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Thread: The Barrengarry

  1. #1
    Member Member Efrem Da King's Avatar
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    I may have posted this in the tavern a while ago... I don't remember so I'll post it here cause this is a story forum.


    THE BARRENGARRY

    a short story by Efrem Blackshield


    It’s a breezy summer day in the channel port of Dover. The year is 1793; the revolution in France and the great treasures of the Indian Princes are the main topics of discussion. Our hero is sitting in a picturesque seaside café, taking in the views while reading his morning paper, and drinking some hot coffee. He is a privileged man. He was able to have decent education, as he was the 4th son of a minor noble family that lived in western England. When he came of age, his father bought him the recently vacated position of Head Inspector of Dover, as crime fighting was one of his great loves.

    As he was flipping through the pages of his newspaper, he found a story that caught his eye. It concerned Peter Brenn who was one of the town’s leading merchantmen. One of Peter Brenn’s ships had disappeared near the English coast while on its way from India packed with goods. The ship had left India before the convoy so as to get better prices, but in doing that, had run the risk of getting captured by the French.

    Briggs sat down and thought about this for a while. It was unlikely that French ships would be patrolling where the ship had disappeared as it was very close to the shore. “Maybe I could make up for my previous mistakes if I solved this mystery” Briggs said to himself, “Who’d remember the time I put the Mayor’s wife in jail for prostitution after this?”

    When Briggs arrived back at his home in the better part of town, he was greeted with a messenger. “Sir, the Mayor would like to see immediately.” The inspector was jubilant; this was his chance at last, and he rushed in side and put on his best Sunday clothes. He then jumped into the carriage provided, and sped to the Mayor’s office. He walked up through the luxurious garden in the old English style, with lovely flowerbeds on each side. As he came up to the massive doors of the mansion, however, he became a little anxious.

    A tidy little butler welcomed him in suspiciously, and bid him to wait in the hall. Soon the butler returned and he was announced to the mayor’s office. “Briggs, I have a job for you, and do try to be careful this time”, the Mayor said snobbishly while looking over the top of his glasses at the inspector. “Yes sir, has it got to do with the missing ship?” Briggs asked, embarrassed by the Mayor’s manner. “You bet it does Briggs. Now you may not be the best person for the job, but you are the only person available. It is up to you to find out what happened to that ship.”

    Mr. Briggs went to sleep that night thinking everything over. He decided that something very strange must have occurred and it must have happened fast. In the morning he took a carriage to the merchant who owned the ship to ask him some questions. The merchant, Mr Marony, was a squat man with little beady eyes, and a dirty, tousled head of hair. He was a thoroughly untrustworthy character indeed, decided Briggs.




    “Well Inspector, I imagine you have come to inquire about my ship. Let me see how I can help you,” Marony snarled. “Yes sir, I think the penguins did it, and I would like you to help me by supplying me with the trade routes nearing the town,” Briggs said. “The penguins” Mr Marony sounded like a cat that had had its tail stepped on, “Good sir what made you come up with that??” Briggs just smiled and announced that a good detective never gives away his tricks. Then Marony, getting more and more flabbergasted by the minute, gave up. “Here take these papers. They should give you the information you need. Now go”

    After being shown the door, Briggs headed off for his next appointment with Jason Ross, the carpenter. Mr Ross’s workshop was clearly rundown with broken glass, rotting wood and cobwebs everywhere around. Briggs knocked on the door, but received no answer. After three minutes still with no answer, he suspected the worst. The inspector went to take a run up in an attempt to knock the door down. As he was about to make contact with the door it opened inwards and he was launched through the workshop and into Mr Ross’s deck. The desk fell over with the force, as did the mass of paperwork atop it.

    The inspector stumbled to his feet and looked ashamed. He stammered apologies and immediately went onto the floor picking things up. As he was doing this, he noticed an interesting document and put it secretly in his pocket. He then looked up to see the carpenter leaning over him. The carpenter was looking rather shabby, with a rough unshaved beard and a drawn worried look on his face. His whole body reeked with the smell of cheap alcohol.

    Together they righted the table and put the paper back on it in neat piles. When they were both seated, Mr. Ross started speaking, “What brings you to my place of work sir? I hope it is not just a love of destruction.” He then made a very high-pitched laugh at his own joke. Briggs eyed the carpenter suspiciously, and then cautiously joined in the laughter. After that, Briggs started apologising again, and stated that his aim was to get some information about the missing ship.

    “Ah yes, the Barrengarry,” Mr. Ross started, “That was fine, fine ship. It’s probably the work I’m most proud of, its loss is heartbreaking to me.” “But Mr. Ross you are quoted here as saying that and I quote, “Marony is a pig and I am glad he lost the ship.” ” “Yes, I am proud of the ship. The owner did not deserve it; you see how little he cares that it’s lost. He thinks of it only in terms of profit.” Mr. Ross was getting worried and angry so Inspector Briggs bid his leave. On his way out the door, Mr Ross said, “Oh yes, I almost forgot to ask you, why did you take my article on penguins?” Briggs embarrassed that he had been seen, replied, “I am thinking of taking up penguin-watching myself.”









