Thirteen Gala Apples – Part 4 of 4

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).

If you have not read part 3, here is a LINK (Part 3 of Thirteen Gala Apples).

In the last episode, I had left on vacation to visit a few people at the prison.  Jim and Poached remained in the squad room.  The crime scene team came back with a report of traces of tobacco, tobacco smoke, and splinters of ash.  Not tobacco ash, it seems the urban legend was carved from an ash tree.  But that’s just me being crazy.  Everybody knows that cigar store Indians are not animated, and thus could never pull off a crime like this, but then again, it’s the big city of Tracy.  And I’m the best dick Tracy ever had.  At least, I strive to be.

When I got to the big house, I visited my Old Man.  He told me that GrandPa was on vacation in Aruba.  I thought he’d lost his marbles, but my Old Man produced pictures that didn’t look photoshopped.  I had wondered why the guards had said that I had to speak to the warden before I left.  GrandPa came and went from the prison as he pleased, being the King of the Yeggs – that no lock ever held.  But his jaunts from the prison usually involved going to the nearest town to flirt with the ladies at the old folks’ home or get a candy bar that they did not carry at the prison commissary.  A vacation?  Oh wait, I was on vacation, but I was in prison.  Maybe I should join GrandPa.

Wait!  How did GrandPa get a passport?

I needed to talk to the Old Man, because he was in the same cell block with Red Delicious.  If he knew anything about who had visited Red Delicious or which guards or inmates might be passing along messages, we might finally put a stop to Red Delicious running the mob from prison, and maybe even find an urban legend.  The Old Man gave me a list that might have taken weeks to track down.  I thought I could get that much past the Captain.  He might not believe in Cigar Store Indian, but he would be a fool not to think Red Delicious was behind this.  Then again, he was our Captain…

Next, I visited Big Mc who was in a different cell block, separated from his father.  He spoke before I sat down in the interview room, “Micah 5:15 says ‘I will take vengeance in anger and wrath on the nations that have not obeyed me.’  And Nahum 1:2 says ‘The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies.’

I smiled, “I’m glad you are studying your Bible, but remember that we are supposed to love our neighbors, even our enemies.  Romans 12:19 says ‘Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.’  God is the great Judge.  He makes those decisions.  We work far below that paygrade.  We just try to get along with each other.  Do you understand?”

Big McIntosh had a tear in his eye.  “I know.  I was trying to justify what my father had done, but the killing has got to stop.”

“Big Mc, I think it has.  Mr. Pear is not establishing a crime syndicate in Stout County.  He just had three sons that thought they could fix a problem using violence.  I could just say that your father saved the state a lot of money in court expenses, but we still have a hitman out there that could be used to kill others.  Your father threatened my family and others if Gala was harmed.”

Big Mc nodded, “I know.  Word travels fast inside these walls.”

I showed him the list that my father recited to me.  Big Mc pointed out the guards that were on his father’s payroll.  He went through each of the in-mates and guards that did various favors for his father, but the thing that struck my interest was one of the guards who brought Red Delicious his cigars.

I checked the guard shift rotation schedule.  The guard that provided Red Delicious with cigars was about to rotate to a long weekend.  A plan formulated in my mind.  I called Jim to set things up on his end, and then I had an interview with Red Delicious.  I pushed him around.  I even slapped him across the face.  I accused him of various things, most of which I knew he’d done, but not all – a couple he could have never done.  I even reminded him of his threat to get back at my family if Gala was hurt.  I don’t record the conversation here, because I wasn’t playing nice and Red Delicious’ language was downright vulgar.  But I got what I wanted.  He swore that something would happen to the Yeggs family before the weekend was out.

Glyce and the children were taken into protective custody at an undisclosed safehouse.  For good measure, Tuesday and her children joined them.  GrandPa was still in Aruba, and I arranged for the Old Man to be released under my custody.

When the guard with the cigar connection left for his long weekend, his car was fixed with trackers.  Jim set up a tail that involved policemen that never interviewed people at the prison.  It was a revolving tail, no one following him for too long.  The guard wasn’t a hardened criminal, but he might still get suspicious.

The guard did not go home right away.  Instead, he went into the hills, and down a gravel road.  The surveillance team spotted him entering a cave.  We had found our urban legend.

We were afraid to enter the cave and get lost, while he escaped.  We lured Cigar Store to the mouth of the cave.  We captured him without any resistance.  He gave evidence that allowed us to take Red Delicious back to court to ensure he’d never get out of prison.  We also got rid of Red’s connections through the guards.  The governor approved a big pay raise for the prison employees to make it harder for Red Delicious to lure guards onto his payroll.  Besides, the unpleasant situation of the old guards now being in-mates was a good object lesson.

But then, the fun started.  First, George Evident called in, saying he saw Gala Apple at the grocery store.  Once we realized he wasn’t talking about an apple in the produce department, we were a little concerned.  Could there be a ghost?

Then Tuesday Wednesday called in a Gala sighting in Stout County.  Her Gala was having tea at an upscale bistro.  About that time, Det. Holmes of Doyle County called in a sighting.  We were getting a few sightings each day.  The odd thing was that a few sightings were at the same exact time as another sighting, 20-30-100 miles apart.

Jim and I created a spreadsheet and started plotting the sightings on a map.  We had seen her body.  We knew she was dead, but these sightings were from reputable people.  There were too many to ignore but too bizarre to believe.

Then one day, Poached was tossing an apple, a Winesap maybe, tossing it into the air and catching it while lounging in his office chair.  He said, “Deviled?  Jim?  Have you heard about these political leaders who have doppelgangers?  People that look just like them.  The doppelgangers are the ones that you see in public while the political leader sneaks around behind the scenes.  That way, if you try to assassinate them, you might kill the doppelganger instead.”

“Poached, what are you getting at?”  I asked.

“Could it be that Gala sent the apples after all?  She was taunting us, telling us that there were thirteen Gala Apples to deal with, not just one.  You’d never be able to get all of them.  You’d never know if you arrested or killed the real one.  Does that sound crazy or what?”

Jim and I looked at each other.  I said, “Poached, take care of things here.  I have a headache.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”  Jim added, “What he said.”  We both grabbed our hats and left for the day.

Credits:

The traditional wood for making baseball bats is ash.  I have no idea what was used for making cigar store Indians.

And even the poorly paid assistant that writes these “Credits” cannot figure out how GrandPa, one Millennium Yeggs, obtained a passport.

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