Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Tolka Murder Mystery by Christie Agatha

Chapter Two – The Murderer Sends a Letter

“Any man that chooses to dress entirely in black has to arouse suspicions,” remarked Detective Inspector McBiscuit to the constable at his side. “I wouldn’t be surprised if his name was Genghis or Grizzly Pete. Find out who he is and tell him I want a word with him.”
“That’s the referee, sir,” replied the constable, who was well up on the ways of football. “I can’t really haul him in for questioning during the match, particularly after Bisto’s goal. We’d have a riot on our hands.”
“The Referee, eh?” said McBiscuit. “Is that some kind of criminal code-name like The Viper or The Squirrel?”
It had been several days since John Clapper’s body had been found beneath the roller at Tolka Park and McBiscuit was no nearer to solving the case. Forensics had examined the pitch with a fine toothcomb and then with a pair of nail scissors and some tweezers. Specially trained sniffer dogs had merely sniffed haughtily and urinated over the roller. The state pathologist had come up with a theory that the victim had been drowned, though McBiscuit suspected she was a pathological liar.
Acting on McBiscuit’s assertion that the murderer always returns to the scene of the crime, the D.I. and the constable had taken their places in Row D as the crowd started to come in for the game against Wexford Youths.
“Suspect everyone and suspect no-one,” whispered McBiscuit, as the place started to fill up.
“Erm, what exactly are we looking for, sir?” asked the constable.
“Watch their faces, laddie. Anyone who looks guilty or has a bloodstained shirt.”
Despite scrutinising the crowd, players and match officials intently, McBiscuit admitted at the end of the game that the exercise had been worthless, (“apart from the three points of course, sir.”) As they left the ground, several reporters moved forward and climbed onto the D.I’s brawny shoulders.
“The press are really on my back now,” gasped McBiscuit.

There was another murder committed the following morning but it was only on The Marino Waltz. “It’s no use, constable,” said McBiscuit, laying down his violin and pacing the floor intently.
Keeping out of his superior’s way, the constable paced the ceiling intently and said nothing.
McBiscuit produced a door handle from his trousers pocket and tried to screw it onto his suitcase. After as minute or two he gave up.
“I can’t seem to get a handle on this case at all,” he said forlornly.
Suddenly, the door opened and the postman handed the D.I. a letter.
“What is it, sir?” asked the constable curiously.
“It’s a letter, constable,” answered McBiscuit, eying the other suspiciously. He laid it down on the table. “Open up! This is the police!” he shouted through a megaphone.
After several minutes crouched behind his computer, he straightened up, marched over to the letter and slit it open with a flamboyant swish of the letter knife. Quickly he unfolded it and began to read.
“Good Lord, sir, is that blood?” remarked the constable.
“It is, constable,” answered McBiscuit drily. “I appear to have sliced my thumb off. Kindly call forensics and get someone up here with a needle and thread immediately.”
As the constable reached for the phone, McBiscuit re-read the letter. “You’ll never catch me McBiskit he he he,” he read out loud. “Clapper was a fool and deserved to die. The next one will join him soon.” Beneath the writing was a picture of a packet of Coco Pops with a knife stuck through it.
“Good God, constable. We’re looking for a cereal killer,” he exclaimed. “One with fairly atrocious handwriting too.”
“I think you’ll find he’s cut the letters out of magazines, sir,” replied the constable.
“The fiend!” yelled McBiscuit. “The next person who wants to read it will have terrible trouble. Is there any other clue to this murderous magazine mutilator’s identity.”
“Just one, sir,” said the constable. “He seems to have inadvertently signed his name and address at the bottom.”
“I knew it!” declared the D.I. “They think they’re so clever but they always make one small mistake. Come on, constable. I think we ought to pay this Mister Red Herring a little visit. Let’s go and catch us a murderer.”
“Where to, sir?”
McBiscuit unfolded the letter again. “Number 32, Tony Sheridan Gardens,” he yelled, and promptly passed out through loss of blood.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Table

I once had a bedside table
Which came all the way from Rome.
It was owned by Betty Grable
So I’m told.
And I miss our gate-leg table
That stood proudly in our home,
The one my sister Mabel
Went and sold.

That full-sized snooker table
Was my father’s pride and joy.
It was kept inside the stable
Where we’d play.
And my uncle’s coffee table,
Built when Adam was a boy,
It propped up the Tower of Babel,
So they say.

Yes, my granny’s drop-leaf table
Under which her gin was hid –
It became the stuff of fable
In our school.
And the periodic table
Always stumped me as a kid.
Perhaps that’s why folk label
Me a fool.

My old television table
Which was painted brilliant white –
It would hide the TV cable
And its strands.
But I don’t think I am able
To recall a finer sight
Than the First Division table
As it stands.

Starting off the season with a win

Photo by Maurice Frazer (Ringsendred)

It’s not a thing we do with regularity.
In fact, it’s more exception than the norm.
To start the season off with more than parity
Ain’t typical of Shelbourne’s normal form.
In years gone by, we’ve ladled out the charity.
Our first opponents go home with a grin,
So it was a first day peculiarity
To start a brand new season with a win.

