Parents please note: Because this is a story about drug detection this particular fictional story about Ken and his dog Faith, may require parental guidance for your child or younger teen.
The day began with rain setting in just after dawn. The roof over the back porch where Faith slept leaked with a constant drip echoing through her dreams. Breakfast was unappetizing. She washed it down with mouthfuls of water from her bowl.
Ken met her at the gate and opened the front passenger door of his twin cab utility. His Australian Border Security uniform looked impressive as usual but it somehow saddened her this morning. She sighed heavily.
‘Come on girl, you’d better sit up front today, I left the back window open last night.’
Faith kept her opinions to herself during the fifteen-minute drive to work. She just stared out the front window oblivious of the usual excitement of the windscreen wipers swishing back and forth.
‘OK, let’s go.’
Faith and Ken’s responsibility was to track down drug couriers, find hidden narcotics sent through the mail and check newly arrived shipping containers at the wharf. Today was different somehow. Faith wondered why Ken held her back from the work truck parked behind the security police offices. Instead, they headed into the lunchroom where she greeted the other officers. They joked together and tossed a ball around when the telephone was quiet. Faith particularly liked Jonesy who always brought biscuits.
Ken knelt down and rubbed Faith behind her ears. ‘We’re not going out today, girl. Sorry’.
Chief Barrymore stuck his head around the door-frame.
‘Ken, Faith,’ he called out. ‘My office.’
Faith followed Ken obediently into the office before the chief closed the door.
‘Ken’, Barrymore began, ‘it’s a sad day when I have to keep you two from your work but this is important.’ He motioned to Ken to sit before handing him a file.
‘You are aware that we had stored those drugs from last night’s bust in our unused vault here for safekeeping.’
Ken nodded his reply but didn’t look up from the file opened in his hand.
‘Some vault. The stuff vanished overnight. It’s the last time I listen to Headquarters.’
Ken head jerked up. ‘ You’re kidding?’
‘No, I’m afraid it’s no joke but something’s strange about this whole thing.’ He paused… ‘Like there had to be a tip off. How would anyone know that it would be stored here until Headquarters could pick it up this morning?’
Ken closed the file. ‘What do you want us to do, Chief?’
‘I want you and Faith to track down the culprit. Our overnight visitor didn’t leave any clues that I can see. Come with me.’ He stood and led them out the door and down a long hallway to the vault.
After Barrymore open the safe Ken peered inside and examined the dark chasm.
‘There’s no damage to the front of the safe but there’s seems to be another room… or space behind it.’
‘Yes, that is odd. I thought the rear of the vault was the outside wall. Hard to tell in these old buildings.’
‘It’s too small a gap for me.’ He turned to Faith and clicked his fingers at the opening.
With the light of Barrymore’s torch, Faith moved forward and crouched down onto her belly to crawl the short distance. She started to whimper and paw at the rear wall. Suddenly, there was a thin strip of light.
Ken and the chief raced outside and around the building where they saw a couple of bricks laying on the ground between their building and the next.
As they approached, Faith’s pushed her nose up against another brick causing it to fall at their feet.
Ken rubbed his finger along the mortar line around the immediate area then pulled a few more bricks aside and helped Faith through.
‘Good girl, Faith.’ Ken said before giving her a hug.
‘Clever,’ the chief said. ‘They must have balanced the bricks after removing the mortar to give the appearance that it was still intact.’
Thunder rumbled overhead as Faith sniffed the ground around them before heading back up the path. Barrymore diverted toward the rear door of the building where a few old umbrellas leaned against the wall before following Ken and his dog.
Alerted senses led Faith to the cracked concrete car parking area before circling a place where signs of fresh oil mingled with rainwater. The murky liquid dribbled on to an area where a car must have recently parked for some time. She continued to sniff around a small puddle of oily water.
Ken appeared behind her. ‘What did you find, Faith?’
Without waiting for his pat she continued on, her nose close to the concrete. It was still raining. In fact, it was becoming a heavy downpour.
Ken wiped his hand across the top of his head and followed.
Barrymore came up behind them with an umbrella held high and shrugged. ‘It’s got to be too wet for…’ he yelled.
In the next instant she had raced off towards a car that was parked opposite the police vehicles. It was Jonesy’s car. Faith was all over the old Ford V8 in seconds. Chief Barrymore and Ken hurried over to the rear of the car where faith was barking and scratching at the boot lid.
Ken twisted his penknife into the keyhole before kicking it with the heel of his work boot. Concealed inside were the missing bags of heroin. Chief Barrymore turned and raced as fast as he could against the driving rain toward the rear door of the offices. His umbrella turned inside out with a violent rip, flew from his hold, and lodged into the fence, narrowly missing Ken struggling with the duffle bag.
In the confusion, Faith noticed Jonesy creeping around the side of the building toward one of the police cars. She bounded after him, leaving Ken to deal with the now-soaked bag.
Faith dived onto Jonesy, bringing him down hard onto the concrete. Chief Barrymore and two other officers arrived as he hit the ground. Jonesy was handcuffed and taken back inside.
Ken called to Faith as he passed carrying the duffle bag over his shoulder.
Once inside, and the drugs guarded in Barrymore’s office awaiting armoured collection, Ken wiped his face with a towel then dried Faith.
‘You did great,’ he said.
Later, when they were finally home, Ken put in an extra handful of dried biscuits into her dish and gave her a pat before heading inside to get out of his wet uniform.
Faith ate her tea hungrily and wandered off to her bed where she dreamed of biscuits that she would no longer get at coffee breaks. She would miss them and her friend Jonesy.