The Rise and Falter of Empire – 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, homicide detective and my nephew, has been working with Jim and me.

This story is really a few little stories.  If it were the “Fall” of Empire Apple, it would be more than one short story, maybe a book.  But Empire is still doing Empire’s thing, but you wonder for how long.

I think the best way to report this is in a series of police statements.

Statement made by: Pink Lady Apple Yeggs, with Sandy Beech providing video documentation.

Time and Date of the incident: Monday, 10:30AM

Location of Incident: Lily the Pink Enterprises.  On the lawn SW of the main house and headquarters.

Statement as seen by witness making the report:  During the staff meeting, I noticed our Celtic Cross baroque garden project was completed and I wanted to take a closer look.  T.R.U.S.T. Biology had set up the project so that the cross would face East, toward Jerusalem.  The innermost layer was a small cross-shaped raised flower bed, so that the Easter lilies would bloom as near Easter as possible.  The raised bed, exposed to more of the winter elements, had both heating and cooling to adjust the lily bulb temperature to bloom near Easter.  If it worked, the raised flower bed would be visible even when the roses around it were in full growth.  The cross contained pink roses while the crown of thorns contained red roses.  I was looking at how the college students who did the work had carefully separated each part of the design made by each flower, planting crocus between each rose bush, then a weaved trim of tulips of varying colors, and then narcissus in the outer border.  Sorry for the details, but I am so excited.  That is why I never saw her walk up behind me.

Envy said, “Pink Lady, you have my property.  Red Delicious wants us to leave you alone, but I may not have a choice if you do not let me have what belongs to me.”

I replied, “Envy, there is nothing of yours here.  I have the deeds to all the properties.  Nothing that was left here when Baldwyn was in charge is still here.  We gave his clothing to charity except for the underwear.” I chuckled. “We had a bonfire so that all the women who were abused by him could light his pants on fire.  It was a cleansing experience.”

Envy said, “Very funny, Pink Lady.  You know what I am talking about.  You know I set up a brothel downtown.  I need the whores who belong to me.”

I tensed, but I kept looking at the flower beds in detail.  “There are no whores here and I never referred to the prostitutes as anything other than that.  Whore is such a common word.”

Envy snarled, “This place is crawling with whores.  They belong to me.  So, let me have them now.”

I turned to face her.  “No one who lives here is owned by anyone else.  They work here or they are here due to the expansion of the mission downtown.  And the only businesses here are the cider house and the bakery.  All other functions are in support of those businesses, except for some university research.  None of the people here prostitute their bodies.  They would never wish to do that ever again.  Most of them were doing it against their will.  So, no, there are no prostitutes here and I cannot believe that I have to say this, but you own no one that works here.”

At that moment, Sandy Beech walked up.  I turned to her, “Sandy, does anyone own you? Are you a prostitute?”

Sandy looked in shock.  “Did this trespasser suggest that you have slaves here or that I am a prostitute?  She is about to have that strange taste in her mouth that you get when you wake up from being tazed.”

I admonished her, “Please, no violence.  Just ensure she leaves the premises.”

Envy shouted, “This is not finished!”  Sandy and I watched as she got in her bright red electric sports car and silently whooshed away.

Sandy explained that her watch person on the monitors zoomed in and felt that Envy was not armed, or Sandy would have tazed and then apologized when she came to.

Statement made by: Trinity Naomi Yeggs

Time and Date of the incident: Tuesday, 5:30AM

Location of Incident: Our bedroom

Statement as seen by witness making the report:  I said, “Dev,you have had the same dream for three consecutive nights.  You keep shouting the same thing.  If this happens tomorrow, you are taking a sick day.”

Dev replied, “This is the first that I have heard about it.  What am I saying?”

I said, “How should I know.  It doesn’t make sense.”

Dev replied, “No, no, no.  You dig into other people’s dreams.  You know the technique.  You also have the mental image that I say the same thing.  If it was gibberish, you would not make that claim.”

I said, “Ouch, my own techniques used against me.  You say something like, ‘Bic diggers is an empire.’  See. No sense at all.”

Dev said, “Could that be Dick Biggers is a friend of Empire, as in Empire Apple?”

I shook my head, “No, the Bic Diggers is the stuff I know I got right.  I kept thinking about who would bury Bic lighters so that someone else would dig them up.  It has to be Bic Diggers.”

Dev said, “But when we play around with words, what are my favorite methods of mashing the English language?”

I turned red in the face.  “You like alliteration, but your favorite is spoonerisms.  You are right.  You might use that even in your dreams.  But who is Dick Biggers?”

