UBI CARITAS ET AMOR. DEUS IBI EST.
UBI CARITAS ET AMOR. DEUS IBI EST.
Saturday, 10 August 2019
The Case Of The Mystery Crime - Part 9
A plan was beginning to formulate in my mind. It was a bit reckless. Dangerous even. But sometimes in life we do stupid things for the greater good. Or what we consider to be the greater good. Although in reality it is just a temple to stupidity.
In this case we had a distraught Mrs Scrivener who has all but given up hope. She has stopped eating, saying she has no appetite, and if we leave her to it she will soon get ill and fade away. There's a limit to what the Saint Vincent Society and her friend Edna can do. It seems Mrs Scrivener is determined to give up hope.
Well ... she was central to my plan. First I had to get rid of her, get her out of the way, out of harm's way as it were. I spoke to Mrs Pontifract from the Saint Vincent Society and suggested that maybe the Society can take Mrs Scrivener on holiday somewhere for a week or two. Devon and Cornwall are nice, or it could be somewhere in Wales. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch on the island of Anglesey is nice. I've been there. It is the place in Britain with the longest name. I am sure the Saint Vincent people can afford to send her there for a holiday as a good charitable cause. They can take Edna there too to keep her company. I'd be willing to contribute generously towards the holiday.
Mrs Pontifract thought it was an excellent idea and agreed to make the arrangements for a date suitable to my master plan.
Next I went to see Eunice Murgatroid who works at the local newspapers. I asked her if she was still constipated. Partly as a joke. It is my stupid sense of humour coming to the fore at the most inappropriate time. She took me seriously and said, "Oh it's all cleared up at last ... it's the problem of the Sewerage Department now!"
Too much information - my brain shouted, but I said nothing and smiled.
"I'd like a favour Eunice," I asked, "is it possible to publish another story in the papers about Mrs Scrivener? Nothing much. Just a follow-up to your excellent story which is worthy of a Pulitzer Prize or an Oscar or whatever thing you journalists get!"
"Don't lay it on too thick," she said, "or you'll make me constipated again!"
"Eh ... OK ..." I muttered, "what I'd like you to write is that after losing the parrot, Mrs Scrivener was throwing away his cage and she found a piece of paper hidden under the feeding tray with some words and numbers she did not understand. She kept the paper as a souvenir and only reminder she has of her missing bird!"
Eunice agreed to discuss this with the editor and publish the story.
The final part of my plan involved my computer friend, the one who helped print the posters, and another friend I have known since school.
As soon as the newspaper article was published my plan began to work. The first night nothing happened. But the second night whilst we were waiting in Mrs Scrivener's house, at about midnight someone came in through the front door which we had inadvertently on purpose left open.
The intruder entered the living room and searched the cupboard in the corner and the drawers. There were two or three flashes of light. He panicked and made his way out only to be blocked by Big Fat Tommy, my friend from school and the rugby club. Tommy is so big that if he sat on someone they would suffocate in minutes, especially if he has had beans for lunch.
I switched the lights on. To my surprise ... or possibly not ... the intruder was the big burly man who stopped me in the alley way. He was out-numbered three to one. Or four to one if you count Tommy twice because of his size.
My computer friend said, "Smile!" as he took another photo of all of us together.
"What we have here," I said to the burly man, "are some photos which could buy you few years in prison. I suggest you sit down and talk ..."
He had no choice. It appears that he had previous convictions and if caught would be in very serious trouble indeed. So he sang like a canary, or talked like a parrot. Something which Polly has only done to my hearing alone.
He said he was employed by a small business firm three years ago to break into the home of François Bordeaux in search for the formula.
"The outfit is not a pharmaceutical company," he said, "it is just a name ... a front. The firm has never manufactured or sold anything and it has a staff of five people at the most. Its business is to buy patents, inventions or discoveries and sell them them on to larger multinationals at a great price for them to manufacture and profit. It is all above board and legal. The company is like a middle man between an inventor and the eventual manufacturer. It helps the small man as it were bring his invention to market. The company is owned by a Trust which in turn is owned by a very wealthy investor. So it is very difficult to find out who the top man is. But it doesn't matter, because as I said, it is all legal and legitimate.
"The firm intended to buy from François Bordeaux the formula for something or other he seems to have invented. I don't know what it is, nor do I care. The intention is that they would have full ownership and legal right to sell, produce, manufacture or do whatever they wish with the product world-wide. François Bordeaux agreed and received a great sum of money for this.
"And I mean a great sum of money," he continued, "enough to get Veronique Sullivan to buy the luxurious mansion and live in luxury for the rest of her life. But all this is peanuts, a mere drop in the ocean, compared to what the firm would have earned by re-selling the formula. They could easily afford it.
"Unfortunately François Bordeaux died before the contracts were signed. Understandably, the firm was furious and at first tried to get the money back through the Courts. But because of the bad publicity, especially since François Bordeaux died such a tragic death, and his beneficiary from the will, Veronique, had herself lost her husband on honeymoon, the owner of the Trust, the top man, decided to let it all go. He considered it as a charitable donation to a good cause. Something that would ease his way past St Peter and enter Heaven. After all, he could well afford it.
"But some director from the firm, unbeknown to anyone else, saw it differently. He hired me to break into François Bordeaux's house and steal the formula. He had some information on me that would get me into trouble; so I had to comply or else. His plan was to take the formula for himself and sell it privately without anyone's knowledge."
The burly man stopped for a second or two and then continued.
"I broke into the house twice with no success. Then this director believed that maybe the formula was on the parrot. You know ... a microfiche stuck to his body. A very tiny piece of plastic film containing microphotographs, small photos or small writings like the formula we're after."
"Yes, I know what a microfiche is," I said.
"Well," said the man, "by then the parrot had been sold to a pet shop ... wasn't it? I went to the pet shop in question and all they said is it was sold to a short man. Do you know how many short men there are in the world? I seem to have searched for all of them over the last three years. It's been my only form of employment. The firm's director kept paying me as was intent on finding the parrot and the formula. Eventually I narrowed the search to Mrs Scrivener and this house. I waited outside watching the house for a few days. Then I saw you visit here ... but you are not short are you? I thought I'd got the wrong place. So I followed you and heard you talk to the wine merchant in the market and mention François Bordeaux. That was the missing link as it were. I needed to be sure so I stopped you in the alley way to gauge your reaction when I mentioned François Bordeaux.
"Somehow, I was sure I got the right place. The first time I got in the house the parrot made quite a noise and I had to run away. The second time I got him in a sack and got away."
"Where is the parrot now?" I asked.
"It's with me at home," he replied, "the director got him and had him shaved ... humanly like ... and searched his body for microchips. He found none. He lost interest in the whole project and gave me the parrot. He said he does not want to see me again."
"OK ..." I said after a short pause, "I want you and Tommy here to go home and you give him the parrot. No funny tricks mind ... remember we still have the photos and Tommy here would flatten you like a pan cake!"
"Are you not calling the police?" he asked.
"No ..." I replied, "you give us the parrot and we don't want to see you ever again. Understood?"