Chief Inspector Grey-um:
Last Seen Puzzling
Arresting the mind of Adam J Purcell
Detective Chief Inspector Grey-um remains a hard drinking police detective who enjoys word search puzzles, being grumpy, bad novelty music and especially solving crimes. It’s almost as if his lack of character development is deliberate, so that people can hear about his cases in any order. Almost.
It has been a quiet time for Grey-um between cases. So uninteresting, in fact, that they never talk about it.
Grey-um is bored. Terribly bored. But who is this visiting Grey-um in his office? Yes, of course it is Grey-um’s trusty but inexperienced sidekick, Detective Sergeant Velma Dinkley. She has the look of someone desperate for action.
“When will we have another case, Sir? I can’t stand doing anymore of this-” bemoans Dinkley before Grey-um cuts her off sharply.
“No, Sergeant! You know we must never speak of what we do between major cases!” exclaims Grey-um.
Grey-um has another visitor. What a busy morning. It’s Chief Superintendent Naked Tom Baker and he looks grim, no doubt wanting to get straight to the point.
“I’ll get straight to the point, Grey-um. Something terrible has happened. Terrible, I say! And grim! Little Amelia Pond has disappeared!” says Naked Tom Baker, grimly.
“It's a tragedy, Dinkley..." emotes Grey-um.
“Golly! Well it is Christmas again. Why do so many of our special cases always seem to happen around Christmas?” ponders Dinkley.
“Impossible to say. If we ever did know why specials always happen around Christmas then maybe we could do something about it and make this cesspit of a world a better place.” groused Grey-um.
“You’re being morose again, sir. Remember what the police psychologist said to you?”
“Yes, Dinkley, you’re right. I must stop playing to type. Fancy a drink on our way to the scene of the crime?”
There’s Grey-um and Dinkley, in his quirky and distinctive classic vehicle. They are on their way to the first crime scene of the day, of no doubt many. If Grey-um is flying erratically it’s because he’s had a total skin full en route. Like all good detectives, Grey-um can’t help but let the job get him down.
One way Grey-um lightens the mood is to loudly play his favourite music. This time he’s sharing The Birdie Song unto the world. Dinkley does not look happy.
Here we are in the TARDIS, little Amelia Pond’s home. Big Amy, Rory and the Doctor are distraught but nonetheless manage to explain how Amelia didn’t return after going out to buy some fish fingers and custard.
“But I don’t understand,” says Dinkley, clearly not understanding something, “aren’t you, Amy, and Amelia the same person?”
“Fraternising with your past self? That’s against the first law of time, isn’t it? I ought to run you all in.” warns Grey-um.
“I never got to raise my child, instead the Doctor’s been seeing her while we’re asleep. To compensate, I now get to raise myself. The Doctor said it would be alright and he’s the Lord of Time…” explains Amy.
Grey-um is bristling at that, “I’m a good old fashioned detective who hates the establishment, so don’t expect me to respect any Lords! Besides, shouldn’t you remember what happened to you when you were Amelia - you’re clearly still alive.”
“Of course not! That would make a mockery of every story where people meet their past selves. Terrance Dicks would have had a coronary decades ago!” explains Amy.
Grey-um is looking thoughtful, “Yes, he’d be starting to smell by now… But do you have any clues for us? It is clearly stated in the rules that villains must leave clues!”
Rory steps up and hands Grey-um a scrap of paper. A scrap of paper with a word search puzzle on it.
“Excellent, a puzzle! Back to the office with us, Dinkley. This calls for a long sit down and even longer drink, to get the little grey cells going!” declares Grey-um.
“The game is afoot, sir?” suggests Dinkley.
“Shut up, Dinkley!”
We are back in Grey-um’s office again. But what’s this? That’s Vampire Willow, the local Tom. She too looks upset.
“Spit it out, Vampire Willow! The day’s barely started and I’ve already had enough drink to knock out the entire 1970s.” demands Grey-um.
“It’s Fascist Spock and Derek the Demented Dalek… They’ve been kidnapped. Murdered maybe! You’ve got to help me, Inspector!” pleads Vampire Willow.
“Two this time, sir. Whoever’s taking them is certainly getting bolder.” opines Dinkley.
“Yes but at least they haven’t made it personal with us, eh Dinkley. Don’t you hate it when that happens?” adds Grey-um.
“This puzzle was left, addressed directly to you, Detective Chief Inspector Grey-um.” says Vampire Willow.
“Bugger.” Grey-um says flatly.
“Eureka! These are particularly challenging word search puzzles, Dinkley. You’d never manage them because you’re an easygoing working class sort, prone to wild hunches. Whereas I am an adipose of refinement and intellect, a deductive detective who relies on reason and logic with my vast intellect and knowledge.” drones on Grey-um.
