UBI CARITAS ET AMOR. DEUS IBI EST.
UBI CARITAS ET AMOR. DEUS IBI EST.
Sunday, 11 August 2019
The Case Of The Mystery Crime - Part 10
I decided to keep the parrot at home until Mrs Scrivener returns from Anglesey. He looked really ugly with no feathers on. Like a new born baby bird. My wife suggested we keep his cage near a warm radiator or heater in case he gets a chill. Good idea. The last thing I want now is a supposedly non-talking parrot with a cough! Mind you, he would be a good advert on TV for cough mixture or syrup. We'd wait until he gets his feathers back to full glory before his traumatic abduction and then have him on a perch coughing whilst a voice-over would say, "When you're as sick as a parrot try ... whatever the name of the product is". We could make a fortune for Mrs Scrivener. She would be as rich as Veronique!
Ah ... Veronique. I chose not to get in touch with her. For the moment. I decided to wait until Mrs Scrivener is back. This is another dilemma on our hands. Who is the rightful owner of the parrot? Mrs Scrivener, whose husband bought him legally from the pet shop, or Veronique who may have a moral or sentimental attachment to the bird?
But then, who am I to play King Solomon in this case? I only got involved when I heard the stupid bird crying for help. Perhaps one woman could have the bird and the other could have a photo of the bird. Cheaper to have the photo. It could be framed and hung on the wall. No feeding or cleaning the cage is necessary.
What a brilliant idea! We could provide all lonely people with photos, or replicas of birds, or animals, with a computer microchip that would make them do bird sounds, or miawoes, or barks or whatever depending on the animal. No more feeding them, taking them out for walks, or cleaning after them or changing the litter tray and all the other boring jobs that pets make us do.
I am really in good form today. I have solved the problem of having pets with a cheaper trouble free alternative. No more vets visits and expensive bills, no need to leave them in a kennel or cattery when you go on holiday, no more heartache and pain when they die. If they stop working just throw them in the re-cycle bin and buy another one.
As a novelty you could have dogs that miaow, or cats that bark, or even parrots that talk for a change. They could talk in any language and any accent depending on the computer chip inside them. Or you could even have exotic animals like bears who can sing, "The Bare Necessities" and all sorts of other things.
I think I'll keep this idea to myself and be rich. No need to share it with Mrs Scrivener or anyone else.
Talking of whom, I received a post card from her today. She said she was enjoying her holiday in Anglesey and would be back home in two days. She had ice cream with Edna on the beach.
Why do people write inane things like that in post cards? What do I care whether she had ice cream on the beach or anywhere else for that matter?
Anyway, when she returned I gave her her parrot back. He was beginning to grow his feathers back again. You should have been there to witness the tears of joy. From Mrs Scrivener, not the parrot. He was as dumb as the day I clearly heard him talk. But no one believes me. Not even you reading this, I guess.
The next task, having returned the parrot to Mrs Scrivener, was to get in touch with Veronique.
This time I made an appointment first and then drove to her house to see her.
We met in her living room. She was wearing a tight fitting red T-shirt and white shorts. This time she offered me a whisky believing that Crème De Menthe would go to my head. But I chose a cup of tea instead. I make it a rule never to drink anything alcoholic when I'm driving. The last time most of the Crème De Menthe went on her rather than in me!
I explained to her what the burly man had told me. That her uncle deserved the money fair and square since the owner of the Trust, the top man as it were, was not interested in getting his money back. It was a director of the firm who was acting on his own selfish behalf who instigated the break-ins in search for Bordeaux's formula. And now, even he, this director, is no longer pursuing the formula.
I told Veronique that if she wanted to we could prosecute him for the break-ins. The burly man had agreed to act as a witness in Court even though this would put him in line for prosecution too for carrying out the break-ins at her uncle and at Mrs Scrivener's.
Veronique wisely decided not to pursue matters further.
Then came the question of ownership of the parrot - Polly or Archibald the Third, depending on one's point of view.
I told her that the bird had been shaved but otherwise unharmed. He is slowly getting his feathers back and his experience does not seem to have affected his appetite. He is with Mrs Scrivener who is over the moon at having him back in her life.
To my surprise she said, "That's good ... she deserves it. She should have her pet back!"
That sentence showed a great generosity of spirit and good character. I was so relieved to hear her say it.
"Is it possible to meet this Mrs Scrivener?" she asked, "I'd like to get to know her if this is all right."
"Yes ..." I replied, "I am sure it would be OK," then acting on instinct rather than intelligence once more I continued, "I can take you in my car right now!"
"That's very kind," she said standing up from her armchair, "I'd better get out of this blouse and shorts first and put on some shoes and something more decent!"
I smiled and said nothing.
She stood there tall and proud in a pose that a female fashion model would hold on the catwalk and said with a smile, "Would you like to throw your tea at me now or when I get changed?"
On our drive to Mrs Scrivener we talked about this and that. She told me how life has been lonely these past three years since she lost her husband and uncle. She thought that by moving in her luxurious mansion things would be different but she is more lonely now in her self-imposed prison.
"It may be a golden cage," she said, "but it is still a prison!"
She had not made any friends. The community keeps itself to itself and she does not mix with the neighbours. She employs Cynthia, the housekeeper who opened the door for me the other day, to do the cleaning and the occasional cooking. Otherwise she lives alone in the mansion and spends her time sunbathing, or swimming in the pool, or exercising in the fully fitted gym at home.
"What a life," I thought, "but would I want to live like that and all alone?"
Mrs Scrivener welcomed us in her humble abode which must have looked and felt very different to Veronique compared to her surroundings.
She immediately recognised her Archibald the Third by the missing feathers round its left eye.
Despite their age and background differences the two women seem to have got on well over a cup of tea and biscuits ... not dog biscuits ... and talked about this and that, whilst I sat there silent like an unwelcome fart in a space suit.
"Why don't you come and visit me?" asked Veronique, "we can have picnics by the pool, or you can teach me how to bake these delicious biscuits?"
"I don't know ..." hesitated Mrs Scrivener, "it is so far away and I'll have to take two different buses. They're expensive you know?"
"Don't worry about that!" insisted Veronique, "I can come here and pick you up, or you can come by taxi. I'll pay the taxi ..."
"That will be nice," succumbed Mrs Scrivener, "but not on Wednesdays, because I am with Edna next door on Wednesdays!"
"Bring her along too ..." enthused Veronique.
On our drive back I was pleased that Veronique had made a new friend with Mrs Scrivener, and who knows, perhaps with Edna too. I noticed she was more relaxed and at peace with herself.
"Tell me ..." I hesitated, "did your uncle have any friends or colleagues? I am intrigued at what he was working on with his formula or discovery or invention?"
"No ... none that I know ..." she said, "the only person I know of was his housekeeper. She used to come in and clean for him. Her name was Morag McTavish ... a Scottish woman. After my uncle died she went back to Scotland. I have the address somewhere!"