The woman sat quietly in the room. The pad and pencil on the table as yet untouched. She idly scratched her neck and adjusted her bra strap.
“She looks guilty to me.”
“She claims she was just walking by and a woman she didn’t know just handed it to her” said Detective Shaw.
“So why isn’t she writing that down then?”
“She’s scared maybe, she knows the woman and was part of the set up.”
“Did you see her nails, bitten to the quick; there was blood on them when they bought her in. That’s a sign.”
“I bite my nails, doesn’t mean anything” snapped Shaw.
“It’s different for women” sneered the young Constable.
“I don’t know where you get your theories from, lad. Hey, she’s started.
The woman wrote steadily for 15 minutes and didn’t even look up when they young man bought in a polystyrene cup. She finally lifted her head and nodded. They came in, took the pad, bought another cup and were about to close the door when she asked “Any chance of a fag then?”
The detective reached into his pocket and pulled out a pack of Marlboro Reds. “These do?”
“Yeah.” She sucked as the lighter sat under the tip and tipped her neck back to blow the smoke upwards.
“Yeah, I wanna go home. I ain’t done nothing.”
“Well, let’s take a look at your little story here and that might happen.”
“How long’s that gonna take?”
“Not too long.”
“But I told yer what ‘appened.”
“I know that, but we need to have it in writing too.”
“I don’t write so good.”
“We’ll bear that in mind.”
As they left the room, she smiled and picked up one of the polystyrene cups. They sat down at the coffee-cup stained table in the main office and started reading.
Name: Gina Smith D.O.B March 21 1971
“Bloody hell, she’s 40. Doesn’t look it, does she?”
“Shut up. I don’t want a running commentary Constable.”
When i read me horoscope this morning i’m a piscees i thought me luck was in. it said today would be me lucky day and that i should follow me dreams. so i borrowed a suit from me friend and heded for the bank. i’m a cleaner see and i want to work on me own and get some of those big money jobs in offices. but yer need a car for that and i don’t ave one so i thought today is the day to get to my bank to get a loan for a car. cos of me horoscope i thought they would say yes. so, I was walkin towards lloids past simpson jewlry shop. all of a sudden a woman nearly nocked me over. the woman anded me the bag and walked off towards woollies. i was that surprised that i just stood there. i didn’t even look inside but new it was bad so i chucked it and heded for lloids. then you lot turned up and here i am. i dont know the woman and like i told you i chucked the bag in the bin don’t want nuthin to do with it. i’m just a cleaner like i told yer. i don’t know nuthin about the robbry or the woman. all i remember is that she was about my hight, blonde like me and wearin a suit like me. you got the wrong woman. i just wanted a loan for me car.
“Any CCTV from the jewellery store yet?” asked Shaw.
“Nope. It was a fake camera.”
“Great. Found the bag?”
“Nope, whatever bin she says she chucked it in. It isn’t there now. Maybe the man took it?”
“No shit Constable. What about the jewellery store manager, any description?”
“He was in the back and the young girl out front said they were a well-to-do friendly couple, who by all accounts persuaded her to show them all of the high-carat diamond rings. They pulled a gun and proceeded to take the lot. She can’t remember any specific details of what they looked like except that she was blonde and wearing a suit and he was good-looking with glasses. They seemed a nice couple she said, about to get married – some eye-witness.”
“Any joy finding the man?”
“No sign of him.”
“Well, we can’t hold her. We’ve got no CCTV, no evidence and no reliable eye-witness account. Do you think it’s the right woman? She’s hardly sounds ‘well-to-do’ does she?”
“Appearances can be deceiving Sir.”
“I know that smart-arse, but we can’t hold her on what we’ve got now. Dammit, we’ll have to cut her loose.” They went back in. “You’re free to go Miss Smith, for now. But don’t go anywhere in a hurry. We may want to interview you again.”
She left the police station, turned right and headed back towards town. John caught up with her as she reached Lloyds Bank.
“You alright Celia? How did it go? I knew we should have taken a car with us, walking away was a dumb idea. I can’t believe they got you so quickly. Why have you got dried blood in your fingernails?”
She smiled. “It’s all ok. I did a Gina. Where’s the bag?”
“Gina, my cleaner. Copied her common screech, her low-class mannerisms and wrote ‘what happened’ just like her, illiterately. I even chewed my nails off in the police car. Manicured nails would have been a dead give-away!”
“They believed it?”
“Oh yeah, they did because it was partly true”
“What do you mean?”
“Who did I give the bag to when we came out?”
“No, Julia was supposed to be there but didn’t turn up, the bitch. As luck would have it Gina walked past, so I gave her the bag and told her to chuck it in the bin outside Lloyds, same as Julia was supposed to do, and walk on like nothing had happened. Said I’d compensate her for her trouble. She probably needs the money. So, where’s the bag? Did you get it ok?”
“There was no bag.”
“You stupid idiot. Did you check the right bin?”
“I checked every damn bin. It wasn’t there. This Gina of yours has ripped you off. I knew we should have taken a car.”
“Shut up shut up let me think. There’s no way she’s got the brains or the guts to rip me off. Besides I know where she lives.”
“But you’ve just pretended to be Gina for God sake, what do we do now?”
“Find the bitch. Hail a cab, now!”
Gina chewed her nails as she sat on the train heading home. Mum’ll be pleased I’m coming home for good she thought. She’d always hated me cleaning for those rich women in London. To think, I was just minding me own business on the way to a cash point when old ‘Celery’ Roberts, a stuck up mare if there ever was one, handed me a bag and told me to put it in a bin! Did she really think I was gonna do what she tells me to do in me own time; no chance. Lucky for me Joyce was out shopping too, and walking in the opposite direction. Joyce and me go way back so I knew I could trust her and, Joyce’s brother is a right hard case, so he’d know where to fence the stuff. For the first time in me life, I’m gonna have real money. I can start me own office cleaning business with Mum; all I need is a car. Hmmm, better not tell Mum, she don’t like stealing. A lottery win is what happened, she won’t know no different. She smiled as the train chugged northwards.
Categories: Just Stories