Lord Cruss-Tupper typed in a code into another keypad on the wall and the laser beams disappeared. Sloth was about to step inside when Lord Cruss-Tupper warned, ‘Wait. This floor is electric. If you step on it ten millions volts will course through your body. You’ll be burned to a crisp.’
‘Is that what they call underfloor heating sir?’
‘No, no, no, It’s there for burglars.’
‘Oh I see. So if the burglars get nice and warm, they’ll have a little doze and we’ll catch them in the act.’
‘No. It doesn’t make them nice and warm, it turns them into a heap of ashes.
‘Tsk, tsk,’ said Constable Sloth disapprovingly. You’re not allowed to do that to burgliers. It’s a against the law. You can only use reasonable force. So, for example, you can’t hit a burglier with a hammer, but you are allowed if you put a bit of foam rubber on the hammer first.’
‘Balderdash,’ said Lord Cruss-Tupper. ‘Anyway I’ve turned the underfloor execution er. er. heating off now. So it’s perfectly safe to walk on the floor.’
Constable Sloth put one foot on the floor and his shoe burst into flame.
‘Ah, hold on,’ said Lord Cruss-Tupper, tapping at the keyboard. ‘That’s got it.’
‘My shoe’s on fire,’ said Constable Sloth.
Lord Cruss-Tupper grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed Constable Sloth from head to foot with white foam.’
‘It’s just my foot,’ said the column of foam.
Constable Sloth had just had a pretty bad week. The Sarge wasn’t pleased with him at all. On Monday he’d stepped in and stopped a fight. The Sarge wasn’t pleased. Apparently you’re allowed to have fights in boxing tournaments.
On Tuesday he’d saved a hare from being torn to death by dogs. The Sarge wasn’t pleased. Apparently they don’t use real hares at the greyhound track. Constable Sloth had wondered why it kept running in a circle. He thought it must just have one leg shorter than the other.
On Wednesday he’d caught a nude man. The Sarge wasn’t pleased. It turns out it’s not against the law to be naked if you’re in your own shower.
On Thursday he’d foiled a major bank robbery when two men in disguise went into the bank and demanded money. The Sarge wasn’t pleased. It wasn’t Constable Sloth's fault he hadn’t noticed the security van outside the bank, and that a thief ran away with all the money while he was cuffing the security guards.
On Friday he arrested a man for impersonating a police officer. The Sarge wasn’t pleased. This was mainly because he was the man Constable Sloth arrested.
Meanwhile up at the Old Grange, a grand old house on the hill just outside Dingle-cum-Dozy, Lord Haff-Mersey was entertaining some guests for the weekend. His guests were his sister Lady Stuffen-Nonsense, his brother Captain Strange, his nephew Mat Smooth and Arthur Mullins, a cockney antiques dealer from London.
Lord Haff-Mersey was an experienced juggler, magician, and could knock up a balloon giraffe in a matter of seconds, so there was no problem keeping his guests entertained over the weekend. He was assisted by his staff: his butler Gorgeous, his housekeeper, cook and ferret-trainer Mrs Tollpuddle, and Willy Eckerslike, his young gardener from up north.
The weekend went relatively well until the Sunday morning when they found Lord Haff-Mersey lying dead in the library with a large kitchen knife in his back.
Mrs Tollpuddle rang the police. Constable Sloth picked up the phone.
‘The police speaking,’ he said.
‘This is Mrs Tollpuddle from the Old Grange. I’m afraid to have to tell you that there’s been a murder,’
‘Brilliant!!!’ said Constable Sloth. ‘A real murder. I’ve never had one of them before.’
‘You sound quite pleased,’ said a shocked Mrs Tollpuddle.‘Oh no. I’m not pleased obviously,’ said Constable Sloth. ‘Murders are terrible things. We don’t want a
lot of murders in Dingle-cum-Dozy. Just the one isn’t too bad though is it?’
Detective Dan had just started his early morning training with Bozo the Dog. ‘Today,’ said Detective Dan. ‘I’m going to tell you what to do if you’re confronted with a maniac armed with a big knife.’
‘I think, if you don’t mind me saying, Detective Dan,’ said Detective Dan’s mum, who was listening at the window. ‘I think, if you were faced with a maniac armed with a big knife, I’d rather you ran away as fast as possible.’
Detective Dan raised his eyes to the heavens. Honestly, what could an ordinary housewife possibly know about dealing with maniacs, especially ones armed with big knives. She clearly hadn’t bothered to read the Big Detective Book for Boys which had much to say on the matter.
‘If I run away,’ he explained patiently. ‘Then all that’s going to happen is that the maniac will set upon someone else who cannot run away – such as an old or very fat person or indeed, a person who is fat and old, and stab them to death.’
‘Supposing this maniac turns out to be someone normal like a butcher or a fishmonger, who’s allowed to carry a knife and who happens to be very angry or maybe is chasing a fish burglar?’ queried Detective Dan’s mum.
‘Well then he’s not a maniac with a knife is he?’ pointed out Detective Dan, losing his patience with his mother a little. ‘I think you’ll find that I know best when it comes to knife-wielding maniacs.'
The three crime fighters looked around for the source of the strange noise. Moments later a small Chinese person emerged from behind the war memorial.
‘Listen. Detective Dan. You want know bout flying fish?’
‘Perhaps. What do you know about flying fish?’
‘Me know plenty,’
‘That’s an unusual name isn’t it, Mr Plenty? queried Constable Sloth. ‘Or can we call you No?’
‘No, no. You no unnersan. Me know plenty ‘bout flying fish.’
‘He’s a snitch,’ whispered Detective Dan.
‘I thought he was from China,’ said Constable Sloth.
‘I got plenty flying fish,’ whispered the Chinaman urgently. ‘ I got haribut, wock-eel, porrock, led snapper, heywing, an Lainbow Tlout.’
‘What’s he talking about?’ asked an even more bemused Constable Sloth.
‘You want fish and ship at my place. I owner Dingle-cum-Dozy Oh My Cod Fish ‘n’ Chip Shop init. Do rerry good deal. Get chips flee.’
‘No, no, we’re not interested in frying fish, we’re interested in flying fish,’ explained Detective Dan.
‘Yes have flying fish also. I shoot some down only lesterday. Velly nice wiv ship. Also Plawn Clackers’
Three hours later two big lorries arrived at the house. As they drove in the gate, the driver said,
‘That’s funny, I don’t remember any speed bumps last time we came here.’
‘What’s that on the bonnet?’ asked his mate.
‘I dunno,’ replied the driver. ‘Looks a bit like a policeman’s helmet. Where did that come from?’
Behind them, a small boy approached Constable Sloth, who was at that moment lying in the road.’
‘Are you one of them sleeping policemen?’ asked the small boy. ‘And why have you got them tyre marks on your face?’
‘It’s just lucky, they ran over my head,’ thought Constable Sloth. ‘So there wasn’t anything important damaged.’