Bates files: The winter mystery

Published Jan 12, 2013 02:07am

Don’t go out, Jon. It’s freezing outside,” the famous detective Alfred Bates says as his son tries to step out of the house.

“I am not afraid of the snow, Dad,” Jon replies with a frown.

“It’s not the snow I am warning you about,” Bates tells Jon. “But the cold you might catch from the neighbour’s pool.”

“How did you know I was going to the neighbour’s,” Jonathan asks his father with disbelief.

“I am your father and I know exactly what you are thinking,” Bates explains in a fatherly tone.

“But Dad, what gave me away?” Jon says as he throws down his bag in disgust.

“Your smile,” Bates says as he continues to read the newspaper.

“How can you tell from my smile that I was going next door?” Jonathan asks his father.

“Well when the day began, you asked me for the newspaper, right?” Bates begins explaining to his son.

“Yes,” Jon agrees.

“You never read the paper and that’s what made me observe you,” Bates continues to explain.

“I read the paper, so what?” Jon argues.

“You smiled when you saw the weather column!” Bates informs his son.

“How did you know I saw the weather column?” Jon stands his ground as he thinks he found an ambiguity in his dad’s deduction. “I was looking at the Sports page, on the back of which is the weather column printed,” Bates says as he cuts his son down to size.

“But then how did you know I was going to the neighbour’s?” Jon still doesn’t believe his father.

“Simple. After you put down the paper, you sent an SMS from your mobile and smiled again,” Bates continues to surprise.

“Dad, that could have meant anything,” Jon stops his father. “I could have sent a message to any one!”

“But you smiled and looked up at the neighbour’s place after sending the message!” Bates tells his son.

“I did?”

“Unconsciously, of course,” Bates consoles his son. “But that’s what most people do and you are no different.”

“Even if I smiled, that didn’t mean I was going to their house?” Jon is back to his argumentative best.

“You got a reply, ran upstairs, picked your swimming bag and was about to leave the house when I stopped you,” Bates says without looking at Jon.

“How can you tell which of my bags has swimming costume?” a shocked son asks his detective father.

“You forget, I also have the same bag,” Bates explains with a smile.

“Oh yes, you do,” Jon concurs. “Why did you smile now?”

“It’s your turn to guess now,” Bates throws a challenge to his son.

“Because I am not going alone to the neighbour’s, and you are also accompanying me,” Jon guesses.

“Bull’s eye!” Bates exclaims. “You are improving day by day.”

“But I want to go alone, Dad!” Jon argues.

“You seem to forget that I am friends with our neighbour’s as well,” Bates concludes. “They asked me to drop by for a swim in the hot water, before your friend asked you. Let’s go!”


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