A New Home for Rotten Apples? – A Deviled Yeggs Mystery

I’m Detective Staff Sergeant Deviled Yeggs.  I work homicide in the big city of Tracy.  My partner is Jim Wednesday.  Poached Yeggs is still on his honeymoon.  My office is being graced by the lovely Tuesday Wednesday, and she has information, having done some informal investigations in Tracy.

While we were waiting on Lt. Slick Mickie Tagliolini to show up, Tuesday helped me catch up on their temporary housing problems.

Tuesday shook her head, “I would not characterize staying in Mashie’s unfinished home, until ours is repaired, as ‘camping indoors.’  It’s an active construction area.  The contractors are constantly using magnets to find stray nails.  That’s no problem.  The contractors are very accommodating, but there is still a lot of dust.  The twins are very susceptible to the dust, especially our little girl, Saturday.  Thursday acts like a pig, wallowing in piles of dust, if we don’t stop him beforehand.  But Friday and Saturday have runny noses and red eyes, regardless of the canvases that they install to keep the dust where they are making it.  We finally have a couple of walls around our finished toilet and tub with canvas covers on the other two sides, but we have to walk to the kitchen sink to wash our hands.  They aren’t ready to do the plumbing, yet.  They rushed that just for us.  But I cannot complain.  Mashie and Pauline should be living in their finished house, and we should be somewhere else.  We are grateful for the roof at this point.”

Lt. Tagliolini entered and said, “Hey, Tues!”

Tuesday smiled, “Hey, Mick!”

Jim and I said, “Good morning, Lieutenant!”

Lt. Tagliolini said, “Tuesday, I understand you have information that my men have not been able to obtain since Fuji and Ginger Gold left town.”

Tuesday corrected him, “I THINK I have information.  I will not cast aspersions on your department.  Since we are living near Deviled in Mashie Niblick’s unfinished mansion, or so the kitchen indicates, we have changed our commuting patterns.  Jim carpools with Deviled and I take the children very early to the day care near our old home, what is left of it.  And before you ask, we intend to rebuild.  The only real serious damage, other than broken windows and bullet holes, is the crater where our sectional sofa used to be in the den.  It still gives me nightmares that I had instructed Easter and Jemima to sit there, but it was the best spot for Wi-Fi, and they could watch television without keeping the children awake.  I did not realize that could be a target of opportunity,”

I interrupted, “But Tuesday, no one thought these idiots, that being Ambrosia’s term of endearment, would be that idiotic. We knew there would be a power struggle once Fuji left, but that usually meant they fight amongst themselves, not do something stupid to prove how stupid they were.”

Lt. Tagliolini interrupted, “But how are the children.  Are they traumatized?”

Tuesday held up a hand, “No, we had two great babysitters that made the escape seem like a game.  Only Thursday stayed awake.  The others pretty much slept through it.  But anyway, my route that I randomly chose, went by Pink Lady’s home.”

Lt. Tagliolini interrupted again, “You mean Lily the Pink’s brothel.”

Tuesday huffed, “As a woman, I am offended.  You gents, or maybe the Vice cops, have raided her home a dozen times and she has never been caught.  Thus, it remains a ‘home,’ not a brothel.  As soon as you do your job right, I will agree it is a very profitable brothel.  As for the ‘Lily the Pink’ moniker, that is the name of the snake oil that she sells as a side business and a ruse to explain her profits, and why she has all the ladies living there making the stuff.  Lily the Pink’s magical elixir is a strange apple cider made with Pink Lady Apples that is spiked with rum and she also adds water lily root in the mash, thus ‘Lily the Pink,’ like the silly song, and it’s sold as a “medicinal compound” that can cure anything.  “Most efficacious in every case.”  But I wonder why the songwriters have not sued over that line.”

