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.
If you have not read part 1, here is a LINK (Part 1 of Thirteen Gala Apples).
Jim, Poached, and I each went in a different direction. Poached, being a lot younger, is more adept at doing computer searches. We left him in the office on the computer. That kept him out of trouble, and since he had a reputation for finding dead bodies, a dead body magnet, it made it harder for him to do find more dead bodies.
Jim was the best at shoe leather detecting. He grabbed Poached’s old partner, George Evident, to help in his work.
I visited the prison. I knew Red Delicious would only give me a hard time, but I wanted his reaction to the four baker’s dozens of Gala apples. He shocked me for a second. He showed a bit of recognition, then fear that his wife was in trouble, then anger. He cut off the interview after hardly saying a word. He then spewed that he’d have revenge on the Yeggs family if his ‘beloved’ was not protected by the law. But that moment of recognition… He knew something.
I then interviewed Big McIntosh Red. He was doing fine since telling the other prisoners in his cell block about becoming a Christian. He thought it was due to his size, his relation to his father, and his reputation on the outside as being muscle for the Rotten Apple Gang. He wanted to change that last one. The first two reasons couldn’t really be changed. When I told him about the apple gifts, he too was concerned for his mother. He said that it could be mob-related, but something was off in the imagery of the threat. He said that we might get further chasing a threat to the legitimate business that the illegal money bought, the Orchard. I thanked him for his honesty and his willingness to talk about it.
By the time I got back to the squad room, Tuesday Wednesday had gone back to work after her children had recovered from their illness. There was another box of thirteen Gala apples on her desk in Stout County. Of course, Detective Wolfe saw no connection with our case, since he relied exclusively on Tuesday doing the digging and bringing the evidence to him for his genius solution. After all, it was just a box of apples.
That got me to thinking. This now involved two counties. Gala had an agricultural scientist trying to improve her yield of pears. How he could alter the situation and still have the pears sold as ‘organic’ might be questionable, but Poached had checked out the good doctor, and Dr. Horace Pineapple, PhD, was a leading scientist in his field. There was no connection with organized crime with him or any close relative, hardly even a parking ticket. But, when you add Stout County to the picture, there was the leading producer of pears in the state in Stout county, a Mr. Pear. Could Mr. Pear be worried that Gala might try to corner the pear market? Mr. Pear’s sons were known for being a bit rough, charges of being disorderly, assault and battery. Nothing big, only fines, except for Bartlett spending a month in jail once.
Jim talked to the delivery companies in both counties and got a credit card number. Poached tracked the credit card number back to one shell company after another and finally to a company owner. Only problem was that the ‘owner’ was deceased, from Stout County.
We decided to revisit the Orchard.
Upon arrival, we found the guard asleep. We left George Evident at the gate to call for back-up and try to awaken the guard. We rushed to the entrance of the house, which was open. We announced ourselves before entering. There was no reply.
We spread out, clearing each room. Jim yelled from the kitchen that the cook was asleep. Poached yelled from the sitting room that he had four dead. The dead body magnet was working overtime. He said that Gala looked like the lights were on, but nobody was home.
I looked over his shoulder. “You’d look stupid too, Poached. If you had been cored.”
Note from the Editor: The writer promised to have nonviolent means of homicide in these stories. Coring someone to death may be bizarre, but thinking about it gives me the heebie-jeebies.
Jim, having come in from the kitchen, said that it seemed that Dr. Pineapple had been cored also. The butler and the maid had been drained somehow, no ink.
Poached started dancing, without any music playing. I asked, “Poached, what are you doing?”
Poached replied, “Can’t you see how the bodies are arranged? They aren’t skewered to the bamboo pole beneath them, but the pole connects each body. The death scene is staged. It’s ‘PPAP’!”
Jim and I exclaimed, “What?!”
Poached replied, “You need to keep up with the latest viral videos. This one is a bit dated, about two years old or so, but it was a hit when it came out.” He could see us getting angry. “Hear me out. The bodies are arranged from left to right – Fountain Pen, Horace Pineapple, Gala Apple, and Fudepen, which is Japanese for ‘Brush Pen’. ‘I have a pen. I have an apple. Unnh! Apple Pen. I have a pen. I have pineapple. Unnh! Pineapple Pen! Apple Pen! Pineapple Pen! Unnh! Pen Pineapple Apple Pen!’”
I interrupted his song, if you could call it a song, and his dance, which was a rather strange dance, “Okay, we get it, Poached. The perpetrators arranged the bodies to spell out a ridiculous song title, but where does that get us?”
Poached stopped dancing and smiled at Jim and me, “Do I have to solve this one by myself? It means the perps were young and whimsical, not old coots like you two!”
I nodded, “You came up with a great observation there, Poached, but that doesn’t solve the crime. It does, however, point to who I have been thinking about. Does this fit with your PPAP idea? Three brothers that might have a violent streak in them, but no hard-criminal record. They live in Stout County and are connected to the pear growing business. They are all about your age. They aren’t the same age, but people call them the Triplets.”
Poached beamed, “When I was doing my computer search, I thought of them, too. Bartlett, Bosc, and Anjou Pear, the Triplets.”
Jim added, “Now that we have a group of suspects, let’s get the crime scene guys in here to look for any evidence that could connect the dots.”
Poached started dancing again, “Seems like the ‘evidence’ is already connected. Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen!”
I barked, “Poached, if you are caught dancing when the crime scene guys get here, I’ll take your badge!”
That was a wasted threat. When the crime scene team showed up, they were dancing too.
Tune in tomorrow for part 3. Same Yeggs time, same Yeggs channel.
When our five-year-old grandson was eating apples – note yesterday’s credits – not feeling well, he broke into the PPAP song. Even though he was sick, he was still a five-year-old. He was sitting at the kitchen table, but he did as much of the dance as he could sitting down. I think that was the sign that he was recovering.
The song is by Pikotaro.
As Poached mentioned, ‘fudepen’ is a Japanese brush pen.
The idea of involving the Pear brothers came from my daughter-in-law when she asked what fruit I liked to eat. When I said, “Pears,” there was another piece of the mystery puzzle in place. Also, thereafter we had apples and pears at the meals, in case the little one was still not eating, but after his song and dance number, we knew he was on the mend.
The last line is from one of my favorite television shows when I was growing up, Batman. Odd, after a couple of the dark movies, I lost interest. I prefer the light-hearted, campy version.