Overshare: I wake up most mornings with a half a dozen characters, a plotline or two, and a bunch of run-on sentences doing the polka in my head with their work boots on. After the requisite morning constitutions are ratified, and the area is cordoned off with police tape, I oftentimes just let these night-grown inspirations fade away.
Well, no more! I am resolved to give my readers something to read! How about a good old-fashioned serial? Compelling, bent-widget characters with a rollicking plot fraught with lotsa knots, cliff-hangers and roundabouts that meet in the middle.
Roll, Reimer Reindeers, roll…
Episode Three: Everything must come to an end. Except for farmer sausage, that has two ends. (869 words, about an eight-minute read)
“Let’s put them in the penalty box,” Deputy-Inspector, Detective Lex Roget, Oarless’ partner said to the desk officer at the Prairie’s End Police Station.
“Ahh, gonna interrogate them, eh, Inspector?” the officer said, winking. He punched his palm with a clenched fist.
“It’s not what you think,” barked Roget, a cigar stub jammed into the corner of his expressive lips, “and by the way, Kowalski, it’s Detective Roget! Got it?”
“Yes, SIR! Detective Roget, sir. I’ve got it.”
“That’s good. In fact, it’s of benefit. Meritorious, even,” Roget said.
Old Man Reimer and Wade Oswald were cuffed, their hands behind their backs. Kowalski steered them and Randy the Accounts Receivable clerk ahead of him towards the Interrogation Room. They followed Danielle down the hallway. She carried Wade’s briefcase and commented to no one in particular, “Things ain’t changed a bit around here.”
Kowalski smiled at Roget and clucked his tongue. “Same old Danielle!”
“Same old, same old, or equally antiquated, you could also say,” Roget replied.
Little Ben sat in the observation room, one knee jackrabbiting spasmodically. He tapped fingertips on the tabletop in nervous counter-rhythm, waiting to see his father and Randy Randall, the despicable Accounts Receivable clerk, appear through the one-way glass.
* * *
“Thank you for your information, Mr. Reimer,” Lieutenant Danielle Oarless had said to him when he appeared in the Pembina, ND field office a few days earlier. The younger Reimer swore a deposition and provided powerful evidence to Oarless and Roget.
“Illegal transport of baking supplies is a scourge. It depletes U.S. stocks of vainilla negra extract, plus the VAT and income taxes that Canada loses to this flavour trafficking is significant too. Our agency normally puts more emphasis on illegal drugs, but the vainilla cartels are a growing problem. She pronounced it, “van-eee-yah,” enunciating with great care. Reimer took no notice, knowing this was, in fact, approximately the correct pronounciation, en español.
“Van-eee-yah? What is van-eee-yah? We’re talkin’ about the same stuff, eh? Vanilla extract, right? The brown stuff you put in whipped cream?” Roget asked, vexed. Oarless nodded, passing an odd, angry look at Roget as she did so.
It made no difference to Little Ben Reimer. Drugs, vanilla, or vainilla—his end game was purely to see his father go to jail. The fact that it was for the illegal importation of flavouring agents, el tráfico sabor, was fine with him: crime is crime, was the way he looked at it. If he could get his old man out of the way, the path was clear for him to take over the company and show everyone what he could do.
“It’s always gonna be, Mr. Reimer, no more ‘Little Ben’!” he said under his breath as the two Border Patrol agents argued about something in hushed tones.
“I felt it was my duty to reveal the scheme,” Reimer said, adding a thick coat of verbal varnish.
“The trucks have false fenders,” he continued. “Bottles of extract, mostly vanilla—vainilla—but also some Almond and the occasional Mint from Quintana Roo and Guanajuato are hidden in bladders inside the wheel well,” he explained, speaking clearly into the recorder microphone. “The contraband is shipped into our Toronto terminal for Canadian distribution.”
“Ingenious,” Oarless muttered.
“Shrewd!” Roget said.
“And tattooed!” said the mildly hard-of-hearing Lieutenant.
* * *
And now the dominoes had begun to fall. Little Ben watched with predatory intensity as his father, Randy, and Wade Oswald sat in the sparsely furnished room, guarded by Kowalski. Oarless and Roget joined Little Ben in the observation chamber.
“What’s he doing here?” Little Ben demanded.
“Who?” Roget asked.
“Oswald! He’s the company accountant and it’s supposed to be his day off,” Little Ben said, then quickly added, “at least, I think so, anyway—not sure…”
Oarless and Roget exchanged a look.
“Like you say, he’s the accountant. You’d think he’d have to know about the smuggling, right? Anyway, we’ll find out soon enough if he’s dirty or not,” Danielle said, eyes narrowing below her unibrow.
“Good cop or bad cop?” she continued, looking down at Roget.
Bad, nefarious, irremediable,” Roget replied.
“Okay, Lex, old buddy,” Danielle said, “You’re up, as we used to say in Angle Inlet. Get in there and make them sweat!”
“Well, people say that just about everywhere. I mean, onomatologically, ‘You’re up’—that’s pretty common, it’s not geographically specific—” Roget stammered, but was interrupted (thank God!) when Juanita burst into the room, her mascara running in Tammy-like streaks down her cheeks. She posed dramatically, arms raised, and shouted,
“Stop! Hold yer damn horses!”
She paused with dramatic effect, her breath coming in heaving sobs as she looked lovingly through the glass at her cherished boy, Wade. Her teeth gritted, and the two trained law enforcement agents immediately noticed the brownish tinge on the enamel. In her hands she held a pint container of Blue Boy French Vanilla ice cream and a gleaming tablespoon, sparkling as only a recently licked spoon can…
“I did it,” she said in a wavering soprano. “I smuggled in the FREAKING VANILLA! It was me!” She threw the spoon down with a jangling clamour. “Plus, I shot a man down in Juarez, just to see— him— die!”
Next: Johnny Cash Lyrics or True Confessions?
Quintana Roo’s on First?
Please stand by: Episode Four will DROP on Friday @ 5:55 a.m. and Danielle is in NO MOOD to be messed with.