiently gratified, he pulled Benjamin out of the sink and threw him to the cold, stone floor. “Wait till I tell Luca DeMattio about this, amici,” the man chuckled, “he ain’t gonna be pleased!”
With that, DeMattio’s men marched out and Benjamin was left on the floor, panting for forgiveness.
Lucinda stepped in from where she was hiding and saw that light the water, Benjamin’s shirt was dyed red. By blood.

A few days past of seclusion induced paranoia, and Benjamin was looking worse for wear. More and more of his hair had fallen out, and the remaining strands were now grey with stress. His eyes were heavy and drawn, and the stubble beneath his nose was longer and dirtier. He hadn’t changed his clothes in the few days, simply sitting in a chair and muttering to himself, dark and neglected murmurings. Occasionally, Lucinda would try to talk to him, but that had resulted in the bruises and cuts that surrounded her eyes. She looked gaunt and hanging on decrepit now, the food having already run out, leaving her starving as Benjamin refused to let her leave the house.
Eventually, Benjamin decided to get up and go to bed, but as he washed his hands, blood oozed from the taps and covered his hands. Lucinda found him in the corner of the bathroom, cowering from his own hands that were splayed out before him, dripping. 
She cleaned his hands and took him to bed, holding back tears every time he lashed out and hit her. Then she put him in bed and turned out the lights. He writhed and turned and sweated in his sleep, so much that the bed shook and became damp. And then the giggling began. It was quiet at first, whispering it’s way around the room, until it amplified and began to giggle directly into Benjamin’s ear. He jerked up and heard the giggling run to the door, which slammed shut. He spun out of bed and ran to the door, grabbing the handle. It was slippy, but he managed to rip it open. He burst out into the corridor as something swooped past him, knocking him to the ground. The giggles got louder and louder, until they turned into cries. A similar green glow opened up at the far end of the hall. He trailed towards it, until it flared into bright lights. He fell back and two figures emerged. Children. Crying children. “You killed our farther.” The Girl cried.
“And in turn our mother.” The Boy sobbed.
“I did no such thing.” Benjamin protested, his voice quaking.
They crept towards him. “You have left us to poverty. We will no doubt die soon, all your fault.”
“I’m sorry.” Benjamin moaned. “I’m so sorry.”
“If you were really sorry, you never would have killed my father.” The Girl said.
“I didn’t. I really didn’t.” Benjamin lied.
The children became dark and menacing phantoms, hanging over him with a vengeance. “Then why is his blood on your hands?”
Benjamin looked down and saw his hands were covered in blood. He screamed and ran to the bathroom to wash the blood from his hand and calm himself. He threw open the door and saw that the entire room was filled with spiders and spiderwebs. He screamed as his skin crawled and then raced out, itching, roaring through the corridors and out into the biting winds of the night. The gravel that Lucinda had insisted he covered the drive in bit into his feet, drawing blood, and the cold of the winter night rippled his flesh with goosebumps. The darkness of the seclusion and the silence of the night meant he could see and hear nothing except the desperate pumping of his clogged up heart, and the blood rushing through his ears. He broke into the forest that lined the road out, and long branches tore at his skin and pinged at his eyes. Beneath him, dying leaves broke apart beneath his feet. He smashed his head into a large hanging log, and a swelling grew. Blood trickled down his face and screamed. Then he heard the padding of multiple footsteps behind him and the howl of dogs on his tail. The German Shepherds that normally protected him were now hunting him down. They moved quickly, ducking under there trees that ripped skin from Benjamin’s arms. They caught up, moving quicker than he could possibly expect, and launched onto him, but he stepped back and fell. The pounding in his ears stopped, the rushing of his blood stopped as well. He simply fell and fell until he hit the ground and his back screamed in pain. But at least the dogs couldn’t get him. As he lay in silence, darkness and calm, he felt no upset. He was safe down here, in the darkness. Thank goodness!
A green glow opened, and then suddenly it exploded into white light that burnt his eyes and the beating throb of those infernal drums filled his ears. The two children stepped out in front of him and grabbed either of his arms, raising his hands to show them to him. They were dripping with the blood of the man he killed. The white light hurting his eyes, it then went all black.

