The Tortoise and the Hair – A Glyce Yeggs Mystery

Let me see if I get this right.

I’m the wife of Detective Staff Sergeant Deviled Yeggs, Trinity Naomi Tesla, that’s TNT, Yeggs, but most people call me Glyce, pronounced “Gliss” since it is short for Nitroglycerin.  I explode when shaken.  My husband works homicide in the big city of Tracy.  His partner is Jim Wednesday.  Poached Yeggs supposedly works with him, too, but he spends most of his time on special assignment somewhere else.

I am submitting this report because my husband is a big old meanie, and he is making me.  He said that the driver of the vehicle was underage and since the only other adult was out of jail on her own recognizance while the DA was making sure everyone was happy with the plea deal and the evidence received, etc.  That left me to tell the story of how we unnecessarily endangered hundreds of Tracy motorists and pedestrians during the car chase that I like to call the “Chase of the Tortoise and the Hair.”  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  My meanie of a husband said that I had to start at the beginning of the story.

Do not worry.  I have yet to explode today (a slight fib in that she does not remember – Editor), maybe when I get home alone with my mean husband, but if I unload while writing, I will simply say “<<Bleep>>.”  I could say AFK (Away from keyboard) and you would know why I walked away.  Mind you.  Criminal endangerment charges are on the line here, so I must get the story right.

I was rolling Pink Lady from the therapy rehab center to the parking lot.  Yeah, I will start there.

I said, “Pink, you did great today.  We were ready to catch you when you collapsed, but you stayed on your feet for the entire hour.  You are improving!”

Pink Lady groaned, “And I wanted to walk all the way to the car, but you wouldn’t let me.”

“You might get ten steps from the car and collapse.  Inside, with the therapist, an assistant, and me all of us ready to catch you, that’s fine, but out here next to the curb, it’s just me.”  I said calmly, trying to sooth her. “If you remember, the check engine light came on my SUV and the shop picked it up.  I called my husband to have him take his car home and our son should be here to pick us up, but I can’t see it with this monster SUV in a no parking zone.”

The SUV said, in a computerized monotone voice, “Step back from the double doors, Dr. Yeggs. … Please.”

“WHAT?!?!”

The SUV said again, “Step back from the double doors and roll the wheelchair back with you.  Maybe two full steps. …  Pretty please with sugar on top, Dr. Yeggs.”  When my kids said that about ‘pretty please with sugar on top,’ it was cute.  Cuter when they were younger.  Kind of odd at their present age.  But downright creepy when it is a computerized monotone voice.  My skin was crawling, but I took two giant strides backwards while holding onto the wheelchair.  I was too freaked out to say, “Mother, May I?”

The SUV said, “Thank you, Dr. Yeggs.”  And with the thank you, the doors opened, and Jemima rode a hydraulic lift platform out of the van and down to the ground, like she was on a surfboard.

I said, “Jemima, I didn’t know you could surf.”

“Shhh!” Jemima said, “I haven’t told your son everything yet.  And before you fuss about it.  We are not getting physical in our relationship.  We have agreed to explore each other’s emotional, intellectual, and spiritual sides before we get around to anything that even comes close to second base.  And before you ask, I finally confessed my almost wrongdoing with my father.  Miss Apple, my father is a preacher.  That makes me a Preacher’s Kid, a P.K.  After being good all my life, I chose the eldest Yeggs child to be bad with, except Detective and Doctor Yeggs caught our conversation on video camera and our wonderful driver today, much to my disappointment at the time, is one of those Dudley Do Rights.”

Pink Lady laughed, “Dudley Do Right makes sense.  I loved those cartoons.  I have always wanted to know about the bases thing, but maybe another time.  I need to ask about the P. K. thing too.  It sounds like my upbringing, just the reverse, with me being a Hitman’s Kid.  Your relationship with Naomi’s son is something I would love to discuss when you have time.”

When Pink Lady mentioned the cartoon, Jemima gave her a puzzled look.  She probably knew Dudley Do Right as an expression, meaning too good to be believed, and never saw the cartoon.  Jemima explained that the lift ramp was designed to lift heavy storm tracking gear and not designed for a wheelchair.  Jemima had to make sure the wheels were locked.  That’s when Easter came around from the driver’s side.

