By: The Sleuth
"Bernard P. Fife" a thin man, in his thirties, wrote on a sheet of paper.
Just then, a second man entered the room. "Hey, Cousin Barney!" He greeted. "Are you writing another letter to the folks, back home?"
"Yeah, Virgil." The first man replied. "I thought Andy, and the others, would get a kick out of it."
The first man was Barney Fife, Deputy Sheriff of Mayberry, North Carolina. And, the second man was his cousin Virgil. They were both on vacation, and were staying at the YMCA, in Raleigh.
"Are you going somewhere, Virgil?" Barney asked, as he glanced at his cousin, who was wearing the hat he wore when, he went outside.
"Yeah, I'm going down to the drugstore, around the corner." He replied shyly. "I'm going to buy some post cards." He, then, smiled. "Say, Barney, Do you want me to mail your letter, while I'm out?"
"Well, I don't know, Virgil!" he replied, reluctant. Because, he knew, Virgil was more than a little clumsy and, was apt to getting, even the smallest, things fouled up.
"Oh, come on Barney." Virgil continued. "I'm just going to mail a letter. What could go wrong?"
"Well, with you Virgil, anything." Barney frowned. "You could trip, and drop the letter in the gutter. There's an Automat next door. You could accidentally put it inside, one of the boxes, with a blue berry pie, thinking it was a mail box." As Barney spoke, he sealed the envelope, and placed a stamp on it. "Or, you could get you arm hung in the door, again. And, We'd have to call the Fire Department, to come and get you out, again."
Virgil dropped his head and frowned. "I guess, you're right Barney." He replied. "I'd probably mess it up."
Barney glanced at his cousin, and felt bad. "Well, Now, Virgil. There's no need to take on, like that." He, then, handed him the letter. "Here, if, you promise, you'll try your best, you can go ahead, and mail it.
Virgil smiled, and headed towards the door. "Just, you wait and see, Barney. I won't mess up."
After Virgil had gone, Barney finished getting dressed. He put on his suit, "the old Salt and Pepper" as he called it. He put some oil in his hair, and combed it. Then, he placed his hat, similar to Virgil's, on his head, and glanced in the mirror. "Look out, Frank Sanatra!"
A few minutes later, the door opened, and Virgil walked in, carrying a small package under his arm. "Hey, Barney! I mailed your letter. And, I didn't have any problems." He smiled.
"That's good, Virgil. Real good!" Barney replied, pleased. "I knew, you could do it." He, then, started towards the door. "Are you ready, Virgil? I've made reservations at Sui Ling's. You know, that Chinese restaurant?"
Virgil nodded his head.
"But, there's a couple of things, you've got to remember. If, you want good service you've got to leave them a generous tip."
"How much, Barney?" asked Virgil.
"A quarter is usually good." He replied, and, then, frowned. "But, like most places, they can be moody. Especially, if, you ask for some bread." Barney, then, glanced at the package, Virgil was carrying. "Where did you get that?"
"Oh, this?" Virgil laughed. "After, I had mailed your letter, a man standing in the alley gave it to me."
"He did!" Barney replied. "What did, he say?"
"He said, Hey you, come here." Virgil explained. "I said, "Who me?" And, he said, "Yeah, you!" So, I walked over there. He said, "Do you want to make, ten dollars?" I said, "Sure, I'd like to make ten dollars." So, he gave me this package, and a ten dollar bill. He said, all I had to do was, deliver this to a man, at fifth and Main, in apartment 3C, at seven o'clock tonight."
"Virgil, Virgil, Virgil!" Barney shook his head. "Don't you know better, than to do favors, like this, for total strangers?"
"Well, he seamed like a real nice man." Virgil replied. "Besides, it's not that far away."
"What is it, anyway?" Barney asked.
"It's a clock." Virgil replied.
"Oh, Did he tell you, It was a clock?"
Barney asked, as he reached for the package.
"No." Virgil answered.
"Well, for goodness sake!" Barney replied, exasperated. "Then, How do you know, it's a clock?"
"Because, Barney." Virgil explained. "I know, it's a clock. Because, I can hear it ticking."
"Oh, well. If that's all. Then...." Barney cut his sentence short. He held the package close to his ear. "Oh..., Virgil!" He frowned. "Do you know, what this is? It's a bomb! That's what it is!"
