Tomcat Tompkins – 90

“Unless, someone enters this place, puts the papers on the table, phones the police, knowing they’d be round here like a shot. But who would know I was coming here, at this time? Who did I tell?” A vexed Tompkins sat down on the captain’s chair by the table. He put his hands together and tried to remember whom he’d told.

“Can I help you with anything, sir?” asked Dexter.

“Yes, I am not the sort who carries a laptop computer around with them, so do you have five A3 pieces of paper, a pencil, and an eraser I can borrow, please?”

“I will see what I can do, sir. Will you need different coloured crayons instead of a pencil or as well as a pencil?”

Tompkins smiled at the suggestion – “So, Dexter, you have suspicions the people who contributed to the demise of Mr. Spinky need a crayon of their own?”

Dexter smiled and said nothing. He had soon brought back Tompkins’s items including a large pack of crayons and three pencils of varying hardnesses. He cleared a place on the large table and set the pieces down.

“Excellent, Dexter, now I can show off my terrible draughtsman skills,” said Tompkins. He placed the papers side by side and wrote “Us”, “Them”, and “?” on the top of three of them. He wrote down the names of his pals but crossed out many of them from the “Us” paper and added them to the “?” paper. Everyone had to prove themselves in his mind. He placed Dr. Black, Rev Green, and Mr. Steeple on the “Them” paper, but with a question mark after their names.

As he continued to jot down names, Tompkins understood the enemies he’d perceived were closer to home than he’d imagined. They were not East Europeans, but members of his own gang. He wondered whether someone was telling the police as they were getting to become a nuisance. He resolved to persuade Filly to stop her trips to the continent for a fortnight, until he’d found out more about the police informant.

After 20 minutes Dexter brought Tompkins a tisane, which he appreciated as he was having trouble reconciling which people were on his side and whether he could trust anyone.

“You know, it’s difficult to know whom to trust, Dexter,” said Tompkins. “Perhaps you could help me – did Mr. Mills have any opinions he shared with you regarding these people on my pieces of paper. You might point them out to me as people of interest in my investigations, as the police might say.”

“Well, Mr. Tompkins,” replied Dexter, placing his hands pointedly behind his back, “Mr. Mills always suspected that the lady you’ve written in red on the paper marked with a question mark is not all she says she is and he also thought there were question marks about the three people you have indicated next to the young lady. Mr. Mills always came back worse for wear after going out on the town with those gentlemen and on the following day he often wondered what he’d said to them, as he had a loose tongue on such occasions.”

“Did he now,” said Tompkins, “well now we’re getting somewhere I think. Did he ever feel the same way if he’d been carousing with other people on these papers?”

Dexter shook his head straightaway – “No, sir, he didn’t. It was noticeably different. He sometimes felt he might have let the side down but was too embarrassed to say anything to anyone.”

“Yet, you, trusty Dexter, knew what was happening, but said nothing, because it would have been ungallant and go against all your training and discretion.”

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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