This is the first draft of Tramp's second mystery. Take a look and let him know what you think.
Leave your Comment by going to the "Contact" link above.
Leave your Comment by going to the "Contact" link above.
A T. K. & ASSOCIATES MYSTERY
These facts are true. He is a careful listener, ears alert for key information. He is a wise observer, eyes focused on what is in front of him. He knows who or what has come before him by the scent they leave. He is a seeker of truth. He won’t take no for an answer.
Sometimes he wishes he was more like a human, not noticing anything. His name is Tramp Kennedy and he is a detective extraordinaire!
The velvet blackness of the night was beginning to vanish behind slivers of golden light, just warm enough to keep the sidewalks clear of snow. Tramp’s team of detectives, The Associates, would be able to see the numbers on the houses.
The call went out at 4:45 am. Tramp pushed Mrs. Oliver’s speed dial number on his human dad Emmet’s phone, with his right paw. Mrs. Oliver’s role was to wake the Associates staying at her house. They had to hurry before the neighborhood woke to the waves of alarm clocks, showers and breakfast. They gathered silently under the canoe docks looking out at Lake of the Isles as eight-year-old Colin Kennedy, Tramp’s human boy, gave directions and handed them their bags of cards.
“Stay off the sidewalks and out of the streets. Go quickly between the trees. Stay low to the ground and behind bushes. Follow the shadows. Blend in. Move fast. You never know who’s going out for a morning run or catching an early bus. We don’t want them seeing a bunch of dogs, cats and birds racing through the neighborhood,” Colin told them.
The specially made canvas bags that carried the cards were made by Liz, Tramp called her his human mom, and her ten-year-old daughter, Shannon. They had stitched the bags so that the Associates could easily pull one card at a time out of the bag. Emmett, Tramp’s human dad, had printed the cards at his home computer, the one he used to write stories for kids and animals to read.
Suzette, a poodle, told them where to go, the street addresses, and timing, to make sure that they arrived before the human families woke up.
Pauly, a White-Crested Cockatoo, carried his bag around his neck. He was responsible for the 10 doors in the neighborhood that had a resident bird. He picked the card out of the bag with his beak, dropped it on the porch floor, slid the card under the door, or, he flew up and pushed it through the mail slot on the door, calling to the bird that lived there. “Mail for the bird in the house.”
Calico, a gold, white and black cat, carried her cards in a catnip bag, hooked around her neck. She delivered 22 cards to houses that had a cat or a lot of cats. She jumped up and pushed each card through the mail slot if there was one, otherwise she slid them under the door. Calico was really tired at the end of her mission.
Flip, a bull dog, had the biggest load around his neck. He delivered 36 cards to houses with miniature and standard poodles, labs, goldens, westies and mutts. He couldn’t reach any of the mail slots. He slid the cards under the door and barked just loud enough to let the resident dog know the card was at the door. If the dog of the house looked out a window, Flip lay on his back, and gave two paws up. He ignored Suzette’s instructions. He took a card to every door where he smelled a dog and was one short which turned out to be a good thing.
Buster, Mrs. Oliver’s pet parakeet, did the route check. He made sure Pauly, Calico and Flip went to the right houses. He flew close to Pauly and Flip and stayed a safe fifteen feet above Calico.
The three members of the Mouse Chorus double checked all the facts, just the facts, against the route sheet. They checked the kind of animal in each house, their address and waking time. They checked the routes twice to make sure the Associates had time to get their work done, before the humans woke up.
One of the mice carried Pauly’s sheet, one Flip’s sheet and one Calico’s sheet. They all kept a look-out for outdoor cats and owls.
At the 6:00 am recap meeting at Mrs. Oliver’s, a dented beak, a few banged up noses and sore paws were reported. All in all, they agreed, it was a very successful adventure.
“Very well planned. Except for Flip running short one card,” Buster said.
All nodded, except Flip. He was asleep on his back with his feet in the air.
“Amazing what a team can accomplish.” Tramp said. “Good job. I’ll be in touch as soon as we get a call. Flip, Flip, wake up. You better go home, take a long nap, forget about the house you missed.”
