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Mary's Lost Little Lamb

Jack Vine of Jack and the beanstalk is all grown up and a PI at that.

From The Files

Of

Jack And The Giant

Private Investigators

Case 12:
Mary’s lost little lamb

“Mary had a little lamb; its fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went that lamb was sure to go.”

Now we've all heard this nursery rhyme before, but have you ever wondered what it all meant? I mean who was this Mary dame and what was it about her that this lamb found so infatuating?

I’m Jack, Jack Vine, private eye. I used to be in the beanstalk racket in my early days, that is, until my misunderstanding with a giant over a harp and a goose. Now his son and me have our own slice of the American dream and a stash of golden eggs to back it up. Tiny and me, that’s the giants sons name by the way, teamed up and opened our own private investigating business. Now we nose around in other people’s affairs and get paid for our troubles.

You may even have heard about us recently, having foiled Eddy the Rabbit's plot to move in on the Easter Bunny’s territory last spring. No? Well it was in all of the papers. Tiny and me spent a good three weeks shadowing our client, the hopping little egg-toter, waiting for that sap - Eddy - to make his move. Now he’s doing time in an eight by ten cell and we’re looking for another case to crack.

It had been slow for weeks now, not much going on in our neck of the woods you see, that is until she came stumbling into our office crying her little heart out. Her name was Mary, a looker to be sure. She stood all of five feet tall with golden blonde hair and blue eyes a man could drown in. Her lips were red, red as the blood dripping from a hole made by a 45, her figure that of a goddess. Yes, she had all the right parts in all the right places and I found myself slipping into a fantasy where I was the doctor and she was the nurse.

“Boo hoo, boo hoo,” she cried, pulling me back to the real world. I tossed her a box of Kleenex and glanced over at my partner, Tiny. He was checking her out too and when he noticed me looking his way, grinned knowingly; I nodded and turned back to the sobbing dame.

“What’s the story toots?” I asked, popping a Tootsie pop in my mouth. It was grape by the way. The gorgeous babe emptied her nose loudly and handed the used tissue back to me. “No thanks, I told her, keep it as a souvenir. Your story," I repeated, wanting to move things along a bit more quickly.

“My lamb,” she chocked out, a tear rolling down her soft white cheek. “He’s missing.”

“A lamb,” I inquired. “What lamb is that?” Tiny, I saw, was now looking the skirt over with a suspicious eye. That or just looking her over, I wasn't sure which, but I had an idea.

“My little lamb,” she tried to explain. “I’m Mary.”

Her tears really started to flow forcing Tiny and me to grab towels and mop up the pools forming on our desks. “Look doll-face,” I said compassionately. “Could you put a cork in your water pipes until you get outside. My clothes aren't drip-dry you know.” The dame blinked and rubbed her sleeve across her nose, taking with it a trail of mucus. Tiny drew back and shuddered.

“Let’s take it from the top,” I said, leaning back and sucking on my Tootsie pop. Mmm, it was good. “You're Mary,” I repeated that bit of useless information, “and you’re missing a lamb. So far so good, but could you fill us in a bit more on your background some; just what is your interest with lambs?”

“Not lambs,” she corrected, her big blue eyes gazing at me. “Lamb, as in singularly, my little lamb. The others are sheep and still up in the pasture. They’re not missing, so its lamb not lambs.”

I looked over to Tiny who shrugged his shoulders. “OK Mary,” I said, rephrasing my statement of facts in hopes of moving things along yet again; “you lost a lamb then, is that right?”

“Yes. His fleece was white as snow.”

“Uh, come again,” I asked, a bit confused.

She tilted her head and repeated, “His fleece was white as snow. Don’t you need a description of him?” She looked from me to Tiny then back to me again. “Isn't that what you’re going to need me to tell you?”

“Uh, well yes; that is always helpful,” I told her. I nodded at Tiny who promptly took out a pad of paper, a pencil and started to write. “OK blue eyes, why don’t you take it from the top.”

“Top of what?” She asked, looking around the room.

“The beginning,” I rephrased yet again. “Just tell us what happened, from the beginning.” I said it slowly pronouncing each consonant and vowel so it could sink in. Clearly, this skirt had spent way too much time out in the pastures.

“Oh, OK,” she said, finally understanding. She took a deep breath stretching the white material of her blouse till the buttons, along with my eyes, nearly popped, and related her tale. “As I said, I’m Mary, I guess you could say I’m a shepherdess. I take care of sheep up in the pastures in the hills for my father. They’re still up there, as I said earlier, being watched by Terri, she’s my younger sister.”