“Yes, sir...” says Dinkley wearily, used to pompous put downs from her boss.
“It has taken even me several hours but I have discovered two words, one in each puzzle… See - this second one has ‘advent’ and the first one ‘calendar’.” announces Grey-um, triumphantly.
“Also ‘Christmas’ in that first one - right there, sir?” Dinkley immediately points out.
“Enough of that! Nobody likes a smartypants, do they, Sergeant?” says Grey-um, hotly.
“We must go to the Advent Calendar. Obviously the kidnapper is there, his inner demons clearly desiring he be caught.”
“And the kidnap victims, sir?”
“Who? Oh, yes, they’ll be there too.”
“You don’t think it might be a trap, sir?”
“Don’t be silly, Dinkley. When are these situations ever traps?! You’ve a lot to learn, Sergeant.”
Grey-um and Dinkley have arrived by the Advent Calendar but, typically, there is nowhere to park.
“Dinkley, drop me off here and join me when you’ve found somewhere to park. Find a nice parking space - I don’t want my baby scratched again!” orders Grey-um.
“Ah, Dinkley, you’re back at last. It took me a few minutes but I have discovered something…” declares Grey-um.
“That it’s Christmas Eve but only the first three doors have been opened on the Advent Calendar? I noticed that before I dropped you off, sir.” says Dinkley.
“Er, yes. Shut up, Dinkley! It’s a clue, don’t you see? We should open them up, maybe our missing persons are behind them…” suggests Grey-um.
“I’m not sure they’d fit, sir. Is that even wise - it could be a trap!” warns Dinkley.
“Let me show you how real police work in done, Sergeant.”
“Just Lego, sir.”
“We’ll keep going, Dink-” Grey-um starts as he opens the ninth door before being cut off by a trap!
The ground beneath their feet has swung down like a particularly tricky trap door and there's nothing for our heroes to grab hold of...
Right now Grey-um wishes he could fly but he can’t.
Fortunately Grey-um is a squidgy little adipose, immune from all but the highest of falls.
“Get off me, Dinkley! Are you alright?” says a winded Grey-um.
“Yes, sir, you broke my fall. Er, where’s your..? I parked it right here...”
“What?! Has someone stolen my pride and joy? You did lock it, didn’t you?”
“Of course, sir!”
“I think this was part of their plan all along, to get at me and you fell for it, Dinkley!”
“Wha..?” begins Dinkley, slightly incredulously.
“We’d better get back to the station, it’ll be a long walk.”
It was indeed a long walk for Grey-um’s little legs but at last he is back in his office. Look, there’s Rory coming in, looking even more distressed than usual (he always was a pathetic specimen and in no way deserving of Amy).
“Yes, we’re still looking for Little Amelia, Mr. Pond. Should we be listing her as your wife or your adoptive daughter? You’re a very sick man, you know that?”
“What? No, it’s not just Amelia but now they’ve all gone! Amy, our grown up daughter River and my son-in-law the Doctor. Also the TARDIS!” says Rory, with more than a slight hint of panic.
“Calm down. How can you be sure they haven’t just left you behind - I know I would.” asks Grey-um.
“Because this puzzle was left, addressed to you.”
“Hmm, tricky. Okay Mr. Pond, we’ll let you know when we have any news.”
“Ah, Dinkley. Where have you been? We are now missing another three people. I can detect a pattern here - first one, then two and now three… What’s the matter?” Grey-um is asking a very puffed out looking Dinkley.
“It’s the Chief Super, sir! I think he’s been taken, too!” Dinkley is managing to get out between deep breaths.
“What?!” exclaims Grey-um.
“Yes, I just went to his office to tell him what happened to us and all I found was this puzzle…”
“Right, that does it. Enough of these games, let’s talk to my snout, The Head of Pertwee.” declares Grey-um.
“It’s going to be a long walk downstairs to the living room, sir.”
“Shut-up, Dinkley” barks Grey-um.
“I can borrow a pool vehicle, sir?”
“This just isn’t the same, Dinkley…” groused Grey-um.
“It also smells of those unwashed uniformed officers, sir.”
“That it does, Dinkley. That it does. Worse than that, I don't have my music.”
“That's very unfortunate, sir.” says Dinkley in the most unconvincing way possible.
“He’s gone, sir! Look there’s another word search puzzle on the ground - he’s been taken along with the rest of them!” cries Dinkley.
“This is really getting personal now and I don’t like it, Dinkley. Not one little bit.” complains Grey-um.
“Back to the office, sir?”
“What choice do we have? Though we should stop off for some drinks on the way…”
“It’s no good, Dinkley. All I have for this first puzzle is ‘christmas’, ‘calendar’ and ‘vowfi’ - whatever that means…”
“Nothing, sir, that isn’t a word. I can also see ‘red’, along with ‘pond’ and ‘amelia’ - obviously the name of our first victim.”
