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Bristol, England was barely known to the energetic punk scene. Things worsened when the Sex Pistols broke up and Sid Vicious died. Nonetheless, one local band kept it all alive, DownFall of Society. Influenced by the great Black Sabbath, they played a heavier type of punk. The anti-fascist lyrics were always accompanied by non-stop power chords and lightning-fast solos. Because of al this, I grew into an avid fan of theirs and rarely missed any of their lively shows. That’s how I met Trevor Gers.
It was a chilly October evening, and I had felt, since morning, that something would go awry. The murky weather and thick fog didn’t help much either. I was walking down an ill-lit street, munching on a crumpet, when suddenly; someone grabbed me by the neck and franticly rubbed his rugged knuckles on my head.
“Hey mate, of to the D.O.S. gig are ya?”
That was Joe, my best friend. I felt slightly more secure when he was around.
“Of course. Whad’ya say we get goin’ ‘for ‘em bloody coppers start chasin’ us?”
I never liked the police and they rarely enjoyed my presence. Even though I had never broken a rule in my life, nor disregarded the law, the “enforcers of justice” frequently tried to arrest me. Who would have thought an appearance could disorient a person’s judgment so much?
When we reached the club at 85 Thomas Lane, a chill ran up my spine, taking my breath away. That dreadful feeling was back, but I forced myself to go in. The moment I set foot inside, something hit me. A stench that is. Aside from the usual smell of alcohol and cigarettes, there was a vile odor that lingered everywhere. It made me quite light-headed.
As the first act, The Bored Under-Achievers, took the stage, I noticed a couple of small, peculiar looking, blinking lights located at the top of the main pillars. What seemed even odder, was a small, thin man with beady eyes staring at me from behind the bassist’s cabinet. The smell becoming too overbearing for me, I stepped outside to get some fresh air.
That’s when it happened. All of a sudden, the building exploded and an immense inferno erupted from within, gobbling up the lives of innocent victims. The force of the blast threw me violently to the ground. I laid there, flabbergasted, not knowing what to do. The shock of it all seized every muscle in my body, the fear rendered me helpless. The wailing of sirens rapidly grew louder as burly men jumped out of fire trucks, attempting to appease the destructive monster that stood before them.
I was sitting down on the sidewalk, grieving the loss of Joe, when, after the fire calmed down, a morbidly obese police man with a distinct smudge of chocolate on his mouth approached me.
“Good evening, sir. I’m officer 451-08, head of the bomb department,” he said so coolly, “but you can call me Jimbo.” I greeted him with a dead smile. “Would you please follow me so I can take you to the station, for questioning about tonight’s misshape, sir?”
He had an odd tone in his voice. He sounded almost cheerful, but I followed him anyways. Once in the car, I could smell that same scent from the club, but this time it was stronger. Maybe it had rubbed off onto him.
The station was on Victoria Street, which would mean at least a five minute drive. Unfortunately for me, Jimbo wasn’t a silent person. The ride was atrociously long; he wouldn’t cease his mindless rambling about every single little notion that popped into his head. I abruptly had the urge to stick something in my ear and pop my ear drum. But luckily, what seemed like an eternity later, we finally reached the police station. He told me to go inside and that someone would be waiting for me. I took out a crumpet to nibble on and sauntered in.
I was sitting on my desk, reading the paper, feet propped up on my desk, sipping some tea when Basile slithered through the door, interrupting my serene moment.
“Hello Mr. Gers.” He said, “A certain person is here to see you. I presume it’s about the incident?”
I reluctantly sat up and went to the lobby. The office was unusually empty today. The silence was almost piercing. Strolling through the corridors, I was pondering about the case they briefed me on. Arson isn’t always an easy crime to solve.
I was still lost in my thoughts when I noticed him. He was a tall but slender man wearing a black shirt with a simple anti-swastika printed on the front. His hair was pale blue with streaks of black and blood red and he had s lengthy scar that parted from the corner of his eye up to his jawbone. He had a sagacious look in his eyes while he studied the activities of his surroundings. I stuck out my hand to greet, but he didn’t take it.
“Hello, my name is Trevor Gers. I’m going to ask you a few questions about what happened earlier at the club. Let’s talk in my office.” He followed me silently, always looking at the floor.
“So,” I asked him, “why don’t you start by telling me your name?” He said nothing and stared at me sadly, with a cold expression in his eyes.”
“Listen. A complete structure went up in flames tonight. Everyone was killed, except for you. Now if you don’t start talking and helping me out, the psycho won’t be stopped!”
“Joe’s dead.” He simply stated after a taking a deep breath.
“I beg your pardon?” I replied.
“The bleedin’ oik,” he answered, “killed me best mate.” He seemed very troubled, but at least we were getting somewhere.
“Your best mate, eh? Don’t you think you owe it to him to find out who did it?” For the first time, I saw him smirk. But he clearly forced it out.
“My name’s Lars. Lars Iommi.” He put his hand out, which I shook heartily.
“All right, tell what occurred this evening. And don’t leave anything out.”
I never expected a guy like him to explain to me everything with such detail. I thanked for all his information and aid and told him that I’d call him if I needed anything else. He got up to leave, but right before he closed the door he whispered, “Don’t underestimate me, eh.”
