Diamonds in the Sky by Marcus H.

  It was about 4 in the afternoon when Sherlock got an urgent request for a meeting by the police. It was no rarity that the police were in need of help. Sherlock had dealt with them more than just often. He was always the first detective to turn to when the cases were too convoluted for the police to handle.

 

With that, the two officers stumbled into his office begging for help immediately.

“Sit down, please.” said Sherlock, frustrated. The officers clumsily folded into the two chairs, catching their breath.  

“Calm down, you two.” Said Sherlock.

“Don’t worry Mr. Holmes. There is no rush.” An officer said.

“It seems there is, by the way you’re tapping your foot. And yes you,” Sherlock motioned towards the other small officer. “This is your first case yes?”

“Uh yes. How did you know that?”

“First of all your tie knot is very tight, a typical amateur mistake. Secondly, your attentive sitting position implies you are nervous. And lastly, you’re sweating like a dog. Any experienced LAPD officer would know not to wear an undershirt.” The officer nodded, airing out his shirt.

“Well, we’re sorry to disturb you, Mr. Holmes. I’m Dave and that’s Kleive and we’re from the LAPD. Listen, we’ve had a major upset at the airport just this mornin’ and we’re gonna need some help.” Dave was a rather plump man with a shiny, bald head. He had a thin grey beard and an unusually small shoe size. He spoke in a heavy American accent. As for Kleive he was very small and looked very young. He had short black hair and was especially slim. His voice was shaky and he seemed uncomfortable. After all, it was only his first case. Dave continued.

“Delivery of some precious gems were scheduled to be delivered to Los Angeles International Airport and loaded onto a cargo plane in hangar six.” He stopped to catch his breath.

“Upon arrival to the hangar the crates containing the gems were… they were filled with fakes, Mr. Holmes.”

“Fake gems you say?”

“Correct, Mr. Holmes.”

Sherlock nodded slowly, deep in thought. “All of them?”

“Not all of em’. We were able to recover some gems from the crates but most of it had vanished.” Watson opened the door to the office. Surely used to seeing a couple of clumsy cops begging for help.

“Bad time?”

“Couldn’t be better. Now grab a seat would you Watson.” Watson pulled out a stool from the corner of the room and sat himself down beside the two officers.

        “Now do you have any leads, suspicions, clues?” Asked Sherlock. Dave cleared his throat.

  “We have some suspicions. It may have been an inside job.”

  “How so?” Sherlock inquired.

  “The two drivers were the only ones with access to the trucks keys. The drivers had claimed the keys were nowhere to be found upon arrival to the airport. But after a quick inspection the keys were found right where they had started. In the glove box. We are sure of one thing, and that is that the backdoors had been unlocked before the arrival. Here are a couple photos that were taken of the truck.” The officer slid a folder across the desk. Sherlock picked up the folder and glanced through the photos. There was nothing to be seen but an ordinary armored truck.

  “What do you make of it Mr. Holmes?” Asked Kleive. Sherlock slowly looked up from the photos.

  “I’m going to need a closer look.”

 

  The black Escalade pulled up into the empty hangar. Nothing but a single plane wandered the runways of LAX. Sherlock stepped out. The frigid winter air roamed the overcast sky. It was an unusually cold Wednesday morning for Los Angeles. Watson, Sherlock, and the officers walked into the massive hangar only containing the truck and the crates filled with artificial gems. Their footsteps echoed up the walls and into the empty space as they walked atop the polished floors of hangar six. They continued their way towards the truck.

  “Here you are Mr. Holmes, the truck and the crates. Please, take your time.” The officers walked off back to the Escalade and pulled out of the empty hangar. Sherlock walked straight towards the crates without hesitation. Watson stood still, examining the truck.

 “Seems fishy Holmes. The drivers claim the keys were nowhere to be found yet the backdoors were already opened. It doesn’t make sense.” Sherlock didn’t answer. He just looked down at the crates. The locks were loose and fragile with scuffs all over the keyholes. He glanced up at the ceiling. A CCTV camera watched down on them.

 “Maybe you’re right Watson. But we have to look at the bigger picture here. They didn’t have access to the crates, did they? Call up those officers, I’m gonna need to speak to them.”

  “Uh ok. Sure.” Replied Watson, puzzled.

 

  Shortly after the inspection, Sherlock found himself back in his office with the two officers in front of him and Watson by his side.

  “You called, Mr. Holmes?” Asked Dave.

  “Yes, did you manage to get those tapes?”