    The day was yet to end, so Briggs decided to pay a visit to the last person on his list. He needed to go to the house of John Garcon, the French merchant. He felt it was time for a change in pace so he went by foot. He passed the harbour on his way and jotted down some notes to do with the harbour’s geography. There were a couple of small ships in the harbour and a large frigate that was refitting out at sea. He bought a snack from a street vendor. Ignoring the many paupers that lined the filthy streets, he continued on his way.

    Arriving at Mr. Garcon’s house Briggs banged the knocker and was greeted by a kindly French gentleman, who turned out to be Mr Garson himself and not a butler as Briggs had suspected. “Don’t worry inspector we all make these little mistakes sometimes,” Garson gave a smile almost sickly sweet, “Now what have you come to see me about?” Briggs almost instantly relaxed and soon warmed to the fellow. “You are an experienced seaman I imagine?” The inspector asked. “That I am my good man,” replied Mr. Garson without skipping a beat. Inspector Briggs was taken completely off guard by the surprisingly good nature of the Frenchman and decided to confide everything to him.

    “Mr. Garson, I will no longer beat around the bush. I believe that Mr Ross the carpenter was so angry at the way Mr. Marony used The Barrengarry, that he trained a colony of penguins that live just outside the harbour to eat the ropes attached to a ship’s rudder, thereby rending it useless. I believe that the ship will be found on a cliff outside town somewhere.” Inspector Briggs paused and waited for Mr. Garcon to respond. “That is a very well thought out theory but why may I ask, are you telling me?” Garcon responded a little taken aback at first, but then grew happier. “I was hoping you could be with me as well as Mr. Marony and the Mayor when I expose the blackguard for what he is.” “What can I say monsieur, I love to see justice done,” Garcon said smugly with his French accent. Briggs left the house very happy with himself; at least Mr Garcon had understood his logic.

    Mr Briggs went home in a carriage as he had already had his daily exercise. After changing into night clothes, he sat at his writing desk and sent messages to the Mayor, Mr. Garcon, Mr. Marony and Mr. Ross, inviting them all to his house at twelve o’clock the next day so he could reveal the answer to this mystery. His chest swelled with pride at being able to prove that he wasn’t a dunce after all. He had a light supper and then went to bed to get some good shuteye.

    It was a stormy downcast day, and Inspector Briggs was beginning to doubt that his guests would arrive. But whether out of genuine interest or expecting a good laugh, the guests risked the storm and arrived at his door, mostly soaking wet. Mr Marony arrived first and then a little bit later Mr. Ross. After a while the Mayor deigned to grace the meeting with his presence. While everybody else wanted the inspector to get underway, he was insistent on waiting for Mr. Garcon to arrive. Just as Briggs was about to give up, the door burst open. The once handsome charming Frenchman wandered in looking almost half dead. “Do not speak Briggs I know you know what really happened to the ship. I can tell when a story is meant to fool. I shall say what really happened to The Barrengarry.” The crowd in front of him was astonished including the inspector, but Garcon didn’t seem to notice or care.



    “Marony used unfair tactics by leaving before the convoy. He didn’t seem to care about running the risk of capture by pirates, but I decided to make him aware of the risk. I organised the privateer to attack and capture his vessel” Mr. Garcon was clearly drunk but no one dared stop him. “The Barrengarry is currently hidden in a fold in the harbour, I saw the map the inspector had drawn of the region.” Inspector Briggs regained his senses and signalled to his servant carrying handcuffs. The servant ran out from behind a wall, and put the handcuffs on Garcon who was now laughing hysterically. Mr Briggs took the arrest warrant he had written up earlier and quickly rubbed our Jason Ross and put in Mr. Garcon. He then showed it to the Mayor and put it into effect. After everyone congratulated Mr. Briggs they went home to have some afternoon tea as the storm had finished.

    A week after that fateful midday meeting, Head Inspector Briggs was invited to the Mayor’s house as an honoured guest. He was given a large amount of money as a gift, as well as the trust he had always wanted. Unfortunately, the Mayor’s wife was still apprehensive.

    Meanwhile somewhere in a nearby harbour the carpenter Mr Ross is sitting with a group of penguins and a large amount of rope…





    THE END
    "talking poo is where I draw the line"-Eric Cartman
    Long live the resistance.

  2. #2
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Good story But you do rush the scenes a bit. For example here:
    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (Efrem Da King @ April 25 2004,04:52)]Mr. Briggs went to sleep that night thinking everything over. He decided that something very strange must have occurred and it must have happened fast. In the morning he took a carriage to the merchant who owned the ship to ask him some questions. The merchant, Mr Marony, was a squat man with little beady eyes, and a dirty, tousled head of hair. He was a thoroughly untrustworthy character indeed, decided Briggs.

    “Well Inspector, I imagine you have come to inquire about my ship. Let me see how I can help you,” Marony snarled. “Yes sir, I think the penguins did it, and I would like you to help me by supplying me with the trade routes nearing the town,” Briggs said. “The penguins” Mr Marony sounded like a cat that had had its tail stepped on, “Good sir what made you come up with that??” Briggs just smiled and announced that a good detective never gives away his tricks. Then Marony, getting more and more flabbergasted by the minute, gave up. “Here take these papers. They should give you the information you need. Now go
    He is in and out again in two paragraphs. You should make the scenes somewhat longer, and add some more details.
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