Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm Not Here To Entertain You

Here is the mini-milestone that is Part 60 of “A Couple of Tenors Short”.

I’m just recovering from a writing stint that has taken my breath away. I’ve just sat down and rattled 1500 words in no time at all. Convinced that it would be full of drivel, typos and waffle, I just reviewed and haven’t had to change as much of an apostrophe! That is a new record for me.

We find ourselves closer to home for today’s strange piece of news. Not up to the usual standard, I know, but I just find myself amazed that he has pleaded ‘Not Guilty’. Having a cat under the floorboards doesn’t make any difference. If you were driving under the influence then you are guilty. However, I guess I should let the courts decide.

I’m able to continue the sequence for the quiz question. This one has sixty in the title. It is another band I have never come across singing a track I have never heard. I think you’ll need the answer.

OK, the quiz question out of the way, here is my mantra. This is a serial. Any new-joiners should start with the opener known as Part One.   

The troublesome recap has now settled into its new home. You can find the recap here!

Now read on...

The description of the ‘other coppers’ by Mrs Ford was vague. The terms “very much like you, dear” and “I don’t take much notice of these things” were used loosely and freely.  Smithy then moved on to the visit of Sergei Plutov’s lady friend while Jones poked around in the wardrobe and chest of drawers.

The lady friend and two other men arrived on Sunday evening. Mrs Jones had recognised the lady as she had visited Sergei before, although, as Mrs Ford was very keen to point out, they were never alone in his room after nine-thirty. The lady had first visited several months before and had been a regular visitor for several weeks. After that she had only visited once or twice and only to pick Sergei up.

The lady had explained that Sergei had found a bargain late availability holiday and had asked her to pick up a few things. She also paid an advance on the rent. As Mrs Jones had a few friends round for her regular bridge evening, she had left her and her two companions to pack Mr Plutov’s essentials.

When asked to describe the lady, Mrs Ford paused, and stared at Smithy as if he had just asked her a complex philosophy question. She started a response several times, before responding that she was young-ish, smartly dressed and wore an exceptional costume jewellery broach.  The description of the two men wasn’t much better. According to Mrs Ford, one was big, muscled and wore a lime green shell suit. The other was tall-ish, thin-ish and wore a frock coat.

  “Was there anything else about them you remember?” Jones was delving under the neatly folded and tightly packed clothes in the chest of drawers and didn’t look up.

“Not really.” Mrs Ford shook her head slowly.

“Well, it looks like they didn’t take any of his clothes.” Jones moved over to examine the desk.

Meanwhile, Smithy moved on to question Mrs Ford about Sergei.

While the words flowed freely from Mrs Ford, information was scarce with facts being sandwiched between long anecdotes involving her. While Smithy wrote everything down, Jones filtered out the nuggets as best he could. Sergei had moved in about three years before. Mrs Ford knew he was a student, but didn’t know where or what he was studying.  After about a year, Sergei got a job, but didn’t move out. Mrs Ford thought he might have changed jobs a few months ago because he had started turning left rather than right at the garden gate when he left in the morning.

The typical day for Sergei involved rising early, going for a long run before showering, breakfasting and leaving for work about 8 am. He always ate out and would return around seven thirty. Normally he would go for another run before going to his room.  Visitors were rare. He didn’t socialise with Mrs Ford. Most weekends he went away somewhere, even when he was home, he didn’t socialise much.

“It looks like they took virtually everything. Didn’t you think it odd they took so much?” Jones looked at Mrs Ford.

Mrs Ford gave a shrug. “I wasn’t really paying much attention; I was playing bridge you see.”

“They even took his computer.” Jones muttered.

“Oh no, dear.” Mrs Jones looked at him. “Mr Plutov took that with him when he went out on Friday evening. That was the last time I saw him.”

The only things that remained on the bookshelf were about a dozen books, all novels in Russian. Jones poked about before leaning in closer. He pulled one book from the shelf and let it fall open. At the back of the book was a folded sheet of paper. Producing an evidence bag from his pocket, Jones carefully unfolded it and slipped it into the bag.

It was a sheet of University College London notepaper with ‘Prof. Ibsen’ written on it with a phone number.


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