An Empty Bottle
Mr Fox and Mr Hyena were thieves. But they were only petty thieves; they had never succeeded in stealing something valuable like a rare painting or a priceless diamond. They had never robbed a bank or a reputed store. No one in the underworld, therefore, respected them.
“I think our time has come,” said Mr Fox.
“How come?” asked Mr Hyena.
“Mr Bear, who is the regular guard of Tiny’s Bank, has gone on leave. Mr Tiny has hired Mr Jackal as a temporary gap guard.”
“How does that help us?”
“No one in the bank knows that Mr Jackal loves to drink; in fact he loves to get drunk.’
“Well, I can see an opening there. We can offer him a free drink and he will let us rob the bank.”
Same day, at about 10 PM, Mr Fox and Mr Hyena were loitering near Tiny’s Bank. Mr Fox was holding a bottle of whisky in his hand. Mr Jackal looked at them with suspicion. He was alert and kept a close watch on them.
“Sir,do you have a lighter?” Mr Fox politely inquired of Mr Jackal.
“No. I don’t like to smoke when I am on duty,” he answered tersely. But his eyes were focused on the bottle that Mr Fox was holding. It was a whisky he had never tasted.
“You are great guy; I like you and thanks anyway,” Mr Fox could sense that it would be easy to trap Mr Jackal.
Next day same time the two thieves were again loafing near the bank. This time Mr Hyena was holding a bottle of whisky; and he made no pretence of hiding it. They cleverly engaged Mr Jackal in small talk.
“You drink whisky every day?” he could not resist asking them.
“Well, not every day; but we do love to drink when we are with our friends,” said Mr Fox.
“We can be friends too and a have drink when you are off duty,” said Mr Hyena.
Mr Fox and Mr Hyena did not come near the bank for next couple of nights. Mr Jackal had been eagerly waiting for them, for he wanted to befriend them.
Then, one night Mr Fox came but he was alone. He was carrying a bottle of whisky. He looked a bit sad.
“What happened, why this long face?” asked Mr Jackal.
“My son is a good for nothing fellow; that is what I always thought. But he proved me wrong. He will become an Army officer. I thought I will have a drink with my friend and celebrate the success of my stupid son. I bought this expensive bottle of whisky too. But Mr Hyena has already left for Green Town on a business assignment. I am so disappointed. Today I can’t even celebrate and have a small drink, for my friend is not here to give me company,” said Mr Fox.
“It is really a great news and we must celebrate it. I will give you company. But mind you, I will have only one small drink,” said Mr Jackal.
Mr Fox thanked him profusely. He had come prepared for the occasion. Each of them took a small drink. But Mr Fox was clever. He kept praising and flattering Mr Jackal, and he kept on pouring whisky in Mr Jackal’s glass. While Mr Fox drank a small quantity of whisky, Mr Jackal kept on drinking till the bottle was empty. Mr Jackal was eventually dead drunk.
Mr Hyena appeared on the scene; all the time he had been hiding nearby. They tied Mr Jackal’s hands and feet with a thick rope. They broke open the lock of the main door of the bank. Inside the bank there was a huge safe. Mr Fox had brought the necessary tools to break open the safe. Now, Tiny’s Bank was actually a tiny bank and did not even have an alarm system. No one came to know that bank was being robbed.
Mr Fox and Mr Hyena stole all the cash that was in the safe. The whole operation did not take even ten minutes.
“Don’t leave any evidence, no foot prints, no finger prints,” cautioned Mr Hyena.
“Don’t you worry; police will find nothing that would lead them to us,” Mr Fox said arrogantly.
Before leaving the bank they untied the hands and feet of Mr Jackal who was sleeping like a log. They were excited for they had, for the first time, robbed a bank, even if it was a tiny bank. No one would make fun of them, they said to each other. They were no longer petty thieves; they were now bank robbers.
Morning came and Mr Jackal woke up from his sleep.
“What a sound sleep I had after many nights,” Mr Jackal said to himself. But then he got a shock of his life. He was not in his home, enjoying his sleep in his cosy bed. He had been sleeping outside the bank. The door of the bank was open. Inside the bank, the safe was open and empty.
“The bank has been robbed. Those two crooks must have robbed the bank. It was foolish of me to drink while on duty. Mr Fox tricked me. What should I do now? Should I inform the manager? Should I call the police? I think I am in deep trouble; I think I should run away.” Mr Jackal cursed himself and took to his heels.
The bank manager arrived at his usual time. He too got a shock when he saw the bank door open. He immediately called the police. Police officer instructed him on telephone, “Do not touch anything, we have to collect evidence and take finger prints to nab the robbers.”
In minutes the police officers arrived. They promptly got busy looking for evidence.
“Can I talk to the bank guard?” asked the Senior Inspector.
“Our regular guard is on leave for last fifteen days. We had hired Mr Jackal as a temporary guard; but he is nowhere around,” replied the manager.
“Did you check his background before hiring him?”
“Well, I was just thinking of getting his background verified,” manager replied weakly.
“But you ought to have verified it before hiring him,” Inspector said harshly.
At that point of time a constable came and showed an empty bottle of whisky that he had found outside, near main door.
“Who in the bank is fond drinking such an expensive whisky?”
“No one in the bank can afford to buy this whisky. Someone must have left the bottle there,” manager said after inspecting the empty bottle.
“That someone could be a bank robber.” He asked one of the constables to check with all whisky shops in the town, “It could be well worth a try”.
By afternoon the police knew that Mr Fox had purchased that bottle of whisky.
“Well Mr Fox, you were not smart enough and you left behind evidence in the form of an empty bottle,” mumbled the Senior Inspector.
Now Mr Fox and Mr Hyena were very confident that they had not left any evidence in the bank; they did not think it necessary to go into hiding. Police were able to nab them without any difficulty.
“You have no evidence against us,” Mr Fox said arrogantly.
“We have this empty bottle of whisky; it has your finger prints.”
“That’s impossible, it cannot have my finger prints, I was wearing rubber gloves,” blurted Mr Fox. But no sooner had uttered these words he knew he had committed a blunder.
“You are right; it does not have your finger prints. I lied and now you have admitted your guilt,” said the police officer with a polite smile.
Mr Fox and Mr Hyena were sent to jail for five years. But they did become famous in the underworld. Didn't they?
© i b arora