At this point in the story, our friend Squeak and his friends, Detectives Lewis and MacDuff, are chasing leads in the fart attack at Weyerduff Art Center. A local broadcaster had a cameraman at the event, but has, as yet, been unwilling to release the video. Join us now as they pay a visit to Channel Eight and its owner.
This excerpt is from Fart Cops, Chapter 15:
The lobby of Channel Eight was dominated by a wall of TV screens. Some of them showed what was on the channel at the moment, others simply showed a rotating logo, and the rest showed ads for shows that aired on the station (Court deRoy, The Martha R. Daugherty Hour, SportsCrisis, etc.). As soon as we approached the desk, an older man wearing a cream colored three-piece suit, tie, cowboy hat and boots strode out to meet us.
“Well howdy, y’all. I’m P. Don Daly!”
“I’m sorry, you’re what?” I demanded in shock.
“I’m P. Don Daly!” he repeated with identical enthusiasm.
“Every day?” I could see that Lewis very badly wanted me to shut up, but the situation demanded resolution.
“All day, every day!” he said gleefully as he shook Lewis and Mac’s hands. I passed.
“Lordy. Well, we really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with us, Mister…?”
“P. Don Daly!” He was very excited about it.
“Do you use a special shampoo or something, because I’m not –”
“Thank you for meeting with us, Mister Daly,” Lewis said.
P. Don Daly said, “‘Mister Daly was my Pa. Y’all can call me ‘P. Don’ or ‘P. Don Daly.’ Like my grandpappy used to say; ‘Even if you can’t be P. Don, you can always feel P. Don.'”
“Saownds like a wuhkin’ man.”
“Were you able to gather the video footage we discussed on the phone?”
“Well it’s like we used to say back home on the ranch; ‘A mustang can’t tell you where he’s runnin’ when he’s hidin’ in the hay.'”
“We hadda sayin’ back home too; ‘Wheah you goin’ with those rags, Chestah?'”
“‘Nother words,” P. Don explained, “My camera operator isn’t in today, so I had an assistant go through his office for anything he had from that there museum.”
He pulled two digital memory cards in a plastic sandwich bag out of his pocket, hesitating to hand them over.
“Now, my great-grand-granny used to say to me, ‘P. Don Daly,’ she’d say, ‘Don’t put a show-pony under a yoke, an’ don’t you go ridin’ that mule in the parade,’ is what she said, I tell you what.”
“I’m not sure I get your meaing, sir,” Lewis said. “Boston no longer has a horse-mounted patrol…”
Mac said, “You wouldn’t believe awll the apples those guys gawt.”
“I think he’s talking about the digital formatting,” I offered.
“Naw, you fellers’re a mite goony, ain’tcha? It means our Windy Weathers is a real shootin’ star on the rise fer us, so I hope y’all will use these fer their intended purpose. I’d sure hate to see embarrassin’ clips turnin’ up on the internet.”
“Is there any reason to believe that some of the content could be considered ’embarrassing,’ Mr. Daly?
“Just people livin’ their lives, I reckon, but some of it’s fit fer the public an’ some of it ain’t, if y’all take my meanin’.”
“Like picking your nose?” I asked, attempting to take his meaning.
“Like declassified documents?” Lewis asked.
“Like wearin’ pants?” Mac asked.
“Well there you go!” P. Don declared, offering the baggie of memory cards to Mac. “Glad to see you boys understand.”
“Do you know where Ms. Weathers and your camera operator might be, today,” Lewis asked, “in case we have any questions?”
“Well, sure if it ain’t just like my old Economics perfessor usedta say; ‘If y’all leave the sheep in the woods overnight, the wolves’re apt ta come callin’, but them ratings’re gonna be hotter than a hootenany down the hollar.”
“Means they’re down setting up to cover them weirdos perfomin’ at the Celtics halftime today.”
“Can you describe the weirdos?” Lewis asked flatly.
“Heck, I ain’t no Weirdopedia. Some spoken word performance group or some-such. Was there anything else you fellers needed?”
“I think that’s about it for now. Mac?”
“That covahs mahy agendah. Squeak?”
“If I may ask, P. Don, where is it that you are from?” I asked. “Most of my mom’s family is spread across the South, and I’ve never heard an accent quite like yours at Granny’s family reunions.”
“Aw, well now, back where I come from, we’d considuh aspersions upon one’s Suthuhn-ness a challenge to his very honah, good suh! The very nuhve!”
“According to public records,” Lewis said, looking at his phone, “P. Don Daly wasn’t born south of the Mason-Dixon line, but he was born south of Central Park, in Manhatt–”
“YEE-HAW, HEE HAW! PIGGLY WIGGLY! NASCAR! GUNS IN SCHOOLS! SCHOOLS IN CHURCH! CHURCH IN GUNS! GIT-GIT! AWAY, AWAYYY!” P. Don shouted over Lewis, then whisper-talking, said, “Ixnay on the Anhattan-May alk-tay! Jeez, you guys…”
“Did I catch him? What does this mean? Isn’t it suspicious?” I asked Lewis and Mac.
“Yes, I’m one of the…” he mouthed the word, “Manhattan” “Dalys; heirs to the original apple magnates.”
“I thought Wozniak and Jobs were the Apple magnates,” I said.
“Not Apple; apples. My grandfather started Daly Apples, selling apples during the Depression. That’s where that saying comes from; ‘an apple a day…'”
“‘…keeps the doctor away?'”
“Originally it was ‘can be beneficial in the prevention of scurvy,’ but they shortened it to cut advertising costs.”
“So why the act?” Lewis asked.
“It’s easier to be a Southerner owning TV stations in the North than a Yankee owning stations in the South.”
Lewis and Mac both nodded and went, “M-hm, m-hm,” so I did too.
“So if you fellers’re done sabotaging my business model, I need to get ready for that Celtics game my own self.”
“I’m sure Squeak doesn’t have any more questions,” Lewis said, all shady. Whatever. I asked the important questions.
“Thank you foah yoah time, P. Dawn. Of coahse we considah this to be official evidence and theah should be no cawse foah concern regahding public exposuah.”
“Mucho appreciado, hombre.”
As we began to leave, Mac turned back once more, scratching at his head as if to massage out a thought.
“One lahst thing,” he asked, “What does the ‘P.’ stand foah?”
“My mother was a big A.A. Milne fan, so she named me ‘Pooh.'”
“You made the right call, P. Don!” I shouted as Lewis dragged me out the door.