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The Fancy Watch

A strange tale about growing up

By Wilkie StewartPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
The Fancy Watch
Photo by Lucas Santos on Unsplash

Brenda looks across the desk at the officer. "My Martin is a good boy, so he is," she says, putting on her posh voice. "A little angel. There's no way he's a common thief."

The policeman shakes his head. "We are only trying to establish the facts, Mrs. Oliver. We're not accusing anyone of anything yet," he says.

"Yet, he says," she says to her son. "Anything yet. You see how they work these sly men. They use their questions to lure you into their trap. Like a spider! No son of mine is getting eaten up like a fly. Especially not my baby."

"Aw, mum," Martin mumbles. He sits crouched down into his coat, staring at his feet.

"Can we get back to the facts, Mrs. Oliver?" the officer says. "You and your son were in Benito Jewels on the High Street, this afternoon, at about 3 pm is that correct?"

"Yes, we were there," Brenda says. "I've already told you this. To pick up a pair of earrings for my mother. Already paid for."

"Why was your son with you?" he asks. "Shouldn't he have been at school?"

"I had taken him to the Dentist. On the High Street also," she says. "But the fool boy wouldn't go in. He refused. He said he didn't want the check-up."

"I see. So you go into the shop. Was anyone other than Mr. Benito in the store?"

"No," she says. "Just us."

"And Mr. Benito goes to get you the earrings? Did you see the gold watch that was on display behind the counter?"

"No," she says. "I didn't see any watch."

"Okay," the officer indicates to his colleague, who presses the play button on a tablet on the table before them. "Can you watch this please?"

"Is that me?" she says, looking at the footage on the screen. She touches her hair. It shows Brenda with Martin and the shop-keeper. There is no sound and the picture is in black and white.

"Yes, this is from the security camera in the shop. You can see yourselves and Mr. Benito. And you can see the watch, yes? Now look carefully as Mr. Benito goes through to the back."

They watch the screen. Mr. Benito goes through to fetch the earrings. They wait. Brenda looks at a tray of rings under glass on the counter. The watch suddenly disappears. One second it is there, the next it is gone. Mr. Benito comes back, puts a box into a bag, hands it to Brenda and she and Martin leave.

"What trickery is that?" she says. "We didn't touch any watch."

"It confused us too. Is there anything you'd like to say, Martin?" The officer waits but the boy remains looking at his feet.

"Show the slowed down version, please," he says to his colleague. The boy looks up. They watch the same scene. This time as Brenda inspects the rings, Martin unfurls a long tongue from his mouth that darts towards the watch, picks it up, pulls it back across the counter and deposits it in his pocket before curling back into his mouth. Even slowed down the action is almost too fast for the eye to follow.

Brenda stares at her son.

He shrugs. "It just grew," he says. And he sticks the tongue out. It squirms in the air like a moist worm above their heads. Even the policeman recoil. "Now, who's fly?" the boy says, laughing.

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About the Creator

Wilkie Stewart

Writer of strange little tales living in Glasgow, Scotland. A former IT professional who loves literary fiction, poetry, Eurovision, art-house film, post-crossing, and comics. Walks daily with his camera when he can. @werewegian1 on Twitter

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    Wilkie StewartWritten by Wilkie Stewart

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