Something fell off the table with a bang, just when a crouching Hichki Sharma reached for his pocket. Cowering, he leapt forward, hitting both his palms on a stiff sack that came loose and a puff of white powder filled the air.
About 20 feet away, Chander Kale nearly popped out of the wardrobe screaming but for a shadow on the wall that strangled his breath.
The 50-year old security guard, in a fatal attempt to switch the lights on, now lay spread-eagled.
“Sharma! What’s that on your face?!”
“Iii don’t know, sirrr…”
In a few hours, sub-inspector Hichki Sharma’s face were to be a deep shade of red when a sudden burst of congratulatory pats from Detective Inspector Chander Kale, left him hiccuping in a room-full of cops and reporters.
But hours after the bang, thud and puff of white smoke, and before the clickity shutterbug of the local press, a body had to be identified and a suitable reason for death assigned.
Back at the station, a thickset Kale stood tapping the table with slow, uncertain thumps, his mind chasing the seductive fragrance of aloo-gobhi from the adjoining visitor’s room.
The detective sucked in his breath and straightened his shirt, plugging his gaze at the wall where a grinning portrait hung.
“Where is the body, Sharma?”
“In the morgue, sir. We…”
“Get the doctor.”
Moments later, the sub-inspector returned with a sullen, bespectacled midget.
After forty minutes, the doctor could barely hear himself.
“Well done, doctor! After all, we got the drugs.”
“Oh, yes!” Kale held his hand. “If me and Sharma had not been startled by the unlucky bastard and I hadn’t fired…”
“Yes, yes,” the doc mumbled quick thank-yous and disappeared.
“It was a glorious win! Hain, Sharma? Victory from the jaws of Hichki!,” the detective’s belly rippled, layers of fat wiggling like a group of belly dancers colliding into each other.