By Neel Anil Panicker

“Brief me about the progress of the case, Isaac?”

Bracing himself for the verbal assault, Superintendent of Police Isaac John drew air into his lungs and muttering a silent prayer to the Lord, began “The initial medical reports have not given any clue except that the body parts were chopped by some sharp long bladed object.

I am awaiting the detailed forensics report from CFSL, Hyderabd. As far as the suspects go…”

“That’s bad, that’s really bad Isaac. This will not do. This case is big, the biggest so far in ten years. All this while this city has been peaceful barring the occasional gang wars and gold snatchings. There’s pressure, tremendous pressure I tell you. Since morning I’ve had three calls. The last from the Home Minister himself. Says he wants a result in a week’s time. Otherwse, you know what’s going to happen__ to you, to me, to all else”.

The senior cop let his words trail off, the last few words spoken in a deliberately elongated slow moving motion, each syllabic sound stretching to its limits, the effect sounding like death knell.

“Sir, I have my doubts. I spoke to her husband, Prakasham.  He seems shifty. Something seems fishy. I need…”

‘You need an arrest warrant, do you? Is that what they taught you on how to proceed during such high profile cases, you fool?’

Isaac John felt as if an elephant had rammed onto him, crushing him to pulp.

His neck gave way and his head slumped onto the nape of his shoulders. Shame faced and rendered completely impotent he waited, his body shrivelled to half its size and shorn of all dignity, like a small frightened chicken awaiting the butcher’s fatal blow to its neck.

All he heard was the sharp rap of the paper board onto the hard teak wood table and the final admonition, “Listen, I give you three days. Three days within which you solve the case, or you shall be mightily sorry you ever joined the police force”.

Isaac John mustered courage and looked up to his boss as if to say something but it turned out to be an exercise in waste.

His boss had already pulled himself up to his full six foot tall frame. The act signalled the meeting had ended.

Like a soldier just defeated in battle and shorn of all pride, Isaac stood up and saluting his boss, retraced his steps out of the near spartan room.



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