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?

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