The Ghost Boy released the arm and put gaffa tape over Benjamin’s mouth. He signalled for the lights to be turned down and they were, the flood lights disappearing and normal lights taking their place. He pulled off his costume and smiled at the Girl, Joan. “We did it!” He cried.
“Indeed we did, Spud.” She smiled.
“Your time with Peter is showing.” He pointed out as they climbed a ladder up into the forest and walked down the road to the house. Miss DeMode and a ground of Occult Bailiffs were stood around their vans in front of the house. “Is it done?” Miss DeMode asked.
“It is.” Joan grinned.
And so the Occult moved in…

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Four Jacks (part four)

//This post contains the answers to the titular magic trick, so don't read if you wish to avoid spoilers.// "Are you sure about this?" I asked the Infamous Blackburn. "A lot could go wrong."
"They say that about being a lollypop man/woman but it never deters them."
I gave him a sceptical stare, and then knocked on the glass window. Katie, sat in the hub of the helicopter, turned to look at me. "Shall we be off?"
"Yep." I replied.
She nodded and switched the engine on. "Next stop, the house of Charles Desole."
With a quick swinging of the propeller blades above us, the helicopter and the four of us were in the air. Jimmy grinned, "This was my first magic trick, so I guess it's appropriate it might be our last."
"What a lovely thought." I said.
The Four Jacks was one of the most famous card tricks that available to the general public. You perform it quite simply, with the main misdirection being in the story telling. The idea is, there are four robbers, in the form of the four jacks, and they plan to break into a building, just as we did.
The trick begins with the four jacks being shown to the audience, which is what we did, landing on top of Charles Desole's house and flaunting at the police below. The magic of the trick happened right then. The audience thinks that the magician puts four jacks on top of the deck, and so the police think that there are four jacks on top of the building, but in all reality, the magician has placed seven, as had we.
Desole had three members of staff, who were all going on their holidays a week before the break in, so we replaced them with three of our people. Desole predictably made his way up stairs to find our three members of staff tied to the floor. When he knelt down to untie them, a gas was released from the roof that caused him to fall unconscious. Then our insiders climbed up and knocked him unconscious also.  All the while, we're distracting the police by landing on the roof. There was no clock in the room where Desole was tied up, because then he couldn’t tell the police when he was knocked unconscious, thus ruining the illusion.
The second stage, which I guess I’ve already covered, is the infiltration of the deck. Three cards are taken from the top of the deck and placed at random intervals, one to represent the thief at the  basement, one to represent the thief at the ground floor and the third to represent the thief at the first floor. The magician would state that the three jacks had split throughout the house, and that one had remained on top as a sentry. In reality, the four jacks were still on top, and the decoys were split throughout the deck. Exactly what was happening as I think. 
Our decoy servants quickly ransacked the different floors of the house, messing the cheap stuff up and taking what was expensive, carrying it up and stuffing it into the helicopter before returning to Desole and tying themselves to the floor as the police officers entered. The trick ends with the four jacks remaining at the top revealing themselves, and that’s what we did, flying away as the police burst out.
I remember the Infamous Blackburn summing it up with the words, “We may not be Oceans Eleven, but boy are we good!”

We went for a Chinese afterwards, as what else are you going to do after you’ve pulled off a heist? Once that was finished, we went our separate ways, until we united at the studios to do the commentary for the show. It was during this that the Infamous Blackburn pointed out we hadn’t humiliated any police officers, so I vowed to do it, and I knew just how. We had a spy at the station and we got them to suggest that the culprit was a magician, and that it would be a good idea to investigate any magicians in the area, aka me! We staged the theatre so that when the policeman entered, we were in the lobby. 
I saw him enter, but I didn’t trust my faceblindness not to mess it up, so I strolled over to him and said, “You a policeman?”
“I don’t wear the stab vest and high vis jacket for fun.” He replied.
“Because I asked nicely.”
“Yes I am.” He replied.
“Hello Aaron, it’s nice to meet you.” I said.
“Well of course I could tell you, but it doesn’t mean you’ll believe me, and it certainly doesn’t mean that I have to.” I replied, resisting the temptation to wag my finger.
“The world isn’t, Aaron. The world isn’t.”
“I’m afraid you’re going to have to come with me to the station.” He said.

