This idea came from a comment by Susi in the chat. "What would happen if someone broke into Bodie or Doyle's flat while they were there?" This led onto some discussion about what would happen if Bodie or Doyle broke into your place while you were there, and how we might let them go and agree not to call the police - for a small favour...
"And just what do you think you're doing here?"
Bodie started guiltily, suddenly blinded by the glare of the lights. Various responses occurred to him, but the truth of 'trying to find something to blackmail your husband with' wouldn't go down well. He'd kill Cowley; the couple were supposed to be away for the night.
Bodie mumbled, wondering if he could spin her the 'down on his luck' line that had worked before. "I'm sorry. I've not done this before..."
Her gaze focused on his efficient entry through the French doors, the neatly picked locks giving the lie to his statement.
He pressed on. "I've got a family, two lovely little girls, my business went bust..."
"And that gives you the right to break in and steal from others?"
It wasn't hard to look guilty. "S'pose not. I've just tried everything to find a job."
She marched past him to shut the French doors. "Can you give me one good reason why I shouldn't telephone the police?"
Bodie plastered on his most regretful expression, which was tinged with more than a little genuine desperation. "Please missus, giv'us a break. I won't do it again..."
She was regarding him with more than outrage now. There was something calculating in her gaze, something almost - obsessive...
Bodie swallowed, wondering if he should push past her and escape. Physically she didn't stand any chance of stopping him, but the ensuing hue and cry when the police arrived would put paid to the quiet surveillance Cowley had in mind.
"I'll give you a break. In exchange for a small favour..."
Bloody hell! He was right; that gaze was obsessive. Bodie swallowed again. All right, she wasn't that old, and not actually that unattractive...
"Is it a deal?"
He found his voice, from somewhere in his boots. "Uh, deal," he croaked.
"Good. Follow me..."
Half an hour later, Bodie exited via the French doors and swiftly made his way to the front, where Doyle waited in the Capri.
"You took your time. Was beginning to think I'd have to come in after you. Did you find anything?"
Bodie didn't answer. He was gazing - in horror - at the row of houses. They were all in darkness, except one. The one he'd just left, number 12.
Doyle frowned at the strangled tone. "What?"
"What number does Benson live at?"
"14..." Doyle put the lights and Bodie's dismay together and came up with the right answer, beginning to grin. "You didn't go into the wrong house - and get caught?"
"So how did you talk them out of calling the police?"
It was all right for Doyle to find it so amusing. Bodie managed a grin of his own. "Her. A woman. I was able to do her a small favour..."
Doyle burst into raucous laughter, the words 'compost heaps' and 'smelling of roses' somehow finding their way past the guffaws.
Bodie just grinned. Doyle was sure to spread the story around; he thought he'd keep the truth about that small favour to himself. After all, 'I fixed her leaky tap' didn't have quite the same ring about it...