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The Case of Double
It was a cold, wet morning. The sheets of rain were beating on Jack's windowpane. He was sitting in his favorite blue chair, as usual, and, though against his norm, sipping tea rather than coffee. His cat lay in his lap, and his sleepy dog in its own bed nearby. Jack was so engrossed in a fascinating article on equine behavior, he jumped and yelled out in alarm when the phone rang right next to him. The cat darted from his lap. Still a little dazed, and somewhat annoyed he let out a sigh of calm before answering.
It was Inspector Burrow. He had a case to crack.
Apparently, a very large sum of money had been stolen from the safe of a retired major, who lived in a large mansion eight or nine kilometers from town.
“I'll be there in half an hour.”
At the place, Jack was able to observe a rather fine shrubbery. His immediate impulse was to stay and admire them. But, at the door, a constable summoned him.
Once inside, Jack was led to a large room, in a corner of which stood a great safe, the door ajar, and a key laying on the floor nearby. Smudged with grease, it had apparently been considered impossible to get an accurate fingerprint. Jack picked up the key with a pair of small tongues, for inspecting similar such items. “Motor oil.”
“Yes, we've discovered that,” the inspector said with a slight sting. Jack gave him an annoyed glance. “What other evidence is there?” he inquired.
“That's it.” Jack closed his eyes. He finished his scrutiny of the smudged key, before inspecting the rest of the room.
“Hmm... well, I don't see any other abnormalties. Take me to each person present on the night of the theft, if you please, inspector.”
A Spark of Caution
The questioning was at first unfruitful. Most of the people were upset at the whole affair, and for some to say that would be to say the least. Thus, not too many of them were very cooperative. But, Jack was able to gain some helpful information upon questioning the major and his son. They were questioned separately, but what the two said worked together for Jack. Or, so one might think.
“Well, sir, the most likely suspect I can name,” began the major, “although I don't like saying it, is my son James. You see... well, we've not really been on the most intimate terms, ever since... well, ever since I refused to give him his full inheritance, which, indeed, he requested rather prematurely; ehm... I'm... not yet dead, of course, thus making it such...” Jack causally wiped his hand over his mouth to conceal a smirk. “Yes...” the sergeant was still stuttering. On questioning the major's son, “What were you doing the evening before the theft, Mr. James?” Jack inquired. Yes, although a very dull and tasteless question, it was indeed necessary.
“Ehh, working on one of my cars. That's a hobby of mine, you see.”
“Ah. And, what kind of work were you doing, on the car, pray?”
“Engine work.” He seemed pretty casual... too casual... And it all fit too perfectly. The son grows angry at his father for not giving him a no doubt large sum of money, the son is doing engine work the evening before the robbery of a very large sum of money from the father, and the key used to unlock the safe was smudged with motor oil. Yet, he father and the son, had both told Jack exactly what he would've needed to know, in order to make him think that the son had indeed stolen the money. They had said little else. Thus, Jack concluded, James was most probably not the thief.
But after having sat long hours in one of the major's sitting rooms, pondering the case, something sparked a vague sense of caution in Jack's mind. It was a definite long-shot, but...
A Dreadful Occurrence
One night, Jack was awakened by some muffled sounds of someone breaking into the apartment. He was a rather light sleeper. Quickly and silently, he grabbed his GLOCK out of its bedside holster, and crept over behind the door. The door opened and closed. The moonlight shone in the room just a tiny bit, but enough for Jack to distinguish the large frame of a man before him, heading for the bed. Cocking his pistol (it had a slide to cock it), and putting it to the man's head, he declared, “Drop the gun and get against the wa-” BOOM. The butt of the man's rifle hit him hard to the gut, and he doubled over. His attacker drew back for another blow, but, pivoting on his side, on the floor, Jack brought his foot round into behind the man's knee. The man, bent backward, giving Jack the opportunity to whip his hand out in a knife into the man's gut, putting him into an awkward position. Jack was still groaning from the blow his own gut had taken. But he mustered the strength to get to his feet and shove his shoulder into the man's bulk, forcing him against the wall. The two were on the floor next, wrestling away, but Jack knew he was zilch to wrestle this hulk. As soon as he had the chance, he sprung up, and grabbed the man's gun he'd dropped. His opponent was still partially prone, and Jack brought the butt of the rifle up and left, across the man's face, knocking him unconscious. He immediately phoned the inspector, and handcuffed his would-be assailant. The man was taken to the local jail to await trial, but Jack knew it wasn't the end of it.
Evidence in the Eminence
At about 10:10 am, after mid-morning tea, the major and Jack went for a stroll round the garden, at the prodding of the former.
“I say, what a remarkably fresh and exhilarating morning,” Jack remarked.
“Yes... yes, indeed. Most agreeable.”
The two rounded a corner around behind a grove of beech trees. There were a few large birds overhead, and Jack and the major looked up to observe them, and begun talking about them. But Jack's part of the conversation was rudely curtailed when a large, course hand clamped over his mouth. That and the major still talking were the last things Jack remembered.