“Lend me your warrant, please.” I said, putting my hand out.
I could tell he was curious as he begrudgingly handed it over, and I took his attention with me as I strolled over to the girl behind the desk. I’d briefed her, and told her to listen to me briefly, then look at the policeman, then me and then at the doors. She then pressed a green button and the doors clicked open. I slid the badge and card out of the wallet and swapped it for a My Little Pony membership card. Then I closed the wallet, handed it back and led him into the auditorium. I’d read his name from his card, and said, “I presume that you’re Aaron Cox.”
“Sir, you’re meant to call me PC Cox.”
I smirked. “I’ll call you Aaron, and you can call me Mr Fletcher.”
“Mr Fletcher, can you tell me where you were in the early morning of the 29th of September 2014?”
“I’m afraid I can’t.” I said, watching him realise that I had a selective memory, before adding, “You couldn’t believe me, you see.”
“Then you could tell me.”
“You’re not being extremely helpful.”
“Sure.” I smiled.
“You’re not going to put up a fuss?” He asked, surprised.
“No, of course not.” I grinned. “Cause then you’ll just cuff me, and that would be a waste of time.”
Little did he know, there was a camera man filming the entire thing.

I embarrassed him at the station so much that he was suspended, and when he came back in revenge, I decided to put him out of his misery. “Is that Aaron?” I asked.
“No, Mr Fletcher. It’s PC Cox.” He replied, angrily."Is that Aaron?" He asked, as I thundered up the steps.
"Down with the formalities. It's Aaron, isn't it. Tell me, did you find your robbers?"
"No." He replied.
"Of course not, because there are no robbers."
"What do you mean there are no robbers?"
"I'm afraid I shan't be saying anymore unless you show me a warrant." I replied, smirking.
"Well, luckily for you, I have one with me." He said and whipped my card from my pocket.
I looked it up and down. "Don't take any offence here, please, but I don't like My Little Ponies."
Cox frowned and then turned the card. My Little Pony membership card. "What?" He said, searching through his pockets, but I couldn't find my card. "What have you done?"
"Breathed, a lot." I replied.
"I mean to my card." He exclaimed.
"Oh! I thought you meant over my entire life span. Well, I just handed it back then, if that's what you mean."
"Why are you so arrogant?" He demanded.
"Is that an official statement?" I asked, patronisingly.
"No." He said, his gaze to my eyes not wavering.
"Well, the answer is quite simple." I replied, giving in. "I and my friends Jimmy, Katie Morrissey and the Infamous Blackburn broke into the building, humiliated the Lancashire Constabulary and got away with it."
"What?" He demanded.
I gestured for a camera man to step from the wings, revealing he was filming our every moments. "Smile at the camera." I exclaimed, grinning.

The Infamous Blackburn and Fletcher will return at some point next year…

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Four Jacks (part 3)

//The following post contains an explanation of an iconic magic trick. Don't read if you wish to avoid spoilers!//
 "I'm sorry." I said. "Do I know you?"
"No, Mr Fletcher." The lady in the red dress said. "I'm just one of your fans. I work for Channel Four, in the department that deals with shows on Magic. We're thinking of a doing a show about magic and crime, and we'd like to recruit you."
I grinned and sat down in the lobby of the Channel Four building. "Tell me more."

