"Inspector saab, I want to lodge a 'missing person' report," I said, huffing and puffing in the police station.
"Who's missing," the SHO asked, scratching his dyed beard.
"My missus," I replied sheepishly. "I lost her in the Supersale shopping mall today. We entered together, but got separated in the crowd of the end-of-season shoppers."
"That's pretty serious," he said, twirling his moustache. "Crimes against women have become priority for us. Who knows your wife might have been abducted by a salesman or even…"
"Please don't stretch your imagination," I butted in. "My worst fear is that she has decided to stay overnight in the mall and won't come out before it reopens tomorrow morning."
"Now why would she do such an outrageous thing?" the SHO wondered, plucking a protruding hair from his nose.
"Inspector saab," I explained, "What's every shopaholic's ultimate dream? To have an entire mall to yourself! Nobody to stop you from taking a dozen dresses into the try room! And absolutely nobody to push you or snatch the heavily-discounted dress you're dying to buy!"
"What you say makes sense," the officer said, furrowing his brow. "But I fail to understand why you haven't called up your wife to find out her whereabouts."
"She left her mobile phone with me. But took away all my credit and debit cards," I blurted out.
"This sale-vale business is quite a menace," the SHO grumbled, cracking his knuckles. "The other day, my wife went to the Flat-50%-Off store with three of my constables. While coming out, the trio failed to stop a snatcher from fleeing with the memsaab's white purse. Reason: all three of them were holding four shopping bags in each hand."
"But you must have nabbed the bloody thief by now," I buttered up the cop. "After all, you are the S-H-O."
"We have rounded up 40 thieves and recovered 80 white purses," he boasted, picking his teeth. "Thanks to the 'royal' treatment at our police station, they have all confessed. But my wife doesn't have time to come here and identify the real culprit. No prizes for guessing where she's busy."
"Talking of prizes," I said, "Can't we announce a reward for any information about my wife?"
"That won't be required," the SHO declared, rising from his chair. "We are going to raid the mall right now."
"Really? Thank you so much for such prompt action," I gushed gratefully.
"Actually, I want to kill two birds with one stone," the officer said, winking unofficially. "While my men will search for your better half, I'll hunt for a bottle-green pullover and black leather jacket for myself."
"Size 52, to be precise," he added, proudly patting his pot-belly. firstname.lastname@example.org