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Author Linwood Barclay
Author Linwood Barclay

Linwood Barclay

Just the facts, ma'am Add to ...

In the Canadian criminal justice system, there are offences that are reported, and offences that are not. To deal with the latter, an elite team of individuals has been brought together to form the Unreported Crime Unit. These are their stories:

[Thunk, thunk.]/i>

Stockwell: Well, Stevie, I just got the latest stats on unreported crimes. Stephen: Let's have a look at 'em. How up to date are they? Stockwell: Uh, hang on, okay, at the top of the first page here … there's no date, but the report's made out to someone named Diefenbaker. That the new head Mountie guy? Stephen: Think so. Okay, let's check these numbers. Says here the number of unreported crimes is off the scale. Stockwell: We're talking an unreported crime wave, aren't we? Stephen: And for every unreported crime, there's an unreported victim and an unreported perpetrator. We need to make a public appeal. Go before the cameras, tell people unreported crime is out of control, build support for expanding the Unreported Crime Unit. Stockwell: You're right. We need more people, no matter what it costs. Even as we stand here, I'm imagining more crimes that could be happening this very second. If it's okay with you, I'd like to be the guy who goes before the cameras. Stephen: Fine by me. But a word of advice? Stockwell: Yeah? Stephen: Lose the wetsuit.

[Thunk, thunk.]

[En route to the news conference, Stephen is behind the wheel, Stockwell riding shotgun.]/i>

Stockwell: Hang on, got a call. Yeah? Where? Thanks! Stevie, Yonge and Bloor, and step on it! Stephen [hitting the gas, putting on the siren]/i>: I couldn't help noticing you didn't actually have a cellphone in your hand, that you were just holding your hand to your ear. Stockwell: That's my special unreported crimes phone. It's not visible to the naked eye, and picks up a signal that can only be received by members of our team and the Fraser Institute. Stephen: So what's going down? Stockwell: Crime wave in the heart of the city that no one's called in or knows anything about.

[Car screeches to a stop in the Yonge/Bloor intersection. Stockwell leaps from the car, rolls across the pavement and jumps to his feet.]/i>

Stockwell: Everyone, run! Unreported criminals in the vicinity!

[People scatter in panic. Much screaming. Motorists abandon running cars.]/i>

Stephen [rolling out of the car at a much slower rate and getting to his feet, not one hair out of place]/i>: That should shut up those who think people aren't worried about unreported crime. Look at them. They're scared to death. Stockwell [smiling]/i>: Aren't they, though?

[Thunk, thunk.]/i>

[They return to headquarters.]/i>

Stockwell: I thought the news conference went well. Stephen: If only we could figure out a way to do 'em without having the media present. Stockwell: Tell me about it. That one reporter, asking me the name of my imaginary friend when I was a kid? If he was trying to make a point, beats me what it was. Stephen: Who was your imaginary friend? Stockwell: Aquaman, but he wasn't imaginary. We hung out. Listen, I've got an unreported criminal in the interrogation room. How do you want to do this? Good cop, bad cop? Stephen: How about "ideologically driven and impervious to facts" cop, "pandering to narrow base at expense of overall popularity" cop? Stockwell: Works for me.

[They enter empty interrogation room.]/i>

Stockwell: Well, well, well, who do we have here, Stevie? Stephen: Some perps, they never learn. Okay, punk, we can do this the easy way or we can do it the hard way. Stockwell: What's that? What's that you said? Stephen: Oh, he's a cagey - Stock, he's going for his piece!

[Dozens of shots ring out.]/i>

Stephen: Uh-oh, looks like he was just going for a handkerchief. Stockwell: No problem. [He reaches into his pocket, takes out nothing and tosses it on the floor.]/i> I always carry a throw-down, just in case.

Linwood Barclay, a former newspaper columnist, is an author whose most recent novel is Never Look Away . He lives in Burlington, Ont.

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