A Nose for Danger, part 2

If Tommy was back in town, he’d be needing lettuce. So my first stop was the shop of Manny the parrot.

I could tell right off that Manny wasn’t too glad to see me. If a parrot could go pale, he would’ve turned about fifty shades of white.

“Well if it isn’t the Smellephant. Sorry, I’m just closing up.”

I got my trunk in the door just in time. “Not so fast Manny.” I took a quick glance around the shop, enough to tell me my hunch was right. “Looks like you’re a little low on lettuce today. Got a new customer?”

“Look, I don’t want any trouble. You know I can’t talk.”

“Waddya mean you can’t talk? You’re a parrot.”

“OK, you got me there. But I gotta watch what I say. I’m walking on egg shells here.”

“You mean tortoise shells, don’t you?”

“Hey, give me a break. Tommy’s not a guy you want to cross. Somebody could be listening.”

“No chance of that,” I said, “I wasn’t followed. I know how to shake a tail.”

“All due respect Smellephant, that’s not an image I want to think about.”

“Whatever.” I was getting impatient. “You know I’m the only reason you’re not doing time in the coop right now.”

“Hey, I’m no chicken. I’ll talk, but nobody can find out where you got this from. We got a deal?”

“Yeah,” I said, “We got a deal.”

Finally he started to sing. And I could tell right away he was gonna name names. Only he got about ten seconds into it when a shot rang out. Got Manny right between the eyes.

Just then somebody came through the door. I spun around, my trunk automatically reaching for the gun in the pocket of my trench coat. Then I saw who it was. “Hey Chief,” I said.

“Hey Smellephant.” The police chief looked down at the lifeless body at our feet. “We got a call down at the station there was trouble at Manny’s shop. Thought I’d check on it personally.” He looked at me, and then he looked at my gun.

“It’s not how it looks.”

“It looks,” he said, “like trouble was the right word.” He gave me a hard look. “Trouble just seems to follow you around, doesn’t it?”

I knew better than to argue. So I figured the best thing to do was cut right to the chase. “Chief, Tommy’s back in town.”

“Damn,” he said. “Well, I’ll need to call this in. Don’t leave town for the next few days.”

“You really think I had something to do with this?”

The Chief shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not. I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.”

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