The familiar figure of Pat Dolan elbowed aside Hank Marvin and stepped out of the shadows. A sinister leer stretched across his face, skirted his ear and disappeared down his neck.
“How did you get in here?” demanded DI McBiscuit, thoroughly shaken by the sudden appearance of his Number One suspect in his office.
“I am everything and I am nothing,” replied the menacing figure with a laugh that seemed to have started in the bowels of Hell itself. “I am light and dark, ancient and re-born, here and not here...” He stopped as he caught sight of the detective’s raised eyebrow. “Up the back stairs,” he finished lamely.
“Where we you on the nights of the three murders in Tolka Park, Mr. Dolan?” demanded McBiscuit, reaching under the desk for a box of safety pins.
“You can’t pin anything on me,” came the reply. “I was live on Setanta Sports on each occasion.”
“Okay,” growled McBiscuit curtly. “You’re free to go. And put down that pie.”
Commissioner Salami had given DI McBiscuit until the end of the league season to bring the murderer to book and with only nine games to go and a roaring fire in the grate, McBiscuit was beginning to feel the heat.
“I believe we can get this wrapped up before the end of the season,” he told his constable at the morning briefing.
“So do I, sir, providing McAllister doesn’t get injured in the near future,” replied the constable, a remark that McBiscuit brooded upon for several days. Suddenly there was a knock at the door. The constable opened the door and was somewhat startled to find a trouser press sitting in the corridor.
“It’s the press, sir,” he called out.
“Tell them that we expect to make an arrest in the next day or two,” remarked McBiscuit grimly.
A steely look of determination on his boots, McBiscuit strode down Richmond Rd, while the constable skipped along behind, singing “We’re going to make an arre-est, We’re going to make an arre-est.”
“Tell the groundsman I want to see him again,” said McBiscuit. “I’m sure there’s something he isn’t telling us.”
The groundsman, Quasimodo O’Regan, who had been sound asleep since Chapter Five. appeared somewhat annoyed at being woken up and gave McBiscuit dagger looks.
“Thank you, these dagger looks will go very nicely in my herbaceous border,” replied McBiscuit, gathering them up and dropping them carefully into a polythene bag.
“What’s all this about?” said the groundsman. “I’ve a pitch to roll before the UCD game and you know how fussy those students can be. Two inches of grass and they’re claiming subterfuge.”
“I believe there’s something you are not telling us,” answered McBiscuit.
“There’s a lot of things I’m not telling you,” replied O’Regan. “There’s a slight chance that the planet Titan may supoport an oxygen-based atmosphere. Adolf Hitler was a Pats supporter and indeed wrote their theme song. Luke from Bros is currently working as a bus conductor....”
“I mean, about the murders,” interrupted McBiscuit. “Three murders take place under your very nose...No, I don’t mean that literally, you buffoon... and you claim that you know nothing. Well, you don’t fool me. I think we ought to have a little chat down at the station.”
“Why are we here?” asked the groundsman worriedly, as the station master announced the imminent arrival of the express train to Maynooth.
“It bothers you that you have to answer questions on a platform?” shot back McBiscuit craftily.
The groundsman recovered his composure and threw it around his shoulders. “Not at all,” he answered. “It just seems like a dessert with the cream on the bottom and the jelly on the top.”
“A trifle unconventional, you mean?”
“Exactly. But I’ll never tell you anything, despite these surreal surroundings. It’s more than my life’s worth, you see, copper.”
“We can protect you,” said McBiscuit. “We can give you a new identity. Two new identities, even. Set you up in a safe house, even.”
“I’ve seen those safe houses,” growled the groundsman. “You have to remember the combination and they don’t have any windows.”
And jumping up, he shook off McBiscuit’s restraining hand and threw himself in front of the approaching express train.
“I suppose you could say he expressed himself very well,” giggled the constable, as they scraped the remains of the groundsman off the tracks.