MAX FLY – GENTLE DENTAL FILL ‘EM AND DRILL ‘EM

 

Wanda Winchester
Reconciliation Expert
Zippy Doo, Head Of our Displaced Persons & Pest Control Divisions

My name is Max Fly, I’m a private eye and a damned good one. It was a Tuesday afternoon and it was raining cats and dogs and I just returned from the offices of the Burnt Corn Hippogryph, Burnt Corn Alabama’s weekly newspaper, where I dropped off a press release stating that our firm, Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations and Pest Control Services, was just named as Burn Corn’s largest, and only law firm, Dewey, Cheatam, & Howe, LLC, as their in-house investigators. I was dripping wet.

I hung up my dark brown oilcloth duster and white Stetson hat and unbuckled my rigging that held my Smith and Wesson .357 revolver and threw it next to my partner, Zippy Doo’s, that was hanging on the coat tree behind the door as I dropped down heavily into my chair. I was exhausted. I was wearing my Dan Post cowboy boots, my tight skinny Wrangler stretch jeans,  my bucking bronc belt buckle, and my yellow Snead State Community College sweatshirt. I lit a Cohiba and I grabbed a PBR out of the cooler sitting on the floor between my desk and Zippy’s.

Chico “Zippy Doo” Rodriguez, a sort of illegal green card carrying Hispanic from Matamoros, Mexico (his green card is a forgery), who heads up our displaced persons and pest control divisions, was seated next to me finishing a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. He let out a loud belch as he stacked his third empty on top of a pyramid of cans on the edge of his desk which he had started building last week. We were in the middle of discussing the recent and untimely death of Alabama’s longtime State Senator who was from Burnt Corn, Miss Dixie Normous, who was struck and killed by a transit bus driven by Van Ryder, one of the proprietors of the Burnt Corn Shuttle Service and Transmission Shop which is located off State Highway 84 on the outskirts of Burnt Corn, Alabama when the phone rang.

We both reached for it. Zippy was faster and he got there first.

“Max Fly, Private & Nefarious Investigations, and Pest Control Services. What do you want?”

I made a mental note to work on Zippy’s phone etiquette.

“Yeah, okay. How much do I owe you? What, $6.95? That’s highway robbery. I ought to turn you into Sheriff Wyatt Hertz for price gauging,” Zippy yelled as he slammed down the receiver.

“Who was that?” I asked.

“That little Chinese guy, Sum Tsing Wong, who owns that new Chinese Restaurant,  Soon Fatt Chinese Take Away. Wanda and I are sharing a plate of Shitake Fried Rice with Water Chestnuts. Sum Tsing Wong is on his way over with the delivery.”

Wanda is Wanda Winchester who is our Reconciliation Expert and also serves as our firearms instructor when she’s sober.

“Are you paying for it out of petty cash?” I asked.

“Yep. I’ll give him a buck tip, even though he is overcharging for that stuff. I know how much rice you can get for $6.95. Hell, when I was in Viet Nam an entire village could eat rice for a month on that kind of money.”

“You were never in Viet Nam, Zip. Since you are paying for that out of petty cash, I’ll take a little plate of it to see how it tastes.”

“Help yourself. You know she wants to be cremated, don’t you Max?”

“Who wants to be cremated?”

“Dixie Normous. I think she’s doing it because she realized that her last hope to have a smoking hot body is to be cremated. Claire Voyant, the personal secretary for Hugh Cheatam, called and said that Mr. Cheatam would appreciate it if we showed up for Dixie Normous’ celebration of life.”

“Where is it going to be held?”

“They took the body to the Barry M. Stiff Funeral Home in Monroeville. The celebration is at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow.

The door swung open, almost toppling the coat tree that stood behind it that was holding our Smith and Wesson .357’s, coats and other paraphernalia, and in strutted this little bald Chinese man, Sum Tsing Wong, carrying a small white bag that, I have to admit, gave off a tantalizing aroma.

Zip grabbed the bag from him and said, “What’s this? This can’t be the entire order. Not for $6.95.” Zip opened the bag and looked up at Sum Tsing Wong and yelled, “Something’s wrong, there’s no fortune cookie in here? What kinda Chinese joint doesn’t serve fortune cookies?”

