Krishnan and his father Jagannath went to buy clothes for his birthday, which was round the corner.
A man in a chimpanzee costume welcomed children inside the store. Many children stood near him, fascinated by the costume.
Satish, an employee showed Krishnan’s favourite star-patterned shirts in various colours. A velvet chimpanzee, the shop’s logo, was embroidered on the pocket of each shirt.
Unfortunately, none of the shirts were in Krishnan’s size and Satish couldn’t find his size.
Satish then suggested, “Krishnan, look at shirts in other patterns.”
Mr Jagannath asked, “Is everything alright?”
“There have been many shirts missing from the store since a past few days,”
Krishnan noticed an employee, named Alok, overhearing their conversation. When he noticed Krishnan observing him, Alok immediately looked away.
Krishnan selected some shirts in his size and went to the trial room.
Before he could enter, the trial room’s door opened and Alok brushed past him hurriedly.
Puzzled, Krishnan entered the trial room and closed the door. As he was trying on a shirt, something heavy fell on his shoulder.
He saw a packet containing star-patterned shirts lying on the floor!
He looked up to see where the packet had fallen from and saw that one of the wooden boards on the ceiling of the trial room was askew. Since the ceiling was high, Krishnan used a stool to climb and moved the board to one side and saw a secret compartment in the ceiling.
He saw several packets like the one that had fallen on him.
“Why would the shop store these shirts here in a secretive way? And what was Alok doing here?” Krishnan asked himself.
He decided to investigate further. So, he put the fallen packet back.
As he came out, he caught sight of a room that said, ‘The Store Room’.
Curious, Krishnan asked Satish, “Who has access to the storeroom?”
“All of us,” said Satish.
Krishnan was disappointed because now anyone could have placed the packets in the ceiling of the trial room. Krishnan’s father had to leave and promised to get him back to the store again.
The next day, while he was having breakfast, he saw the maid enter the house with her son. Her son was wearing the same star-patterned shirt with the velvet chimpanzee logo. Krishnan asked, “Didi, where did you buy the shirt?”
“I bought it from my neighbour, Neeraj, who sells these for just ₹ 200,” replied his maid.
Krishnan was surprised because, at that shop, the shirt was for ₹ 600. One thing was clear, either Neeraj was involved with someone from the store who was selling the shirts at reduced prices or the store was selling the shirts at a much higher rate!
On an impulse, Krishnan asked for Neeraj’s mobile number.
After that, Krishnan went with his father to the store and picked up any shirt and went to the trial room.
He took a stool and looked inside the ceiling but the packets were not there. He realised that they were being sold as soon as they were stolen.
Krishnan came out of the trial room wondering about Neeraj uncle. He took out his cell phone and dialled the number.
Someone’s phone in the store started ringing shrilly. It was then Krishnan realised that Neeraj was somewhere in the shop! He spotted the man who answered the call. Disconnecting the phone, Krishnan hurried over to Satish.
He asked, “Is the man in the chimpanzee costume allowed access to the storeroom?”
Satish nodded and said, “Neeraj? Oh yes, apart from being a chimpanzee, Neeraj also unloads the stocks from the delivery van. The supplies come from the back entrance to the storeroom.” Now, Krishnan grinned when he heard this.
“When is the next delivery due?” Krishnan asked.
Satish said, “Tomorrow morning at 8.30 am.” Satish also mentioned that the pattern Krishnan wanted would be delivered the next morning, giving Krishnan an excuse to come in the morning again. Next morning, his father dropped him at the shop and said he would be back to pick him up after an hour.
Since the shop was closed, Krishnan went to the back and found the door open. The delivery van stood outside with some boxes that had yet to be unloaded. No one was around.
Krishnan went in through the back door of the shop and found the storeroom filled with boxes.
Suddenly, he heard noises and quickly hid behind a large box.
Neeraj came in wearing the chimpanzee costume and closed the door. Then he took some packets from the box and stuffed them inside his costume and zipped up, securing them with a thick belt.
Krishnan recorded all this on his mobile phone. After Neeraj went out, he opened the back door and entered the shop. He saw Neeraj leaving the trial room.
Krishnan entered the trial room and found the secret compartment stuffed with packets.
Krishnan went to the manager and told him everything.
The manager asked Neeraj to take the day off to which he agreed. As predicted, Neeraj went inside the trial room and came out wearing the costume, stuffed with stolen shirts.
Just then, Krishnan ran and bumped into Neeraj and at the same time pulled his zipper open, causing him to lose balance.
Neeraj fell and from the open zipper the stolen packages fell out, leaving everyone shocked.
Neeraj was arrested by the police who also looked at the video shot by Krishnan.
Soon, Krishnan’s father arrived and the manager told him everything, gifting many shirts to Krishnan.
Krishnan was praised by the police and the owner of the shop. On his birthday, Krishnan found himself on the front page of the newspaper, along with his parents.