Bates files: The school games mystery

Published September 21, 2013
school-game
school-game

DEAR Dear all, it is with great pride that I announce the School Games open this year,” Principal Adams says as he announces on stage.

“I think sir that will not happen,” gymnasium trainer Roddick says as he approaches the stage.

“We can’t postpone the games!” the principal argues.

“We have to sir,” Roddick explains. “I just found out that someone has tampered with the gymnastic equipment.”

“Who stands to benefit?” Alfred Bates, the famous detective asks as he steps in.

“Who is this man?” Mr Roddick asks.

“He is the father of Jonathan Bates — your student — and a detective. He can help us,” the principal replies.

“What was damaged?” Bates asks.

“Someone destroyed the high jump mat that we bought yesterday for the games,” Roddick says.

“Did you hire any new person ahead of the games?” Bates asks the teacher.

“No sir,” the principal replies. “The last hiring was done a year back and they all have good references.”

“I am asking him, sir!” the detective asks the questions again, this time looking at the gym trainer directly.

“Well the principal is correct,” Mr Roddick replies. “However, a handful of students helped us ahead of the games but they are trustworthy as they are part of the institution.”

“That’s where the problem is,” Bates points out the root cause of the issue. “Any of those students had a well-toned body?”

“How did you know that?” a bewildered Roddick asks the detective.

“Answer the question please,” Bates replies calmly. “And how tall was he?”

“Over six and a half feet tall!” the trainer replies.

“Why are you wasting time on his height?” the principal joins in. “We have to find him.”

“Don’t run around.” Bates advises them. “You will find the ‘high jump athlete’ on the roof.”

“How do you know?” the teachers ask together.

“A tall man means he is either a sprinter or a high jumper. A sprinter would not need a high jump mat, hence he might be a high jumper with a grudge,” Bates explains. “People who are not afraid of height will take refuge at higher points and at this moment, the roof seems to be the highest place in the vicinity.”

The gym trainer takes two more students with him and returns with a fourth one who is tall but wearing a scared look.

“Jasper Clements!” Principal Adams exclaims. “A high jump athlete on the school’s team!” Mr Roddick adds.

“Was, sir!” Jasper replies. “Ms Bullock has failed me in the exam and I am finished!”

“That’s why you tampered with the mat to get back at the school!” Bates explains.

“Yes sir!”

“But the results aren’t due till tomorrow,” Principal Adams says. “How can he be failed before that?”

“I was told by the teacher that I would fail!” Jasper says.

“There is a difference between “have failed” and “would fail,” Bates intervenes with an explanation. “I am sure it is the English language that Ms Bullock teaches, right?”

“How did you know?”

“She must have said ‘would fail’ and you took it for ‘have failed’!” the detective explains.

“I … I … I am sorry for what I have done,” Jasper asks the principal for forgivingness.

“You haven’t done anything yet,” the principal says. “It’s a good thing we caught you before the damage was done. However the matter will be referred to the ethics committee who will decide your fate.”

“There is something I want you to let me do, sir!” Bates asks the principal as soon as Jasper is taken away and the faulty equipment is removed.

“Anything Mr Bates!” says the principal.

“Let me be the one to declare the games open!” Bates announces with a glint in his eyes.

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