“I sorry, but Hymie Horowitz’ Food Service truck it break down this morning and no make delivery. So no fortune cookie. Now you pay.”

“You get your food from a Jewish food service? I can’t believe this. Not much in here,” Zip said, still peering into the bottom of the small white bag.

“Horowitz truck have rice too. This all you get today. Call again and you might get more. Now you pay.”

After Sum Tsing Wong left, muttering under his breath because he couldn’t convince Zip to cough up the $1.00 tip, Wanda walked in and sat down and opened the lower drawer of her desk and pulled out her bottle of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and an empty jelly jar, pouring in a couple of fingers of the brown liquid. We shared what little there was of the Shitake Fried Rice with Water Chestnuts and we each cracked open another PBR when the phone rang again.

Thankfully Wanda got it before Zip did.

“Good afternoon, Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations and Pest Control Services, how may I help you?”

“Oh hi, Evelyn, how are you?”

“Good, I am glad to hear that. Really? When? Okay, I’ll pass that on to Max. He’s sitting right next to me. We are finishing our lunch. Shitake Fried Rice with Water Chestnuts.”

“From that new Chinese restaurant that just opened up in Burnt Corn, Soon Fatt Chinese Take Away. The little owner is so cute. His name is Sum Tsing Wong. Isn’t that funny?”

“I know.”

“Yes, yes, a three bedroom and two baths; that’s right as long as it’s not too far out of town. Okay, I’ll tell him. I’ll see you then, goodbye.”

Wanda hung up and grabbed her can of PBR. It was empty.

“Zip, would you mind grabbing me another Blue Ribbon?” she asked.

“On its way,” Zippy replied.

“Well, aren’t you going to tell us who that was on the phone and what the call was about?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m sorry, that was Evelyn Sackryder, from Sax Real Estate Brokerage over in Monroeville. She has been looking for a house for me and she thinks she found one that is pretty close to the office here in Burnt Corn.”

“Okay, but you said ‘I’ll pass that on to Max’ so what will you pass on to me?”

“Oh, she said something fishy is going on over at the Gentle Dental Drill ‘Em and Fill ‘Em Family Practice on Payne Avenue. The front entrance was open when she drove past it and it was still open about thirty minutes later when she returned. She thought you might want to go over and see if everything is okay.”

“Why didn’t she call Sheriff Wyatt Hertz or his deputy, Hiram Firam?”

“She said she did, but nobody answered the phone.”

“That’s not surprising, nobody is ever there,” Zippy burped, “I don’t know why us taxpayers even bother providing an office for those two clowns.”

“You don’t pay taxes, Zip,” Wanda, who also doubles as our bookkeeper, said.

Zippy ignored her. “Did she call over to Patty Mae’s All Night Bar and Pool Hall? They’re usually there getting comped for something.”

“She did and Patty said she thinks they are over in Monroeville looking at Dixie Normous’ body before they set it on fire.”

“Okay, finish that PBR and grab your shootin’ iron, Zippy. It looks like we got us another situation here. Wanda, you try to reach Sheriff Hertz over at Barry M. Stiff’s Funeral Home in Monroeville and see if he can break away and get over here.”

“I’ll get the Fly Mobile,” Zippy yelled as he strapped on his rigging while checking the chambers of his Smith and Wesson .357 to make sure it was loaded.

Dr. Ken Hurt opened the Gentle Dental Drill ‘Em and Fill ‘Em Family Dental Practice in May at 100 Payne Avenue in downtown Burnt Corn and has seen a steady growth in business ever since. Most of the residents of Burnt Corn had been driving the fifteen miles to Monroeville to get drilled and filled at Dr. Henry Drewel’s Dental Office who on numerous occasions was heard saying, “When I’m in doubt, I pull ‘em out.”