Katie Morrissey was one of the best escapologists the country had to offer. I'd worked with her just the once on a group magician performance and it had been brilliant. The final trick that we had done was a recreation of Houdini's Water Chamber trick. I grinned at the memory of it. The crowd of a 1000 had expected Katie to do the trick, but instead I had, which had made it all the more impressive when I'd appeared at the back of the theatre and ran forward as she kicked open the chamber and climbed out. Of course, the magic trick was quite simply, even if it worked in a slightly different way to the original. At the beginning, I was lowered into the water, suspended by the ankles and as the locks on the top were locked, the locks on the bottom unclipped. Then Katie dropped a sheet was dropped on top of my chamber and the trapdoor opened into a pipe that led out into a pool. I was sucked down into the pool and climbed out, racing directly beneath the audience whilst being frantically dried by stage assistants. Meanwhile, Katie disappeared down a staircase out of sight and swam up the shoot, bolting the trapdoor as hoses in the corners of the chamber filled the chamber back up again. I then drew the audiences attention by shouting, "Over here!" ,whilst she undid the lid of the chamber and waited for me to whip away the cloth so she could jump out. It currently had over 50,000 views on Youtube.
The second member that they'd pulled together was Jimmy. He had no second name and was world famous for his prank tricks, like Saw the Football. He started by offering a deck of cards to a random member of the audience then burnt the card. Then he'd welcomed them to choose a random football from the selection. He'd drawn a saw and then asked her to cut it in half. As she was doing so, a character wearing a mask from Saw jumped out of nowhere to scare her half to death. Much to the annoyance of Jimmy, that'd only had 40,000 views.
The third member was the Infamous Blackburn, who I knew better as John Darwen, which was nearish to Blackburn hence the name. I also knew him as the man that had trained me in everything I knew, which it turned out was how I got this job. He was a tall man with the type of face and attitude that demanded a scarlet and black velvet cape along with a top hat and silver topped cane. He was known as the Infamous Blackburn due to a dice trick he once did without telling the venue holders in which he almost blew up the building they were in.
We were sat around a table in the Channel Four Building and the lady had a file. From it, she pulled a picture. "Anybody know who this?"
"Yes." We all moaned. It was Charles Desole, the famous critic. He'd given each and every one of us a bad review at least twice, and worst of all, he'd started a petition to have "The Infamous Blackburn and Fletcher" put out of the business. He was almost the perfect mark.
"The plan would be to break into his house and steal as much as we can whilst humiliating the police. Everything would be returned in the end and most of the work would be around filming the making of the heist."
"Could we put a bit in about humiliating the police?" The Infamous Blackburn asked.
We all laughed. "The Rozzers been upsetting you again, John?" I asked. He was infamous for being in trouble with the law, a great patron of the rock and roll age of Illusion.
"When aren't they?" Katie laughed.
"I'm sure we could work out something." The lady smiled.
"Baring the in mind," Jimmy said, "I reckon I've got a way to break in. If we were to blow the electricity, we could then race in under the cover of nightfall and drop a sedative gas into the air con."
"Let me stop you there." The lady said. "The house doesn't have air con and the channel would like the heist to include elements of magic. The house has two floors, a roof garden and a basement, and Mr Resole employs three members of staff."
I grinned. "The Four Jacks."
"None of us are called Jack." Jimmy pointed out. "But a great name for the show."
"No, I mean the magic trick!" I exclaimed. I drew a deck of cards from my bag and gave it a quick shuffle, then drew the four jacks and put them at the bottom. I fanned them out from the bottom and then realigned them. I took them from the deck and put them at the top and took the first card and put it at the bottom, then put the second half way through and the third just above, leaving the first at the top. "The Four Jacks, lost around the house. Then I give it a tap."
Then I drew the four cards from the top and showed them as the Four Jacks.
The others grinned and the lady said, "How did you do that?"
"A little bit of misdirection." I grinned.

To be concluded...

