I’m Detective Sergeant Deviled Yeggs. I work homicide in the big city of Tracy. My partner is Jim Wednesday.
We were in a lull in the Nibbles Mouse case. When I visited the old man, he hinted that Honeycrisp Apple might sing. She sang off key, but nothing panned out. She may be a help in future cases. She gave us a bunch of ideas that added to no clear evidence. My old man’s parting words still haunted me. “Listen, Son, you can mix apples and oranges, but sometimes, you don’t like what you come up with.” That line had me puzzled, a memory that could not force its way to the surface.
Jim likes to solve the unsolvable in these lulls. He interrupted my train of thought, “Deviled, there goes another black helicopter. No markings. I tell you, this time the UN might actually take over.”
Although I was not interested in this line of conversation, I was willing to try anything in order to press the reset button on this case. I added, “I thought the black helicopters were aliens that were trying to take over. Not the humans that moved here and have not become citizens kind of aliens. The outer space aliens.”
Jim replied, “No. The only credible theory is regarding the United Nations. They have traced a few of the unmarked black helicopters to the UN building. It’s only a matter of time.”
I worried that Jim thought any of this was credible. “What had you looking out the window and seeing a black helicopter?”
“Just doing my daily toxic contrail survey. I’ve got a spreadsheet that goes back twenty years.”
“Jim, contrails are condensed moisture trails left by jet aircraft, little ice crystals. There is nothing toxic about the exhaust. The government is not trying to poison us or secretly get rid of biological or chemical weapons.”
“So, you say. They may have sampled the contrails and found only water, but that doesn’t mean the contrails that aren’t tested aren’t toxic. The government would never release toxic contrails on days that they knew testing would be done. Now would they?”
“Of course not, Jim. You might be onto something, but you are a homicide detective. You got to leave that theory to the guys that make bigger bucks than us.”
“Okay then, you mentioned aliens from outer space. How about our missing persons case? Mr. Jolly, the giant. Some people think that since he’s green, he’s an alien. He’s just bigger than the little green men.”
“Jim, Mr. Jolly got canned. He lost his job and moved away. He didn’t leave a forwarding address. Mrs. Jolly separated from Mr. Jolly, not wanting to stick around a guy without a job. No one is looking for the guy. No one is complaining. How is this a missing person’s case?”
“Deviled, he got canned alright. People have been eating little green bits of him in their green beans, peas, and such for years.”
Note from the editor of this story: Jim Wednesday is a fictional character, and this is a fictional story. Even so, Jim is repeating unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. There is nothing wrong with the canned green beans, peas, and collard greens that you get in the store. Don’t throw it out. Do not carefully sift through the contents of the can for signs of body parts. This is just a wild story that has erupted from the brain of a writer that we already have mentioned is not all there.
I gave Jim a dirty look. “Jim, don’t you know that when anybody is cut, it’s all pink on the inside and we all bleed red?”
“Hey, Deviled, I am no racist! I know we, humans, are the same inside, but Mr. Jolly is an Alien, little green men, just bigger.”
“I thought you said last week that Mr. Jolly was really Santa Claus?”
“I abandoned that idea. It is true that they both say, ‘Ho, ho, ho.’ It is true that they have never been seen together, but you made a good argument last week. It is not credible that a giant, even with a whole lot of magic, can get small enough to go down a chimney. That had me abandon that idea in favor of the alien train of thought. Besides, Santa Claus might take off his red suit and put on a white coat and hide easily at the North Pole. How can you hide a green giant when everything around you is white?”
“You know that the North Pole has moved, don’t you?”
“Now that is a conspiracy that I can’t follow, Deviled. I can go along with the CIA assassinating JFK, the National Basketball Association putting the NY Knicks card in the deep freezer so the Knicks could draft Patrick Ewing, and the former British prime minister Harold Wilson being a spy for the KGB. Those are well documented, but come on, Deviled. Moving the North Pole? Deviled, the next thing that you will try to get me to believe is that fluorination of the water supply is a communist plot to weaken America.”
“Umm. Some people have thought that. At least, I got you to agree that ‘global warming’ is a real thing.”
