••• The International Writers Magazine - 24 Years on-line -
Dreamscapes Fiction with Martin Green
The Adventure of the Diamond Diamond Heist
Things had been pretty quiet for our little group since the Philosophy Professors Puzzle but now we were gathered in Alvin’s living room to hear what Sam Smith, the police chief of our town, had to say. For readers who haven’t yet read my account of the Philosophy Professors Puzzle let me introduce our group. First, there’s Alvin Oaks, who I guess you’d say was our leader, an eccentric professor who claimed he’d partially solved the Universal Theorem, which explained everything about everything, and who was now teaching at the local college.
Then there’s George, whom Alvin liked to call Jeeves, Alvin’s English man-of-all trades, who I suspected was ex-M16 or whatever they have over there and who now and then disappeared on some mysterious mission that he never talked about. Then there’s Amy, the ex-chorus girl with a PhD in mathematics (don’t ask me how that happened) who Alvin had rescued from Big Ed, the most powerful man in Las Vegas, and who was now studying for a PhD in philosophy.
Finally, there’s me, Jake Cairns, who’d helped rescue Amy and so had joined the group and now took care of some odds and ends of Alvin’s business interests he’d acquired when making a fortune on the stock market by applying the Universal Theorem. I’d also somehow had become the chronicler of our adventures. Oh, I guess I should also mention that I’d detected a spark between Alvin and Amy when she’d shown great concern about Alvin putting himself in harm’s way during the Philosophy Professors Puzzle.
As I said, we’d been pretty quiet, except for the New England Clam Chowder Caper, but this was really only a diversion. This doesn’t mean that a couple of exciting things weren’t going on in the town. First, there was the upcoming exhibit of the Crabtree jewels as old Winona Crabtree had finally donated her collection to the college museum. The collection featured of course the famous (or infamous) ChuManFu diamond, said to have been stolen from a Bhuddist temple by one of Winona’s forebears, Captain Rueben Crabtree, who sailed in the 1770’s.
The other exciting thing, if you could call it that, was the recent spate of retail store smash-and-break robberies in our little town and as it turned out this was why Chief Smith had called us together. He gave us a brief rundown. The robberies had started small with some mom-and-pop stores, then had gone on to larger stores, including jewelry shops, then on to our Walmart and Costco and Home Depot. The MO was pretty much the same, a gang of robbers would burst into the store, break anything they had to, grab everything they could and then run out to a waiting car or cars and speed away. The whole thing took only a few minutes.
The smash-and-grab MO was the same but the gangs were different. Sometimes it was only two or three robbers; other times it was up to a dozen. The police department was overwhelmed. They didn’t know if the gangs were connected. They had no idea where they’d strike next. “We’re stretched thin as it is what with that defund-the-police thing and we just can’t keep up. I know your group has tackled some crimes before, that New England Clam Chowder thing was a hoot, and I wonder if you can help us.”
“Hmmm,” said Alvin. “I’d say that the next obvious target would be the mall and isn’t there a large jewelry store in it? No information from any of your informers?”
“No. We don’t even know if these are local gangs or from out-of-town.”
“Well, I think we need some more information. George, Jake, Amy and I will visit some of the places that were robbed and see what we can find out.”
“You don’t have to do that, Alvin,” Amy quickly said. “You’d do better seeing if there’s any pattern in what we find out.”
“I like to, uh, get out into the field myself, Amy,” said Alvin. “Don’t worry, I’ll be careful.”
“Well, if any of those robbers come in don’t try to be a hero.”
“We’ll let you know if we find anything, Chief,” said Alvin, and the meeting was over.
* * *
So we spent the next week, working from a list Chief Smith gave us, making the rounds of the places that had been robbed and didn’t come up with anything more except that Alvin became convinced that the robberies were connected. Then the police had a break. A hardware store was robbed and one of the employees, a veteran, chased the crooks and tackled one of them. The others sped away in a waiting car.
As Chief Smith relayed in a call to Alvin the caught crook had been given his instructions by somebody he said he didn’t know but had just communicated with by Whatsapp. The important thing was that this unknown person had told him to be ready for another job, the big one, the following Monday. “Ah, I thought so,” said Alvin. “There’s a high probability that’s the mall and the chief target will be the big jewelry store. Have your men standing by.”
“Do you and your guys want to come down?”
“No, I don’t think so. There’s another possibility just in case I’m wrong and I want to be ready for it. So be sure to call me and let me know what’s going on.”
* * *
On the next Monday Alvin was pacing up and down the living room like an expectant father awaiting a baby. Finally the phone rang. It was Chief Smith. “Any action?” asked Alvin.
“No, all quiet here, just thought I’d let you know. Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you. That guy we caught also said something that was a little odd.”
“What was that?”
“He told us that this guy giving him instructions said when they did the robbery not to hit the ball in the rough but to drive it straight down the fairway. He thought it a little strange because he doesn’t play golf.”
“No,” said Alvin. “But I know someone who does and this confirms what I thought might be the plan.”
