I’m Detective Sgt. Deviled Yeggs. I work homicide in the big city of Tracy. My partner is Jim Wednesday. Poached Yeggs, Junior Detective and my nephew, insists on assisting us.
Jim, Poached and I were talking on a Monday. There were no current cases, and the Captain wasn’t in, so we hadn’t been ordered to work on any cold cases.
I said, “I went to see the Old Man this past weekend. He and GrandPa are doing just fine. Both of you know now that I have joined a prison ministry up there. I check up on people. I don’t do much work in the cell blocks, but when they have new converts to Christianity, I counsel them and give encouragement.
Jim interrupted, “I am guessing that since you are telling us what we already know, you talked to someone that we might know up there. Right?”
I replied, “Quite perceptive, although a bit cynical. Do you remember a guy who went by the same name as a famous hamburger?”
Poached offered, “I was still in high school when you put away Whopper w’Cheese.”
Jim followed Poached’s comment with, “There is a burger chain named ‘Famous.’ Is that it?”
I growled, “You two know who I mean. Comedians, you are not. Big Mc. Big McIntosh Red Apple.”
Before I could say anything else, a delivery boy entered the room and said he had a package for me.
When I opened the package, I read the label. No information on the sender. The contents were thirteen Gala apples.
I asked, “Thirteen Gala apples? What is this all about?” We opened the box. Indeed, there were thirteen Gala apples inside. Okay, they could have been any old red apple. I’m not an apple expert. They seemed fresh. If they were rotten, I’d suspect they came from Gala Apple herself. She could be taunting us. We had Gala’s husband Red Delicious and her son McIntosh Red, the Big Mc that I had just been talking about, sent to prison. Red Delicious ran things from there, but she was the person in charge of organized crime in Tracy, outside the prison.
Poached asked, “Think someone is threatening Gala? Hinting that bad luck is about to happen?”
Jim added, “I hope not. That could mean a battle between the gangs in the city. It could get really ugly, really fast.”
I thought out loud, “Other than checking on who sent the package, this seems to be a dead end.”
“Let me get back to Big Mc,” I said. “he seems to have turned around, repented, and had his come-to-Jesus moment. I talked to him about coming clean in confession. Even if he didn’t do the crime himself, he probably knows a lot about the business. He told me that he was torn on that. The Bible said to honor your father and mother, and besides the things that pertained to them, the rest was small stuff, at least what he knew about. He’d mostly been muscle, no reason given, he just strong-armed people. I’m thinking if we have a few more counseling sessions, he might give us something that could stick to Gala. I sent a message to Vice to investigate a few things that he mentioned, and we didn’t know about, but still – small stuff.”
The phone rang. It was Glyce, “A delivery man just came by my office. He delivered thirteen Gala apples. At least that is what the note said. No info on the sender. Sweetie, I thought I made it clear that you should keep your work at YOUR office. Now what is this all about?”
I answered, “I just got the same thing here. I have no idea, but I think we better look into it right away. You are at the University, right?”
Glyce was still calm, but I could sense an explosion about to erupt. “Yes, apples sent to my office at the university. Now, fix it so that these creeps don’t invade my world again. Okay, Sweetie?”
“Yes, Ma’am.” She never said ‘Sweetie’ when she was calm. ‘Yes, Ma’am’ was the only appropriate response. At least, I have learned that much.
I didn’t realize that Jim had answered a call on another line while I was talking to my wife, Glyce.
Jim said, “Don’t tell me. The delivery man just dropped off a box with thirteen Gala apples at the house. Don’t worry, Tuesday, we’re on the case.”
The three of us looked at each other. Poached spoke first. “I’ll get the car and drive us to the Orchard, the luxury home of Gala Apple.”
Jim and I nodded, “Great idea.” We grabbed our hats and went for a ride.
The guard, at the entrance to Gala’s home, The Orchard, said that we were expected, even though we had not called ahead.
The butler, a tall slender man by the name of Fountain Pen, led us to the sitting room where the maid, possibly of Japanese descent, was serving Gala Apple and a distinguished looking Polynesian guest.
Gala blurted, “It’s about time you got here. I do not appreciate thinly veiled threats. How dare you send me thirteen Gala apples! As if you could create bad luck for me. I will have you know that there will be a change of luck in this household. Dr. Horace Pineapple here is working wonders in my organic orchards. Our pear crop is going to be exceptionally bountiful this year. So, take you apples and leave.”
I replied, “You are saying we sent the apples? Believe me, Gala, you aren’t worth the effort. We’re here because someone sent us apples. Not just at the squad room, but at Jim Wednesday’s home and at my wife’s office. Someone who knew Tuesday Wednesday was home from work to tend to Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Nearly a week’s worth of sick kids. We wanted to find out who the source was and their motives. If you sent them, I wanted you to know that families are off limits in this game. You won’t win with that move. But if you received thirteen apples too, then we need to figure out who would stand to gain by threatening you. The apples that were sent to us might be a warning that there is a powerful third party at play here.”
Gala turned to the maid, “Fudepen, that will be all. No need to offer tea. These gentlemen are not staying. As the highly distasteful Det. Sgt. Yeggs just said, he must get to work investigating who is sending these distasteful messages. Fountain, show these men to the door.”
As we were being shown out, Poached whispered – a little too loudly, “But there were only twelve apples in Gala’s box, not thirteen.”
Fountain replied, “Madam cut one open to taste it, but it had an odd smell. I sent the remains to our lab here at the orchard, for analysis. If there is a hint of poison, I will let you know. We’ll even save you an apple slice for your own lab.”
As we drove back to police headquarters, Jim suggested, “Gala eating gala apples? Sounds like cannibalism, doesn’t it?”
While I was in Tennessee, visiting the grandchildren (oh, and our son and his wife), our youngest grandchild was sick with the viral sinus thing that is going around. He knew to cough into his elbow but wasn’t good on the technique. He placed his chin in his elbow crease and coughed into your face. Thus, all but the eleven-year-old got sick. I got sick on the drive home. But that being said, the little one (5), had little appetite for regular food. But if you sliced an apple or a pear and placed it on the table, he would have his fill. That gave me the idea of this lengthy story.
Right after returning home, I had a doctor visit. My medicine was changed, and the doctor was concerned that the change would lower my potassium. I was told to eat a banana each day – that and do bloodwork after I started seeing results from the medicine. So, I bought bananas, apples, and pears. The apples were from Yakima, WA. We loved visiting that town when we lived in West Richland, WA. When I noticed that the apples were Gala apples, the story started to gel. I ate one of the apples and took a photo (above) of the remaining apples. Then I counted them and discovered 13 Gala apples. And thus, a story of multiple parts was born.
The reference to The Orchard comes from my younger son’s new church that the family attends. While there are a number of Orchard evangelical free churches and some other Orchard churches are nondenominational, loosely connected, the church our son attends seems to have a connection to the Baptist church.