“With this weather we’ve been having lately, I am starting to wonder. But Deviled, getting back to our case, are we truly at wit’s end? Do we really have bupkis?”
“I wish. If we had bupkis in an interview room, we’d have something to do. I could ask bupkis a lot of questions. No, Jim, we got nothing. But wait. What happens when you mix apples and oranges?”
“Deviled, the dictionary says that mixing apples and oranges is a saying for when you compare things that cannot be practically compared. The results of such a comparison would be false or could draw people to false conclusions. Just think about all these ridiculous conspiracy theories. People are crazy to believe in many of them, because the root of far too many is a mixture of apples and oranges.”
“Jim, you’ve just been spouting off a laundry list of conspiracy theories. Are you calling yourself crazy?”
“Oh, no, Deviled. What we’ve been discussing are facts. They just haven’t been proven yet, but if you start mixing apples and oranges into this case, I might worry about your sanity.”
“But my old man said that you could mix apples and oranges. If you do that, you get fruit salad. That makes me think of my mother’s ambrosia salad. Ambrosia is supposed to be a mix of oranges and pineapple, but some people add coconut. Others add marshmallows. My mother added apples to the oranges, coconut, and pineapple with a few walnuts thrown in. Does that make you think of anybody who lives here in Tracy?”
“If you are talking about Ambrosia Apple, I thought she went underground. She left the Rotten Apple Syndicate when she had an argument with Red Delicious. She’s been out of the picture for years, Deviled.”
“No, she hasn’t been totally out of the picture. At least, I’m thinking not. We might not have much of a Chinatown in Tracy, but Mandarin Orange runs the local triad. I hear that he’s teamed up with a cousin of Red Delicious, Pine Apple. Pine Apple did Mandarin a favor not long ago. Now, he’s in good with him. No one has a clue what the favor was.”
“How does that tie in with Ambrosia?”
“Red Delicious and Pine are distant cousins. My sources say that Pine has been kissing one of his kissing cousins. It might just be Ambrosia.”
“Well, I was running out of theories to discuss anyway, other than how the New England Patriots have cheated their way to every one of their Super Bowls. Maybe we can discuss that while we follow your latest hair-brained idea.”
It wasn’t a hair-brained idea. The trail from one informant to another was not easy, but we eventually learned that Pine Apple, who was cozy with his distant cousin Ambrosia, was the guy who flushed Nibbles “Tuffy” Mouse down the toilet. Honeycrisp had given us a lot of good intelligence, but with her half-sister Ambrosia involved, she had steered clear of any mention that might get Ambrosia into trouble. We had to solve this case the hard way, with shoe leather.
As we basked in the glow of another solved case, Jim said, “Getting back to conspiracy theories, I heard that there was this guy who wrote stories about someone named Wednesday, but he never published a story on Wednesday. Now that is a true conspiracy.”
“Jim, you and your family are the only Wednesdays that I know. We ain’t special enough to have stories written about us. Sure, we solve cases, but we ain’t Sherlock Holmes or Nero Wolfe or that guy you read about. What’s his name?”
“Lord Peter Wimsey?”
“Yeah, that guy. We ain’t him either. Now we can put this conspiracy theory to bed. Case Closed.”
The black helicopters, poisonous contrails, the CIA killing JFK, the NBA rigging the draft for the Knicks to get Ewing, Harold Wilson being a spy, and the fluorination of the water supply are all well-known conspiracy theories, none well documented other than as conspiracies.
Scientists have known for some time that the magnetic North Pole wanders. This is not a conspiracy theory. There have been reports lately of it moving more toward Siberia, while not long ago, it was moving more toward Great Britain. The point is that it moves slowly over decades of time, and that throws off compass navigation the further north that you go.
As for the Patriots, conspiracy theories abound. We may never know…
As for the theories regarding Mr. Jolly, those all came from the fertile mind of Jim Wednesday, but don’t worry. You can still eat the canned green vegetables.
And the stories about Deviled Yeggs and Jim Wednesday have never been published on a Wednesday. Is this coincidence or a conspiracy?