I’m Detective Staff Sergeant Deviled Yeggs. I work homicide in the big city of Tracy. My partner is Jim Wednesday. Poached Yeggs, homicide detective and my nephew, has been working with Jim and me.
Jim and Poached could handle any overtime. My weekend was going to involve investigating why Detective Holmes of Doyle County would be interested in Deviled Crabb for the murder of his best friend, sort of.
I needed some information before talking to Detective Holmes. I first went to the Poached “warehouse.” Two thirds of the warehouse was being rented to a security firm. The Poached apartment took up twenty percent, way more than he needed. That left a little sliver of extra space for storage.
The door to the little sliver in between had a hand printed sign. “To Detective Staff Sgt. Deviled Yeggs, Your safe cracking skills are getting rusty. Please test this lock and security system for us. Signed, the management.”
This had trouble written all over it, but I thought Poached was having a little fun with me. With the simple tools that I had with me, I was able to disable the alarm and pick the lock. I opened the door to find a short hallway with a television above the second door. Poached came on the screen and said that I did not seem rusty to him at all, but he would give the feedback to the security firm next door, in that it took me hardly any time to break in without the alarm, only caught on camera.
So, now I knew that Poached was getting paid by the security firm for consulting, along with the rent payments and his police detective’s salary. He could soon be a rich man.
When I knocked at the inner door, She Crabb answered the door and welcomed me to their storage room away from home. We sat in a couple of recliners.
I said, “I am so glad you answered the door. I was wanting to talk to you before talking to Deviled. You have always seemed the most upbeat of your family.”
She smiled, “You mean that I am the least crabby. Don’t worry. I won’t tell Mom. What do you want to know?”
I asked, “Two questions, no three. How is everyone in the family now that your Dad died? Glyce does not talk about you much and I have worked homicide cases when you visited the last few times. Second, who does Detective Holmes think Deviled killed and why? And Third, are you here hiding from the Doyle County Sheriff’s office? You do realize that if he is a fugitive, I have to turn him over. It would be much better if he went in on his own.”
She laughed, “As for the last question, Deviled has not been charged, but Detective Holmes keeps coming by, asking the same questions and not getting the answers that he wants. I doubt if the detective has enough for a case. Frankly, I doubt that Deviled would hurt a fly, much less Si Nye, middle initial “A”. People called him cyanide. Si, short for Silas, recruited most of the employees at the gas plant just outside Watsonville. When our farm failed to pay the bills two years in a row, Si talked Deviled into getting a job there and Deviled is very happy with the job. … Excuse me, he would say that he is one mistake away from losing his job, but the boss likes Deviled, even his crabby ways. It is just that Si died in the control room where he was the operator. That’s all I know about that. As for why the detective did not like Deviled’s answers, you should know. That’s why you talked to me first, to get some straight answers and not get so confused that you just want to give up.”
I nodded, “Detective Holmes is a bulldog. He will not give up and evasive answers point to an admission of guilt, even if the guilt is not the murder being investigated. But how is the family?”
She smiled, “Mom is getting old and needs more care than she used to. I finally had a guy that I met at the library who halfway liked me. Then Dad got sick and I became the caregiver. By the time he passed away, the guy had found someone else and never has gone back to the library. Now I am Mom’s caregiver. I suppose Dungy will be my caregiver unless he gets sick first. Dungy is married with two children, a boy, Stone Crabb, and a girl, Barbie Q. Crabb.”
She laughed, “No, silly! Barbie, like the doll, and the initial ‘Q.’ And before you ask, it is simply an initial. Barbie can choose for herself what the initial stands for. Dungy runs the farm, what little farm is left. I tried to tell the family that a lifetime of negativity was becoming self-prophetic, but I learned to frown when I was around them and sigh a lot. Talking to you is refreshing, even though you are investigating a murder.”
I corrected her, “I would not dare investigate the murder. Det. Holmes is very protective of his cases. I might suggest a different line of inquiry and maybe that can get him off Deviled’s back, if Deviled is innocent.”
She groaned, “Deviled is not smart enough to be guilty. I don’t even think he knows what he does at the gas plant. He has just learned the procedure that is involved. And I do not know what he does. You will have to ask him. But back to the family. Deviled and Fiddler each had houses built and a half acre lot to go with them. Fiddler is running the farm while we are here. Stone and the older kids from Blue are helping him, but we have harvested the grains, and we aren’t ready to plant winter wheat. Blue is married to a man in one of those Christian denominations that believes in tons of children. She just popped out number ten and I think she is wanting more. Fiddler married his high school sweetheart last year. Deviled and his wife are divorced. She took the house. Sold it. And then moved in with Si Nye.”
Now I knew why Detective Holmes was not going to let up.
She noticed a change, “There is a change in your countenance. Did I say something of value?”
“I read. Well, what did I say?”
