‘He works in a circus; he is a joker.’
‘Why has he gone missing?
“I don’t know. Three days back he left the circus after his last performance. But he did not reach home. We are all worried.’
‘Did you talk to the circus people, the manager or his friends or other employees?’
‘Yes, but strangely nobody seems to know anything.’
‘We will investigate…….soon.’ Joker’s wife left the police station. She was sad and disheartened; unsure of what the police would do. She was scared to even imagine her life without him. They had been married only for five years but they had been together almost from their early childhood; he would often say that they shared a bed even as infants.
But the police carried out an investigation. They found joker’s fancy shoes on the roof of a ten-storey building not far from the circus ground. But this discovery did not help them to come to any conclusion.
One day a disgruntled circus employee confided in the investigating police officer that the joker was the fourth performer who had gone missing from the circus during last one year. The needle of suspicion, he said, pointed towards one of the owners of the circus who, if rumours were to be believed, was a sex maniac.
The investigation that followed this vital lead was lackadaisical; the Police Inspector rather chose to strike a deal with the suspect.
Six months later the Inspector was rushing on a train to his hometown; his son had met with a serious accident. He got the news at eight in the night and left by the first train.
He was asleep when the train screeched to a halt in the middle of nowhere. He got up and found a weirdly dressed man, squatting on the opposite berth; the man was looking intently at him.
‘Looks like a circus man,’ the inspector thought.
‘You should not have done that,’ the man addressed him in a stinging, ice-cold voice.
‘What did you say?’ he responded in an irritated, aggressive tone.
‘Why did you cut a deal with the murderer? You are abominable. You will regret all your life.’
The Inspector was dumbstruck. The train began to move. The man got up and left. The Inspector noted that the man was barefooted; that somehow unnerved him.
Early morning he reached his hometown and went straight to the hospital. His son had survived a horrifying crash. He profusely thanked the doctor.
‘Thank the man who brought him to the hospital; if there had been any delay the boy would have died.’
‘Who brought him here?’
‘Some sort of a barefoot joker; in fact he stayed overnight and left a short while ago. But there was something queer about him.’
The inspector stood tongue tied.
‘He said something strange; he said, “Poor boy has to pay for other’s sins.”’
Police Inspector felt a shiver trickling down his spine.
my earlier posts for A to z Challenge 2016