Chapter Three

No Matter What

Chapter 3. 

It’s all well and good to know how to pick a lock or deactivate a security system but it’s another thing all together to actually do it. The big problems facing Paul was which houses to burgle as well as lots of details like, is there a dog, or cameras and of course when is the house unattended.

Paul thought about this for a while. May be he could keep watch from a car or van in the street to try and pick up on a pattern but he dismissed this as a car or van parked in a quiet suburban street would be noticed in this neighbourhood. The rich have a bit of a thing about their privacy and security. He then came up with the idea of impersonating a Police officer so he purchased a Police uniform from a theatrical supplier as well a fake beard. As a Police officer he could visit houses on the pretext of warning the occupants about a number of burglaries in the neighbourhood and as there have been burglaries in the local area recently the story would ring true. He could give advice on household security and hand out leaflets. So he down loaded some Police security advice from the internet and printed them out but the next problem was a car.

The Ford Falcon Paul just purchased would do the job, it was white which made it half way there but it would need some work. He took a picture of a Police car he found parked in the street, it was a general duties Police car not a highway patrol car and therefore was mostly white with some blue stripping. He made some stickers from sign writers vinyl and stuck them to magnetic backed vinyl which could be placed on the car in a few minutes and when attached would make it look like a Police car, from a distance. From a distance would be all he would need. By doing this he reduced the risk of being caught while driving to do the job. To finish it off he added some extra aerials and appropriate set of wheels.

It was time to commit or abandon, he decided to commit and would start the ball rolling the next day. The next morning he was having his breakfast when there was a knock at the door, he answered it to find it was the Police, the lovely face of Detective Sergent Elisabeth Bennet but with an older officer in tow. Elisabeth introduced her colleague as Detective Constable George Blake, but before she had a chance to say any more Paul invited them in. George was an older officer and seemed more relaxed with the world, like he had been around the block a few times.

“I’m just having breakfast. Would you like to join me?” Asked Paul. He then added, “Come on. You know you want to, this is the second time you have come to visit at breakfast time and that can’t be by mistake.”

“Thanks. That would be nice,” replied George. But Elisabeth looked at him with disapproval so he changed his mind and said. “May be not I’m trying to loose weight.” While patting his beer belly.

“What can I do for you today Lizzy? I can call you Lizzy?” Asked Paul 

Elisabeth replied, “I would prefer you called me Detective, sir. Where were you last night?”

Paul interrupted her and said in a somewhat cheeky way. “No you don’t, Detective is just a title and even though I have no doubt your very good at it, Lizzy is more you. Don’t you think George?”

George grinded momentarily but said nothing.

“Where were you last night and early this morning sir?” Said Elisabeth in a forceful manner but somewhat distracted as Colin was rubbing up against her leg.

“Alas I was here”, he said, “and I’m guessing that there has been another burglary?”

“Can anyone confirm that?” said Elisabeth.

Paul replied by singing “all by myself,”  and then added. “You know if you had accepted my invitation to dinner I would of have had a cast iron alibi.”

“Only for the first part of the evening,” replied Elisabeth.

“Or, I don’t know, we might have got on very well,” said Paul.

Lizzy’s phone rang and she answered it. It was her boss telling her that someone has been arrested for the burglaries and to return to the station.

Elisabeth hung up the phone and said to George, “we are needed back at the station.” She then turned to Paul and said, “thanks for you cooperation.”

As they walked out Paul said to Elisabeth. “When will I see you again? How about tonight for dinner? Come on you know you want to.”

Elisabeth said nothing but stopped in the door way, turned and waved.

Paul put away his breakfast and did the washing up before getting ready for the day. The first day of his quest, a quest that could end in disaster. He drove to the garage he liked to call ‘the control centre’. Everything was all ready to go, the car, the Police decals, stripping etc, as well as the Police uniform and fake beard. There was no going back now. He got into the car and headed towards his targets, there was a nature reserve close by which, even though it was set up as a picnic spot, no one ever seemed to go there, so it afforded him the opportunity to change into his Police outfit and make the car look like a Police car. 

Now that he looked the part he drove the short distance to where his life of crime would start. It was a dead end street with about fifteen houses, all potential targets. He stopped at the first house and walked to the front door, he had a clip board and some pamphlets on home security. He caught his reflection in the houses window and thought to himself ‘if looks count for anything I should be alright.’ He knocked on the door and waited. When the door opened, he was a bit surprised (but with hind sight he shouldn’t have been) as the door was answered by someone who looked like they were in the middle of cleaning the bath room, which they were. Paul asked if she was the property owner and she replied. “No, I’m the house keeper.”

As he worked his way down the road he found all the people he had contact with were employees, house keepers, gardeners, cleaners etc either that or there was no answer to the door. It took a few hours but eventually he managed to visit all the houses and gain some very useful information. He headed back to the nature reserve and with no one around quickly changed out of his Police outfit and de-Policed the car. He was calm and collected while performing his deception but he could not get out of the area quickly enough once he got to the nature reserve. In fact he got into a bit of a panic while changing out of the Police outfit and removing the stickers from the car. All this was done in a rush and rushing leads to mistakes. He headed back to his garage by a less that direct route thinking to himself that he would have keep calm next time or he might make a mistake. He then spent hours working his way through all the information, ultimately coming up with four targets.