Dev said, “My memory is a bit fuzzy.  We can ask Sophie when she gets up.”

Sophie walked into the bedroom.  “I heard you two talking when I went to the bathroom.  Dick Biggers was killed six years ago.  He was a friend of Empire Apple, but Empire was in Boston at the time, or so everyone thought.  It has been a long time, but Empire could have hired a private plane to come home for the weekend.  And he could always hire someone, but Dick Biggers was a friend.  Why would he do it?”

Dev suggested, “Maybe Dick knew something about what Empire was doing and he wanted to eliminate a loose end.”

I replied, “I liked it better when our daughter fretted over the tangled hair on her dolls.  Now, she is a walking encyclopedia of dead people.  But, Dev, one more nightmare and you call in sick!”

Dev replied, “But with Pauline out on maternity leave, how are you going to manage teaching classes when I run out of sick leave?”

Statement made by: Anna Hill Hill-Hill Hill

Time and Date of the incident: Tuesday, 2:00PM

Location of Incident: City Park on Tess Trueheart Lane

Statement as seen by witness making the report:  Tyler and I took Resurrection, Esther, Gretchen and Grace to the park.  Both Griffin and Greta Grunge were working and I had my long weekend.  Tyler took off a rare holiday so that the children could experience a different bit of scenery.  Little Grayson stayed with Jochebed.  The children were running and playing in the park, and Resurrection, being the only boy of the four, but maybe that has nothing to do with it, wandered away from the others, but only a short distance.  Our children were the only ones in the play area.

A van suddenly hopped the curb and separated Resurrection from everyone else.  My pregnancy did not slow me down much.  I was running while Tyler closed in the other three children.

I heard two men talking to Resurrection and Resurrection was crying.  Then a woman approached the men and they left as quickly as they had arrived.

As I walked up, Resurrection was being held by the woman.  Not a hug, she had one hand on each of his shoulders.

When he saw me, Resurrection ran into my arms.  He said, “Those bad men.  They grabbed me and tried to get me into the van.  I kick them.  Then the lady with pink hair tell them to run away.  Then one man say, ‘We pay your Mommy to make birthday cake.’ “

The woman with pink hair approached, “That’s not exactly what the man said.  He said, ‘Have your Mommy teach us the birthday cake thing.  We’ll pay her a lot of money.’  What is this birthday cake thing they were talking about?”

I replied, “It’s a fantasy, and it needs to remain a fantasy.  If you ever try to make it reality, it requires a lot of Hollywood trickery.”

The woman smiled, “Sounds interesting.  And you have a strange family.  They cannot all be yours.”

I felt an offense in her tone, but I replied, “The two Caucasian girls are our next-door neighbor’s children.  Resurrection and Esther are our adopted children.  But the four of them love playing together.  It’s like they are family.”

Then the woman asked, “And when is your baby due?”

I barely had a bump, not that anyone could tell, and it was very rude if you didn’t know.  I replied, “June, maybe.”

The woman chuckled, “It’s quaint that you refer to the other girls as your next-door neighbors.  You live in an apartment with a bunch of whores.”

I did not dignify her comment with an answer.  I asked, “And what brings you to the park?”

The woman said, “I bring my children here all the time.  I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  Beware of those men in the van.  They will return.  You may need to be prepared to give them what they want, or your little boy might get hurt the next time.”  She turned to the parking lot.  She climbed into her red electric sports car, with no children in tow, and she silently whooshed away.

By this time, Tyler had corralled the other three girls and walked up to where we were standing.  Resurrection ran to put his arms around Tyler, but he had finally stopped crying.  Tyler asked, “Who was that?”

I shrugged over my shoulder. “Oh, her?  She did not introduce herself, but that was Envy Apple, the madam of the new brothel in town.  She staged a fake abduction of Resurrection to show how easily it could be done.  Then she hinted that it would be worth a lot of money to teach her employees how to do the birthday cake thing.  I declined.  But Tyler, let’s have our next staycation inside the greenhouse.  The children love exploring the jungle anyway.”

Tyler only nodded and then herded the children into his company car, a pink SUV, as if it wasn’t obvious that we worked for Lily the Pink.

As we climbed in the car, I said, “Yesterday, Pink was accosted by her.  I saw them from the dining room window.  Now today, it was me.  It tells me two things.  Neither Pink nor I can escape our past.  And I think Envy likes the idea of a brothel, but she has no idea what she’s doing.  But maybe a third thing.  She seems to know too much about what goes on inside Lily the Pink.”