It suddenly dawned on Barney, he was holding the package. He, quickly, handed it back to Virgil. Virgil, in turn, handed it back, to Barney. They passed it back and forth, a few times. Finally, Barney tossed it on the floor. Then, He placed the empty garbage pail on top of it.
Then, he sat down on top of the inverted garbage pail. But, he shook his head, realizing it was a bad idea, and got up. He, then, ran over to the closet and opened the door. "I've got an idea! Virgil, Hand me that garbage pail!" He instructed.
Virgil picked up the pail, and handed it to Barney. Barney took it, and tossed it into the closet. He, then, slammed the door shut. Turning around, he breathed a sigh of relief.But, suddenly, His eyes blared big. When, he spotted the package still lying on the floor, where it had been placed, before. Virgil had handed him the garbage pail. But, he had neglected to pick up the package.Barney looked around nervous. "What are we going to do?"
"Well, we could throw it outside." Virgil suggested.
"That's good." Barney replied, as he scooped up the package, and started towards the window. He, suddenly, stopped. "Wait a minute! We can't do that. They're might be some innocent bystanders, down there!"
Then, He glanced at the sink, in the corner of the room. "I know, fill that sink up, with water!"
After, Virgil did as instructed. They, quickly, submerged the package, underneath the water. Then, they ran out of the room, into the hallway.
Ten minutes later, they slowly stepped back inside the room.
"Do you think, it's safe?" Virgil whispered, as if, he talked too loud, it might cause the package to explode.
"I don't know," Barney replied, also in a whisper. "Why don't you, go find out."
Virgil glanced at Barney; it was obvious he didn't want to go. "Why don't you go, Barney?" he asked.
"Well, I can go with you. If, you're afraid." Barney replied, reluctant.
Then, they, cautiously, approached the sink. And, listened for the ticking noise, they had heard, before. But, This time, it was completely silent.
"I think, it's all right, now." Barney remarked, as he, cautiously, reached for the package. "Now! Let's just have, a little look." Barney stated, with an air of confidence. Before, Barney opened the package, he gave a little speech.
"You see, Virgil. Everything always turns out, for the best. But, you've just got to learn to stay calm. In the face of disaster. I noticed back there, you got a little panicky. But, I guess, you can only expect it, from an ordinary John Doe citizen, such as yourself."
Virgil tried to interrupt Barney, to tell him, his name wasn't John Doe. But, Barney wasn't listening.
"You see, Virgil." Barney continued. "If, you had the kind of training, I've had. Then, you would have known, how to handle yourself. In a disaster, such as this. You would have been able to remain calm, cool, and collected, like I was." He then tugged, at his shirt collar. "After all, they don't call me "Fearless Fife", for nothing."
Then, Barney slowly opened the soaked package, and uttered a cry of disgust.
Virgil glanced at the package, and smiled. "It was a clock, after all. Huh, Barney?"
Barney fidgeted around for a moment, nervous. Then, he finally replied. "Well, of course it's a clock! Don't you think I can see that?" Then, he took on a more confident tone. "I can see it's a clock, all right. But, it could have been a bomb. Now, Virgil! You just don't go around doing favors for strangers like this. Because, if it had been a bomb, we could have been blown to smithereens!"
Virgil frowned, and answered. "I know it, Barney. But, what are we going to do, about the clock?"
Barney, in a down tone, replied. "Oh.., well... I don't know Virgil. Maybe, the water didn't hurt it too bad. We can take it apart and, have a little look see."
After Barney and Virgil had ran down to the local hardware store, and bought a screwdriver, they placed the clock on the night stand, and began to take it apart.
"I hope, it's not too badly broken, Barney." Virgil stated. "It sounds like, something is rattling around, in there."
"I know that, Virgil!" Barney replied, short tempered. "But, you've got to be quiet while, I'm working on this clock. It takes a lot of patience, and steady hands, to work on piece of delicate machinery, like this."
"I know, Barney." Said Virgil.
After Barney finished, removing the back of the clock, he, quickly, starred at his cousin, with his eyes blared. "Well, no wonder, it sounded like something was rattling around, in there. Just, look!"
"Wow!" Virgil exclaimed, as he looked into the back of the clock, and spotted thousands of dollars, worth of diamonds."What are we going to do, Barney?" Virgil asked, nervous.
"Well, I guess, we'll have to call the State Police." Barney replied, with a little tone of confidence in his voice. "I imagine, they'll probably make us out to be, a couple of heroes." He remarked, as he walked towards the telephone, in their room.
