Fish Out of Water
As Anne and Bonnie walked along The Embarcadero, the sounds of a saxophone could be heard above the traffic and the conversations of passers-by. They found him, a tall black man with a magnificent mustache and wearing a top hat, under the shade of a big elm tree. His playing was full of squeaks and missed notes, but was nonetheless enthusiastic.
“There he is,” said Bonnie, “but we have to figure out the best way to approach him. If he runs off, we’ll never find him again.”
“I have just the thing,” said Anne. She rummaged in her purse for a moment, and then with a triumphant yelp, produced a kazoo from the bag.
“Where did you get that?” asked Bonnie.
“The craft store,” said Anne. “I figured it might come in handy.”
As the sax player belted out refrains from Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe, Anne gleefully joined in. After sharing a chorus and a long drawn out coda, he said, “Say, you’re pretty good with that thing. Do you take requests?”
“Sure,” said Anne.
“Please stop. This is a solo act.”
Anne pouted. “Everyone’s a critic.”
“Actually, it’s about a critic that we want to talk to you,” said Bonnie. “Are you Mississippi Joe?”
“I might be. Who’s asking?”
“I’m Bonnie, and this is my friend Anne. Harriet Farnsbottom said we could find you here. We wanted to ask you about Gasparo Floyd.”
“Why don’t you ask him yourself?” asked Joe.
“He’s not saying much these days,” said Bonnie. “He went and got himself killed last night.”
“Killed? That’s a shame. I’m sure gonna miss his little surprises. Of course, now with him gone, I’ll be the one people look to for culinary delights.”
“Is that why you killed him?!” accused Bonnie.
“Me. Kill him? No, you got it all wrong. My greatest pleasure in life was trying to outdo Gasparo in the kitchen. I can’t very well do that if he’s dead, now can I?”
“It would make it harder,” said Anne.
“Besides, I wasn’t even here,” said Joe. “I was 30,000 feet in the air on my way back from New York when he was killed.”
“That’s an awfully convent alibi,” said Bonnie.
“There was a new molecular gastronomy restaurant opening in SoHo that I didn’t want to miss. I didn’t even know Gasparo was dead until you told me just now.”
Bonnie threw her hands up. “Well, that’s it then. We’ve run out of leads. I guess we’re going down for murder.”
“I don’t know if it means anything,” said Joe, “but if it’s leads you’re looking for, you should check out the aquarium down the street. Gasparo had been spending a lot of time there recently.”
“You were following him?” asked Anne.
“No, this is my spot, and he knew that. At first I thought he was checking up on me, but he seemed more interested in the fish. He was trying to be sneaky about it, but I saw him skulking around.”
“What was he doing in there?” asked Bonnie.
“I went in a couple of days ago, but I couldn’t figure out what he was up to. Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did.”
“Thanks for your help,” said Bonnie as she started to walk away.
Joe cleared his throat loudly and tilted his head towards the open saxophone case. Bonnie dug in her pocket but only found a couple of quarters and a five-dollar bill. She was about to toss the coins in when she stopped. “Wait. Aren’t you like super rich? I need these more than you do.”
“It’s the principle of the thing,” said Joe. “Besides, I have to keep up appearances. I give all the money I earn to the Humane Society and match it tenfold.”
Bonnie shrugged and tossed the money in the case. As she looked down, however, she saw that one of the bills in the case was different from the others. There were googly eyes on George Washington’s portrait. “Look our killer has been here too. We’re close to the answer. I can feel it!”
“Come over this way,” said Bonnie. “There’s a tunnel you can walk through and get a better look.”
“Wow. It’s like you’re swimming underwater with them. Or like you’re in the middle of a giant waterspout that came down and scooped you up with the sharks only to drop them on clueless bystanders miles from the ocean. It would be like a tornado, but full of sharks. What would you call something like that?”
“Ridiculous,” said Bonnie. “What are the chances of that happening?”
“You might be surprised,” said Anne. “What are we looking for anyway?”
“Something out of the ordinary,” said Bonnie. “Something out of place.”
“You mean besides us?”
“Yes. Something more like that!” Bonnie pointed to a tank that seemed to be empty. They both made their way toward it.
“It’s supposed to be an octopus from Australia,” said Bonnie. “Most of the tanks here are species native to the Bay Area, but this is a special exhibit on loan from Down Under. It seems to be closed though.”
“I don’t see anything but seaweed,” said Anne. She leaned in close, but Bonnie pulled her back and pointed to the information plaque.
“Of course! Why didn’t I think of it before. Anne, call that detective and tell him to meet us in the alley. We’ve solved the case!”
To be continued…
The characters of Anne and Bonnie, while loosely based on their real world namesakes, are entirely fictitious. You can find more googly-eyed goodness at vandaleyes.net.