“Hmm. Okay, Dinkley, on the second one I can see ‘advent’, ‘dalek’ and ‘demen’ - obviously a misspelling of ‘demon’.”
“I think that’s part of ‘demented’, sir. As in Derek the Demented Dalek. There’s also ‘herring’, which along with ‘red’ on the first one might have been a hint that the advent calendar wasn’t a real clue!”
“Alright, the third then, clever clogs.” challenges Grey-um.
“Er, ‘doctor’, ‘song’ and ‘pond’” says Dinkley, glancing at the puzzle.
“The victims again! I’m definitely seeing a pattern here. Continue!” orders Grey-um.
“Evil, going down that way…” points out Dinkley.
“Next puzzle, Sergeant.”
“On this fourth one I can see… Oh, this is a trickier one… There’s ‘chief’ going down. Er, ‘peru’ but that might be just random…”
“What about the final puzzle?” asks Grey-um.
“The fifth and, so far, final word search puzzle… ‘pertwee’... ‘huer’? Has Dr. Huer ever visited here?”
“No, that creepy old man was banged up for Twiki molestation years ago. Probably random again. See there, going down? Does ‘patine’ mean anything to you?” reaches Grey-um.
“No, sir, I think you’re making up words again. So, what about Wilma?” asks Dinkley, worried about someone with a vaguely similar name.
“Deering? Sold into slavery to Tigerman, I think. It all came off the rails after that terrible second season. Buck Rogers went postal after reading the early third season scripts. They never got made, of course. They talked about recasting but Lee Majors could only run in slow motion and that just didn’t work for them.” laments Grey-um.
“That’s a tragedy, sir.”
“Shut up, Dinkley! This isn’t helping. What do all the victims have in common?”
“Er, Doctor Who, sir?”
“Not Spock.” points out Grey-um.
“He was mentioned…”
“Look, sir - tree!” exclaims Dinkley, hopefully.
“There are no trees in my office, Dinkley. Do I need to send you on that special holiday of the rubber roomed hotel again?”
“No, sir, please not that again! Look, on the final puzzle, fourth column going down - ‘tree’!”
“I’ll let you off this time. So? It could be random, it’s a short word.” says Grey-um, doubtfully.
“Maybe but the first one has ‘christmas’, the second… there - ‘yule’! The third… there, towards the middle, going down - ‘solstice’. The fourth… the entire length - ‘saturnalia’ - isn’t that something like a Roman Christmas? The last one has ‘tree’. Christmas tree!” declares Dinkley.
“Dinkley, I think I’ve figured it out - they’re being held at the Christmas tree!” says Grey-um triumphantly, completely unwilling to be aware that it was actually Dinkley that had come up with the idea.
“Look, down there sir. I think those presents are our missing persons!” suggests Dinkley.
“They must have heard us - they’re breaking out! Quickly, drop me off.” says Grey-um, urgently.
“Everybody lives! Except where’s the culprit? Who did this to all of you?” asks Grey-um of the kidnapped toys.
“The Evil Emperor Palpatine!” announces the Head of Pertwee, always on the ball and, for some reason, currently on a spring as if he were a jack-in-the-box.
“There he is - he’s getting away” cries the Doctor.
With a quick bounce on his spring the Head of Pertwee launches himself towards the fleeing Evil Emperor!
“You’re nicked!” says Grey-um to the crushed remains of the Evil Emperor, before adding “Why did you do it?”
“To avenge all the forgotten Kenner Star Wars action figures…” the Evil Emperor Palpatine manages to get out with his dying breath.
Dinkley has begun unwrapping the big present. Sure enough it is Grey-um's classic vehicle. Inspector Grey-um quickly joins her to finish off and is over the moon!
“Well, that’s another case wrapped up, Dinkley. All’s well that ends well.”
“Yes, all those kidnapped toys have been freed. Well, almost…” says Dinkley, eyeing the wrapped figure in the corner.
“Indeed. Strange that they should wait for us before breaking out. They must have sensed the Evil Emperor was rumbled at that point and couldn’t do them any more harm. That’s how great we are, Dinkley!”
“Still, sir, I’m not sure we should have let them string up his body like that… and the hitting...” says Dinkley, rather disapprovingly.
“Well, we learnt one thing - he wasn’t full of sweets!” laughs Grey-um.
“And what about the Chief Super, sir? He clearly can’t unwrap himself, so shouldn’t we help him?”
“What and have him wandering around here naked again? It puts me right off my lunch.”
“Sir…” warns Dinkley.
“Okay, okay. Maybe in a few days!”
In typical fashion, Grey-um and Dinkley finish the case with a laugh into freeze frame.