The truth, huh? Alright, I’ll start with the truth, but truth can be a tricky thing when you’re face to face with a bull gator and nothing betwixt you and a bony dinner but the home-made poultice of orange-rind and cinnamon that Momma P. made for warding off the spirits. If you want the truth, it’s simple – Ol’ Darryl was knee deep in his evenin’ pastrami and egg sandwich when my pager went off.
Beep. Beep. Bop. Boop. Boop.
That’s how you always know it’s gonna be a good one. That late-night buzz. I know what’s coming next, I do.
A ring-a-ding-a-ling and what do you know, a familiar number flashes across the screen of my brand new Apple Watch, a gift from my Cousin Gus. A voice I know all too well, low and severe, like a riptide on the Snake River, cuts through the late-night air of my penthouse Motel 5 room,”Darryl, we need you.”
If I had a nickel for every time I heard it, well, I’d be one Dapper Dan. Which is to say, I’d have enough to purchase a can of pomade.
“What’s the skinny, Jules?”
Julia Peffercorn is the toughest chief investigator I have ever had the displeasure of knowing. Sure, most elevated to the position have some sort of chip, or bag of chips, on their shoulder, but her chip was more a whole plate of nachos. She never took “No,” for an answer, and never tried my herbal tea mix that I promised her would knock a possum out a tree at midday sun.
“Someone stole Griffey’s bat.”
It was then I knew that trouble was afoot. Steeped deep in my stories and a long cup of the self-same herbal tea mix I just described, I knew it had to be mere minutes past 10:37PM. The time for perfect crime. Quickly, I reached for my notebook.
Flipping through important sketches of 3D cubes I had made while waiting to get a hold of a real person at Comcast (I don’t trust robots) and a grocery list for the butler detailing the seven different beans I needed to make Mama Skeeby’s Famous Bean Salad for weekend supper, I came to my List of Lists.
Yes, dear reader, any detective worth their salt and pepper has a good, old-fashioned List of Lists. In there are all the learnings of a life hard-lived. I have pros and cons on purchasing a yellow car, hats and their proper occasions, different uses for paisley, and a whole sublist of lists containing best chili recipes. Having so many lists, I finally got to the one I was looking for: Reasons for Stealing A Bat.
What follows are trade secrets on motives for stealing a bat:
- Researching origins of mammalian flight
- Vampire breeding
- Echolocation – I think that speaks for itself
- Infect enemies with rabies
- Too many insects in a room
- Lonely – if you’re all alone a bat would be a fine pet, I suppose
The rest of the list has been redacted due to the explicit nature of the content and the potential of compromising Deep Cover friends. I still care for you, Barney. I called Julia back, certain I knew exactly who did this: Daniel Paul Valencia.
The motive was obvious. Who could more clearly be trying to master echolocation in order to find the strike zone again? Who could be more concerned with mammalian flight than a man in his mid 30’s looking to regain strength to “fly” across the outfield grass. Lean in closer, dear reader, and let me show you exactly how I know it was him.
In the Spanish League of soccer, known to the cosmopolitans amongst us as “La Liga”, the team representing the beautiful and cultured city of Valencia Spain has the following mascot:
A bat, indeed, Daniel.
Full of culture and dreams of tapas, I call Julia.
“Ken Griffey Junior’s bat from the statue, you idiot. I swear to G-”
I quickly hang up, I cannot take her scorn. Embarrassed, I return to my List of Lists. This time, quickly searching for a list I made when I was a younger man, playing semi-pro ball in the lesser-known Cape Halibut League. Oh, the fish and chips we’d have. Simply sublime it was in those days. Lost in visions of lemon wedges and tartars, that’s when sleep became me.
I arose the next day with renewed strength and ambition. After a particular dream I called Julia again, sure that my night terrors had given me the answer to the case at hand. Ready to prove my worth to the investigator who just hours before had scoffed at me.
“Julia, I kn-”
“Darryl, let me stop you right there. We caught the vandal and the bat has been safely returned. We’ve had enough of your help on this case.”
Sensing this for the cover up I knew it to be, I pleaded with her for one more consideration. Sure that there was no chance they had apprehended the real criminal, I played my cards.
“The man you’re looking for is Daniel Paul Valencia, former first baseman of the Seattle Mariners.”
She waited a beat, released a short chuckle, “How do you figure, Mr. Skeeby?”
“The answer is quite obvious, Julia.”
I waited a pregnant pause.
“He still needs a bat.”