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Subject: A Cantabrian Operetta Chapter 15 This story is a work of fiction and only contains characters who are entirely fictitious. You’re not in here, and neither is anybody else you know. I wrote it – I should know. The action of this story takes place early in the 21st century. I have not attended any of the august places of learning mentioned in the text, and the details of those places are accurate only geographically. The fact that a crime takes place in one of them is no reflection on the integrity of that institution. I repeat – work of fiction.It is just possible that activities of a sexual nature may take place, and some of that may be cross generational. There is NO pornography. Look elsewhere for that. If you wish to provide feedback I can be contacted at lfa4321jonah@outlook and please bear in mind that you don’t pay to read these stories, but it does cost Nifty money to provide them. Please consider donating to Nifty fty/donate.html A Cantabrian Operetta. by Jonah Chapter 15. Scena It was perhaps half an hour before the Professor returned and he did not look happy. I asked Oliver to put on the kettle, then to the Professor I said, “From the look on your face, Professor Palmer must be pretty deeply involved.” “We’ll never know,” he replied. “The Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service are currently pouring water into his flat and have been doing so for a little while now. There are four flats in the building where he lives and they’ve got the occupants out of two of them, the caretaker got herself out. Professor Palmer’s flat appears to be the seat of the fire and firemen have been trying without success to get into it. A water tender and an aerial rescue pump have been pouring water in, and they have called for more pumps from outside Cambridge because the heat is enough to threaten adjacent buildings. I think we can safely say that none of us is going to question Professor Palmer. The police wouldn’t let me anywhere near in any case.” To say that Oliver and I were shocked doesn’t come anywhere near to scratching the surface. “Do they think it was started deliberately?” I asked. “Well there aren’t a lot of firefighters standing around looking for a casual conversation, but I know what I think,” he replied. “Well I’m going to take a look,”I said, getting to my feet. He pushed me in the chest and sat me down again. “First,” he said, “there’s no point. The fire will have destroyed any clues there are. Second, there’s a murderer on the loose and, if we didn’t know before, we know now how nasty he’s prepared to be. Neither of you want to be seen anywhere near there.” “This is all because of me,” said Oliver, to nobody in particular. “This is all because of a nasty young man called Dennis Dovedale,” replied the Professor. “Lots of other people are involved, but Mr. Dovedale is to blame.” “So, even though he’s dead, he’s using somebody else to carry on his nasty little games?” I said. “Well, he set that up before he died. Because of the shower curtain, I don’t think he escort bayan saw who stabbed him, but I think he knew who it was, and he died, sure that he was having the last laugh.” “You mean that he wanted to be murdered?” “I mean, that, whether he wanted to or not, he believed that it was the only way to completely screw up the murderer, and a lot of other people too. I don’t know why he hated everyone he knew, but he certainly did.” “So we’re no nearer knowing who the murderer is?” I said, with a question mark on the end, though it wasn’t a question. “On the contrary, he replied. “I know exactly who the murderer is. I saw him this afternoon, but there are too many things I don’t know to risk telling anybody, and the hint of suspicion would only get more people killed.” “But if you can at least get him off the streets…..” “That’s just the point. I can’t. Dovedale left enough clues to identify the killer, but he wasn’t going to leave enough to get him taken out of circulation before he’s killed a few more people.” “And there’s nothing that we can do to prevent that?” “We’ve got to try,” he replied, “and I might have a way, but it’s very risky and I’m going to have to keep my cards very close to my chest indeed. Right now I need to talk to the Master. That means you two stay here and don’t answer the door to anybody until I return.” “OK, we’ve got a rehearsal tonight though, so we’ve got to go out this evening.” “Good point. I’d forgotten the irregulars will be coming for tea,” he said. “I’ve enough food in, but it might be a bit dangerous for them around the college.” “If this man is as bad as you say, it will be dangerous for them anywhere,” I observed. “I might need to open the door to them before you return though.” “I’ll try not to be long,” he said slipping out of the door. He was as good as his word, and was back in less than ten minutes. “You’re going to need to be up in good time in the morning,” he told us. “We’ve a meeting at the Master’s residence at Oh-nine thirty. Clothes will be worn.” “Oh, Oliver’s usually up and dressed long before that,” I said. “I was speaking for your benefit Mr. Cummings,” He replied. Four irregulars arrived together. There was no arriving separately to allay suspicion. In fact they’d marched up to Mr. Warboys and told him they were expected. The porter had simply said, “Indeed you are boys, and if you fancied doing a few odd jobs around this place, you’d maybe get a meal on the days that the Professor doesn’t feed you.” They were apparently under instruction to report to him before they left. It seems that the college had taken the boys under its wing, and the college always looks after its own. The big news was the fire. Not Professor Palmer. An empty flat in King Street had been gutted. The boys had all seen the blaze, but nobody had been hurt and it had been quickly extinguished. They knew about the other fire too, but the police cordon had been so firm that they couldn’t get near enough to see anything. Well we had tea and then made for the kocaeli escort bayan hall. Gina was practising on the piano