DILAPIDATED HOUSE. William Piranha looks at his watch. It is 9.30 am. He has been observing the property for several days, waiting for Mr Crooked to leave his basement flat, so that he can get in and recover Larry Lizzard's laptop.
Now he may have his chance. He watches as Mr Crooked comes out of the main door, dressed in a shabby ill-fitting suit and not looking very happy with life (Piranha does not know that Crooked is heading for the county court, where a former tenant is suing him for wrongful eviction).
Once Crooked has gone, Piranha enters the building and heads downstairs to the basement. Ignoring the odour of urine, he quickly unlocks the door to Crooked's flat using his Topman store card, and slips inside.
The flat is a mess. On a table in the hallway there is what looks like a pile of unpaid bills, court papers and solicitors' letters. In a corner there are an assortment of baseball bats and other implements that could be used as weapons, and everywhere there are empty beer cans and pizza boxes.
Piranha starts to search the flat. It is a process made considerably more difficult not just by the mess but also by all the miscellaneous items of furniture and other possessions that Mr Crooked has 'acquired' from his various departing tenants over the years.
Despite this, after half an hour Piranha is satisfied that he has searched everywhere. Unfortunately, however, he has not found Larry's laptop. The only computer he can find is an old desktop PC in the living room. The machine has been left switched on and, so far as Piranha can tell from a brief examination, is used primarily for viewing porn sites.
Frustrated, Piranha slips back out of the flat.
* * *
"He definitely doesn't have it." Piranha tells Lady Wedlock on the phone.
"Can you be certain of that?" Asks Lady Wedlock.
"Absolutely." Says Piranha. "I searched the whole place. A complete mess. Plenty of beer cans and pizza boxes, but no laptop. And he wasn't carrying it when I saw him leave."
"Then where is it?" Asks Lady Wedlock.
"I reckon he threw it away." Replies Piranha hopefully.
"Or sold it." Says Lady Wedlock. "You find it, or you'll get no money from me." She hangs up.