A dark character stood with his back to the wall, hidden carefully down a small side-street, peering out round the corner. He was dressed from head to foot in a black, and wearing black framed sunglasses that screamed 'I am up to something'.
It was 11.25 in the morning, the high street was busy with shoppers making use of the bright sunshine and unusually warm temperatures.
As the target moved away, the man spotted a bus stop about ten metres ahead. He checked for obstacles and then stealthily moved over to behind the bus shelter, peering out again to check if he had been spotted. He had of course, but he wasn't bothered about the old ladies busy doing their shopping and sitting outside of cafés.
After twenty seconds, the man looked for his next cover and eyed a folding shop signboard that was advertising today's sandwich specials. He checked the coast was clear and quietly sneaked out from the cover of the bus stop. Had this been a cartoon, each of his footsteps would have been soundtracked with the single plonk of a xylophone, played with the verve of the late Patrick Moore.
Midway to the sandwich board the man realised he looked too suspicious, so to stay less visible he adopted the first rule of stealth video games, no one sees you if you do a forward roll. However, The man was not what you might call an accomplished gymnast. He crouched down, and hesitantly moved into a wonky forward roll that promptly veered off to the side, resulting in him kicking the sandwich board with his feet as he finished rolling.
The thud of the man's feet against the board caused everybody in the near vicinity to turn around and stare in bemusement. A second later the board fell on top of the man's head, causing him to yelp out loud in pain.
A brief moment later he shook off the injury and quietly ran ahead to behind the postbox up in front of him, staring firmly at his target to ensure he hadn't been seen.
Nigel had heard the crash, but the board had hidden his follower. He carried on walking down the busy street, weaving between old ladies and occasionally glancing to the shop windows, however he had the unshakeable feeling that something was amiss.
It was, that something was Steve.
Steve realised there was no further cover, so decided to run to the nearby music shop about 100 metres ahead, just behind Nigel. He started to run as quietly as he could, he got to a point equally ten metres from Nigel and ten metres from the shop, at which point he caught his shoe on the pavement and fell sprawling over. The noise made Nigel turn around and leap out of his skin as he saw the suspicious character behind him.
“What the fuck are you doing?!” Nigel exclaimed.
Steve stayed silent.
“You looked like a bloody mental case dressed like that.”
Steve took off his glasses, before realising a split second later that this was the only thing preventing him from being recognised. He winced in irritation at his mistake.
“Steve? What the bloody hell are you doing following me?”
“Pardon? Non Englische, er, gesprechen.”
“Steve. Stop being a cock.”
“I er, no understand.”
Steve sighed. “I was trying to find out who planted the terrible guests onto Tony's show. I was trailing the suspects for evidence of wrongdoing.”
“I'm in town buying a new jacket Steve.”
“How long have you been following me?”
“Well...” Steve counts on his fingers. “Six, maybe seven... no, six. Six minutes.”
“Ok, well stop it. If you want to talk to me just ask.”
“Not much of a secret investigation if I just ask you is it Nigel?”
“Why does it need to be secret?”
Steve thought for a second. “Because someone was acting on behalf of Gerald, and I want to expose them.”
“Have you thought about involving Tony?”
“Well not yet.”
“You haven't got him as a suspect too have you?”
“No. I ruled him out in the first week of enquiries.” Steve remarked proudly.
“Good work Officer Dibble.” Nigel replied sarcastically.
“Thank you.” Steve replied with no realisation of the real meaning.
“Can I suggest you meet up with us and we discuss this properly?” Nigel pleaded.
“No can do.” Steve answered boldly. “I'm going to crack this case myself if it's the last thing I do.”
“Steve, if you keep falling over like that it may very well be just that.”
Steve ignored this and pointed at Nigel. “You better not be behind this, I will catch you if you are.” At which point, Steve turned and ran off, a few seconds later he collided with an old lady's shopping bag causing both of them, and the contents of the bag, to eject all over the pavement.
Nigel looked confused, before remarking to himself. “He really needs to stop watching those American cop dramas.”
Steve picked himself up, helped the old lady to her feet, and carried on walking away with a slight limp.
Nigel shook his head, turn back around and walked off humming the theme tune from The Bill.