Satire – Tomcat Tompkins – 78

The camera panned around to show an empty chair and a chessboard. Someone had made two moves, with both king’s pawns advancing two spaces forwards, so they occupied the squares E4 and E5, facing each other.

        “It’s not good news,” said the voice over the speakers, “Dapper Dan is no longer with us. He’s been asphyxiated.”

        Daisy held her stomach and ran out of the room.

        “That’s three down, first Stalky, then Spinky, and now the Dapper One, Dapper Dan. All finished off in the same manner,” said Tompkins.

        “Commiserations, old son,” said ‘Black Watch’, “but I think you might wonder whether all those three were on the same side, on our side. I think Dapper was, but the other two I am not so sure about. Anyway, I will leave this place now – I’ll phone the police from Tarbert and tell them where to find this sorry scene, just before I get on the ferry. I suspect that Scotland Yard will soon get wind of this.”

        “I suspect you’re right and they will be straight round to my place, Ingram and his accomplice, his sidekick, his Sancho Panza, Sergeant Evans. Oh, Mr. Tompkins, another one of your friends has been asphyxiated. This one was found sitting on a chair in Scotland in front of a chessboard. What is your reaction to this news?”

        “It’s a real shock,” said Toby, “I suspect ‘Black Watch’ is right.”

        “Yes, thanks, anyway I’ll sign off,” said ‘Black Watch’, “I’ll see you soon and if you need anything else, you know how to contact me. Be seeing you. Chin up, Tomcat.”

        The screen went blank. Tompkins smiled.

        “He’ll be getting the ferry in about 90 minutes, so the police in the Hebrides will know right away and Scotland Yard will know about 5 minutes after that,” said Webster Smythe.

        “Right, whilst Daisy’s out of the room, please contact Miss Scarlett and ask her to come here straightaway. I would like to know how much she knows about Spinky and Dapper Dan and then we should let her loose on our friend Dimitri in the guest room. She can interrogate him in her own special way and see if he will tell her anything. If anyone can get him to talk to us in a sensible manner, it’s her.”

        “Consider her summoned,” said Cuthbert picking up the nearest phone.

        “Do you think she had a hand in all three deaths?” asked Toby.

        “She doesn’t have a hand in any deaths, it’s other parts of her you have to watch out for,” said Tompkins too loudly, as Daisy was entering the room. She retired again in a hurry.

        “Oh, me and my big mouth,” said Tompkins, “damn I am such a buffoon sometimes.”

        “Miss Scarlett will be here presently,” said Cuthbert, “she was at home.”

        “So,” said Webster, “could she be responsible for the deaths of both Spinky and Dapper Dan?”

        “It’s possible, perform the deed here, and then take the bodies away, she doesn’t have to go down to Sussex or up to Scotland,” replied Toby.

        Tompkins looked around at the light-pink walls of the Games room, a colour that engendered happiness in lab rats according to the studies he’d read, although giving them food and warmth in any colour of room would also make them happy. By contrast, Tompkins felt glum, not so much because he’d lost three people he’d known well, but more because he couldn’t be sure which of them had been on his side the entire time. All of them? None of them? He hoped Miss Scarlett could provide something of interest that would help his conscience – was there something he’d missed?

        “I think we have to find out what Dimitri knows about us,” said Daisy coming back into the room sheepishly.

        “That’s the next step,” said Webster, “we have to find out whom he represents.”

        “Should I watch the interrogation?” asked Daisy.

        “Why do you want to do that, Daisy?” asked Tompkins.

Published by Julian Worker

Julian was born in Leicester, attended school in Yorkshire, and university in Liverpool. He has been to 94 countries and territories and intends to make the 100 when travel is easier. He writes travel books, murder / mysteries and absurd fiction. His sense of humour is distilled from The Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. His latest book is about a Buddhist cat who tries to help his squirrel friend fly further from a children's slide.

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