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The Circus Comes to Town

Title: The Circus Comes to Town
Rating: White Cortina
Word count: 1,085 words
Notes: Written for 1973flashfic for the circus challenge. With thanks to my beta jinxed100


To say that DCI Gene Hunt was not happy was probably an understatement.  The circus had come to town, which meant a considerable increase in petty crime, with a corresponding increase in the need for plod to make their presence felt, and that meant they weren’t at the DCI’s beck and call.  He’d spent the whole of the previous afternoon listening to his DI banging on about cruelty to animals.  And now DC Skelton had actually been to the circus and was bouncing round the office like an eight year old telling anyone who was prepared to listen how funny it had been.

So when Phyllis came into the office announcing that she had just the job for the present bunch of clowns he completely lost his temper.

“If I never hear another word about this circus, it will be much too soon,” he stormed.

Phyllis smirked, “Sorry Guv.  The ringmaster’s just phoned.  Someone’s stolen the elephant’s trailer.”

“And?” Gene didn’t like the way Phyllis was still smirking.

“The elephant was in it.”

Sam thought he’d never seen quite so many expressions cross the Guv’s face in such a short space of time.  However, Gene quickly recovered his composure, glared at the rest of the detectives who were still laughing fit to burst and ordered Ray to go with him to the circus.

“But Guv,” chorused Sam and Chris.

“I am not taking anyone who is going to spend the entire time whining about wanting to see the bl**dy chimps, whether they want to play with them or set them free!”  With that he stomped out of the office.

Half an hour later Phyllis put a call through to Sam from one of his snouts.  “Come on Chris,” he called, “I’ve just had a tip off that there’s something strange down at the deserted warehouses at the end of Canal Street.  I’m sure it’s connected to those break-ins we were investigating last week.  We’ll show Gene bl**dy Hunt what proper police work is.”


Meanwhile Gene and Ray were interviewing the ring master.  “When did you notice the elephant was missing?”

“Must ‘ave been about half four this morning.”

“But you didn’t call us until gone ten.”

“’Ad to check out whether someone ‘ad just moved ‘er”

“I would have thought even if they had moved her it wouldn’t have been all that difficult to see where they’d moved her to.”

“You know how it is.”

Gene didn’t, but he didn’t see there was any point in saying so.  “Well, if you think of anything else that might be helpful, let us know.”

He and Ray left the ring master and walked back to the Cortina. 

“You’d think someone would have noticed an elephant going down the road last night,” Ray remarked, “even if it was in a trailer.”

“Nah, it was raining last night, so there’d have been no-one around.  Even the prozzies who hadn’t got a punter would have given up and gone ‘ome by then.”


Sam and Chris had reached the warehouses and were met by Sam’s snout.

“This way Mr Tyler, but you’ll ‘ave to be quiet,” the man said.

They followed the snout into the warehouse; Sam full of anticipation.


They both looked.  There was the elephant.

“What do we do now, Boss?”  Chris was the first to speak.

Sam, whose mind was still full of finding stolen goods and gathering evidence, was for once at a loss for words.  He knew the correct procedure for dealing with inanimate objects, he was familiar with the Dangerous Dogs Act, even if it didn’t apply in 1973, but he couldn’t recall anything relating to what to do when you found an elephant.  The one thing he was sure of was that Phyllis would not appreciate it being brought to the station.

“I’m going to contact the Guv.  Chris, you stay here and watch it.”

“What do I do if it moves somewhere?”

“Don’t let it tread on you.”

Sam radioed back to the station.  Phyllis answered and told him that Gene had said he was to get to White Star Quay as soon as possible.  Having acquainted Phyllis with the news about the elephant and arranged for relief to be provided for Chris, pending a decision as to what to do with said elephant, he set off for the quay.

It was only a short distance from the Canal Street warehouses to the quay, so within a couple of minutes Sam had rejoined his senior officer. 

“We’ve found the elephant,” Sam boasted.

“I ‘ope you gave it a bun,” Gene answered.  “What do you make of this then?”

He pointed to a trailer which gave the impression of having been abandoned.

“It’s the elephant trailer.  But what’s it doing here?”

“It’s got a puncture.  We’ve got witnesses who say it wasn’t here earlier, so my guess is that it was on its way somewhere when it got the puncture and the driver has gone to get help.  Where did you say the elephant was?”

“The deserted warehouses in Canal Street.”

“So, someone takes the trailer and elephant from the circus, drops the elephant off in Canal Street and drives on to his chosen destination.  He then returns, collects the elephant and goes back to the circus.  Only there’s a puncture which delays everything.”

“But why?”

“That, Sammy-boy, is what we are about to find out.”  Gene pointed to Ray who had appeared holding a crowbar.

They climbed into the trailer and Ray loosened one of the planks on the floor.  Hidden underneath the flooring were a number of holdalls, which when opened revealed the proceeds from what looked like several break-ins. 

At that moment DCI Litton arrived with some of the other members of the RCS.  “It’s okay Hunt,” Litton said, “we’ll take over from here.  Right you lot, get this flooring up and let’s see what’s underneath.”


Later, sitting in The Railway Arms, Sam said to Gene, “What I don’t understand was why you’d told Phyllis to inform Litton.”

Gene grinned, “Easy.  We were sure from the ringmaster’s behaviour that he knew something was up and that he had only contacted us because it had gone wrong.  Having found the trailer we knew that if there was anything suspect about it then it couldn’t go back to the circus.  I figured that if we handed the trailer over to Litton then he would be responsible for the elephant as well.”

Sam laughed and picked up the glasses, “My round I presume.”



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 5th, 2011 06:16 pm (UTC)
For someone who lived by the book, Sam felt that it lacked certain facts regarding what to do when you found an elephant.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 5th, 2011 06:17 pm (UTC)
Sam would have hated the idea of the circus having animals. And thank you for commenting.
Mar. 4th, 2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is great!!! I admire the plot stuff going on here, plus everyone is absolutely so in character.
Mar. 5th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad you liked it.
Mar. 4th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
This totally rocks my socks. Thank you for writing! ♥
Mar. 5th, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC)
I'm always happy to accept a challenge. And very glad you liked it.
Mar. 4th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
I loved the line “I am not taking anyone who is going to spend the entire time whining about wanting to see the bl**dy chimps, whether they want to play with them or set them free!”

Thanks for another great read.
Mar. 5th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome.
Mar. 7th, 2011 11:23 am (UTC)
Great! :) Loved the fact that sam kept talking about animal rights.

“I am not taking anyone who is going to spend the entire time whining about wanting to see the bl**dy chimps, whether they want to play with them or set them free!”

Best. Line. Ever! :)
Mar. 8th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it. You just know that Gene's quite right about Sam and Chris' behaviour.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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