Author's Note: This is my first attempt at writing a longer Morse story. I hope I got him fairly right...
Disclaimer: The characters of Morse, Lewis and Superintendent Strange belong to Colin Dexter. I merely borrow them for this story which is making me no money. All other appearing characters are my creation and completely fictional. Similarities to any existent persons are not intended.
"Look, I'm the right gender, age and martial status. I really see it as our best option." Chief Inspector Morse sat in a chair opposite Chief Superintendent Strange's desk, doing his best to get his point across.
"You playing the lure for a serial killer?! I don't think so." The expression on Strange's face was a mix of worry and doubt.
"Well, what else do you propose we do? Catching him in flagranti will be the best thing. There are too many people who get in touch with the tourists. We have no idea who it is, if it is one of those at all. Maybe one of them is only passing on information. We just don't know!" Morse was tempted to throw his hands up in despair but restrained himself.
Strange stared at his Chief Inspector, thinking. "Lewis will be with you?"
"He'll be close at all times. And backup will be on stand-by."
Strange shook his head in desperation. "It's really our last resort on this case it seems." He sighed. "All right, do it. But dammit, Morse, be careful! I don't want the next victim to be one of us."
- ~ - ~ -
With Strange's O.K. to go ahead with their plan, Lewis and Morse set to work on the preparations. Morse booked a hotel room at the Randolph and a ride on the tourist sightseeing bus for the next day as well as tickets for the opera the same evening. In the meantime Lewis organized backup to be close by and on stand-by at all times. With his Chief playing lure for a serial killer who had already killed three tourists, he wasn't willing to take any unnecessary risks.
Once they were done with their preparations, Morse decided it was time for a pint. Of course it was Lewis who had to get the first round of drinks. And as usual, it was a pint for Morse and orange juice for himself.
"So," Morse said before Lewis even had sat down, "you think Mrs. Lewis won't mind helping us out?"
Lewis took a sip of his orange juice before answering. "Nah, don't think so. She's always complaining about living in a place like Oxford and never having the time to marvel at the sights. She'll enjoy the tour. And she won't be in any danger, she's just my cover so I can keep an eye on you."
Morse nodded. "Good. Just make sure you get her home safely in time."
"Ah, no worries, Sir. She needs to be home by the time the kids come home from school."
"Ah, yes, the kids. Are they all right?"
Lewis looked at his Chief in surprise - so many questions about his family, very unusual for Morse. "They're fine, yes."
"Fine." Lewis wasn't sure if Morse was repeating his words or meant it as a reply. He didn't ask as Morse picked up his pint and drowned half of it in one go.
When Morse remained silent after putting his glass down, Lewis noticed the absent look on the older man's face. Was he more worried about their plan than he let on? "Are you all right, Sir?"
Morse's head snapped back into Lewis' direction. "Hm? Oh, yes, yes. Fine."