Burnt Corn folks find it more convenient to be able to walk downtown in Burnt Corn and be sitting in Dr. Hurt’s chair within five minutes and still be able to make it back in time to enjoy the various activities available in Burnt Corn, like hearing local author, Rhoda Book, recite her poetry or Clay Earth, proprietor of the Burnt Corn Nursery and Cemetery and his wife, Helen Earth, sing the famous aria Glück das mir verblieb from the 1920 opera Die tote Stadt (The Dead City), in acapella in the Burnt Corn City Park.

When Zippy and I arrived at the Gentle Dental office, the front door was still wide open and we both drew our .357’s as we entered the building.

The lights were on and soft soothing music was coming from the speakers in the ceiling but no one was around.

I turned to Zip and motioned for him to follow me. “Stay close, in case someone decides to shoot. It will give them someone else to aim at.”

We looked in both procedure rooms and the chairs were empty as was the doctor’s private office. While there, we heard a noise coming from behind a locked door across the hall. The sign on the door said “Storage Room.”

We tried the door but it was locked, we would have to kick it in. Normally, Tommy “Sneakers” Corona, head of our Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Division, did the kicking in of doors for us because he had his black belt in karate but he was unavailable; he was vacationing in Cosa Rica.

“You want the honors of kicking in the door, Zip?” I asked.

Before he could respond, we heard a muffled voice in the storage room say, “Please, don’t kick it in, a spare key is in the middle desk drawer in the lobby.”

Zippy found the key and we were able to open the door and untie the doctor and his young assistant, the lovely Ginger Vitus.

About this time, Deputy Sheriff Hiram Firam drove up in his Chevy Caprice with his blue lights flashing and his siren blasting. He entered the office with his service revolver drawn, a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum.

After we brought him up to date on the information we had, he sat down with Ms. Vitus and Dr. Hurt to fill out his report.

“So, do you know who did this to you?”

Ivan Oder, Number 3 on Burnt Corn’s Most Wanted List

“Yes we do, Dr. Hurt said. “It was Ivan Oder. He came in for a cleaning but his teeth were so bad I told him we couldn’t clean them that he would be better off having them extracted. He misunderstood me and thought it would only be one or two teeth, but we had to extract almost all of them.

“When he saw how many teeth were gone he went crazy, saying we made him look unattractive and he would have a difficult time dating anyone. When presented with the bill he refused to pay and pulled out a gun demanding his teeth back before forcing us into the storage room. Before he left, he took all five tanks of laughing gas.”

“He took what?” Deputy Firam asked.

“Nitrous Oxide; it’s a controlled substance and can easily be overdosed. We mix it with oxygen. I think I heard him say something about using it to fill balloons. If he doesn’t know what he is doing, he could die.

“Maybe we should get the Drug Enforcement Agency in on this since it’s a controlled substance?” Zippy interjected.

“I can handle this,” Deputy Hiram Firam spat at Zippy before looking in the direction of the cowering Ms. Ginger Vitus.

“Usually it’s high school kids around graduation time who steal laughing gas. We never had an adult steal it,” Dr. Hurst said.

“Can you give me a description of this Ivan Oder?” Deputy Firam asked.

“I can do better than that. We have his picture. It’s on the Happy Face Wall along with all of our happy patients. We were going to take it down anyway. Some of the mother’s of the children said their kids were scared of it. I told Ginger we should only have children’s pictures up there anyway.”

“Do you think you can catch him, Deputy Firam?” Ginger Vitus asked, batting her eyes coyly at the portly officer.

“He can run, but if he does, he’ll only be going to jail tired ‘cause we’ll catch him, little darlin’. That you can bet your teeth on.”

“We are sure fortunate to have you around, deputy. I feel safer already.”

Zippy turned to me and stuck his finger in this mouth and rolled his eyes.

After Deputy Firam finished up and left, taking Ivan Oder’s picture with him along with Miss Ginger Vitus’ telephone number, I approached Dr. Hurt and suggested that he contact Burnt Corn Good Humor Alarm and Security Systems, that we monitored them 24/7. If he had, we could have been here much sooner and most likely have apprehended the perp.

“I think I will call them tomorrow. Thank you, Mr. Fly. Would you care for a cleaning?”