“Mom!”  He said, “When Dad called to say he was on his way home to drop off the car, I told him not to bother.  The university had just dropped off the Turtle for me to give it a few test runs on the police academy track.  If I wreck it, it’s better if it is on a controlled course and not where people are.”

I felt an explosion coming, but I staved it off. “Hold that thought.  Pink Lady, this is my son, Easter.  He is a high school senior, but he is driving a high-tech vehicle from the university where I work.  I have no idea why or who authorized it and talking about wrecking it is not a good way to start the conversation.  And the beautiful young lady who is helping you is the pastor’s daughter, Jemima.”

Pink Lady beamed, “Jemimah, Job’s daughter at the end of the book of Job, but Easter?  Where did that name come from?”

We all stared at her as if she were crazy.  She asked, “Did I say something wrong?”

Easter volunteered, “Soon to be Aunt Pink Lady, Easter is the name given to the day of resurrection of Jesus after His crucifixion on Good Friday.  You are probably confused in that the name, Easter, Is not in the Bible.  I was born on Easter Sunday, and my mother named me Easter Yeggs because a children’s activity on Easter is looking for painted Easter Eggs that are hidden in the yard, or the living room in case of bad weather.  The word “Easter” has two origins according to the experts, but I prefer the second.  Eostre is a Teutonic goddess of Spring, holiday in April, I think.  For a time, the Catholic church would try to turn pagan holidays into church holidays, but I disagree with the etymology on the first option, so, Mom, do not worry that my name is a female pagan goddess.  Sure, the celebration of Eostre is about the same time, but Easter and Passover coincide with one another, for Biblical reasons, on a lunar calendar, not always in April.  The week of Easter week, Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Easter, was called by the plural of the Latin alba meaning dawn, in albis or many dawns.  But in albis translates to eostarum in Old High German, thus Easter is at the end of Eostarum, or Easter Week.”

Easter then caught the look on my face.  “Honest, Mom!  You named me for the holiday, but after getting beaten up at school a few times, I looked it up!  Honest!”

“Okay, East,” I said, “You have me distracted by your fancy story, true or not, but why are you driving this monster truck?”

“It’s the Turtle, Mom.  If we have a field that we would not mind making a little mess on the grass, just some small holes and maybe some dents in the ground.  That’s one of the things that has not been tested or adjusted.  Anyway, if we find such a place, I can demonstrate it.  It sort of hides its head like a turtle in a shell.  As for why I have the keys, I got the job!  I am now the driver for storm chaser team Two for TRUST meteorology.  If we have a productive Spring and Summer, which would be bad for the people in the storm’s path, I might have college credits before I graduate high school.  And as part of the get-to-know your boyfriend agreement that you and Dad insisted on with Jemima, I have given Jem a crash course…  Sorry, a short course on data collection.  She will index and upload the dash data anytime I ask her and note why the data was recorded, like squealing tires around a curve or if a tire leaves the pavement.  Don’t worry, Mom.  That’s when we get to the track, after we drop you and Pink Lady off.  By the way, where are we going, Uncle Scrambled’s house, soon to be Aunt Pink Lady?”

“Young man, you I like.  You can call me Pink, if your mother doesn’t mind.”

I amended that, “Not when around your father, brother, or sister.  They call her Pink Lady or Miss Apple.  Hopefully soon, Mrs. Yeggs or Aunt Pink Lady.”

Easter said, “It seems, Pink, that Jemima has you properly transferred to the meteorologist desk chair and strapped in with a five-point harness.  Mom, you can sit in the second meteorologist chair, and if you don’t know how to do the five-point harness, Jemima will strap you in.”

I started to get my first warning sign of a higher pitched voice.  An explosion may be near.  “We are not going racing, are we?”

“No, Mom, I promise that comes after we drop you off, but these are the only seatbelts.  And no one said where we are going.”

“We are going to Lily the Pink headquarters, my old home.  The security people, the one remaining accountant, and my chef will take care of me.  Scrammie is thinking of moving in, but I don’t know if we can trust Rotten,” Pink Lady said. “Rotten is barely human and around a lot of women who used to be prostitutes, it might be too much for him.  We’re thinking of leaving him at Scrammie’s old house.  It is easier to sell when someone is living in the home if they do not interfere with the showings.  That buys us some time to figure out that part of the deal.  Maybe a human can emerge from Rotten.  I hope so anyway.  I have gotten used to the dining room being my home, and Scrammie will take the master bedroom until I move in with him after we marry.”

