Note: If you did not read A Riddle Series of Murders, click the link HERE. Otherwise, this part two might not make sense.
I’m Lieutenant Deviled Yeggs. I work homicide in the big city of Tracy. Working for me are my old partners: Detective Sgt. Jim Wednesday and Detective Poached Yeggs, my nephew who is slowly becoming a good detective.
Jim and Poached entered the office for the morning briefing with smiles on their faces. They either had good news or they had just told a joke. I hope I was not the punchline. Sophie, who made the connection in a lot of unsolved murders was at school, real school, taking the standardized tests. It would be her last time to take the standardized tests. Next school year, I would have two in high school and one in college, but then, Jemima and Easter were planning an entire summer of storm chasing, hoping to catch a hurricane. The all-Christian Turtle Team, as they called it, was confirmed, Dr. Elvira Quinn, Mary Sheltie, Jemima and Easter. I was hoping they would come home disappointed that they missed their chance of a hurricane. But maybe that is an overprotective father being selfish.
I asked, “I hope you two have good news. Otherwise, you need to explain the grins.”
Poached said, “We both made some progress, but we were laughing about a …”
Jim barked, “Ix-nay on the Oak-Jay.” Even I knew that as pig Latin for ‘Nix (nothing) on the joke.’
I smiled, “If your jokes about me are clean, tasteful, and respectful, then you can have your fun.”
We all laughed at how silly that sounded.
Poached raised his hand to go first. “I went up to the prison yesterday and when Grieves found out he could possibly get easier time, he was very chatty. He said that Maud Frauenbetrug waltzed into Lightly’s office within hours of taking over as mayor. She showed him records of votes that had been counted from people in the cemeteries. It is amazing how people who had been dead more than ten years all voted for Lightly.”
“Wait,” I stopped him. “This is his first election? He hadn’t run the city into the sewer yet, and he relied on the cemetery vote then?!”
“The cemetery vote got him the primary for the party nomination.” Poached explained, “Lightly was not a likable person, according to Grieves, not even in the beginning. Maud also had photos of him with prostitutes, but she said that could wait until the next time she needed something. That is, as if a millionaire needs something. She went on to blackmail Lightly regarding influence peddling and siphoning money from federally funded relief programs in the area. And all she ever wanted was buildings that were condemned and waste areas that had never been developed. What harm was in that? But she kept coming back. I asked about a sexual angle, and he said that Maud was not Lightly’s type. Grieves hit on her but said that she only did things like that for the big bucks and big money deals. It’s something we can’t use in court, but it gets her admitting that she has those types of arrows in her quiver.”
I turned to Jim, “What did you get out of our ex-con?”
Jim replied, “It took a lot of coaxing, but he finally admitted that a guy named Randy was the one he feared more than anyone in the prison. Once I started asking about Randy, he said Randy was good with knives and pistols. He had a lot of throw away pistols, a variety of calibers. Our ex-con had only done two victims of the strangulations. He would not admit to who did the others or which one other than Sally Oliphant that he did. I can go back and work with him again, but this ex-con knew nothing of any connection between Randy and Maud the Fraud.”
I said, “I have that!” They looked shocked that I had been ‘detecting’ again. I think these two supposed friends of mine think that I sit in the office all day. Okay, I did, but I made a lot of phone calls.
I continued, “Not many people remember Maud’s little brother. Her mother, Alice Frauenbetrug, lost her husband when Maud was about ten years old. Nine and a half months later, she gave birth to a son, Randall Frauenbetrug. From the medical records, her husband could not have made her pregnant in his condition before he died. The length of time almost looks like she got pregnant while in mourning, like right after her husband’s death. The records show that her husband was the father, but a sister of Alice is still living. She was visiting right after the death of her brother-in-law, helping Alice out with Maud. She remembered a man coming by from the office. Alice said he was the Master Planner at City Hall. He was offering his condolences. He followed Alice into her bedroom, and they closed the door behind them. The sister thought that strange, but she never said anything. In checking other records, our Master Planner made a few contributions to a widowed mother fund that was never registered. The guy was married with several children of his own. Since he and Alice are both deceased, we’ll never know the truth. We could take the DNA of a few children to suggest a match, but I am thinking that our civil servant did what he could. He either volunteered the information to Maud so that she could profit from the major projects or she blackmailed him like she did the rest. If he profited directly, people would smell a rat, but doing it this way, he helped the illegitimate son he was keeping secret.”
Jim asked, “But why do we not know about him?”