The night was still young, so I decided to go to the remains of he club to investigate. Grabbing my coat and a cinnamon donut, I ran out and got into my car.
Once there, I quickly noticed the ‘DANGER-POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS’ tape abundantly laid out on the premises. Most of the burnt bodies were taken away, but the terrible feeling of death still remained. Observing the ruins, I felt a presence slide up to me and murmur in a deep voice, making my blood run cold, ‘Good evening, Mr. Gers.’
“Oh it’s you Basile.” I said, “Wait a tick. Where’s Jimbo?” I found it strange that the chief of the bomb squad wasn’t here.
“Well you see, sir, Mr. Jimbo couldn’t make it tonight. He had some business to care of, but he made me in charge.”
“Anyhow, I’m going to be awhile here. So please, don’t bother me.”
“That won’t be a problem, sir,” he hissed and scurried away.
After having carefully scrutinized the entire location during two hours, I had obtained quite enough information and clues to capture the criminal. The only problem was that I couldn’t conclude anything or even come up with a rational hypothesis. Maybe I just needed to sleep on it, let the theories mix right.
A whole day passed and still nothing clicked. None of my ideas made any sense. I was so miserable and strained that I couldn’t even think straight. Feeling the utter need to calm down, I picked up the paper and read. On the front page it was written, in hefty bold letters, ‘MYSTERIOUS ARSONIST STILL ON RAMPAGE?’ It killed me to read that, I couldn’t stand defeat. Unexpectedly, I heard someone shout ‘HELLOOOOOOO!!!’ causing me to fall off my chair in fear. I looked up and saw Lars laughing.
“Cor blimey!” I screamed, “Have you ever heard of knocking, man?!”
“Where’s the fun in that ya ol’ bloke?” He took out he nearest chair and sat down, still chuckling. “So, I assume you haven’t found the culprit yet, eh.”
“Whatever gave you that idea?” I replied while trying to get up to my feet.
“Well it’s tea time and you’re not drinking anything. Obviously, you’re somewhat worried. Thus, you don’t feel like drinking.”
All of a sudden, I had an idea. An ingenious idea that would help me solve this mess Lars.
“I noticed something about you, Lars. You’re an exceptional observer and nothing passes your hawk eyes. Also, you quickly come to the proper conclusion. I can use your skill to unmask the criminal! Whad’ya think?” He nodded, as if to say ‘Go on.’
“First of all, I observed a few things when I arrived at the club. There was a strong smell of kerosene and gasoline. Secondly, there was a box of chocolates hidden behind a pillar. There was also half of a used plastic explosive and the number 45108 sprayed on the wall in red, and---”
“Did you say the numbers 45108?” he interrupted. I told him we was correct. He was going to say something else, but he changed his mind.
“You don’t think it’s a secret code, do you?” I asked. I stopped to think, associated each number to a letter, and yelled out “DEATH! That’s the secret code! This man is going to kill again! We’ve got to stop him!”
“Hang about, isn’t 45108 Jimbo’s identification number?” he said.
“Oh. I think you’re right. But what the bloody hell is it doing there. You don’t suppose he did it. I haven’t seen him since the arson, you know.”
“He couldn’t have done it. No man is that much of a pie-eater. Use your loaf, mate. You said there was a box of chocolates, right? Well then how do you explain a box of paper could survive a fire?”
“I guess your right. But what does it all mean?” I inquired.
“It’s simple. Jimbo was framed,” The concept never crossed my mind, yet it seemed so obvious, “A certain person plants a box of chocolates in the building. That same night, Jimbo had a large stain of chocolate on his face. In the club, odors of flammable substances were identified. When I went into his car, it was there to. You recognized a piece of C4, Jimbo works in the bomb department. Lastly, his number is written on the wall, that way people will assume he’s the arsonist. It’s plain to see, but it the perfect frame.”
“I can’t believe you’re right.” I responded in awe. “But who could have framed him?”
“Did he have any assistants, or second in command?”
“Well, there is Basile. If ever Jimbo can’t be here or is fired, he takes over.” I couldn’t understand why I didn’t figured it our sooner.
“This Basile fellow, does he have a face like a bag of spanners, beady eyes and a short figure?”
“Yes, that’s him exactly.”
“That’s the man I saw at the club before the explosion! Quick, we’ve got to find him!”
We immediately got up and dashed to the Basile’s office. On the way, we were stopped by another officer.
“Oh hey there, Trev,” he said, “we caught the arsonist. Gosh I never would have guessed Jimbo did it. Came as a complete surprise to me. Oh, almost forgot. Basile wanted me to give you this after he left. He quit this morning. Geez, ain’t it weird about Jimbo, eh?” I took the piece of paper from his hand, although I was still in an immense state of shock. The letter read
“Dear Mr. Gers,
If you are reading this letter than the police have arrested whom they think is the author of a criminal act. Unfortunately for them, there are dead wrong. It was I who did it. And it would be utmost impossible to capture me, for I am far away even as I speak. You’re probably wondering why I framed Mr. Jimbo. I had never liked him and he was always I my way of more power. As for the reason of the crime, I shall keep it for myself. You know, it’s such a shame you couldn’t solve this crime sooner.
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