Note from the editor: First, most folks cannot fathom that these stories have ever been edited, but… This is an eight ‘chapter’ story. The odd numbered chapters are from Deviled Yeggs’ perspective. The even numbered chapters are from Mashie Niblick’s perspective. This technique is becoming popular. James Patterson does it in his Women’s Murder Club series, and Terri Blackstock did it in her “If I …” series. The odd numbered chapters, for this serial story, will appear on four consecutive Mondays, and the even numbered chapters two days later on Wednesdays. Since the Perils of Pauline could be the “theme,” having it work like a serial adds to the suspense. But that is only if you are a Deviled Yeggs Mysteries fan in the first place. For those who are not into such stories, they will be over in four weeks.
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, is back in the office, keeping a safe, social and acceptable distance. It’s like he doesn’t trust Jim and I, but we like him better at a distance. It’s all good.
Jim got a phone call from his mother-in-law. To make things easier, I’ll report the script of the phone call. Jim is “J” and Mrs. Marta Kalnins, his mother-in-law, is “M”. Since we never got a name, the other voice will be “W” for waitress.
J: Hello, Ma, what do I owe the pleasure of your phone call?
M: I’m lost.
J: Okay, where are you and I’ll come get you.
M: I told my daughter that you were not good enough for her. I told you. I’m lost. I have no idea where I am. That’s why I am calling a detective. You should detect!
J: Sorry, I thought you meant you had no idea how to get back to the house. Can you see a street sign and tell me what street corner you are near?
M: Nope, and I am not moving. I don’t want to get more lost.
J: Okay, can you describe where you are? What do you see?
M: I see tables, chairs, linens, young girls wearing white blouses, black bow ties and black skirts.
J: Okay, Ma, you are in a restaurant.
M: I know that!
J: I am sure you do. Do you have a menu?
M: I’m not hungry! We just had breakfast an hour ago. Why would I want to eat?
J: No, Ma, the menu would have the name of the restaurant and the address on it.
M: Listen, I just came in here to get a cup of tea to settle my nerves, because I’m lost. You are a policeman, not as good as my daughter, but you have skills. FIND ME!
J: Ma, you need to pay for your cup of tea. Can you flag down your waitress? I will tell her that I will pay for the tea when I get there.
M: You are such a nice man, and you have wonderful, well-behaved children. Thank you for paying for my tea. Miss! Miss! Can you talk to my son-in-law?
J: Hi, this is Detective Jim Wednesday with the Tracy Police Department. What restaurant is my mother-in-law in?
W: Oh, is your wife Tuesday Wednesday? She’s been in here with the children. They are adorable.
J: Yes, that’s my family. The rest of the week, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Wednesday. And you were about to give me the restaurant name, please?
W: This is Le Chic Boutique on 13th street. Why do you ask?
J: My mother-in-law, Mrs. Marta Kalnins, is having some lapses of memory, but she is very sensitive about it. Please, don’t make a fuss. She had a Transintentional Iskie Something, a TIA, what most people call a mini-stroke. Then she had a heart attack. Her heart stopped at one point. But now she’s fine after the open-heart surgery. It is just that people that have those kinds of things happen, they get fuzzy in the head, forgetting simple things, like the fact that she is only a few blocks from our house. I am afraid that when I leave here to pick her up, she will forget to wait and leave the restaurant. So, Mrs. Kalnins loves wine. She loves German wines the best, but I can’t afford that. Go for a California or Washington state Riesling. I know you aren’t open for alcohol yet, but we can make an exception here. I am the police, you know. Call it … medicinal. Keep her occupied. You should not be too busy right now. If the sommelier is there, have him entertain her with a little wine-tasting. I’ll pay you $100. That’s all the cash that I have on me. That should cover the domestic wine tasting and your time plus a tip.
W: Thank you, Sir. You are quite generous. I will give the phone back to your mother-in-law, and I can get right on that.
M: And when can I expect to be rescued?
J: I will be there in about 15 minutes. I cannot use the siren without this being life-threatening and you are in a safe place. I will bring Junior Detective Poached Yeggs with me.
M: Oh, goodie. He’s such a handsome man. I don’t know if I can keep my hands off him.
J: And, Ma, being a policeman, I can authorize the restaurant to give you some wine to calm your nerves. The waitress is getting it now. Just sit and relax.
M: Thank you so much. You know, you are so nice, I should introduce you to my daughter someday.
J: I look forward to it. See you in fifteen minutes.
Jim hung up the phone, told Poached to accompany him and wear his bulletproof vest. Poached asked why, and Jim said for his own protection. Suddenly, I had the bulk of the squad room to myself.
That’s when the phone rang again. It was Mashie Niblick, my confidential informant for all things with the rich of the town – at the Hoity-Toity Golf and Monopoly Country Club in Tracy.
Mashie said, “Deviled, I am so glad I got you. You need to come to the golf club, to the greenskeeper’s office. Bring the Crime Scene people, but whatever you do, forget I was here.”
“I can’t do that, Mashie. If you saw a crime, you need to stay at the crime scene until I get there.’