MAX FLY PRIVATE EYE AND THE PHAT HO CAPER

This is another episode from the files of Max Fly, Private Eye, President and CEO of Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control Services located in downtown Burnt Corn, Alabama, where we have been protecting the innocent people of Burnt Corn from murder, narcotics distribution, robbery, extortion, loansharking and other nasty mafia behavior for over ten years. We are also licensed as pest control agents.

Max Fly, Private Eye
President & CEO of
Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control
Zippy Doo, Head Of our Displaced Persons & Pest Control Divisions

My name is Max Fly, Private Eye and I am a damned good one at that. The night in question was a hot Friday in July, the office was thick and heavy with cigar smoke in spite of the oscillating fan that was blowing in humid air from downtown Burnt Corn Alabama. The flashing red neon lights from Patty Mae’s All Night Bar and Pool Hall, located across the street next to the Burnt Corn All Night Diner and Laundromat, were dancing eerily on the office wall as Wanda Winchester, who heads up our reconciliation division, walked in with two large five cheese pizzas, a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, a box of Cohiba Cigars, and a quart of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey.

Wanda Winchester
Luigi Licavoli, V. P. Operations

The pizza was from We Serve It Hot Pizza Parlor located next to the Burnt Corn General Store which is next to the Mockingbird Inn out on Alabama Highway 84. Normally their driver, Freda Livery, would bring the pizza to us but she has been experiencing some personal problems lately and we found it to be quicker just to drive out and pick it up ourselves. I was sitting around the card table with Chico “Zippy Doo” Rodriguez, head of our Displaced Persons & Pest Control Divisions, Tommy “Sneakers” Corona, head of our Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Division, and Luigi Licavoli, V. P. Operations. We were playing a game of Canasta, a card game I learned while on an assignment in Uruguay a few years ago, and which I taught to my staff upon my return. I was wearing my brown freshly polished Dan Post cowboy boots, my tight skinny Wrangler stretch jeans, sporting my bucking bronc belt buckle, a blue Snead State Community College sweatshirt, and my new white Stetson hat, which was cocked back on my head. I looked really good.

Tommy “Sneakers” Corona, Heads our Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Division

