The Case of An Agreeable Partner
“So what happened to teaming up with David?” Sarah asked Sherrinford. “I thought you said you
had no issues working with him on the previous case?”
The blue-eyed, curly dark-haired man smiled as he shrugged into his duffel coat.
“Now how do I put it . . .” he replied nonchalantly. “I do not want people to be very agreeable. It
saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.”
Sarah rolled her eyes at the elusive journalist and private investigator, but then again, she kind of
agreed with him. With their professional obligations, time was always a limiting factor. Friends
and relations was a little tough to accommodate on a clock, on which the amount of work always
exceeded the number of hours per day.
“If you’re going to borrow from Jane Austen, you would do well to at least quote her
accurately,” Sarah retorted, walking away, the heels of her boots clicking against the tiled floor.
“It goes ‘as’ it saves me the trouble –”
“Nitpicky as always.” Sherrinford smiled, falling in step with her. “This is why I chose you to
accompany me today. You’re not very agreeable.”
Sarah chose to not to reply as she walked through the glass double doors of the Central News
Agency. The cold air hit her like a cannon. Everything outside was blanketed in the pure white of
snow. Squinting her eyes against the blinding whiteness, Sarah pulled her coat closer for warmth.
She was glad she had picked a woolen scarf for her niqaab but the icy air was still brutal on her
However, despite the unwelcoming weather, the street was busy as usual. People donning snow
shoes and thick coats were rushing by on the sidewalks, and there were cars racing on the roads,
splashing a great deal of slush in their wake. Across the road, a vendor was braving the cold in a
worn out, sheep-skin coat to conduct his business.
“Carl seems to be enjoying his job,” she heard Sherrinford’s muffled voice. He had wrapped his
navy blue scarf around his mouth and nose against the harsh weather. Sarah followed
Sherrinford’s gaze to the man hunching on the steps of the building across the street. He had
wrapped himself in a filthy blanket, but even from a distance, Sarah could see her colleague
shivering in the cold. He was working on Mrs. Pelosi case – The editor-in-chief was receiving
death threats in the post every day. To catch the culprit, Carl was spying on the people that
passed by the letterbox, outside the News Agency’s building.
“Must he play the hobo in such weather to catch the culprit?” Sarah asked.
“Apparently, yes,” Sherrinford replied.
Sarah was wondering why he couldn’t make use of a security camera but was interrupted when a
cab halted next to them.
“Come on,” Sherrinford beckoned her towards the car. “That’s our ride.”
Sarah hurried towards the car, eager to escape the freezing cold. They settled into a comfortable
silence. Sherrinford went through the case file, while Sarah tried to get feelings back into her
cold hands by blowing into them. She was still clueless as to the case Sherrinford was working
on, and how she was required to assist him.
“Right, we have exactly twenty five minutes before we arrive at our destination,” Sherrinford
said, as if he had heard her thoughts. “So let’s get you familiar with the case.”
“About time,” Sarah muttered, turning her complete attention to her colleague.
“It’s a typical case of stalking that could possibly lead to murder if we fail today. A girl named
Maria Garcia is –“
“Wait, Garcia?!” Sarah interrupted. “Was her maiden name Ahmad, by any chance?
“Precisely,” Sherrinford replied, otherwise ignoring the fact that Sarah seemed to know the girl.
“Maria believes the stalker is a man named Mike Brown.”
Sarah stiffened, remembering the man as an unpleasant, violent drunk.
“And why is that?” Sarah asked.
“Brown’s daughter died during a medical emergency. Maria was the trainee nurse on duty who
attended to her. Brown believes his daughter’s death was due to Maria’s mishandling of her case.
Ever since, he’s been on the hunt for Maria, trying to avenge his daughter’s death. He has
already attempted to kill her, twice. Although Maria remains unharmed, Brown is still at large.
To protect herself, she quit her job at the hospital and moved towns. Things seemed fine, until
unluckily, Maria crossed paths with him at a fair a week ago, and that’s exactly when she started
The news troubled Sarah. Maria was one of her students at the gym where Sarah taught selfdefense
classes. She had trained her shortly after she was issued an Osman Warning by the
The cab stopped in front of a small eatery. Sarah read the neon sign that flashed the cursive
words, ‘Garcia’s Deli’. A sign hanging on the door said the eatery was closed.
“Is that your man?” Sarah muttered, staring at the reflection on the glass door, of a man standing
across the street. His unblinking stare was fixed on the eatery.
“Yes.” Sherrinford replied. “He’s carrying a machete.”
“How can you tell?” Sarah asked.
“Look at the way his hand is angled just above the pocket of his coat,” Sherrinford pointed out.
“He’s holding it by the handle. Also, the end of the pocket has a peak jutting out? That’s –“
‘The tip of the blade getting pushed against the fabric of his coat,” Sarah finished, eyeing the
man’s reflection in the glass fearfully.
Sherrinford sharply rapped his knuckles against the door. A round-faced young girl, standing
behind the reception desk, looked up and rushed to let them in. Sarah stepped into the warmth of
the cozy space. Tantalizing aroma of delicious food wafted towards her, making her feel hungry.
