Friday, 25 March 2016
This is another of my Welsh Folk Story made into a modern tale. For other Welsh Folk tales click here.
Robin Black sucked air in through his teeth and looked at the assembled staff members in front of him. Fiddlesticks, he thought to himself; this wasn’t as easy as it should have been. As a detective, he prided himself on his people reading skills. He could tell if someone was lying by the way they sniffed, or scratched their nose or avoided eye contact. Other things could give it away too, maybe the story was too well-rehearsed or the guilty party didn’t use I or me or protested too much; so many tell-tale signs that gave people away. But this lot, this lot were either all telling the truth or one of their number was an expert. There was not a fidget in sight, no one cleaning their glasses or changing their story.
So the mystery remained, who was the thief? It must be someone; bottles of whisky didn't disappear on their own and the inventory at the Fox and Hounds showed that they were twelve bottles of spirits down over the last three months. Someone was on the take. Brian, the Manager, had poured over the CCTV but had not been able to identify the culprit, so he’d called the police.
There was only one thing for it; Robin was going to have to do the old lie detector test.
“What I need,” he said to Brian, “is a bottle of tonic water, a tin tray and your bank note checker.”
“Okay.” Brian looked at Robin like he had gone crazy, but he wanted to catch the thief ,so did as he was told.
Robin poured the tonic into the tray and then placed it on the bar. Then he assembled the staff in the back room.
“What I want you to do is to go through to the bar one by one and place your hand in the liquid. This liquid reacts with hormones in the body that are produced by stress, it turns your hand red if you are lying. That's why it is called being caught red handed.” he said.
“Bullshit!” murmured Billy the head barman.
“Sorry?” Robin stared at him.
“I said bullshit. What kind of cod science is that?”
“Well let's see shall we. Why don't you go first Billy? Seeing as you are so adamant.”
Billy didn’t move. Tonya shifted from foot to foot. Robin sucked air through his teeth. Eventually Billy shrugged.
“I ain’t got nothing to hide,” he said and went through to the bar and moments later came back with his hand wet but still pinkish. Next went Tonya, then Clive, then Lisa then Mark, all came back with wet but normal coloured hands.
Finally Marta the polish cleaning lady went through.
“She'll come back red handed,” said Billy.
“I thought you didn’t believe in it,” said Robin.
“Well, if it works, that is.”
“Yeah thieving foreigners” said Tonya,
“I knew it was her,” Clive chipped in.
But Marta came back with normal coloured hands.
“I told you it was bullshit.” Billy moaned. “Call yourself a copper? This is pointless, I’m going home, c’mon Tonya.”
“Wait, the test hasn't finished yet. Let's use this.” Robin turned on the bank note checker.
Marta come and put your hand near this. Robin said. The cleaning woman did as she was told and the others gasped as her hand lit up blue.
“Guilty!” said Billy
“I knew it!” said Clive.
“Not so fast,” said Robin. “Billy you try.”
Billy stuck his hand near the lamp and also lit up.
“I didn’t steal nothing.” Billy said. Robin just stayed quiet.
“Clive,” Robin said. Clive's hand stayed a pinky red.
“Interesting,” Robin sucked in air again. “2-1. Tonya?” Tony stepped forward, her hand turned blue. “3-1, Lisa? 4-1. Mark? 5-1.”
“What does it mean?” Billy asked.
“Do you want to explain, Clive?” Robin said.
“I didn’t put my hand in the liquid,” Clive looked at the floor. “I was scared it might turn red.”
I couldn't find the original on the internet so here it is from my stories of Wales Book.