I shrugged, “Randy was one of those kids that loved pulling wings off butterflies. He was showing tendencies of escalating. He was eight years old, living in the mansion Alice and Maud had built, when he started beating up the other children in school. With their money, he avoided criminal charges. You think, criminal charges for a kid about eight or nine, but a couple of the kids that he beat up spent months in the hospital. He was sent to a military school. Now, if a lack of a father started this downward trend, the lack of a mother escalated it. He continued his attacks on other students and faculty. They only had two women in the military school, one a counselor and the other an accountant. He raped both of them. They were supposedly isolated from these bad boys, but he found ways around the security. At seventeen, they tried him as an adult. He spent a few years in prison. Since then, he has been staying on the Maud Frauenbetrug estate in a small bungalow. And guess what?”
Jim and Poached both shrugged.
I continued, “According to Maud’s campaign manager, the only thing Randy has done, other than siphon money away from Maud, is to hang political campaign information on people’s doorknobs. I think you two detectives can find a security camera or two or a few eyewitnesses that might identify him as the nameless volunteer working for Maud’s campaign when the murders occurred, at least the four with stabbings and the four shootings.”
We got the warrant easily approved and we brought Randy in. In searching the bungalow, we found the weapons and we found little souvenirs that he had taken from each of the scenes. We also found information that implicated two other ex-cons, having known all three ex-cons while in prison. It was a little difficult getting the right evidence for one of the three, but Randy finally admitted that he was the third man he had used.
But we never found any evidence that connected Maud with her brother other than he had an allowance that he received from her. She kept him at the bungalow since he was family, but she would have preferred it if Randy had simply disappeared.
Before we could get any evidence to the contrary regarding the statement Maud made, we heard she had left the country. We tracked her to Vanuatu. We tried to ask the campaign manager if this was a change of address, but somehow the Maud for Mayor campaign had been withdrawn. Boaz probably had another two years before he would know who his opposition would be.
I looked it up. Vanuatu might cooperate, but there was no extradition treaty with the island nation. Besides, we had no direct evidence that she was involved. Her twisted brother thought he was helping her campaign.
With twelve unsolved murders now solved, I felt a little time off might be in order. I visited Aunt Tensie at the hospital. She had indeed had a heart attack. They did a heart catheterization, and they installed a stent in two arteries, the LAD (Left anterior descending), which is the widow maker, and the RCA (Right Coronary Artery). Neither was severely clogged, but enough to cause her collapse in the lab.
If you are wondering, Blaise, our son and Sophie’s ‘stupid’ brother, finished the project and brought the prototype to the hospital. Tensie called in Sophie after her testing was finished and the three were back at work, making the nurses a bit peeved and nervous. They quickly realized that Aunt Tensie had no idea what ‘resting’ meant.
And as for the fourth child, we still have no idea whether it is a boy or girl. Glyce wanted to keep it that way. Maybe a month from now, we’ll all know.
The solution for a series of thirteen murders that spelled out “MAYOR BOAZ YEGGS IS SOFT ON MURDER” was a lot easier to solve than we thought. And we kept the Feds out of it by solving it quickly. And I really hoped that we would not have any new murder sprees for a long time.
But there was one more piece of business to deal with before this case was finished, the little girl who tied the murders together.
I knocked on Sophie’s bedroom door. “May I come in?”
“Yes, Daddy, I’m not naked or anything.” She said with a giggle.
I entered and sat at the foot of her bed. She was not naked. I could see the straps of her nightgown above the covers.
“Sophie, you shocked me the other day with your casual, almost aggressive talk about sex. I know you are going through some tough years in your life with hormones raging, and your Mom and I cannot control the talk that you hear from your classmates. But I sensed your edginess. Something is bothering you and we need to talk.”
“Daddy, do you want to tell me about the birds and the bees? I took classes in school. I might be able to tell you…”
“Please, Sophie, this is hard enough. Your Mom is certified in sex therapy. A lot of that is more mental than physical, so she includes it in her college curriculum.”
“Yuch! That sounds icky.”
“Sophie, one couple that she helped was helped by reading Scripture.”
“The Bible?! How on earth could that help?!”
“Sophie, sometimes parents say things that aren’t exactly true or only true in certain circumstances. This couple, both the husband and wife, grew up in Christian homes and to make things simple to understand, or maybe their parents actually believed it, but they told their kids that sex was sin. Both of them would undress to consummate the marriage. They would see each other naked and feel ashamed. They could not go through with it. Your Mommy read Bible verses about how various biblical heroes slept with their wives, and of course at the end of Genesis 2 where the two become one flesh after marriage. It took a lot of convincing to modify what their parents had been telling them for about twenty years, but they finally consummated their marriage.”
“Wow! Teaching someone how to have sex using the Bible! I would have never guessed that!”
“So, Sophie, beyond the birds and bees, what is eating at you?”
She rolled her eyes. “I’m glad Po didn’t tell you. I told him.”