“Great,” Easter said, “I go to B. O. Plenty Blvd.  Then get on the Diet Smith Expressway.  I can be there in no time.”

“No speeding!” I reminded him.

“Yes, Mom.”

Easter was extra careful getting to B. O. Plenty Blvd., but he made a few turns that I did not think were necessary. He was driving in a zig-zag pattern, doubling back a couple of times.  He made no high-speed turns, but he could have made it to the B. O. P. with only two turns.

As we were turning left, then right, Easter became a chatterbox about the “Turtle.”  Strange, he rarely talked growing up.  The Turtle had to have a lot of acceleration to avoid getting trapped by a storm.  As a result, the bullet proof glass was a large weight problem, but since a lower impact glass would be a custom design, it was cheaper.  The panels that created a skirt, the turtle shell, were impact resistant but not bullet proof, top impact speed of a little more than 200 miles per hour, but with the skirt deployed and anchor bolts that drill into the ground, the vehicle was designed to live through a direct hit by a tornado – not what I wanted to hear.  The skirt, or turtle shell, prevented the wind from getting underneath the vehicle.  It was not the first of its kind in that regard.  Easter reassured us that his defensive driving skills on the Police Academy track had won him the job.  The shell might never deploy unless something horrible happened.  The desks that we sat next to had an array of screens installed, but the Turtle did not have any of the data collection sensors, computers, video cameras or satellite connections yet.  There was even a port opposite the side door that we had entered to deploy a drone while inside the vehicle.  The Turtle had just come from the customizer, straight to our house for Easter to test drive.

Then Easter said something that changed everyone’s mood.  “Mom, I have been driving a strange route, as you have probably noticed.  There is a car behind us that has been following ever since we left therapy rehab center.  It’s a big black SUV with tinted windows.  The driver and front seat passenger are huge muscular guys, wearing suits and wrap-around shades.  I’m thinking Rotten Apples.”

With an even higher pitched voice, “It may be nothing, but keep an eye on them.  Do not speed or run any red lights.  This may be nothing.”  I knew it wasn’t, but I was trying to be a calming influence like my husband, but that was not in my skill set.  Odd, my degree field choice was partly to understand my own emotional explosions, but when the stress got bad, the only thing that ever worked was my husband’s bear hugs, the tighter the better, even if I couldn’t breathe.

About five blocks down the B. O. P., going toward the Expressway, Easter slowed way down, hoping that the black SUV would just pass.  As the light turned red, the SUV passed, pulling into the tiny space between us and the intersection.  They came to a stop.  The two goons from the front seat got out.  The driver walked to the back of the car and folded his arms.  The passenger goon held the side door for someone in the back.  The third guy looked to be under thirty years old, and he had a wild hairdo.  Then I realized where I had seen the hairdo.  He even looked at his reflection in the tinted glass.  I had only seen reruns of the old television show, 77 Sunset Strip, but he had copied his look from Kookie.  He touched up his hair with his comb and the three Apples started to walk back to the Turtle.

Without thinking and about the highest pitch my voice ever got, “I take back every warning, East!  Get us out of here!!”  Pink Lady had never seen me explode, but she reached over and patted me on the hand.  It helped a little, just from the empathy point of view, but I could see forward, and Pink Lady’s view was blocked by the monitors on her side.  I don’t know how Easter did it.  There was no one behind us for a few car lengths as the previous light had just turned green, so he backed up, squealing tires.  He said what was happening and Jemima tapped the keys of her laptop, as if this was a Sunday stroll in the park.  Pink Lady kept patting my hand.  Then the tires squealed from the brakes and somehow we were pointed in the opposite direction and Easter had us in a forward gear on the shoulder, passing cars going the opposite way and blowing their horns, until we found a way to cross to the proper side of the road.  Since this was not shift change, Easter drove into an industrial complex, less traffic to dodge, less people in danger, but easier for the Apples to gain ground on us.  By this point, he did not have to tell Jemima what to type.  She kept recording everything we did, still cool as a cucumber.  We were on two wheels on several of the corners.  The black SUV could only be seen in long straight stretches.  That is when they would get closer.  Easter made the corners faster than they did, but straight line speed was in their favor.

