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written by Rob Burriss

Pickled Rimmer is the second story in the Pickled series. This one is quite a short one and is set during Rimmer's cadet school days. It isn't one of my personal favourites and I'm toying with the idea of writing a 'Pickled Rimmer II' to do poor old Rimsy justice.

Al and Frank were crap crooks. Their names were out of date and sounded like they had been lifted from a 1930's gangster flick (which, in fact, they had). They dressed in white suits and wore matching ties coupled with black shirts, which only served to draw attention on 2360's Io. And most crap of all, they could never get it together enough to steal anything actually worth stealing.

But they weren't daft. Actually, Frank was. As in all B-movie gangster pictures one of the partners was a big lummox, and the other was a little brainiac. However, they had no talent, and Al had to make up for this with brain power. He planned that they should steal the most valuable object on Io, with the least security. They weighed the two variables carefully, and decided that this object was the 1952 phase 4 telegraph pole with the triple-reinforced wiring which was currently being housed in the 'unacknowledged art forms' department of the Ionian Southside Museum of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries. The part-time curator of this department went by the name: Arnold J. Rimmer.

Al and Frank approached the curator of the UAF dept., who was currently engrossed in a game of Risk with his Cadet School training officer in the Ionian national library. Al and Frank weren't very convincing. They were trying to convince Rimmer that they were museum officials who were transferring the 1952 phase 4 telegraph pole with the triple-reinforced wiring to the Ionian downtown museum; the largest and most important museum on the moon. No, they weren't very convincing at all, but Arnold J. Rimmer was convinced.

Any opportunity to show the authority that his job afforded him, no matter how small, was welcomed by Arnold J. Rimmer with open arms and so he was blind to the fact that he was being conned right out of his hideously unfashionable underpants. Arnold J. Rimmer was very excited to hear that he would be the one in charge of the whole glorious operation, and would also be responsible for moving the treasured and ancient telegraph pole out of the museum and into the small lorry especially assigned to Inspectors Francis and Alfreds' (?!?!) for the purpose. Especially since 'Alfred' and 'Francis' had made this little operation out to be a covertly funded and highly secret exchange of artefacts (he need not, therefore, consult with his superiors); Arnold J. Rimmer was a part of something important! His father would be so proud!

He loaded the pole onto an anti-grav' carrier and pushed it out of its transparent chamber. He turned it towards the employees' exit and bumped it down the corridor and then out between the flaps of the polythene-strip service doorway that led into the darkened rear courtyard of the museum. Al and Frank were waiting there as planned. After they had saluted Arnold J. Rimmer, they grabbed the pole and flung it into the back of a rather small, blue van with 'Wilson's Windows' inscribed on the side in bold orange script.

And then they were gone. Arnold J. Rimmer turned back to the doorway with a smile on his face, happy that for once he had got something right.

The investigation ran on for several weeks. There was, surprisingly enough, a great case for the prosecution. The detectives involved in the case refused to believe that Arnold J. Rimmer could be so stupid as to simply 'give away' a museum artifact, and were positive that he must have been involved in the plan from the beginning. Further to their testaments was the evidence of the prosecution's character witness, Arnold J. Rimmer's father.

However, Arnold J. Rimmer was finally let off by the width of a gnat's contact lens because, of course, he was such a bloody prat. Throughout the entire trial he had incessantly performed a startlingly good impersonation of a rabbit caught in the excessively bright foglights of a really big car, and because of this no one truly believed that he could be a criminal.

When he passed out of the Ionian Courtroom Buildings, a man proven innocent, a very embarrassed Arnold J. Rimmer decided that he would never ever tell anyone just how he broke the law for the first, and last, time...


Go and visit the Author’s web site – THE PICKLED JAR.