A Little Talk

In an empty conference room at the Crimes Against Gullible Persons Unit, Inspector Goatlock closed the door and locked it.

“Lupine,” said Goatlock, “I’ve called us both together here in this private setting for one reason only. “

“You believe the culprit is in this room?” asked Lupine, looking nervously at the empty chairs.

“Of course not,” Goatlock replied. “But what I am about to tell you is mostly conjecture. Not up to the usual standards, I’m afraid. My reasoning may not stand the light of day.”

“But of course! How could it be otherwise? This case makes no sense to me whatsoever.”

“And yet,” said Goatlock, chewing on his pipe once again, “I believe that it all comes back to Marnie.”

“That surly child,” muttered Lupine. “Never underestimate the abilities of a twelve year old girl! They’re craftier than most humans, and twice as smart as the rest.”

“And yet, I’m afraid Marnie suffers from BS disease.”

“I knew it,” Lupine shouted. “She’s a congenital liar!”

“Not THAT BS, dear Lupine. It’s Brittle Skeleton Disease,” said Goatlock gently. “Her bones … they’re quite delicate. Didn’t you notice the child sized crutches and the mini-wheelchair?”

“Escaped my attention entirely, I’m afraid,” Lupine mused.

“Mine as well,” said Goatlock. “I only remembered them later – once I sat down to piece together this scenario.”

“Damn clever,” Lupine exclaimed. “It’s the sort of detail one would naturally overlook in a home where both parents are in the business of bones and joints and such.”

“Yes, and what kind of child winds up with an orthopedic surgeon AND a chiropractor for parents?” Goatlock posed. “Clearly they were an ordinary married couple at first, but then went in completely different directions in their frantic efforts to develop a workable treatment for her. The afflictions of a loved one can become a full time job before long, so why not get a degree and certification?”

“So when the Doctors Prettyman mentioned that Marnie ‘likes breaking things’, it wasn’t about the eggs. “ said Lupine. “It was her bones they were talking about!”

“Yes,” said Goatlock. “that’s why she described her day as ‘tenuous’. For someone with Brittle Skeleton Disease, every day is like that. And what sort of animal companion do you give a child who can break a bone simply by brushing against a wall or falling down?”

“A turtle!” Lupine realized. “No running!”

“No running and no leaping on to her lap. But no ordinary turtle,” Goatlock concluded. “It would have to be a turtle with the ability to go for help should Marnie … WHEN Marnie gets hurt!”

“Like dear old Timmy and the incredible canine Lassie!” Lupine exclaimed.

“ Just as Timmy knew he could count on Lassie to get past any obstacle when running for help,” Goatlock surmised, “so Sarge needs to be almost magical in his ability to transcend barriers.”

“Amazing creature!” said Lupine.

“And expensive,” added Goatlock. “They needed money desperately. So desperately they scammed a relative for cash.”

“But both were medical professionals!” Lupine noted.

“Medical professionals fussing and arguing over the same patient all day every day. I doubt they had paying jobs. No wonder the poor child liked to be outside.”

“So,” Lupine surmised, “the Prettymans placed a call to Beverly with that made-up the story about Alex and the Canadians. Why didn’t Beverly see through it?”

“Because Alex doesn’t exist, my dear Lupine.”

“You’ll have to explain that one, Inspector. How can a grandmother not recognize the sudden invention of a grandchild?”

“Quite simply because Beverly is a Moose Sweat addict, and she is too open to suggestion to challenge any proposition placed before her. She had all the signs of aphrodisiac intoxication. A nympho grandma so severe, even a first grade teacher from South Dakota could recognize her illness at a hundred paces.”

“What clued you to it? Was it the way she was eyeing you?”

No, dear Lupine. I’m used to that sort of reaction from creatures of all species and sexes. It was the way she was eyeing YOU. Only someone hopped up on a potent mood altering drug would cast such a wanton gaze in your direction. No offense.”

“No offense taken, dear Goatlock,” assured Lupine. “But how …?”

“I suspect the doctors Prettyman got Beverly hooked on the drug as a ready source of money to finance Marnie’s care. Moose Sweat, in addition to its well known enhancement of the libido, is widely used as a pain killing lubricant in shoulders, elbows, knees and toes, so they would have easy access to vast amounts.”

“I hope it also soothes the chafing of tortured logic,” Lupine said. “Otherwise, how could you possibly prove that Alex doesn’t exist?”

“Simply put – his story is flawed. Nobody teaches ethics of any kind in Moscow. I checked. The Russians are too fatalistic to waste time with that kind of nonsense,” Goatlock mused. “… therefore none of it is true. Even Tanya, who I desperately wanted to be real.”

“Astonishing!” Lupine blinked. “Case closed?”

“I hope so,” said Goatlock, “… but I know there are people waiting to poke holes and add details. I think we’ll have to wait to see if this story holds up.”

41 thoughts on “A Little Talk”

  1. Good golly… I couldn’t have mushed all our stuff together for anything, certainly not on one page. I hope you got at least a little sleep, Dale, while coming up with this. Excellent monologuing by Goatlock.


