I’m Detective Sergeant Deviled Yeggs. I work homicide in the big city of Tracy. My partner is Jim Wednesday.
It was unseasonably hot, and Jim’s fiancée was visiting us in the bullpen that we call home. We decided to take a break from our cold cases and cool off. We went to an ice cream parlor down the block.
As we sat there eating ice cream and drinking our favorite soft drinks, I said, “You know, I can’t think of anything better than having Sundaes on a Monday with Tuesday and Wednesday.” I sighed, “But then Jim ruins it with a bowl of vanilla ice cream. The guy who eats donuts, French toast, and pancakes for breakfast orders vanilla ice cream instead of a sundae. Do you have any taste?”
Jim replied, “Some people think you have no taste when it comes to your choice of humor, but you don’t hear me complaining.”
Tuesday interrupted, “Behave, you two. Be nice. Jim is just watching his weight before the wedding. And before you say anything, Deviled, Jim has been watching his weight for years. He keeps it right there in front of him so he can keep his eyes on it, but let’s give the man a break for once.”
“Velga, rats, Tuesday, you have always brought a little ray of sunshine to our outings, the few that we have.” I replied.
Tuesday leaned over and whispered, “I don’t mind if you call me by my former name, but Jim gets upset. It takes a lot of getting used to. Detective Wolfe has started bellowing for ‘Whatever-Your-Name-Is.’ He refuses to use either the old name or the new name.” Then a little louder, “But, Deviled, you haven’t mentioned your personal ray of sunshine in a while. How is Glyce (pronounced Gliss)? And what is her real name anyway?”
“My wife, Glyce, is doing just fine. She is working from the house for a couple of weeks reading theses and dissertations. She has graduate assistants teaching her classes while she reviews the writings of all the graduate candidates. As for her real name, her given name is Trinity Naomi Tesla Yeggs, PhD. Everyone called her TNT growing up.”
“That does not explain the ‘Glyce,’ Deviled.”
“She may have been TNT to all the school kids, but long before school, her mother nicknamed her nitroglycerin, Glyce for short. She was dynamite from an early age. All emotion, very explosive. Whatever emotion it was, she exploded with it. When we were in school together, I loved being around her for the happy times and loving times. When she was sad, everybody was sad. When she got angry, I wanted to move to another state. She controls it better these days. My Old Man loved her. He figured if we could bottle her energy, he could crack any safe in the world. Those two got along great before he went up the river. And I never asked what they were doing when they went on outings together – maybe better left alone.”
Tuesday then frowned, “My soft drink has gone flat.”
That’s when my cell phone rang. It was Poached. We had a case. Our outing had just come to an end.
Tuesday pleaded, “Can I come along? I would love to see how the big city handles a crime scene.”
Jim groaned, “Okay, but put on gloves and booties. Don’t touch anything, and stay back, out of the way.”
“Jim, my love, I work all the crime scenes in Stout county. You know Det. Wolfe never leaves the office. Who do you think gathers the evidence so that he can do his magic?”
“Just saying it’s our crime scene.”
“Yes, Sweetie, I am just here to learn.”
I interrupted the lovebirds. “Now that we have that settled. We have another soft drink that’s gone flat, sort of.”
“How is that a homicide for a soft drink to go flat?” they both seemed to ask at the same time. Oh, boy, lovebirds.
“It’s Dr. Pepper down at the primary care clinic on the south side of town. Poached says someone let all the fizz out of her. She’s so flat you could slide her under a door.”
Tuesday asked, “What clinic is that?”
“It’s the clinic of Martin, Pepper, Praeger, and Seuss. It’s on the corner of 12th and 14th Streets.”
Tuesday quipped, “I’m glad I’m riding in the back seat. I get lost in this town.”
Jim asked, “Deviled, the last four homicides have been called in by your nephew, Poached Yeggs. What’s going on there?”
“Don’t know about the others, but Poached has the flu. They told him to go into examining room 4. They said Dr. Pepper was in there waiting on him. He opened the door and nearly stepped on what was left of her.”
Tuesday cooed, “Ooooh, a locked room mystery, or close enough.”
“Yeah, the room had been cleaned after the previous patient. Dr. Pepper went into the empty room to work on the computer while the nurse went to get Poached out of the Triage room. No one else came or went from the room. Windows are the kind that can’t be opened or closed. This one may take a while to solve.”
Jim asked, “I know they are primary care, what used to be family doctors, but I have heard that Doc Martin is good at stuff like carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, and such. Anything to do with the hands and arms. I have heard that Dr. Praeger is pushing the keto friendly diet, lots of protein, especially meat. Dr. Seuss is great with the elderly and diseases of that sort. What was Dr. Pepper’s angle?”
I replied, “She seems, um seemed, to pep people up.”
Jim exclaimed, “That’s our angle. She pushes drugs to pep people up. Must be a lot of bad people that could be willing to get rid of the competition.”
“No, Jim, she simply pepped people up. Just going to the office for a visit. Folks called her the ‘friendly pepper-upper.’”
Tuesday asked, “Any significance to examining room 4?”
“Dr. Pepper was a bit superstitious. She only saw people in rooms 10, 2, and 4.”
Tuesday asked, “Why 10, 2, and 4? Most people would say 2, 4, and 10, keeping the numbers in order.”
“Nope. Her first patient of the day was put in room 10, then 2, then 4, then back to 10. A bit strange, but as long as her patients were smiling when they left, they let her be quirky.”
Jim stared out the window. “Yep, this one may take a while to solve.”
TNT is short for Trinitrotoluene. I made some once in a college lab, when trying to make Dinitrotoluene. Oops. Didn’t get to play with it. The two or three drops blew up and I paid $75 (in 1972), to replace the broken ground-glass vessels that went when it blew. Praise the Lord for safety goggles! Nitroglycerine is different chemically, although they are both liquid explosives and hydrocarbons. While TNT is still called TNT when sorbents (ground seashells and clay) and stabilizers are added for safe handling, nitroglycerin is known by something else, dynamite – what made Alfred Nobel famous and rich, leading to all the awards due to his feelings of guilt over making such a powerful explosive easy to handle – and how it became used in war to kill people. Of course, a good Yegg might use those things in blowing a safe, thus the Old Man and Glyce got along famously.
The idea of Dr. Pepper going flat came to me when my wife was in the hospital with the flu. Her hospitalist (the hospital doctor assigned to her wing at the time) was a very perky young doctor by the name of Dr. Pepper (married into it – not given the name from birth). I hope she doesn’t mind getting fictionally killed.
Dr. Pepper, the soft drink first made in Waco, TX, used the tag line, ‘the friendly pepper-upper,’ even having ad campaigns for it. If you look at the bottle or can of Dr. Pepper, you may still see 10, 2, and 4 somewhere. An early ad campaign was for people to ‘drink a meal’ at 10am, 2pm, and 4pm with the three numbers as part of the logo for a long time – outliving the ad campaign.
As for the other doctors at the clinic, Doc Martin is a shoe brand and has nothing to do with hands and arms. Dr. Praeger is a brand of veggie burgers and might not fit into a keto friendly diet. And of course, Dr. Seuss wrote children books, but as an elderly patient, I might read one in the waiting room on occasion.
And can I start an opinion poll to solve Deviled’s angst? Is a bowl of nothing but vanilla ice cream a sundae? Don’t you need a topping? Sprinkles? Crushed or sliced fruit? Something, other than vanilla?
And as I started in the last Deviled Yeggs post, per my wife’s request:
NOTE: No fictional characters have been harmed in the making of this short story.