Hipster The Complete Story.

For audio click here

Detective Inspector Holmes looked around the assembled clientele at the Taché café, they were not to his taste, not to his taste at all. Despite being in his late 30s, he was old school. For him tattoos were for convicts and sailors, beards for the lazy and your wore glasses because you needed them, not as a fashion statement. So he didn’t really fit in. To make matters worse, the owner had scoffed at his request for a latte, instead telling him to try the aeropress coffee, calling it a taste sensation. Holmes would be the judge of that, if it ever arrived. What were they doing, roasting the beans?
Finally the owner reappeared carrying two jugs of what looked like weak Bovril and placed them on the table. 
‘So this is ethically sourced, locally roasted, coffee. The water is heated to the perfect temperature before going slowly through the aeropress.’ The owner poured the coffee into the glass in front of Holmes and invited him to try it.  God what happened to dear old Nescafe, Holmes thought. He took a mouthful and winced. That was not coffee, he wasn’t sure what it was but it was not coffee. He looked around for sugar, there was none on the tables. The owner smiled. 
‘It’s better without,’ He said, reading his mind. 
DI Holmes hated being patronised but he couldn’t help feeling he was being patronised now.  He took another mouthful convinced it couldn’t be as bad as he thought. It was.
‘So’ Holmes said. ’Tell me what happened. Mr …’
‘Call me Marty.’  Holmes tried not to roll his eyes, of course it would be Marty, or Cody, or Tommy.
‘They were like any old customers,’ Marty said. ‘Three guys, beards, black rimmed glasses, gauntlet tattoos, Desert boots.’
‘Let me guess they were wearing lumberjack shirts.’ Holmes said sardonically.
‘Yes,’ said Marty completely missing the sarcasm. 
‘Could they, by chance, still be here?’ Holmes said, noting that every male in the place was dressed that way. 
‘No they certainly left,’ Marty said. Holmes wondered if the beard was a sarcasm shield. 
‘So?’ Holmes was losing patience. 
‘Well it was like that film,’ Marty said. ‘Reservoir Dogs, You know, everybody be cool, this is a robbery.’ 
‘Pulp Fiction.’ Holmes said.
‘The film was Pulp Fiction not Reservoir Dogs.’
‘Yeah well these guys just stood up and calmly announced it was a robbery and we should empty our tills. They took our money, our mobile phones our computers and then just shuffled out of here.’
‘They didn’t take anything from the customers?’
‘So not exactly like the film then.’ Holmes had to stop with the sarcasm but it was revenge for the coffee snobbery.  ‘CCTV?’ he asked. 
Marty shook his head.  ‘We don’t like to spy on our customers.’ Typical thought Holmes, bloody hippies, think they can change the world without realising the world isn’t changing around them.
‘But they did leave this.’ Marty handed the cop a calling card. Holmes looked at it. 
It looked like the kind of card you get from those print your own business card machines you see in service stations. It was plain white, with one word printed on it in a cheap font - HIPSTAZ and a small picture of black-framed glasses in the bottom right corner. Holmes flicked it around in his hand before remembering it was evidence and he fished out a bag to put it in.

This was curious, a gang of hipsters, robbing a hipster joint and leaving a calling card. There must be more to this than meets the eye. 

