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).
If you have not read part 2, here is a LINK (Part 2 of Thirteen Gala Apples).
In the last episode, we left Poached dancing with the crime scene team. That was the last bit of fun that we had for a while.
We sent out a statewide BOLO (Be on the Lookout) for the Triplets. We got Det. Stout’s approval to interview their father, Mr. Pear. Det. Stout had two requests, that we would be accompanied by Jim’s wife, Tuesday Wednesday, and that he, Det. Stout, could stay in the squad room, smelling flowers.
Mr. Pear said that he was concerned that Gala would put a dent in his pear market, but he had not been terribly concerned. He had no idea where his sons were. They had enough cash on hand to not need to use a debit or credit card for some time. Det. Stout had patrols watch the Pear Plantation for any sign of the Triplets returning home.
We checked every relative that the young men had. We checked their friends. We checked every fleabag hotel that would not ask questions, that would be willing to not ask for ID and that would accept cash. The Triplets had vanished.
I took some time to return to the prison to talk to Big Mc and my Old Man. I avoided Red Delicious. I didn’t want to tip our hand. According to Big Mc and my Old Man, Red Delicious knew all the details. Now it was a race to see who could find the Triplets first. Being behind bars, even without Gala to pull the strings, Red Delicious would not be hand-cuffed by such things. He’d get his man, maybe all three.
When I returned, Poached had gone undercover. Jim had learned that the Triplets enjoyed a particular type of entertainment. Only someone their age could be seen in such places and not stand out. After a couple of days, Poached had a lead.
We got to a back room in a club that the Triplets were using, but we were too late. The Triplets had been peeled. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
Jim asked, “What is that smell?”
I said, “Cigar smoke. These young men were not peeled; they were scalped. We may never find the hitman. The hitman is a ghost. I think we are dealing with Cigar Store Indian.”
Poached protested, “But he’s an urban legend. No one has seen him in years. Besides, when he disappeared, he was as old as Methuselah.”
I replied, “No, Methuselah lived 969 years. I don’t think that there were cigar stores back then. Cigar Store disappeared when political correctness invaded the land. Cigar Store Indian had stood in front of the cigar store, letting everyone know that cigars and other forms of tobacco could be purchased there. Then the Native Americans did not like the message of connecting lung cancer with Native Americans, and they chased Cigar Store Indian out of town. It was thought that Cigar Store stayed nearby, turning to a life of crime. He became the one blamed for anything that disappeared. Everyone thought Cigar Store took whatever was missing in the night. The legend morphed into a warning for children to pick up their toys and put them away. If they didn’t, Cigar Store would steal their toys while the child slept.”
“The only reason that you think that the legend is ages old, Poached, is because Cigar Store disappeared before you were born. I wish they would teach history a little better in schools these days. If it didn’t happen in your lifetime, it’s ancient history.” I lamented.
Jim asked, “If this really is Cigar Store, how do we find him?”
I thought for a second. “I’m headed back to the prison. Maybe Big Mc can shed some light. I have to believe that his father is behind this. If so, Red Delicious knows how to contact Cigar Store, and maybe Big Mc will be willing to talk.”
When we got back to the squad room, I prepared to leave for the prison. Then our loving Captain, Al Hart, known as ‘all heart’, bellowed from his office, “You are not going to chase ghosts! No one knows where Cigar Store is because he no longer exists. Do not waste your time! Follow the evidence, and find a real person who killed these three young men, not some urban legend.”
“Oh, Captain, my Captain. I have some vacation coming to me. I’m taking the next couple of days off. I apologize for the short notice. Bye-bye!” And with that, I left the squad room, with my Captain yelling in my direction. Sorry, I cannot record what he said. What I heard wasn’t very nice.
For the conclusion, tune in tomorrow. Same Yeggs time, same Yeggs channel.
For those who do not read the Nero Wolfe novels, Wolfe spends much of his day tending his orchids. Archie tries to time his return to the brownstone from his detecting so that he can meet Wolfe in the office when Wolfe descends after his orchid tending.
Methuselah lived 969 years, Genesis 5:27
The cigar store Indian became the symbol for tobacco stores in an earlier age. At the time, illiteracy reigned. As a result, the stores used symbols to let you know what the store provided. Think of the symbols for barber shops and pawn shops. The choice of an ‘Indian’ was made since the Native Americans in the New World introduced the explorers to tobacco, and thus, all of Europe. Over the years, literacy increased and so did the need for more space in front of the stores. The cigar store Indian was moved inside, or it simply disappeared. As political correctness became in vogue, the Native Americans protested the use of cigar store Indians for two reasons, maybe more. The cigar store Indian was a stereotype showing the Indian with a war bonnet and clothes worn a hundred or more years ago. Secondly, who wants to be associated with bringing lung cancer to all of Europe? With this in mind, you would never hear one of the statues being referred to as a Cigar Store Native American.
Of course, “Oh, Captain, My Captain” is a poem by Walt Whitman about the death of Abraham Lincoln. While Whitman lamented the loss of the Nation’s leader and the seeming lack of leadership that followed (the poem published seven months after the assassination), Deviled Yeggs is mocking his Captain for the same reason, a seeming lack of leadership. Too bad, it will cost him some vacation to solve the mystery.
For those keeping track, this is the first Yeggs/Wednesday mystery posted on a Wednesday.