512

The door to the office burst open, Inspector Graves stood in the open doorway, his hand still grasping the door handle. The extrovert intruder stood in the middle of the room, the attaché case in his hands, the discarded items from the desk strewn across the floor. Bernie’s eyes were like a rabbit’s in a car’s headlights as he stared into the steely eyes of the furious Inspector.  

“What the hell…” Graves started to speak, as two of his Police colleagues squeezed past him and entered the room. 

“Arrest him!” Bernie heard Timson instruct a sheepish looking PC Manning.   

As the young Police Officer stepped towards him, Bernie pirouetted on his heels, “Not so fast!” There was a stunned moment of silence as the confused policemen observed the stranger’s even stranger behaviour. “There is a far bigger crime here that I have uncovered, one of Police corruption!”  

The last comment was felt to Graves like a bucket of ice cold water being thrown over him. He could feel his heart now racing, and the blood pumping through his body felt ice cold. The Inspector now took a couple of large steps forward before lunging an arm towards Bernie. “Don’t talk such nonsense!”  

Bernie managed to pivot on his right foot, pulling the attaché case close to his chest and dodging the Inspector’s advance. “Inspector Graves you are guilty of perverting the course of justice for your own personal financial gain!”   

Graves narrowly prevented himself from toppling over, his face now flushed with anger, he lunged once more towards the Italian. This time the Station Officer had stepped in, and holding out his arm, “I think we had better hear what this man has to say Norris!”   

Graves took a step back, straightening up. He could feel the veins in his temples throbbing and now his head was flushing with blood; he loosened his tie with his finger as he tried to compose himself in preparation to defend any accusation the outlandish intruder was going to make.  

“Before I ask you to justify this wild statement, and before I ask my men to arrest you and lock you up, please identify yourself!” Timson spoke in a very authoritative but calm tone.  

Bernie was about to speak when PC Manning cut in, “It’s Bernie Angel Sir! You know, Bingo Bango, the guy from all the quiz shows!” Suddenly remembering his position and feeling the angry eyes of the Station Officer staring at him, he stopped himself before nervously continuing, “He has the reputation of being one of the best private investigators around!”  

Bernie couldn’t help the smug smile form on his face, “Thank you Constable for your kind words!” He bowed his head slightly.   

“I don’t care who you are!” Timson came in sternly, “you have thirty seconds to explain yourself!”  

Just like when Bernie won the star prize in “Minute to Win It!”, he managed to rattle of his findings clearly and concisely in almost exactly the thirty seconds!”  

The room went quiet; Bernie Angel looked triumphant after delivering his closing statement. The moment’s silence was broken, “preposterous!” Graves exclaimed!  

“You have made a very contentious statement against this village’s most respected Police Inspector. Do you have anything to substantiate it?”  

“If I may Sir?” Bernie gestured towards the attaché case and Timson gave a nod. He could feel his figurative heart in his mouth, as he both gambled on the contents of the case and the fact that he had worked out its three digit code. He put the case down on the desk, a bead of sweat rolled down his nose as his fat thumb turned the dial of the combination. Sliding the button to the right, the catch unlocked and Bernie opened the case.  

Resisting the temptation to punch the air at the success of working out the correct combination, Bernie focussed his attentions on the contents, a large brown envelope. Timson watched on as the accuser reached in and pulled out the evidence. Bernie cleared his throat, as he read a short note on outside of the envelope.  

“Dear Inspector, it is with the greatest respect to you that we no longer wish to continue this charade. We both know you know the truth, and it is only a matter of time before you gain the necessary proof. We would like to present you with these two brown envelopes, in this envelope is our signed confession, in the other you will find twenty-five thousand pounds in cash.  

“Arthur Field was a stubborn man, his selfishness was impacting many of the villagers. On the night in question, I picked up Penny from work and went to see him for one last chance to make him see reason. When that failed, I distracted him while Penny slipped the poison into his wine. We did not hang around to see it take its affect. Many will benefit from our actions, and we would like you to share that benefit. 

“The choice of which envelope you take is up to you!” Bernie peered over the top of his glasses to look at Graves as he finished reading from the envelope. Manning looked uncomfortably between Graves and Timson, there was a moments awkward silence while he waited for some direction from his superior. 

“Arrest him!” Timson finally spoke, unable to look at Graves as the words come out.

As Manning went to tentatively place a hand on his Inspector’s shoulder, the latter barged the younger man against the desk and charged towards the door. Bernie held out an arm to try and block the escape but instead found himself tumbling to the ground.

Timson appeared to freeze, unwilling to get involved as Manning reached out and grabbed Graves’ trailing leg. It merely slowed the desperate man, and with a firm few shakes he was free again to make his exit. 

Slightly stunned, but mind racing to find a way of stalling the Inspector’s retreat, Bernie reached out for the fishing rod still propped up against the wall by the door. Taking a firm grip of the rod, from his position face down on the floor, he made one decisive flick of his wrist. The hook and line cast, this time hitting the target first time, just catching the running man’s leading leg, firmly embedding itself in the trouser fabric. As his other leg came through, the line pulled itself tight across the shins of both, and the Inspector toppled heavily to the ground. Dazed, he lay still for a few seconds before putting both hands down firmly on the ground in an attempt to push himself back up. He was too slow, PC Manning had reacted, the younger police officer had sprang across the room, launched himself at the Inspector, and now placed a knee firmly into his back pinning him to the ground. As Bernie dusted himself down as he got to his feet, he couldn’t help but whisper the familiar words, “Bingo Bango!” 

Timson mad a slow approach towards Bernie Angel, pulling out his notebook and pen. “Just one more thing Mr Angel….” 

Bernie look at the Station Officer, “ …a statement?”

Timson looked a little hesitant, “I was hoping more for an autograph!”

  

 

THE END

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