Rating: Green cortina
Word count: 1,050
Notes: Written for the 1973flashfic Conspiracy challenge, with thanks to my beta jinxed100
“I bought a paper this morning. I’ll just see which films are showing locally and you can choose one.” Sam Tyler went over to his desk to fetch the newspaper. “Hang on. What’s happened to it?”
He opened the desk drawers but could find no sign of his paper.
“It’s okay,” called out Annie. “Geoff’s got a copy. We can look at that.”
Having decided on The Towering Inferno and agreeing what time they would meet, Sam went back to his desk, where, much to his surprise, his newspaper was where he thought he had left it.
Sam sat down and began to work through the file on the Dexter case. He began to notice a similarity to a case that they had dealt with at the beginning of the year. Wanting to cross check a couple of facts he left the office to go down to the archives. He felt rather pleased with himself as he came back in and was looking forward to bragging to the Guv about his new discoveries. Only the case file was no longer on his desk. Once more he checked the desk drawers and then shouted at Ray to return the file.
Ray looked up in surprise. “I’m not working on the Dexter file. You know that, Boss.”
“Damn. I must have left it in the archives.”
Sam’s good humour was rapidly dispersing.
He returned empty handed, only to find the file back on his desk as if it had never moved. Sam glared at the rest of CID, but there was no indication that anyone had been playing a trick on him. It had happened before, but normally someone would be unable to restrain from having a small laugh and this time no-one at all seemed to be watching him. He sighed and continued making notes. After a while, he paused, stretched and decided to go to the canteen for a cup of coffee. Carefully he placed the file and his notepad square on the desk, glared at them, as if daring them to move and left the office.
As soon as he came back in he checked his desk; the file was still where he had left it. Breathing a sigh of relief he sat down ready to continue and found that whilst the file was there the notepad wasn’t. His breathing was starting to come more rapidly and he tried to force himself to relax. He decided that some fresh air might help so he stood up and grabbed his jacket. He practically ran down the stairs and shot round the corner towards the front desk; which was where he saw the small fair haired girl in the red dress. He turned tail and ran back up the stairs and into CID. Sure enough, his notepad was back on his desk, exactly as it had been when he went for his coffee.
Breathing heavily he went to get himself a drink of water. When he finally felt confident that he could go back into CID without making a fool of himself he marched back in and headed determinedly towards his desk. One look at the clown in the middle of it and he shot straight back out.
Ten minutes later Gene Hunt found him sitting on the floor in the gents with his arms around his knees sobbing incoherently.
“For crying out loud , Tyler, I really haven’t got time for this.” Getting no reply he added rather more gently “Okay, I’ll go and sort things out. As if I hadn’t got enough to do already.”
Gene banged open the door to CID and demanded angrily, “Right you lot, which one of you has decided to upset my DI?”
The confused expressions on the faces of his team soon convinced Gene that whatever Sam might think no-one had decided to play tricks on him and it must therefore be one of Sam’s “funny days”. Sam, however, was not as easy to console and in the end Gene had to take him to his own house, because Sam refused to go back to his flat.
Leaving the younger man to have a sleep on the sofa Gene returned to the station and called Annie into his office.
“Right, Cartwright, let’s see if we can work out what’s got our DI’s knickers in a twist this time. All I could get from him was his files and papers were being stolen by a little girl, but that she kept putting them back again. Has he finally lost his marbles?”
“Well, Guv. I know he thought he’d lost his newspaper this morning when we were discussing which film to see, but I think Ray had borrowed it to check a couple of last night’s football scores. And then later on Sam was looking for the Dexter file, because he accused Ray of having taken it.”
“Ah. That was me. I thought it was similar to that case we had at the beginning of the year, so took it to look something up. Sam wasn’t around at the time. I didn’t think he’d even missed it.”
“Hmmm.” Annie thought for a minute. She disappeared out of Gene’s office, but returned shortly afterwards. “Chris says he did pick up Sam’s notepad at one point. He’d put some files on Sam’s desk when he answered his phone and then when he picked them up again he must have also taken the notepad. Once he realised what he had done he put it back again, but didn’t think anything of it.”
“You wouldn’t if you were dealing with a normal human being,” said Gene ruefully. “But why mention a little girl?”
“You know how Sam has nightmares about a little girl in a red dress, Guv. Actually, I saw Phyllis’ neighbour at the front desk earlier. She’d come in to drop something off for Phyllis. She had her little girl with her.”
“She wasn’t carrying a clown I suppose?”
“No, but Vince was.”
“A present for his nephew. He’d bought it on the way to work and was asking Charlie if he thought it was suitable.”
“So, what we’re saying is that a number of perfectly logical events have sent my extremely illogical DI into a complete tailspin. Tell me Cartwright, what am I supposed to do with him?”