Note from the editor: Some people may not think this to be very funny. The subject matter could elicit anger on both sides of the situation. But think about it. If we remain filled with anger, and unable to laugh, not even at ourselves, then the enemy has won. Not the political enemy, but Satan. I offer this absurd story as a means of everyone laughing about the situation. We may chalk up the 2020 election and file it away with such things as “Who shot JFK?” We may never know for sure as long as we have people who bury the evidence. Hopefully, patriots will investigate so that this never happens again in a future election. But forget that for now.
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.
I had not slept for over 24 hours. As I looked at my watch and realized I was about to be late for work, meaning less than 15 minutes early (I hate it when Poached arrives before I do. Don’t ask. I cannot explain why. It just bugs me. He is just too cheerful in the morning.), I walked from the lockup on the first floor into the stairwell, just as Jim Wednesday, my partner, entered the stairwell from the outside door. I will relay our conversation in dialogue form, “D” for me and “J” for Jim.
J: I would say ‘good morning,’ but I know that look. You pulled an all-nighter. I didn’t think we had an active case. And you know I find it insulting when you work a case without reading me into it. I can see ignoring Poached, by I am your partner.
D: Cool your jets, Jim. It was not an active murder case. It was not an accidental death case that had to have murder ruled out. It was not even a cold case. I have been in lockup, lawyer’s consulting rooms, and standing before the magistrate ever since supper time last night. And if you have a candy bar on you, I will take anything. I have not had anything to eat since that taco I got when we stopped for lunch yesterday.
J (looking confused): You?! You were in lockup? What did you do to get arrested!?!
D: Not me, Glyce’s son, Easter!!!
J: What?! Easter Yeggs? And when did he exclusively become Glyce’s son? Does he not share DNA from each of you?
D: I will admit to her DNA and mutations thereof. I will not admit to my DNA when I pulled every favor in the book to keep this out of the newspaper, radio, and television. If my favors hold up the media will say two teen-agers arrested and charged at the mall last night.
J: You have never said what happened. And who is the other teen-ager?
D: The other teen-ager is the preacher’s kid, the PK, that Easter is head-over-heals in love with. With all the restrictions, we thought they could never get together. The relationship was only over the internet, and since Easter’s grades have gone from marginal to excellent, since Jemima’s an honor student, Glyce and I have not minded the puppy love. But last night was uncalled for.
J: So, what happened?
D: They each went to the wall for some socially distanced walking around, just exercise, or so their official statements will reflect. They had not colluded in making this a date – but you know they did.
J: But why were they arrested? You can’t get arrested for meeting someone at the mall and walking around in circles.
D: According to the new COVID law, you can if you show open signs of PDA in a public place!
D: Yeah! Only in Tracy! Only place in the world where a boy can meet a girl and kiss her on the lips while their masks are down around their chins… And get arrested and charged because of some link with an old law that has not been enforced for over a hundred years!!! And the only two people that have ever been arrested under the archaic law is the son of a police detective and the daughter of the new preacher in town!! Go figure!!
J: Did I miss a memo? Why are we arresting people for public displays of affection?
D: Like I said, it was an old law related to the predominant Christian denomination that first settled Tracy over a hundred years ago. They were puritanical back in those days, but I don’t think it was Puritans that originally settled here. The law was hardly ever enforced even in those days. The worst thing that probably ever happened was that the two kissing gourami were pulled apart and talked to in very strict terms. I spent hours trying to find out if anyone had ever been arrested under the statute.
J: But why now?
D: COVID! That’s why! That idiot, moron, imbecile, stupid, idiot mayor of ours had an aide that found the statute and the idiot mayor sent out an arrest on sight order to all precincts. I am sure it was an aide because I doubt if our idiot mayor can read. Since we skip those patrolmen meetings, us being detectives, we didn’t know. And the public didn’t know either. The stupid, idiot, moron, imbecile mayor never even told the media!!! He figured if someone removed their mask in public they should be arrested, but without a new law, this old one would do!!!
I said that last line as we burst through the doors of the squad room. Someone was sitting in my desk chair. Another person was standing next to him with his hands clasped together, looking very worried. And our Captain, Al Hart, smiled as I made my last statement, but unfortunate for me, I was not through saying things that I thought I never said out loud, except at that moment you could hear a pin drop in the squad room, and everyone was listening.
I muttered too loudly, “And who is this stupid idiot that doesn’t know to wait in the lobby until after the morning briefing?”
Captain Al Hart, who we sarcastically call “All Heart”, actually laughed before answering my unspoken question. (I still claim I never said it out loud, in spite of all the witnesses.) “Detective Sgt. Deviled Yeggs, although you might be working a beat soon, and Detective Jim Wednesday, who will never get the promotion to sergeant while I am the captain, I would like for you to meet the idiot, moron, imbecile, stupid…” He stopped to clear his throat before he finished. “Please, meet the honorable Beaux Lightly, mayor of the big city of Tracy, and his aide and valet, who can most definitely read, Grieves.” Then everyone in the squad room burst out laughing, except for me, Jim, and the honorable Beaux Lightly. And it looked as if Grieves was constitutionally opposed to any form of emotion. Forget stiff upper lip. Grieves was simply stiff.