“Mr. Adams, hi!” Maria exclaimed. She had almond shaped, hazel eyes and her brown hair was
tied into a messy bun. “Thank God, you’re here. I was so worried – Oh my, is that Sarah?!”
Before Sarah could reply, Maria had already pulled her in for a hug.
“It’s so good to see you!” she gushed. “I requested Mr. Adams to bring you along but I wasn’t
sure if you would be able to make it!”
“Oh, is that so?” Sarah turned to Sherrinford. “Wasn’t I asked to tag along because I was not
Maria frowned in confusion, looking between the two.
“Shall we get to work?” Sherrinford cleared his throat, avoiding eye contact. “Miss Haris, I’ll
require you to change into Mrs. Garcia’s dress. As soon as you step out of this eatery, Brown
will start following you. I want you to lead him into the alley at the end of the block –“
“Hold on,” Sarah interrupted. “You want me to pretend to be Maria.”
“I cover my face!” Sarah pointed to her veil. “How do you expect him to not notice –“
“You’ll uncover it,” Sherrinford said simply.
“Absolutely not!” Sarah argued.
“Mrs. Garcia, do you happen to wear a scarf?” he asked, to which Maria nodded. “Good, use it
as a veil,” he instructed Sarah. “We’re lucky the weather is so brutally cold today.”
Ten minutes later, Sarah walked towards the door of the eatery dressed as Maria Garcia, together
with Sherrinford and Maria – who was wearing Sarah’s clothes.
“Be careful,” Sherrinford said quietly just as they stepped out into the street. “Try not to engage
him in a fight. I’ll follow as soon as he starts tailing you –“
“Don’t worry. I can handle one coward just fine,” Sarah replied. “Get Maria to safety.”
They bade each other an apparent goodbye, and went the opposite ways. As soon as Sarah began
walking, the man crossed the street and started following her. With her heart beating at an
abnormal pace, Sarah tried to keep calm and resisted the urge to break into a run. She could hear
his footsteps drawing nearer as she reached the end of the block.
No sooner had she stepped into the alleyway that she was roughly shoved into the brick wall.
The hit to her back knocked all breath out of her system. A gasp escaped her lips and then she
felt choked. It took her a while to realize the man was strangling her. Through her hazy vision,
she saw him raise his weapon – a ten inch blade – ready to strike.
“Oh no, you don’t,” Sarah rasped, jerking her leg up so that she kneed him square below the belt.
The man yelped in pain, loosening his fingers that were crushing her wind pipe. Sarah pushed
him away, wheezing like an old lady with a bad case of asthma.
“Drop the knife, Brown!” Sherrinford, who had just rounded the corner, warned the attacker, “or
Instead of complying, Brown grabbed Sarah around the waist and put the blade to her throat.
“Go on,” he goaded Sherrinford. “Shoot!”
Sarah saw Sherrinford’s jaw tick. His nostrils flared with anger as he clenched his teeth. While
the two men held a stare-down contest, Sarah weighed her options. She raised her hands in
surrender, making sure Brown would see her trembling fingers.
“W-wait,” she spoke for the first time. “I’m not the girl you want.”
She felt Brown stiffen at the sound of her voice, and that was all Sarah needed; A moment of
hesitation, an instant of uncertainty. Not wasting a second, Sarah rammed her elbow into his gut,
catching him of guard. He groaned in pain, but before he could retaliate, she had already grabbed
his hand holding the machete, yanked his arm straight out and brought the hinge of his elbow
slamming over her shoulder. There was a nasty crack as the joint dislocated. Sarah’s stomach
churned. The machete slipped from Brown’s limp fingers and the alleyway filled with his bloodcurling
screams of anguish.
Stumbling away from the writhing man, Sarah took deep breaths, willing herself not to puke.
“I thought you said you could handle one coward just fine?” Sherrinford taunted, kicking the
machete away from Brown before helping her up.
“You’re making me regret teaming up with you!” Sarah snapped, still feeling dizzy and
disoriented from the sudden attack. In the distance, the piercing sirens of the approaching police
cars grew louder.
“Why?” Sherrinford feigned surprise. “Have you found me to be rather agreeable?”
“Don’t flatter yourself.” Sarah rolled her eyes but she couldn’t help smiling.
Sherrinford chuckled in amusement as the policemen rushed towards the alley. Soon, Brown was
in cuffs, and after a quick interrogation, they were free to go. Sherrinford called a cab for Sarah.
Later that night, Sarah found a plain envelope with no address, lying on her window sill.
Frowning, she peered into the dark backyard but there was not a soul to be seen. She picked up
the envelope gingerly and ripped it open, only to find a picture of a train window. Written on the
fogged glass, was what looked like a math equation at first glance.
“Help me,” Sarah murmured, reading the inverted writing on the glass. She flipped the picture to
see the numbers 04:30 printed on the back. Without further ado, she dialed Sherrinford.
“Looks like I’ll need a partner.” Sarah said, after quickly explaining what she had found, “and
not a very agreeable one at that.”
Contributed By : Javaria Baseer