This is the 96th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
Nutmegged, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 8th March 2013
Word count: 996
“Want anything from the shops?” Margaret asked Julian.
Julian looked up from the football scores, it was the last day of the season and he needed good results to stuff his boss in the fantasy league. “I’m okay, thanks though. I’ll make it up to you alter.”
“I know you will,” Margaret said with a smile, “See you soon.”
Julian went back to the football.
Several hours later there was a bang on the door. Julian got up and opened it, two police officers were stood there, and behind them were a dozen others.
“Yes?” Julian said nervously, having a bad feeling.
“Mister Julian Newton?” the biggest of the police officers asked.
“Yes, what’s this about?” Julian asked.
“May we come in?” it wasn’t really a question, they were already stepping forward, “We have a warrant to search this property.”
Julian was pulled outside, and moved out of the way of the entrance as a squadron of police descended on his small house.
“What’s going?” Julian asked out loud.
“Mister Newton?” a plain clothed officer asked.
“Can you tell me what this is all about?” Julian asked turning to the first person to be interested in what he had to say in some time.
“We’re just following procedure. I have a few questions, if you don’t mind,” the officer said, it wasn’t a request though.
“Sure, okay…” he left the question implied.
“DCI Carter,” the policemen said, “Where were you between the hours of two o’clock and and four o’clock, Mister Newton?”
“I was here, watching the football scores. It’s the last day of the season,” Julian said warily. “Should I get a solicitor?”
“Why? You’re not under arrest at this stage,” the policemen said dismissively, “What was the score at half time in the ManU game?”
“One nil,” Julian said.
“And the Chelsea score?”
“One all,” Julian said, “I can assure you I was here officer.”
“My fiance was with me until about one,” Julian said, “But yeah alone after that.”
“And your fiance is?” the officer prompted.
“Margaret Sullivan,” Julian said, “She lives over on the Turnbull estate. What’s this about?”
The officer looked thoughtfully at the young man, “At about half past two someone broke into your offices. They stole a lot of computer equipment.”
“Really? Shit, that’s awful. We have a lot of vital projects on the go at the moment,” Julian said, “What’s this got to do with me?”
“Your keypass was used to gain entry, and a man matching your description was seen in the security footage,” the officer said, “Care to explain how that could be?”
“I don’t know, my pass is in my wallet,” Julian patted his back pockets, “It’s probably in my jacket, do you mind if I get it?”
Julian walked into the house, stepping around the policemen hard at work ripping apart his home. He cringed at the thought of what they were doing, “Here it is,” Julian said grabbing his coat, he pulled out his wallet, and opened it up.
“All the cards and cash are gone,” he said handing it over to the police officer.
“Uhuh,” the policemen said.
“Listen, if I’d for some bizarre reason decided to rob the place I worked. Do you really think I’d use my own card? I can create a new one in the office for anyone that works there. There’s no reason for me to be so stupid,” Julian said angrily, “And if I was getting rid of the evidence, why would I get rid of my credit and debit cards and cash too? I’ve been robbed somehow.”
“When did you last see your wallet full?” the police man asked, beginning to wonder if they had the right man after all.
“Last night, I ordered pizza for me and my fiance, from Pizza de Hutt,” Julian answered.
“So since then, someone has come in here, and when you weren’t looking took the contents of your wallet, gone back to your offices, broken in, stole thousands of pounds worth of computer equipment and special projects, trashed the place and then driven away?”
“I can’t drive,” Julian said hopefully.
“We don’t believe they were on their own. When is it likely that someone broke in and took your wallet?”
“Well I was up early, as was my fiance. She left about one, and I’ve been in here since before that pretty much until you arrived,” Julian said.
“What street name and number does this,” the officer looked at his notebook, “Margaret, live on?”
“Eighty seven Turnbull Drive,” Julian said.
The police officer turned away and spoke into his radio. He turned back to Julian after a few minutes, “Okay let’s go back outside, keep out of the way.”
The radio buzzed, nearly as soon as they stepped outside, the officer turned away again to listen.
“Mister Newton,” the officer said, “That property is empty. There’s not even any furniture in it.”
Julian stood still and silent, in shock, it took him a few moments to find some words, “I was there last week,” he said.
“Well the good news is, it looks like you’re free to go Mister Newton,” the policeman said. “Bad news, I don’t think your fiance is coming back, I think she used you to rob your employer.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” Julian said, “We were just starting to plan the wedding. Why would she… ,” he was at a loss. In the back of his mind, he couldn’t help noting that he had often considered her out of his league, but he’d convinced himself they were love. Now all his hopes and dreams came crashing down. As did his wardrobe from the sound of the crash upstairs.
“I’ll get these guys out of here,” the policemen said, sheepishly.
Julian sank to the ground, and stayed there until the police had finished and left. Then he got up, went back inside and started packing his things. There was no way he could stay round here after this.