Monday, 13 October 2014

The Four Jacks (part 2)

"So, that brings the total lead count up to...?" Asked the Inspector.
"Exactly none, Inspector." I replied. We'd taken dibs of who would break the awful news, and it ended up that it was my job. I'd been dreading it, and I certainly wasn't enjoying it now.
"And you are the best coppers in the region. What have forensics found?"
"Nothing, sir." I answered. "The only DNA that could be found belonged to the house owner and his staff. No irregular fabric and fibres were found and the helicopter people called back, the helicopter isn't registered to anyone. Seriously, these people must be expects."
"What about that ridiculous magician theory?"
"We had no proof to arrest him at all." I replied.
"And Cox made a cock up." One of the other PC's said.
"No I didn't!" I exclaimed.
"Calm down, gentlemen." The Inspector said. "How did Cox mess it up?"
"He told the magician everything. All the intricate details."
"This true, Cox?" Demanded the Inspector.
"Not on purpose, Inspector." I replied.
"You leaked the details of this case to one of the suspects?"
"Yes, sir." I moaned.
"You are a disgrace to modern policing." He said. "I want you take some leave. Don't come back in for a bit, at least until this investigation is over."
"Sir," I began to protest.
"No, Cox. Get out of my sight."
"Yes, sir." I moaned, and walked out.

There was only one way I could prove I didn't leak those details, and that was to prove Fletcher was behind it. And I couldn't do that until I'd interviewed him once again, and actually got some details. I popped in the locker room and grabbed my card holder, then I returned to my car outside. I drove it all the way to the theatre and marched in. I found Fletcher in the main auditorium, as I had the day before, and he watched me approach. "Is that Aaron?" He asked, as I thundered up the steps.
"No, Mr Fletcher. It's PC Cox." I replied.
"Down with the formalities. It's Aaron, isn't it. Tell me, did you find your robbers?"
"No." He replied.
"Of course not, because there are no robbers."
"What do you mean there are no robbers?"
"I'm afraid I shan't be saying anymore unless you show me a warrant." He replied, smirking.
"Well, luckily for you, I have one with me." I said and whipped my card from my pocket.
Fletcher looked it up and down. "Don't take any offence here, please, but I don't like My Little Ponies."
I frowned and then turned the card. My Little Pony membership card. "What?" I said. I searched through my pockets, but I couldn't find my card. "What have you done?"
"Breathed, a lot." He replied.
"I mean to my card." I said.
"Oh! I thought you meant over my entire life span. Well, I just handed it back then, if that's what you mean."
"Why are you so arrogant?" I demanded.
"Is that an official statement?" He asked, patronisingly.
"No." I said, my gaze to his eyes not wavering.
"Well, the answer is quite simple." He replied. "I and my friends Jimmy, Katie Morrissey and the Infamous Blackburn broke into the building, humiliated the Lancashire Constabulary and got away with it."
"What?" I demanded.
He gestured for someone to step away from the wings, and a camera man stepped out, filming our every moments. "Smile at the camera." Fletcher exclaimed, grinning.

*Authors note*
Curious as to how Miles Fletcher, Jimmy, Katie Morrissey and the Infamous Blackburn broke into the house? Read on over the next two weeks, as Fletcher documents his adventure so far...

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Four Jacks

Three thirty AM. A hoard of ex panda cars holding fully armed, yet apparently inconspicuous, policemen are parked down a single road in the posh district of this fair city. Merely the dimming light of the lamp posts illuminated our view of the great towering building held in darkness before us. Suddenly there was a swirling rush of wind, the metallic swinging of propellers and then a great spotlight cast us in bright light. The Inspector stuck his head out of a window and looked up, gesturing for us to do so also. There was a helicopter, swinging through the air above us, it's spotlight casting us in a white glow. It landed atop the large building, it's propellers still spinning. "Quickly!" The Inspector shouted.
We all clambered out of the car and raced across the road, the armed policemen in front of us leading the way. They got to the door and kicked it open and then ran in, their barrels covering every hiding place. The Inspector led me and the other constables behind him, and we followed him upstairs all the way to the top floor, flanked by a circle of armed, black wearing coppers. Every floor was ransacked, everything taken from where it should have been, and by the time we got to the top floor, we realised that we had failed. All the staff and the owner of the household, who has asked to remain anonymous, were rolling on the floor, their mouths duct taped and their legs and arms bound. We rushed up the fire escape and saw the helicopter, with it's crew of four, lifting off with a bounty of contraband. The Inspector stamped his foot and cursed. I sighed and turned back. We were meant to have got them then, but they were always one step ahead.

