I’m Detective Sergeant Deviled Yeggs. My partner is Jim Wednesday.
Jim Wednesday took the call. He said, “We’ve got another homicide. Count Chocula melted when someone opened his coffin in daylight. And, Deviled, you need to prepare yourself. Your nephew was the one to call in the crime.”
“No,” I said, “Not Poached Yeggs.”
“Yes, Poached found the puddle of chocolaty goodness when he was making his rounds this morning. He’s not only the first officer on the scene, but he is the one to discover the body. Er, or what’s left of what used to be a body. Um, just thinking about the crime scene makes me hungry. Got any candy bar on you, Deviled?”
I grabbed my hat and coat and went with Wednesday. It was Tuesday. The week was young, and we already had a new case. I winced thinking of my nephew. He was a good Yegg, kinda hard to be one for his side of the family. My older brother, Scrambled Yeggs, who lived on the wrong side of the tracks, married old Granny Smith Apple, but she was rotten. In fact, all those Apples were rotten to the core – all except Poached. You know how one rotten apple spoils the whole bunch. Poached’s brother was so rotten, they named him “Rotten Yeggs.” You had to wear a chemical gas mask when Scrambled’s family came to visit.
As for Poached, he was like me. He wanted to do a lot of good in the world to make up for the bad in his family. He wanted to be a hard-boiled detective, just like me, but I was certain that he didn’t have the shell for it. But every time I had to work a case, Poached asked so many questions. This time, I would not be able to escape him.
Before I could get out of the car, Poached was asking questions. “Do you have an idea who did it?” “How do you process a crime scene?” “Who do you interview first?” Questions, questions, questions. When I worked the beat, if I asked too many questions, the detective would tell me, “Beat it, Yeggs, back to your beat.” Poached was family. How must I respond?
The crime scene was a normal crime scene, but something smelled off. Chocolate smells sweet. I wondered if chocolate could go bad, sour.
In spite of Poached’s questions, the crime scene was processed, and we found out that the neighbors knew nothing, and Poached was alone with his partner, George, when they walked down the street – no other witnesses. Poached then asked, “What is next, Uncle Deviled?”
I reminded him that he was not to call me “Uncle” while in uniform, and then I said, “Simple, Poached, we follow the evidence.”
Then Poached brightened his face with a big smile. “If that’s the case, can I drive?”
Poached chirped as he got in the driver’s seat, “Get in. The Evidents are getting away.”
I was about the ask the same question again, but Wednesday ushered me into the front seat and he hopped in the back. Jim explained, “Poached has a new partner, George. George’s last name is Evident. That car up ahead picked up George from the crime scene. I heard them say something about going to George’s aunt’s house. So, I guess it’s another Evident that’s driving.”
I thought that this case would probably hinge on trace evidence. It would take the crime scene folks a while to analyze everything. Maybe if Poached stayed busy doing something, he wouldn’t ask so many questions. Why not go for a ride?
We followed George to his aunt’s house. I rang the doorbell. When this lovely lady appeared, I introduced myself and asked for her name.
She frowned and said, “Shirley U-Jest.”
I said, “No, I am quite serious, and please don’t call me Shirley.”
She frowned again, “Deviled, you don’t remember me? We went to high school together. We had one thing in common, fathers who named their children stupid names for the fun of it. You are named Deviled Yeggs. I am named after the old joke, ‘Surely, you jest.’ My full maiden name is Shirley U-Jest Evident. I married Alfonse Lee. My middle name was hyphenated, so I go by a hyphenated last name now.”
“So, your married name is now, Shirley U-Jest Evident-Lee?”
“Evidently” was her response with a smile.
I said I couldn’t place the name “Alfonse Lee” in my memory. Shirley said that he goes by his nickname. Alfonse was a big Georgia Bulldogs fan. He loved their mascot, Uga. Alfonse isn’t a handsome man. Alfonse makes the bulldog look gorgeous. To everyone around town, Alfonse became “Uga Lee” or “Ugly” to his close friends. Now Ugly was a name I had heard of. He had been a trouble maker in his youth, nothing terribly bad, just not pretty. But once he got married, he seemed to have settled down. Could Ugly be back to a life of crime?
I questioned Ugly. He didn’t want to talk. I finally asked him about his family tree. He bragged about all the famous men on his father’s side. There was Lee Marvin, Lee Trevino, and Lee Meriwether. I was too busy writing notes to ask how all of these ‘Lee’s’ were related when none had Lee as their last name – not to mention that Lee Meriwether wasn’t a man. I decided to ask him about his mother’s side of the family.
Ugly hesitated, but he finally spilled, “She’s an Apple. Gala’s her name. Granny Smith is her daughter, the Mom of Poached here. All those Apples are rotten, except Poached.”
That’s when it hit me. That odd smell at the crime scene. It wasn’t rotten chocolate. I smelled a slight odor of rotten eggs along with the chocolate. I hated to say the words out loud, standing next to Poached.
Poached broke the awkward silence, “I know what you’re thinking, Deviled. I smelled the rotten egg smell at the crime scene, too. When you said to follow the evidence, I got a hunch that it might be a family affair. Looks like my brother, Rotten Yeggs, is going to the big house. He’s going up the river to be with Grandpa, your old man. Wonder if they’ll let them stay in the same cell block? But then don’t they warn you to not keep all your Yeggs in one basket?”
I could borrow a line from Dragnet and say that the names have been changed to protect the innocent, but it is the other way around in this fictional story. I had an old friend that I have not seen in about 28 years or more. He was a Georgia fan, and his last name was Lee. I found it a high honor when he told me to call him “Ugly.” He only let the close friends do that. My favorite Ugly story was when he bought a big conversion van. If you are old enough, you know that 80s craze – tinted windows with curtains, back seat that unfolds into a double bed, and a ladder on one back door to access the luggage rack up top with the spare tire on the other back door. He lived in central Georgia and commuted to the site in South Carolina with 4 or 5 guys. They had been together as a carpool since they all came home from the Korean War. One day I noticed his van’s ladder in the back was caved in, along with a dent in the door. I asked him what happened. He mentioned a mutual friend who was a carpool buddy of his. He had enlisted him to help him back the van into the parking place where everyone in the carpool parked their cars. Ugly needed help backing up due to the van’s curtained windows. Ugly backed until he heard the crunch. He turned to his friend and yelled, “I thought I told you to help me back up!” His friend said, “We’ve been parking in this lot for almost forty years! EVERYBODY knows that concrete post is there!” When he told the story, I had to excuse myself or I would have laughed right there on the spot.