This story features the debut of Detective Erin Harker – the famed Master of the Obvious.  Erin will be a recurring character on Fiction Friday, using the obvious facts to solve crimes – in much the same way as the great Sherlock Holmes.  Without further ado, Master of the Obvious: Phoning It In.

 

Dwight was jerked back to reality by the shattered window. In a single moment, the relaxation from a month in Europe was completely reversed. He was stick to his stomach – his car had been violated by a vandal.

Dwight noticed that the car stereo had been yanked partially out before the thief had abandoned his efforts. He breathed a sign of relief – the thief had been interrupted in the middle of the crime. He’d just get the window repaired and all would be right with the world.

A minute later, Dwight realized that the thief hadn’t run off with his tail between his legs. The stereo had been abandoned in favor of a tastier prize – Dwight’s Droid was gone. It would have been useless in Europe, so he had left it behind. Now it was gone for good. Dwight could feel nausea setting in.

Dwight jogged back to the terminal and found a pay phone. He hoped that a quick call to his cell carrier would resolve the problem. Wiggity Wireless was happy to suspend service on the phone – but not willing to waive charges that the thief had rung up. It was his phone, and his responsibility.

Dwight’s bad day got worse when the customer service rep informed him that charges of $2315 had been incurred in the last month! Dwight angrily hung up, infuriated at the worthless phone company. Why couldn’t they have a safety net – notifying customers of extremely abnormal charges?

Dwight’s next call was to the Bayside Police Department. The case landed squarely on the desk of Detective Erin Harker. Harker assured him that the thief would be in cuffs within 24 hours.

“24 hours, boss? That’s a pretty aggressive timeline – even for you.”

Erin laughed at the comment. “Oh ye of little faith, Jacob. They don’t call me Master of the Obvious for nothing. Let’s starting combing through the phone calls made from the man’s phone.”

“Sure, but what’s the point?”

“To identify the thief, of course. The 900 numbers will be of limited value, but the others could prove quite valuable.” She perused the list for a moment. “Here we go – a couple of long calls on consecutive nights.”

“So we just call this person and ask them who they were talking to? Isn’t there a slight possibility that they might lie to protect their friend?”

“Oh, my young apprentice. Must I do everything for you?” Erin ran a reverse lookup on the phone number and grabbed her own phone to make a call.

“Shirley Dowd? This is Detective Erin Harker with the Bayside PD. We’re investigating an armed robbery two nights ago. We have a couple of witnesses who have placed you at the scene. Where were you around 8:30 PM on the night of the 17th?”

“You were talking with your boyfriend on the phone for about two hours that night? Can I get his name – we’ll need to verify your alibi with him.” Erin listened to the woman’s reply and scribbled information on the notepad in front of her.

“OK, Jacob. The perp has been identified as one Charles Wilson. Can you run by his apartment and bring him in for questioning?”

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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