Part 2 

For audio click here 
Holmes sat at his desk scratching his head. He had the three calling cards laid out on the desk. All identical, just one word, and one picture. No other clues. It’d been 5 days since he’d been called to that first hipster café and since then he’d been to two more, drank something they called coffee and listened to the same story from the managers. Cody told him there were three guys and maybe one girl, whereas Tommy was sure there was definitely a girl involved. Had Marty in Taché’s missed the girl or had she come late to the party? The first card had just come back from forensics, there were no fingerprints except his and Marty’s. He’d send the other two off but he wasn’t hopeful. The CCTV image from the second cafe showed a grainy gang of four hipsters emptying the tills and leaving 12 identical hipsters behind. 
Holmes sighed. This was the perfect crime. When you look and dress like everyone else, it is very easy to hide in broad daylight. Café owners couldn’t ban people who looked like the Hipstaz because that would mean banning their whole clientele. While the price they charged for the coffee meant the gang were getting away with a fortune. It was perfect. He took a swig of his Nescafe and pulled a face, it tasted bitter, burnt. What had these damned hipster places done to his taste buds? 
‘Jeff,’ Holmes looked up to see DS Daniels approaching him.  ‘We’ve got another one,’ she said.  Holmes shook his head in disbelief, grabbed his jacket and left the office. He hated to admit it but he was looking forward to getting a decent cup of coffee.
‘I’m DI Holmes and this is DS Daniels.’ Holmes said to the woman who greeted him.
‘Holmes, a good name for a detective.’ The woman said.
Holmes nodded, he’d heard it 100 times before. 
‘I’m Carla,’ she said, holding out her hand. 
‘I’d heard about it, of course,’ the woman said as she busied herself with the now familiar aeropress. ‘But we didn’t expect it, I mean they just looked like our normal customers.’ She handed Holmes a coffee and started making one for Daniels. Holmes watched her closely fascinated by this strange way of preparing coffee.
‘This is a Columbian bean,’ she said. ‘quite fruity you’ll find.’ Holmes tried the drink and nodded. He smiled at the manger, she was a pretty woman, about his age with a killer smile. She wasn’t quite as hipster as the others. 
‘So you didn’t recognise them then?’ Holmes said remembering what he was here for. 
‘No, we have a few regulars but these were newcomers and to be honest beneath the beards they could be anyone.’ She laughed ...alone. 
‘Shouldn’t that take longer?’ Holmes asked watching her push the water through the device for Daniels' coffee.. 
‘No, no, only 30 seconds for the aeropress. Why?’ 
‘Oh nothing,’ Holmes said. Daniels looked at him, since when had he become a coffee expert?
Carla continued with the story but she didn't shine much light on the case. But she did provided the pair with the best cookies they had ever tasted. 
‘Let’s go back to Tache’s,’ Holmes said when they left the café.
‘Why?’ Daniels asked. 

‘I fancy a cup of coffee,’ Holmes said. Daniels shrugged still none the wiser.

Part 3 
For audio click here 
Just as they got to their car Holmes got a call, he looked at the screen, it said Cody, the owner of Cody’s Coffee and Roastery. He was Holmes’ least favourite hipster. There was something inert about him, that Holmes just didn't like, his handshake was warm but limp, like holding a recently dead cat and his personality was similar. 
‘DI Holmes.’ Holmes said.
‘Mr Holmes can you come over, there’s been a development.’
‘Holmes looked around him as if a Google map was before his eyes. He did the calculations, factored in the traffic.
‘20 minutes?’
‘Sure,’ said Cody. Holmes ended the call. 
‘Change of plan,’ he said to Daniels, we’re going to see a recently deceased cat. 
‘Cody then is it?’ Daniels said smiling . Holmes nodded, she was turning into quiet the Watson. 
Holmes pushed the door of Cody’s open and looked around. Ten customers, ten beards, ten MacBook airs, they were more uniform than him and he was the police. Some electro swing was playing on the speakers and the air smelt of ‘coffee’. 
Cody was waiting for them at the counter. He held out his hand to Holmes who didn’t want to shake it too firmly in case it came off in his hand. 
‘Thanks for coming.’ He said. ‘Look.’ 
He handed the pair another business card but this time it had something printed on the back. 
‘Pay us, or we’ll be back.’ Holmes read aloud. He read the small print in silence. 
‘A protect racket.’ He said while passing the card to Daniels.
‘Who gave you the card?’ Holmes asked. 
‘It was left on the table, one of the baristas found it. Sorry do you want a coffee?’
‘Yes do you have a Columbian?’ Holmes couldn’t believe the words had come out of his mouth. 
‘Chemex or Aeropress?’ Cody said smiling. Holmes looked at him, Chemex was a new one on him.
‘Chemex, is slow, a drip experience, makes the best coffee, whereas aeropress is faster.’ Cody said. 
‘I’ll try the Chemex.’ Holmes said. Daniels looked at him like the world had gone mad and Holmes would have given himself the same look if he could.
‘You can look at the recording while we are waiting,’ Cody said. 
They peered at the grainy  CCTV images on the computer. A hipster sitting alone, MacBook open, cap over his eyes. There was nothing to distinguish him from any of the other men in any of the other cafes. He was probably one of the gang of four but not definitely. 
Holmes took a mouthful of coffee, it hit the spot.  ‘Good stuff,’ he said appreciatively. 
‘Thanks,’ Cody said. ‘We pride ourselves on our coffee, unlike some of the other places.’
‘Oh really?’
‘We were the originals you know, us and the Cup of Coffee. Have they been hit?’ Cody said, concern in his voice. 
Holmes kept a poker face. 
‘The others like Tache’sTom and Jerry’s and Lulu’s just copy us, steal our ideas, steal our best barristas etc.’
‘Sounds like there’s no love lost?’ Holmes asked. 
‘No, not really, our problem is that some of them are doing it for money not for the love of coffee. They charge more and the coffee is well, ropey.’ 
‘Let me guess,’ said Holmes, ‘Tache’s?’
Cody nodded. Holmes drained his cup and bid the lifeless cat farewell. 
‘So to Tache’s’ said Daniels.