The next day Paul woke with a feeling of relief and regret, relief that it had finally started but regret at the fact that life would never be the same again. He had taken his first step into the dark and door behind him was closed and locked. All he could do now was move forward into the darkness, hoping everything would turn out alright. He had faith in his own abilities and would take that step.

He sent a bunch of flowers to Detective Sergeant Elisabeth Bennet at her place of work with a card which read,

          ‘Dinner, tonight, The Chicken House, 7.00 pm, see you there.


          PS. dress, informal with a ting of sexy.’

Paul sat at a table by the window which looked out over a river, at a red sky sun set. He was early, it was 6.30. He felt conflicted about whether he wanted her to show up or not. Part of him was excited at the prospect but part of him thought he was playing with fire which would lead to him getting burnt. Seven o’clock came and went so at 7.30 he called the waiter over so he could place his order. As the waiter walked towards his table he saw Elisabeth Bennet walking through the door dressed in a long red dress that was well beyond, ‘a ting of sexy.’ It fell more into ‘off the scale sexy’.

“Woof, woof,” Paul thought he thought to himself but actually said out loud, for which he got a disapproving glair from the woman at the next table.

“Hello Lizzy, you’re looking very … good,” he paused as if trying to find the right word.

“Sorry I’m late. I got tied up at work,” replied Lizzy, as she sat down.

“Now, now Lizzy. You’re not late. You timed that to perfection. You’re late enough to make me wonder if you where coming but not too late that I would leave,” said Paul.

“Can I see a menu?” She said to the waiter who gave her one and walked away. “Have you chosen yet?” she asked Paul.

“I know what I want,” Paul replied.

“I know what you want. I was asking have you chosen what you want for dinner,” she said with a slight grin.

“So who am I having dinner with, Lizzy or Detective Sergeant?” Paul asked with a tinge of uncertainty.

“You will never find one without the other,” replied Lizzy, “Can you cope with that?”

“Oh yer, I come from a long line of cope-ers, I have a degee in coping from Sydney Uni so I can cope with any thing,” said Paul with confidence.

“I think I will have the chicken,” said Lissy as she put down the menu and looking at Paul.

“Well, strangely enough, seeing that is all this place sells, I think I will have the chicken as well,” said Paul while waving at the waiter.

“Would you like something to drink?” Paul said to Lizzy.

“Just an orange juice,” replied Lizzy.

Paul placed the order with the waiter and just looked across the table at Lizzy.

“Well, Lizzy. You have me at a disadvantage. You know a lot about me but I know very little about you,” said Paul.

“What makes you think I know a lot about you?” Lizzy asked.

“You’re good at your job so you would have found out lots about me. Relatively unimportant stuff admittedly, like job, education, financial situation, hobbies, politics, age and marital status. You know more about me than the average person on their first date,” said Paul.

“I’m not sure some of those things are unimportant,” replied Lizzy.

“Your right. Martial status is important,” said Paul.

“What do you know about me?” said Lizzy.

“Well, you’re a Detective Sergeant in the Police, and that is all I know. But I’d say you joined the Police straight out of school, you’re a bit jaded from your time with the Police, you have a good education, you don’t have any hobbies, no you do have a hobby, you’re financially sound, you don’t care about politics, your thirty eight years old and your honest. No wedding ring and you’re here so you’re single. Am I close?” Paul said.

“Yer, spot on. Except I’m not thirty eight. You should have been a detective, how did you do that?” replied Lizzy.

“Lucky guesses for the most part,” said Paul.

The waiter arrived with the meals and placed them on the table. He then poured the drinks before walking off, making it obvious he didn’t enjoy his job, it was as if he had a better place to be.

“It must be an awful thing to be unhappy in your job,” said Paul.

“I’m happy enough in my job,” replied Lizzy

“I wasn’t talking about you I was talking about the waiter,” said Paul. He then continued, “I’m not sure you’re being honest about that, Lizzy.”

“Well, I’m happy enough, I’m just a bit disillusioned with people. They lie all the time and are so nasty to each other,” replied Lizzy.

“You see them at their worst when they are under lots of stress. But I have to say, I’ve lost faith in people. Sometimes I just want to run away to an isolated property somewhere and hide. But that is me all over. You will always find some sand in my hair due to the fact that I have my head well and truly planted in the sand,” said Paul.

Lizzy’s phone rang and she answered it, “Hello, Detective Sergeant Elisabeth Bennet here,” said Lizzy in a very official voice.

“I’ve got to go. Sorry about that …”, she paused, “… chief,” she continued.

Paul smiled at the Maxwell Smart reference and said, “No worries. Work I assume?”

“Yes work,” she replied as she waved to the waiter.

“No, no, no, none of that rubbish, I will pay,” said Paul then he added, “I’m not a great one for all this women paying thing.”

“I can not be indebted to you,” she relied.

“You won’t be. Lets save this conversation for next time. It will be something to look forward to,” said Paul.

Elisabeth Bennet walked away. Paul thought to himself, next time I see her will more than likely be tomorrow morning for breakfast but in her official capacity. He payed the bill and headed home. He had a big night ahead of him.                     Copy right Jim Pope 2021