The Wrong Set of Crooks

by Stredwick


The
Wrong Set of Crooks



by



Austin
Mitchell



 



             When I went into Marvin Alfred’s
office that afternoon, I just couldn’t understand the man’s nervousness. He was
fidgeting and I felt that something was wrong. He was the head cashier at the
Deuce’s hardware in Keswick. The Deuce hardware was operated by Deuce Barnett
and his wife, Sharlene. I was helping them with a new payroll package we were
introducing to the company. I was employed to Distant, Senior and Notice
Limited, software developers.



            Two days later I was in the main
accounting office when I looked out on the hardware’s lawn and saw a man
running and being chased by two security guards. I saw when he jumped over a
fence, jumped on a motor cycle and it sped away.



            “They’ve robbed, Marvin!”



            I ran to the cashier’s office, the
door was locked.



            I ran outside where some removal van
drivers were on the lawn brandishing long knives.



            Justin Bolton came over to me. He
was the hardware inventory controller.



            “The guy who tried to hold up Marvin
lives in the same community as he and Kirk. That’s why I’m so angry. They are
going to say that it was they who set it up.”



            “Did you see who it was?” I asked.



            “One of the guards saw him because
his mask fell off when he scaled the fence.”



            Justin told me that the robber was
well known in Keswick.



            Kirk Palmer was an accounting clerk
with the hardware. His brother, Carlton, was the chief accountant. Both men
were cousins of Deuce’s wife, Sharlene. It was rumored that it was she who had
secure the jobs for them.



            Marvin had fainted in his office and
had to be rushed to hospital. The robber had gotten all the hardware’s takings
for the day including foreign currencies. I wondered how he was going to spend
those currencies. He had held a knife on Marvin.



            “Everybody is saying that it was
Marvin, who set it up,” Justin told me.



            “Why would they be saying that?” I
asked.



            “As I said before, he lives in the
same district as Kirk and Marvin. Once they catch him people are going to
believe that it was they who set it up.”



            Marvin was out of hospital the next
day and back at work.



            The police came and questioned him,
but he denied knowing the robber as the man had on a mask.



            I understood that the two security
guards also denied knowing the robber. They denied that his mask had fallen
off.



            It was a police case, so we had to
leave them to do their job.



            I finished up my work and went back
to my office in Spanish Town. One day about three months later I was having
lunch when who should come over, but one of the security guards who had been
running down the robber across the lawns of the Deuce hardware. I normally
don’t discuss a client’s business with anybody.



            His name was Hugh Foster. He was no
longer working with that security company.



            “Mister Holland, why I couldn’t
reveal the robber’s name is because I got threatened.”



            “You know I don’t believe you.”



            “When I got home that evening I
received a call telling me to back off.”



            “The hell, you say, Hugh.”



            “Something is wrong at that hardware,
Mister Holland. That’s why I’m glad I left the security company. I didn’t want
them to send me there again.”



               Marvin had been fired a month
later. He refused to say who had set up the robbery. Even Justin Bolton had
refused to reveal the robber’s name.



            “If I were you I would let things
remain as they are. If you have anything to say why don’t you go to the
police,” I told him.



            He refused to go to the police. He
said that he didn’t trust the them.



            A few weeks later news came through
that  Kirk had also been fired. I saw
Hugh Foster the same week.



            “It’s they who set up the robbery. I
think Carlton’s involved somehow.”



            “You’re making some serious
allegations there, Hugh. Just because Deuce fired Kirk doesn’t mean that he’s
guilty of anything.”



            “Nobody can tell me that it wasn’t
they who set up the robbery.”



            “So how come the police haven’t
found out anything?”



            “I’m not too sure. Maybe they don’t
have all the evidence, but I’m certain that they’ll soon make an arrest.”



***



            It was Sammy Dixon, one of the
hardware’s drivers who met me in Kingston and gave me the lowdown on what was
happening. This was about five years later. I didn’t even know that he remembered
me. We shook hands, I was having lunch in Norma’s Kitchen in Cross Roads. He
was ordering a take away lunch.



            “Her own people let her down. Look
what she did for Carlton and Kirk.”



            I nodded in acknowledgement of what
he was saying.



            “So what’s the latest?”



            “Kirk went away and Carlton got
himself in trouble.



            “In trouble, what kind of trouble?
My interest had now sparked.”



            “Some fraud, I heard. He left
Deuce’s business after he fired his brother. I don’t rightly know what he did
at the other place where he was working, but I heard that it was big. They have
him in jail right now.”      



            Sammy got his lunch and left.



I knew that Deuce had been
suspicious about his in-



laws.
The auditors had never unearthed anything to show that either Carlton or Kirk
was robbing him. But maybe Carlton had that intention, but because of Sharlene
he decided to try it somewhere else. I heard that Dennis Raymore, his new
employer, just couldn’t understand Carlton’s flashy lifestyle. People had also
gone to him with stories that he was spending almost every other weekend on the
North Coast. I knew that when he was working with Deuce he lived a very
moderate lifestyle.  



            Dennis called in his internal
auditors. Their audit revealed that  Carlton had been manipulating the stocks. The audit
also revealed that  he was overpaying
himself. This had been going on for the last two years of his employment.



            I also heard that Kirk got a job in
the United States. His  new employers
sent to Deuce as his former employer for a recommendation. He refused and it
took a lot of persuasion on his wife’s part for him to sign the form. He did
leave out relevant parts on the form resulting in Kirk not landing this
particular job.



            Just before I finished writing this
story I met Hugh again. He wasn’t exactly gloating over what had happened to
Carlton.



            “I’m really sorry for what happened
to Mr. Carlton. I hope he gets off or with a light sentence.”



            “Let’s hope that whatever sentence
he gets will fit the crime.”



            We went for a beer before going our
separate ways.



            At the moment Carlton’s trial has
just been put off for a fourth time until next month. Apparently his lawyer was
on another case in Montego Bay.The End.



   Austin's blog: stredwick.blogspot.com        



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