I am Mashie Niblick. I was not born with the name, but I like it. I can identify with it. I might just keep it. I am on a mission to save my girlfriend. Poached Yeggs may claim that she is not my girlfriend until I have kissed her, but I think saving her life is more important.
Deviled Yeggs dropped me off at a Self-Storage place in Stout County and I returned to Tracy in a ten-year-old American-made family sedan – white, with a dent in the bumper. I would have preferred no identifying marks at all, but a ten-year-old car without a scratch might draw attention. That might sound like I overthink things but thinking of such things might save a life.
I went to Pauline’s apartment and let myself in. I did not have a key, but I am well trained. I found what I was looking for, the dead man switch for the fertilizer sprayer. I turned it over to Deviled Yeggs for fingerprinting. They found mine, but no other fingerprints. Jack had used gloves. It was what I expected. My fingerprints should be there. That proved nothing. My theory was that he placed the victim’s fingerprints posthumously. Since he had not found Pauline and killed her, he had no access to her fingerprints. Deviled Yeggs catalogued the “evidence” as unknown and not related to an active case, one of those misfortunate improper filings that could plausibly happen. Deviled used a Cold Case that would never be “solved.”
I then went to work and set up security cameras around the golf course. After a full week of photos, I visited Marta Kalnins, Jim Wednesday’s mother-in-law. I collected a half dozen definite maybes from her, but she really liked the photos of George Smythe. He was always photographed by the hidden cameras with a smile on his face. She even said that he was far too smiley, that is for being known as the Devil.
Yet, I was thinking that the definite maybes might be lieutenants in George Smythe’s organization, George Smythe, the smiley one. But now, how do I get evidence against any of them doing anything illegal here? How do I tie them to Jack? My bosses, the ones that suspect Jack is a double agent and not a problem solver, have tried to track the money, but Jack is too careful to tip his hand. But then, maybe those bosses know something about Smythe’s associates. They put me in Tracy to find the links. Now maybe they can connect the dots.
George Smiley was the super spy, invented by John Le Carré (1931-2020). That was not the author’s name, being unable to use his name, since the author had been a spy himself. George Smiley appears in nine of the Le Carré novels. The most notable were probably The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The latter was followed by the Karla Trilogy and then George Smiley in retirement. In many of Le Carré’s novels, the spy for that story often never gets to enjoy retirement. But he allowed Smiley to do so. It is odd giving a tribute to a wonderful author by taking his primary character and making him the villain of the piece, but I submit it respectfully.