"Do you think, so, Barney?" Virgil smiled.
"Are you kidding?" Replied Barney. "I'm sure they will. Returning something as valuable as these diamonds." He then frowned. "I just hope they don't make too big of a fuss, over us. Because, if there's one thing I hate, it's a big fuss!"
After Barney got off of the telephone, with the State Police, he sat back and waited for them to arrive. When they finally got there, there was a big fuss made over the two of them. But, unfortunately, it was not the kind of fuss Barney had in mind. Because, after the police arrived, he and Virgil were ushered down to Police Headquarters, and rushed into the interrogation room.
"All right, Fife!" One of the policemen, in the room shouted, as he shined at bright light in Barney's face. "I want you to tell me, where did you get those diamonds?"
"I all ready told you," Barney whined. "Somebody, gave the clock to Virgil."
"Are you still sticking to that story, Fife?" The Police officer in charge, demanded to know. "Some stranger, whom you've never seen before!"
"That's right." Replied Barney.
"OK, Fife! If that's it, then, that's it." The officer remarked. "There's just one thing I want to ask you," He stated, more calmly.
"Well, go ahead." Barney smiled, nervously.
"Where did you get, those diamonds!" He shouted.
Just then, another office stepped into the room. He, immediately, spoke to the officer in charge. "I just spoke with Sheriff Taylor, in Mayberry. He verifies Fife's story."
The bright lights were immediately turned off, and the regular ones were turned on.
"Well, we're sorry about this Fife." The officer in charge apologized. "But, we can't be too careful, about these things."
Barney stood up, a little aggravated. "Well, I guess it happens."
As Barney and Virgil started towards the door, the police officer, who had only came in the room, a few minutes prior, spoke up. "Hey, Chief. Those outlaws are expecting these two men, to deliver the clock, tonight."
"I know, that!" The Chief officer replied. "What about it?"
"Why don't we let them deliver it." He explained. "That way, we can catch those crooks red-handed."
"I don't know, Riley." The Chief replied. "Those two are just a couple of hicks. They could mess things up."
Barney started fidgeting around, after overhearing that remark. Exasperated, he muttered "Hicks!" Then, he started breathing hard and, started swinging his hands, in karate like manner.
"But, Chief!" I've read up on Mr. Fife. "He's been in the papers. He single handed lead a rescue mission, to save two people trapped in a cave in. Mayberry has been acclaimed to have the lowest crime rate, in the state. In one article, Sheriff Taylor stated, it couldn't be possible without his able Deputy."
By now, Barney had calmed down, listening to the officer speak, in his defense. "Well, I don't like to brag." He smiled.
"Well..., all right, Riley." The Chief reluctantly agreed. "Go ahead. But, remember they're your responsibility."
As Riley motioned for Barney and Virgil to follow him, The Chief spoke out. "Remember, this could be dangerous!"
Barney, who was walking with great pride, suddenly stopped. "What! Danger!" He started shaking nervously. "Maybe, We ought to think this over!"
"It will be all right, Fife." Riley reassured, as he urged the nervous Mayberry Deputy to follow him.
It was planned that night, for Barney and Virgil to deliver the Diamonds as intended, earlier.
When seven o'clock came. The cousins from Mayberry were standing out front of an old reconverted brown stone, on the corner of Fifth and Main.
"Where are the police, Barney?" Virgil asked nervously, as they walked into the building.
"They'll be here, Virgil." Barney replied. "They're staying back, incognito."
"In...Co...What?" Virgil asked, puzzled.
"Incognito! It means in disguise!" Barney replied, exasperated.
Barney tried to act brave, in front of his cousin. But, he was still very nervous. As they walked along the long corridor, Barney spotted a man sitting in a chair, outside of one of the apartments. He was wearing an old wrinkled suit.
"That's one of them." Barney whispered to Virgil.
"Where!" Virgil asked, in anything but a whisper.
Barney fidgeted around. "Virgil, be quiet!" He, quickly, stated. "We don't want to let their identity, slip out!"
Then, Barney looked over at the man and smiled. Next, he pointed towards the clock, and gave a nod. But, the man just stared at him.
"He doesn't act like, he knows us." Virgil whispered. "Well, it's just apart of his act." Barney explained. "That's the way they do things, up here. Yup. This is the big time, Virgil. This is where I really belong."
