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Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

Part Fourteen

Turning from the cellar door, Mr McQueen was temporarily blinded by two flashlights shining through the shop window. “Don’t be a fool, son, put the gun down and come out quietly”. Shocked, Mr McQueen replied, “I’m not going back in that cellar, if you’ve come back to kill me, then you’d better think twice”.  “This is the Police, son, don’t do anything stupid, put the gun down and step outside, there’s a good lad”.  The police officers lowered their torches and now he could see their uniforms. The second officer spoke. “Come on, son, don’t make it worse for yourself, don’t force us to use our whistles”.  Mr McQueen recognised his voice and Welsh accent, it was Henry Blott. Henry was a tall, thick- set, ex-military policeman, fine baritone voice, principal lead in the Hallifield Gilbert and Sullivan Society, of which Mr McQueen was the current assistant musical director.  Henry’s performance as the Judge in Trial by Jury had garnered universal plaudits from local theater goers. In his review, Philbert Custance, theater critic for the Hallifield Harbinger, had singled out Henry for especial praise, stating that the town of Hallifield surely had within its midst a rival to the late great Enrico Caruso. “Henry, It’s me, Colin McQueen”. “Oh no”, Henry replied. “Not you, Colin, how could you and with rehearsals for The Gondoliers only just started?”

Mr McQueen, gun in hand, opened the shop door and stepped into the street. The two policemen had armed themselves with their truncheons and also had their police issue Acme Thunderer whistles in-hand ready to blow for additional assistance.

“it’s not what you think, I was kidnapped, there’s a monk downstairs in the cellar, he slipped on some bottles, trod on a rake, broke his nose… again, then he punched a shovel, broke his ankle, well, he didn’t break his ankle, I broke his ankle and err, oh yes, he’s been shot in the backside and there’s another monk unconscious laid across him. I’ve tied them up, but we need to get back to the school or else the other monks might get away and there’s a small boy with a strong punch who I caught smoking, which is completely against school rules”.  The two officers, bemused by this gibberish outpouring, took the opportunity to grab hold of Colin’s arms and shook the gun from his hands.  “You haven’t been drinking have you, son?” “Well, I did have a couple of single malts earlier this evening but after all of this malarkey I’m feeling quite sober and if you’d be kind enough to remove your truncheon from my throat and allow me to breathe properly, then I’ll give you a proper explanation”. By now, the lights had gone on in the post office next door and our trio were soon joined on the pavement by the formidable figure of Miss Hepzibah Clench, postmistress. “What’s all this noise about? Don’t you realise that I’m trying to get my beauty sleep!”  The three men simultaneously turned their heads to look at Miss Clench, who stood before them in her candlewick dressing gown, hair in curlers, thick rimmed spectacles and her lips pursed so tightly, that it immediately gave the impression that part of her bedtime routine included sucking on a raw lemon.

“I thought I heard something going on earlier” she said. “All sorts of banging and shouting, mind, there’s always something going on in that shop day and night. If I press my ear to a glass against the wall, I can often hear muffled voices in the early hours, lots of coming and going! Not that I make it my business to pry into other people’s affairs. Anyway, what’s going on?”

Colin gave a fuller and more coherent account of the night’s events and then took the officers into the shop and unlocked the cellar door. By now, the second monk had managed to get to his feet, probably believing that it was his associates returning to release him and his partner. He was halfway up the cellar stairs when the door opened to reveal the police officers. With his hands still tied behind his back, he retreated from the constables. Thinking that there might be another escape route, he descended the stairs, and in a scene worthy of a Charlie Chaplin film, stepped on one of the bottles that Colin had previously positioned as a trap. Losing his footing, he tripped backwards placing his foot centrally on the bullet filled buttock of the recumbent monk.

The police officers were treated to a stream of verbal expletives not normally heard in polite company. Constable Blott had just been about to say that anything that these monks had to say, would be taken down and used as evidence, however, as a regular church goer, he wasn’t even going to soil his issue note pad and pencil with that sort of filth. Miss Clench took it upon herself to telephone for an ambulance and also the main police station in order to appraise them of the situation. Within ten minutes, Sgt Grout had arrived with reinforcements. He quickly took charge leaving one officer behind to guard the prisoners and then commandeered the felons’ car. Mr McQueen took the driving seat, Sgt Grout took the front passenger seat, Constables Blott and Perkins and the now, fully dressed Miss Clench (with her half house brick filled handbag over her arm), seated themselves in the rear. It wasn’t until they were two thirds of the way to the school that Sgt Grout, who, at work, was more used to the stronger aromas of manly sweat and carbolic soap, got a good strong whiff of Lily of the Valley scent. On turning round to see where that smell was coming from, he noticed Miss Clench sitting between Perkins and Blott. “What the!” He exclaimed. “Well, we’re too close to the school now, but when we get there, Miss Clench, you’ll need to stay in the car, this is police work and we can’t risk you getting injured or assaulted by a bunch of hooded desperados”. “Of course, Sgt”, replied Miss Clench who waited until the Sgt had turned his head to face forward, before giving a wry smile. Hepzibah Clench had at least one secret passion and that was her twice weekly trips to the Hallifield Lyceum Picture Palace to watch the latest silent crime and drama films. She surreptitiously squeezed her handbag and gave another wry smile as she noted the reassuring feel of the half house brick.


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

8 thoughts on “Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

  1. Wow! The revelation that our hero, Mr. McQueen’s name was Colin was quite a shock to the system but he appears to be on the side of the good guys. Hopefully, all will go well with him. And the shoe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mis Clench; How formidable would she be if she wasn’t half a brick short of a load. She sounds a real brick though.
    Do I detect a few real names slowly creeping into the plot? I’m gaining a suspicion this may be the case, judging by the comments. I’ll have to mull it over…

    Liked by 1 person

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