Zippy was about to deal the cards when the buzzing began. It was coming from the alarm monitoring panel we had installed when we contracted with the Burnt Corn Good Humor Alarm and Security Systems to monitor the alarms installed in the businesses and private residents in Burnt Corn, Alabama.
Wanda dropped the pizzas, cigars, and PBR in the middle of the table, scattering plastic chips in all directions, she kept the Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey clutched to her ample bosom, and walked over to the panel where lights were flashing and the buzzing continued indicating a break-in was in progress somewhere. She flipped a switch and the noise stopped.
“The alarm has been tripped at Phat Ho’s Curly Que Hair/Nail Salon and Massage Parlor. Do you think it’s a false alarm?”
“Most likely,” Luigi Licavoli uttered as he gathered some of Zippy Doo’s plastic chips, stuffing them in his jacket pocket. “Who in their right mind would break into Phat Ho’s place?”
“I saw that Luigi,” Zippy yelled reaching out and grabbing Luigi’s arm. “Give ‘em back.”
“I’m going to give her a call and let her know,” Wanda announced. “Should we bother to call Sheriff Wyatt Hertz to get him to go over there? It’s Friday night and he usually can’t be found until morning unless he is spending the night with Lacie Shorts but she is on that weekend cruise down the Saugahatchee Creek she won in that drawing at Patty Mae’s last month.”
“I will call the sheriff as soon as Luigi coughs up my chips,” Zippy screamed.
“Oh, all right,” Luigi yelled, slapping the plastic chips down on the table in front of Zippy.
“Do we have any clean glasses in here, Max?” Wanda asked looking around the room while she unscrewed the cap on the Fireball bottle.
“In the lower lefthand drawer of my desk,” I replied.
Wanda pulled out the drawer and took out a glass. “Hey, ain’t this the one where the clothes disappear on the girl as you add the liquid?”
“Yeah, don’t use that one it’s my favorite. Use one of the other ones with the PBR logo that Sneaker’s took from Patty Mae’s place.”
One of the many services that we provide the residents of the lovely metropolis of Burnt Corn Alabama is residential as well as business alarm monitoring and we were busy at work fulfilling our duty.
After Zippy confirmed that Sheriff Wyatt Hertz and his deputy, Hiram Firam, were nowhere to be found, we went into action.
“Okay, listen up everyone,” I bellowed, “it appears we are on our own. Everyone grab your rigging and Smith and Wesson .357’s. Make sure they are loaded and you only have five in the box. I don’t want any unwarranted shootings. Zippy, you and Luigi will cover the back entrance of the Phat Ho’s shop. Sneakers, you come with me and Wanda, fill the cooler with some PBR and bring some pizza in case we are in a standoff.”
“You got it, boss,” she replied as she threw back what was left of the Fireball in her PBR glass.
“I’ll bring around the Fly Mobile,” Zippy hollered as he ran to the door.
“Zip, we don’t need the Fly Mobile.The Phat Ho’s place is next door,” I responded, shaking my head.
“Okay, boys, and girl, let’s git ‘er done.”
Once I was sure everyone was in place I nodded at Tommy “Sneaker’s, who had a black belt in Karate, to bust down the door.
Sneaker’s lifted his left leg and spun around, sending a mighty kick aimed directly at the lock below the door handle.
“Holy shit,” Sneaker’s yelled, grasping his knee and falling to the ground. “I think I busted it.”
“The door?” I asked.
“No, my knee.”
I looked over and noticed the door was still shut and appeared not to have been damaged at all from Sneaker’s roundhouse kick when Wanda walked up to the door with the cooler filled with PBR and the box of five cheese pizza in her hands.
“You should know that Phat Ho never locks her door, Max,” she said as she turned the handle and the door opened.
“Can you walk, Sneaker’s?” I asked.
“I think so,” he replied.
“All right then, grab your iron and stay close to me. If someone is in here, it will give them someone else to shoot at.”
We noticed a faint light in the back of the shop and as we approached we could see someone sitting in the chair while another person was bent over opening a cabinet drawer.
“Damn,” Sneaker’s whispered, ‘that’s Ronnie Blokkenbak, that former Auburn University football player who just moved here from Monroeville.
Ronnie Blokkenbak was sitting in a chair with curlers in his hair and a big hair drying bonnet over his head, reading the National Enquirer while his girlfriend, Sue Flay, a part-time cook at the Waffle House out on Highway 84 was holding a bottle of Dippity Doo hair gel and rummaging through a drawer next to the chair where Blokkenbak was seated.

Ronnie Blokkenbak Former Auburn Football Star
Sue Flay

I hollered, “Freeze, you mothers and get down on the floor.”
I looked over at Tommy Sneaker’s Corona who was laid out flat on the floor with his hands over his head. “What are you doing, Sneaker’s, I’m talking to them, not you.”
About that time the back door swung open and in came Zippy Doo and Luigi Licavoli with their .357’s pointing at Sue Flay and Ronnie Blokkenbak.
Ronnie’s eyes got as big as they did when he was about to be hit by that big Alabama defensive lineman in the Iron Bowl up in Birmingham back in ’72. The one that ended his football playing days for good.
Then Wanda Winchester came in chewing on a piece of the five cheese pizza when she recognized Sue Flay.
“What in cornbread hell are you doin’ in here, Suzie and who is that thing with them metal things in his hair?”
“Why, Wanda, that’s my new beau, Ronnie. You know, the one I told you about, the football hero from Auburn?”
“He played football?”
“He sure did and now he is going to be a big shot attorney, as soon as he gets accepted in law school somewhere.”
I had enough of all the girl talk and broke into their conversation, “You do realize, Sue Flay, that breaking and entering will most likely keep Ronnie Blokkenbak from becoming a lawyer just like the lickin’ he got from that big ol’ Bama boy back in ’72 ended his football playing days.”
“What breakin’ and enterin’ you talkin’ about, Max? That Phat Ho said I could come in here after hours and use her facilities whenever I needed to. We do what they call bartering. I get her some free cheese eggs and grits and a side of hash browns, which she likes scattered, smothered, covered, and chunked, and in turn, I get free use of her facilities. That way we don’t have to pay taxes.”
We holstered our irons and confirmed with the Phat Ho that Sue Flay was telling the truth and they actually were in a business bartering group.
We made amends for interrupting and scaring Sue Flay and Ronnie Blokkenbak by sharing our PBR and five cheese pizza with them while Ronnie’s hair finished drying.
Later that night, after picking up empty cans of PBR and disposing of leftover pizza, I wrote my report to the Burnt Corn Good Humor Alarm and Security Systems, informing them of our fast response time to what turned out to be a false alarm at the Phat Ho’s Curly Que Hair/Nail Salon and Massage Parlor.
I am one lucky man. I get to do what I like to do best, protect the good people of Burnt Corn, Alabama and I get paid well to do it.

