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.
I apologize in the interruption of my case report yesterday. I had a sudden return of the Blue Flu, or a delayed reaction relapse. I must have grabbed the apple in the Captain’s trashcan with my bare hand and then licked my fingers before washing. I guess I’m getting sloppy.
I’d like to point out that George Evident and the other patrol officer are out of the hospital and back at work. That means that Poached is back also.
When I left off from the report yesterday, we determined that Gala apples were being delivered to one precinct after another, poisoned to make the police officers sick, not to kill anyone.
My thought went to the supply of apples. This wasn’t a small amount of apples. My first thought was the new Apple trio that are living at the Orchard. Fuji, his wife Ginger Gold, and his sister Paula Red have access to as many apples as they need, but something just didn’t sound right. For one, organized crime doesn’t attack the police, at least not often. That kind of thing draws too much attention. This sounded different to me.
The Captain ordered me to not work on the poisoned apple case since nobody died. I told him I was looking into a theft at the grocery store.
As Jim, Poached, and I left, Jim asked, “But, Deviled, there have been no complaints about anything stolen at any local grocery.”
I replied, “I didn’t say there was, but I think there might have been. It won’t hurt to help Robbery out a little, will it?”
“Then since no apples have been reported stolen, where are we going?”
“To visit our old friend, Bob, at the A&B CD and Grocery Store. Who else?”
“The Bob that bobs his head in a strange way?”
I shook my head. “No, the Bob, who probably wasn’t a ‘Bob’ at birth, who shakes his head like anyone from his native country. Come on, Jim, let’s be sensitive to people of other cultures.”
Jim wobbled his head and said, “Oh, boy. I woke up today thinking that it would be a great idea to get into trouble.”
Bob met us in the produce section. Bob asked, “If we have any more dead bodies, I am not knowing.”
I smiled and shook his hand, “No problem with that, Bob. I just want to know about your missing apples.”
Bob’s mouth dropped open. “But how are you knowing? We are just discovering a shortage of inventory. We are not reporting. Do you have devilish powers, Mr. Deviled?”
“No, I was hoping that I might shed light on a different mystery by finding some, let’s call them ‘lost’, apples. Maybe a few cases.”
Bob smiled and bobbed his head, “Yes, you I can be helping. We hired a new person in produce. He stocked the Gala apples into the display, this one here, and within an hour or two the apples were gone. And the next day, the new employee never came to work. We did not sell the apples and for that many apples to be pilfered by our shoppers, it is being too many.”
“Hmmm.” Jim interrupted, “Are you sure he stocked the apples? Maybe he just stole them, especially when he never returned to work.”
Bob replied. “The night manager was busy elsewhere in the store. He tells me that the new employee was very fat and had not arm strength. He complained of a bad back. The night manager helped him put three crates of apples onto the dolly. The night manager was almost holding the crates by himself. About an hour later, the night manager saw him walk to the docks carrying one crate in each arm. He could not see inside the crate, but the crate must have been empty, since this weak man was carrying both of them on his shoulders. A few minutes later, the employee took the third crate to the dock. He went on break, and then no one heard from him again. The night manager went to produce to look for him and found the Gala apple display empty.”
Poached asked, “Did you ever see the display filled?”
“It had to have been filled at one point. He carried the empty crates to the dock.”
“Thank you, Bob,” I smiled and gave him a nod, “You have been a great help. Do you have a photo of this employee on file?”
“I am sending the photo to your office as soon as I get back to mine. Your e-mail address, I am having.” We said our good-byes and left.
In the car, Poached said, “That’s a crock if I ever heard one. The new employee stole the apples.”
“But what about the bad back and no arm strength?” Jim queried.
Poached laughed, “Jim, you are too honest, just like Bob. I had a better upbringing for being a bit dishonest. My father, who is Det. Sgt. Deviled’s brother, Scrambled Yeggs, taught me and my brother, Rotten Yeggs, how to play that game. You claim to have no arm strength and a bad back to get out of half the work that you are assigned to do on the job. I think that Mr. Fatso, until we find out his real name, faked all that. Then, he has nearly superhuman strength to carry two full crates of apples back past the dock to his car, carrying one on each shoulder, without breaking into a sweat, making it look easy. But really, he already established the idea in the night manager’s mind that he was a weakling, so no one noticed.”
I had to ask, “Who is that strong?”
Poached replied, “A lot of guys, but most have honest day jobs.”
Jim muttered, “But Richard LaLanne doesn’t have a steady job, but he spends a lot of money. Mr. Abominable Abdominal himself, with his twelve-pack abs.”
Poached said, “But we’ll need some proof before we can connect those dots. By the way, Det. Sgt. Deviled Yeggs, how did you get permission to work a case for Robbery that wasn’t a true Robbery case in the first place?”
I chuckled, and then the lightbulb came on. “You have your ways of faking things, so do I. I knew if I seemed to be matter of fact with our beloved “All Heart Captain”, he would be too lazy to check it out. I impressed on the dear Captain that Robbery has been overworked, due to a crime spree involving a fat guy – huge, fat guy – that has been robbing convenience stores and liquor stores all over the big city of Tracy. But now, I realize, we’ve been after the same guy. I just figured out his motive. Poached, when we get back, work your computer magic and line up each fat guy robbery with the precinct in which the robberies occurred and when that precinct was sick with the Blue Flu. Jim and I are going to dig into the background of one, Mr. Richard LaLanne, and see if he knows anything about latex.”
“As in disguises?”
“Yeah, as in anyone who can fake having a bad back and no arm strength, can also be a fat guy who isn’t fat, but faking being a fat guy in a fat guy suit and wearing a latex mask with double-triple chins. And with a photo from our friend Bob, facial recognition can see through most of the latex. If his mouth, eyes, ears, and nose are close enough, a shift in the cheekbones and a double chin due to the latex won’t be enough to fool us. We can do the same thing for the robberies.”
Sorry, no new credits today. But if you don’t remember Bob, the manager of the A&B CD and Grocery, he appeared in Yeggs Examines All that Glitters, last March.