“And if you do not interrupt anymore, Mickie, I can be on my way to work.  One morning, long before dawn, maybe about 5:30am, and maybe why your guys, having their beauty sleep, never spotted this …” I was thinking that she was doing a great job in not casting aspersions on any Tracy police divisions.  She’s already trashed Vice and now Organized Crime.  She continued, “I drove by Pink Lady’s home and found a muscular member of the Apple family holding the door for a well-dressed Apple to enter the building.  A couple of days later, it was the same muscular guy holding the door for a different Apple in an expensive suit.  I started using a dash cam just in case I spotted anything else odd.  …  Once or twice seeing cousins meeting for breakfast is an innocent meeting, but there is a pattern.  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from about 5:00am until 5:45am, about a half dozen Apples show up for a meeting at Pink Lady’s home.  I have no idea when the meeting is over.  I must be at work in Stout County by 7:00am, so I drop off the children before 6:00, lucky to have a day care that opens that early.  Which reminds me, I am late for work.  Mickie, you need to get to work on time.”

“Sorry, but my wife had to go visit her mother in Florida on the spur of the moment, she gets a new ache, and it becomes an emergency.  I got stuck in traffic driving back into town from the airport.  Do you have copies of the videos that you made?”

Tuesday pointed to her husband.  Jim said, “We have them downloaded onto the server and our techs are starting to use facial recognition and we’re trying to read as many license plates as possible.  Tuesday simply drove through, but she shifted the angle of the dash cam a little each time to try to catch various things, like the license plates.  If she picked up the cellphone and snapped people entering Pink Lady’s home, she might have been spotted and followed, but there are so many people with dash cams today, she drove by unnoticed, even by the Rotten Apples.”

Lt. Tagliolini thanked her, and Tuesday rushed out, after kissing her husband goodbye.

As Tuesday left, Gisele came in with donuts.  “Gentlemen, I know it is cliché, but the Captain is offering you donuts.  They are all glazed, so you won’t be frozen by indecision on which one to choose.  And, Mickie, I may become a mother-in-law in a few years – hope not soon, but who knows – and if I have an ache, the only one that I have is Lilith.  So, be kind.  Do you understand?”

“Yes, Ma’am, but how do you know what we were talking about?”

Captain Hart said over the speaker on my desk, “She ain’t the only one who heard you hint that your mother-in-law is a hypochondriac.”

Lt. Tagliolini rolled his eyes, “I forgot this is an interview room instead of an office.  Is there any way to mute our conversation?”

Captain Hart replied, “Sure there is, and I have the controls right here.”  He almost didn’t get that out.  He was laughing too hard.  I simply shrugged.

The Lt. asked,  “If these donuts are from Captain Hart, are they poisoned?”

I replied, “Nope.  He’s been really nice lately.  He says that regardless of how bad the pain is in his home life, he shouldn’t take it out on Jim and me.  I think it was something my Dad said back at the Christmas dinner that you missed.”

“Yeah, Christmas dinner on a national cable television cooking channel.  What a time to be out of town.  Before we get started and to totally change the subject, Jim, how tall is Tuesday?”

Jim grumbled, “Same as the rest of the week, twenty-four hours.”

“No, your wife?”

Jim huffed, “Don’t worry about it.  I have her beat by a fraction of an inch.  The great thing is that we can see eye to eye.  Know what I mean?”

Jim was lying and so did Tuesday on that subject.  Jim is just short of six feet tall, but Tuesday is about six feet or a fraction over.  She tells everyone that she is five feet eleven and a half inches so Jim can “be taller,” but she always wears flats, slippers, or low heals.  She knows that Jim is a little sensitive on the matter.

Lt. Tagliolini groaned, “Sorry, I did not want to cause offense.  I have my wife beat by nearly two feet.”  She is of Peruvian descent.  “I have no idea what it’s like seeing her eye to eye.  But back to what Tuesday gave us, what do you think of this, gentlemen?”

