Pippa looked at the policeman. She had expected him to reveal details of underage drinking exploits, or perhaps a spot of shop lifting. Theo wasn’t an angel, so neither would have surprised her. However, the longer the policeman sat there, going on about CCTV footage and high-tech lawn mowers, the more confused she was about what exactly Theo was supposed to have done.
“So, you are effectively telling me you think Theo walked along a public road one day, carrying something.” Pippa began, glaring at the policeman. He appeared much less attractive now he was accusing her son of a crime. “And how, exactly, is that a crime?”
“We believe your son stole a lawn mower … a robotic one. Rather expensive.” Not so hot now cop added.
Pippa gave him a look not dissimilar to the one Theo gave her when he couldn’t believe she wanted him to do something.
“He is 15 years old. Why would he want a lawn mower? He has never shown any interest in gardening, let alone doing anything useful around a property.”
“That’s a good question. Perhaps Theo could help answer it?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Were you in the vicinity of Maison du Crapaud on the afternoon of July 20th?”
“Are you sure?”
The policeman pulled out a photo. “Is this you?” he asked, pointing to a grainy image of a figure about Theo’s height and build, standing on a country lane.
“I have no idea.” Theo said.
The policeman pointed to a marking on the figure’s sweatshirt.
“This is your school sports kit, I believe.”
Pippa looked at the photo. With its swirly letters and splodges of colour, the logo was remarkably like that of the school Theo had been expelled from many months ago.
“Look, officer” Pippa began. “This is totally ridiculous. This photo could be anyone – and a lot of people have these sweatshirts.”
The policeman pulled out a photo of a bank card. It had Theo’s name on it. “We have grounds to believe your son was in the vicinity of the property the day of the theft. Do you know how your bank card appeared to be in the garden of Maison du Crapaud?”
It was hard to see through his hair, but Pippa thought she noticed Theo’s ears going pink at the top.
“Ummm. Well. I lost it … after using it in town.”
The policeman gave a sort of humph, as if to conclude the conversation wasn’t going how he intended it to go, if indeed it was going anywhere.
“Look Theo. The evidence certainly points to someone who resembles you, who has clothing from a school you attended, and who had your bank card being in the area where an object disappeared from a property. We will continue our investigations and would strongly suggest that if you discover the whereabouts of this lawnmower you ensure it gets returned immediately.” He gave Theo a severe look and turned to Pippa.
“Thank you, Mrs Coutanche. That will be all … for now.”
After the policeman left Pippa went straight to the kitchen. As the tea steeped in her large silver pot, she wondered how well she knew her son. Was he lying, or had he been set up? Someone could have found his bank card in the street, or in a café, and taken it with them. There were lots of alumni from Theo’s old school in the Island who might still wear its sweatshirt. And, why on earth would he take someone’s lawn mower?
Teenagers were a daily diet of complications. She thought that with her third she would have experienced everything by now, but it was as if each son had to come up with some new way of trying their parents. They were like mobile phones, each new model coming with new promises and new quirks to irk you.
She would have to speak to Theo and get to the bottom of it all.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead or undead, or actual events is purely coincidental.