  “Got em’ right here.” Dave pulled out a large laptop and turned the screen towards Sherlock. The video began. The truck pulled up into hangar six while the cargo plane waited. Only one driver hopped out of the truck and headed for the back doors waiting for the keys. The other driver stepped out, puzzled looking all over the truck for the keys. An officer from a police escort car offered to help and jumped into the truck searching everywhere for the keys.

  “Pause!” Sherlock shouted. Kleive paused the video and everyone leaned in to look at the screen.

  “What is it?” asked Kleive.

  “I can’t tell.” said Watson.

Everyone looked at Sherlock awaiting an answer. Sherlock zoomed in on the frame. It showed the officer reaching into the cup holder with one hand and with the other, reaching into the glovebox.

“I don’t get it. What did you see Mr. Holmes?” Asked Dave, confused.

Sherlock stood up and pulled on his trench coat from the hanger by the door.

  “I saw what I needed to officer Dave. I’m gonna need you to get me to the location of the loading.”

  “I’m on it Mr. Holmes.” The three men left the room leaving Watson staring at that one frame looking for something, anything that would ring a bell.

  “Coming Watson?” Sherlock exclaimed from outside the office.

      “Yeah, yeah I’m coming.” Watson slammed the laptop shut in frustration, grabbed his coat and ran out of the office.

 

  It was well into the night. The car ride to the loading location took hours. They were headed to Malibu. Sherlock glanced over at the dashboard. “11:21 pm” it read. He turned to the window. They passed through the small city of Malibu. It was glittered with light of all different colours. Many roamed the streets, shopfronts buzzing and restaurants filled to the brim with people. After what seemed like hours the Escalade pulled into an old wooden warehouse. The four men stepped out and Kleive flicked the light switch. The lights flickered to life inside the enormous warehouse making an annoying buzzing noise. The floors were littered with trash and broken glass. Three police escort cars stood silently in the corner and the pile of dusty crates rested close behind.

 “There’s nothing much here Mr. Holmes.” Said Kleive.

Sherlock walked over to one of the cars and examined it closely. Watson followed behind. Sherlock slowly paced around the car scanning every inch of it. He bent down by the trunk and felt the tires. The back tires seemed to be significantly flatter than the front. He then opened the trunk, slid his hand along the bumpy bottom and looked around.

  “Anything?” Asked Watson.

  “Enough to suffice.” Replied Sherlock.

He walked over to the back of the warehouse where a pile of empty crates were sitting. He brushed off the dust and dirt from the front: “LINK Transport Corp.” It read. Sherlock looked back.

  “We should take a rest. All of us. We will begin tomorrow morning at nine. Right back in my office.”

Everyone nodded in consensus and moments later the Escalade was on its way back to Los Angeles.

 

  Sherlocked walked into his office and turned on the lights. He then sat down at his mahogany desk and awaited the arrival of Watson and the two officers. He lay back crossed his legs and thought to himself. He had all the clues laid out perfectly in his mind. He just had to dig deeper. Just minutes later Dave, Kleive and Watson all walked into the room and sat down.

 “Gentleman I’ve had some time to think about this whole case and were on the home stretch.” Sherlock cleared his throat and continued.

 “LINK Transport Corp.”

Watson, Dave, and Kleive all looked at each other in confusion.

  “Dave, Kleive. I want you two to check who were driving those escort cars. Watson, I need you to find out who was loading that truck.” He pulled out his pipe.

      “We can search through the logs and check.” Replied Dave.

Sherlock leaned back deep in thought and smoked his pipe. Pipes were a rarity now that is was 2017. But it was something Sherlock couldn’t do without. It was a tool for thinking. The officers searched through their laptop and Watson searched through his own. Watson thought to himself how he’d tried to keep up with Sherlock but it was simply too hard. He had been working with Sherlock for many years only to be left in the dust. There was simply no mind as quick and efficient as Sherlock’s.

 

  An hour later Watson had found the specific men who had loaded the crates onto the truck and Dave and Kleive had discovered which officers were driving the escort cars. All the necessary information had been retrieved and they were ready to continue the investigation.

 “What did you officers find?” Sherlock started.

  “We managed to find a list of all three drivers on the job. In car 1, we have Daniel Carrel. Car 2, Garry Stephens. And car 3, Devin Lockstone.”

  “Hmmm… I just need to know what was the number of the car I inspected yesterday but I can’t seem to remember-”

  “I know!” Shouted Watson. “I have a picture here somewhere.”

Watson pulled out a grey folder exploding with photos and documents from his briefcase. He opened the folder and flipped through many photos until he stopped his finger on the one photo. Watson slid the photo across the desk to Sherlock.

 “Three! Devin Lockstone!” Exclaimed Sherlock. “Watson what would I be without you! Oh and Watson you found those men who loaded the truck yes?”