Slowly, Beaux Lightly spun in my desk chair to face us. Since Jim’s and my desks faced each other, now with a Plexiglas shield between them in case we had visitors, the mayor had over five feet of imposing, but clean, desk to stare us down. He was using the non-verbal communication of the person in charge behind the desk to its utmost.
He said, “Well, well, well, Detective Sgt. Deviled Yeggs. We finally meet. I have wanted to fire you for many years now. Red Delicious Apple was a good friend of mine and you sent him to prison. Many of his associates have been sent to prison because of you. His organization at the orchard does worthwhile work in this city.”
Jim and I looked at each other. We were thinking that illegal drugs, illegal gambling, the protection racket, prostitution… They all had customers, but does the city of Tracy think those things are worthwhile? And we sent those guys away for murder. Is that worthwhile?
The mayor continued, “But I could not say anything about those indiscretions of yours in public and still be the law and order mayor that I am. But this latest victory of yours has created problems at the Hoity Toity Golf and Monopoly Club. You got George Smythe arrested. The new president of the club turned in his resignation and moved to a country where the USA has no extradition agreement in order to avoid the FBI’s silly idea of chasing various cash flow from the legitimate work being done at the Apple’s Orchard. That has left us with two vacancies in the leadership of the club. We need to get these new officers in place in order to get rid of that horrid man. What is his name? Grieves, I need you.”
Grieves spoke, “Mashie Niblick, Sir.”
The mayor nearly smiled, “That’s the one. He is competent, but I need someone there that is in my back pocket.”
Grieves cleared his throat.
The mayor continued, “What I meant to say was ‘Someone that I can trust.’ Right now, we have the VP, that little girl who plays Monopoly badly. Grieves?”
“Amy G. Dala, who runs a very profitable dot com company here in town, Sir.”
The mayor sneered, “Just the name will suffice, Grieves. She has been running the club in the absence of the president, but she is a loose cannon that we cannot control. We set up a special election to replace the officers and Fuji Apple was to run against Ms. Dada. Only former officers can elect new officers, so there were only 48 people who could vote. Big MacIntosh Red voted for Ms. Daga, along with two or three people in her sphere of influence. We only expected 28 votes. Many of the old officers are deceased and some have moved away, you know. Fuji played his cards properly and ensured that 20 people had no other choice than to vote for him. Oh, you know what I mean. … I am getting confused. There were expected to be 28 votes. We had 20 votes. The loose cannon could not get more than eight votes, but she won the election. She got 28 votes to Fuji’s 20 votes.”
I finally got a word in. I asked, “This is a club thing. How is it now a police thing? Especially a job for me?”
The mayor’s stare was icy. “You caused the problem by having George Smythe arrested. You have had all the wrong people arrested for years. You are a thorn in my side. You are a detective!! Detect!! The fix was in. Fuji should have won the election. Find out how this Ms. Dama won and fix it!! Detect, Detective!! Detect!!”
At that moment, Poached walked into the squad room. He had a puzzled look on his face.
I smiled and made a small bow to the mayor. “Sir, I cannot detect until I get to my desk. Could you please get out of my chair so that I start my investigation?”
The mayor jumped up as if his pants were on fire. As much as the guy lied to the public, his pants had to be made with asbestos or Nomex, something not flammable, but it looked like his pants were on fire.
“Grieves! You idiot! You had me sit in Detective Yeggs’ chair! I have Yeggs germs on my bottom! Do something, man, do something!”
He danced and pranced around with activity that I did not think him capable of. Grieves calmly pulled out a brush and brushed down the back of his pants legs, especially what portion of the seat that had touched my chair. Grieves also made soft cooing sounds to try to calm him down.
The mayor, now a little calmer, said, “Grieves, remember that pallet of disinfectant that mysteriously disappeared from the supply truck during the lockdown shortage. Call Aunt Dahlia and have her fill the tub with it. I will have my police escort drive me directly home. We can burn this suit. I will bathe in the disinfectant. Fix this problem here.”
Poached walked over to me and asked in a stage whisper, loud enough for everyone to hear, “Did I just hear the mayor admit that the latest mayoral election was fixed?”
The mayor squealed, “Grieves, what fresh HELL have I gotten into. I knew to never come into contact with a Yeggs!! Fix this!!!! Eliminate the witnesses. Damage control, man, damage CONTROL!” And with that he ran from the room, leaving Grieves, holding the brush, trying to brush a pair of pants that had left the building.
Grieves looked around the room and tried to laugh. At least, I think that was what he tried to do. As I said before, he seemed so in control that he had no means of showing any emotion.
