“A giant robot?” Beryl looked doubtful. “What did they give you at the hospital?”
“Nothing.” White frowned. “Nothing mind altering, anyway. It might not be an actual robot like in the science fiction films. It might be a man dressed up like a robot. We've had reports of a giant robot committing burglaries but we've had no luck finding it. I wondered if it might be someone in fancy-dress.” This was a complete lie, he knew, and he hated lying to Beryl but at least the idea sounded more plausible than an actual six-foot remote controlled robot capable of knocking a man down. It would also reassure her and her friends that it was less science fiction and more 'something to call the police about'.
“Oh, that makes sense.” Beryl frowned. I could ask around, if you like. Have you tried squawking it?”
“Squawking.” She took out her mobile phone. “Honestly, you're all so behind the times. You need a chief constable younger than sixty who can keep up with technology. You can type a short message and it goes to the phones of everybody who thinks of you as a friend.” She typed in 'anyone seen a fugitive giant robot in Laverstone?” and pressed 'send'. “There. Now all my friends in the WI will get that and pass it on.”
“I see.” White smiled. “It's like having a pool of informants to rely on.”
“I prefer the idea of 'friends'.” Beryl looked doubtful. “You ought to have an official one. Boston police used something similar to organise the search for the charity race bombers, and Georgia police used it for the last hurricane-flood rescue.”
“Pfft.” White shook his head. “It'll never catch on.”