John Brown’s Body

Brandon started to say something and Blackbeard gave up on staying cool. “Mooks? Mooks? What’s Fred Simpson, the DA supposed to say at trial, judge asks him for a motive. ‘They’re mooks, your honor. We took them downtown, put them on the mook detector, they came up 99 and 45/100ths mook, purer than Ivory soap.’ Judge going to look at Fred, say: ‘All right then, let’s hang them and go get supper. Give that Brandon fellow a medal while we’re at it.’ You think that’s what’s going to happen here? Damn it, Brandon, you may have lost us the whole case, some detail missing we’ll never get back. And you may lose more when the chief finds out about this. He’s a good cop and won’t put up with this crap.”

“You’re just a pain, Blackie,” said Brandon, going back to the reporter. “You’re always a pain. Some things you just know. You don’t always have to get every detail.”

“Yes, you do,” said Blackbeard, more to himself than to Brandon’s back.

“Yeah,” agreed Terry. Then he grinned, “Course the boy is right, at least about you being a pain.”

“Let’s work the case.”

That’s what they did, most of the morning. The two kids owned up to stealing the TVs, too busy trying to convince Blackbeard and Terry that they didn’t know anything about the body to even worry about confessing to a pretty major crime. The body had no ID, just a few dollars and some odds and ends. One of the TVs had an address sticker on the back from a nice neighborhood, one of those planned communities on the bay with a golf course and a pool and a little shuttle bus that ran to the beach on the hour. Blackbeard sent a couple of patrolmen over to ask around the neighborhood. Blackbeard and Terry did what they could and released the body.

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