  2. the windmills of my mind are spinning, Dale.
    gonna have to ruminate on this awhile, and i’ll talk to Alba about it while i milk her. Dream has no opinion ever except about food.
    very cleverly done


  3. Rise and Bumble Babooners:

    I am really foggy this am. I don’t understand how you can write this stuff in the a.m. and I’m a morning person. I kinda feel like I’m awaking from this long disjointed dream in which I was a detective with a funny little beard…..


    1. Rise and Bumble, indeed.
      I second the fogginess, as well as the lack of ability to understand the wild imaginings of the early Babooners. I am not a morning person; I am only required to be present. I’d rather be like Blevins this morning – conspicuously absent. But alas, I’m here.

      I think the Moose Sweat aspect of this conundrum has been underestimated. This is a very potent part of the problem. Perhaps Moose Sweat has other curative powers, one of which might be to intensify proteins and calcium in the youthful body (oh, if only…) Sarge, Blevins and Rhonda may have been acquiring Moose Sweat on the black market for poor Marnie, whose parents, the Drs. Prettyman, were stuck in their hopeless cycle of discord. Desperate, Marnie finally decided to get what she needed by other means…


  4. i say dear goatlock, well done. bravo. the goatsweat was the missing link. if wed looked beyond our noses like we should have we could have dicsovered the truth.
    this book club stuff is very rewarding eh? i see blevens book club has a new dictatorial leader in anna. has she got any goat sweat issues we should be aware of before we get to minnehaha falls and the biergarten? and will rhonda ever be able to trust us again after we allow her to remain almost entirely out of the story only 10 days after her invention. messy blogging… messy blogging. well lets see what they all have to say for themselves. bloody mess this blog story business. so many authors so little congruency. makes it challanging to craft a tale. but dale has gotten a passing grade on his forst attempt at performance mystery blogging. well done, lad well done.


  5. Thanks Dale! I was thinking the other day, when was the last time I laughed until I cried? Now I know, about 5 seconds ago!

    I knew all along that granny wasn’t an innocent victim!

    So, did you do this all in your head, or did you have a map or chart or something?


  6. Now it all makes sense. I, too, thought the grandma was more than the hapless victim. i think it would have been easier to just ask grandma for money. They are usually an easy mark.


  7. Dale,
    As a mother of a child with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bone disease) and a published researcher on the disorder I think you took the easy way out by using a collagen disorder to wrap up a mystery. I know my comment is a little harsher than usually seen on this blog but after 150 fractures at our house I feel comfortable speaking up.

    If you want to stick with the BS conclusion, you shouldn’t rely on the turtle. Kids with brittle bones are very good at calling for help when they’re hurt and they need assistants who travel at more than turtle speed. As a group these kids are very chatty and energetic and different from Marnie’s initial surliness.

    On the other hand-moose sweat addiction sounds like a likely basis for extortion!


    1. well, maybe Marnie’s BS was very different from OI. maybe her condition was a result of the Prettymans’ very high protein diet, and her surliness also – not genetic, but caused by malnutrition. her addicted grandma probably never gave her any treats like oatmeal cookies or Hershey’s Crackle Bars. Moose Sweat Brownies just don’t cut it.


      1. Krackle Bars can be emblematic for children with brittle bones. When we had a party observing my son’s 100th fracture (his friends’ idea) one of the best gifts was a bunch of Krackle bars. He also received shin guards and elbow bads. WE served ribs and chicken legs and even convinced the folks at DQ to make a calcium rich cake with bone shaped sprinkles. I bet the Prettymans and Granma wouldn’t do that!


    2. I think that Dale meant to say that Marnie has “Brittle Phone” disease, the syndrome in which cellular devices crack and cease to work. Why else would a person her age be so surly?


    3. No doubt, Beth-Ann, this was the easy way out for a storyteller and not so easy for anyone who has to deal with the real thing. Frustration may be inevitable whenever anyone’s genuine challenge is cheapened by its use as a literary device. But I think Marnie’s sour attitude probably had more to do with time of day and the surroundings than her affliction, and at least in the end she was the most coherent and responsible party. And the turtle? No Lassie, but loyal and dogged in his own non-canine way. Not your best bet in an emergency, but the parents had other judgment lapses too!

      Perhaps the Moose Sweat addiction angle should have been played up more, but for some of us, that’s a painful subject.


    4. Beth-Ann, you sound like a very cool mom with a pretty challenging load to carry. Your description of the 100th fracture observance gives me a clue as to why your son is chatty and energetic-sounds like a terrific kid.

      Marnie may well be surly because her parents have made her condition and not her self their focus-and yes, the Moose Sweat thing is just one more complication.

      Wishing you continued strength and humor.


