Case Of The Black Bird
“Morning Rocci; what’s up?
It was a Monday and I had been in the office for only an hour when the D.A. called. Rocci and me, I should mention, go way back to when we were kids. Now I have a detective agency and Rocci works for the city courts. Go figure.
“Got an unusual case for you if you’re interested,” Rocci replied. “It’s a probable abduction with a twist.”
“What do you mean by ‘twist’?” I asked. Rocci wasn’t known for throwing in verbs like that without a good reason.
“The twist is we had three witnesses to the aforementioned abduction.”
“Had?” I replied noting the past tense.
“Yeah, had. They sorta skipped out on us. Took to the trees as it were.”
“Trees!” I repeated. “What kind of sap makes a run for it via the trees?”
“Saps Jack,” Rocci clarified. “As in more than one. Three to be more precise; and they are monkeys.”
My interest was peaked. “Go on.”
“My men were questioning them at the scene of the crime when something spooked them and they made o B-line into the woods. You ever try following Primates through a horde of trees Jack?”
“Can’t say as I have.” I replied. “So what do you want from me?” I didn’t like where this was going and was pretty sure Rocci knew it.
“Like I said, the case is a probable abduction. A dame, and one I need found.”
“You’ll need to clarify just a bit more sport.” I said. “Sounds like you were already familiar with this bird before she vanished. So who is she and why do you need her so badly?”
“The dames name is Mary Mary Quitecontrary,” he supplied.
“Come again,” I said, not believing that that was an actual name. “That sounds more like a sentence. Are you pulling my chain Rocci?”
“Nope,” he said neutrally. “That’s actually her name. Mary Mary Quitecontrary, or Mary M. Quitecontrary if that suits you better. She’s got a spread out near the woods,” he elaborated. “Grows vegetables I understand.”
“Sure she does sport,” I replied sarcastically. “Let me get this straight Rocci. You have a missing dame named Mary Mary Quitecontrary who does a bit of gardening.”
“I’m sure. What do you need her so badly for?” I asked needing to nail that connection down at least.
“I was getting to that,” Rocci went on. “Our missing dame is a key witness in another case I’m working. You ever hear of the fat man?”
“The black bird caper?” I replied vaguely.
“Falcon actually,” Rocci corrected. “The fat man had it snatched from it’s rightful owner; one Sam Spade. Claims Spade took it from him but Spade had proof otherwise.”
“Miss M. M. Quitecontrary.” I speculated.
“The very one.” Rocci confirmed. “Apparently the bird was hers; a family heirloom of some kind. She gave it to Spade in lieu of payment for a job he did for her.”
“Should I ask what that job was?” I said. My head was starting to get dizzy with all these twists being thrown around.
“I could, Rocci replied. But it’s not relevant at the moment.”
“So the fat man wants this bird in a bad way, Aye? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that he tried obtaining this falcon via a third party; right?”
“Something like that,” Rocci chuckled. “Enter Slim Pickens; noted pickpocket and sometimes burglar. Not very good at either. Mr. Spade caught him in the act of snatching the bird and gave him the once over before calling us. Pickens started singing like a canary,” Rocci continued, “and implicated the fat man.”
“So, why the interest in Miss Quitecontrary,” I asked. “Sounds like Pickens is your key witness, not the dame.”
“True, but Pickens has clamed up,” Rocci replied.
“Turns out Marry Mary Quitecontrary is his cousin twice removed.”
“And the fat man had her snatch; is that it?”
“It fits what we know,” Rocci said. ‘Trouble is I got no witness to the snatch. Well, not any more that is.”
“The three monkeys?”
“Yup. This is where you come in. I need you to find the monkeys so I can pin the snatch on the fat man; maybe even find the tart too.”
“So you think these three monkeys may know where this M M Q is being stashed?”
“Who can tell with monkeys,” Rocci said.
“Anything else you need to tell me?”
“Well, I guess I should mention the deal with the monkeys.”
“Keep going, I prodded.
“One monkey is blind, one is deaf and the third is mute.”
“Let me get this straight,” I said. “You want me to find a monkey that can’t see, a monkey that can’t hear and a monkey that can’t speak, all in order to find a dame named Mary Mary Quitecontrary, to get Slim Pickens to rat out on his boss, the fat man, who tried to steal a black bird from one Sam Spade. Is that about it?”
“It’s a falcon Jack,” Rocci corrected once again, “and yeah, that’s about the size of it. You want the case?”
“Sure,” I said, leaning back in my chair. “Why not. Sounds like a hoot.”
“It’ a falcon Jack,” Rocci corrected yet again, “not an owl.”
Author Notes: My try at Andy's 500 word challenge, subject was 'witness'.