I shrugged, “It’s nice information.  Is it a ruse?  Is it cousins getting together for breakfast?  Is Pink Lady asserting herself as the new boss?  Is one of the guys who shows up the new boss, but he insists on having the meeting in a brothel, so we don’t know who is in charge?  …  I can get away with saying that since Tuesday has left.  But guys go into brothels all the time.  Rarely that early, but…”

Jim also shrugged, “And it’s information that we can’t really use until a crime is committed and the evidence leads to the home of Pink Lady.  We’d never get a warrant for a brothel raid on what we have.  Maybe Vice has something, but I am unaware of it if they do.  As soon as we bust in there around 6:00am, we better find the Rotten Apples around a table doing something nefarious rather than eating waffles.  Tuesday’s information at that point becomes worthless.”

The Lt. nodded, “And it could mean a total break from Red Delicious.  He always wanted a man in charge, but given the likely successors, Pink Lady is the most ruthless and the smartest.  There seems to be a flaw in the character of the male Apples.  A younger one may surprise me, but that gang thing was over the top.  It is frightening knowing that if my family was not on vacation, I might have been the one hit.  But those were stupid kids thinking they were tough, like most of those kid’s parents, not leadership caliber.  And I hope you two do not get more business for homicide as the pecking order is established.  If Pink Lady is indeed the new boss, we can start rearranging our organization charts to figure out the new pecking order. … Another thing came to me.  What if they were meeting there to vote on the new boss?”

Jim and I thought for a second and nodded.  “Maybe,” we said.  “We need more data and less guess work,” I added.

Before Lt. Tagliolini left, he looked at the mirror behind me and said, “Next time, cream filled with chocolate on the top.”

Captain Hart, over the speaker, “Ha, that’s what Gisele and I are eating in here, and no way would we be that nice to a cop who has an office at city hall, down the hall from that idiot mayor.  If you were a good organized crime cop, you would tie that jerk into the Rotten Apples and get rid of him.  The only way he gets reelected is by the cemetery votes.”

By the end of the day, we identified the people in attendance.  It seemed like one person from each criminal venture, maybe the new boss for each.

What the license plates revealed was a plethora of city officials that did not live on that side of town.  Hmmm.  I thought, ‘Have Vice make a raid in the early morning hours, and we might need to have a special election.  Now, who could run on the “Clean up Tracy” ticket?’

But among those who were parked, we found most of the judges’ cars who had signed the warrants for the previous raids.  We might have leaks within the men in blue, but those leaks came from the courthouse.

Jim was right.  We better be really careful raiding Pink Lady’s home, or we might find prostitutes making Lily the Pink Medicinal Compound and a group of judges playing gin rummy.

Credits

Some studies, not all, show that Latvian women are the tallest, on average, in the world, but the average is a little over five feet, six inches.  The Netherlands has boasted the tallest men, in almost every study for years, with the average near six feet tall.  My father-in-law was the runt in his family, about 5’10”, and the only one with brown hair.

People from southeast Asia and Ecuador and Peru are among the shortest, according to those same studies.

I once had a sister-in-law who told everyone that she was five feet, twelve inches tall, and no one seemed to do the math.  They might say something about how tall that is, but…  Then my sister-in-law had a few vertebrae fused and no one missed it when she tried saying 5’ 13”.

Lily the Pink is one of my favorite silly songs.  It is adaptable for adding new verses, as long as the “cure” is far from what was wanted or expected.  Although The Scaffold has a very British version, I prefer the Irish Rovers version, with a few of the same verses.

The writers of the song are the members of The Scaffold: John Gorman (comedian), Mike McGear (a pseudonym, really Paul McCartney’s brother), and Roger McGough (poet).  The Scaffold had back singers and musicians to fill out the “band” that included a young Elton John, Jack Bruce, and Graham Nash.  The song is based on a poem written about snake oil sold in the USA under the label of Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, with a picture of a sweet young girl on the label.  The poem states that the snake oil is sold by this face that only wants to love others.

The chorus of the song is:

We’ll drink a drink, a drink
To Lily the Pink, the Pink, the Pink
The savior of the human race
For she invented medicinal compound
Most efficacious in every case

Of course, Jesus is the Savior of the human race, and He cured people rather than selling them snake oil that promised cures that did not work.

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