Cursed to Death (Last Part)

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By Rida Kamdar

Chaudhry and Siddique Chronicles

The story until now:
“You have got to be kidding me. Shehzad is going to kill us,” I implored.
“It is what it is Chaudhry,” Siddique shrugged. “We have got to come up with a plan and fast before the opportunity expires.”
So we abandoned our ball and got to work.
The story continues:
A week after the murder, we released Mr. Rafiq’s body for funeral on Mr. Sohail’s request as we didn’t have much to go on, on that front anyway. As we lost one of our biggest sources of clues, Shehzad with his ever cheery attitude informed us that word on the street was that The Artifact had been stolen once again and he was very close to catching the thief this time. I wanted to strangle that gloating idiot but Siddique just smiled. He is way more grown up than I am.
The next day a strange statement showed up in a lot of newspapers’ classified section. “Whoever seeks the curse shall find it in death.”
The statement left a lot of people mystified except for two people who understood the message completely.
Mr. Rafiq Surjani was not what you call a people person but you would not have guessed it from the turnout his funeral received. We entered Mr. Rafiq’s house where people were coming in to offer their condolences to Mr. Sohail but oddly enough there were some people there just standing and looking around as if looking for something. It was to them that we made our way, dragging Mr. Farooq Falak with us. Yes we found him sitting in a restaurant frequented by Shehzad’s thief buddies (“They are informants,” Shehzad whispered furiously) and yes we brought this gloating idiot with us too. I was completely against this as I really wanted to stick it to Shehzad this time but as I mentioned Siddique is much more mature than I am. He decided that this collar belonged to Shehzad as much as it did to us.
“Fancy seeing you here Mr. Shafiq Anwar. You must be a very kind man to attend a funeral of a poor man you don’t even know,” I said with a smirk.
“I…we…charity….” Mr. Shafiq stammered.
“Let me stop you right there Mr. Shafiq. You don’t need to strain yourself coming up with a lie. We will tell you why you are here in a minute ourselves,” Siddique told him with a self-satisfied smile, “but before we do let me introduce the other guest of honor present here today, Mr. Moieen Lasani, Mr. Shafiq’s partner in business and partner in crime as the saying goes. For a call attendant, Mr. Rafiq knew a lot of millionaires don’t you think?”
“What is the meaning of this and how dare you talk to us in such a way?” Mr. Moieen Lasani blustered.
“Oh please bear with us as we explain this and don’t worry Mr. Falak here will back us up,” I told them, “Let’s start with a story of two friends named Shafiq and Moeen who worked as manual labourers on an archeological site and saw an opportunity when a certain Aryan artifact was discovered. The next day the artifact disappeared with both of these workers, leaving years’ worth of exploration in dust. The artifact later appeared on the black market and was sold to the highest bidder. But the twist to this story is and pay attention here, you see the artifact never remained with the owner for long and soon the artifact was deemed cursed because of it which of course drove up its value even more. Today we are going to unveil this curse. You see the two opportunistic thieves who stole this artifact thought why stop at stealing it once why not sell it and steal it again and again until both of them were millionaires.”
Siddique continued as I stopped to take a breath, “So what went wrong with the dream team. You see after stealing it by themselves for a while both of them became rich and realized that they could hire a thief to do their dirty work from now on so center stage Mr. Rafiq. Mr. Rafiq worked ten glorious years with them until one of the partners decided not to share the profits anymore and paid Mr. Rafiq more to get the artifact to him the last time he stole it from its previous owner. Isn’t that right Mr. Shafiq? Poor Rafiq, he had no idea what he was getting into when he agreed to this task because when Mr. Moeen got cheated out of the artifact and suspected Mr. Shafiq. Mr. Shafiq transferred the blame onto Rafiq and told Mr. Moeen that they both had been cheated by their thief who had taken it for himself.”
“I must commend you Mr. Moeen on the appetite you have for torture because you worked him over pretty well before you realized Mr. Shafiq had pulled one over you. So you killed Rafiq and left him in the park as a warning to your partner,” I looked at Mr. Moeen as his face went white, “But you definitely underestimated him because instead of coughing up the artifact he just moved it to a more secure location and sent Mr. Farooq Falak here to divert us from our investigation. What an initiative! Worth an applause or two don’t you think? And don’t try denying anything because our lab just found a white hair on Rafiq’s clothes that is going to match Mr. Moeen’s white mane here and Mr. Farooq Falak just corroborated Mr. Shafiq’s involvement in the affair in his testimony. So good news for both of you, you are both under arrest along with Mr. Farooq here.”
“Chin up you both might end up cell buddies together to the end,” Siddique taunted.
“Wait! Wait! But then where is the artifact now, I don’t have it,” Mr. Shafiq asked.
“Oh don’t worry about the artifact. We committed a little crime of our own. We stole it from your warehouse with a warrant mind you. You see we knew Mr. Shafiq’s involvement to an extent but we did not know who his partner in crime was so we came up with a plan to flush both of you out and catch you red-handed while we were at it,” I told them cheekily.
So as they say all is well that ends well because after we arrested the perpetrators of the decade’s biggest crime and strutted out with them to the office. We were hailed as heroes in the department. I milked it as much as I could and took a day off to sleep whereas Siddique took a day off to clean my car. It didn’t stay that way for long because the first time I drove in it I got freaked out by the cleanliness and bought a burger with large fries and threw the wrapper under the passenger seat. Things are back in their natural order. Shehzad still gloats but his Dad is proud of him for solving “ahem” this case. Siddique’s mother is still on the prowl for a victim so here is to hoping. Until next time Wassalam.