A crime has occurred in the Eighth County Bank of Chesterville and it's up to Detectives Oldetower and MacDoozle to crack the case. But will any of the witnesses be of any use to them?
Detective Brent Oldetower brought his police cruiser to a squealing, screeching, steaming stop, the front bumper closely examining the shins of the beat cop standing guard at the back door of the Eighth County Bank of Chesterville. The cop had kept his ground at the car’s zealous approach and, to his credit, was still wearing unsoiled pants.
“Was that really necessary?” Jason MacDoozle, Oldetower’s partner for all of five hours, asked from the passenger seat.
“If you can’t count on a man to not back down from an oncoming car,” Oldetower replied as he hauled his doughy frame out into the warm afternoon air, “you can’t count on him to take a bullet for ya either. Ain’t that right, Boozer?”
“Quite right, detective,” the beat cop replied in a surprising, to MacDoozle at least, British accent. “Quite right indeed.”
“Boozie, meet MacDoozie,” Oldetower said with a jerk of his head in his slim and trim partner’s direction. “He’s fresh out of the academy, so speak real slow and don’t use too many big words.”
“Er, yeah. Cheerio?” the younger man responded with a pained expression that formed wrinkles around his eyes and across his forehead. This aged him enough to look at least twenty-two.
“Get inside before you embarrass yourself any further,” Oldetower said with a shake of his head that sent his jowls to jiggling. Officer Bouziere opened the door for the two detectives and they stepped through into a long, starkly lit hallway that smelled faintly of elderberries.
“So here’s the deal, rookie,” the older man began as he pulled, with some difficulty, his tattered grey notepad from a too-small shirt pocket. “We’re going to need a witness statement from everybody in the bank and seeing as this went down during lunch hour, there’s going to be plenty of those to go around.”
“Got it,” MacDoozle said as he produced a notepad from his back pocket with ease, the black cover so shiny he could see his reflection in it. “Er, what exactly did go down here?”
“That’s what we’re here to find out, son. We chat with the fine citizens who were unlucky enough to be here during this incident and we piece it all together and then we go bust some lowlife scum.” Oldetower paused briefly to catch his breath and swipe at the sweat that was collecting on his ample forehead. “So take good notes and give me a holler when you find somebody who got a good look at the perps.”
“Right, right. Er, can’t we just check the videotape? Eyewitnesses have been proven, over and over, to be highly unreliable. One of my instructors told us about this one case -”
“Listen kid,” Oldetower snapped, “I don’t care what they’re teaching at the academy these days and none of it matters anyway. What’s relevant is experience and I’ve got all of that in this misguided partnership, alright? Besides, this branch doesn’t have any video cameras.”
Before MacDoozle could convey his shock at this revelation the two men emerged into the main room of the bank. All of the customers had been lined up along the teller windows and were eyeing the new arrivals with a mix of scepticism and impatience. All of them except the elderly man in the wheelchair who was soundly asleep.
“Damn it all to hell,” the older detective muttered as he checked his watch after seeing the size of the crowd. “Alright sunshine, we gotta do this quick. My loving wife is doing up some nice t-bone steaks tonight and I do not intend to be late for that. So you and me need to get… forty statements before quitting time. Pick one and lets get started.”
The younger man’s mouth worked silently as his eyes travelled down the row of waiting witnesses. “Forty, sir? You’re not counting the two toddlers in the strollers, are you?”
“They obviously didn’t teach you about Johnny “Finger Paint” Jones in that fancy schmancy school of yours, huh? Key witness in the Bakerton robbery five years back? Made a perfect sketch of the perpetrator, using three tubes of edible paint. Eight months old. Don’t you ever discount a witness on sight, rookie.”
“Er, yes sir. Let’s uh… let’s get started then, shall we?”