Pink Lady let go of my hand to call my husband.  He told her that a helicopter had already been dispatched due to complaints of two SUVs racing in the industrial park.  He was not pleased that the lead vehicle was us.

Pink Lady asked Easter where we were going, and he said to the State Park.  On the other side of the park, we could go into the Hoity-Toity Club.  He knew a place to hide.  It was where all the guys in school took their girlfriends to make out.  Bocce Lane by day, Make Out Alley by night.  There were screens set up so that the traffic did not distract the old guys playing bocce, but the screens made a great hiding place.  When the flowering shrubs were fulling leafed out, it was even better.  As I listened to their conversation in calm voices, while the SUV leaned into every curve, I wanted to ask how Easter knew about where the boys took their girls, but I could not talk.  The five-point harness had me clamped into the seat.  I wanted to shift my weight in the curves, but I was trapped.

I was trapped.  I was trapped!  I was TRAPPED!!!!  I wanted to ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.

Excuse me. To all who are reading, this is Easter Yeggs.  Even though I am “underage”, I will continue the story.  To be honest, this is the part in the story when my Mom had a <<BLEEP>> and an <AFK> and she passed out.  Well, now while writing her report, she has passed out just remembering the incident.  Right after a giant <<<<BLEEP>>>>.  Her finger got stuck on the “S” and I think she meant to type “scream” which she did in the SUV.  The other three passengers in the vehicle are still suffering from ringing in our ears.

Really, there isn’t much left to tell.  I dodged a couple of dogs.  The two pedestrians crossing the road at absolutely the wrong time were more of a problem, but I did not hit them, they just changed direction twice when I was approaching.  If they had just made up their minds, it would not have been THAT close.  Honest!!  With Mom out cold, and I never knew her to do that – must be the five-point harness making her feel trapped – the rest of the drive to Bocce Lane was uneventful.  I pulled off the road, backed into the hiding place, and deployed the shell. Thirty seconds later, the black SUV zoomed past without even slowing down.

Then, it reappeared, going the wrong way on the one-way lane.  They stopped where I had pulled off the road.  This time, only the guy with the fancy haircut got out of the SUV.  I knew my Mom was out cold, but I said, “I’m sorry, Mom.”  Pink suggested that if we wanted to get to second base, we might never have another chance.  I was just thinking about being as good as I could be.  I might be seeing Jesus sooner than planned.

But much to my surprise, when the “Hair” was about thirty feet away, he pulled a comb from his pocket and gave his hair a chance to settle down.  He then pulled an envelope from his pocket and while holding the envelope, he continued to approach with his hands in the air, only holding an envelope.

When he got close enough, he said, “I know Pink Lady Apple is in your vehicle.  I have a letter for her from Uncle Delly.  I thought presenting it in person was better than using a stamp.  On second thought, I was probably wrong about that.  I rarely make mistakes, but I can admit them.”

Pink asked, “What’s that smarmy jerk doing back in town?”

The “Hair” laughed, “I heard that.  It is so wonderful being back in Tracy after so many years of smelling ivy on the East Coast.  I love hearing your mellifluous voice, Cousin.  I will place the letter under the windshield wiper blade and be on my way.  I hear distant sirens, so I must rush.  And young man, your driving is excellent.  I could use a driver like you, but my thought is that you might not accept the offer.  And don’t feel bad about us finding you.  I grew up here, and it took a minute to remember Make Out Alley.  I’ve been here many times, and oh, so many young ladies.”

It was odd.  He used the word “rush,” but he walked calmly to the black SUV and took a second to check his hair before he entered, and they quickly drove away.

The first to arrive were Mashie Niblick, Pauline, and my Uncle Scrambled Yeggs.  They came through the trees on foot.  They were carrying assault rifles.  I didn’t know they had assault rifles.  Jemima used the computer voice to ask them to take photographs all around the vehicle.  We then retracted the shell, but a couple of pieces got stuck.  Mashie and Uncle Scrambled helped get them moving.  We could not open all the doors until the shell was retracted.  (Boy, do I have a lot of notes about design flaws.)  And then just before the doors to the backseats opened, my Mom awoke, “I can’t get out!  I can’t get out!  I can’t <<BLEEP>>”  And she was passed out again.  Dad arrived about then and gave her a bear hug after getting her out of the harness.  He stroked her head and said soft, calming words, and she finally woke up again.

