I’m Detective Sergeant Deviled Yeggs. My partner is Jim Wednesday. We work homicide. We’re on our way to the Hoity Toity Golf and Monopoly Country Club. Gran Torino didn’t finish the back-nine. He got buried in a sand trap and died by means of hit-and-run golf cart.
Torino has been ‘Gran’ Torino ever since he became a grandfather at 32 years old. He worked for a big car maker, but he retired about the time his daughter had her first child, Lil Pinto. Everyone says he invested well. We’ve never had reason to suspect otherwise.
The club’s position is that no club member ever gives evidence about other club members, regardless of the circumstances, but never fear. I have a confidential informant, and he’s worth every golf ball.
Jim was driving, and he said, “Deviled, we aren’t talking to your confidential informant out at the club, are we?”
“Who else? You know none of the members are going to talk. They won’t even tell us who Torino had with him on the course.”
“Your CI gives me the creeps. He doesn’t have a job. Whenever he does odd jobs, solving problems for the members, he gets paid in golf balls. He never has a dime on him. That’s just weird, Deviled.”
“You’re wrong, Jim. He keeps a dime on him all the time. How else is he going to mark his ball on the greens?”
We met Mashie Niblick in the usual spot, the back corner of the men’s locker room. With the mirrors, we could see if anyone was coming. Besides, Mashie scheduled the meet during the afternoon Monopoly tournament. The locker room was all ours. After the opening pleasantries, Mashie said, “I hope you got a decent brand of golf balls this time. The last bunch were smiling back at me by the turn, what few were left.”
Jim blurted out, “See, Deviled! He spends all his time playing golf, but he is a lousy player. All he does is lose golf balls. Can we really trust this guy?”
Mashie winked at Jim, “You know what they say, Jim. ‘Old golfer’s never die. They just lose their balls.’” Jim sneered back.
I got down to the topic at hand, “Mashie, all we want is the names of the people in his foursome. Maybe we can sweat a witness statement out of one of them. If they are all members, we might not, but I keep holding out hope that someone will squeal.”
Mashie shuffled his feet and stared at the floor, “I got good information. I want payment up front, though. You may not like the information. I might not get paid.”
“You’ll get paid if the information is truthful.”
“Okay. Gran Torino had his usual two buddies and a fourth, a non-member, an associate of Torino’s. Torino’s usual partners are Mr. Whipple and Mr. Clean. The club hates it when Whipple shows up. He’s always in the restrooms squeezing the toilet paper. Mr. Clean is a good guy. His company got him the club membership, not the usual type compared to the other Hoity Toities.”
“Who’s the fourth?”
“You ain’t gonna like it.”
Mashie sighed and thought for a minute. You could see the gears turning, figuring out if the payment was worth it. I was about to offer an extra sleeve of three more golf balls when he spilled, “It’s your brother, Deviled. The fourth was Scrambled Yeggs. Scrambled Yeggs is always good for an early morning tee time.”
Mashie Niblick was right. Hearing my brother’s name associated with a murder investigation was not good news. I paid Mashie off with two sleeves of the pricier golf balls and he was on his way. As Mashie was walking away, he mentioned that Torino might not have invested his money well, like everybody thought. No concrete information there, just a tease. Looking for more golf balls, I suspect.
Scrambled had been a prankster, but could he be involved? We called the station and had Scrambled picked up for an interview. He was in the interrogation room waiting when we got back from the Land of the Hoity Toity.
I started off talking before he had looked up to see who had come into the room. I think he knew. We could smell each other after all the years. “Okay, Scrambled, you’ve been in here a bunch of times. You know the drill. If you don’t give me a good witness statement, we can hold you on suspicion or as a material witness. Either way, you’ll spend the night. With this being a murder rap, you might not see the light of day if you don’t get ahead of this thing.”
“I saw nothing, Deviled.”
“Then what did Whipple and Clean see?”
“Nothing. Whipple hooked his ball into the woods. Mr. Clean, being the nice guy that he is, was off in the woods helping him look for his ball. They found a few balls with Mashie Niblick’s markings on them, but Whipple eventually dropped a ball and took a penalty stroke.”
“So, he dropped a ball. He should have seen something then.” I was a bit confused on the timing of events. I asked Scrambled to run through the events in order.
“Okay. Torino gets run over. I get on the cell phone and call the clubhouse. I have you on speed dial, but the club wouldn’t let me back on the property if I called the cops directly. Then Whipple comes out and drops a ball.”
“But his playing partner just got killed by a crazy golf cart driver…”
“The Hoity Toities don’t let a thing like that spoil a good round of golf.”
Jim and I looked at each other. After a few seconds, we just couldn’t think of any way to respond to that. But when I turned back to Scrambled, I started pressing, and pressing. I knew Scrambled had seen something. When you grow up with someone, you read their tells.
Finally, Scrambled yells, “Yeah, Deviled, I saw something, but I can’t spill! I don’t want the same thing happen to me that happened to our sister.”