“The Crabtree jewelry exhibition at the college museum opens today. The ChuManFu diamond is priceless. Those robberies were planned as a diversion. Get your men over to the museum right away. We’re leaving right now.”
George had the limo ready and waiting. We all piled in and Alvin explained. “As you know, I’ve always thought those smash-and-grab robberies were not random events but connected. I also thought the person behind them was someone here who was familiar with the local scene. That someone also had to have the resources and the financial means to organize all of those robberies. I asked myself what else was going on in our town and it was the Crabtree jewelry exhibit, a major event, featuring a priceless diamond. Then Chief Smith informed me that the person giving instructions to one of the robbers did so in golfing terms and I knew who that person was.”
“Gentleman Jimmy Diamond,” the three of us exclaimed at once.
“But I thought Gentleman Jimmy wanted to become respectable,” said Amy. “He was invited to join the exclusive Golden Goose golf club on the understanding he’d give up his criminal ways.”
“I always knew we’d come up him against him again,” said George.
“I expect that the opportunity of obtaining the ChuManFu diamond was too tempting for him,” said Alvin.
“And his last name is Diamond,” I put in. “Maybe that had something to do with it.”
By this time, with George driving at breakneck speed, we’d reached the college campus and sure enough, running out of the museum were half a dozen masked men clutching bags of what were undoubtedly precious gems. Even before the limo skidded to a halt, George and Amy were out and chasing them down. I followed as quickly as I could. There was a flurry of activity and at the end all except one of the robbers had been tackled but this one had reached the helicopter parked in the grassy area opposite the museum. He climbed in and the helicopter took off.
At the same time a trio of police cars, sirens roaring, had pulled up. Chief Smith got out of one and rushed up to us. “So all of those robberies were a cover-up for a jewel heist?” he said.
“I’m afraid so,” said Alvin.
“And I saw that one guy got away in that helicopter.”
“Yes,” said Alvin. “I believe we’ll be paying a visit to Gentleman Jimmy’s mansion very shortly.”
* * *
It was later that day. The limo had drawn up to Gentleman Jimmy’s mansion, which in an exclusive district outside of the town. A butler had answered the door and led us into a large room which he said was the library. “I’ll inform Mr. Diamond that you’re here,” he said.
We seated ourselves in comfortable chairs and looked around. “I wonder if Gentleman Jimmy has read all of those books,” said Amy.
“Gentleman Jimmy is a man of many parts,” said Alvin. “One handicap golfer and master criminal. He very well might have.”
“Not all of them,” said the subject of our conversation, entering the room. “Mr Oats, it’s been a while.”
“Hello, Gentleman Jimmy. Yes it has.”
“I prefer to be called James.”
“Sorry, Jimmy, uh, James.”
“So, to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?”
“I think you know,” said Alvin. “I believe you have something that belongs to the college museum, the ChuManFu diamond, to be exact.”
Gentleman Jimmy seated himself behind a large desk. “Now why would you think that?”
“For one thing, I know of no one else who’d had the acumen to pull off this kind of, uh, heist. For another, the men we captured have all rolled over and identified you as their leader.”
“Impossible. I wore a mask all the time. For all they knew I was just one of them. Their IDs would never hold up in court.”
“Possibly not. However, the fellow who was caught in a previous robbery whom you talked to on the phone is ready to testify that was your voice.”
“I see. That puts another light on the matter. Supposing I was the culprit, and I’m admitting nothing, what kind of deal are you prepared to offer? I presume that’s why you’re here and not the police.”
“You presume correctly. Chief Smith approved of our meeting with you to save the town a messy court procedure and a lot of bad publicity. If you hand over the Chumanfu diamond and make another generous donation to the college he’s willing not to arrest you. You’ll also have to make restitution to the store owners who were robbed.”
“Those are pretty harsh terms. I’ll have to think this over.”
“Oh, and your membership in the Golden Goose Golf Club will be suspended until you meet those terms.”
“You can’t …” began Gentleman Jimmy. Then he continued “All right. Let me see what I have in my safe.”
He went to a picture hanging on the wall behind his desk, a genuine Picasso I think, pushed the picture aside to reveal a safe, twirled some knobs and came back with a small box that he handed to Alvin.
Alvin opened the box, examined its contents and said. “Yes, this is what we came for.”
Gentleman Jimmy sighed. “I knew I wouldn’t be keeping it for long, but at least I had the chance to hold it. Also, I knew that with it’s notoriety it couldn’t be sold. And I showed I hadn’t lost my touch. But I’m ready to go back to being respectable. I believe there’s a tournament at the club this weekend.”
And so ended what I’ll call the adventure of the Diamond Diamond Heist. Be sure to read it.
© Martin Green March 2023
Damsel in Distress
Scene at the Diner ...
The Wrong Stop
It was a typical gray dismal raw New York City spring morning. Jenkins stood, crammed with dozens of other blank-faced people, in the subway car headed for his office downtown.
Scenes from a Life
It was the Depression year of 1939 but Arnold, eight years old, didn’t know they were poor.