Jack the Aider: The World’s First Serial Life-Saver. Part 1.

(The Notes of Inspector Token-Black of the Bristol Constabulary.)

I have been assigned my most challenging case to date. I just hope the calendar is returned to my office soon. However, what I am aware of is this. It is a case so hideous and merciless that it has struck fear into the hearts of every inhabitant of this city, and caused major concern throughout this nation. Indeed, even those who live abroad will not sleep easy in their beds whenever night falls in Bristol….mainly because for a lot of them it is still the middle of the day owing to the time-difference.

As I write this, Jack the Ripper is on the loose in London barbarously killing unfortunates. But here in Bristol we have a more cruel and vindictive bleeder engaged in the Devil’s work; for in this poverty-stricken society he is deliberately keeping unfortunates alive. For these dreadful acts of serial life-saving he has earned the chilling sobriquet Jack the Aider.

Here is a list of Jack the Aider’s saving activities this month (September, 1888):

  1.   Sept 1st. Saved Jim Meadows from jumping off of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
  2.   Sept 8th. Saved Gloria Fenwaite from drowning in the Docks.
  3.  Sept 17th. Saved Miles Smythe from the path of the Bristol to Paddington Express.
  4.  Sept 24th. Saved Terrence Kay from swallowing bleach and also took a blood sample for analysis.
  5.  Sept 28th. Saved four shillings and sixpence with the Bristol & West.

Currently we have boys as young as eight spending sixteen hours a day up chimneys. This is an outrage as it only leaves eight hours a day for the rest of us to seek this refuge from the appalling, fetid streets. The Times have been hard for many years now. I must get around to writing to the editor to request he returns to printing it on paper again, instead of the combination of bitumen and reinforced concrete that is presently favoured.

I am aware that these notes might never see the light of day. As a public servant I have signed the 1912 Official Secrets Act, which means I can be dismissed if I reveal anything that is due to happen in 1912. Seeing that is two dozen years into the future I have encountered little difficulty in keeping silent, as I have no idea what will occur then. Although, I have had to release four dodgy clairvoyants and two palm readers this very week without charge just incase they let slip anything under questioning.

It was inevitable that when this awful spate of life-saving arose that I would be selected to head the investigation. For my reputation goes before me. In my previous posting as a detective with the Scottish Highlands Police Force, I cracked a notorious case up there. For months Highlanders were terrorized by a ruthless and particularly ugly individual in the vicinity of the area’s many beauty spots, who demanded payment with menaces to stay away. This miscreant became known locally as ‘The Loch Ness Mobster’.

Working on a hunch – I had been incapacitated through a leg injury so used piggy back rides from the Highland Force’s resident campanologist – I tracked down the Loch Ness Mobster to her lair. Queen Victoria was very grateful and agreed that in the future she would stay within the confines of Balmoral on her sojourns north of the border and never to again unofficially venture out and frighten the locals. In appreciation for keeping this all hushed up, she presented the Highlands Police Force with the Royal Seal of Approval. Unfortunately, her eyesight must have been suspect, as it turned out to be a walrus. It cost the Highlands Force massively in supplies of fish to keep it fed, and I had to be released from my duties there as an economy measure.



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