Grieves said, “He did not mean ‘kill’ all of you. How silly that would be. You are all policemen. He would never wish for me to do that. Okay, maybe a few of you and we could control the rest with threats, but, no. If you simply take this to be a discussion of the Hoity-Toity Golf and Monopoly club presidential election. Do we have an understanding here?”
Jim said, “Sure, but it sure looks suspicious.”
I snapped, “Jim, we cool it, and we live. Ask questions, we might not!”
Poached mumbled, again a bit too loud, “But I heard everyone in Forest Lawn Cemetery voted for the mayor each election.”
Again, Grieves tried to laugh – pathetic, “That got him elected a couple of times, but the mayor is so badly disliked and the city is growing. Forest Lawn is an old cemetery and there are no new voters moving in. We cornered the memorial gardens on the eastern edge of town, but as more and more people hated Mr. Lightly, we had to do something else. At that moment, it got desperate and the right-in vote volume was getting suspicious, but then we went to the computer voting system. To protect the system, the software is audited the day before the election and the day after. Any audit the day of the election would signal the tampering alarms, but the system is set up to receive votes from more than the usual voting locations. That is done in case of a fire, watermain break, whatever might cause a polling place to shut down. So, we feed tens of thousands of votes in through the unused modems in the system. Easy-peasy.”
I squinted my eyes and asked, “And why are you telling us this? You know, with the people might have to die type thing?”
Again, the non-laugh, “I have heard that the coffee in this squad room is the worst tasting coffee because it is laced with a truth serum. I can’t help myself. I suppose I can help the mayor burn his suit and then leave town quietly. After revealing his secrets, my job is over. If Fuji Apple finds out I spilled the beans, I am already dead. Can I trust you people to keep a secret?”
Jim and I knew that it was just horrible coffee. A placebo effect?
For once Captain Al Hart made a kind gesture, “Grieves, you don’t tell anyone about this, and we don’t tell anyone. We don’t tell people that the mayor is a sissy that freaks out over a little Yeggs germs, and as far as we are concerned, you and the mayor were never here today.” With that Grieves left, knowing that we had information that was dangerous for the city executive. Could he be relied upon to not let the Rotten Apple Gang know about what we knew?
Just for giggles, because investigating a private election at a golf club was not police business, especially with all the officers being volunteers and not getting paid (over the table at least), Jim and I drove to Mashie’s office. He looked at home behind the greenskeeper desk. Pauline was visiting. We mentioned the election.
Pauline said, “We are not admitting to anything, you know. But the safe where the ballots are kept is child’s play to open. Since the mayor has a corner on Forest Lawn for his elections, why not have all the deceased former officers vote for Ms. Dala? She told George Smythe about Janis seeing an old mob boss from Latvia, not knowing that George was the mob boss. That was innocently done and she is trying to make good reforms here at the club. Even Annurca Apple and Gala Apple voted for her.”
Jim asked, “Who is Annurca?”
Mashie laughed, “Annurca Apple was the first president of the club. He was Red Delicious’ grandfather. He’s been dead a long time. As for Gala Apple, who has been dead for a year or so, she went for Ms. Dala for Girl Power!! Right??!!”
As for Poached Yeggs greeting his uncle cheerfully each morning, “If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.” Proverbs 27:14
I used to have kissing gourami in my tropic fish tank, but I had trouble breeding them.
Beaux Lightly is a play on words to rhyme with Go Lightly. If you have ever used Go Lightly as preparation before a colonoscopy, you know that you will go, but not so lightly. As Howard’s mother said on an episode of the Big Bang Theory, “It’s like an upside down volcano here!!” If Go Lightly ever had a human disposition (doubtful since it is a powder mixed with water), I hope I captured it in Beaux Lightly.
As for Grieves, P. G. Wodehouse created two delightful characters in Bertram “Bertie” Wilberforce Wooster and his valet, Jeeves. Wodehouse wrote novels with Jeeves, the valet and butler, being the central character, as Bertie got into trouble. There were about a dozen Jeeves novels, many additional short stories, and then the radio and television spin-offs.
As for the statute regarding arresting anyone performing PDA (public display of affection), that is made up, but there are so many antiquated statutes like it that could probably be enforced without passing anything new into law… Yikes!!! I may have just opened Pandora’s Box!!!
Amy G. Dala spells amygdala if you spell it out. The amygdala are two almond shaped portions deep in the brain. There are many theories about the functions of the amygdala. Emotions are controlled by them and in Max Lucado’s book anxious for nothing, he talks of how the amygdala seem to get information from sensors that cause the body to react before the rest of the brain is conscious of the danger. Thus, “fight or flight” response is considered to be controlled by the amygdala. I may have to use that if I develop this character further.
Aunt Dahlia is Bertie Wooster’s “parental unit.” For Bertie Wooster, see the Grieves credit above.
All the protocols and fraudulent shenanigans are my invention. If they touch on the truth, it is merely an accident. Please do not send the goon squad; this was all fiction.
Annurca Apples are thought to be the oldest variety of apples. It is thought that the Annurca apples were described in the nature book authored by Pliny the Elder who died about 79 AD.