Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Three: Case File No. 18-122
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Where We Left Off:
We’ve been perplexed by the damage to one of the bird feeders and have some far out theories about what could have happened.
Two O’Clock Courage:
It’s been some time since we’ve noticed Frankie “the Prime Minister” coming over from next door to dine at the fortress of Cheeks Moretti. We thought Frankie and Cheeks were friends or maybe even relatives. It had seemed like Frankie replaced Lil Chip Amunko as a daily visitor. But just as Lil Chip Amunko stopped showing up, so did Frankie.
When Oliver and I began sifting through our case files, we believed Frankie was working for Cheeks in the Moretti crime family. I made the necessary updates to the organization chart. Since Oliver maintained his keen observations from the second floor, he had significant amounts of stakeout data regarding Frankie.
Frankie was a distant relative of Cheeks after all, though we don’t have DNA proof of this. Oliver overheard enough conversations to figure out that they were cousins. Originally, Frankie convinced Cheeks to bring him into the organization as a sort of peacekeeper. He was a diplomat between the chipmunk mafia and other critters of the neighborhood. Things ran smoothly for a while as Frankie acclimated to his role.
The blue jays started taking up more and more space at that time. Louie Eggs met with Cheeks to renegotiate the arrangement of how many peanuts each side would be allotted. Cheeks told Louie that Frankie would be the point of contact from then on. Louie felt like he deserved to speak with the big boss himself and not go through some other chipmunk. Cheeks didn’t think Louie had any reason to feel like he been slighted. Frankie was called the Prime Minister for a reason. He had clout and stature. It was a high profile position, and though there was nepotism, Frankie did his job thoroughly.
Louie Eggs didn’t have much patience to begin with. Blue jays generally don’t. He was tired of Cheeks being unwilling to meet him personally after their initial rendezvous. Along with being impatient, the blue jays are also known for being loquacious. Loud squawkers, the lot of them. Some more than others, but among their bird notes, they are more notable for their loud calls than their whispers. Louie Eggs and his cohorts, Silvia DeCitta and Richie “the Boot” Cyano were overheard talking smack about Frankie.
From the observation deck, Oliver made mental notes of what they were saying on various days. Oliver could look completely inconspicuous up there. He was often curled up in a huge bundled up dropcloth from when there was some painting going on (things tend to not be cleaned up until the following year around this place). The tarp is still there and he still loves to nap on it. It was one of these mornings that Oliver caught perfectly clear messages being bantered back and forth among the blue jays. In no uncertain terms, Louie Eggs and his gang were pressuring Cheeks to get rid of Frankie and run his organization like a real don.
Oliver asked Gus if he thought Cheeks would even consider such a horrible request. Cheeks didn’t seem to harbor any ill feelings towards his cousin. Gus said Cheeks is capable of extreme actions to maintain the top position of the neighborhood (that is, the top position not elected); but Gus didn’t feel that Cheeks would murder his own cousin or any fellow chipmunk just because the blue jays were unhappy.
We had to get Gus back into action to see what his CI in the fairy garden had to say. When we got there, Ida Ogg was afraid to talk.
“I don’t know whatcher talking about. I haven’t heard a thing about the blue jays nor Mr. Moretti.”
“Ida, for real. Don’t play coy now. You have a way of hearing everything that goes on in the eastern half of the neighborhood.” Gus sniffed Ida’s foot where a butterfly had landed. It tickled her which startled him. At least it made her relax a little more. She flitted around Gus teasing him before agreeing to meet at ten that night.
Ten? At night? This human is asleep by then or at least trying to be asleep.
Fairies have uniquely special abilities. You can’t match a bloodline to a set of non-human powers like you can trace blood antigens. Ida has the ability to make herself so small, she can be mistaken for a gnat or clump of pollen on the breeze. I didn’t know this until Gus decided to tell me. Thanks for leaving me in the dark, Gus. But this does explain one of the reasons why Gus stares at “nothing” when we’re snuggled up in bed. I’ve attributed it to ghosts in the past and that may be the case sometimes. It could also be Ida Ogg paying him a visit when I’m trying to not be freaked out and get some rest.
“Human, we have to meet with Oliver in the morning. How does 0530 on the observation deck sound?”
“It sounds fucking early, Gus.”
“Fine. Make it 0600. Should only take five minutes to bring him up to speed then we go out on patrol.”
I agreed and zonked out to the sounds of Brooklyn-99 in the background. It was the Terry’s Kitties episode if you’re that curious.
It was so dark when we got out to the observation deck that the solar fairy lights were still on. None of the chipmunks or blue jays were around so we could talk quietly without being overheard. Gus filled Oliver and me in on the situation.
Louie Eggs wasn’t only upset about losing face time with Cheeks. He was also upset about the peanuts. He’s been vocalizing how Moretti has shorted him for several days in a row. It sure didn’t look that way to us on patrol. We see the number of blue jays around and watch them pluck the peanuts much quicker than the rodentia critters. One of the nights Ida left the fairy garden, she zipped through the large maple tree. Some of the blue jays were starting to settle down for the night. Before they went to sleep, they were discussing a plan to attack Frankie the Prime Minister!
The fairies generally stay out of the business of the powerful families. Ida was concerned nonetheless. She didn’t want the estate and the neighborhood to fall into a crime pit of despair. There were already enough deaths to investigate. Ida, being far more bold and adventurous than the other fairies, took matters into her own hands — or rather wings. She flew to the edge of the neighborhood and crossed the border by blending in with the lightning bugs. At the next border she came to a fence and zipped west along it until she reached the trees. At the base of the trees there was debris left by humans: toys, a plastic bucket, and some branches that had been pruned.
Frankie lived somewhere over on that side, but Ida didn’t exactly know where. She aimlessly flew in and out and around branches of the trees and tangled bushes overgrown with vines. She finally found Frankie’s burrow entrance. She went in without even announcing herself or asking permission. Fairies are like that. She woke Frankie up and told him he had to get out of town immediately otherwise the blue jays were likely to kill him. Naturally, Frankie thought the fairy was out of her mind and letting her wistful imagination get the better of her, but when he started to come to a more awakened state, he realized she could be right. Louie Eggs and Silvia DeCitta had been rather twitchy the last few times they met. He never trusted them and couldn’t stand that his cousin was willing to do any business with them at all.
“Ida, are you saying that Frankie is still alive?” Oliver didn’t appreciate running investigations through a gossip thread, but unless Gus got down there himself, it was the best we could do.
“Yes! Aren’t you listening? Ya got too much hair in yer ears, Professor.”
“What my partner and I want to know is if Frankie moved or was murdered. You’re confident he left town safely?” Gus had a much better relationship with the fairies since he tended to visit them more often. Oliver was always polite but he like the personalities of Eugenia and Fiona who were quiet compared to Ida.
“I’m sure of it. Frankie went up the hill to the west. I think he’s taken safety with the woodland munks up in the forest.”
“Well, that’s a relief. I guess we can consider this case closed.” Oliver jumped up onto his new favorite spot, a broken chair with the bundled dropcloth.
“But we should agree to keep it secret. Right, Ida? The blue jays shouldn’t know where to find Frankie. Got it?”
“Sheesh, yeah yeah. I got it. I’m not the one with the blabbermouth. That’s Johnny Stool Pigeon. He’s the one that tells me everything unless I hear it with m’ own ears.”
They finally broke up the meeting so Gus and I could suit up and get out on patrol.
The blue jay gang wanted a member of the Moretti crime family murdered and they were planning how to do it. Their plans were interrupted when the target, Frankie the Prime Minister, packed up and headed for the hills — at least temporarily.