22. JUST IN TIME
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Read Previous Chapter here.
Previously on The Bike Babaji: Inspector Harish had gathered evidence that Father Antony was treating the wanted criminal Samuels at the Church illegally.
14th Thursday November, 7:59 a.m.
Baker Babu was nervous. As soon as James and Vinod left the tea stall to snitch the bike, he thought of calling Douglas to inform what he had learned. But it was too late. He saw the bike being brought to the street already. The tea stall was too far away and if he screamed, Vinod would get alerted and abscond. This is a good chance to catch the culprits red-handed. So, he didn't want to do anything stupid. After all, Inspector Douglas had asked him to keep only an eye and not do anything more. So, he decided to stay silently in his bakery and furtively click pictures of the incidents. He took out his digital camera and zoomed in on Vinod when he was ready to snatch the bike.
Time was 8:05 a.m. now. Mike had lifted his bike and placed the side stand. Just when he was puzzled and trying gauge what had actually happened, he realized that the bike key was missing. Shocked by the finding, he started searching his shirt and pant pockets. He was in total confusion now. First, the bike had fallen off. Now, the keys are missing. He surmised that the keys may have dropped in the parking space or he may have left it in the house. And when he decided to go in and check he heard a loud scream.
It was Baker Babu who was shouting from his tea stall at the street end.
The scream was audible to Vinod and James who were in the corner street hidden from the sight of Mike and Baker Babu.
Babu and Mike walked hurriedly towards each other and met halfway.
"What happened?" asked Mike frenetically.
Having learned about the bike keys being snatched by Vinod, James was in complete state of shock, not knowing what to do. Now when he heard the baker who shouted from the far end of the street, both James and Vinod looked stupefied.
"What have you done you idiot?" said James with indignation.
"I'm sorry Babaji, I didn't know what to do, so I took the keys and came"
"Oh Lord. Jesus! I need to think clearly now", said James as he tried to calm himself down. Then he looked over the street secretly and noticed the baker and Mike talking seriously about something. Probably, the baker might have observed Vinod's attempt to steal the bike but something was not right. He observed a camera at the hands of the baker. And he seemed to be showing something to Mike in the camera. James figured out what is happening and he had an idea.
"Quick, hand over the keys to me", said James, turning to Vinod.
"And give me your hand kerchief"
James covered his face with the hand kerchief and tied a knot behind his head.
"We have no time to lose. I will run towards the bike, start it and come back to pick you up. The bakery guy and the bike owner are involved in a conversation and they are quite far away from the bike. The distance is more than enough for me to run to the bike, start it and ride away."
"Oh no Babaji. But I have to tell you something important. Please listen to me."
"Enough of your stupidity. Stay here and don't do anything. Be ready to hop on to the bike when I come along. I will be just slowing down the bike and not stopping for you."
"But Babaji. Please listen to me."
"Just shut up and stand tight!"
Vinod wanted to tell James that he was walking straight into trouble. But James wouldn't care to listen. The baker and Mike were still in an animated conversation. James took to his heels and ran fiercely towards the bike.
[To be continued]