It didn’t take long before Rocky returned and set up the security camera on the roof. He was pleased (although surprised that there were still a lot of Brussels left in place; obviously Brian and Gary did want to catch the thief.
Back in the office, the three men waited round the office desk.
“So what do we do now?” asked Gary. “I’ve got some lovely Brussels in my pockets.”
“You’re going to have to wait a while” said Rocky. “We can’t alert anyone that anything’s changed. An increase in coming and going will only spook the thieves – and this is something I would like to get to the end of quickly. Do you have anything to eat or drink Brian… more coffee perhaps?”
“I think I can do a little better than that. I have a couple of bottles of something I had put aside for the works Christmas party – and there’s a pizza back there too. It won’t take long and we can have a proper feast!”
It didn’t take long before the smell of pepperoni pizza filled the office. They opened the bottles and had a small drink each. Rocky then realised…
“Deefer hasn’t eaten yet; I must go and get him and then I need to get some of his food.”
Rocky whistled and Deefer came running into the room. He knew THAT smell – and it was a favourite. Before anyone could shout “STOP!” or “SIT!” or “NO – BAD Dog!” Deefer’s nose was buried in the tomato sauce on the pizza. Then, faster than anyone could react, his mouth clamped onto the flat base and he dragged it off the table and started to ravenously devour it.
“I think Deefer may have been a little hungry” said Gary.
“He’s not the only one now” said Brian, his tummy rumbling. “I think I have a spare – would you mind helping me to get another from the stock room?”
The three men left the office – and Deefer, who was snarfing away enjoying his dinner. Sooty watched enviously, and then decided that he could sneak up and steal a little too. He managed to grab a little piece of pepperoni and nibbled away at it, until something caught his eye.
A small shadowy creature plopped down from inside the chimney. He brushed himself down then walked over to the water bowl and emptied the contents of a small flask. He looked across at the table and the half-filled glasses. Between the glasses and him were two scary looking things, both with sharp teeth. But he had to do this, so carefully drew his spray gun and tiptoed forwards.
Sooty’s eyes immediately saw the figure and tensed. He was not ready for a squirt of something in his eyes and having suddenly lost vision jumped back. Deefer, head in the pizza, saw Sooty jump before he saw the funny little thing that was squirting Sooty in the eye. Pizza or bark, Pizza or bark? Why were there such hard decisions? But then he smelled that same peculiar, unusual smell- and on queue reacted. He stopped and sat down.
The shadowy figure cautiously tiptoed past the dog. He had no idea what was happening – he knew he was being watched, but nothing was happening. Once he could, he rushed up to the table and emptied another flask into the bottles and glasses. Then, quick as a flash he jumped from the table and over and up the chimney.
Moments later Brian, Gary and Rocky returned. “So we couldn’t find another pizza” said Gary, “But cake, chicken legs and crisps! Yummmmmy!”
Gary walked over to his glass and drunk it in one go. Brian did the same. “All those crisps make me thirsty” he said.
Rocky picked up his glass to and drunk. Brian spoke next “Good boy” he said at Deefer, “Look everyone – Deefer’s being polite –he must have finished.”
Rocky stopped as he realised.
“Oh no!” he exclaimed. “Deefer’s sitting – he can smell something unusual.”
“That’s nice” said Gary, “I’m feeling sleepy. We can – YAAAWWWNNN – sort it out later.”
“Yeeeaawnnnn – yes” said Brian “tomor…..” he sat heavily and the noise of snoring came quickly.
Rocky felt himself starting to fall asleep to; but fortunately his coffee drinking gave him a few more minutes of being alert – enough to switch on the camera on the roof.
Today’s advent present:
Two bottles, two glasses, two chicken legs, two green (cherries? Grapes?) and a pizza.
Not much else to add to that really, but cheers!
“Well, I’m glad that little exercise is now over” said Rocky.
“What happened to Flash?” Asked Brian.
“We decided that after a night in prison – where he said he was very, very sorry for breaking one of my mugs and chipping the other – we let him off with a caution. Insufficient evidence you see.”
“But we all saw him… the chocolate …. “
” That’s the thing you see; we didn’t have enough police vehicles to move the coins, so we asked for local help. None of the chocolate arrived at the station.”
“Oh, you can’t trust anyone these days” said Gary.