“Let me just tell a scenario and you confirm or deny. I will be working out the details as I think Det. Holmes might do. So, here goes. The farm is on the verge of failing, so Si Nye gets his friend Deviled a job at the gas plant. Somewhere along this line of friendship, Si meets Deviled’s wife. She divorces Deviled and moves in with Si. Det. Holmes then sees her collecting all of Si’s money and having already cashed in on what she could get out of Deviled. But if she killed Si, she needed help. If Deviled can show that he is no longer seeing his ex-wife, Det. Holmes would look elsewhere.”
“But he is seeing his ex-wife. He sees her regularly. Si got her a job as a janitor at the gas plant, but besides that, she visits the farmhouse once a month and we all see more of her than we ever did when they were married.”
My stomach reminded me of the last mistake that I had eaten. It might have been a week ago, but the acid was getting to be really bad. I knew I should have ignored Deviled Crabb’s request for me to help. This was getting very murky and the water was already over my head.
“May I see the idiot? I mean, my wife’s cousin, Deviled?”
“You were right with both characterizations,” She said with a smile that she quickly wiped from her face. She would get in trouble by smiling.
She walked me around the corner where Deviled Crabb was sitting at an empty kitchen table. For those that may not remember, Poached and Callie had bought a defunct furniture warehouse with a lot of furniture in it.
I will record our conversation in dialogue form with last names being used, since we had the same first name. I will leave out the moments when my jaw hit the floor.
Crabb: Did She fill you in on everything?
Yeggs: All but the details. How was Si killed?
Crabb: He had a fixation.
Yeggs: Do you mean asphyxiation?
Crabb: Well, you can get all la-dee-da if you want, even with a lisp, but he ran outta air.
Yeggs: And how did that happen?
Crabb: I don’t have first hand knowledge, but they say his lungs filled up with fluid because there was too much nitrogen in the room, but that can’t be. Si was the nitrogen operator. All the hallways leading to the control room had monitors and alarms. There were no leaks. Nitrogen could not have gotten into the control room.
Yeggs: Someone could roll a cylinder or two to the door and run a hose under the door.
Crabb: That would not be enough nitrogen. It would take a doer of liquid nitrogen.
Yeggs: (Yep, I could tell by the way he said “doer” that he spelled it that way.) So was there an empty dewer in the hallway?
Yeggs: What do you do at the gas plant?
Crabb: I’m the operator on B shift in the nitrous oxide plant.
Yeggs: Nitrous oxide? Don’t you think that having you making nitrous oxide is a bit funny?
Crabb: Nope. Boss says I’m the best. Nothing funny about it (says the man who has not smiled in 10-15 years, making laughing gas – Glyce’s cousin must be irony impaired.).
Yeggs: And who collects the cash in Si’s will?
Crabb: My ex-wife. She and Si never married, but since Si never had family, he wrote up a will for her to get everything. But there ain’t much to get. (But to someone very greedy, any amount is more than you used to have.)
Yeggs: And do you ever run into your ex-wife at work?
Crabb: In the lunchroom, but the night Si died, she didn’t have lunch that night. I was in the lunchroom by myself.
Yeggs: Do you see her outside of the workplace.
Crabb: I told Det. Holmes that he was asking personal questions there, but since you are family, I see her once a month like clockwork. Same thing every month.
Yeggs: What thing is this same thing?
Crabb: She would come to the farmhouse, since I moved back in with Mom. She asks me to come to the door. When I did, she would tear my clothes off and her clothes off. When she is done, she gets dressed and leaves.
Yeggs: So, you are still sleeping with your ex-wife.
Crabb: You weren’t listening. We do not sleep together because we are divorced. She does what she has to do and then she leaves.
Yeggs: So, you are going to bed together.
Crabb: For being a detective, you sure don’t listen too good. We never get that far. One time, she did what she came to do in the front doorway, but that old geezer across the road applauded when she was done and she now shoves me to the sofa. (maybe he was also euphemism impaired)
Yeggs: You say that she starts tearing clothes as soon as you get there. What about the person that answers the door?
Crabb: She Crabb doesn’t like it that much, but Mom usually comes by at some point to ask if we want to take a break for a beverage or cookies. (maybe part of Mom’s issues is dementia.)
Yeggs: But Deviled, you are not supposed to keep having sex with your ex-wife.
Crabb: Mom said you had a bunch of silly rules. She thinks you make them up on the spot. My ex-wife says that the making love part is what that vow is all about, the ‘til death do us part’ thing. Besides, she made me not talk while she did her thing to me. I had always said things that made her angry, and the physical stuff was the only thing that we had agreed on. (Okay, forget all the impaired things. He is stupid, and Mom Crabb seems to be well into this dementia thing.)
Later that afternoon, I called Det. Holmes. I let him know that I had talked to Deviled, that Deviled Crabb was too stupid to pull off this murder, and that if he needed to interview him again, I would instruct the Crabbs to return to Doyle County and come to the Sheriff’s office first thing.