‘No, I can’t face another coffee, it can wait till morning.’

Part 4 
For audio click here

Holmes and Daniels sat in their old favourite coffee haunt. Holmes had wanted to go to one of the new fangled places but Daniels needed her skinny latte with an extra shot so Holmes lost out. He didn’t look best impressed with his Americano but Daniels looked like the cat that got the cream or at least the cat that got the steamed milk.
‘You think Marty is behind this whole thing don’t you?’ Daniels said.
‘Hmm I’m not sure, but I’d like another word with him.’  Holmes said pushing his half empty cup away. ‘Something didn’t add up with him. What do you think?’
‘I think we are clutching at straws, we’ve got nothing.’ Daniels spooned some milk into her mouth.
‘Someone is trying to put the frighteners on the café owners and it looks like that someone comes from within the community,’  Holmes said just stating the obvious but sometimes it helped. ‘Cody told us there are two types of Hipster coffee, those who do it commercially, to make money and those who supposedly do it out of love.’
‘And so it makes sense that the those doing it to make profit would want to see the others out of business so they can corner the market.’ Daniels added.
‘Exactly, especially if they are at the risk of being shown up by the real connoisseurs.’ Holmes said.
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well Marty told me aeropress needed to go slow but Clara told me that was nonsense, so he doesn’t know his stuff.’
Daniels nodded and took a mouthful, wiping away a foam moustache as she did so.
‘Doesn’t it also make sense,’ Daniels mused, ‘that the connoisseurs would want the fakes out of business.’
Holmes nodded, ‘Yes,’ he said.
They sat in silence for a while.
‘How about Lulu’s?’ Daniels said. ‘Cody mentioned Lulu’s yesterday as being one of the ones that were in it for the cash. But we haven’t been called there yet. That must make them the prime suspects mustn’t it?’
‘Or lucky?’ Holmes said nodding.
‘Shall we pay them a visit anyway?’ Daniels asked.
‘If it means I get a decent cup of coffee, then let’s.’
Daniels looked at her boss, he didn’t half talk some bullshit.
Lulu’s was not much more than a hole in the wall. With Daniels and Holmes, the barista and Lulu inside, the place was crowded. The coffee was different, they had a big vat of filter coffee and there was only the take away option. Holmes ordered one anyway and chatted to the two staff.
‘Nothing.’ The barista said. ‘I guess because we are small and insignificant.’
‘Oi’ Lulu said with a laugh. ‘We might be small but this is my world.’
‘Sorry boss.’ There was more to those two than met the eye, Holmes thought but nothing to do with the case.
He made the signal to Daniels and they said their goodbyes.
‘Tache’s?’ Holmes said.
‘Tache’s’ Daniels agreed.
Going into Tache’s was like going back in time. Not far, just a day or two but it seemed to Holmes that nothing had changed, the same people in the same places with the same beards and the same Apple products. The only difference was there was a girl behind the bar now not Marty. Holmes looked at her to see if she might have been the girl from the CCTV. She could have been, but then again so could 1000 other girls.
‘Is Marty around.’ Holmes said.
‘I’ll get him for you,’ the barista said.
‘Jeff look.’ Daniels said. Holmes followed her pointing finger. On the one empty table in the place was a white business card with one word and a picture.
‘Who was sitting there,’ Daniels said to the customer at the next table. The bearded man looked startled as he took out a Marshall earphone.
‘No idea.’ he said.