Statement made by: Me, Deviled Yeggs

Time and Date of the incident: Wednesday, 8:00AM

Location of Incident: Our bedroom

Statement as seen by witness making the report:  I awoke, alone in bed.  The blackout curtains were closed and it was as dark as night, but the alarm clock said it was 8:00am.  I was groggy, but I tried the best that I could to get dressed.  As I went to the kitchen to throw a sausage biscuit in the microwave, I saw a note from Glyce, otherwise known as my wife, Trinity Naomi Yeggs.  She had written for me to enjoy my sick day.  So, I guess I had the same dream again.  Strange, I could not remember anything about the dream.  Who knows, it might solve the Bic Diggers case, or is that Dick Biggers?

I ignored my wife’s note and drove to work, eating the biscuit on the way.  I got a little melted cheese on my collar.  When I got to the squad room, I was licking the cheese.  I noticed that my office door had the “interview in progress” sign on the door.  That was odd in that the other interview rooms were available.  Captain Hart opened the observation room door and waved me in.

The observation room was already crowded.  The D.A. was there.  Lt. Tagliolini was with him.  Jim and Tuesday Wednesday were both there, along with Poached.  Tuesday whispered, “I have a missing person case.” She then nudged me toward the window.  George Evident was calmly talking to Empire Apple.  Both of them sipping coffee and laughing.  Deorge must have stopped at a coffee shop on the way to the precinct.  No one could sip our coffee and laugh at the same time.

Here is their dialogue, as of when I came in late:

E.A.: Detective, you did not bring me down here to sip coffee and tell a few jokes.  Why have I been called in?
G.E.: We are looking for someone that you know.  I think you met him at Harvard. … Shingo Pear.
E.A.: I am glad you did not characterize him as a friend.  I know him.  He was not Ivy League nor of Ivy League material.  He went to Duke University and was tops in his class.  To show these best and brightest how the better half lived, they had him visit Harvard.  They made me his sponsor since we came from the same part of the country.  But, please, Detective, just because we were geographically from a similar spot in the country.  Please, please!  I’m from Tracy, and Shingo was from Stout County.  We are talking Stout County.  There is more of a gulf between Tracy and Stout County than there is between the entire world difference between Harvard and Duke.

I interrupt the dialogue because at this moment, Tuesday Wednesday, a police detective working in Stout County, was begging the D.A.  “Please let me kill him.  I’ll make it look like an accident.  Please!!”  The D.A. who is usually a spoil sport simply smiled and shook his head.

Now back to the dialogue:

G.E.: But according to his father, Shingo has entertained at the Pear Orchard in Stout County and you attended.  You even acted like he was a long lost friend.
E.A.: That was acting.  I took a few acting classes at Brown or was it Dartmouth?  When you are a businessman, you have to pretend to like people, but honestly, I keep a package of sanitary wipes in my suit coat pocket.  Most of the people I meet would contaminate a diseased rat.

Again, an interruption from Tuesday, “Yeah, like you aren’t a diseased rat!”  Captain Hart shushed her.  Sorry, I will try to eliminate the interruptions from now on.

G.E.: You say you are a businessman.  Your uncle is Red Delicious Apple who ran the Rotten Apple Gang.  Everyone in town says you have taken his place.
E.A.: Please, detective, I am a businessman. I manage investments.  I spend all day moving assets from here to there.  Uncle Delly had his way of making money, but I think my cousin Pink Lady put the last of the thugs in prison.
G.E.: And what of your wife and her business venture downtown?
E.A.: Oh, that?! She is running a charity.  She has this house for wayward girls.  She is rehabilitating them.

I said I would eliminate the interruptions, but at this point, most of the people were laughing so loud, I might have missed some of the conversation.  The D.A. leaned in and whispered, “And I think a couple of judges would buy that as a plausible defense if any of the ‘girls’ did a little ‘backsliding’ to their wayward past.”  I suggested that he would probably not hint at which judges, and the D.A. only laughed.

G.E.: Have you seen Shingo recently?
E.A.: Now this is starting to sound more like an interrogation than it is a conversation.  No, I have not seen him.  Why would I be looking for Shingo?
G.E.: I don’t know.  Shingo is a son of Mr. Pear, just a different mother and not through marriage, but with the other three sons unavailable, Shingo inherits everything.  Mr. Pear was grooming him to take over the orchard.  But then there is an orchard here in Tracy, run by two of your aunts.  It was run by the Rotten Apple Gang with your aunt Gala in charge, but she was killed by the Pear brothers, Bartlett, Bosc, and D’Anjou.  A relative of your aunt Gala might want revenge.  Do you have any cousin that might want to do Shingo any harm?
E.A.: I already told you, detective.  My cousin Pink Lady sent the last of the thugs to the penitentiary.  I can’t help you, but thanks for the donuts and coffee.  I detect my cousin’s bakery for the donuts, but they do not have a good coffee blend yet, in my opinion.  You took the time to get the good stuff, and I appreciate that.  I am sure Shingo will show up soon.  He was a drinker in college.  He probably went off on a bender.  When he sobers, he’ll be back.

