Illustration by Ghazala
“ONE crispy burger …” Inspector Davis places his order at a restaurant.
“Milkshake for me!” famous detective Alfred Bates joins in with his order.
“Why do you always order a burger?” Bates asks his friend.
“Why do you always go for a milkshake?” Davis replies with another question.
“I think that’s because it suits my personality,” Bates explains to his friend. “Unlike that guy in the corner who is eating a doughnut … that doesn’t suit his personality!
“He seems more like a person who would go for Chinese food, because he looks more Oriental than from this part of the world,” Davis makes a deduction.
“Good job Davis,” the detective commends his friend’s eye for detail.
“Inspector sir,” a police officer barges into the restaurant and addresses Davis who is waiting for his order to be delivered. “A dangerous criminal has escaped police custody 10 minutes ago and I have been told to alert you, since he might be in the vicinity.”
“Thank you officer,” Davis replies. “What do you think about the matter, Bates?”
“Sit down, officer,” Bates asks the policeman to join them. “Do you have any description of this very dangerous criminal?”
“No sir, the squad car was on its way to the station to book this man, when he escaped,” the officer replied.
“Then I believe that he is in this restaurant with us,” Bates announces to the two men on the table.
“How do you know that?” the men ask Bates.
“This is the best place to avoid detection, my friend,” Bates puts down his theory. “Since the station is right across the street, the criminal could have changed appearance and come here, all in less than 10 minutes.”
“What about the handcuffs?” Davis asks Bates.
“He could have broken them off,” the detective replies.
“And his clothes?” the officer asks.
“He could have roughed up someone in the alley to steal that person’s clothes,” Bates reasons with the officer.
“How would we find him?” Davis asks the all-important question.
“I already have my eyes on the suspect,” Bates replies calmly. “Since the officer came here, three people have entered the restaurant. I know one of them is the escapee, do you?
“I have no idea!” Davis replies.
“Take a look at the man in brown clothes,” Bates says as he points out the prime suspect. “He is wearing tight clothes that don’t seem to be his. He has impression of cuffs on his hands and he is sweating terribly in such a cool environment. What do you say?”
“You are very observant sir,” the officer replies.
“I have to be, officer,” Bates tells the policeman. “You must call for backup before the suspect escapes.” The backup arrives in time to arrest the suspect.
“Thank you, sir,” the officer thanks Alfred Bates as he takes away the criminal to the station.
“No problem,” Bates says as he sits down to enjoy his milkshake.
“Why didn’t you suspect the other two?” Davis asks as he joins the detective with his crispy burger.
“They were not dangerous at all!” Bates says, before taking a sip of the drink.
“Why do you say so?” a stunned Davis asks his friend.
“The fat one is eating his meal as if it was his last, hence that’s something that suits his persona,” Bates explains. “The bespectacled one is not eating at all, he is deciding what to order and I am sure that in a minute, he would leave ordering what is the cheapest thing on the menu.”
“How do you know that?” a bewildered Davis asks again.
“He keeps looking inside his wallet, that’s why!” Bates tells his friend as he takes another sip.
“Maybe he wants to check how much money he has,” Davis presents an explanation.
“When a person doesn’t have money in his wallet, he checks the contents of his wallet more.” Bates tries to counter his friend’s explanation. “And here he buys the cheapest item on the menu — the French fries.”
“You are nuts Bates, you know that!” Davis says as he gives the verdict.
“I have to be dear friend,” Bates says while taking down the final sip of the milkshake. “Otherwise you would have been left in this restaurant with a very dangerous man!”