Against the Youths, our game showed much diversity.
‘Twas short and sharp, or hoofball o’er the top.
You don’t need to have been to university
To know that’s how to catch teams on the hop.
With spirit we won out against adversity
And took their equaliser on the chin.
And when the whistle blew, through sheer perversity,
We’d started off the season with a win.

A decent start is always a priority,
Though it’s not happened much down through the years.
A few games we have won, but the majority
Of first day matches often end in tears.
And I have been informed on good authority
That this is how a good team should begin.
So thankfully the Reds’ superiority
Has started off the season with a win.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Tolka Murder Mystery by Christie Agatha

Chapter One – Murder by Death
The police constable pulled the roller off the flattened figure on the pitch, and Detective Inspector McBiscuit reached down and removed a wallet from the breast pocket.
“Hmm,” he mused, and scratched his nose thoughtfully. When this didn’t work, he scratched the constable’s nose thoughtfully. “John Clapper,” he said. “Clapper? Clapper? That name rings a bell…..”
“On trial with Shels,” volunteered the constable. “Or, rather, he was…”
“Thank you, constable,” remarked McBiscuit. “Are you any relation to the famous landscape artist of the nineteenth century, by the way? Never mind. Now, does anything strike you as remarkable about the body?”
“You mean, apart from the fact that he’s twelve feet long, eight feet wide, but only an eighth of an inch thick, sir?”
“Yes, constable. Look – he was found beneath a roller. Does it not strike you as suspicious that there should be a roller here, on the pitch in Tolka Park?”
“They use it to roll the pitch with, sir,” replied the constable, eying his superior with a puzzled expression
“Exactly, constable. I’m starting to smell a rat.”
“Yes, sir, they come up out of the river, sir.”
“No, no, you misunderstand me, you buffoon. I mean that I am starting to suspect that something may be afoot.”
“That big pink thing there,” pointed the constable. “I think that’s a foot. God, what a mess!”
“Foul play!” continued McBiscuit unperturbed. He removed a packet of walrus flavoured pretzels from the pocket of his trench coat and offered one to the constable. As the latter put out a hand, McBiscuit quickly withdrew the packet and sniggered. “I suspect foul play, constable.”
“At Tolka, sir?” replied the constable. “The season hasn’t even started yet and Longford aren’t due to play here until May 8th.”
“I believe this was the perfect crime,” continued McBiscuit. “What a fiendishly clever place to hide the body! Beneath a roller on a football pitch in the close season. It could have lain here until...until...”
“Friday, sir. Season starts on Friday. Playing Wexford Youths.”
“Really, constable? What’s that stuff I see on television?”
“That’s called the Premier League, sir. Soap operas for men. Doesn’t really exist. Only actors, sir.”
“Is that so?” mused McBiscuit. “I never knew that. Tell forensics to get cracking. I see some footprints all around the body. We are looking for a murderer with very small circular feet.”
“They’re football studs, sir.”
“I knew that,” retorted the D.I. sharply. “A footballer, eh?”
“Yes, sir. Almost as implausible as the roller, what?”
McBiscuit removed the pipe from his mouth. Strangely enough, it was three feet long and made of galvanised steel. He idly wondered why he’d had it in his mouth in the first place. Suddenly, he got down on all fours and began examining something in the grass through a magnifying glass. After about five minutes, he beckoned the constable down beside him.
“What do you think this is?” he asked, handing him the magnifying glass.
“It’s a magnifying glass, sir,” replied the other.
“Thank you, constable,” replied McBiscuit, straightening up. “Just as I suspected. Now, tell me, who found the body?”
“The groundsman, sir. Quasimodo O’Reagan.”
“Quasimodo? Quasimodo? That name rings a bell. Bring him to me. I want to question him.”
As the constable disappeared, McBiscuit paced the touchline with a frown. Then he sent the frown away and paced the touchline with a grin. Finally he tried it with a frown and a grin at the same time.
At length, the constable approached with a wizened old man. “Quasimodo O’Reagan, sir,” he announced.
“No, I’m D.I.McBiscuit, constable. Try and remember that. Who’s this?”
“Er, the groundsman, sir. You wanted to see him.”
“I know that.” McBiscuit then turned to the old man in front of him and opened his notebook. “You are Quasimodo O’Reagan?”
“I know.”
“First name?”
“So far so good. Now Mr. O’Reagan, can you tell me where exactly you were on the night in question?”
“I can do better than that, officer,” responded the old man. “I wrote it all down for you.” And from a pocket, he produced a crumpled paper handkerchief, covered in writing. “I hadn’t got any proper paper, see,” he added, offering the object to the D.I.
McBiscuit took it and scanned it quickly. Then he held the offending article up. “I put it to you, Mr. O’Reagan,” he announced dramatically. “that this is a tissue of lies.”