When he awoke, Bertram determined to make a series of scratches on the cell wall to mark the passing of days. There would be six vertical scratches crossed by a seventh diagonal scratch to mark off each complete week. It was a good system that he had seen used in many films, usually involving Steve McQueen. In the fullness of time, when every avenue of wrongdoing had been explored and Police investigations had come to fruition, when he was finally summoned to the processing office for charging, he counted the scratches on his wall and then counted them a second time to double check. There were none.
As it turned out, when Bertram and Gertrude met again in the processing office, they were told simply that they could go.
“You may go,” said the processing rozzer*, and continued with his paperwork.
[*English slang meaning a Police Oficer.]
“Uhm, beg pardon Officer, old chap, but what are you trying to say?” asked Bertram.
“I am trying to say that you are free to go. Is my English at fault?” replied the rozzer.
Bertram reasoned that this was the start of a long and grinding Police campaign involving mental torture of the brow-beating, psychological kind, but they were not going to break him! He came from stern British stock. Bertram’s grandfather had personally – and very sensibly, in his opinion – kept ducking bullets long enough to survive the battle of Ypres on the Somme and that took some doing!
Bertram tested the water, “I’m sorry, Officer. Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding. Are you saying that we can go?”
“Yes, sir, that is exactly what I am saying. You are free to go.”
“How do you define You are free to go ?”
The rozzer was not ready for Bertram’s sophisticated anti-interrogation techniques. “I define it as, we do not require you to be here any longer and you may now leave.”
“On what grounds, may I ask?”
“On the grounds that there are no charges to bring.”
“Righty-ho, then. I think that I can see the way that this is going. You are going to lock us up again, aren’t you? You’ll allow us to step through the door, see the trees and smell the fresh air and then you’ll re-arrest us and bang us up again! This is the start of a sleep deprivation campaign. Next, you’ll take away my teddy bear so I’ll snap like a biscuit and tell you anything! Okay then, you’ve won, what do you want to know? Please don’t take my teddy bear. I’ll tell, I’ll tell. You should see how many paperclips they use at The Ministry, it’s scandalous!”
“No, sir, I am trying to tell you that you are free to go and if you refuse, I will have to throw you out. However, if you have any belongings left in the cells, I will allow you to go back and get them.”
It had actually started to dawn on Bertram that he and Gertrude were actually being set free. Perhaps the penny dropped when Gertrude jabbed him in the side with four very sharp and forceful fingers.
“Ah! I see! Well, there is one thing left in the cells that I would like to go and retrieve. I have left a garment of clothing.”
“Okay, sir. My colleague, here, will escort you.”
Bertram turned to Gertrude and said, “I’ll get my coat…”
“Now where have I heard that before?” she murmured.