The Associates were under the care of the local vet’s mother, Mrs. Oliver, since the arrests of Rodney Smithers and Eddie Crithers, the leaders in the Talented Animal-Napping case. Buster the bird was nervous about having a calico cat around, but all in all it was a pretty good solution as far as the police were concerned. The animals that Officer Johnson called “The Victims,” were safe under Mrs. Oliver’s care while the police searched Rodney Smithers’ house for more evidence.
Tramp and the Associates had discussed their goals as a team. They decided that they would work on cases where animals had been the victims of human stupidity, bullying, cruelty or outright theft. They would get the police involved only when they needed their help to solve the case and for the arrest and trial. If they ran across an animal crook, they would somehow handle the arrest, trial and jail. Tramp had heard of animal’s handling their own arrests and trials in New York City, but so far Minneapolis didn’t have an animal justice system. At the time, New York seemed like a long way off.
Tramp’s partners had all been stolen over the past year by Rodney Smithers and Eddie Crithers. He had solved the case of the “Talented Animal-Napping Ring,” that’s what the Twin Cities Ledger newspaper called it, but he didn’t do it alone. He needed a lot of help and got it from his human family and animal friends. Being a detective was Tramp’s true calling in life. He hoped that someday it would help him find his real mom, dad and sister.
He had a recurring dream that he was flying into Chicago with his human family, Liz, Emmett, Shannon and Colin, to visit Emmett’s mom and dad. In his dream there was a large white dog carrier next to his in the belly of the airplane. At first the scent was just familiar. Slowly he realized that his real mom and dad and sister were asleep in that carrier, their legs churning, the single word “help” echoing from the floor to ceiling of the baggage compartment. When the two pet carriers came out of the plane on the conveyor belt, the scent was unmistakable, his own lost family. A tall thin man with suspenders and a baseball cap picked up the carrier and hurriedly walked away. Then he woke up. Every time.
Tramp hoped these dreams were more than wishes. Maybe, just maybe, solving other animals’ problems would help him find his family and save other animals from feeling that awful pain. Maybe that was why he worked so hard at solving mysteries.
He kept track of Rodney Smithers and Eddie Crithers. They were in jail waiting for their trial. Rodney was being held for being the brains and ring-leader and Eddie for doing the leg-work for Rodney, moving the stolen animals to their new owners.
Tramp thought the case looked tight, but you never know with humans. Too bad the judges didn’t allow testimony from animals, from T.K & Associates.
Officer Johnson, who had arrested Smithers and Crithers after Tramp had given him enough clues, came over to see Tramp the morning the cards went out. They sat on the front steps. Officer Johnson scratched under Tramp’s chin filling him in about Smithers and Crithers.
“What have you been up to Tramp? You look a little tired this morning. Anyway, Smithers & Crithers are in jail and have lawyers. The case looks pretty good. They’ll do some real jail time. It’s too bad we don’t allow animal testimony. That would make a big difference.”
Tramp’s ears popped up. Yeah, tell the judge what really happened.
“Sure glad the Kennedys have you around Tramp, and know how smart you are. Liz and Emmett are like your human mom and dad. Shannon and Colin are like your sister and brother. I sure miss my mom and dad and sister. I’ll bet you miss your real mom and dad. Maybe you had a sister,” Officer Johnson said quietly.
Tramp licked Officer Johnson’s hand, pinched his eyebrows, whimpered a little, looked up into Officer Johnson’s eyes.
Officer Johnson looked back into Tramp’s eyes and was sure he saw tears.
“You had a sister?” He asked very quietly
“We have a lot in common Tramp. My family disappeared a long time ago. I guess that’s why I became a cop. Maybe that’s why I work so hard to solve mysteries,” Officer Johnson said as he headed back to his unmarked car.
“Say hi to your family,” Officer Johnson said.
Tramp watched Officer Johnson walk away looking down at the ground. He thought about the cards the Associates had just delivered, all 68. Should T. K. & Associates go on with their lives as if they were normal animals, with no special talents? Would any of the cards even get read?
The answer came the next morning.
End of Chapter One
Now, comment by going to the "Contact" link above and tell me what you think.