7. Detective Braveheart Takes Charge

Old Bert got up bright and early, enthusiastically anticipating the coming day. He showered, got dressed and had a good breakfast, all in preparation for his time at the Pre-Raphaelite Gallery, followed by an evening  with Daisy, perhaps going to a movie.  He washed his dishes and left everything neat and tidy, then went off to work.

Miss Merriweather was at the gallery when he arrived. He was pleased to see her; they had become great friends as well as colleagues.  As he entered the shop Miss Merriweather called “Old Bert, come and see this, something strange is going on!” Old Bert went over to where Miss Merriweather was standing with a puzzled expression on her face. There at the back of the gallery were a few paintings by Tissot.

Old Bert said “Maybe Mr. Stoneyheart has decided to branch out and start telling Tissots as well as Pre-Raphaelites. But it is very odd since there is already the Tissot Gallery not too far from here.”

While Old Bert was speaking Miss Merriweather read the notecards that had arrived while she was offline. Included was one from the SL Police that had been sent to gallery owners and managers following the robbery.  Miss Merriweather read it aloud, scarcely believing what she was saying.

“Old Bert listen to this!”

“Yesterday a burglary took place at the Tissot Gallery in Victoriana Harbour. Artworks by James Tissot were taken from the gallery.  A list of the works in question has been attached to this note. We are warning all gallery owners to immediately report any avatars who approach them with any of these works.  In addition, a witness has described someone whom we consider an avatar of interest. This avatar is elderly, shorter than average and known as “Old Bert”. If you should see this avatar or know of anything related to this burglary please IM Detective Braveheart.”

Miss Merriweather and Old Bert stared at each other in shock.

“Miss Merriweather, I don’t understand” Old Bert stammered. “I have visited the Tissot Gallery, but I would never steal those paintings! How can anyone say it was me!”

Miss Merriweather replied “Of course I know that, Old Bert. But how did these paintings end up here? This makes no sense.”

Just at that moment Dectective Braveheart entered the gallery, joining Old Bert and Miss Merriweather. He spotted the artworks and turned towards Old Bert saying “How do you explain this?”

“I don’t know, I have no idea” cried Old Bert.

“Where were you last evening?”

“I was working here in the gallery until 9 pm. Then I returned home.”

“Did anyone see you here?”

“No, it was a quiet night; no one came into the gallery.”

“What about at home, did anyone see you there?”

“No, I live alone, no one else was about.”

The detective then asked Miss Merriweather what she had been doing.

“Last night I went out with some friends, we went to see Ballet Pixelle and then on to a club.”

“You’ll have to give me the names of your friends Miss Merriweather.”

“So Old Bert, were you in this alone?” Detective Braveheart demanded.

“I haven’t done anything, I don’t know where those paintings came from!”

“We have a witness who says you were in the Tissot Gallery moving paintings around.”

“There must be some mistake. I have been to the Tissot Gallery, but not for a while and I have never moved any paintings around there.”

“Well, Old Bert, you’ll have to come with me.”

Old Bert was frantic.

“Miss Merriweather, help me, please help me”

Miss Merriweather addressed the detective saying “I’m sure there is some dreadful mistake here. Old Bert is very reliable and honest. Someone else must have done this.”

But Detective Braveheart was unmoved. “I’m sorry, but I have to take Old Bert with me while we investigate further.” And with that he took Old Bert off to the police station.

Miss Merriweather was stunned by this turn of events.  She reported what had happened to Mr. Stoneyheart, and then remembering how much Old Bert had talked about Daisy, she decided to contact her to let her know what had happened.

While all this was taking place Daisy was doing some shopping, thinking about the evening ahead. When she received the IM from Miss Merriweather and learned what had happened she was overcome and burst into tears.  She soon rallied, realizing that Old Bert needed her. She immediately tp’d over to the police station, where she was allowed to see Old Bert.

What a sight met her eyes! Poor Old Bert was in a cell, collapsed on a bench in the corner. When he heard the sound of footsteps he looked up and upon seeing Daisy, leapt to his feet and ran over to the bars, trying in vain to hug her.

“Oh, Bert” whispered Daisy over and over. Old Bert just looked at her, unable to speak.

“What happened?”

“I just don’t know” he replied. “I don’t understand any of it.”

They stood together a little while longer.  Finally Daisy said “I’ll find out. I know this is a terrible mistake. Miss Merriweather feels the same. We’ll get to the bottom of this, don’t you worry. Try and remain strong, remember we are working for you.”

With that Daisy was told she had to leave. Poor Old Bert was left all alone in his cell. After watching Daisy leave, he threw up his arms in despair, crying “How can this be? What will happen to me?”

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