He woke up in a dusty, bare room, gagged, hands bound behind his back. In a far corner, three men were talking, but quickly stopped once they noticed Jack was awake. One rather large fellow walked over, a cruel, and vaguely familiar smile upon his face. Jack did his best, and succeeded quite well in hiding his surprise at the recognition of the man, as well as one other. Both were criminals he had helped to be imprisoned. The third, the major.
“How's it feel, Mason? Huh? How's it feel, to be tied up and left in a corner?! Don't think you're such a big-shot now, do ya? Huh? Huh?!” The big man near him wopped Jack over the ear, slamming his head against the wall. He didn't really appreciate it. The man went off chuckling to himself.
Jack was permitted to walk in the room once a day, so he at least wasn't sitting in a corner
all the time, not any getting exercise. By snatching glances through the cracks between the boards on the windows, Jack was able to ascertain that he was in a rather run-down looking urban neighborhood. It appeared to be abandoned, save for him and his captors.
The blow that had sent Jack unconscious had left a fairly bad wound that took several days to stop hurting so badly. It was then that he could think clearly enough to try and devise a plan of escape. Such an endeavor would be a rather difficult one, he knew. He would have to catch them careless.
Day after day, hour after hour, Jack waited for his signal. He was generally a man of great patience, but this was terrible. Good thing, he thought to himself, there wasn't a clock in the room to tick away the seconds.
But, finally, his patience paid off. “We need to do some work undercover, Mitch,” said the largest of the three. “You stay here and watch Mason.”
“Fine,” replied Mitch. “But when'll you be back?”
Jack's hands were tied in front of him, so as to allow him to help himself in eating. His feet, however, were tied together when he wasn't walking about. (When he was walking around, his hands were tied behind his back.) Several minutes after the other two had left, Jack piped up, “Hey, Mitch. You're gonna let me walk, right?” This didn't really seem to be to the fellow's liking, but, grumbling, he came over and commenced in untying Jack's hands, in order to tie them behind his back. In the transition, though, Jack made his move. For just one second, Mitch had left one of Jack's arms unoccupied, while, pulling the other behind him. Jack quickly brought that free arm, his right, swinging around, smack into Mitch's gut, which produced a grunt from the assailed. Simultaneously Jack snatched the man's knife from his belt sheath and delivered another powerful blow, now to Mitch's face. He now quickly sliced his feet bonds, but, he came to a rather unpleasant realization. This Mitch was half a man more than Jack. He was on his feet again in an instant. Jack hurriedly got out of the corner, just missing a deadly shoulder which instead rammed the wall.
“Ahw!” the man grunted.
Jack, in defense stance, slowly backed the other way. They began to circle, each locked into a stare at the other. Finally, Mitch lost his patience and rushed the other. This man, charging, was like a charging bull. Jack had no doubt if he had the chance this Mitch could and would go right through the wall. Well, Jack didn't really feel too much like being that wall. He dodged hitting his thigh on the table. Having missed Jack, Mitch had landed on the table, crushing it. Amidst this heap, he wasn't too difficult in the taking. Coming up from behind, Jack doubled his fists, raised his elbow, and brought it down upon the other, between the shoulders, with such force it sent him to the edge of consciousness. Another such blow was all it took to totally black out Jack's opponent. With fair difficulty, Jack hauled Mitch from the rubble of the table and bound his hand and legs, and gagged him.
The Case Resolved
Quickly and quietly exiting, making sure to dispose of the knife in a dumpster, Jack looked around, and could see the big clock tower of the town in the near sky. He made his way to the city, directly going to the police office. He told the sergeant there to phone the inspector right away, and have him pick Jack up at his apartment with several men, armed for combat and arrest.
Jack caught a cab and, once home, geared up. He dawned his leg holster, holding his GLOCK pistol, strapped his knife/flashlight rig to his leg, and made ready his AR-15. Once the inspector arrived with his men, Jack told him the location and briefly informed him of the situation on the way.
It was nearing dusk. Jack and over half the inspector's men went into the building in which he had been held captive. The man he'd left there was as he'd left him, only conscious. They ensured he wouldn't make enough noise to warn the others. The Inspector and his men were positioned outside, and Jack would radio them to come when they had the fugitives.
It took around two hours for the two men to arrive. They had apparently done some draining work, so they were tired and careless. They mozied through the door, and Jack let one light a lamp for them, before he and his men immediately after jumped them. Of course neither of them expected it, and they let out a yell. Four of the police there held the two men pinned to the ground, and Jack radioed the inspector.
The whole affair was settled in the local courthouse, with the major, his son, Mitch, his large friend, and the large fellow who had broken into Jack's apartment on the floor. The major and his son were convicted of working with and helping fugitives, and the three other criminal's prior sentences were doubled. Jack was happy and content with the results, and Inspector Burrow got a raise.
Jack sat once again in his blue cushy armchair, with coffee, and cat and dog nearby, glancing over the daily paper. He saw a headline: “Inspector Burrow and Jack Mason Strike Again!” He grinned.
Morris Plains, New Jersey
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