The Maltese Sparrow
By Douglas E. Gogerty
This case was hard on several people. I know because they are now dead. I, fortunately, have managed to avoid such a fate. However, if I continue with my expounding of the facts of the case, perhaps I would not stay that way for long. Luckily for me, an officer of the law was participating in the review.
Despite Detective D'Cheuer's presents, it did not save the waiter, Marty's life. I half expected him to become a victim. He was now a loose end in this case. His usefulness ended when he returned from his trip.
"Medical personnel and more police are on their way," asserted Detective D'Cheuer.
"I guess I can continue until they arrive," I replied.
"Dis is going to negatively impact da strippin' ain't it?" asked the security guard.
"I am afraid so," I admitted. "However, you cannot leave because the authorities will wish to speak to you."
"Dats just my luck," he muttered.
"Many people may not be aware of this," I began. "Our waiter friend and his brother were very successful smugglers."
"Smugglers?" asked the police detective.
"They were both competent space pilots," I continued. "The brothers had their own space bay, and they could get practically anything on or off world."
"Even rare birds?" asked Detective D'Cheuer.
"Where did they take my Mable?" asked Maxine.
"They had made quite a bit of money with their exotic pet trade," I resumed. "Sadly, with their help, Mable was taken back home. She would be impossible to locate on Earth. Further, it is wrong to keep intelligent creatures captive. She needed to fly free."
"I guess that means that I do not have to pay you then," Maxine replied.
"You hired me to find your bird," I said. "However, you did not mention anything about returning her to you. I have a rough idea where she is."
"Do you have any idea what such a bird is worth?" she asked with a bit of frustration in her voice.
"You would have been better off with some sort of jewel encrusted bird coated in an enamel to hide the fact that it is very valuable, because everyone involved in that particular transaction is now dead," I responded. "Clearly, a bird like that is hazardous to your health."
"I am still here," asserted Maxine.
"Can I finish?" I asked.
"By all means," replied Detective D'Cheuer.
"Where was I?" I muttered. "Oh yes! Our waiter friend was primarily the go between. He would arrange a meeting between the interested party and his brother. To be honest, who knows who was who because the two Larsentient brothers looked quite similar. They could have regularly switched places."
"Did you just say all Larsentient look alike?" asked a miffed Maxine.
"Well no," I replied defending myself. "Just those from the same brood. Are you going to let me finish?"
"Sorry," Maxine replied.
"Daniel Butler regularly used them in his important business transactions. In that way he could avoid import hassles. Further, as was pointed out to me, human laws do not apply to the Larsentients. Thus, if they were caught, there would be little in the form of consequences."
"You are onto something," inserted the policeman.
"Thus, we know how this illegal bird got on world," I declared. "We also know how it got off. We also know how the killer Maltese blue tits got here and where they went. There is only one question left in this case."
"Why?" asked the detective.
"Because then we'll have the case solved," I replied.
"No!" he responded. "Why? is the only question left in the case."
"Oh! Right," I asserted. "From all that has been said about the intelligence of the bird, it is clear that it wanted to go home. It communicated this fact to whoever would listen. Our friend Manny here listened."
"Of course!" exclaimed Detective D'Cheuer.
"That is right," I asserted. "The mastermind of this entire disappearance of Mable and the death of the two -- er -- now three -- people was the Maltese sparrow herself."
"What?" asked the policeman.
"Huh?" asked Maxine.
"Really?" asked Manny.
"Ummm, if'n yous says so," added the security guard as to not be left out.
"Sure!" I continued. "The bird was homesick and communicated this fact to someone who did everything in his or her power to return the bird home. This, as yet unknown person, must have been a real animal lover to go through all of the trouble to free this bird."
"What about Manny here?" asked the detective with a bit of sarcasm in his voice.
"It could have been Manny," I replied with a nod.
"After all, he recently took a trip," continued the policeman. "Further, he would see the bird regularly."
"You might be onto something," I responded.
"While I think your intelligent bird theory is -- um -- for the birds," added the detective. "I do think Manny here is responsible for everything."
"Can you prove it?" I asked.
"Parts of it," he replied. "Our Larsentient friend here, had opportunity, he had access, he got this security guard to threaten you."
"Dat's right!" exclaimed the security guard who quickly realized his mistake when Manny glared at him.
"You will never take me alive police guy!" declared Manny.
However, the authorities that were called to take care of the dead waiter had just arrived and grabbed Manny. They restrained him and took him away at the detectives request.
A doctor briefly examined the dead Larsentient, put him on a stretcher, and took him away also. All the pieces of this case had been wrapped up. While I think it was Mable who initiated the events, Manny was probably responsible for the consequences.
In Detective D'Cheuer's later investigation, Manny had suddenly come into a great deal of money. This was probably how Maxine, the Maltese sparrow, rewarded him for his service. However, Detective D'Cheuer believes it was a particular smuggling ring's reward to him for taking care of their competition. I think that explanation is crazy! In any event, the case of the Maltese Sparrow was concluded to the satisfaction of everyone. Well, except Maxine whose pet was never to be seen again -- oh -- and the dead people.