Fiction: Criminal Intent

If Sheena, not Benjamin, but if Benjamin, then possibly also Rob.

Archer Bancock ran the scenarios through his head again like it was one of those logic problems he completed to pass the L-SAT. He even had a chart drawn up, but too many things cancelled each other out. He thought he might have found the one O in all those columns of X’s, but he wanted to be sure, so he got out a fresh sheet of paper and started writing.


1) Visa confirms, duplicate card delivered to office while we were in Caymans.

2) Since we got back, card has been used to make several $50 purchases around town.

The fact that Sheena had her own card and had drawn the withdrawals to Archer’s attention didn’t make her innocent. Archer had long since realized that one of the dangers of using your wife for your secretary was that she grew entirely too familiar.

Sheena thought herself entitled to confidential case information, treated his clients like close personal friends, and spent Archer’s money like water. It wouldn’t be at all beyond her to order another card, use it on the sly, then report the theft to baffle him, knowing he wouldn’t cancel the card until he sniffed her out. But she was with him in the Caymans when the card arrived, and Archer arrived at the office before she did upon their return. Thus, he leaned more towards the affable janitor, Benjamin or the IT dope, Rob.

Archer checked his watch. He had twenty minutes before he needed to leave for lunch with his son, Winston. This was the first year Win’s class break failed to coincide with the family trip. This meal would be the first time father and son both had time to see each other in over a month. Still, there was more than enough time to work through this whole conundrum once again.

Benjamin cleaned the office twice while the Bancocks vacationed, each time picking up and straightening the mail that had fallen into a pile inside the door. He had opportunity. And he certainly had a motive. He had been housekeeper to the family that owned the building before it became Bancock Law. But the family moved out of town, and Archer had no need for daily cleaning. Now, a cleaning service employed Benjamin. He said he worked the same hours for half the pay, and this was only one of the buildings on his route.

Another watch check. Still ten minutes before Archer had to leave to be in the campus dining hall by noon. Winston seemed to think Archer ought to take him for a grander reunion, but Archer refused the expense. He told his son, “I used to love eating in this very cafeteria when I was in college.” He was looking forward to the buffet line.

Finally, there was Rob. Archer wished it were practical to hire someone to operate his computers, someone who didn’t try to pad his own pockets with unnecessary expenses. Instead he outsourced, and Rob was simply the least of the evils the service inflicted upon him. This winter, Archer finally gave into Sheena’s whining and Rob’s persistence and allowed a systems upgrade while he was gone. So Rob had a building key for those two critical vacation weeks, as well.

And that brought him back to his chart. If Sheena, not Benjamin, but if Benjamin, possibly also Rob. The chart didn’t answer his questions at all. Nonetheless, Archer thought he knew where his money was going, and he left for lunch whistling softly.


This week’s Story Dam prompt asked:

Write a piece in which your character catches that dramatic break in the case and is on the verge of putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. Help us solve a classic “who-dunnit” but don’t tell us who it is! Let’s see if we can guess for ourselves in your comments!

So. Who, dear readers, stole the card, and more importantly, why?


15 thoughts on “Fiction: Criminal Intent

  1. I don’t knooooooooooooooow! So many people with access and possible motive or just plain greed or grudge. Give us some more!

    As I wrote in a comment on another piece, one of my pet peeves is using brand names (Visa) unless it’s important to the story. Could it have been “The credit card company” or “The bank”? That’s just me.

    Really enjoyed your piece!

    • I debated that one, Martha, so I definitely hear you there. Mostly “Visa” is one word, “the bank” is two, and “credit card company” is three. And I was running right up against it on words!!

      Andra got it 🙂

  2. I would pin it on the son, too. 🙂 I loved logic puzzles, too. I was quite good at them but I always need to actually write them down. My brother can do without.

    • I LOVE those things. I’m decent at them. My husband is AWESOME. We knew we were a couple made in Geek Heaven when we spent our early dates doing library research in grad school and doing logic problems on our breaks.

  3. Wow. I never suspected the son! Great job!

    I will admit, the second portion about the son seemed unnecessary until I read the comments. After I re-read, it made perfect sense. You really threw me off on that. We’ll blame it on a short word count. Awesome job this week!

  4. At first I thought it might have been Benjamin, since he was working for half the pay now, and could ‘justify’ it with the excuse that it was somewhat archers fault.
    Then, after reading the part about the son wanting a ‘grander reunion’. I thought ‘hmmm, I bet he’s the one, since Dad sounds a little greedy’.
    This one kept me on my toes, there were certainly reasons why all the suspects could have had a reason and means to commit the crime.

    Great Job! I hope it was worth Winston’s punishment, that I’m sure he’ll receive, once he’s caught 😉

For the love of Mike, TALK to me! (Concrit welcome on fiction)

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