    5. beth ann
      i am so sorry to hear about your son’s burden. life is a challange to each of us in a different way and walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is never easy but often educational. when i see your name again i will remember the added radar you go through life with. i love the idea of the 100th fracture party(fun friends)
      as for the moose sweat. i think we should ask steve to bring some to minehaha falls at the book club meeting


  8. Well, that analysis is all well and good, but I fear I have issues. My biggest is probably Sarge, the Lassie wannabe. If you have somebody prone to get in trouble, a turtle is one of the last critters you want assigned to “run” for help. They had to revoke the merit badge for helping old ladies across the street for the Turtle Boy Scouts. A turtle would start off from the curb, offering an “arm” to some old lady, but they would only make it maybe 15 feet from the curb by the time the light changed, and that resulted in too many flattened turtles and flattened old ladies.

    Now a raccoon . . . there’s a critter that would excel at getting help. They are quick, resourceful and masters of disguise. Coons have something approaching an opposable thumb, and all of them are adept at using credit cards to break into cabins and homes. It occurred to me that “Sarge” might be a raccoon in disguise.

    But I hesitate to disagree with such a sweeping and compelling explanation of this mess. I’m just an American Studies major who is typically in over his head here. We can safely say that only Dale could have written this morning’s blog.


  9. Good Morning to All

    Well, I don’t think we can question the logic of a great man like Goatlocks. He does seem to welcome questioning of his logic, but what can we do when a certain teacher from S. Dakota already seems to agree with him on the nypho status of the Grandmother. Still, I don’t think we are really at the end of the case because no one has been brought to justice, or is this a case where it is best to leave things the way they are and that is what Goatlocks, in all of his wisdom, will do.


  10. A conclusion Charles Dickens would have been proud of (he of the serialized fiction…and characters that change mid-book because people complained…).

    Happy Friday all!

    (Oh, and if you’re wondering about Blevins’ Book Club – you should be able to click on my name to get there…)


  11. This tale is becoming increasingly Pythonesque. I suppose the next scene involves a bunch of lumberjacks in bowler hats spraying the whole cast with buttercream while a bunch of Mounties in red jackets skate into the room in formation to the sounds of vaudeville music. while a bunch of moose trail behind. I once crossed into Canada at the border crossing in the Turtle Mountains and there was a Canadian moose standing by the side of the road right by a moose crossing sign. Even the moose are law abiding in Canada!


  12. I’m having trouble believing the chiropractor part; in my experience — even being possessed of rather big bones — there seems to be quite a bit of bone cracking involved. The pieces just don’t quite fit…. Now if Dr Prettyman was a Doctor of Osteopathy, an Osteologist, or perhaps a Botanist who was trying to develop a new strain of calcium-rich lettuce?


    1. then the you’re not really a doctor tension between the orthopedic stud and the chiropractic wannabe would be lost,
      developing the calcium rich rice would have been a dead give away . we all would have known immediately


  13. Beth-Ann, that is a lvery big number of broken bones and an interesting story about the party for number 100. I think you need to be brought in to help Goatlocks find a conclusion to this case with the Prettymans finding a better way to help their daughter.


  14. A perfect story with a perfect ending – that’s my review. The first grade teacher bit adds the element of wide eyed innocence that I feel is crucial to any provocative tale. I can’t wait for the sequel! Could it have a nympho tranny character based on the song, Lola? (Thanks for the request MP)


  15. I couldn’t possibly improve the storyline so will just enjoy Dale’s and the other versions. Where else could I spend time pondering Goatlock’s pipe and the quality of Marnie’s life?

    Just got an e-mail from Park Square Theater advertising Sherlock Holmes, playing until July 3 I think. One of many outings (Michael Perry’s or Kevin Kling’s talks via Club Book also come to mind, later this summer) where TBers could self-identify a la meeting a blind date carrying a rose (where is that from besides You’ve Got Mail?) – maybe Sherilee’s goat buttons or a little photo pin of Blevins’ good side for those who didn’t want to be anonymous in their non-blog lives…..


      1. Ah yes, you’re probably right. I was thinking An Affair to Remember, but that involved his finding her on the couch with paralyzed legs as I recall.


  16. Sarge could be technologically enhanced with “bounce” technology to get that leaping collie to the rescue effect.

    I could really hear the Dr. Lupine Goatlock voices in my head and I am not even on moose sweat!


  17. reality is setting in group. if we want saturday blogs we need to come up with our own topics.
    dale went from unemployed to 7 day a week blogmaster t 6 day a week blogmaster to weekdays. like a human being.
    i think we can self topicate. i propose we talk about working weekends. how do we feel about that? shoule we never ever do it or accept it as part of the deal. dale can be forgiven but lets let him know that its ok to have a life…or … its ok tha have a life after you’e taken care of us!!

    i have always worked weekends and the notion to me just seems like an extension of the week. how about you.
    i am out of here for a weekend of baseball starting in 15 minutes going to this evening which i will miss to go hear the spaghetti westerns final perforamnce at the cedar.
    my 17 year old got bumped up to the big team and their frist move is to go to rapid city on monday so i will be blogging from so dak next week it sounds like. ah the glories of parenthood. watch out what you wish for.
    good saturday all.


    1. looks like was just jumping the gun. he was there evebntually i just had to get rolling by 645 this morning. going over to see what is on todays reply pad.


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