Suddenly the door is carefully opened. An outraged Chief raises his eyebrows.“Forgotten how to knock, Kowalski?”“Sorry, Chief. But – the Hackendorffs – they – they . . .”
The chief rises to his feet, his face grey with concern. “Calm yourself, Kowalski. Speak slowly and clearly, and make sure you enunciate your consonants.”“It’s the Hackendorffs, Chief. They’d been at a charity premiere. Came back early and walked in on the kids unexpected-like. Caught them throwing a bridge party. And it’s a school night.”
The Chief frowns – this could be tricky. The Kowalski speaks again.“That’s not all of it, Chief.”The Chief silently waits for Kowalski to finish his report.“After Mr Hackendorff drove them all home and spoke to their parents he came back and found . . .”Kowalski pauses, uncertain how to go on. Gently the Chief prompts him. “It’s okay, Kowalski – we’ve all been in the force a long time. You won’t shock us.”
Kowalski’s face is a mask of pain.“The handle of his gardening bucket was broken.”“WHAT?!”
“Mr Hackendorff swears that it was fine when the gardener put it away yesterday. He checked the tools personally. Doesn’t quite trust Chavez, what with him having a foreign name and everything.”
The Chief sits down. He is looking thoughtful. “DeLacey – are you thinking what I’m thinking?”“I think so, Chief.”“Tonight a broken bucket handle. Five months ago that family – what was the name again?”“Marconioni”“That’s the one -Marconioni. That family came home from a lunchtime family meal at La Maison de la Allouette to find that someone had stuck gum on their mailbox.”
He looks at DeLacey. His face is creased with worry.“You know what this means, don’t you?”DeLacey nods.“We’ve got a crimewave on our hands. And it’s escalating rapidly”“We’ve got to try to catch this b@st@rd before he strikes again.”“Unfortunately, DeLacey, we might not be quick enough. Already there’s only five months between offences.”The chief sighs. DeLacey – alert the team. Kowalski – send out for skinny macchiatos and some biscotti. This is going to be a long night . . . "
(Disclaimer: Although based on true incidents, stories and characters are totally fictitious and any resemblance to real live people and things that happened to your Auntie Verena’s mailbox are purely co-incidental. Honest.)