“True, but the sales of wine suddenly went up 400% and there seemed to be a lot of happy people this morning.”
After a short pause, Brian spoke.
“So what now? Should we look up on the roof? I would have gone, but I was scared to think what I might find.”
“Yes” replied Rocky “Let’s have a look.”
They climbed the access ladder and stepped onto the roof. There, they saw…
“BRUSSELS SPROUTS!!!!” Cried Gary happily.
There in front of them was a table, with five barrels loaded with sprouts. Further empty barrels lay on the floor, with random barrels with a few remaining sprouts dotted around the roof. A chain was fastened to the ground and ran up the side of the chimney and down inside.
Gary rushed forward and started to gather a few sprouts. This was a happy day. Rocky more firm.
“Stop Gary, this is police evidence – stolen property.”
“Really Rocky – what, to add to the wine and chocolate party? I don’t think anyone would miss a few.”
“Actually” replied Brian “It’s not actually stolen. It’s mine because I signed for it and it is still – technically – on my property. So, Gary, please take a few; Rocky you can take a few as well to see if you can work out fingerprints. As for the rest, I believe I need to take them to the grocers; I believe Mr Macready has started to take orders in advance.”
Rocky agreed that this would be the best course of action.
“If I put an additional security camera up here – and take away that chain, perhaps the thefts will all stop.”
“Of course” said Gary, his mouth full of raw sprout (it had been a while), “We don’t know where the sprouts have been taken. Perhaps we still need to work that out.”
Rocky agreed – and said that he would go back to the police station and pick up a few things. He asked Brian and Gary to stay and watch in case the thieves returned; and asked Gary not to eat any more Brussels.
Just round the back of the chimney, a small shadowy figure watched the proceedings. This was not part of his plan.
Today’s advent treat:
It’s the bench. Actually, I quite like the design of the bench – quite a simple affair. I suspect (hope?) It is supposed to be a dinner table – but I thought it worked quite well as the type of bench you might find in a park (although not on top of a roof). So not strictly christmassy, but worked well for my story.
Author note 1: Before I begin folks, I have to say something. Some chocolate was eaten in the making of this story. It was lovely. I can’t promise that I won’t eat more, but I thought I’d tell you so realise the sacrifices I am making in bringing you this story. See if you can spot when the chocolate may have been eaten!
“Hang on a moment” said Brian. “Mr Macready has been outside this building for much of the time – but crucially not when I get my deliveries. As I’ve said before – the Brussels disappear then, not once I’ve put them into the stock rooms.”
“That’s correct” replied Rocky. “But I think we’ve missed an important point.”
He pointed upwards towards the roof – and everybody looked up. Rocky continued.
“I’m not sure why right now, but I think that the Brussels are being taken UP to the roof, and then later they are moved off site. Brian, you tell me that your cameras surround the building, but are they lit at night?”
“No”, replied Brian, “I can’t afford the lights to be on all that time.”
“So you’d get some pictures, but not enough detail. My theory is that we would find some evidence up there.”
Gary piped up.
“So, you’re telling us that you think this is some kind of ‘reverse Santa’ theft – where the thieves take the presents – or Brussels – up the chimney?!”
“Yes – let’s have a look! Brian, can you lead the way?”
As they started to walk round to the back of the building, where the ladder to the roof was located, Mr Macready pointed off into the distance. They looked over and saw a man with a heavily laden wheelbarrow slowly making his way to the group. They decided to wait until they could see who it is.
“It’s Mayor Thomas!” said Gary.
“Hello Rocky, Brian, Mr Macready… err, citizen!” said Mayor Thomas. “I’ve come to help with the missing Brussel Sprouts.”
“How exactly?” asked Rocky.
“The Town Council are obviously quite concerned with this whole thing. People are starting to drive out of town to get their Brussel Sprouts and in doing so they are finding new and different shops. Worse for us, they are buying their things elsewhere, so the missing vegetables are hurting a lot more than just dinner plates. I took the liberty of contacting the Heartlake Town Hall to see if they could help; they tell me that they are also missing whole deliveries of Brussels – but they don’t mind you see as it means the air is generally a lot sweeter over there and being Heartlake that’s a good thing. I understand that they were considering including zoning restrictions regarding the eating of Brussel Sprouts into the Town’s bylaws.
