Welcome to The Great Chocolate Conspiracy!
Chocolate Digestive biscuits have disappeared from the shelves right across the eastern seaboard of the USA, and now the shortage has spread to London. Detective Chief Inspector Sam Adamson and his international team of investigators from the Metropolitan Police's Confectionery Crimes Unit (CCU) have been tasked to solve the mystery.
This is the second installment of a multi-part flash fiction story that originated during a chat between the authors on Twitter. You can read how it all began here. (links to all the installments will be added to the author list as they are posted)
The next installment will appear on Friday, September 17th at Monica Marier's Attack of the Muses!, and you can keep up on developments in the meantime by following the #GtChocCo hashtag on Twitter.
The Confectionery Crimes Unit arrived at the Dulles International Airport in D.C. with more than an hour of delay. Apparently the chocolate digestives had disappeared from the Airport too, which caused protests and confusion. The CCU intervened, preventing violence to arise and allowing the airport to resume its activities.
DI Marier grumbled to herself when remembering the self satisfied smile her boss shot at the cameras as he explained how he'd managed to control the mob in 'no time'. She smirked at the memory of a journalist asking if the CCU would bear with the economic costs of another confectionery crime, since it was the department's responsibility having let the criminal escape in the first place. DCI Adamson's face paled and he mumbled an inaudible excuse, retreating to the boarding gate where his team paced. Adamson had been speaking to the press for over half an hour, increasing the flight's delay to the point of getting the plane's crew in the verge of desperation.
The Crumbly Cake Squad climbed down the plane's stairs tired and stressed. There were more news of digestives vanishing, which filled the flight with rumors and tension. When the flight attendants came with breakfast there were outraged cries all over the plane.
Adamson was so engrossed with his own thoughts that he forgot about his luggage, leaving Marier to coordinate Fox and Bournville, while Juniper and Motley conferenced quietly. Adamson passed right beside a tall woman with a sign bearing his name. Marier signaled the already overwhelmed Bournville to hold her belongings and ran past the brunette to inform her boss that their contact was already there.
"Oh, good," said the absent minded detective.
Adamson poked the woman on the arm, who instinctively reached for her gun. They stared at each other.
"I'm Detective Chief Inspector Sam Adamson and this is my team, Detective Inspector Monica Marier, Vice Ispettore Mari Juniper and Professor Gracie Motley," he said indicating each woman, who showed their IDs.
Releasing her shoulders, she flared a CIA badge. "Especial Agent Danielle La Paglia. I was informed there would be six of you?"
"Ah yes," said Adamson, "Fox and Bournville are bringing the luggage." He nodded in the direction of the struggling officers.
"I expect you'll be needing to contact your back up team, so we'd better get going," said La Paglia to Adamson, who hadn't taken his eyes off her.
"Back up team?"
"You didn't leave anyone to support the operation back home?" She took a snickers bar from her pocket and started munching on it.
Marier controlled the urge to roll her eyes. She had tried to suggest something like it but Adamson had insisted on having everyone with him.
Adamson clenched his jaw and pointed to the approaching PC's, "You two are heading back. Marier, take care of the procedures; we'll meet at the hotel once you're done."
Marier's snort was covered up by a woman's cry. They all ran in that direction, leaving the pouting officers behind.
"All chocolate is gone!" cried the desperate woman.
"Please tell us what happened m'am," asked La Paglia, showing her ID.
The woman grabbed La Paglia's shoulders. "Don't you see? There's not a single chocolate bar in this airport. There are no chocolate cookies, no hot cocoa, nothing! Everything that contains chocolate has vanished. I saw it with my own eyes!"
"Bastard," said Adamson punching his palm, "he won't stop with digestives then."
La Paglia tried to calm down the hysterical woman, while the others interviewed costumers and employees and Adamson paced tapping his chin. After taking note of her contact information, La Paglia raised her head to see chaos in the airport. People were breaking things, screaming and fighting. She sat down, cleaning the coffee from an empty table with a napkin and asked for reinforcement, after which she turned to Adamson and questioned him as to what they'd found out.
"Wait a minute Missy," he said pointing a finger at her, "this is my bloody operation. Don't you come giving me orders just because you're tall and pretty and a bloody cool spy."
"Now, report your findings Marier," he added, interrupting the flabbergasted agent, who started fidgeting with her coat.
Marier cleared her throat before confirming that all chocolate had vanished from the airport and the vicinities; it was already on the news. They had to raise their voices in the middle of the cocoa-less chaos to discuss their findings.
"The American press is bloody too fast," he mumbled, gazing at the coffee shop's TV.
They were deciding how to proceed when La Paglia stood up. She was sweating, her face white as a sheet of paper.
"They're gone," she mumbled, "they're all gone."
"What?" asked the concerned Motley.
"My snickers," replied La Paglia, "they've vanished from my pocket."
A heavy silence fell upon them as La Paglia's face changed from helpless to determined. "I'm going to catch the son of a bitch who did this. I swear to god, even if it's last thing I do I'll bring this bastard down," she said with clenched fists.
Adamson bemused smile didn't pass unnoticed to his team. Juniper winked at Motley, who smiled, and Marier crossed her arms.
Later that day they all assembled at Marier's hotel room waiting for further instructions. She whispered to Motley, "Why does it always have to be my room?"
"That's because Adamson trusts you more than anyone else here, sweetie. You've been working with him the longest."
Marier sighed and Motley touched her arm sympathetically.
"So," asked Juniper, "how come the CIA got involved in this? I was expect the FBI to step up."
"I love your accent. You're Italian right?" said La Paglia
"Yes, and thanks," said Juniper. "Is there a reason to avoid my question?" She grinned amicably.
"Well, it seems our director is not very good at jo ken po**," said La Paglia, scratching the back of her head with one hand, the other verifying the contents of her refiled pocket.