“Hold it right there buddy!”, said Detective Rabbit as he chambered a 9mm Parabellum round into his Glock 17, “I wouldn’t want you to get lost in all the confusion.”
“Tiggers never get lost, bunny boy!”, said the perp, obviously agitated.
“What’s a Tigger?”, I asked, pretty sure I already knew the answer.
“Glad to meet ya! Name’s Tigger. T-I-double guh-er! That spells Tigger!”
Whoa! This guy was tweaking for sure. We’d have to take him down to the station and let him soak in an interrogation room to take the edge off. After that if we were lucky, we might get some meaningful information out of him.
“You’re coming with us, Tigger.”, I said.
“No way I’m coming with The Pigs man!”, said Tigger which visibly angered my partner Lieutenant Piglet, who reversed his gun to cuff him on the face with it.
I reached out my arm and used it to lower Piglets, “He’s not worth it buddy. Let’s save all that for if he resists.”
“Well, I gotta go now! I got a lot of bouncing to do! Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!”, he said as we grabbed him, spun him around and got the cuffs on.
Somewhere uptown the chalk outline around the body of a dead Heffalump was still fresh. The body was long removed to the morgue for the Medical Examiner to determine how he died. Not that the bullet hole through the forehead wasn’t a clue. You just have to make sure, so some shyster doesn’t get the perp off on a technicality.
The Crime Scene techs had found a thin veneer of honey on his top lip, though not on his fingers as he’d probably worn gloves to do the caper. Even worse he wasn’t the first Heffalump to die in this bittersweet war over honey. Not to mention the Woozles.
That sweet, sweet honey. Heffalumps and Woozles can’t resist it. They want to own it, steal it. It’s a criminal enterprise. It’s become the currency of the streets.
On their own they’re too stupid to organise. No that’s Mr. Big. The problem is; we just don’t know who he is.
The drive to the station was a sight to behold with Tigger bouncing around the back-seat cage.
“Take it easy pal.”, said Piglet, though he was ignored.
Finally, we got back to the station and put Tigger in an interrogation room to cool down.
Captain Eeyore was in his office, his usual grey and miserable self.
Still I had a lot of respect for the guy. A veteran officer, pretty close to retiring out for his 20. He’d seen a lot, never been a star, though was well respected by the brass. Sort of grey now, the only weird thing is the detachable tail with the pink bow on the end. He never talked about it and we never asked. Except on the numerous occasions where he would lose it and get quite upset.
He is loyal to the squad although he seems to harbour a poor opinion of us and smokes a pack of thistles a day.
“Report Rabbit”, he said abruptly as I and Piglet entered his office.
“Good morning Captain.”, we said.
“Wish I could say yes, but I can’t. If it is a good morning, which I doubt.”, he answered, setting the tone for the meeting.
“Sir. This morning we arrested a tiger called Tigger, downtown on a tip from one of our CIs. A real tweaker and we’ve got him in an interrogation room coming down so we can interrogate him. We think he’s got some information on the heffalump murder uptown.”, I summarised as best as possible.
“Honey wars?”, the Captain interjected.
“Yes sir. It’s a honeybath out there.”, said Lieutenant Piglet
“Yes sir”, I chimed in again, “We think if we can break this guy and find the murderer, we might get a lead on Mr Big. We might finally be able to bring down their operation.”
“Get to it”, the Captain said.
Twenty minutes later we were in the room with Tigger. He was still bouncing, yet more subdued and you could see in his eyes that the enthusiasm was wearing off.
“You still look a little jumpy buddy?”, I opened with.
“Tiggers don’t jump, they bounce! Don’t be ridikkerous! Consider yourself pounced!”, was the response.
Lieutenant Piglet generally plays bad cop when we interrogate, so he leapt round the interrogation desk, slapped Tigger and said:
“You’ll be pounced pretty soon buddy boy if you don’t start cooperating. We know you know the heffalump who got killed. What’s his name, what was he doing uptown and who shot him!”
“This isn’t working out the way I was hoping!”, said Tigger mournfully, “OK I knew the heffalump. His name is Heffridge Trumpler Brompet. Otherwise known as Lumpy. Young guy. Found he had a taste for hunney”, (that’s how he pronounced it). “Once he started, he couldn’t stop. Hunny?! Oh boy, hunny! That’s what Tiggers like best. …Yuck!! Tiggers don’t like hunny. That icky sticky stuff is only fit for Heffalumps and Woozles.”
I knew we were losing him again, so I leveraged some good cop.
“Look Tigger, we don’t want you. We want up the honey chain. You give us what we need, and you can bounce.”
He considered my deal for a moment, and the second hand on the clock ticked by until he finally answered.
“It’s a dangerous path I bounce… but I bounce it alone. Because the Hundred Acre Wood needs a hero. Pooh Bear! That’s the guy. And I’m the only one who can tell you. He’s got a girlfriend who works at the local bodega. Nice lady, but docile. Named Kanga. She has a young son out of wedlock, and I think she hangs with Pooh because he helps support her son with the cash, he gets from his hunny deals.”
“Ok Tigger”, I say, “If your story checks out, we’ll put a good word in for you with the DA.”
With that we left the tweaking tiger to the loving arms of Lady Justice.
Two hours later, Lieutenant Piglet and I were staking out the bodega. Piglet had even gone so far as to get us some coffee to get the lay of the place. We didn’t introduce ourselves. No need. Kanga wasn’t who we were looking for. We wanted to catch Pooh Bear and he was bound to make an appearance to see his girl. Least that was the tip we had.
An hour later than that, we got lucky as a short bear wearing a red shirt approached the bodega from the east side.
