If you missed any of the previous episodes – catch up on them here.
8:32am – June 21st 1942 – 3rd Precinct, Downtown Bird City
“Hi Frank,” I said to the Desk Sergeant dropping a bag on his desk, filled with his favorite sugared donut, “Is Tommy in? I bought him some breakfast.”
“Thanks Hawk, he’s at his desk. The Captain ain’t expected to be in for an hour or so, so you’re OK till then…” I walked through the precinct, saying hello to all the cops I knew, as I made my way to the desk of Detective Tommy Toucan.
“What do you want?” Tommy said as soon as he spotted me with a bag of donuts and a couple of cups of coffee.
“I’m hurt! Can’t a friend drop by a friends workplace with coffee and donuts for a catch up?”
“Why yes, a friend could do that. It is just that the only time you do that, you want help with something…” Tommy teased me. I sat down beside Tommy’s desk and handed him his coffee.
In a hushed voice Tommy said, “I heard you’ve been poking your beak into this board game racket, want to share?” I sipped my coffee and considered how to explain it all. Tommy waited, looking at me quizzically. “I also heard you were seen meeting with Jimmy the Jay and were poking around the Feed and Seed store before it got robbed.”
Tommy was one of the most thorough detectives I knew. A real good, clean cop. He and I go way back. But I have no idea how he knew all of that.
Reading my face, Tommy winked and said “Alice says to say ‘Hi’ and Mr Timmons told me all about the ‘lovely, strong Hawk’ that paid him a visit when I was investigating the robbery.”
I shook my head, “Cops…” I muttered.
“What have you got yourself into, Hawk?” Tommy asked pointedly, “I don’t like the sound of it.”
“Yeah, some damn dame has got me investigating missing board games. She thinks her husband is involved. Used to just have me pull him out of the Aviary Club when he was on a bender, seems he’s into a bit more now…” I trailed off.
“You and your dames, Hawk, when will you ever learn? You are such a sucker for a damsel in distress!”
“This one ain’t no damsel in distress!” I said, “She’s just got a way about her…” I continued a bit sheepishly. “Regardless of the dame, Tommy, this is real and I think it could be big… and I need some help.”
Tommy nodded, “What do you need?”
I handed him the piece of paper Flamingo got from the back room at the Aviary Club. “We found this. I need some help to figure out what it is referring to.”
Tommy took the paper and looked at it closely. “Where’d you find this and what do you think it means?”
“Nevermind where.” That was our code for don’t ask if you don’t want to have to arrest me. “I think it is the next heist. But I don’t have the resources to figure out the details, too much is missing.”
“Leave it with me. I will see what I can find out.” said Tommy, “Now, get out of here before the Captain gets in.”
10:30am – June 21st 1942 – My Office
I got back to my office… Wow this place needs a good clean, I thought as I looked over the mound of garbage in the trash can by my desk.
The phone began ringing. “Hey Hawk”, it was Tommy, ” So, I checked out that bit of paper you gave me. Seems it’s a Cargo Manifest”
“Tell me something I don’t know. That’s written on the paper”, I shot back laughing.
“Well, there’s a fair amount of shipping going on both on water and land her in Bird City”, Tommy replied.
“What are you getting at?”
“I found two shipments that match whats on you scrap of paper. A ship coming in tonight, the S.S. Seagull. She’s due in to the docks tonight at 8pm. Also Sparrow down at the train depot says there’s a train coming in with a cargo delivery from C & S Hornbill, it’s due at around 8pm tonight.” Tommy paused, and lowered his voice “Do ya want me to check one of ’em out? You can’t be in two places at once…”
“Are you offering to help? what’s in it for you?” I asked
“Let’s just say it could be the biggest case of my career, if we can close it and…” Tommy trailed off.
“Nevermind,” Tommy said formally down the line, that was his code for I’m in the office and I can’t say anymore.
“Ah, I see… well, if you are offering, I could use the help” I said. “You take the train and I’ll go check out the boat… the S.S Seagull. Maybe one of them might be the shipment we’re looking for.”
“I’ll let you know if I find out anything” Tommy said “Good Luck!”
“You too, buddy!” I replied. I can’t believe I’m dragging my good friend into this mess and with the dame… this isn’t going to end well. Better call her and give her an update before she comes bursting in here again. I smiled to myself at that thought as I dialed her number. It just rang and rang. Oh well, guess I will try her a little later. May as well get some shut eye before heading down to the docks and not much else I could do until nightfall.
I lean back on the chair and lower my hat onto my face and quickly fall asleep.
6:34pm – June 21st 1942 – My Office
I had woke up earlier than I intended, damn I wasn’t sleeping well these days. I had showered and had a few pecks of stale birdcake because I can’t investigate on an empty stomach.
I picked up the phone, to try Flamingo again, surprised I hadn’t heard from her already. Tommy was right, I had a soft spot for dames and damsels in distress.
