|The Tale of the|
"Oi, careful!" shouted the foreman, as one particularly precariously balanced crate threatened to fall overboard. "Move it yerself then", muttered Bill, one of the dockhands, under his breath. "I'm sick of you telling me what to do, bossing us around but paying us a pittance. I'm off." He shouted down to the foreman: "I need to get some more rope - I'll be back soon", thinking that tomorrow morning would be soon enough.
As Bill left the docks, he soon realised he was not alone. Hidden in the shadows, a tall, thin, white-haired gentleman was following him. "I've seen the way your foreman treats you", he said as he approached Bill. "I'm sure you'd relish the opportunity to earn - shall we say - some pocket money for running an errand?"
"'Ere, I know you - I'm not getting involved in nothing illegal", said Bill. "I've me wife an' kids to think about - I can't afford a run in with the law."
"Not illegal at all!" said the gentleman, a wry smile appearing on his face. "It may be illegal to permanently deprive a rightful owner of his possessions, but perfectly legal to - shall we say - temporarily store them elsewhere, as long as the owner is told of the precise location. That the owner may have difficulty decoding where this location is, and may seek to make payment to one such as I for advice on these matters is not in itself illegal. Now Bill, here's a shilling for you if you take this envelope to the following address."
As Bill walked down the road away from the docks, the envelope in one hand and a shiny shilling in the other, the gentleman's smile widened. "You won't crack it, my dear Haworth", he said, as he stared into the night.
"Stop staring!" whispered Ellie to Mike. The Manchester Museum's Alan Turing exhibition was due to end later that day, and Mike was taking a final look at his favourite part: the display that told the story of how he and Ellie had, the previous year, recovered the long-lost Turing Treasure.
"I can't help it! Look at that photo of us with the silver bars!" said Mike. "If I stand next to the display, can you take my picture? I'll put it on the web later!"
As Mike and Ellie were snapping each other with their phones, a tall, thin, white-haired gentleman approached. "Hi Mike, Ellie", he said. "You've been here so often since the exhibition opened, it feels like you've been part of the display! Anyway, now that it's finally ending, we at the Museum thought you might like - shall we say - a little souvenir." He handed them a scruffy-looking leather satchel.
"Hey, this is the satchel that had the Turing Treasure in it. Wow - thanks Mr. B!" said Ellie, "Come on, Mike, let's go down to the cafe and have a good look at it!"
As they sat in the cafe, they reminisced about last year's adventure. "It's a shame nothing that exciting will ever happen again", said Mike as Ellie gave the satchel a very thorough inspection.
"Don't speak too soon - I think I've found a secret pocket, and it's not empty!" she said, as several pieces of very old paper fell from the satchel to the floor.