Last Memories from a Dark Continent.
March 29, 2014
A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental
Angus and Skeeter were checking out the new homicide cases when Angus turned to Skeeter and said, “I am thinking of giving Phomello and Dube one thousand dollar bonuses. Is that okay with you?”
“Sure. Sounds good to me. We need it bad, but they need it more and they basically found Glastonbury for us,” Skeeter replied. “I am hopeful we will find a way to recover our lost savings, someday. There has to be a way.”
“And little Masamba—I feel so bad for the little guy. Is there something we could do?” Angus asked.
“Let’s talk to Sullivan and some of the others. We should set up a fund for Masamba, maybe a trust. There should be a method to get his family a few extra dollars every month, and something socked away for Masamba’s future—The Benevolent Fund?”
“We could adopt him, as a group,” Angus said with a laugh.
“Yeah, maybe he will even go to Oxford one day.”
“Wouldn’t that be a trip? All because he sold honey pots. If Glastonbury had any dough, it should all go to Masamba—but I know I am dreaming,” Angus mused. “Any of his assets will probably be used up on his defense or go to named heirs or something.”
Angus and Skeeter turned around toward the sound of a commotion in the lobby—the area where the department’s awards were displayed.
“Angus, there is a crate here for you from someone named Nigel!” Rosie Vega shouted.
Angus made his way to the lobby where he signed for the crate. “Anybody have a crowbar?” Angus asked.
“Read the envelope attached, first,” Skeeter advised with a slight poke to his ribs.
Angus pulled off the large manila envelope stapled to the outside of the crate. He read the letter inside, aloud: “Dear Angus, when we came back to the site of the plane crash (you were on your way to Garissa, by that time), we found this ‘specimen’ in not too bad of a shape. It had been picked over a bit by local fauna before we returned, but we got it fixed up for you. Thought you might appreciate it. Stay in touch, Nigel.”
Angus frowned. He could not imagine what in the world it could be. He saw a curious Sullivan hovering in the periphery, as someone handed him a crowbar. When he popped the lid, there was nothing to be seen but clouds of excelsior—the old fashioned kind made of wood shavings.
“What on earth….” Angus carefully pushed the excelsior aside while others helped.
“It’s the lion, Angus! It’s been taxidermied!” Skeeter exclaimed, as she uncovered an ear and an eye. “Sort of like the hair of the dog that bit you—only it’s a cat.” She giggled.
“You have got to be kidding!” Sullivan boomed. “Carlyle! What in the world are you going to do with that?”
Angus was in shock. “I have no idea, Captain.”
“Let me have it, please!” Sullivan was begging like a little kid. If you can think of no other use for it, I will have a bronze plaque made for it and we will display it here in the lobby for all to see—or a diorama would be great. You and Skeeter went above and beyond to catch that son-of-a-bitch, Reggie. Scotland Yard will get all of the credit for it. We, here at the department, are the only ones who know the extent of the sacrifices you made.” Sullivan then clammed up, embarrassed by his own display of exuberance. In fact, he had come close to tears, something that never happens.
“Sounds good to me, Captain,” Angus replied, trying to relieve Sullivan of his awkwardness.
“We can even put your ripped shirt up alongside it,” Skeeter quipped.
“Nah, now that I am definitely going to frame for my house, and hang in on a wall—float it out in a shadowbox.”
The just-revealed and magnificent lioness was put in a corner for the time being. “That is where I shot her,” Skeeter explained, to any interested parties, pointing to the back of the animal. They did a good job of repairing it.” She then explained Angus’ coup de grace shot.
Justy looked at the front claws and pointed to those. He glanced over to see if Angus was paying attention. “Bag the hands, boys!” He said. A long guffaw followed his words.
“We are all going to A Patch of Blue after work today, aren’t we?” Angus asked.
“We are counting on it,” answered Justy. “We want to hear more of The Equatorial Africa Story.”
* * *
“Man! That is unbelievable,” Dave said, as Skeeter and Angus finished additional tales of their saga at the detectives’ favorite night spot. “I hate to get mushy, but we worried about you every day. We were afraid you might not even make it back.”
Angus had occasionally pulled up photos on his cell phone to illustrate the finer points of their tale-telling.
“I have a question, Angus,” Justy said.
“So this Reginald Glastonbury dude, lives in London but goes to Kenya quite a bit, huh?”
“Yeah, clear as we can figure out, he is interested in all forms of African art, among other things. He liked to go down there frequently and look around—it was a kind of obsession. He stayed in a motel down there in Garissa, and was there so frequently he had a permanent room there.”
Angus continued, “When our operatives first spotted him, I asked them what kind of a car he was driving so I could be on the lookout, myself. They didn’t know the make or model, but they said it was old, American, and that it was exactly like the car JFK was riding in when he was killed. They had seen plenty of newsreels of that car.”
“An old Lincoln?” Justy asked.
Angus pulled up a fuzzy photo of the car, then, replied.
“Yeah, it was a Lincoln—a Continental.”
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.