“Anyway, the Town Council has decided that perhaps there needs to be a financial incentive, so we took some of the Town’s gold and brought it here to act as bait. The idea is that we tell everyone that there will be a ‘no questions asked policy’ and that the thieves should return the Brussels in exchange for this pile of gold.”
Rocky couldn’t help but slap his forehead.
“Um. Thanks Mr Mayor, but why didn’t you speak to me first about this? We need to keep this as quiet as possible – and whilst your mother isn’t helping with this it is all rumour at the moment. An announcement like this may affect our crime scene and we could miss an important clue. I guess we’re fortunate that you are telling us this before you make the announcement… you are telling us this BEFORE you make an announcement, aren’t you?”
Even with a thick jumper, it was clear that this wasn’t the order of things. “The announcement was published an hour ago.”
“Hang on a moment” said Gary. “Look at Deefer – why would he be interested in a big pile of money?”
“He isn’t” replied Rocky. “It’s only…”
“… chocolate. Gold foil wrapped chocolate” said the Mayor. “We’re not that rich; we’re hoping that the townsfolk won’t know what real gold looks or feels like – this is solid enough after all and in these temperatures it won’t melt – so it would give us enough time to follow up.”
“Well, I guess I should be thankful for small mercies” replied Rocky. “Okay, let’s put it over there and wait.”
With the potential that the Brussel thief would turn up at any moment, they could not afford to head up to the roof to follow up on their investigations. They each took it in turn to stand in a hastily built hide and watch whilst the others would go onto the store room for a coffee (“it must be my turn to get a coffee”, “No, you’ve had fourteen already”, “What’s that smell?” “Sooorryyy!”, “Can I get another coffee”, “Woof”, “A mouse! Eek!”, “Big Girl!”, “eww! I’ve got to get some air”… it’s fair to say this wasn’t the quiet hide you would expect) until night fell. There was a noise.
“Ssshhh!” they each said.
They watched as a shadowy figure darted from tree to tree. The figure approached the store where they had put the gold money. Carefully, the figure peered in – then ran in. Almost instantly, the figure ran out again – this time pushing the wheelbarrow!
Because everyone had spent so long in the hide sitting still, they found it very difficult to get moving, tripping over each other and when they finally got out and ran to the drive way, the car was already heading up the road. With no lights on, they couldn’t see the license plate number.
Dejectedly they walked into the now empty store room. “NOOOO!!” cried Rocky.
“It’s not that bad” replied Gary, “Remember it’s only chocolate money!”
“No” said Rocky “They’ve stolen my coffee mugs!!”
Mr Macready was last into the room. He sniffed.
“Gentlemen, it’s not as bad as you think. I recognise the smell. You know they say a Leopard never changes his spots – well this thief never changes his aftershave. This is the work of ‘Flash’ Harry.”
“I think this is my job” said Rocky. “See you all later.”
Rocky called up the police station and got Flash Harry’s address and drove over immediately. As the car pulled to a halt, he could see the upturned wheelbarrow outside. He also saw the china remnants of a broken mug – and Rocky knew that was one of his. He walked up to the house door, which swung open loosely on its hinges. Rocky could see straight in – and straight at Flash, who was just finding out that his gold pile was nothing but….
“CHOCOLATE!!!! I’VE BEEN SWINDLED!!! IT’S CHOCOLATE!!!”
Rocky didn’t waste any more time and arrested Flash.
“What’s the charge?” said Flash. “After all, they said it was gold – and it wasn’t – so who’s lied to whom?”
“Well, I think I can arrest you for destruction of police property as a minimum.”
“What police property?”
“You broke one of my mugs… and I can see you’ve chipped the other. Plus, the announcement said that you could take the gold if you bring back the Brussels; I don’t see any green vegetables.”
“I’ve got a cucumber in the fridge you can have” said Flash. “How about that?”
“Nope, apparently it’s all about the Brussels this year. Come on, we’ve got some paperwork to fill out.”
Author note 2: By the way, did you spot when I started eating the chocolate? That’s right – I started at the beginning! (If you said in the middle, or at the end, or in fact at any point throughout the story you’d be right too. In case you are a citizen of Legoland, none of the chocolate coins were recovered. It’s a mystery, that.
Today’s advent treat: John “Flash” Harry
I guess it should have been expected that with a policeman there would be a robber. It’s nice that they’ve given him a scarf for the winter – plus a couple more spare and an additional hat. If I was creating a Lego Scout Group, that would bring the total necker tally up to six. Additionally, they’ve given him two mugs – obviously the cost of coffee in Lego City is a real steal (I’ll stop now!)