Just then, the door opened behind the man, sitting in the chair. And, a woman stepped out. "Charlie!" She shouted. "Come and eat your dinner! If it gets cold, I'm not heating it up."
The man didn't waist any time, following his wife inside.
"He wasn't a policeman, after all." Virgil remarked.
Barney, slightly embarrassed, replied. "Well..., Of course not, Virgil. Do you think an undercover policeman would just sit there, out in the open like that? Use your head, man. Use your head."
"But, Barney." Virgil protested. "You were the one...."
"Look!" Barney interrupted. "Are we going to just stand around here, and talk? Or, are we going to deliver these stolen diamonds?" Barney's eyes suddenly bugged out, after he realized how loud he was talking.
"Now, Where is this apartment that, we're suppose to go to?" Barney asked, nonchalantly.
"It's apartment 3C." Virgil replied.
"That's on the third floor." Barney stated, as he walked towards the stairs.
When they reached the third floor, they cautiously made their way towards apartment 3C.
Barney barely knocked on the door and, barely whispered. "Anybody home?" Then, he suddenly turned around. "Well, there's nobody here. Let's go, Virgil!"
"Wait a minute!" a voice, suddenly, spoke out from inside of apartment 3C. Barney and Virgil turned around and, saw a large burly man, standing in front of the door. "Isn't that package for me?"
Barney looked at him nervous. "What package?" Then, he glanced down at the clock, in his arms. "Oh, this package. Yes, it is. Well, here you go. We'll being seeing you later. So, long!" Barney handed the man the clock and, started for the stairs.
"Wait a minute!" The man shouted. Then, he held the clock next to his ear and, shook it. "I guess, everything is all right."
"Then, We'll be going, now!" Barney smiled, and started for the stairs, again.Just then, a police siren could be heard outside.
"You've called the cops!" He shouted.
"No, we didn't! Did we Virgil?" Barney looked at his cousin, nervously.
"No. We didn't Cousin Barney." Replied Virgil.
"Well, I am going to need a couple of hostages. So, you two are coming with me!" He raved.
"Now, look!" Barney replied. "We're not going anywhere!"
The man, suddenly, pointed a revolver at Barney's nose.
"Do you want me to drive, or do you want to use my bus pass?" Barney, quickly, asked.
"Now, look Mister." Virgil spoke up. "You shouldn't speak like that, to an officer of the law."
The man looked surprised and, motioned towards Barney. "You mean he's a law man?" Barney tried to shake his head, at Virgil. But, Virgil was all ready answering him.
"That's right," said Virgil. "And, He's the best law man, around here."
"Well, then." He turned towards Barney. "Maybe, I should just show you, how I feel about law men." Then, he backed Barney up, into the corner of the hallway. "Let me just show, my appreciation!"
As the man approached Barney, Virgil managed to slip around behind him. He spotted a vase sitting on a table, just inside of the man's room. He picked it up and, threw it at the villain. The man staggered, after it hit him and, he fell on the floor. His gun flying free, of his grip.
Barney, quickly, grabbed the gun. And, nervously aimed it, in the villain's general direction. "All right, Don't move!" He ordered.
Just then, four policemen rushed up the stairs. One of them was Riley. "Congratulations, Deputy! You've done it." He announced.
Barney smiled, as the policemen subdued the criminal. "Well, it's all in a day's work." He replied.
As the policemen were escorting the criminal away, Riley glanced at Virgil. "You must really be proud, of your cousin."
Virgil smiled modestly, "You bet, I am. Cousin Barney is the best lawman, around."
Once at the police station, the crook told everything he knew and, the rest of gang was soon rounded up.
The next day, Barney and Virgil's picture were in the paper. And, they finally received the hero's treatment, Barney had hoped for. They were the toast of the town.
That night, on the way back to their hotel room. They heard a voice coming from an alley. It said, "Hey you, come here!"
Virgil started to walk towards the man. But, Barney held him back. "Virgil! Haven't you learned anything, from all of this?" Then, he motioned for Virgil to keep walking.
After they had walked down the street, the man in alley turned around. There was a camera crew behind him. "Well, friends. I thought we had found a winner." He spoke into a microphone. "But, I guess they weren't interested in winning our Ten Thousand dollar prize. Oh..., well." The man chuckled. "This has been Dave Collens, with KRP's prize patrol."