I’m Detective Sgt. Deviled Yeggs. I work homicide in the big city of Tracy. My partner is Jim Wednesday. Poached Yeggs, our Junior Detective and my nephew, is on a donut run.
Jim asked, “What are you doing this weekend, Deviled?”
I replied, “Going to my child’s graduation.”
Jim scratched his head in confusion. “What child is that? Easter Yeggs is fifteen. Sophie is ten, and Blaise is six. Do you have one that’s graduating high school that I don’t know about?”
“No, Jim, Blaise, in spite of his smart mouth, is graduating kindergarten. His teacher announced at the beginning of the year that she would break him, but I think she broke down in the end.”
“At the beginning of the school year, she went through the class role. She called out ‘Braised’ and no one answered. She called the name a few more times. Finally, she said, ‘Young Mr. Yeggs, you will say present when I call your name.’ Blaise answered that he had not heard his name called. She replied, ‘You are a Yegg, are you not? Your name is Braised, is it not?’ Blaise said, ‘Ma’am, you are incorrect on both counts. My name is Blaise. I was named for the great French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher, Blaise Pascal. I am not a yegg. I am only five years old.’ At the time. ‘My grandfather and great-grandfather are in prison for having been yeggs and not doing it in a fashion to retain their freedom. I do not wish to pursue their line of work. I will prefer not to be referred to as a yegg. My last name is Yeggs. If you are trying to make a joke of my name, referring to Braised Eggs, I shall inform you that I have tried them and much prefer other means of egg preparation.’ His teacher shook her head and said that she’d not had this kind of trouble with his sister, Soapy. Blaise spoke up again, ‘My sister’s name is Sophie, named after French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher, Sophie Germain. Her name is not Soapy. Besides, who would ever eat soapy eggs?’ That’s when the teacher said that she would break him if it was the last thing she did. Glyce was there and caught the entire thing on her tablet’s camera.”
“That sounds like Blaise. I suppose the teacher is retiring, ‘cause I don’t expect Blaise will ever be broken.” Jim said with a belly laugh. He then groaned. “Where is Poached with those donuts?”
That’s when the phone rang. Jim answered it, grunted a few times, then shook his head. “Deviled, grab your hat. Poached, our little dead body magnet, has found another one.”
“Oh, no, I can just hear the Captain giving us another order to leave Poached by the phone, and we’ll have to make the donut run.” I paused to think about that. “Then again, that might not be so bad. We can take as long as we want.” Still pondering that idea, we went to the donut shop.
Poached met us at the door. “Deviled, the deceased is a Mr. George Mayhem. He’s been fried, iced, and covered in sprinkles.”
Jim turned to me, looking a bit green. “I think I can skip the donuts. This guy was fried to death?’
“No, the doctor thinks all that was post mortem. He thinks the assailant was making some kind of statement. No, he was kneaded to death. You know, folded over and squished, a few times.”
I asked, “I thought they had a kneading machine that did that?”
Poached replied, “Sure, that’s for the donuts, but this guy went old school on Mr. Mayhem.”
Jim asked, “Who is this Mr. George Mayhem? He’s not that ‘Mayhem’ that works for the insurance company, is he?”
“Nope. George Mayhem worked at the steel mill south of the city. He was a safety engineer there.”
“Have you been junior detecting again, Poached? You are supposed to secure the scene and wait for us.” I added.
“No, Sir, no detecting until you get here, but his badge to get into the steel mill was found on the scene. Nice picture of what he used to look like, minus the sprinkles, his full name, his badge number, and his job title. Besides the badge, no one found any other personal effects.”
Jim asked, “How did the medical examiner get here before us? Already with an initial cause of death?”
“Oh, the doctor was here eating donuts when I found the body. I was wondering why our order was taking too long, so I stepped around the counter. You just missed the good doctor. He went to the restroom. I think it was something that he ate.”
We split up. Poached interviewed the customers. Jim interviewed the staff. I went to the top, interviewing Mr. Donut himself.
Poached got nothing. At the time of Poached’s discovery, Jim learned that the entire staff was outside eating their breakfast. It wasn’t normal practice, but the boss said that he’d take orders while they took a break.
That left me with a very suspicious boss. In the first interview, he denied knowing Mr. Mayhem. He said he’d never met him before and had no idea how he could have tripped and fallen into the machinery. I explained that he had been kneaded by someone who knew how to do it the old-fashioned way. He took offense that some stranger would throw a dead body into his fry vat.
Back at the station, we found out that Mr. Donut had three other stores. Two of the stores were near the river. The stores had been flooded and might never reopen. He had insured them for flood, but only 29 days before the flood wiped the stores out. Insurance didn’t pay him a cent. He’d bought the insurance that ‘Mayhem’ sells.
In the second interview, Mr. Donut caved when we told him that he needed to look for first names before personally kneading anybody else. The ‘Mayhem’ he was upset with Richard Mayhem, not George. It was a case of mistaken identity. They weren’t even related. Mr. Donut performed mayhem on the wrong Mayhem, and now ‘Mayhem’ still reigns in Tracy.
As we closed the file, Jim pondered, “We closed another one, in record time, but Mr. Donut had bought out your mother’s bakery. Where are we going to get donuts now?”
I was going to talk about Blaise Pascal and Sophie Germain, but Blaise Yeggs already covered that. Why both of the namesakes are French and had similar math-science-philosophy backgrounds is a mystery. Glyce Tesla’s family, after all, was Serbo-Croatian. Obviously, Glyce got her wishes when naming the two youngest Yeggs. And from Blaise’s manner of speech, it is obvious that he takes after his mother.
Mr. Donut, the donut franchise, was started in 1955. The iconic sign had a stylized man’s face with a big mustache and wearing a chef’s hat. Most of the Mr. Donut shops in the US were purchased by Dunkin Donuts around 1990. Mr. Donut is still an international brand, headquartered in Japan. The Mr. Donut in this story was a local baker with a few stores in Tracy – no relation at all.
I have no idea if any donut shops use a continuous kneading machine, like many bread factories use today. My first exposure to this type of equipment was when working on the NASA project. We were going to make highly explosive solid rocket fuel using one, just not to the same specifications.
Richard Mayhem’s insurance company did not have to pay for the flood damage after 29 days. There is a 30-day waiting period between signing up for flood insurance and when the insurance becomes active. If you live in a flood prone area, purchase ahead of flood season, not when the water starts to rise.
As for the graduation, I thought of this story while thinking of our grandson who is graduating from high school soon.
As Always, no fictional characters were harmed in the making of this short story.