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. Poached wasn’t in the office. He was at the hospital, visiting his old partner, George Evident.
When I last posted a case report, Gala Apple had met her demise, or as Poached thinks, one of the many Gala Apples have met their demise. But if Poached is right, Gala must stay out of the picture, or her goose may be cooked.
Her passing left a vacuum in organized crime in the city, especially with Red Delicious in prison and his wings temporarily clipped. He had no paid couriers to run the Rotten Apple Gang from prison, at least for the moment.
So, we have been keeping tabs on the Orchard, and it seems that a cousin of Red Delicious has moved into the place. Honeycrisp wanted no part of the business. Ambrosia had ridden into the sunset with her hubbie. No, the new Apple in town is Fuji Apple and his wife Ginger Gold. They’ve moved in along with Fuji’s sister, Paula Red.
Our organized crime boys are on the job, but they haven’t figured out what is going on, yet. And since no one has walked into the precinct dead, Jim and I, being homicide, have had a great deal of peace in our lives lately. We are supposedly working cold cases.
Things were at peace until we had a case of the Blue Flu. I’m not talking about the kind of Blue Flu where everyone on the police force pretends to be sick to affect a strike against the city management. No, everyone in the precinct got sick, all on the same day. A couple of the patrol people, George Evident for one, nearly died. The doctors chalked it up to some kind of stomach virus, but I don’t think that they looked too closely, assuming we were faking the illness. After two days, we were all back on our feet, except for the two that were hospitalized.
The Captain, Al Hart, didn’t get sick enough to miss work. Then again, he has such a sour disposition, we can’t tell whether he is sick or just his normal self. But the Captain only yelled at Jim Wednesday for two days. Jim wasn’t sick at all.
That got me to thinking. I think we had been poisoned. I asked around at other precincts and in other counties. They had all experienced the same thing, just on different days. Tuesday Wednesday, Jim’s wife, was the only one who wasn’t sick when the Blue Flu hit Stout County. Over there, Detective Wolfe was the one on death’s door for a few days.
Now, this was something that I could sink my teeth into, not that I hadn’t already sunk my teeth into it, not knowing what it was at the time.
The onset of the ‘illness’ in each case happened in the evening hours for those who worked the day shift. For a few on the night crew, they got sick before their shift was over. This seemed to be the story with the other precincts and counties in the area.
There was nothing that everybody did that day, at the end of their shift, other than go home. Then, it dawned on me, a delivery guy came by with two huge baskets of Gala Apples. The card said that it was from City Hall in appreciation of our closing the Gala Apple murder case, four murders solved, and we had finally put a dent in the organized crime of the city. The apples arrived just before lunch. We thought it rather cute that they were Gala Apples. We’d had our fill of Gala Apples being delivered to the precinct. The thirteen Gala Apples was our first hint that someone was after the sweet Gala, head of the local Rotten Apple Gang in the absence of Red Delicious.
The timing made sense. We ate our apples at lunchtime. We got sick about 6-8 hours later. Most of the night shift guys started their shift by eating an apple, and those got sick before their twelve hour shift was over. We stayed sick for two days, but what about the Captain and Jim? What did they do differently? And Tuesday as well?
I asked Jim, “When you ate your apple last week, what did you do to it?”
“I told you, Deviled. You have to peel the apple and cut a little bit of the meat off as you go. Tuesday insists on peeling the apples at home. She got me to do it, too. You can’t just wash it and expect all those pesticides to wash off. You know, Deviled, apples and pears are among the most poisoned fruits that they sell in the store, to keep the bugs from biting and causing spots on the fruit. Can’t sell spotty fruit, you know. Look at the reports on-line. They spray all kind of nasty stuff on those trees. And I saw you guys. You washed your apple, but most of the guys just grabbed and started eating. George Evident went by the basket and sneaked a second one on his way out on patrol. You guys are crazy! Crazy!” He paused. “Hey, wasn’t that the day when everybody went home and got sick?”
“Just a step behind me, partner. Now let’s ask the Captain why he didn’t get too bad sick.”
“Nope,” Jim shook his head. “You are on your own with the Captain. Deviled, you are barking up a tree that we have not been assigned to.”
I shook my head. “Nobody’s assigned to it. City Hall thinks it was the Blue Flu. Internal Affairs has been investigating, trying to find out who instigated the walk out, ignoring the fact that we were legitimately sick. No one is investigating that we actually got sick. What if this was done by someone with criminal intent?”
I went into the Captain’s office. “Captain Hart, I am concerned for your health. We had that big basket of apples out last week. Did you eat yours?”