That caused me to stop. Scrambled must have seen a member of the local mob make the hit. It had to be that. This wasn’t a four-bit thug. You could buy a hit for two-bits if the body was not to be found, but if the body had to be found, to send a message, it cost twice as much. I was thinking that we were about to get help from the organized crime group and the feds on this one – too much help. I just needed a name, but I didn’t want Scrambled to go like Sis had.
Our sister is still alive, but she’s in witness protection. We know that she’s okay, but we don’t know what her name is or where she lives. The good thing is that she doesn’t have the name our old man gave her anymore. If you have a sick sense of humor and you want to name your kids something unusual, don’t do what our old man did to our sister. Never name your only daughter Over Easy Yeggs. Just… Don’t…
Note from the editor of this story: I must apologize for the author of this story’s sick sense of humor when it comes to naming people in his stories. This is fiction. He could name people anything! He might have just crossed a line or two here. He means well, honestly, but he goes too far sometimes. People have suggested that the author is a few fries shy of a happy meal, or a few sandwiches shy of a picnic, or a few bricks shy of a load. The guy that supplies the firewood for the fireplace says that he’s a few logs shy of a cord, whatever that means. The author is fine with any of those slurs regarding his mental acuity, but never mention anything about his elevator. He gets touchy… when you mention… his elevator. He insists that his elevator, indeed, goes all the way to the top. Moreover, his elevator stops on all the floors. But, as the author says, “If the elevator door gets stuck every now and then, it is a maintenance problem, and thus none of my concern.”
Where was I? Oh, yeah… I was thinking about our sister. She was a good Yegg. She just didn’t marry the right guy. He became a traitor to the local mob and gave evidence that put old Red Delicious Apple in the hoosegow, same wing as our old man. Red Delicious had been the godfather of the local mob, a rotten bunch of apples, if you ask me. Our brother-in-law was his accountant. When the feds found irregularities in the money trail, they didn’t need to sweat him for too long. Yeah, Arnold Benedict will always be remembered as a traitor in this town. Too bad, our sister liked the classy name of Mrs. Yeggs Benedict. I hope her name is just as classy now.
I took a different approach. “Scrambled, I’ve got an idea. Let’s play that word association game we used to play when we were kids. You can give me hints in code, the code we used to use. No one could say you gave me a name. Then, we can follow a different trail to get to the murderer and try to leave you out of it. That way, you won’t have to testify.”
“Deviled, we can play all the kid games you want to play, but you are not getting me to tell you that Big McIntosh Red Apple was driving that golf cart! … Oh, no! I see it coming now. Next thing you know I’ll be living in the backwoods of another state, running a seasonal gift shop with some stupid name like Western Omelet. I can’t stand it, Deviled. Just when I was trying to straighten out some of the crooked parts of my life.”
“Don’t say another word about the crooked parts and cool down, Scrambled. We can work this out. Besides, the name, Western Omelet, is already taken.”
This case was going to be big. This might get both Jim and me promoted. Who am I kidding? We’ll do all the work, and the feds will take the credit for nailing Big McIntosh Red Apple, son of Red Delicious and Gala Apple. Of course, Gala has been running the mob since Red Delicious has been in stir.
This story was running long, and you wouldn’t be interested in all the investigation of the money trail, anyway. Gran Torino had invested well, but he needed a new transmission. He got involved in some investments with some ventures that were not quite legal. He got in deep to Gala Apple and her son, McIntosh Red. But Gran Torino did things in a grand way. He became a liability. We connected Torino’s payments to McIntosh, but never to Gala. Mcintosh Red don’t look so good in an orange jumpsuit, but he took the fall before we could get the goods on Gala. The money trail was good, but what put the case over the top was the evidence given by Mr. Clean. He got a good look at McIntosh from off in the Deep Woods. He convinced his employer that giving evidence will make the company look even stronger at cleaning up things. And he kept his membership at the club, since Mr. Clean’s employers had some not-so-clean pictures that had been taken at the club. But we won’t go into that.
Note from the Author: Mashie Niblick has been around a lot longer than any of the Yeggs, but was rejected by the publishers – probably for good reason. Mashie Niblick is named after an ancient golf club of the same name, the ancient version of the modern 7-Iron. The Mashie is the ancient name for a 5-Iron, the Niblick for the 9-Iron, the higher the number, the higher the loft and shorter the distance that the ball travels. The only thing anyone knows about the confidential informant, Mashie Niblick, is that he lives at the club and works for the green’s keeper in exchange for green fees – never touches cash, except for the dime – (working in the morning and late evening for golf balls and green fees, playing golf all afternoon). He claims to be ex-CIA, but no one has been curious enough to check it out. He would make a good agent. He knows everything about everyone in Hoity Toity Land, and he moves around, seemingly unseen. Hoity Toities do not notice servants. Odd though, his greatest skill is finding lost things. He helps everyone in the club in that respect in exchange for more golf balls, but finding his own golf balls? Forget about it.
Oh, and the elevator thing? Yes. I am touchy about that.
I knew an engineer at a NASA project who did what Mashie Niblick did in this story for about four or five months when he was laid off from the project. He really loved golf, and he got a good tan. Also, my wife and I have known a few people who were grandparents in their early 30s, one in particular was a great help to us, volunteering to work with 7-10 year old boys in Augusta, GA.