“Sophie, you should come to your parents first, and not Poached especially. He had a checkered past in that regard. And why are you calling him Po these days?”
Sophie giggled, “Callie started it. It was her nickname for Poached. She thought Poached was such a silly name.”
I smiled, “Okay, a wife can have a nickname for her husband, and I suppose close family can share in using it, but my name is Deviled, is that sillier than Poached?”
Sophie smiled, “No, Daddy, you are Daddy. There is nothing silly about you, not even your name.”
I smiled back. “Okay, so why go to Poached with your problem instead of me?”
Sophie stared at the ceiling. “Po has experienced what happened to a friend of mine. He was on the other end of it though, and I wanted to know what to do. It might happen to me.”
“Usually when you go to someone and say you are asking for advice for someone else, they guess it is advice for you. Is this really someone else?”
Sophie nodded, “Yes, Daddy, it’s Blaise’s girlfriend, Margie.”
My blood ran cold. “Has Blaise done something I should know about?”
Sophie sat up. “No, Daddy, Blaise has always been a gentleman around Margie. He knows how you and Mommy feel about things like that. He agrees with that moral code. He knows Margie feels the same way deep down because her Dad is a theologist at the university, but she was hazed a few weeks ago. There was a lot of peer pressure, and she did things she knew she should not have done. Nothing real bad! But, oh, I don’t know how to say it. Especially to you. You might go all ‘super cop’ on me and start making phone calls to have them arrested.”
I patted her on her foot. “Try telling the sequence of events in order.”
Sophie nodded and closed her eyes. “Right, interview technique. First things first. Margie was the pitcher for the softball game that put Vitamin Flintheart High School in the playoffs for the state championship. They carried Margie off the field. In the locker room, they let Margie go in to take a shower first, all alone, and then the older girls on the team came in with boys. Everyone was naked. The team captain came over to Margie and said that two of the boys were for her. She could have both of them or just one. There were plenty of girls still in the locker room to take any leftovers. Margie had been talking big about her relationship with Blaise and she might have given the wrong impression. Without realizing what had happened, she was standing there with a boy’s manhood in each hand, and the boys were kissing her all over from the waste up. Margie looked around and the older girls were kissing their boyfriends and, ummm, doing stuff. Margie wanted to fit in, but she did not want to do this. She got scared and ran out of the shower with everyone laughing at her. She got dressed and left the locker room. I think I am the only one she has told. I told Poached. I heard he did the same kind of thing in high school.”
I nodded. “Poached had a horrible reputation and I suggested to him that he clean it up or he would probably never make detective. And if it was Poached, he would be the single boy in the room and the girls would have to take turns. But I think that is where this all started, and it has turned into a team within the team. And I think I know why Margie laid an egg in the state semifinals. She lost her game because she did not want to be in that situation again in the showers. And as for why you are so worried, you want to join the team next year. You might be a starter your first year unless you have slowed down.”
“Daddy, I still work out. I run. And Margie and I practice in the playground in the off season. But, yeah, I needed to know how to handle this thing without handling someone’s private parts.”
I nodded. “This may be hard on you and Margie, but we need to clear the air. First, we call Margie’s parents over and you, me, and Mommy will talk about strategy. The school needs to clean this up now. We might petition for additional coaches and locker room and shower monitors, both boys and girls. If interest in cleaning this up is increased, it could be we can get good, qualified volunteers, with background checks. This has got to stop. What Poached started in high school seems to have never stopped and the girls think it to be a rite to womanhood or something. And I think Poached has to have a talk with the girls. Yes, you were right, I went all ‘super cop’ on you, but I am glad you talked to me.”
I kissed her on the forehead, and she smiled. Then she begged me for a patented bear hug. I stopped short of squeezing all the air out of her, but she groaned, and hung limp in my arms as if I had. Then she giggled and rolled on her side, away from me.
When I left the room, my wife, Glyce, eight-months pregnant, was standing there. She gave me a big bear hug, as best she could in her condition. She said, “I have been wondering if our parenting skills were a little off. We haven’t done this baby thing in over ten years. But I am so proud of you. I think we can do this.”
I hugged her gently. It was a scary proposition, but inevitable. Within a month or so, that new baby was coming. I hope the baby was sleeping all night by the time school started in the Fall.
Frauenbetrug is literally “women fraud” in German, but mashing the words together, as the German language often does, it means “wife cheating.” Thus, the moniker of Maud the Fraud fits.
My wife’s first heart catheterization led to a stent in the RCA, but her widow maker was in decent shape then. The open-heart surgery followed about five years later, and she passed away five years later when her bovine valve stiffened and refused to open, what some experts think was a combination of animal tissue exposed to the kidney dialysis chemicals. Normally, the valve has an average life expectancy of ten years or more.
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