With that, Empire left my office.  I left the observation room to catch him before he got out of the building.

I said, “Empire, I have a question before you leave.”

Empire snarled, “Make it quick.  I could be losing millions of dollars if I do not get back to monitor the stock exchanges.  And if it is about a case, remember your agreement that Red Delicious placed on me.  You leave me alone and I avoid messing with the police, specifically your family, and Pink Lady and her enterprises.  Bothering me about a case of yours means that agreement is null and void.”

I chuckled, “I’ll risk it.  I have been thinking about your good friend, Bic Diggers.  No, that’s Dick Biggers.  It’s a shame that he was killed while you were in Boston.  You might have helped us close that case.”

“Is that a threat, Detective Staff Sergeant?”

“No, no. No need to void the agreement.  I do not harass you about Dick Biggers and you do not harass all those on the Red Delicious list of protection.  This was just a friendly conversation, just like your conversation with Detective Evident.  Understand?”

Looking relieved, Empire smiled and waved farewell to everyone in the squad room.

Captain Hart yelled, “Yeggs!  What was that all about?!  You do not have the authority to drop a cold case.  Besides, you are sick, and you are supposed to be home.  Your wife called my house before the sun came up.  So don’t go screwing up old cases and go home and sleep.”

I turned to Poached.  “Poached, be a good lad and pull all the evidence on the Dick Biggers case.  Take it to the lab and see if we have enough of anything to run a DNA test.  Anything.  Let’s put Empire at the scene.”

Poached stammered, “But you just said…”

I interrupted, “It is not harassment when you and Jim put the cuffs on Empire after we have evidence that he was not in Boston during the time of the murder.  That’s the first thing.  The second thing is that if we do not find damning evidence, my bargain with Empire was basically bluffing.  But the key first is to put Empire on the scene at the murder.  We need DNA off the evidence.”

Poached stammered again, “But we don’t have Empire’s DNA, so what good would it do?  He is not going to voluntarily give us his DNA.”

At that moment, George Evident came out from my office with the coffee that Empire had left.  “What should I do with Empire’s coffee?”

The D.A., Captain Hart, Lt. Tagliolini, and I all said at the same time, “Bag it as evidence!!!!”

Jim sat at his desk laughing.  “Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Ivy League schools and college credits toward an Ivy League doctorate.  So much better educated than anyone around here.” He paused until everyone looked to him to make his point.  “And dumb as a board!”


The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer and The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon come to mind.  There are Rise and Fall television series, book series, movies, documentaries, etc.  But I know of no Rise and Falter …

The raised flower bed, or planter, has computer-controlled temperature control.  When I lived in South Carolina, across from Augusta, GA, I worked with a couple of volunteer scout leaders who also worked parttime for the groundskeeper at Augusta National Golf Club.  To ensure that the huge azalea bushes would bloom precisely during the Masters Golf Tournament, they had heating blankets if it got too cold and they packed the roots in ice if it got too warm.  The city of Augusta had a different trick.  Their azaleas that were planted down the main boulevards of the city were grown in greenhouses.  A few weeks before the tournament, they replanted them along the boulevards to ensure peak flowers for the visitors.  Some of these flowering bushes filled five-ton dump trucks and a crane was required to lift and set the flowers in place.  With all this being more widely known, the broadcasters do not say “the natural beauty of Augusta, GA during the Masters …”  At least not as much.

When I came up with the name of Bic Diggers, or is it Dick Biggers, I was so focused on the spoonerism that I missed where I my brain registered the surname “Biggers.” The Charlie Chan mysteries were quite politically incorrect, both the books and especially the movies, with non-Chinese playing the part of Charlie Chan (I think two different actors over the course of the series). The author was Earl Derr Biggers, or is that Burl Err Diggers? I think I have finally read all the books in the series.

There have been murder cases solved by the murderer carelessly leaving a cup of coffee where the police could find it for DNA analysis.

There will be more “Credits” about Shingo pears in a future story.  It might be entitled Where did Shingo? Or more accurately Where did Shingo go?  Or is that Where did Shin Go-Go?  But we have two cliffhangers as the Dick Biggers murder case is far from solved.

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