Putting his best foot forward, Sergeant Trite of the Cliché Squad resolutely marched out to meet his destiny. “Time and tide await no man,” he said to no one in particular, “I must strike while the iron is hot! Fortunately, I don't have too many irons in the fire.”

This last, a little louder, caught the ear of Inspector Bromide. “Remember, Trite, it's best to look before you leap. Haste makes waste, you know.”

“Truer words never were spoken, Inspector, but I always say, he who hesitates is lost. After all, we both know that a stitch in time saves nine.” Taking some tobacco from a pouch, Sgt. Trite put that in his pipe and smoked it.

With a stiff upper lip, Inspector Bromide extended his hand to Trite. Shaking it firmly he said, “Fortune favors the bold, Trite. When you've found your man, I'm sure you'll make him understand that crime doesn't pay.”

“Thanks, Inspector. You can't keep a good man down, you know. I just hope I don't find myself up a creek without a paddle, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Good-bye, Inspector.”

“Have a good day, Trite.”

Then, with his shoe on the other foot, (it hurt less that way), Sgt. Trite of the Cliché Squad rode off into the sunset on his trusty steed.


“Whoa, big fella!” Trite gently reined in his horse. “I see smoke and where there's smoke, there's fire.” Realizing that time was of the essence, Trite had pushed on through the night after leaving Inspector Bromide. Even though it was darker than the inside of a tar-papered coal bin at midnight, he had spared neither himself nor his horse.

Trite dismounted and began to move forward. His years of experience had taught him that silence was golden and he proceeded as though walking on eggs. Pushing aside a last bit of foliage Trite stepped into a clearing. There, no more than a stone's throw away, lay the man he had been pursuing so relentlessly these many months: Dangerous Dan!

“He's catching 40 winks, I see,” Trite remarked softly to himself. “May the arms of Morpheus embrace him just a while longer, knock on wood.”

Slowly but surely he closed the distance between them. Soon, he was but a few feet from his prey. Taking the bull by the horns, Trite called out, “Rise and shine, Dangerous Dan! As always, the early bird gets the worm. You're under arrest!”


Meanwhile, back at headquarters, Inspector Bromide was as jumpy as a cat on a hot tin roof. “Where can Trite be?” he fumed as he paced worriedly to and fro. “That Dangerous Dan is one tough hombre and Trite may have his hands full trying to bring him in. Hope he didn't bite off more than he can chew this time!”

“Never fear, Trite is here!” boomed out a familiar and hearty voice. “Better late than never, you know.”

“Trite! You are a sight for sore eyes! Did you get your man?”

“The long arm of the law reached out and plucked him, Inspector,” replied Trite. “It was like taking candy from a baby.”

“Tell me how you did it, Trite,” urged Inspector Bromide. “How were you ever able to get the drop on Doe?”

“There's more than one way to skin a cat, Inspector. But let's just say that winners never cheat, cheaters never win and patience is a virtue. It's curtains for Dangerous Dan now!”

“Right you are, Trite. We'll lock him up and throw away the key.”

“Well,” yawned a weary Sergeant Trite, “I think I'll call it a day and hit the hay. By the way, Inspector, isn't there a reward for the capture of Dangerous Dan?”

“Sorry, Trite. Virtue is its own reward.”


“Long time no see, Trite!” boomed out the voice of Inspector Bromide of the Cliché Squad. “Out of sight, out of mind, eh, Trite?”

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder, Inspector” responded Sgt. Trite. The bon mot made Bromide chuckle.

“Are you ready to dip your oars in the water again, Sergeant? It’s an ill wind that blows no good and Big Bad John Doe has blown back in town.” The Inspector turned pale as a ghost as he said this.

Trite reflected on his past trials and tribulations with John Doe. “So, like a bad penny, he’s come back, eh? Nonetheless, actions speak louder than words and if he hasn’t committed a crime, he can’t do the time. What do you think he’s up to, Inspector?”

“Aye, there’s the rub. What is he up to? He’s been quiet, Trite, too quiet.” The Inspector looked as worried as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

Trite, with the patience of Job, allowed his superior to ponder the situation a while. The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

Finally, Inspector Bromide broke the silence. “A man is known by the company he keeps, you know, Trite, and his sidekick, Dangerous Dan, is a nasty one.”

“He has just the one?” asked Trite.

“Yes. Two’s company, three’s a crowd is John Doe’s motto, and I’m afraid that it’s true that birds of a feather flock together.” Bromide’s brow knitted as he said this.

“And don’t forget that it takes two to tango, Inspector, but there’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip and somewhere, somehow, when you least expect it, John Doe will tip his hand.”

“Hmmm,” hmmmed Bromide, “Maybe we can get to John Doe through Dangerous Dan and sow a little dissension in the ranks, eh?”

“Great idea and a bold plan,” brown-nosed Sgt. Trite.

“Aye,” the inspector agreed “but the best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley. I think our next move, Trite, is to contact the leader of this gang agley and enlist some of his boys to help us.”

“So, the trail is cold, eh?” said Trite. “Hmmmph. More's the pity. Nonetheless, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Can you describe him, ma'am?”

“I can do better than that, Sergeant, here's his photograph.”

“Good! A picture's worth a thousand words, you know. Hmmmmm. I don't like to judge a book by its cover, but after all, a man is known by the company he keeps. Well! I must go, for there's no time like the present, although I shall make haste slowly.”

“Trite,” pontificated the Inspector, “Do be careful!”’

“Fear no! I learned long ago that an ounce of caution is worth a pound of cure!