MAX FLY AND THE WALMART CAPER

Max Fly, Private Eye
President & CEO of
Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control

The name is Max Fly and I am a private eye, a damn good one too! I was sitting at my desk staring out the window at the Burnt Corn All Night Diner and Laundromat watching a well-endowed waitress by the name of Bea Heine, serve up an order of cheese grits and scrambled eggs with a side of hash browns smothered and covered,  to Wayne Dwopps, our local TV weatherman, and wondering why the phone hadn’t rung in over a week.

My desk is located next to my partner’s, Chico “Zippy Doo” Rodriguez, a sort of illegal green card carrying Hispanic from Matamoros, Mexico, a small town a few miles across the Rio Grande River from El Paso, Texas. Zippy heads up our displaced persons and pest control divisions.

Zippy Doo, Head Of our Displaced Persons & Pest Control Divisions

“You all right, Max?” Zippy asked. “You look like one of them dummies at the Burnt Corn General Store.”

“I don’t know, Zip, a little down I guess. Today is kinda slow. Nothing on the docket. Actually, the whole damn week is kinda slow. Okay, it’s been a slow year. The last case we had was when Alan Skidmore contacted us and told us that someone had broken into his trailer and stole five pounds of bacon out of his refrigerator.”

“Wasn’t that when his wife got up for a midnight snack and was afraid to admit it.”

“Yeah, it was. Luckily, I took along Wanda Winchester, our reconciliation expert and she detected a faint bacon scent on the breath of Skidmore’s wife and she finally confessed.”

The phone rang. Both Zippy and I reached for it. Zippy was faster.

“Max Fly, Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control. Who is this?”

“This is Freda, Freda Livery, what’s your address there?” Freda is lacking in social graces and is the delivery girl for the “We Serve It Hot Pizza Parlor” located in downtown Burnt Corn where she works to pay for her tuition at the Burnt Corn Automotive and Bus Mechanics College, an online technical school.

“Freda,” Zippy began, “there are only 300 people in Burnt Corn and you have made deliveries here before how can you be lost? Aren’t you part Muskogee Indian? I thought Indians were supposed to be great trackers.”

“My people were great trackers until the white man civilized us.”

“Where is Gilroy doesn’t he usually ride with you?” Zippy asked.

Gilroy is Gilroy Skindancer another local Musgokee Indian and Freda’s boyfriend.

“Gilroy’s in jail. Sheriff Hertz pulled him in on an outstanding drunk and disorderly warrant.”

Sheriff Hertz is Wyatt Hertz, Burnt Corn’s ersatz Sheriff the main reason people refer clients to us. He and his deputy, Hiram Firam, are about as incompetent a pair of law enforcement officers as a pair can be.

Freda walked in with our pizza within five minutes after Zippy got her straightened away.

“That’ll be $7.95.”

Zippy paid her out of our petty cash fund, which was beginning to dwindle pretty fast, along with a $1.00 tip.

“Hey, hold up there, Freda,” Zippy yelled. “This pizza is cold. What’s up with that?”

“Oh, I had to stop at the laundromat and put my clothes in the dryer before they began to stink. Gilroy was supposed to do that, but you know what happened to him. Don’t you have a microwave in this dump?”

