Dial M for…


Sy Foreman sat on a round, unpadded cushion at the Borough Diner. “I can’t believe it,” he said into his phone. “First time I’ve ever done that. I must have left it in the house.” After a brief pause, he said, “My knife, what else?”

One seat away at the counter, Detective Doulas Fisher cut into an egg yolk and watched it ooze yellow. He listened. His ears perked up when the man speaking into his phone mentioned the house address, 745 Webster Place. Pressure was being put on the police department to catch a serial knife-wielding home intruder. The situation had become particularly acute, since the last two occurrences had taken place when the parents were out and baby sitters were present. The police had few leads, but one of the victim’s neighbors thought she saw a stranger walk past her on the day of the break-in. The description matched the man seated near the detective. He needed to move cautiously.

Fisher’s record of screw-ups was legendary throughout the 90th precinct. A month ago, he failed to read a suspect his rights, and the man walked free. Before that, he tripped on his own untied shoelace, erasing vital fingerprints at a crime scene. 

After the man ended his phone call, Fisher wiped his mouth and shifted over a seat so that he was next to the man. He identified himself. “Mind if I sit down?” he asked.

Foreman accepted, gesturing with his hand. He applied a spoon to the hardened top skin of the chocolate pudding before him, skillfully skimmed it off, and dropped the thickish membrane on a napkin. “Nasty stuff, that skin. Now, what can I do for you, detective?”

In as calm and friendly a tone as he could muster, Fisher asked, “Did I hear you say you left a knife at the home of 745 Webster Place?” The fact that the perpetrator dropped his knife during the robbery was not public knowledge.

Foreman carefully stared at Fisher’s badge. “I did. Why?”

“Never mind,” Fisher answered. “Were you also inside the house at 30 Formosa Way on,” he paused to check his notebook, “the 30th of January?”

Foreman took a spoonful of pudding. “I don’t remember the exact date, but yes, I believe that was the address and January sounds about right,” Foreman answered. “It was cold. I remember that. Why?”

“With a knife? The same knife you claimed to have left at the Webster Place home?”

“Yes, of course.” Again, Foreman asked, “Why?”

That clinched it.

“I’m placing you under arrest,” Fisher said.

“What? For what?” asked the incredulous Foreman. He put up no resistance while the detective applied handcuffs.

“Breaking and entering, robbery with a lethal weapon, for starters.” His eyes darted between Foreman and his own phone. Fisher punched a contact name. “Chief. Fisher. I’ve made an arrest in the home invader cases. Guy sitting next to me admits to being inside 745 Webster and 30 Formosa. Said he left a knife at the Webster Street address. You know, the butcher knife.” “Butcher knife?” Foreman shouted. “I’m a mohel.”

~ fin ~


Bruce Harris is the author of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: ABout Type (www.batteredbox.com). He enjoys relaxing with a Marxman.