“I will stay that long, but just know that Pauline and I weren’t even here when it happened, so us giving evidence won’t make any difference at all.”
“Before I can get the Crime Scene techs mobilized, I need to know what crime we are investigating.”
“Deviled, Janis Ozolins, the greenskeeper at the Hoity-Toity, is dead. It’s not pretty. No death is, but the killer must have enjoyed doing it. Please hurry. I need to leave here quickly.”
My last words were for him to stay. I got the team together and I called Jim to have him meet us at the club.
When we arrived, Mashie had a different approach. He wanted me to solve the crime before the Feds took over. I said, “I’m sorry, Mashie, I cannot work miracles, but Jim and I have worked some really strange cases over the years, and we have a good record of closure.”
Mashie was sweating. “You don’t know what is about to happen. The case will never get solved if the guy I know shows up. Someone else will die. You’ll find all the evidence at that person’s house. Then it’s all over.”
“I don’t work that way, Mashie. Besides, you haven’t shown me the crime scene yet.”
Mashie shifted his gaze. “I’ll show you the crime scene. But as for my old organization, you don’t know Jack!”
Mashie brought me back to the greenskeeper office. Pauline was in the corner of the room, crying. Next to the desk was what looked like a puddle of green goo, but on closer look there was the body of Janis Ozolins, or what might be him, in the middle. I turned to Mashie with a questioning look.
Mashie answered my unasked question, “The medical examiner might have a number of things to look at, but he was ‘greened’ to death. He might have died before he was sprayed. He might have died from the spray’s toxicity. He might have drowned, but the green goo is what I spray on the greens to fertilize them. We only do it once a year. I go early in the morning to spray them so that the regular golfers are not bothered by the liquid fertilizer that much, but some of them love the idea that they get a green rooster tail behind the ball when they putt, and they can see the line, since the ball makes a streak in the fertilizer.”
He shrugged, “I was thinking of running for it, but Pauline refused to go with me. My prints are all over the spray equipment. It breaks down a lot and clogs. So, my prints are all over it. If I just denied ever seeing the body and ran away, the Feds would still be here. They’ll assume that I was the target. Ship me off somewhere else with a new name. And then frame a local, most likely posthumously almost always female. Deviled, you have to protect Pauline. She won’t leave. And like I said before. You don’t know Jack!”
Poached exclaimed, “I loved that game.”
I jumped. I had not heard Poached and Jim drive up behind me. I asked Jim if he had any problem with his mother-in-law.
Jim laughed, “Deviled, it was the strangest thing. I get over there and she was in hysterics. I had no idea if it was dementia or she was drunk from the wine. She kept going on about me shooting some guy at the restaurant. She said I had a sworn oath to protect and serve. I should just shoot him and save a lot of people the heartache.”
“Who did she want you to shoot?”
“She waved her hand near a large crowd of guys. It could have been any one of them. The manager wanted her out of the restaurant since the guys in the corner were big money people. All the way home she kept saying, ‘I saw the Devil.’”
Mashie had been in the corner consoling Pauline. He jumped up and said, “What? Did you say the Devil?! Janis told me that he had seen the Devil that morning. That’s what got him killed. Jim, you better protect your mother-in-law. Deviled, things are rolling around in my head. I tried to forget my former life, but it has caught up with me. I remember talk of a guy called ‘the Devil.’ Take me down to the station and grill me hard. There is something trapped inside my head. If I could only bring it to the surface. Please, Deviled, please! They are ahead of us, and I don’t want anyone else to die.”
By this time, Mashie looked like the one who was losing it, and Pauline was consoling him.
Mashie fought back the tears. “All of you need to know one thing. You don’t know Jack.”
Jim Wednesday forgot what a TIA is, a Transient Ischemic Attack. It is often followed by a stroke, thus they call it a mini-stroke, many of the same symptoms, a warning that something worse may happen soon.
I played one golf course in South Carolina that had used a blue fertilizer like the green fertilizer in this story. Most of the greens were dry, but if there was one under the morning shade of the trees, we got the rooster tail when we putted.
“You Don’t Know Jack” is a video game, trivia. It is a little sarcastic, but it is a good challenge and it is available on a variety of platforms. This is not a paid endorsement. I am just having fun with word play.
And a word on the Hoity Toity Golf and Monopoly Country Club. “Hoity Toity” meaning the rich, and those who think of themselves as above other people. I have heard of many such clubs that have something other than golf. I picked Monopoly. It is probably the most often remade game on the face of the earth. It seems every college has their version. Many cities have their version. The original was based on the things, mostly streets, found in Atlantic City, NJ. Since modern board games have expanded into extreme complexity in order to remove the chance element – replaced by strategy so that serious gamers have an unfair advantage over the casual players, and thus unfair in a mixed crowd – Monopoly, being the standard bearer for the old way is the one that is attacked the most. But I remember setting up a four-player Monopoly game, playing it all by myself, and loving every minute of that week of moving pieces around the board and refusing to sell one property or another to “myself” so that “me” and “I” would not lose. Thus, malign it if you want, but I provided a means of honoring the game.