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Uncertain Spinach – Final Part

“I demand to know what this is about. Am I under arrest? Am I…” His bravado vanished as quickly as it surfaced, and had sunk without trace by the time they threw him into a stark white room. They left him alone with only a table and chair for company. It was a long time before a big man in plain clothes came to join him.
“Hello Sir, sorry about that. My Name is Detective Wilson. That black box was a free radical emitter. We had to get it off you quickly and ensure that our guys were safe. We also had to put you in here for your own protection. If they have tried something like that once, they will try it again.”
“Who? Who’re you on about? What’s a free radical emitter? What does it do?” He stopped suddenly for a moment. “Why do I need protecting?”
“Please try to calm down, sir.” The mountain in a suit probably thought his smile was reassuring. “A free radical emitter is a device that shortens your telomeres. A telomere is a string of DNA which shortens as you age. Attack by free radicals artificially speeds up the process so your body ages quicker. You could have died of old age within half an hour.”
“That is awful!” Lee stood up, looking around wildly.
“Yes sir, but you are safe now. Fortunately our image recorders caught him dropping the box into your pocket and we got a good reading of his aura.” Lee sat down. The detective grinned. “He’s slipped up this time. Finally we have evidence! Alongside your testimony we should be able to nail him this time.”
“What testimony?” Lee was confused and the big man sighed, leaning over the table towards him.
“Your testimony against the guy who put the emitter in your pocket” he clarified gruffly “Was he not the man that you were telling our receptionist about before you got spooked. Isn’t that what scared you off?”
“Erm, No. Your receptionist frightened me, I barely noticed the other guy” Lee muttered looking at his feet, then, louder he said “I’m not sure, possibly.”
The detective looked at him with an odd expression. “You’ll get a chance to see him again in the line-up. Now, as I was saying, with your testimony and this new evidence we should crack this. I don’t suppose you could tell us which van we want? It could save us a lot of time and if it has the teleport still in place, or an imprint of its resonance we’ve got everything we need.”
“It’s Stu’s van.” Lee looked the Detective in the eyes. “I’ve worked with him for months. He’s always been nice to me. I thought we got on but he was just going to let me die.” He paused to rub his face, leaving his hand over his mouth as the other man leaned towards him, gentler now.
“Mr Faulks, I know that this is difficult but your friend is caught up in something really bad and that can change people. You would be surprised at some of the betrayals that we…”
“No; no.” Lee interrupted. “You don’t understand, we weren’t friends outside of work, I just thought that I was a better judge of character than that. I really thought he was ok. But I was wrong, wasn’t I?” He smiled sadly and falteringly described both the van and the events of the morning, taking care in his description of Stu and the man who had pushed him into the spinach. “But I’ve never seen the bloke from your waiting room before, the one who dropped the box in my pocket.” He finished, sitting back in his seat to gaze intently at Detective Wilson who clapped a congratulatory hand onto his shoulder, smiling warmly.
“Don’t worry about that, Sir. We have cast iron evidence that he tried to kill you. We should be able to get someone in the gang to give us more information about him to make things easier for themselves.” He hesitated “I know it doesn’t feel like it right now, but you have done the right thing. I will send a car out to the depot immediately, even if they have gone, your Stu sounds like he’ll be easy enough to trace, and we’ll be able to get his address from the van registration for a start. When we do get him, he should be easy enough to break, his type usually are.” He gave Lee a stern look. “I will need you to stay available to testify when the need arises, but we will protect you and make sure you get any medical assistance that you need.” His face suddenly broke into a smile. “I must say thank you, Sir. Your quick thinking and bravery may have saved an awful lot of people from some bad spinach.”

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