The False Telegram

by Stredwick

The False Telegram


 Austin Mitchell


Before we had the internet or Skype we had to send urgent messages by telegram.
We didn’t have email nor could we fax or scan documents. I was coming from the
post office one day when I met Bally Jasper.

“Marline begged me to send this telegram for her,” he told me.

The telegram was being sent to a man in Kingston. It said that his son was very
ill and he should come quickly.

I knew that Marline had a son for a man in Kingston.

“I don’t know of any of her children being sick,” I told him.

He flung down the telegram.

“What should I do? She paid me to send it.”

“Go ahead, but you might get into trouble.”

But I doubted it, people sent false telegrams every day.

Bally left for the post office.

But the man came and realized that he had been tricked. He gave her the money
that he owed her for maintenance of the boy. He refused to give her
anymore. On his way back to Kingston, he was held up and robbed of a
substantial amount of money he had on him.

The police started investigating the source of the telegram and arrested Bally
and Marline. It was also realized that the man, Grover Reid had recently won a
big amount of money at the race track and Marline had heard about it.

I bailed Bally and told the police what I knew.

Marline denied that she had set up Grover.

Grover could not identify the robbers as they had worn masks.

Three months later Grover telegraphed Marline that he had won big at the races
and was coming to spend some of the money with her.

Grover was on his way to Marline’s home when a tree across the dirt track
barred his vehicle. Four men jumped out of the bushes and pounced on him.
Immediately a police jeep came on the scene catching three of the men while the
other ran away.

Based on the police’s account, the man who ran away was Lenny Jackson, Marline’s

            I knew Lenny as we had attended the
same schools. At twenty five he was a year younger than me. He had left for
Kingston as a teenager. Since then it was back and forth between country and
town. It seemed he was always running to the country when Kingston got too hot
for him.

             Marline denied having set up
Grover. For several months they couldn’t find Lenny. We heard that he was in

I was sure I
had seen him at several dances in the country. I also saw Grover up in the
country too. It seemed that he had another woman up that way.

               “Lenny says that he must do
Grover something. He has to be hiding from the police all the the time,” a man
named Delroy Binns told me one day.

            “Let him try, Grover always has his gun
on him,” I replied.

            It was true, I didn’t know what kind
of a gun it was but I had seen Grover with it already. I suspected that Lenny
had a gun. I hadn’t heard of him holding up anybody lately, but he had a gun,
that I was sure about.

            Grover was now keeping dances. At
one of his dances, Lenny wanted to come in free. Grover was called and he
chucked Lenny

away. Lenny pulled his gun and fired at Grover. Grover had to
dive for cover. In the ensuing melee, dance fans had to flee for fear of being
shot. At least two persons were shot and had to be hospitalized. The police
believed that Lenny was injured because there was a trail of blood on the road.
They launched a manhunt for him that same night. It wasn’t until two days later
that they found him in a hideout in a part of the district called Renford.

            Lenny and several hoodlums were
holed up there. The police had to call in reinforcements from Kingston. Lenny
and several of his colleagues escaped to another part of the parish. The police
pursued him there and in another fire fight managed to capture him along with
several others. At the moment he is in hospital nursing gunshot wounds.

Based on what they found at the hideout the police believe that Lenny is
the leader of the Clappers gang. They believe that Marline knows more than she
is willing to admit. They also believe that she and Lenny had set up the two
Grover hold ups. The End.

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