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Bates files: The ‘tell me’ mystery

August 18, 2012


Dad, I want you to meet these three friends of mine,” Jon tells his father, the famous detective Alfred Bates, as he enters the living room. “They were very anxious to meet you!”

“Nice to meet you boys,” Bates says as he welcomes the three young men.

“The pleasure is all ours sir,” the boys reply in unison. “We have heard that you are very good with deductions. What can you tell about us?”

“A lot!” Bates says while putting aside the newspapers.

“Can you please explain, sir?” the tallest boy in the group asks the detective.

“First of all, I can tell you that you are not friends of my son, but are senior to him in school,” Bates drops his deductions like a bomb on the kids. “Secondly, you live in the hostel and have nothing better to do in the evenings except chatting on computer and playing video games.”

“How did you know that?” Jonathan enters the conversation.

“Let me begin with you, son,” Bates says as he points to the boy with glasses. “What’s your name?

“Joseph, sir,” the boy tells.

“Well Joe, you are a good student who thinks a lot and doesn’t have time to socialise. True?”

“How can you tell that from just one look, sir?”

“People who are usually studious don’t think much about their appearance,” Bates tells the group. “I am sure you were dragged to a hair dresser today by your friends, and the pieces of hair on your shoulder are a proof of that. Secondly, you are carrying an adjustable book-lamp in your pocket, which shows that you love reading, something only a good student would do. Hence, I deduce that you are a good student.”

“My name’s John Davis. What about me sir?” the second kid asks.

“Aaah John…” Bates takes time to observe the kid before deducing. “You are older than all the kids in this room, are not a good student and are only studying because your rich parents want you to. Correct?”

“He is shocked sir!” Joseph replies, pointing towards his stunned colleague. “How did you know?”

“Well, he has shaved his beard today and that too with a new triple layered razor,” Bates explains. “This means that he uses his parents’ money without thinking twice and gives enough time to his appearance but not to his studies. Since he shaves unlike you three, it means he is older to you all, and has either failed in his exams or doesn’t even care!”

“And what’s my name sir?” the third one joins in the conversation.

“You must be Alfred, like me!” the famous detective deduces.

“How did you know?” the shell-shocked Alfred junior blurts out.

“Simple…” Bates discloses his secret. “The others introduced themselves to me while you asked me your name, as if taunting me to guess something that is close to me. Since your name couldn’t have been Jonathan which is the name of my son, you are Alfred. Had you been Jonathan, my son would have told me about his namesake.”

“Dad, it seems he is knocked out for now,” Jonathan tells his father. “What else can you tell about him?”

“He came here as he is,” Bates replies. “He is a good obedient kid who hates hostels and I am sure it was his idea to arrange this adventure, since he seems like the ring leader. Am I right?”

“Yes you are sir!” the three exclaim. “How did you know that we like to play video games or chat?”

“Your hands told me,” Bates tells the kids.

“They did?” the kids ask in surprise.

“Yes. People who use keyboards or joysticks, their hands can give them away. The top of your fingers are a little squarer, meaning you hit the keyboards for chatting purposes a lot, while the curving of your palms suggests usage of joysticks,” Bates explains.

“Your dad is a genius, Jon,” Joseph tells Jonathan as the rest shook hands with Alfred Bates.

“I told you guys,” Jonathan says in a confident tone.

“Now if you could excuse me, I was trying to read the newspaper when you interrupted me,” Bates says as he picks up the newspaper. “You should also read the newspapers, as it will help you understand the world and the happenings all over.”

“Yes sir!” the kids say before exiting the Bates Manor.