Gary looked at the snowman, curled up on the ground, sobbing.
“Umm… sorry Mr Snowman?” He said.
“Not seen that before” said Rocky, ” and I’ve seen the film.”
Rocky held out his hand and helped the snowman to his feet.
“My police training tells me that you might not be a snowman” he said. “Take off the head, please.”
The snowman did as he was asked. Brian gasped.
“It’s Mr Macready!”
Something caught Gary’s eye and he walked off. He returned moments later with a barrel – and in it was a crowbar and an axe. Brian pointed his finger and shouted.
“You!! You have been stealing the Brussels!”
Mr Macready put his hand up to get Brian to stop.
“No, no, it’s not like that. I swear I haven’t taken any Brussels.”
Brian was not prepared to listen to this and rushed forward. He raised his fist and went to punch Mr Macready. Unfortunately, Gary stepped into try and stop Brian and the fist hit his nose.
“Ow!” He cried.
Rocky’s voice came across clear and firm. He was not going to put up with this – and he hadn’t had his eighth cup of coffee yet.
“Stop – or I will be forced to use my handcuffs on you. Believe me when I say this, you do not want me to do that because they will be cold and because I can’t remember where I put my keys to unlock them.”
The three men stopped and looked at Rocky, who had a half smile on his face.
“You lost your handcuff keys.”
“More misplaced. I know I had them last year when I was given them, but I had a tidy and they’re quite small and…. that’s not the point. Mr Macready, what are you doing?”
Mr Macready kicked his feet on the ground.
“Old Mrs Thomas was telling me how the town’s Brussel Sprouts have all gone missing. I love my Brussels, especially at this time of year and so I thought I would get a few for myself; you know, quietly so that they wouldn’t be a problem.”
“So why didn’t you just ask me?” Said Brian.
“Old Mrs Thomas said that you were deliberately hiding them – you could then start to sell them at a higher price closer to Christmas, knowing that they would be in demand.”
Rocky looked at Brian. “It’s a theory.”
Brian looked angrily back at Rocky and Mr Macready. “I don’t like to rip off my customers; we’ve been in business and gained too much trust to throw it all away on a whim like that. Secondly, I have now taken delivery of over 100 boxes of Brussel Sprouts, much more than I have ever ordered before in the vain hope that I will be able to supply the grocers. That is a HUGE pile of Brussels – and one that you would need a massive silo to house. Do you see one here?”
Rocky thought. He considered the size of the property and all the information that he had gathered so far.
“No, I don’t recall seeing one. I also don’t believe that you would start ordering ever increasing delivery sizes if you were hiding them – you would be making it harder each time.”
“Thank you.” Said Brian.
“So we’re no further forward” said Gary. “Now what.”
“I think there are two further things we need to think about now. Old Mrs Thomas may have got her facts wrong, but as sure as Brussel Sprouts are green…”
“… and delicious” added Gary.
“And delicious” continued Rocky “she will be telling everyone in the city about this. Even if we do find the thief – or another way to deliver the Brussels – we will almost have a riot on our hands.”
“That’s one thing” said Brian, “What’s the other?”
“The other is that we now have another witness. Mr Macready, how long do you stay out here pretending to be a snowman?”
Mr Macready answered quickly.
“Well, as soon as I close my shop I hurry over here. I then wait from about 6pm to about 8:30 when I go home for tea. I then come back about 11pm where I stand watch until about 6am when Brian gets here. I then go home for breakfast, open my shop and make sure my assistants are on site, then come back for a couple more hours.”
“So there’s a chance that it might happen when you are not here?”
“It’s possible, but it’s also possible that it happens in the middle of the night. You see, the costume is quite warm and acts like a sleeping bag – so when I rest against the tree, I….”
“… fall asleep.” Rocky saw some water droplets on the snowman’s costume.
“Has it been raining?” Rocky asked.
“No”, replied Brian, “it’s been quite warm.”
Rocky leaned forward and to everyone’s surprise, licked the costume.
“Eww!” Said Gary.
“As I thought” said Rocky. “Mr Macready, you were helped to go to sleep. This is a mixture of…”
Brian finished his sentence… “… Honey Mead and Sherry?”