Det. Doyle laughed, “I really had little interest in Deviled Crabb for the murder, other than I knew he was lying about a lot of what he said. He refused to answer questions at times, and then this leaving town in the middle of an investigation would be suspicious if he wasn’t so stupid. I only had Deviled Crabb and his ex-wife with no alibi at the gas plant. That is, it was just those two until a security guard said that he thought the engineer and the human resources manager were seen working late.”
I agreed regarding the ex-wife. “She has been stringing Deviled Crabb along with continuing the physical aspects of the relationship. Either Si Nye was not that good in bed, or she was going to use Deviled Crabb as her fall guy if you pressed her too hard. It seems strange that I see her as a black widow, but she is not going for much. Si Nye had more than Deviled Crabb, but she is not getting rich.”
Det. Holmes replied, “And the next in line is either the engineer or the human resources manager. Admittedly, both are entry level managers with not a lot of ready cash. There is a rumor that she cleaned more than the plant manager’s office on one occasion while taking far too long to do her job in that one room, but no one will substantiate that claim, and the plant manager is not a likely accomplice. She is about as stupid as her ex-husband, but the engineer would have the know-how to pull this off. The human resources manager seems to split his time between love interests at the plant. It is probably what he was doing instead of working late. His involvement might lead to too many people who knew too much. I am thinking the engineer is the accomplice, but the crime scene people have not produced anything concrete. The nitrogen leak alarms were all in the wrong place. The security cameras were out of service, again something that the engineer could have arranged. Tons of circumstantial evidence, nothing concrete. But if I could talk to Deviled Crabb one more time, he may tell me a little tidbit that breaks the case. I have a lot of folks who legitimately know nothing about the case and a few that are lying to save their own skin. And then, I have an idiot cousin of the wife of the guy who should be lieutenant of homicide in the big city of Tracy. Send the Crabbs back home, please!”
I suggested, “Have She Crabb come with her brother, Deviled. She has a level head, and she reads a lot. She uses polysyllabic words, probably uses ‘polysyllabic.’ And if you get her away from the other Crabbs, she even smiles and laughs.”
Det. Holmes chuckled, “That I have to see!”
I talked to She Crabb, and they packed and left for Doyle County. I think they had a bed and a couple of recliners in the truck as they left, but if Poached does not notice, I can claim ignorance.
In tracking the news, the crime scene people finally found evidence that the engineer and Deviled Crabb’s ex-wife had been doing naughty things in his office after hours. Detective Holmes interrogated him until he broke. He had told her what to do, and he rolled the dewer outside Si’s control room and then retrieved it once Si was not moving. Si was discovered by the shift manager at the end of the shift. The shift manager was smart enough to notice the poor air quality and he ran for a SCBA, self-contained breathing apparatus.
As I pulled away from the computer screen with the latest news giving me a little satisfaction in another completed case, just one for someone else, my wife Glyce was staring at me.
Glyce asked, “Are you playing Cupid again?”
I shrunk into a defensive posture. “What do you mean, my love?”
Glyce huffed, “Don’t you give me that innocent routine! Dungy Crabb just called and said that Detective Holmes and She Crabb have dated three times in the past week. I smell Deviled Yeggs in this new development.”
I replied, “I just told the detective that She Crabb would be a good intercessor when he interviewed Deviled Crabb the next time, you know, someone to translate his stupid answers, and I might have mentioned that she knew how to smile, and she could use polysyllabic words. Now, She Crabb dating is wonderful news, but I thought Detective Holmes hated women!?!”
She approached and gave me a big hug. “Okay, I see that the suspect is not going to confess. I will just have to chalk it up to me jumping to conclusions. After all, I love my Hugga Bear.”
What could I do? I returned the hug, with my best bear hug ever.
Cyanide is the name for a radical of carbon and nitrogen, one molecule each -CN. Hydrogen cyanide is HCN, but cyanide usually is in the form of salts like potassium cyanide, KCN. HCN, hydrocyanic acid or, in past centuries, prussic acid, is deadly within fifteen minutes, instantaneous if enough is in the air and breathed. Odd how a guy who was so friendly that he got his friends jobs would be nicknamed cyanide, other than his name, Si A. Nye.
Nitrous Oxide is laughing gas. I think the boss either liked irony or if he ever saw Deviled Crabb smiling or laughing, then he must be using some of the product.
And I love giving characters unusual names, this post is not the exception except for one major character, Deviled Crabb’s ex-wife. I thought of Samson’s parents, Manoah and the wife of Manoah. Notice that we never learn the name of Manoah’s wife. And in reading the story, it seems that the wife of Manoah was more intelligent than her husband as well as industrious, responsible, etc. As a result, the antagonist of this story is introduced and then goes to prison without us ever learning her name.
Sherlock Holmes (Detective Holmes of Doyle [Sir Arthur Conan Doyle] County) distrusted women. He found that he could not trust their motives. In other words, he found their answers to questions and their actions to be illogical in his means of deciphering a crime. When Sherlock Holmes was bested by Irene Adler (A Scandal in Bohemia), his attitude toward women started to change. He even gave Adler the title of “The Woman” as the “paramount example of her sex.”