 “Yes, the list is right here Holmes.”

Sherlock snatched the list in excitement and ran for the door with his pipe still hanging from his mouth.

 “Well officers we don’t have any time to lose. Soon those gems of yours will be out of reach, but as of now we are one step from catching the criminals!”

Sherlock ran out the room and everyone followed.

 

  The Escalade sped through the car-infested streets of LA. People wandered the street like thousands of ants and the welcoming city sounds of car horns surrounded them. The yellow afternoon light shone down on the towering glass and steel monsters and came to rest in the ravine of city streets. The Escalade approached the police station. The station was located right smack in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. The four men stepped into the station. Sherlock asked to see Devin Lockstone. The lady responded and told him he was on his lunch break and he would be back in a couple hours. The men all walked back out into the scorching sun.

  “I think we should grab somethin’ to eat while we wait.” Said Dave, looking around.

  “I think that would be most wise.” Replied Sherlock

Sherlock started down the sidewalk and everyone else followed. The blaring sun shot down on them like laser beams. Soon Sherlock had found a small coffee shop to grab a bite. They all sat down at a round table. Sherlock cleared his throat and whispered.

 “Now I don’t want anyone to be alarmed but our target seems to be sitting exactly across from us.”

Everyone turned their heads slowly towards the table across. A name tag and a badge were visible on his jacket. It clearly read Devin Lockstone. He was a slim man who with short graying hair and a beard. He was rather tall and sat hunched over his phone.

  “I suggest we don’t waste time and get him in cuffs as soon as possible. I’ll go and talk to him and when I give you the signal you’re going to come behind and cuff him.”

Sherlock demonstrated the signal with a finger snap. He walked over to the man and began to talk to him.

  “Hello, I was wondering what pastry you’re having there so I just thought I’d come and ask.”

  “Oh it’s the chocolate filled croissant, it’s really a good one.”

  “Ya, I was really considering something with that zingy taste.” Sherlock snapped.

  “Well if that’s what you want the chocolate filled croissant what would be a perfect choice…”

Devin sat there and blankly stared at Sherlock with no emotion. The cold metal cuffs had clearly wrapped his wrists.

  “Well thank you for the recommendation Mr. Lockstone but I think that’s all we are going to need from you.” The officers helped him up over to the door while the rest of the coffee shop stared in awe. Devin hadn’t let out a single word.

 

  Devin was walked back to the police station and handed over to the authorities of the case. The case wasn’t over yet. The two men who loaded the truck were still on the loose. The officers placed the two men that Watson had found on the wanted list as they would surely be attempting to flee. The men arrived back to the officers and sat down.

  “Well, now it’s a waiting game I guess.” Mumbled Kleive.

  “You are nothing but correct officer.” replied Sherlock.

 

  Days passed before any word was heard about the missing men. Sherlock by his desk smoking his pipe and reading a book. Watson sat across from him flipping through documents. The phone rang. It was Kleive.

  “We got em! Raymond Black and Steven Hennon were caught on the border to Canada.”

  “Great! We’ll be at the station ASAP!” Exclaimed Watson

 

The Escalade screeched to a stop at the station. Kleive and Dave were waiting in the lobby. Dave began.

  “We have the criminals here safe and sound and we’ve recovered the gems. I’ll bring you to them.” The new criminals sat in the cell with Devin. They were scattered with tattoos and had clearly never missed a day at the gym. They were both bald and had gold chains clinging to their necks. They were a very unsettling pair of criminals.

  “I see you three are doing well.” Sherlock said.

One of the big guys uttered a grunt. Everyone walked back to the lobby.

  “I guess you’re job is done, Mr. Holmes.” Said Dave

   “Great job all of you. Until next time officers.” Sherlock nodded at Dave and Kleive.

Sherlock and Watson shook the hands of the two officers and began their stroll down the LA streets.

  “I know you get this a lot Sherlock but how on earth did you figure that out?” Asked Watson.

  “Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? First the keys. The keys were gone upon arrival to the hangar. But as we saw in the video, when the police officer offered to help look for the keys he placed them in the glovebox. It means that the officer had access to the keys beforehand, and put them back in the glovebox to set up those two innocent drivers. We located the loading point where the escort cars were parked. Car number three had flat back tires and the floor of the trunk had dents which mean some heavy crates were put in the back of that car. Next, the only ones who could have switched out the real diamonds were the two men who loaded that truck.”

  “Wow… I would never have thought…”

 “No time for that now Watson. But I must tell you I’m really craving that chocolate croissant.”

The two detectives set off down the LA sidewalk into the afternoon horizon.