‘Shit,’ said Holmes remembering that he’d held the door open to allow a hipster out of the café before he’d gone in. ‘Shit.’ He repeated realising that he had been that close to a HIPSTAZ.

Part 5 
For audio click here
‘Jeff, look at this,’ Daniels said handing a piece of paper over to Holmes who was sitting behind his desk looking glum.
‘What is it?’ he said.
‘Fingerprint report from forensics.’ Daniels said.
Holmes  reached out his hand and took the paper and read it. His expression didn’t change, it was still glum.
‘Are you growing a beard?’ Daniels said.
Holmes ran his hand over his chin.
‘No, I just didn’t have time to shave,’ He said. Daniels laughed, Holmes always had time for a shave. ‘This doesn’t tell us anything,’ Holmes sighed. ‘Just what we knew.’
‘Look again.’ Daniels said.  ‘I think you are missing something.’
Holmes did as he was told, but he couldn’t see what he was looking for. He looked blankly at Daniels.
‘This is the card from Tache’s’ Daniels said. ‘So why are Cody’s fingerprints all over it. Holmes looked again at the report. He’d assumed because it said the fingerprints belonged to the dead cat that this was the card found in his café.
‘Interesting.’ He said, smiling at Daniels. ‘That puts a different complexion on things.’
‘Shall we?’
‘Let’s wait until closing time.’ Holmes said, he had a feeling in his bones and his bones were seldom wrong.
Three hours later Holmes and Daniels were sitting outside Cody’s café watching the world go by. It was the kind of spring day that had people wondering what to wear and nobody quite getting it right. Of course the hipsters coming in and out of Cody’s were all dressed how they were year around; standard issue lumber jacket shirts and skinny jeans. Holmes rubbed his stubble subtly; Daniels smiled. Was he trying to impress Carla? Daniels didn’t think a beard was the way to any woman’s heart but who knew.
‘There!’ Holmes said.
‘There!’ Daniels agreed. They watch the three males and one female push the door of Cody’s open, despite Cody just turning the sign over to read closed.
‘The Hipstaz’ Daniels said as Holmes got on the radio to ask for back up. As soon as their two colleagues appeared, Holmes and Daniels got out of the car and made their way to the café. Holmes rapped on the glass door and smiled at a panic-stricken Cody inside.
‘Open it,’ Holmes said. Cody did as he was told and within minutes uniformed officers were dragging 5 shame-faced hipsters off to the police station.

‘So it was Cody,’ Carla said smiling her lovely smile.
Holmes took a mouthful of Kenyan coffee and smiled back. ‘Yes he said he was sick of the fakes and wanted to drive them out of business.’
‘Good on him for trying,’ Carla said.
‘I didn’t hear that,’ Holmes smiled. ‘Are we still on for dinner tonight?’ he said.
‘Yes’ Carla said, ‘on one proviso.’
‘I pay?’ Holmes guessed.

‘No, you shave off that stupid beard.’ Carla said.

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