21 Aug


smoking gun photo: gun guns-21.jpg


Where’s that wretched loupe?” asked Blinky Curmudgeon, drinking water from his own false teeth beaker in the mistaken impression it was tea. “Ugh! Cold!” he added with a wry expression on his face. They were back in 221c Butcher Close, had examined the minor scratches left on the front door by the gunfire reported by the Inspector and were having refreshment. After examining the evidence Royston privately wondered whether it was a pea-shooter that had been used in the assault.

You had it, sir,” said Angelina, meaning the loupe. She was grinning and glad he couldn’t see the grin. After all, it’s a bit cruel to mock a blind man when he’s drinking from the wrong mug, she thought generously.

I had it?” he barked. “Are you sure? Where the deuce did I have it?”

In your pocket. I’m sure you had it in your pocket,” she murmured.

I ought to have employed a younger secretary with something about her!” barked Curmudgeon, living up to his name. “A younger woman would have had eyes all over me and know exactly what I’m up to, but you, no offence intended, are as blind as a bat and almost as useless as one!”

That’s not fair!” put in Royston, hotly.

Sshh,” hissed Angelina, and: “you had, it sir, when we were in that dreadful bones dungeon! I saw your hand in your pocket and the flash of gold reflecting the glimmer of Sergeant Williams’ little torch as you twiddled with it!”

It’ll be in my pocket, then,” growled the Inspector, “and, by Jove, it isn’t!”

You may have dropped it?” suggested Royston.

I don’t do stupid things like dropping priceless artefacts!” roared the blind man, losing patience with himself and the other two present in turn. “I’m famous for keeping things that matter exactly where I know them to be!”

I hope you have lost the damned thing,” muttered Royston, “more trouble than it was worth, if you ask me.”

It’s worth a king’s ransom!” exclaimed Angelina. “I don’t know that it was more trouble than that.”

What we should do is go round and look for clues at Tiny Bloxam’s place,” said Royston. “He’s a man, for Goodness’ sake, a man who’s been killed, and that’s more important than any artefact, priceless or otherwise!”

No. We must go back to Brainache Castle,” decided Angelina, “or at least, one of us must. If the loupe’s anywhere it’s got to be there, and everything, the murder, the attack on this place, revolves around the lost treasure..”

Not today…” muttered Royston, “it’ll be dark soon anyway. It took ages to get there…”

Tomorrow, first thing,” said Angelina, who seemed to be in charge of everything despite her relative youth and the fact that the other two were experienced police officers.

Then the least we can do today is check out the late lamented PC Bloxam’s place?” suggested Royston again. “I’m absolutely certain that his death has just got to be connected to that wretched loupe.”

Well, team, we seem to have a few ideas,” put in Blinky. “I agree with both of you but I will tell you one thing for absolute certain. I may have lost that damned golden eyeglass, but the word lost is the wrong one. If it left my person it did so because someone decided to pick my pocket!

You mean, that guard or whoever he was?” asked Angelina. “If it wasn’t one of us,” she added, meaning Royston and herself.

Well, I didn’t see anyone else there…”

You didn’t see anyone, thought Royston meanly.

Exactly. My eyesight might not be what it was but I am aware of proximity and that damned bloke stood a little bit too close to me, made me feel uncomfortable…”

I’ll check who he is,” murmured Angelina, “and, for what it’s worth, sir, I think you may be right.”

If that man had anything to do with things and if he targeted the eyeglass because that’s what he wanted and yet still got there before us it can only mean one thing,” said Royston slowly.

And that is?” asked Blinky, frowning under his blacked-out spectacles.

This place must be bugged,” concluded Royston slowly. “Whoever it is was forewarned of our intentions. Yes, we must be bugged.”

You mean, listening devices?” whispered Angelina.

And seeing ones, for video. Who can tell. They’re all so small yet powerful these days. Tell me, has anyone come in who you weren’t expecting?”

I only started today,” began Royston, “and it’s been one hell of a first day!”