“If we had a microwave, we wouldn’t have had to call you for a HOT pizza!” Zippy yelled.

“Whatever,” she replied slamming the door behind her.

“Damn, Max, what are these fishy looking things? I didn’t order fish on this pizza. It’s supposed to be a five cheese pizza.”

“They look like anchovies, I think. Just pick ‘em off. I’m not hungry anyway.”

The phone rang. Zippy was slamming the first piece of pizza sans anchovies, in his mouth so I beat him to it.

“Max Fly, Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control, how may I help you?”

“Mr. Fly?”

I knew I didn’t know who this person was as nobody who knows me calls me mister.

“Yeah, who is this?” I replied.

“This is Frank, Frank Ferter. I am the security guard at the Walmart out on the by-pass.”

Frank didn’t need to tell me where the Walmart was as Burnt Corn only encompasses about five square miles and it isn’t really a bypass, it’s Alabama Highway 84 and there is only one Walmart. The next nearest one is in Monroeville about fifteen miles to the east.

“What can I do for you, Mr. Ferter?”

“Well, it appears we have a situation here and we can’t reach Sheriff Wyatt Hertz nor that worthless deputy of his, Hiram Firam. Nobody is answering the phone at the Sheriff’s office. My boss, Ms. Derry Yare, suggested that I call you.”

“Did you try reaching the sheriff at Patty Mae’s All Night Bar and Pool Hall?”

“Yeah, and Patty Mae said she ain’t seen them either. Can you come on out? Ms. Derry Yare said she would pay your fee if you can help us here.”

I looked over at Zippy. There was a pile of anchovies sitting next to the box of pizza. He had already consumed half the pizza and was guzzling down a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.

“Well, my assistant and I are in the middle of our dinner. Can’t this wait?”

“Not really, Mr. Fly, I’m afraid it can’t. We have a situation here. There is total chaos and I am the only security personnel in here. The rest are female Walmart clerks and in spite of what all the wimmen are claiming these days, they just ain’t up to handling the altercation that I have on my hands now.”

“Tell me what’s going on, Mr. Ferter.”

“You don’t have to call me mister, mister, you can call me Frank. We got a Miss Josseleen Elida Sanchez here. She was driving a motorized shopping cart, without a drivers license I might add, through our Walmart while gorging herself on five-finger-discount grub and guzzling down some of our finest discount wine. I caught her grabbing a package of our week old fresh sushi, eat a piece, and then return it to the shelf.

Miss Josseleen Elida Sanchez

Next on her menu were mini muffins and cinnamon rolls. The damn woman consumed them in the same fashion as the sushi and, are you ready for this, Mr. Fly? For the main course, she ate a whole damn rotisserie chicken. By the end of the meal, she had drained two bottles of wine. All told, Ms. Derry Yare said she consumed $32.36 in food and drink, without even leaving a tip.

When I asked Sanchez why she did it she said that she was hungry and did not want to take any of the items outside of the store, but did consume everything she could while inside the store.”

“Where is she now, Frank?”

“She broke loose and jumped on the motorized shopping cart and is now riding around our parking lot. She has already rammed it into a Toyota Yaris and it looks like the Yaris is totaled. That damn Yaris is smaller than our motorized shopping carts. I didn’t know we had any tree huggers living in Burnt Corn who would buy one of them things. They must be visiting or passin’ through.

How soon can you get here, Mr. Fly?”

I glanced over at Zippy again and noticed that the only thing left to eat were the anchovies.

“You can call me Max,” I said. “We can be there in five minutes, but we have a hasty response fee of ten dollars that we charge when responding to situations without prior notice.”

“I’m sure Ms. Derry Yare will be inclined to pay your hasty response charge.”

“We are on our way.”

I hung up and grabbed my hat and my Smith and Wesson .357 that was located in my rigging hanging over the back of my chair.

“Finish that Pabst Blue Ribbon and grab your shootin’ iron, Zippy. We got us a situation.”

I filled Zippy in on what was happening as he slid behind the wheel of the Fly Mobile and headed toward Alabama Highway 84 that Frank Ferter referred to as the Burnt Corn By-Pass.