He had a strange walk. His arms were so stiff they didn’t move as he sauntered along. A fly came down and settled on his nose and he made no attempt to shoo it away. I don’t think he was capable of doing so.
“We’ve got him!”, I said as we both got out of the driver and passenger side of our Black Crown Vic. It was 40 feet to the Bodega, and we took it slow so as to not spook our target.
We drew our weapons and slowly pushed the door open, yet what greeted us was total surprise.
The bear had a large jar of honey already in his hand and had already stuffed a huge handful in his mouth. It didn’t seem possible with those little stiff arms. Even more surprising he had a Smith and Western 38 Special pointed right at Kanga and the kid in her pouch.
“I don’t have a shot!”, said Lieutenant Piglet agitated and anxious.
I did have a shot though and aimed directly at the jar of honey. It shattered covering the bear in honey. As he clawed at his eyes, we took him down in one quick sticky mess.
Now two hours and a change of suit later I had him handcuffed in our interrogation room; fur matted and completely immersed in a honey rage of epic proportions.
We’re running out of time, so we let him have it:
“Look Pooh. Because of Honey. You’re stuck in a hole and the more you get into the honey, the more you’re stuck in the hole. None of your friends can help you. Pretty soon you’ll be stuck down a rabbit hole forever.”
“Easy for you to say, Detective Rabbit.”, he snarled at me in that deceptively high voice. “What do you want with me anyway?”
“We want to know what happened to Lumpy the Heffalump. The kid with the honey fixation and the hole in his head. Whaddya know about that?”, I yelled right in his face.
“I don’t know. I was never there. Kanga will tell you, whatever you do, she’ll alibi me.”, he tried to make a smile, but it died right on his face.
“Sure Pooh, sure. After that little stunt aiming the 38 at her and her kid.”, I ventured, “I’m sure she’s right in your Pooh corner.”
A look came across his face and then he began to sob uncontrollably from years of honey abuse. “Look man, you don’t understand. I’ve got to have honey. I need honey and I can’t live without it. I sell anything, do anyone, rob anyone, just to get it.”
Piglet went in for the kill, “We don’t care about your honey sob story buddy. What happened to Lumpy?!!”, he was so heated, I could almost smell the bacon. “You know who sits on the bench on these cases? Republican Judge Robin! He hates honey crimes and you’ll probably get the needle if you don’t start giving us what we want!”
I joined in, “Yeah I hear some cops once dragged a bear down the stairs, bump, bump, bump and Judge Robin said it was the only way he knew of a bear coming down stairs, though he feels that maybe there is another way, though the cops don’t have time to stop and think of it. Then he thinks there isn’t. Though you’re already at the bottom and in his courtroom and ready to be introduced. Is that what you want?”
He was openly weeping now, though we weren’t going to let up and he knew it. “Lumpy. The kid and I robbed the honey warehouse downtown. We knew a big shipment was coming in and I knew the kid was hooked. I roped him into the caper, and it was for the money, though to feed a habit.”
“On the job though, the kid was green. As a heffalump, he made a lot of noise, he tripped over things. He was going to blow the whole deal. Finally, he made a loud noise with his trunk and I lost it. I pulled my 38 and plugged him right through the forehead. He made a little noise and then no more.”
“You stone cold honey addicted bastard.”, I said, “We have your gun and ballistics will match it to the slug we pulled out of the kid. You’re going away for a long time.”
He was whimpering now.
I knew I had to try. “Look Winnie. Can I call you Winnie? You’re looking at some serious time here. Though as much as it pains me to say it. You could still make a deal. As bad as it all is. Who is your supplier? Who is Mr. Big?”
“No way, they’ll kill me.”, said Pooh
“Either way….”, and I let it hang in the air.
“Who” said Pooh
“Who” I said.
“Yes, that’s right”, he said, that’s the noise he makes. Mr Big. Kingpin of the Honey Empire is City Councillor Owl.
“My God, we’ll never be able to get him.”, I said, “It will take us years to build the case.”
“Or you could catch him in the act”, said Pooh, “He insists on testing the first batch of honey personally, in case anyone is trying to rip him off.”
Next night we are outside a warehouse on stakeout. With SWAT ready to go in stealth mode.
Pooh is inside as expected making the exchange. He only barely has it together to avoid the needle. It could still go south really quickly.
Then it started to go south.
We overheard Owl say, “It’s just the sort of place, for an Ambush.”
“What sort of bush?” said Pooh “A gorse-bush?”, deflecting.
Fortunately, Councillor Owl is a supercilious old toilet and loves the sound of his own superiority.
“My dear Pooh,” said Councillor Owl in his superior way, “Don’t you know what an Ambush is?”
“An Ambush,” said Owl, “is a sort of Surprise.”
“So is a gorse-bush sometimes,” said Pooh.
Owl laughed and the testing of the product proceeded, and we all breathed a quiet sigh of relief.
Suddenly the exchange is complete, and we hear “Go, go, go!”.
We rush in behind SWAT and there is 20 minutes of confusion and fury. Guns blazing and bad guys biting the dust.
Piglet grabs Pooh and stops him taking advantage, though Owl has managed to get out of the side door and is running across the lot to his car. It’s futile, he must know we have him, though he still goes for it.
My bullet zings past him and he changes direction down the alley between this warehouse and the next. I come ‘round the corner and he has his gun out all grey and shadowy in the moonlight.
We both fire at once and years on the practice range trump the bravado of a corrupt career criminal.
Captain Eeyore comes up beside me as Piglet joins us as well. The Captain still looks depressed though; even after taking down this master criminal.
“Would this be what you’re looking for Captain?”, I say as I hand him his tail with the pink bow from inside my jacket.
“You’re a hell of a Detective Rabbit!”, he says.
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