The Information

“I was looking the other way. I didn’t see anything,” he said.

“You missed the whole incident?” The constable was growing impatient.

“Yep.”

“How?”

“How do you mean ‘How?’”

“What does that mean?”

“It means I don’t know what you mean. What do you mean?” The man was wearing a worn blue flannelette shirt and he slowly scratched his chest as he spoke. It made a noise, the scratching, soft and anything but pleasant.

The officer instinctively reacted against this. He noted the sweat patches on this witness’s shirt – for he was a witness, whether he liked it or not. He took off his sunglasses and neatly inserted a wing into the top pocket of his crisply ironed shirt.

“Let’s start again,” the lawman said.

“OK.”

“How long have you been standing here?”

“Oh, quite a long time. My mate was supposed to pick me up. He’s normally here before now.”

“You were waiting for your friend?”

“Yep. I go to work with him, in the car.”

“Right. You wait for him here?”

“Correct. He picks me up.”

“How long have you had this arrangement?”

“Oh, a few weeks. I got barred from driving. Unpaid parking tickets and speeding fines and stuff. Nothing serious.”

“OK. So what does ‘looking the other way’ mean? Tell me about today, once you got here.”

The questioned man withdrew a dirty rag of a handkerchief from his pocket and loudly blew his nose. He stuffed the item back into his jeans pocket.

“Nothing really happened, but …”

“Just tell me what you remember.”

“… I was going to say, I’ll tell you what I remember. Keep your hair on, mate. I’ll help you as best I can.”

“Good.” The officer  was resigned now, not frustrated. He removed his sunglasses from the top pocket of his shirt and put them back on. Glare was strong in the late afternoons this time of year.

“I wait here. Ordinarily I look along the main road here, both ways, as my mate doesn’t always come from the same direction. Suddenly an out of control ice cream truck comes out of this side street and narrowly avoids hitting a Subaru with a pair of nuns in it on the main road. Next thing I know a conga line of men dressed as nurses dances down the footpath on the opposite side of the main road playing drums and singing loudly, and a young couple come up to me holding a Pomeranian dog, I know it was a Pomeranian because my nanna had one, and they ask if I live around here and is Rocky – the dog’s name – mine or does he belong to someone I know.”

“Mmm. Is that it?”

“Yep, that’s it officer. I don’t know anything about the robbery you mentioned. I couldn’t hear the removal van pull up in all of the commotion. And I didn’t see anything as I was distracted. I don’t know how they could have stolen those priceless artworks …”

“I never said anything about artworks.”

“Damn!”

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Published in: on April 18, 2011 at 8:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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