My name is Aaron Cox. I'm a Police Constable for the Lancashire Constabulary, and one week ago, I was part of a stake out for an impossible crime. And it was only solved when we turned to our final resort. A face blind magician. And strangely, he'd started as our only suspect.

When we'd been generating leads, it had occurred to someone that the crime was quite reminiscent of a grand magic trick of some sort. The magicians could possibly be the robbers and the escape would be the magic trick. I was assigned the duty of looking into this, probably because it was seen as a dead end, and dead ends were what constables lived for. I started by checking out all the magicians in a certain radius, then when that came to one, I requested his file and decided to go and visit him. He'd been trouble with the law several times, mainly for causing harrasment due to his documented 'face blindness.' I pulled my car to a halt outside the theatre and walked in, to discover the man himself standing angrily in the centre of the lobby, amidst a throng of impatient stage hands. I thought it was a strange place for the magician to be, rather than the stage itself which I presumed were behind the white push doors with the glass circular windows in. "You a policemen?" He asked, as I strolled over.
"I don't wear the stab vest and high vis jacket for fun." I replied.
"Lend me your warrant, please."
"Because I asked nicely." He said.
Begrudgingly, but curiously, I handed over the warrant badge and watched as he strolled over to the girl behind the counter. He said something then drew the girls gaze towards me  before directing it back to himself and then over to the twin doors. The girl gulped and opened the doors, gesturing for him and the crew to go through. He handed me back the warrant card and led me through the double doors down a small corridor and into the large auditorium. "I presume that you're Aaron Cox." He said.
"Yes I am." I replied.
"Hello Aaron, it's nice to meet you."
"Sir, you're meant to call me PC Cox."
A snigger danced across his face but died quickly. "I'll call you Aaron, and you can call me Mr Fletcher."
There was something about how he never looked in the face that sent shivers down my spine. "Mr Fletcher, can you tell me where you were in the early morning of the 29th of Septemeber 2014?"
"I'm afraid I can't." He replied. It made sense, after all. The file had mentioned a selective memory. "You wouldn't believe me, you see." He added.
"Then you could tell me?" I replied, confused as to why he was being tricky.
"Well of course I could tell you, but it doesn't mean you'll believe me, and it certainly doesn't mean that I have to." He replied, in a way that almost required a wagging figure action to accompany it.
"You're not being extremely helpful."
"The world isn't, Aaron. The world isn't." He replied.
"I'm afraid you're going to have to come with me to the station." I said, reaching for my handcuffs.
"Sure." He said and gestured for me to lead him out.
"You're not going to put up a fuss?"
"No, of course not." He said. "Cause then you'll just cuff me, and that would be a waste of time."

We arrived at the station and I took him into a questioning room. I questioned him none stop for two hours, and by the end of it he stopped me and smiled. "Aaron, I presume that you're new to the job."
I didn't know why he'd guessed that, I was always told I'm a very mature looking person.
"My main clue was the fact that you are a police constable." He said, presumably noticing my confusion. "And the fact that from the information you just gave me, I could probably solve the crime."
"Rubbish." I said.
"Really?" He asked me. "How come I know there were three members of staff and four people in the helicopter, and that hardly any time passed between the helicopter landing and taking off, yet the entire house was ransacked?"
I stared at him, blank. "Because you're the mastermind!"
"Don't be stupid." He replied. "I believed it was rather obvious to be truthful. You leak little details without knowing, and I'm trained to pick up on them. Now, if you'll allow me to leave, I will be on my way." He smiled at me, a patronising smile that knew I had no reason to keep him further. Begrudgingly, I let him go, and watched as he walked from the door of the nick, a glee in his step. I wasn't even looking at his face but I knew it was probably painted with a smug grin. I stamped my foot in anger. Why wasn't it legal to arrest someone for just annoying you?