Again the phone rang and rang… hmmm, still no answer. Damn dame must be out, probably getting her feathers preened or her claws done. It’s always the same with women, never around when you are looking for them. I hung up.
Time for me to be heading down to the docks. I wanted to get the lay of the land before that boat arrived. And a good poke around might revel something. I grabbed my trench and headed out the door.
7:15pm – June 21st 1942 – Bird City Dockyard
The cab let me out a block and half from the docks. I crossed the street to take advantage of the shadows. I mean who’s bright idea is to wear a red trench coat and hat… That Jaybird was right I totally stand out.
As I walked along the waterfront, I could hear the faint sounds of a fog horn off in the distance. The fog was definitely rolling in thick tonight.
I slipped thought the gate and onto the dock with the convenient cover of a departing produce van. There were wooden shipping crates everywhere, some stacked neatly waiting to be carted off to the citizens of Bird City, others were stacked haphazardly as though the dock workers couldn’t care less.
I was walking past a phone booth and thought to try Flamingo again. Last thing I needed was getting back after this to her pink form perched on my sofa. I picked up the receiver and dropped in a nickel. All I could here on the other end of the line was ringing. Still no answer, what could that dame be up to? Something in the back of my mind was starting to get concerned, it seemed out of character for her to be unavailable like that, but how well did I really know her? And I am not a very good judge of women. Focus Hawk, you have a ship to check out.
I turned down the wharf that Tommy said the S.S Seagull was scheduled to come into. I figured I’d wait. I hunkered down behind some wooden crates and just peered out at the water. Man this was going to be another long night!
Over my shoulder I heard something thump down on the dock. I turned and saw Jimmy the Jay poking at crates and generally looking shifty. What the heck was he doing here?
I slunk into the shadows as he came closer, then timing it just right, rushed out, grabbed him and backed him into a stack of crates. “Jimmy the Jay,” I growled “What are you doing here, in the same place I am? Get your own place to flock!”
“That’s no way to greet one of your best informants”, Jimmy replied hardly seeming phased by my attack.
“What do you want? Can’t you see I’m busy?” I shot back.
“I thought you might want some more information…” he chirped. “If you want to make it worth my time to give it to you…”
I clenched my fist tightly, I no longer wondered how Jimmy had got his beak bent. “Shut up and get out of here” I spat, letting him go “before you get hurt!”
“You should listen to me” he sang in reply. “What I know you are gonna wanna know…”
I grabbed Jimmy the Jay by the collar and lifted him slightly off the ground. He was pushing my buttons and it was working.
“You’ve been looking a bit too hard, Hawk… Birds been seeing and birds been reporting to Bigglesworth himself.” Jimmy said trying to sound cool as his feet scrabbled to find a perch “Bigglesworth is not happy that you are sticking your beak in, you and your little Flamingo.”
“Flamingo? what’s he got on her? She’s nothing to me.” I didn’t sound convincing even to my own ears. I involuntarily lowered Jimmy a little.
Jimmy smirked a crooked smirk at me “That’s not the way Bigglesworth tells it… He wants you to butt out and suffer while you do! You and your pink chick might be in over your head.” Jimmy replied.
“What!” I said as I raising Jimmy’s claws off the dock again, I knew a threat from a lowlife when I heard it. “What are you talking about?”
“Well, it’s not for me to say…”
I started to shake him. “You’re going to tell me what you know!” I shook him so hard that I ended up tossing him to the ground…
“Let up Hawk!” Jimmy squaked looking up at me looming over him, I put a foot on his chest and nodded for him to go on, “He… He knows you care about her… He… He wants you to back off… and he wants to make you pay for sticking your beak where it don’t belong…” I increased the pressure on his chest “Bigglesworth’s got Flamingo.” he finally gasped.
You idiot Hawk, that’s why she wasn’t picking up the phone! I thought angrily at myself, I should trust my instincts. I took a deep breath. “Where?” my voice was so low and threatening I almost scared myself.
“Yeah, yeah, I know! Bigglesworth told me to tell you nothing will happen to Flamingo if you drop your investigation and go back to picking up birds on their benders…”
“You no good rat!” I shouted, “Where is she?!”
“He’s got her at The Crows Nest! Don’t hurt me Hawk!” Fear crept into Jimmy’s voice.
I stomped my foot down on the dock, releasing the pressure on his chest. “Get out of here before I throttle you!” With that Jimmy took off faster than I had ever seen a Jay bird fly and disappeared into the night.
I slumped down on a crate. What did I get her into? Why didn’t I check on her when she wasn’t answering the phone? What’s Bigglesworth going to do to her?
A fog horn droned out in the bay snapping me back into action. I looked around, the fog was still building, there was no way that ship was going to be on time. If I stayed to wait for it Bigglesworth would know I hadn’t stopped investigating and I don’t know what that bird is capable of…
Time is of the essence… What am I going to do?
Think Hawk – you can figure this out…