There were the open day few,” suggested Blinky. “Yes: we didn’t know who to expect! It might well have been the Open Day few… or one of them! They had free rein of the place, for goodness’ sake…”

And the policeman, Tiny Bloxam, may have seen one of the others…” said Royston slowly. “He might have noticed, out of the corner of his eye …”

I think you’ve got it,” replied Blinky, slowly, “and if you’re right we’re being listened to, maybe even watched, at this very moment! This isn’t the time or place for us to make any more plans because whoever it is behind everything will know what we’re doing before we do it!”

They won’t be interested any more,” sighed Royston. “They’ve got your damned eyeglass and that’s most likely all they wanted, especially if it’s what you say and worth a king’s ransom.”

Angelina shook her head so slightly Royston barely noticed it.

I need to go to the loo,” she said, and she beckoned him to follow as she sidled out of the room. “Won’t be long,” she called back.

Hey! Are you both going?” hissed Blinky.

Sshh!” whispered Angelina, annoyed, “pretend,” she added, barely audibly.

But Blinky was no fool and he got the message. “Well then,” he said to himself as though he were addressing a room full of people, “I’ll leave it up to you two, it’s been a long day and I’m rather in need of a rest before the assault on Brainache tomorrow!”

Yes sir,” almost cooed Angelina from the other side of the door.

It should be some day tomorrow,” continued the Inspector. “I do hope there are no guns involved because, well, I’m an ace shot and I don’t fancy seeing any more flesh and blood human beings falling to my bullets – even if they are scumbags!”

Outside the room Angelina grabbed Royston by his lapel. “Say nothing,” she whispered, “but when we leave this place, come to my flat with me. We’ll make any plans in your car on the way. My flat may be bugged too. In fact, it would be fun if it was!”

Why?” he asked, innocently.

Because I’m a young woman in need of … comfort,” she breathed into his ear. “And spome of the things I’m likely to talk you into doing might well sound sort of … spicy! Come on, let’s get back to Mr Curmudgeon before he becomes disorientated and falls down!”

The blind man was still standing where he had been.

We’re off, sir,” said Angelina. “It’s past my bed time and Sergeant Williams is going to give me a lift home.”

We’ll reconvene tomorrow, then,” growled the Inspector.

You should be all right now the eyeglass has gone, sir,” she added.

I’ll be safe enough here anyway,” was his reply. “Goodnight the pair of you, and Miss Parr, get a good night’s sleep. We need more rest when we’re not so young as we were, don’t you think?”

Yes sir,” sighed Angelina.

Blinky stiffly made his way out of the room. Royston watched him go, and shook his head sadly.

I know,” breathed Angelina, “he’s not the man he was. But he’ll be fighting fit tomorrow, or die in the attempt. Come on, take me to your car.”

© Peter Rogerson 21.08.14



  1. slpsharon August 21, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    Great chapter. Your curmudgeon reminds me of my uncle Clarence. Grumpy ols git, as you Brits would say. Hated women and jealous of everyone.
    Can’t feature anymore. Nowhhere to do it. Silly as it sounds, I miss the struggle.

  2. slpsharon August 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Great chapter. Your curmudgeon reminds me of my uncle Clarence. Grumpy ols git, as you Brits would say. Hated women and jealous of everyone.
    Can’t feature anymore. Nowhhere to do it. Silly as it sounds, I miss the struggle. Now following you.

    • Peter Rogerson August 21, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

      Glad to see you here, Sharon. The gather roite is now closed and I can no longer use it as a text editor! I try to keep my stuff recognisable as mine in appearance so it took me an hour or so to arrive at what I found satisfactory

      • slpsharon August 21, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

        Same here. I wrote most of my stuff o Gather from 2008 till a month ago. Last few weeks I have done a lot here. The format took practice.

      • pambrittain August 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

        I do mine in Word and cut and paste it.

  3. pambrittain August 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

    Peter, I always look forward to your story and the next event.

    • Peter Rogerson August 23, 2014 at 8:31 am #

      I usually use Libre Office, Pam – I got that when my copy of Open Office lost contact with its dictionary! I have an elderly copy of Word (2000) which is perfectly good.

      • Peter Rogerson August 23, 2014 at 8:34 am #

        PS – I then formatted on Gather, shoved a picture from Photobucket at the beginning, put links to previous episodes (if any) and made font decisions (still on Gather) before copying to other sites.

      • pambrittain August 23, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

        I miss Word 2000.

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