Truckin’ Sherlock and Windigate’s Case

Truckin’ Sherlock and Windigate’s Case

by Clayton ‘Roadhouse’ Hansom

“Breaker-breaker, Doctor Brandy. This is the exploring Norwegian, looking for a choke-and-puke on I-221, rolling into Fog Town. What’cha got for me?”

Radio on his desk went back to crackling, and the good doctor grabbed his microphone, stretched out its coiled cord as he put it to his mouth, punched the button on the side and shouted back:

“Simpson’s is the best eat ‘em up, in these parts, Norwegian. You need a seven percent of that wake-up juice this trip? I could use me a big ol’ slab of Bessie and a slice of mince pie.”

“Negatory, Doctor Brandy, both you and our ursine friends know that I no longer wake up that way. Coffee and conversation for me, good buddy.”

Doc Watson was just pushing his talk button to reply when another voice broke into the conversation.

“I am especially pleased to hear that, exploring Norwegian, as you are just passing my favorite yardstick, and I’m about to Kojak you with my Kodak.”

Watson could hear the glee coming into the Norwegian’s voice as he spoke next.

“Sounds like we got us a rat-faced bear joining our party, Doctor Brandy. I’m gonna drop the hammer down now that my law-abiding has been recorded. Give me enough time to unload this goose hearse at the Alpha Warehouse and I’ll bobtail it over to Simpson’s. You’re welcome to come, too, Brother Bear.”

“Ten-four, Norwegian. Catch you at the dinner table,” Doc Watson spoke into the microphone before Trooper Lestrade could go on about whatever highway prey had most recently eluded his hot pursuit.

“Sherlock in town again, my dear doctor?” Mary came up and draped her arms around his neck, sidled her curly head next to his, and let out a slow, comfortable yelp. Watson didn’t have to think hard to visualize her stretching to her full cat-like length in those Daisy Dukes as she was wont to do. She was as good an office manager as any doctor in Nashville had, and her figure kept him in male patients, with the simplest of ailments.

“Meeting him at Simpson’s,” Doc Watson replied. “Aw, Mary, Jovan Musk? You’re better than that.”

“I like it!” she protested. “You wear what you want when you’ve got a date, honey, and I’ll do likewise.”

“Hmmm,” Doc pondered. He opened his bottom drawer and perused the selection. “It is still Nashville and not New York, so I can’t use the good stuff. The Pierre Cardin will have to do.”

“Are you going to need me to babysit Wiggins tonight?” Mary asked. Sherlock’s pet chimpanzee got along well with Mary’s cats, Thaddeus and Bartholomew. “It is still Christmas time.”

“Two days after, but you never know where a long haul trucker with a penchant for solving mysteries is going to wind up. Would you care to join us, just in case? Gordy Lestrade is probably going to be there.”

Mary’s eyes lit up. “I do love a man in uniform. Too bad you weren’t in the service, Doc!”

Somehow Miss Morstan did not allow that a military doctor was the equal of a regular army solider, even a military doctor who’d taken a bullet in the ass.

A couple dabs of Pierre Cardin, here, there, and the other place, and they were off.

“Miss Mary Morstan, the stars do shine bright on me tonight!” Gordy Lestrade exclaimed the second Doc and Mary were within eyeshot of the table at Simpson’s, leaping to his feet and pulling out the chair next to him.

“Why, Trooper Gordy, you are quite the gentle-man, as always,” Mary sighed.

“Watson! So good to see you!” Sherlock Holmes burst, trying to take the scene back from the two attention-grabbers. Wiggins was tentatively lifting one cloth corner off the table’s roll basket to see what might lay inside.

“Good to see you as well, Holmes, and better still, to be able to speak like normal folk.”

“The dialect of the men of the road has its uses, Watson, and when in Rome, Tennessee . . . Mr. Windibank has offered me a special consignment. You know his commercials, ‘My geese are as good as my beer!’ and all that?”

“Of course! His little brewery in the hills produces that beer you have to have sung at the Grand Old Opry to get your hands on. Or else have something Windibank wants. And those who’ve drank the stuff claim it is legendary!”

“Well, there’s a party in Hollywood, California where Mr. Burt Reynolds is being entertained by some studio royalty that really wants him for a picture. And Mr. Burt Reynolds has never been able to get his hands on any Windibank’s High Times, Nashville’s finest beer. So this studio kingpin wants to show ol’ Burt just how powerful he is, by hosting a late Christmas party that serves all the Windibank’s a man could want.”

“Sounds like a simple enough haul.”

“This Hollywood party is tomorrow night.”

My eyes opened wide. “Holmes . . . that’s a two thousand mile drive.”

“I know, Watson, I know. I’ll need a lead car. I’m thinking a Dodge Monaco with a 440. And I’ll need you to drive it.”

Gordy Lestrade froze, his eyes locked on Holmes.

“If I’m going to play Santa, Lestrade, my Rudolph is going to need a bright red nose to guide me . . . a flashing red nose.”

“Holmes, I can’t just let Doc Watson borrow my car. I’ve got quotas to meet!” Lestrade’s attentions to Mary had disappeared, and Wiggins was offering her a bread roll in sympathy.

“That’s why you’re coming, too, Lestrade! This case is too important for anything less that our full effort. We may need Mary, as well.”

Mary smiled and nodded, mouth full of bread roll.

“Are you telling me that we’re using a whole semi truck and my official police vehicle to deliver just ONE CASE OF BEER?” Lestrade roared.

“Bag up our order to go!” Holmes called to the waiter.

“What makes you think I’m going to agree to any of this?” Lestrade asked.

“The quick ascent of your outrage to its mountain peak tells me it will drop just as quickly, being, in the whole, perfomative, and you’re as eager to make this trip as Watson is.”

“But I . . .” Watson started, realized it was pointless as Holmes knew him so well, and went silent.

“I want to ride in the sleeper cab with Wiggins,” Mary said.

“Guess I’m shotgun with Watson,” Lestrade sighed.

“Your meals, sir,” the waiter said, and Holmes peeled off a number of big bills. “The game is afoot.”

All four humans and the one ape hustled outside and Lestrade slid across the hood of the Dodge police car to the passenger side. I got into the driver’s side and started the car up.

I then pulled the seat belt across my lap, looked in the rearview mirror for Holmes’s signal, and latched my blue car buckle.