The Case Of The Black Falcon
DescriptionA case story in the Jack Vine series I'm toying around with.
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The Case Of The Black Falcon “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 trees?” “Saps Jack,” Rocci clarified. “As in more than one. Three to be more precise; and they are monkeys.” My interest was piqued. “Go on.” “My men were questioning them at the scene of the crime when something spooked them and they made a 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 skirt 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, 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.” “Yeah, vegetables.” “I’m sure. What do you need her so badly for?” I asked needing to nail that connection down. “I was getting to that,” Rocci went on. “Our missing dame is key in another case I’m working on, see. You ever hear of the fat man?” “The black bird caper?” I replied, vaguely recalling the valuable statuette. “Falcon actually,” Rocci corrected. “The fat man had it snatched from its 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 falcon 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. “You could, Rocci replied. But it’s not relevant at the moment.” “So the fat man wanted this Blue Jay in a bad way, Aye? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that he tried obtaining it via a third party; right?” “Falcon, and yes, something like that. Enter Slim Pickens; noted pickpocket and sometimes burglar. Not very good at either but he had a partner this time. Mr. Spade caught them in the act of snatching the statuette. Gave Pickens the once over but his accomplice got away with the prize. Pickens started singing like a canary 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. “Why?” “Turns out Marry Mary Quitecontrary is his cousin twice removed.” “And the fat man had her plucked to shut Slim up, as well as remove the dames claim on the sparrow; is that it?” “It fits what we know;” Rocci said, “and it’s a falcon. Trouble is I got no witnesses. 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 and find the falcon in question.” “So you think these three monkeys may know where this crow and Mary Mary dame are being stowed?” “Who can tell with monkeys,” Rocci said. “And it’s a falcon.” “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 an abducted dame named Mary Mary Quitecontrary, to get Slim Pickens to rat out on his boss, the fat man, who had him steal a black hawk from one Sam Spade. Is that about it?” “It’s a falcon Jack, 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.” “Thanks Jack,” Rocci replied, “And it’s not an owl. Nor is it a black bird, blue jay, sparrow, crow or black hawk. It’s a damn falcon.” “Sure Rocci,” I chuckled. “That’s what I meant.”