Fred was unaware of the danger that lay very close at hand, soon he will have to use all his knowlage to save his best and oldest friend- Beth.
It was a dark and drizzly night when Fred left the comfort of his home to call on his old friend, Beth. He pulled his coat collar up and tugged his coat round himself a little tighter as he trudged through the puddles, and the rain, to Beth's house. What he did next would scare most people, but not him, as he turned down a dark practically unlit alley that cut through to Beth's road, a man came out from behind a large, black bin and told him to 'put you're 'ands up now or I'll shoot ya' when Fred noticed that the 'gun' he was holding was just a stick.
"Oh, really? And what will I be hit with? Flying splinters?" then in one swift movement Fred leapt on the man and twisted his right arm round his back, and also go him in a headlock, "Right. Now if you wouldn't mind not doing that again then we will all be on our merry way, alright?"
"Yes" groaned the man and Fred let him go; he scampered off as fast as his legs would allow, and Fred set off again laughing quietly to himself.
Once he reached the light of the street he could see the familiar sight of Beth's big blue front door with its gold door knob and black knocker in the shape of a rose, as he approached the house he saw a net curtain in the front room window flutter and before he even reached the door it flew open; out came a running Beth to meet him; she nearly knocked him over as she hugged him, but he managed to hold on to the old wooden fence.
"Oh Fred I have missed you, how have you been? Oh what am I thinking? Do come in.," she babbled as they walked up the garden path to the house.
Even on the door step Fred could feel the warmth of the house, it was as welcoming as it had always been, the old worn rug on the hall floor, the once cream coloured carpet on the stairs, now more grey than cream, the little sideboard with is mirror and all the pictures of Beth, her family and the few pictures of Fred himself with Beth, it was all exactly as he remembered, no wait there was one new thing, the table at the corner of the stairs had some flowers on it instead on the usual tweeting budgie, Bob.
"What happened to Bob?" he enquired as Beth shut the door behind him with a bang.
"Oh. He died last week, I had to put something on that table, it just looked so bare." She replied in a quiet and somewhat subdued voice.
"I am sorry Beth; you did have him for such a long time didn't you?"
"Well yes, but it's all in the past now, would you like some tea or coffee?"
"Tea, please" answered Fred, the cheeriness of Beth's reply was some what unnerving, last time her pet died she cried for two weeks, there was defiantly some thing wrong.
As he followed her into the kitchen he saw that her normally tidy dining room table was covered in papers, all strewn all over it. He walked over and picked a paper up and read:
'The art of becoming a detective
A novel by Beth Mays.'
What's this all about Beth? I never had you down as one to write a novel"
"Oh, that, well you see I've found lately, what with Bob gone, that I'm getting bored easier, so I decided to try to write a novel; and as you can see it's not going very well..." she trailed off as if she couldn't think of anything else to add.
"Well. Why did you choose that topic?"
"Because it's what I know, you see? I don't really know about anything else and I have read so many detective books and magazines that I thought I'd have a go at writing my own."
"Well that seems like a good reason."
By that time Beth had made the tea and they went to sit in the front room, it was quite a large room, but some how it was always warm in the winter and reasonably cool in the summer, it had two large couches, a chair, a desk and most other things you would expect to find in a front room. Beth sat in her usual place in the comfortable chair near to the fire and Fred sat on the couch nearest to the fire.
"Well now, how have you been Fred? I have missed you so, these past few weeks."
"Well I have been very busy, you see with lots people coming to me to help them find stupid things like, oh a ring that had been lost in their own home and they thought it had been stole! Can you believe how stupid some people are? Any way the reason I came is actually to do with one of my clients. You see..." he then proceeded to tell the tale of a one 'Mrs Wentworth' and how she had lost all her money without ever withdrawing any of from her account; it was a long and tiring story and it was late when he had finished, "so, what do you make of that?"
"Well it all seems very interesting but what has this go to do with me?"
"The bank that my client has her money in is the same bank as the one that you investigated a few years back when a client of yours lost some of their money, do you still have the notes you made during the investigation?"
"Let me go and have a look" Beth left the room and after a short while, during which Fred could hear lots of draw opening and closing and paper rustling, Beth returned with a file full of hand written papers, and newspaper cuttings. Fred sifted through the file glancing at this piece of paper, that newspaper cutting until he was sure that there was all that he needed.
"Beth how did you find so much?"
"I don't really know it was along time ago."
"Well I think that this will help me to solve my case. Thank you, Beth." He got up to leave
"Oh, don't go, look it's nearly, midnight and it's pitch black I don't want you walking home at this hour. You'll stay here tonight and go home in the morning."
"Look don't try to argue; now I'll go and make up the spare room."
She's true, thought Fred, when she put on her assertive tone there was no way I could have disagreed with her. He got up gathered the tea things up, put them in the sink in the kitchen and then headed upstairs to see how Beth was getting on sorting out the spare room, and found her setting up a camp bed in her room.
"Beth, what are you doing? I thought you had a spare room?"
"Well I did but I remembered that I turned it into my study."
"But, the one down stairs?"
"No, that one is now my filing room, as I've had so many clients, I've got lots of files on lots of different things so there just wasn't enough room in the one room for me and all my filing cabinets; so I turned my spare room into the study."
"You don't mind, do you?"
"No, no of course not!"
"Right, then I'll go and change in the bathroom." And after getting some clothes from her wardrobe she left.
Fred sighed sat down on the bed and took his shoes, shirt and belt off. By then Beth had returned and they both settled them selves so they could talk till they fell asleep.