A Minor Break-In

‘So what did they take?’ the detective asked, flicking open a very official-looking notebook with not enough pages left.

         ‘Uh…’ Suzanna glanced around her townhouse, trying to remember what it had looked like before the burglary. ‘I think there was a bust on that mantlepiece. And was there always a book missing from that shelf? Harold?’

         Harold, comfortably reclining in his armchair, still in his slippers, didn’t look up from his newspaper.

         ‘That’s the one you’re currently reading, darling,’ he said, flicking the page.

         ‘Oh right, of course,’ she chewed her nails nervously.

         ‘It’s alright, ma’am,’ the detective said, sounding bored. ‘We can get the information from you later. Now, you say your phone line was cut?’           

         ‘Oh, yes!’ Suzanna swept into the kitchen, picking up the phone so he could hear the flat tone. The detective smiled weakly.

         ‘I would have just believed you, ma’am.’

         ‘Ah, of course,’ she squeaked, clutching at her necklace.

         ‘I can give you the number of a telecommunications contractor in the Melbourne CBD,’ he said, hastily scribbling it down. ‘They can come out and do the necessary repairs.’

         Suzanne accepted it with a gracious almost-bow, pressing the paper against her chest like it was a life raft.

         ‘Look, we deal with this sort of thing all the time,’ the policeman said, closing his notepad and tucking it into his jacket pocket. ‘A couple of young kids, out for a bit of a laugh, find a respectable-looking building and break-in. Only,’ he added with a smile, ‘they tend to wet themselves at the sound of breaking glass and leg it before they steal anything.’

         ‘Really?’ she asked, aghast.

         ‘I can put you in touch with a company that does commercial CCTV camera installation too, if you’d like? I’m sure they’d make an exception for you fine people, of course.’

         ‘Thank you, detective.’

         He smiled and raised his hat in farewell.