when we got there. She was playing the wrong opera. I recognized the “Miya Sama” section from the Mikado. “Oliver!” she said as soon as we walked in. “Come and help. I haven’t got enough hands.” He sat beside her on the big piano stool and they began at the beginning again. I realised why Gina had chosen to do that. The Mikado is the only one of the operas that has an overture that is scored as a piano duet in the vocal score. I suspect Gina had been practising. I knew Oliver hadn’t, but it didn’t show. When the overture was over we all applauded, but they didn’t put away the Mikado, because the irregulars then sang through the opening chorus, which was good since they had never seen it before. By the time they finished Doctor Harvey had arrived, and people had begun arriving for the rehearsal. Since Sue Chatterton was with us this time, we began with “Tower warders,” immediately followed by her solo. Then “Here’s a man of jollity” was allowed to lead into “I have a song” and then we attacked the act 1 finale. Doctor Harvey suggested Oliver have a look at the Act 2 finale during tea break. Oliver did so, and found that he loved it. The Doctor taught the act two finale after tea, then we broke up, having practised every chorus number except “Night has spread her pall” and, “Now what can that have been”. The Professor was waiting with supper ready when we got back. We were concerned for the safety of the irregulars, but there was nowhere in college for them to stay, and they believed, that they were safer if nobody knew where they were. In any case, they had promised to call in at the porter’s lodge on their way out. We took our leave of them, with a reminder that there was another rehearsal on Friday. For some reason Oliver and I didn’t fully undress before we turned in that night. Neither of us mentioned it, but we normally slept in the nude. That night we took off our pullovers and shoes, but that was about it. It may have been nerves, or it may have been tiredness. Certainly sleep seemed to be evading us. I had no idea what time it was when I happened to hear a sound below. There was a crash of glass and a sheet of flame lit up the room with a “Whhhumphhh!” sound. I leapt to the back of the sofa and put my weight on it. The sofa tipped backwards tipping Oliver on top of me and putting the base of the sofa between us and the flames. We dashed to the door of the Professor’s room. It opened easilly enough and as we both fell through it the Professor, who seemed to be up and dressed, closed it behind us. Bells were ringing somewhere in the distance and the smoke alarm in the lounge was issuing its shrill warning. “Quickly!” said the Professor. “Start moving anything flammable away from that window. Open it and get anything fabric or sprung out of it. Don’t forget the curtains.” Quickly he stuffed a bath towel at the bottom of the door, kocaeli escort where smoke had begun to seep in. There were people in the yard below now. One of them was carrying an aluminium ladder. I looked back and saw that the Professor’s towel was now in flames. As the flame lit up the room the Professor leaned out of the window and called. “This one Mr. Warboys. Quick as you can.” “I’ve got you sir,” came the porter’s voice from below. “Over you go Oliver,” said the Professor as the ladder clanked against the sill. The boy didn’t need telling twice. “You next Professor,” I said. “By all means stop and hold a conversation about it,” he replied testilly. “This is my room. Now get out.” There was no time to argue so I swung out onto the ladder, I was only a few rungs down when he followed me. The water tender from Cambridge fire station was already flashing and wailing its way into the yard. It would not be long before they got to grips with the fire, but we didn’t look like getting back to bed somehow. “Is everybody alright Mr. Cummings?” It was the Master. “All accounted for Sir,” I replied. “Good, don’t go away. I need to have a word with you. First I need to find Professor Alves.” He walked away as the fire brigade got to work running out hoses. The small-bore hosereel was already in action cooling down the area around the Professors window from which flames were issuing now. “Petrol bomb sir?” said the fire officer. “Yes, how did you know?” “Second one this week,” he replied. “Flat in King Street the other day. Somebody is being unpleasant.” “Mr. Cummings!” Now what? I turned to find Sergeant Grant standing behind me. “It’s beginning to seem that wherever there’s trouble, you’re there.” he commented. “Not sure how you make that out Sergeant,” I replied. “If someone sets fire to my home, I’m likely to be there, but you’ve attended two fires this week that I haven’t.” “Now how did you know I attended those,” he said. “Lucky hunch,” I replied. “You don’t want to have too many of those. Who was in there with you?” “Oliver Duncan and Professor Alves,” I replied. “We all got out, I’m afraid.” He said nothing, but walked away. “Where’s the Professor?” said Oliver. “Talking with the Master,” I replied. “Where’ve you been?” “Avoiding that creepy CID sergeant,” he said quietly. “I saw him talking to you. What did he want?” “To be obnoxious as usual.” “They’re trained for it,” he said. “Mr. Cummings, Mr. Duncan,” The Master had crept up quietly. “We have a meeting booked at half past nine in the morning. None of us is going to get any sleep before then, and it’s probably too urgent to wait anyway. Inspector Tremble agrees with me. The meeting will take place at my residence in ten minutes time. TO BE CONTINUED If you’ve enjoyed this story you’d probably enjoy other stories by the same author, also on Adult/Youth. “Immigrant”, “Marooned”, “Letter from America”, ” Stranger on a train” and “The Boston Tea Party” are all by this author, as is, “The Pen-Pals” (on Young Friends). You would also probably like “A Neglected Boy” by Jacob Lion. Pictures of some of the characters in this story can be found on Jacob’s bly/jonah-stories.html My thanks go to Jacob for his generosity and hard work in making this available.
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