Inspector Egghead

This week's Fiction Friday prompt: An April Fools prank gone too far.
It's a long time now, since the famous BBC documentary on spaghetti plantations. Hard to believe that some people really did fall for it. Like Inspector Egghead.

It all started quite by chance. A holiday, a visit to my uncle, a good bottle of wine... a television programme. I say holiday. That wasn't quite true. It was a little more enforced than that. My superior had ordered me to disappear the moment the first headlines started to appear. He'd have given me the sack if he could. But a man who had liberated the kidnapped wife of our venerated Prime Minister could hardly be given the sack; most definitely not by a chief commissioner with high political ambitions himself. Maybe one day, the truth of that little affair, I use the word advisedly, will be told. It was, indeed, my one and only... But I digress.

It started in a small seaside town on the South Wales coast. I had decided to profit from my enforced absence to visit those members of my family who had emigrated to this green and watery land in the early years of the twentieth century. After three months of moving from house to house and then from town to town - I still hadn't seen half of them - my chief's patience was wearing thin. It was time to go home. My brush with the press seemed forgotten, excepting the new nickname they had baptised me with and which will doubtless remain with me the rest of my life.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't have anything against the name Egghead. I take great pride in my bright shiny pate. I wash it every morning and once a month it gets the polishing it deserves at the local barbarian - as you English call him. And as no one told me it was actually meant as an insult, well I encouraged people to refer to me by that name. But again I digress.

So here I was on the first day of April, in this small Welsh seaside town, doing my best keep the rain and the wind off my shiny pate, when I finally found Uncle Pino's café. He welcomed me with open arms, but made sure his very fetching wife, Ginetta, did not do the same; me being just a few more years on the better side of 40 than himself. He introduced me to his favourite customers before he closed the café to make dinner. He always began early Mondays; none of the customers ever stayed beyond 5pm anyway. But the main reason, as he spelt out to me most volubly and with arms racing like a windmill was to further his education. Monday evening was Panorama. Panorama, he explained, was the most Italian of television programmes because it provoked discussion in the café until the next edition came up the week after. Besides, I've learnt an awful lot from it.

So, dinner over but with the wine still flowing we gathered around the small family television only to be astounded by what we saw. This week's subject was nothing other than the Spaghetti plantations of Southern Europe. Pino raised an eyebrow towards me, I shrugged my shoulders but Ginetta wouldn't hear of our turning it off. By the end of the programme it was difficult to tell what was the cause of all the laughing: the idiot English who gobbled down such rubbish like it was gospel; Ginetta who failed to understand how they'd managed to film such unbelievable scenes or the wine whose flow increased in direct proportion to the impossibility of the scenes being painted in front of our eyes.

It wasn't until I was safely snuggled up in bed, that my cynicism kicked in. The British weren't stupid. How could they be? They had a vast colony of Italians come to take up residence here. No! There was something more to this programme than met the eye. I sat up with a start and was dressed and out of the house within five minutes. But what was I to do now. I could hardly go to my bosses and explain to them that I had stumbled on an international plot to flood our cities with some of the most lethal drugs ever produced; with my track record they'd never believe me. Besides, this was my case. No one had even suspected it was nothing more than a poor April Fool's joke. Why let them take all the glory? No, what I had to do, was to infiltrate this organisation. Once inside, I could painstakingly gather my evidence. When I was ready a word to the secret services and bingo I would be in all the newspapers.

Finding the names of those who had collaborated on the making of the film was easy. My problem was how to infiltrate their organisation. The opportunity presented itself some few days later when an advert appeared for part-time workers to help out in an egg packaging plant, owned by one of these crooks. Now that's not exactly being let into the hub of their crime-ring, you might think. And you would be right. But infiltrating would take time. Besides, eggs were indispensable in Spaghetti production. So maybe, this is how I figured, the factory was being used as some kind of a cover-up. It wasn't until I saw one of the workers make a small hole in one of the eggs and suck out the inside, that I understood exactly what was going on.

The eggs were nothing but a foolproof way of transporting the drugs. A few workers - those in the know - would suck out the inside of selected eggs - not too many so as not to raise suspicions - before these eggs were passed on to a secret room where a liquid mixture would be re-injected into each egg. Once cooled the mixture became solid and the drugs could be transported without raising the slightest suspicion.

A few days after this discovery I chanced upon a large cardboard box with the letters BBC stamped over it. Now I had all I needed. My first call was to a the editor of one of our biggest national newspapers. Then I contacted my former chief who somehow didn't sound very pleased that I had suddenly reappeared. But a mention of a drugs consignment passing through his patch within the next few days did enough to placate him.

It was that same evening that the said box was loaded onto one of our lorries for immediate departure the next morning. Again I informed, first the editor and then my boss. I wanted to be absolutely sure that a newspaper crew were there to capture my one moment of glory. And so, shortly before eleven a police escort invited the driver to head into a lay-by and a thorough search of the lorry was made. Myself, I didn't arrive until the search was nearly over, but still early enough to catch the anger of my boss at once again being led down a false alley by his most incompetent element - as he so eloquently put it. It was hard to interrupt him but the moment he finished I explained to him why he had found nothing and how the drugs were actually being transported. Upon which, a look of disdain radiating from his face, he picked up one of the eggs I had pointed out to him and smashed it upon my shiny pate.

And the next day I had my moment of glory when every single newspaper sported a picture of my somewhat soiled face below the headline:

Egghead caught with egg on his face


Good read, I was smiling and shaking my head the whole time I read it. It is interesting to see the direction this prompt has gone. The first piece I read went in one direction, the one I wrote went in a completely different direction, and yours is even more different still.

Again, good story. It was very easy to visualize the scene as it unfolded.

2 April 2010 at 13:00  

I chuckled all the way through this. The idea of a spaghetti plantation is genius.
The character's voice is great; kind of hard-boiled detective (pun definitely intended) and part Frank Drebbin, Police Squad.
Lots of fun and laughter.

2 April 2010 at 15:42  

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