We asked Pink Lady who the new criminal in town was.  She smiled, “That was Empire Apple.  He was probably the smartest of them all.  He has degrees from three different ivy league schools.  I think they were Brown, Dartmouth, and Harvard.  Last that I heard, he was taking classes at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).  We all thought with that much brain power and a full bank account, he would create a legitimate business.  Who knows, he may still do so as a means of money laundering the illegal gains.”

Once Dad had Mom in his work vehicle, he came back to ask me what happened, and he found the envelope.  Pink Lady asked him to read it since she was a little rattled at the moment.

“Dear Pink Lady, my favorite of all my nieces and nephews,
“Troubling news has arrived at my castle north of Tracy that you have turned against the family.  In some odd way, I cannot be too angry.  I always loved you.  Besides, all those who will soon be joining me here, thanks to you, were poor managers of their divisions.  Gala was upset with them.  They were not strong leaders.
“The worst of the bunch was Baldwin.  As you know, he took the plea deal, thinking he would get a light sentence and then finish what he started on you.  Do not worry about that.  I have provided the warden with information that Baldwin had obtained a few of his prostitutes through human trafficking.  You were unaware.  You are not implicated, but I think the additional charges of human trafficking and slavery will keep him here for the rest of his natural life.  I may have been a criminal, but I had my standards.  I will see to it that Baldwin stays here.
“Besides, he harmed my sweetheart, my Pink Lady.  I know that the detective’s wife is nursing you back to health.  I hear that she can work miracles.  You are in good hands.

“And some of them trafficked girls were from Latvia.  See if you can get that detective’s wife, Tuesday or something like that, see if she can welcome them to the community.  I think she’s Latvian.  Like I say, Baldwin crossed a line.
“Your father says that he is sorry that he cannot walk you down the aisle at your wedding, but he suggests Thousand-year-old Yeggs.  They became friends when they were both in my cell block.  Millennium Yeggs might pinch you going down the aisle.  He is a rascal, so keep an eye on him.  I also gave the warden a few names of people that your father killed that you didn’t know about.  A few more closed cold cases for your brother-in-law, soon to be, that is.  Your father will admit to all but the leafy green that you already listed.  We do not wish to have a gang war.
“I knew about your child.  You hid the pregnancy well, but I could tell.  I am pleased that you kept him out of the family business.
“Before I sign off, I have given the word to the family that you are not to be targeted, nor your extended family.  Any Apple that harms a Yeggs will have me to deal with, or someone that I send to deal with it.
“Frankly, I would prefer you taking over instead of Empire.  He has the brains, but you had that something extra.
“Much Love – Uncle Delly”

Then my Dad said, “Hmmm.  Now a new mystery.  How did this letter get out of the prison?”

Credits

The Tortoise and the Hare is a famous Aesop fable.

If you get bored, type a few commonly used expressions into an MSWord document and have the Read Aloud feature in the Review tab read them back to you, especially if they are expressions used by little children, like “Pretty please, with sugar on top.” That is so creepy in a computer voice that it is hilarious.

I never liked playing “Mother, May I.”  It all depended on following the rules and if everyone did that, the winner was determined by who “IT” wanted to win.  I would get five baby steps, but the winner would get four giant strides.  Things like that.

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends was a favorite of mine, but when I let the boys watch the reruns, I got the jokes that were in the cartoons for the adults to get – current events of the time, etc.  Another cartoon that blended adult and children humor in an excellent manner was the Animaniacs.

Diet Smith and B. O. Plenty were friends of Dick Tracy and I have used these thoroughfares in a past story.

Edd Byrnes played the part of Kookie in 77 Sunset Strip.  He started as the parking lot attendant next door to 77 Sunset Strip, mostly seen combing his hair, but he was promoted to a quasi-detective with numerous street contacts as the audience wanted to see more of him.  This video is from American Bandstand with Dick Clark.  The performers are Connie Stevens and Edd Byrnes, Kookie, Kookie, Lend me your Comb.

And if you do an internet search for “storm chasing vehicles,” you will find many like the Turtle.

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