"This is perhaps the most intriguing case FBI has ever encountered." Ron said to Brown. Both of them were very able officers of FBI. Ron Crick was senior to Steve Brown, despite the two being very close friends on a personal level.
"Certainly. Three murders, three different locations at the same time, and with the same revolver. It’s frigging impossible!" Brown exclaimed in wonder. The complication of the case could put anybody thoughtful.
"Call Francis. I am assigning this case to him."
"How could... I mean how could you assign that case to a tyro like him? He has been with us for just 10 days, though he did make an impression, but handing over such a delicate case to him...wouldn't it create an issue?" Brown said, doubting Ron's decision with great disbelief.
"Francis is sheer genius. Haven't you seen the brilliance he exhibited in the last case - Linda Carey's murder mystery? That case was hanging for about 3 months, and that guy solved the thing in just one hour and that too in his mind. No paper, no evidences ... just in his mind. This is what you call genius!"
"Yeah, he did the impossible, but still! This one is not that easy nut to crack. We haven't encountered such a complicated case like this ever before. What about the authorities? Won't they question your decision if you give such a big case to a beginner?" Brown was worried.
"Francis won't give them enough time to question my decision. Two days at max and the job is done! That's what Francis is all about! Call him in my chamber." Ron said.
God forbid for his name not being Sherlock Holmes. Even Sherlock Holmes would have tough time competing with him. He solved 15 cases - eight of which were pending for over two months - in just 10 days. His genius proved to be a matter of envy for all his colleagues, not even sparing the senior officials like Brown. Just 10 days of joining the FBI, Francis Dawson had shown his mettle across the branches in the country.
"Good Morning Sir... I mean Sirs." A voice of grave baritone came from the throat of a short bespectacled young-fellow standing near the ottoman. He had just entered the room making no noise, neither footsteps nor the door's creak. His attire was nothing spectacular, with crumpled pants, a furry blazer and dishevelled hair giving his appearance a tinge of mystery.
"Mornin' Francis. How you doin'? Come have a seat. So, are you enjoying your work here?" Ron asked in a pleasant voice. He signalled the secretary for a coffee.
"Yes Sir, the work culture is very good. Some of the pending cases were really mind-boggling but I enjoyed every bit of time I spent with them. Especially in the last couple of cases, they seemed really challenging to me. It took me almost one day to solve them." Francis exclaimed expressing the amount of difficulty the last two cases posed for him.
"That case was pending for more than two months, anyway, leave all those past glories. I've a new case for you! Certainly far more challenging than the previous one." Ron said. Brown looked towards him with a doubtful face.
"That's quite interesting. What it is about?" Francis said. His face shone and eyes sparkled, his curiosity quite evident from his face.
"First have a coffee, Dawson." Ron said seeing his secretary coming with a tray of coffee with three mugs.
"How do you do it Mr. Dawson?" Brown suddenly broke his long spell of silence.
"Do what, Mr. Brown?" Francis looked into Brown's eyes with a questioning look.
"Solve mysteries. Your sheer genius in the cases you've been. You are a matter of envy for many." Brown said, definitely envied.
"A matter of pride, isn't it what you mean Brown?" Ron stared at Brown sternly. Francis remained indifferent to Ron.
"It's nothing genius sir. I just think from a criminal's perspective. If I had been the criminal what I would have done to accomplish that task with utmost perfection? After studying the crime-site, you need just around 15-20 minutes of mind-work for the execution of the crime in your head and you're done. It's simple...actually very simple." Francis said in a humble tone.
"So coming to the point. Yesterday, three murders took place at three different places - Wimpole Street, Mall road and Ormond Garden Area at around 5:30 pm in the evening - all at almost the same time. The forensic expert analyzed the bodies and what he has come out with has blown our minds. The murderer shot three 21.9 mm flat-point bullets in each of the body. All those bullets bear exactly the same dent which predicts that all of the three murders have been carried out by the same revolver. But how? How could it happen at around the same time? The places are almost two hours away from each other even if we use the fastest transportation means." Ron said. He looked towards Francis in hope and anticipation to note what the genius' response was.
Francis was silent. He did not respond at all. His eyes were resting upon the window, his fingers juggling the small paper-weight that was there on the table and his face blank.
"I told you Mr.Crick that you can't blindly trust anybody. See, he too is confused, rather he's struggling. Is this what you call genius?" Brown seized the open opportunity to criticize the maven. Francis was not affected at all.
"Just give him some time Brown. Keep your gibber inside your throat." Ron rebuked irritably.
"I..." Brown was interrupted by Ron's index finger on his lips.
The pause continued. Two minutes passed. None of them spoke. Brown, irritated at both of them, stood up and walked away from the room.
A dozen multiples of two-minutes passed. The lull prevailed. Ron's faith in Francis didn't depreciate. Francis' eyes were still resting upon the window, his fingers however stopped the juggling task and his expression was moving towards the brighter side. Suddenly, he exclaimed, "I solved it!"
Bewildered Ron could utter just one word, "How?"
Francis, with a childlike excitement, answered ...
TO BE CONTINUED...
This was what Zafar read in the weekly magazine MEDLEY's story-section. With bubbling anger and rising impatience for the long wait he would have to do for the next week's issue, he threw the magazine in the hearth and went to sleep.
P.S. Wanna kill me, isn't it?
P.S. If I had continued to solve that mystery, the story would be in the category of 'yet another thriller', but now it's graffiti - unique and different. I regard this one as my most innovative creation.