The Maltese Sparrow

Chapter Five

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Detective D'Cheuer was reluctant to discuss the murdered person with me or the case. Thus, he was not going to get a sandwich with me. However, while the identity of the dead Larsentient was unknown to me, I now knew that the poor chap knew Maxine. Thus, I had more to discuss with Maxine, but first some sort of food.

Sadly, Manny had told the kitchen staff about me by the time I returned, and they were unwilling to give me another sandwich. Nevertheless, I went to see Manny. Perhaps he too knew the Larsentient in question. I could possibly get something to follow up with him. He also may know where Maxine was.

I made my way to the staff lounge and waited for Manny. It was not long before he showed up.

"You seem to spend a lot of time in the lounge taking a break," I said.

"I heard you were looking for me," he replied.

"It occurred to me that Maxine might have a jealous suitor."

"I am the one who told you there may be others interested..."

"You were just blindly speculating, I am dealing with facts."

"Facts?"

"Yes," I replied. "The fact that there was a dead Larsentient in my office."

"Who was he?"

"What makes you think it was a he?"

"Well, if you were looking for suitors..."

"There you go -- jumping to conclusions again. Leave that to the professionals."

"Only professionals can jump to conclusions?"

"This is not going anywhere. I was hoping you may know a name or two."

"The names I would give you would be speculation -- and I would not want to step on any professional's toes."

"I will handle the sarcasm."

"M111k%3e&@jJnsp^82jioljidf348lll* and 2m@3R&t4jJnsp^82jioljidf348lll were both interested in her."

"Could you write those down for me?"

"They are spelled just like they sound."

"Please."

He wrote down the names for me and I thanked him for his time. I had a few more leads, but first things were first. It had been too long since I last ate. I made my way to the nearest place where food was served.

There was a nice little bistro across town from the hotel, which meant it was the closest place. It is one of the flukes of making people go long ways for things close by -- the far places are sometimes closer. I was given a seat at a table in the corner.

"My name is 2m@3R&t4jJnsp^82jioljidf348lll, and I'll be your server today."

"Where have I heard that name before?"

"I cannot say that we have ever met, but most Earthers call me Marty."

"Okay Marty, how is the khal-khalash?"

"It is excellent today. Would you like crab juice to go with it?"

"Ew! Who would drink that? I think I'll go with a fermented goose liver smoothie."

"Very good sir."

"Hey -- do you know Maxine?"

"You mean Qx&M@x%lmmnwz^zppklIN3nnw9RL$#kkngfFF? Yes, she is a regular here, and she is sitting right there."

She gave a little wave and it appeared that she winked at me. I went over and sat down at her table.

"My eyes are down here," she said warmly.

"I was just at your place looking for you."

"With this place being so far, I spend a lot of time here. Have you ordered?"

"Yes -- thank you."

"Their crab juice is divine," she added.

"So," I began in an attempt to get on topic. "Why did you not tell me about your relationship with Daniel Butler?"

"Relationship? He's an Earther."

"He is under the impression that there is more between you two."

"What a silly thought."

"He states that it is why he gave you Mable."

"Gave? I paid for my dear bird. I spent weeks with that man."

"Did you give him anything of monetary value?"

"Time is money."

"Fair enough. Why did you not tell me that Mable was sentient?"

"Sentient? Who puts these crazy thoughts into your head?"

"The hotel where you stay has a policy against pets."

"Did Mlm3$63@nN1ekjhggH^ghjknni3 tell you that?"

"Maybe..."

"He just has to say that so I can keep Mable in my room."

"He claims it talks to him."

"That is just silly. Who can speak sparrow -- with that odd Maltese accent."

"What?"

"I said -- um -- who could speak sparrow with that series of tweets and chirps," she said with her eyes going back and forth. "I mean the idea is just silly."

"So, you are looking for your pet and not your valuable companion."

"Why -- uh -- yes I guess, and my eyes are down here."

"Have you thought about who may have done this?"

"Yes, but I just cannot think of anyone."

"Perhaps there was someone jealous of you spending all that time with Mr. Butler."

"It was just a business transaction. Why would they be jealous?"

"Do you know a M111k --- er -- uh -- 2m@..."

"Who?"

"Never mind -- it is not important."

"Your food is here. I will let you eat in peace."

"That would be a first."

That was a first, I ate my meal without interruption. Not by a client, the police, or even two giant birds. I wished that type of thing would happen more often.

Nonetheless, I had plenty to think about. I was no closer to discovering the identity of the dead Larsentient in my office or finding the location of the missing Maltese sparrow. Was Maxine telling me the truth. Her mouth was saying one thing, but her eyes were saying something else. At least, I think it was her eyes. She just seemed to be hiding something, but I do not know what.

I would have to do some research on the two Larsentient names Manny gave me. Perhaps there would be something from them. However, I felt that they were just dead ends. This case was getting more and more difficult. On the other hand, I was getting paid by the day. Thus, it could take months and months to solve and I would be happy with that.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on December 7, 2008 6:09 PM.

Happy Holidays was the previous entry in this blog.

"Holiday" - Part Two (Final) is the next entry in this blog.

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