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 assisting. I left Jim and Poached with an old associate of Mashie Niblick, Willard Millard Fillmore, a.k.a. “Jack.”
I was taking Mashie to a car that he said that he owned, but I think he just wanted to say something in private. He wanted us to grill him to force some repressed memory to the surface, and I think he has something to say, but just to me. I knew my personal vehicle was not bugged. As we walked out the door, I suggested it. Mashie seemed relieved that I had read his body language.
Once we were well past the police station, I asked, “Okay, spill it. Why the request for a private conversation?”
He smiled, “On the record, I did not ask for a private conversation.”
“But, Mashie, you are homeless. You do not have a car. So, what is this all about? Do you know who murdered Janis Ozolins? Give me something to go on.”
“First, now that Jack is here, someone will die and when you look through that person’s personal effects, you will find the dead man switch that is missing. That is the first thing, and I do not wish for the dead person to be me or Pauline. Since Pauline is female, and that is Jack’s favorite target, I fear for her safety. She wasn’t at the police station. Where is Pauline?”
“Funny, you never got to second. Pauline is at our house with Glyce and the children. Pauline has babysat in the past, so they all get along. Second, I doubt if an FBI agent kills and frames women.”
Mashie began to chuckle. “Jack and I worked together, and you know that I am not FBI. Jack is a spook that has so many aliases that he has forgotten the name he started with. He showed you a fake FBI credential so that he can obtain information that he is not authorized to have. If he was not involved in the murder he may know who was. Do not bother to grill him. He never talks, unless he is lying. And, Deviled, can I really trust you?”
I smiled and said, “Mashie, you and I are having a private conversation that will not go beyond this vehicle unless you give me something that only you can testify to. Your life is in my hands, and Glyce is protecting and hiding your girlfriend. So, like I said, spill it.”
Mashie nodded, “Okay, if you drive me to Stout county, I can direct you to a Self-Storage location where I have most of my stuff stored, including a few automobiles. I collect interesting ones, but I may want to get the family sedan, easier to get lost in that or lose tails. Deviled, I am not retired from the alphabet soup organization. I am in deep cover. Jack has two reasons to be called “Jack.” Calling him a Jack Ass is very appropriate, but the unproven moniker is Jack the Ripper.”
I swerved the car a bit. That took me by surprise. “Woah, Mashie, you took me straight to the ending without any beginning or middle. Before I can arrest a man for slicing women’s throats, I first need a corpse with that MO and some background, some evidence, something!”
“That’s why I came here. There is a large Latvian community and the job that I was running that went pear-shaped resulted like all the others where Jack was involved, and usually involved from a support role. Our intelligence would get compromised. Often someone would get killed. The last time the woman I sent into harm’s way was tortured. An investigation would ensue. Evidence would point to some woman in the organization. The woman would have her throat slit and in investigating the murder, they would find incriminating evidence with the woman’s fingerprints on it. Big bosses in our organization do not like sticky situations on foreign soil, so they accept the murdered woman as the mole. Only problem, it kept happening, all over the world. The only common denominator was Jack. Thus, I was here trying to find members of Latvian organized crime here in Tracy, set up with false identities created by the double-agent, supposedly Jack. I was getting close when I heard about the Devil. I never saw the Devil. I never knew his real name, but Janis recognized him at the Hoity-Toity Club. Jim’s mother-in-law recognized him.”
I asked, “What was the Devil into?”
“Shipping, smuggling and gun running” Mashie replied. “The Devil supposedly ran the Riga freeport. He had influence in the neighboring ports. While their large neighbor might get more scrutiny, the Devil could get things through from smaller ports – smaller, yet large enough to get the goods past any prying eyes. He was helping to destabilize governments on three continents.”
I started thinking out loud. “So, you think Will Mill Fill had motive to stay out of federal prison. The Devil, whoever he is, might do prison, but as a minimum, he would get deported. And both are rich enough to have had someone do the deed for them.”
Mashie smiled, “But if it was the Devil, the rumors had it that he enjoyed doing his own wet work. He enjoyed torturing before he killed them. If we could figure it out, we would have him red-handed. And as for Jack, you might want to find out how he got here so fast. Few people knew I was here, and they would not have blown my cover, but Jack was here about four hours after the body was discovered. Taking a private plane from his home in DC would barely get him here in that length of time, and I doubt of the DC guys know I was the person to discover the body yet. Where was Jack when the deed was done? And isn’t pretending to be an FBI agent a felony? Forget that last one. I am sure he has someone in DC in the FBI that will vouch for him.”
As we drove toward Stout County, I started to think that I had my hands full, and once Will Mill Fill’s bosses were fully read in on the case, it might just go as Mashie had described.
While Riga, the Latvian capital, accounts for about half the shipping and the only container port, Latvia has another eight ports along its border.
Again, Millard Fillmore, the thirteenth president, had no grandchildren, so Willard Millard Fillmore is not a descendant, probably not related at all.