Captain Hart seemed to be steaming. “What is this? What is your devilish mind up to, Yeggs? I know you are not concerned for my health. You probably wish I would die in my sleep. But as for your apple. I ate two or three bites before I realized it was a Gala Apple, and the thought of eating one turned my stomach, so I threw the thing out. It’s still sitting in the trashcan. That’s another thing. Why does my trash sit for a few weeks without getting emptied? Now that’s a mystery that you could work on! So, Yeggs, get back to work!”
I grabbed his trashcan, as I bowed in servitude to the boss. I knew why his trashcan was never emptied. The custodian worked on the night shift, and the Captain locked his office at night. Besides his intense mean streak, the Captain was paranoid, and he changed the locks and didn’t let the custodian have a new key. As for the mystery of why the Captain got sick, but not sick enough to stay home? He only ate half the apple, but then again, being sick just put him in his usual comfortable mood, his comfort zone, not that of anyone else.
I took the half apple to the lab. The next day, the lab replied with confirmation that a poison had been used that soaked just beneath the skin of the apple. Washing the apple didn’t help much. Tuesday and Jim Wednesday cut away the poison without knowing it. The lab was confused in that there wasn’t enough poison to kill anyone, considering an entire apple. It would probably take three apples to do that. Whoever did this just wanted us sick, not dead. In the perpetrator’s mind, if anyone died, it would be gluttony’s fault, and not his or hers.
When I got back from the lab, I saw Jim working on his fourth donut of the morning.
“Jim, easy on the donuts. We have to stay in shape, you know.”
Jim’s reply was, “I am in shape. Round is a shape. Besides, married life suits me, and Tuesday is a great cook.”
“Fine, sure, eat another donut, but maybe you should see that new guy in town, the one that volunteers at the police gym. What’s his name, Richard Lalanne or something like that?”
“Yeah, that’s his name, but there is something about that guy that I don’t trust. His personal trainer business seems phony. He has no gym of his own, but he seems to be spending money like crazy. And the guys down at the gym call him by a nickname, Abominable Abdominal. Like the yeti, the abominable snowman, except this guy is fit. He doesn’t have six-pack abs; he’s got a twelve pack. I tell you, Deviled, it ain’t natural! You can’t trust the guy. Something is wrong about him.”
I want to first thank Julie of Cookie Crumbs to Live By for tipping the scales on this one, the scales in the produce section at the grocery store, I suppose. She wrote about witnessing a crime, and in answer to one of my comments, she suggested that I put Deviled Yeggs on the case. I had already thought of a new villain, but I had not thought of the crime, the motive, or any real plot.
Blue Flu is a ploy used by unionized police forces– allegedly, since going on strike is not allowed and would lead to the city or municipality being left in danger. Each member calls in on sick leave at the same time, affecting the same results as a strike.
Apples and pears are among the twelve members of the “Dirty Dozen” foods, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). According to EWG, these are the dozen fruits and vegetables that are subjected to the most fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, etc. The list for the EWG Dirty Dozen for 2019 is as follows: Strawberries, Spinach, Kale, Nectarines, Apples, Grapes, Peaches, Cherries, Pears, Tomatoes, Celery, and Potatoes. While a few of these can be peeled, most of these healthy foods can only be washed to remove the residual chemicals. Or you can go Organic and hope it is not simply labeled “Organic.”
The story about the Captain’s trashcan is a true story, except it was our IT department head who locked his door at night and the night custodian did not have a key. When the IT manager ranted one day about how his trash was never emptied, a couple of us said, in unison, “Leave your trashcan outside your locked door next time!” He turned red and walked away, but he complied with our suggestion and never had the problem again.
The new exercise guru, who Jim Wednesday does not trust, is named Richard LaLanne. This is a mash of Richard Simmons and the late Jack LaLanne. The last time that I saw Jack LaLanne on television was on the Armed Forces network while in Germany in the late 70s. It was a Saturday morning. As an officer, I never really got a ‘day off.’ I was working, and I needed to talk to a couple of my men. They were lounging in the break room, watching Jack LaLanne on the television. Okay, I think one was in the corner of the room doing the exercises with him. The rest were content in simply watching the aged master strut his stuff. We will see much more of the untrustworthy Abominable Abdominal in the next episode.
As for the ‘Abominable Abdominal,’ I mentioned the phrase in a post about a month ago, regarding abdominal pains that I was having after cheating on my new diet. The pain was not concentrated in any particular spot, just an overall pressure and pain below the navel. In thinking about the pain, I only had that specific pain once before, when I was in the military and an intestinal virus was running rampant through the military community. Thus, why not introduce someone by that nickname in the same episode where I introduce an entire police force that gets an intestinal disorder at the same time?