When we pulled into the Burnt Corn Walmart we noticed a large crowd of people milling around in front of the store, staring out at the parking lot where a diminutive Hispanic woman was driving erratically with a portly uniformed guard, who we assumed was Mr. Frank Ferter, in hot pursuit on foot.

Zippy pulled in next to him and asked him if that was the suspect he was chasing.

Mr. Ferter bent over at the waist and placed his hands on his thighs as he wheezed, “What in the hell do you think? Of course, it is. Do you think I’m out here running a freakin’ 10K road race?”

“No need for the sarcasm, Mr. Ferter,” I replied. “Hop in the back we’ll give you a ride.”

“Head east,” he gasped, “she’s heading to the store. We can cut her off. Damn, the battery on that cart should be about dead by now. She’s been riding around for a good forty-five minutes. I feel like I sweated off at least five pounds.”

“Which way is east,” Zippy asked.

Mr. Frank Ferter looked at him and said while pointing to his left, “If you don’t know directions, how in the hell did you ever get out of Mexico?”

Zippy looked at him with disgust and replied, “That’s why we hire coyotes. They know where they are going and none of them are fat.”

When we turned the corner around the back of the store the suspect almost ran head-on into the Fly Mobile. She yanked the wheel to the right and jumped out, doing a perfect jump and roll, making me wonder if she was a former airborne ranger, and proceeded to run up a hill on foot.

“I can’t run anymore,” Frank Ferter snorted, “I’m plumb worn out. One of you has to go get her.”

I looked over at Zippy and he said, “Hell, Max, I’m driving.”

“The car’s stopped, Zip. You can get her.”

“Let’s settle this with Paper, Scissors, and rock,” Zippy replied.

“Dammit, both of you guys go. I think she grabbed some Ding Dongs on her way out the store. We are paying you your hasty response fee, so respond.”

The fact that we hadn’t had a case for quite awhile and we needed the money, we both jumped out of the Fly Mobile, Zippy took the keys before we headed up the hill in pursuit of Ms. Sanchez.

Since Zippy was a heavy smoker, he petered out about halfway up so when I crested the top of the ridge, I realized I was on my own and I was wheezing myself.

I looked down and I spotted the suspect sitting behind a rather large boulder eating her package of Ding Dongs and washing it down with a bottle of Thunderbird wine. I hoped that wasn’t the wine Mr. Frank Ferter was referring to when he said she was consuming some of their finest discount wine.

I pulled out my Smith and Wesson .357 as I approached.

“Excuse me, Miss,” I panted, “but I am going to have to ask you to come with me.”

She looked up at me and smiled, “Why don’t you sit down and join me for a little refreshment. I have another package of Ding Dongs and there is more than enough of this Thunderbird wine left for both of us,” she said, thrusting out the bottle in my direction.

I never was a big fan of Thunderbird. I preferred Ripple in my day, but I grabbed the bottle anyway and placed it down on the ground behind me.

“Why don’t you come back with me?” I responded, holding out my hand.

She grabbed it and I helped her up, surprised at how tiny she was.

When we got back to Walmart, Sheriff Wyatt Hertz and his deputy, Hiram Firam were there talking to a woman who I assumed was Ms. Derry Yare. The lights were rotating on the top of their Chevrolet Caprice squad car, casting a blue brilliance off the back wall of the building. Zippy and Frank Ferter were over to the side arguing about Coyotes and illegal immigrants.

I handed over Ms. Sanchez to Sheriff Hertz.

“Mr. Fly? I’m Ms. Derry Yare, the store manager. I wish to thank you for your help when there was none to be found anywhere,” she said, her eyes blazing at Sheriff Hertz.

Fly Mobile

“Please follow me and I’ll get you your money. I like your car. What kind is it?”

“It’s a 1958 Oldsmobile 98. We call it the Fly Mobile.”

“Nice. Here you go and I have included two Walmart gift cards as a bonus.”

“That’s mighty nice of you, Ms. Derry Yare, thank you.”

“That’s quite all right. By the way, are you married Mr. Fly?”