Chapter 28: Sniffs & Snake (JB)

Published on 28 September 2023 at 00:14

“Oh my god! I think I’m gonna be sick!” Jimmy spit the words out like they were the most bitter things he had ever tasted. He shook his head sadly, grimacing as he did so. He sighed heavily, then pulled out a couple small notepads from his pocket and flipped through them until he found the one he wanted. He put the rest of them back in his pocket and grabbed the pen that was tucked into the spirals of the pad and ready to go. The notepad he had chosen had a picture of a cow on it, wearing a dunce cap and eating hay. It said Udder Madness underneath the picture. “This is the notepad I use when the cases make no sense,” he informed us somberly.


He sighed again. “Okay Mrs. B, I have a few questions for you.” My mom put on a big exaggerated worried face and leaned against the counter, fanning herself like a southern belle. “I’ll do my best to answer, it’s just so scary to be the victim of a crime!” She put her hand to her forehead. My dad rolled his eyes and rubbed his mustache to hide his smirk.


“So you hung up the laundry and then came back inside to watch TV. You say that you heard a noise and then saw someone outside in the yard. You shouted at them and they ran away, grabbing a pair of your pants on the way out. I have that all down right?”


My mom nodded yes. Jimmy shook his head no, slowly and sadly. “What is this world coming to when you can’t even protect your own pants?” He scribbled a note or two down. 


“And you say these pants were tan, with a white floral design on the pockets?” My mom nodded yes again. Jimmy wrote another note. “Very stylish, Mrs. B. They sound important.”


My mom’s ears perked up. “Oh, they are!” My mom began to lay it on thick, obviously proud that her plan was coming together perfectly. “They were my favorite pair, I only bring them out for special occasions. I was going to wear them to a dinner tonight, but now I don’t know if I’ll be able to.” She fanned herself again, looking faint. She may have served us meatloaf for dinner, but right now she was all ham.


“Okay, next question, and I hate to ask this Mrs. B but remember, it’s a sick world out there.” My mom stood a little straighter, concern beginning to creep into the corners of her mouth.


“The laundry that was left behind, did any of it seem like it had been sniffed?”


My mom’s face dropped, just a little. “Umm, no,” she said. Jimmy didn’t write that response down. “Are you sure? Did you check it for nose prints?”


My mom told him that no, she didn’t check for nose prints, but she’s sure it was just the pants that got taken, nothing else was touched. “Don’t worry Mrs. B, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Regular folks don’t think to check those things, that’s what us detectives are for.” My mom opened her mouth to interject, but Jimmy was just getting started.


“Us detectives only sniff out clues, don’t worry. But we’ve also seen things. The dark, seedy underbelly of Villa Park. Things you would see on SVU or something like that. Enough to have our own show, SVU: VP. But that’s an idea for later.”


“Maybe we - ,” my mom began but, once again, she got nowhere. “I don’t know why these dastardly underworld types do this,” he continued, oblivious to my moms interruption, “but they’ve been known to sniff things sometimes. Sometimes it’s socks. Most of the time though, it’s underwear.” He said the last word in a near whisper, emphasizing the heinousness of that crime.


My dad cleared his throat. “Nobody sniffed anything,” my dad said to him, firmly and with a hint of finality in his tone. The tone went right over Jimmy’s head.


“Of course, he could have sniffed any of your stuff, it’s not just exclusive to ladies underwear. But that is the most common thing. Mrs. B, what kind of underwear do you wear? Some of the softer material may leave an imprint behind.”


With a loud and sudden squeak, my dad pushed his chair back from the table. He opened his mouth to say something, paused, stroked his mustache, and then shook his head. “I’m going upstairs,” was all he landed on saying. “Let me know when the case is solved.”


Shortly after my dad went upstairs, my mom decided she didn’t want to answer too many more questions, the whole ordeal had drained her. She encouraged us to just go outside, go check out the ‘crime scene’ and see what answers we could get out there. 


We were a few steps outside when Jimmy held up a hand to halt us. He turned his nose up and sniffed the air. He turned to us and asked if we smelled that too. “Smell what?” I asked him. He shuddered. “Crime,” he answered.


I had no interest in looking at my moms underwear so I let him take the lead as always. Once he ascertained that there were no nose prints left behind, his eyes flickered about, taking in the whole yard. He stroked his chin and tapped his foot, humming quietly to himself as he thought. 


“Okay, first things first. JB, I need you to set up a perimeter.”


I sighed. “Why? It’s my yard, nobody is going to wander over.” 


Jimmy looked at me like I was the biggest idiot in the world. “Tell that to your mother’s special pants,” he said, the serious look on his face not matching the absurdity of his words. I sighed again, knowing that he had a point. Based on my mom’s story, anyways.


“Besides,” he went on, “it’s not just about keeping people out. It’s about keeping watch. For safety. Think about it. This maniac stole some pants. What’s next? It’ll be a shirt, maybe a coat or two. Soon, he’s taking tuxedos and whole wardrobes. Before long, he’ll need to take something bigger. Something like a human life.”


I decided I wasn’t going to argue with him. Especially since my dad’s phone had the game Snake on it. I told him I would keep my eyes out, then walked away to play a few games in the shade and, more importantly, the quiet.



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7 months ago

I hope nothing was sniffed in the writing of this story

9 days ago

You have to grow up quick when you're a detective. JBs mom sounds like a real diva