Tommy, his father and the policeman ran through the waiting room and out onto platform 4. But the station was busy: the train to Tayworth was about to leave and two other trains were opening their doors, letting out hundreds of people.
‘The train to Tayworth will leave from platform 4,’ said the loud voice – that same one that Tommy heard a short time ago.
‘How are we going to find him in these crowds?’ asked Mr Winterburn. ‘There are so many people and he can change into someone else at any time!’
The three of them ran through the crowds, looking in train windows and staring hard at anyone who was wearing green.
Mr Winterburn turned around quickly. Tommy was pointing to the end of the train on platform 4, the very last carriage. ‘I just saw him go in the last door.’
‘I don’t think he has seen us,’ said Tommy. ‘What shall we do?’
Before anyone could answer, a loud voice filled their ears. ‘The train to Tayworth is now leaving from platform 4.’
‘Quick,’ said the policeman. ‘GET IN!’ and together all three of them jumped on the train. A moment later, the doors closed and the train moved out of the station.
Mr Mint watched Dilling station with all its people go past the carriage window, then some of Dilling’s houses and then Dilling beach, busy with people swimming in the sea and lying in the sun. Soon, green fields were passing, one after the other, and Mr Mint knew that Dilling was far behind him. He put his feet up on the chair opposite. No need to worry now: that kid and his father were in Dilling, still trying to find him. Good luck! He smiled. ‘What a day!’ he said loudly and quickly checked the seats around him. It was fine: he was the only person in the carriage.
He smiled again. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the thousand pounds in cash. ‘Well, not much pay for a difficult job, but it’s better than nothing,’ he said, pulling out twenty pounds and putting the rest back in his pocket. ‘That will pay for my ticket to…wherever this train is going.’
He sat back in his seat, picked up a newspaper that was lying next to him and opened it up; but he didn’t really want to read: he was still thinking about that kid – Tommy – and the five thousand pounds that he didn’t get. ‘It nearly worked. But that kid was clever – too clever.’
The door between carriages opened and closed again and a ticket collector came in. ‘Tickets please!’ the man said.
Giving the man a twenty pound note, Mr Mint said, ‘to the next interesting town, please!’
The ticket collector smiled. ‘You mean that one over there?’ he asked.
Mr Mint looked out of the carriage window.
But the ticket collector didn’t take Mr Mint’s money: instead, there was a loud ‘CLICK’; and when Mr Mint turned around, there were handcuffs on him.
‘HEY!’ cried Mr Mint. He tried to pull his arm away, but the ticket man was strong and before he could move, Mr Mint’s hands were locked together.
‘What are you doing?’ shouted Mr Mint. ‘Who are you?’ He tried to pull the handcuffs off, but they didn’t move.
‘Got you now,’ the ticket collector said. ‘Did you think you were going to escape?’ Just then the door to the carriage opened and closed again. Mr Mint turned around to see who it was.
‘Oh no!’ he said, ‘Not you again!’
At the door to the carriage stood Tommy and his father.
Mr Mint looked again at the ticket collector’s face. Of course! It was the policeman. He was dressed as a ticket collector.
‘We didn’t want you to jump off the train,’ said the policeman, ‘so…’
‘So you changed clothes with the real ticket collector!’ said Mr Mint. Suddenly, a smile spread across Mr Mint’s face.
‘I’m glad you think it’s funny…’ said the policeman.
But Mr Mint began to laugh. ‘Haaa haa haa haa,’ he laughed. ‘YOUR change of clothes caught ME! Hahahahaha.’
Tommy, his father and the policeman looked at one another and then at the man in the green jacket with the bright eyes – one green, one brown. They shook their heads.
What a strange, strange man this Mr Mint was!
A carriage (n) – a part of a train
A ticket collector (n) – a person who checks tickets on a train
Handcuffs (n) – police use these on criminals