“Honey Mead and Sherry.” Concluded Rocky.
“Hey look, it’s another bell!”said Gary, spotting something glinting by the tree.
“And I’m guessing it’s not Sooty’s” said Rocky.
“Well, this is interesting” said Brian.
Today’s Advent treat: A barrel, a crowbar, an axe and two handcuffs.
It makes sense that the policeman would have handcuffs, but I’m not sure about the other things, unless we will see a robber in later advent boxes.
A few nice accessories to add to the pile – so far, I’ve been quite pleased with the advent presents.
Yesterday’s snowman caused me to have to reconsider the story line – but I’m pleased that (so far) everything has been able to fit together in the story.
Authors note: if you can’t quite read it, the back of Gary’s jumper has the words “Bah humbug!” on it
The results of the water came back quickly. Rocky was definitely confused, but drove over to Brian to let him know – at least he wouldn’t worry that someone had been poisoning Sooty.
“Well the large majority is water – and we were able to identify it as mineral spring water – you spoil that cat sometimes” said Rocky. Brian looked at his shoes and smiled.
“Well, he is supposed to be a mouser, but he really is too lovely for that, so I do treat him a bit.”
“Evidently” continued Rocky “because we also found Honey Mead and Sherry in the water too!”
“Hang on” said Brian, “I don’t treat him THAT well.”
“That’s what I thought” said Rocky. “It’s a cunning plan; whoever it is has learned that by adding Honey Mead, which is sweet AND the sherry, it would make any guard pets a little sleepy – perfect for any thefts.”
“Well it’s a plan… but hang on, we’re not talking about making guard dogs go to sleep are we; this is a cat!”
“I must admit that this is confusing, but then everything about this is odd.”
“So, everything else checks out?”
“Yes we couldn’t find anything else unusual in the water – so apart from taking to drink Sooty is fine.”
“Certainly explains why Sooty has been a little slow to wake in the morning” said Brian as he rubbed his chin.
Just then, Gary appeared on cue.
“Just ready for my morning disappointment” said Gary.
“Then you’ve had a successful morning” replied Brian.
“Why – have they arrived?” Asked Gary expectantly.
“No – they were stolen again.”
“So why am I successful?”
“Well”, replied Brian with a smile, “You arrived to be disappointed that the Brussels had been stolen again – and they had been – so you were right to be expected to be disappointed.”
“I think I need a drink” said Gary.
“Try the cat’s water” replied Rocky. “Actually, I could do with a drink as well, I’ve only had four cups of coffee this morning and it’s not ten o’ clock yet.”
As they sat in the office, Gary looked out of the window.
“Nice Snowman” he said.
“What snowman?” Replied Brian.
“That one over there.”
Rocky thought for a moment.
“Brian – how many Snowmen have you made?”
Brian looked straight at Rocky.
“None – I leave that to the children. I used to make them, but I started to get frustrated when I couldn’t quite get it right and they would fall over as soon as they started to look like proper people.”
Gary looked out the window. “That’s a really good one though.”
Rocky thought for a moment.
“I’m certain that yesterday I saw a snowman on the other side of the building. Today, you’ve seen one this side.”
“Could someone be building them? Perhaps to hide something?”
“Oh that’s clever. Whoever it is has stolen the Brussels, hidden them in a Snowman – where no-one would look – and then later can come along and take them away. It’s a perfect crime!”
Rocky raised his hand.
“One small issue” he said. “You have security cameras around the building – so wouldn’t you see something like a sack of Brussels suddenly appearing?”
“Perhaps, but consider this: the cameras only work in burst periods rather than as a continuous feed. Also I reckon you could throw the Brussels then run really quickly; if you knew when the camera was on you could get round it.”
“Hmm” Rocky grumbled “That is a possibility.”
“Either way, I think we need to go and break down a Snowman… the second best bit of building one!” said Gary.
They finished their coffees and went outside. Not waiting to be polite, Gary rushed up to the snowman and delivered a really hard kick straight into the centre of the snowman.
Today’s advent present: It’s the snowman!
A useful collection of parts – with some brilliant spares in an extra carrot and two additional neckers (great for my Lego Scout Troop!). If I was to have any issues with the snowman, I would have liked the face to at least have two dots for eyes and perhaps more of a stick like arm thing, but that’s being really pernickety.