Jack the Aider Part 3.

Continuing the attempts of Inspector Token-Black of the Bristol Constabulary to apprehend the nefarious serial life-saver Jack the Aider.  A miscreant with no comprehension of the appeal of death to the majority of poor sods who have to live in the austerity of late-Victorian England.

Using the recommendation of an associate I embraced new methodology in tackling crime detection by employing the services of a criminal profiler. I immediately allowed him, Professor Hank Cleveland, access to all the files on this baffling case. With them at his disposal he was able to wear down the metal locks and open the lid. He then promptly advised me to, in future, only purchase cases that weren’t so baffling to gain access to.

Having gained possession of the documents relating to Jack the Aider he studied them intently. Why he expressed a preference to examine them under canvas rather than in the office I’d set aside for him I do not know, maybe it is the artist in him. He concentrated upon the nature of Jack the Aider’s misdemeanours; the favoured locations, the times of each atrocity and other facets of the Aider’s modus operandi. This enabled Professor Cleveland to compile the following profile of Jack the Aider, to which I’ve added my initial thoughts after each point in brackets.

  1. He or she is high up in the medical profession. (I will need to check out everyone who works on the top-floor at the Bristol General Hospital.)
  2. The location of their birth features prominently in their name. (Suspect anyone called ‘Cliff’ as there’s a chance Jack the Aider’s mother went rock climbing whilst heavily pregnant.)
  3. He or she has the ear of someone in authority. (If it’s Queen Victoria’s right ear the Aider has stolen it would explain why only her left profile ever appears on coins and stamps.)
  4. He or she was plagued throughout childhood by bird sounds. (I will need to check the background of any suspect to see if they were ever hired out as freelance scarecrows in infancy.)
  5. He or she served in the Crimea. (I’ll need to visit the tennis club in Redland and add to my list of suspects anyone who has played abroad.)

All of this pointed to one person. However, within seconds it pointed at nobody at all. A minute later it pointed at three people, followed by a woman walking her dog and then two children. That’s the last time I allow a criminal profiler to write his list on a one-way sign!

Just when it seemed this list of suspects was leading me up a blind alley I was the recipient of the touch of luck anyone, like myself in the vanguard of fighting evil, is grateful for. Florence Nightingale was arrested for loitering with intent to use a bandage in Park Row. It was normal procedure to match everyone taken into custody with the criminal profile and Florence Nightingale scored a full-house.

Her temporary apartment in Cotham was searched and a large quantity of bandages, plasters, a strait-jacket and antiseptic ointment located there. Despite this we were still unsure whether this would be enough to secure a conviction. It was more than enough to secure a lunatic, especially the strait-jacket. A lawyer who called into the station upon inspecting what we’d retrieved said that something more concrete was needed. A further search located some plaster of Paris. He said that that would be fine and immediately applied it to his broken forearm.

Nightingale proved to be a rather fussy filly. Her biggest bugbear was the sleeping accommodation provided for her. One has to remember that this woman single-handedly took on the establishment to secure better conditions for British troops in the Crimea (her other hand was used to carry the lamp). She also carried a heavy limp, this was because just before she was provided with her famous lamp, a kindly French officer, who witnessed Nightingale’s toils in the wards in darkness, said, in his heavy French accent to a British officer whilst pointing at Miss Nightingale, that this lady needs a lamp. The British officer walked straight across to Florence in his reinforced boots and stamped on her toes.

It was decided to remand the famous nurse in custody so that she could assist us with our enquiries, and help us with our veruccas, aching backs, migraines and a variety of other ailments. The press had a field day and I chuckled at the headline in The Western Daily Press which read ‘FLORENCE: NIGHT IN GAOL’.

Soon after the station was deluged by injured British troops from various parts of the Empire seeking treatment. Those engaged in trying to calm conflict with the Zulus and Boers in South Africa found it so expensive and time-consuming transporting injured British troops from the tip of Africa to our police station that it was strongly mooted that the Zulu conflict might be relocated to Bristol. Indeed, I have it on good authority that Dinuzulu the King of the Zulus was looking at property in the Dundry area and was seeking to position his tribe on the slopes there. This would’ve made it a rather precarious undertaking for any schools to allow their pupils to practice the javelin in PE in any area in its path.

It was stated in Parliament that Florence Nightingale would have to be released as if the Zulu conflict was relocated for reasons of convenience it would set a dangerous precedent. Dr Alfred Carpenter, the MP for Bristol North, made his point against war relocating by cleverly using examples from history of how other wars would’ve been impacted upon by relocating for reasons of convenience. Here are some of his examples:

  1. The Battle of Marathon – relocated to the outskirts of Athens to give sprinters a better chance.
  2. The Battle of Hastings – relocated to a sauna in Stockholm to save the weavers of the Bayeux Tapestry money on thread as the armies wouldn’t have a stitch on.
  3. The Battle of Bosworth – relocated to the Spinal Injuries Unit at the Bristol General Hospital so Richard III could get his hunchback checked out and thus kill two princes with one stone.
  4. The Battle of Trafalgar – relocated to a forest with plenty of mistletoe overhead so Nelson wouldn’t have to waste his dying breath having to ask for kisses.

Fortunately, fate intervened and whilst Nightingale was in custody another Jack the Aider atrocity was committed thereby proving her innocence. She was released and none of us officers had any hard feelings towards her. Although this was because she admitted later that she’d been lacing our drinks with bromide.

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