Chapter Seven – McBiscuit sets a trap
With a legal zeal that would have had the late Ollie Byrne drooling in admiration, Shelbourne’s solicitors quickly secured the release of goalkeeper Dean Delaney, arguing that the police had not a shred of evidence to link the giant goalkeeper to the double murder.
The move did not go down well with DI McBiscuit, who was now back to square one. Broodingly, he handed the stone to his constable who immediately threw it onto square nine and hopped and scotched up to that number with whoops of delight.
“Constable, I want you to conduct door to door enquiries of every road in the neighbourhood,” said McBiscuit decisively. “And don’t just ask the doors – ask the people behind them too. Somebody must have seen something.”
“Right away, sir,” replied the constable. “Can I go for the ten now, sir?”
While the constable was away, McBiscuit leaned back in his chair and chewed his pencil thoughtfully. When this didn’t work, he leaned back in his pencil and chewed his chair. He closed his eyes to concentrate his thoughts and promptly fell asleep.
“Nothing to report, sir,” said the constable, entering the office several hours later. “Not one hall door saw anything. You had any luck, sir?”
“I have been using the little grey cells,” replied the DI enigmatically.
“You mean, the ones we keep our suspects in, sir?”
“No, you fool. The grey cells of the mind. I think in order to catch our murderer, we have to set a little trap.”
“Not allowed to do that anymore, sir. The animal rights people won’t allow it. They say it’s inhumane.”
“But we’re the police,” said McBiscuit. “We’re allowed to do anything we like, aren’t we?”
McBiscuit had his way and at the next Shelbourne home game, which happened to be against a team called Crumlin United, a posse of crack undercover police officers mingled unobtrusively with the home supporters in the two stands. A discerning eye might have noticed their police helmets bulging beneath their red and white bobble hats and the smell of eau-de-Bridewell aftershave was quite overpowering for some but any suspicion they aroused was immediately dispelled by their loud comments that the team should keep the ball on the ground and that Bisto would probably get a hat-trick.
McBiscuit walked around the two sides of the pitch, a posse of armed police in his wake. Occasionally he talked into his sleeve and seemed quite surprised when his sleeve answered back. When the teams came out onto the pitch, he ostentatiously turned to face the crowd, his shrewd eyes scanning the faces before him for any trace of panic, his nose alert to the smell of fear, the hairs on his chin bristling like antennae.
The first half came and went, as first halves often do. “When are we going to spring the trap, sir?” asked the constable, practising beating people with his truncheon.
“We’ll leave the stew simmering for a while longer,” replied McBiscuit briskly, licking the wooden spoon and adding a handful of chives.
As the second half began, McBiscuit’s razor sharp instincts could feel the nervousness in the crowd begin to grow until it became a NERVOUSNESS. He smiled, yet it was a smile that didn’t reach his eyes, mainly because he couldn’t get his lips up that far. “Just a while longer,” he muttered to himself. “Don’t leave it too long,” advised his sleeve.
Halfway through the second half, McBiscuit decided the time was ripe. He pointed an accusatory finger at his earlobe, the pre-arranged signal to the PA announcer, and informed his sleeve to keep a watch out for anybody leaving the ground in a hurry.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” intoned the PA, during the next break in play. “A bloodstained knife has been found in the ground. Will the owner please pick it up from in front of the new stand?”
A hush went through the ground. McBiscuit’s head swivelled right and left. Curiously his body stayed where it was. A man rose in the new stand; a family started to come down the steps in Section A; a whole gang of oul’ fellers started trooping out of Section D muttering about Ben Hannigan.
McBiscuit’s sleeve breathlessly reported that at least a hundred people were heading towards the exit and wanted to know what to do. His head swam, first the crawl, then flipping over and doing the backstroke.
“Constable!” he yelled. “What is happening? Are they all in it together?”
“They’re in it right enough, sir,” replied the constable. “Crumlin have just scored.”