“Hmm,” I said, thinking we were finally making progress. “So you’re Mary and your sister is Terri; you're both shepherdesses and hang out with a bunch of sheep in the hills, is that it so far?”

“And lambs,” she added.

“Yes,” of course. “All right blue-eyes, please continue.”

“Well I have this white lamb that is always with me,” she went on, wiping the tears off her cheeks. “He’s very special to me.”

“How so?” I asked curiously.

“He helps me to fall asleep at night,” she replied with a smile. When I lie down and cover up he’d run around in a circle leaping over me.”

“Say that again toot,” I inquired, unsure what she meant. “You mean to say this lamb of yours, after you've laid down, runs around in circles jumping over you each time; and he does this all night long? What is he stupid?”

“Why no!” Mary exclaimed in shock. “He helps me to fall asleep; you see?”

“No Blondie, I don’t see. How does a lamb jumping over you help you fall asleep?”

“I count out loud each time he jumps, eventually my eyes get heavy and I fall asleep. So really, he doesn't jump over me all night; at least I don’t think so. I’m asleep by then you understand, so I can’t be positive on that. I suppose he could be jumping all night though. Is that important?” She asked.

“Hmm,” I thought. “Well it doesn't seem very relevant so let’s just set that bit of trivia aside for the moment, OK sister. Now this little lamb who’s fleece was white as snow; he jumps over you at night so you can count each jump tiring you out and you fall asleep, is that the general idea? Is that what makes him special to you?”

“Um, yes. That and he plays the banjo with the three little pigs in their band every Friday down at The Meadows Club.”

I looked at Mary who gazed back at me; I was unsure just how to take her. I then turned to Tiny to get his assessment of the dame. He was holding up a foil wrapped snack cake and pointing to it. It was a Ding Dong and I instantly got the message.

“Look here kitten,” I said, a bit annoyed. “Are you for-real or is this some kind of game?”

“Game?” She repeated, looking around confused.

I rubbed my hand down my face, then opened up my desk drawer; I knew what I needed and needed bad. Reaching in I pulled out a bottle of Scotch, filled a small shot glass and downed it in one gulp. Mary, I saw, was watching me with her big blue eyes and frowning. If she thought for a moment I was going to offer her a slug, she was in for a rude disappointment.

“Let’s move on shall we, Miss Mary.”

“Just call me Mary,” she answered brightly, “everyone else does.”

“OK Mary, when was the last time you saw this white little lamb of yours?”

“About half an hour ago,” she informed me.

“Let me get this straight, up until thirty minutes ago you and this lamb were still together?”

“Yes,” she confirmed. “We were walking along on the side of the road you see.”

What I saw was a straight jacket and a padded room with no windows, but I kept quiet anyways. “Did anything unusual happen, about then?” I asked instead.

“Well, a big truck almost splashed me,” she replied. “It was a furniture truck and the driver was very rude.”

“That’s all that happened; you almost got splashed?”

“Yes, almost. Fortunately, I had just passed the puddle of muddy water when the rude truck driver went by.”

“And your lamb?” I inquired.

“What about him?” she said confused.

I took a deep breath and looked back down at the bottle of Scotch in my drawer wondering if another slug was going to be needed. “Where,” I said slowly, “was your white little lamb, Ma’am?”

“I thought he was still right behind me,” she continued, “but when I turned around my white little lamb was nowhere in sight.”

There was a knock on the door and Tiny got up to see who it was.

“Could your lamb have been snatched by this irate driver as he passed you?” I speculated.

“I don’t see how,” Mary said. “I would have seen him as he went by wouldn't I?”

“Well I suppose,” I relented. That had been the first thing she said that was based on logic and it kind of threw me for a moment.

“Uh Jack,” Tiny said, drawing my attention from the daffy dame over to him. In the doorway, standing next to my partner was a dark little lamb. On his back was a dirty banjo. I looked at the lamb, then at Mary. “Mary,” I said calmly, pointing to the lamb in the door.

She turned and looked at the lamb in the doorway then refaced me. “What?” She inquired, with eyes as vacant as I was sure her head was.

“Isn't that your lost little lamb right there?” I asked.

She looked at me as if I was a moron. “Um, that’s a black lamb not a white one,” she stated matter-of-fact. “He started following me after my white little lamb disappeared.”

Tiny looked over at me and shook his head. Wow, he mouthed silently.

I could now feel a dull throbbing behind my right eye and massaged my temple in hopes of alleviating the pain. Clearly, this chick’s motor wasn't running on all eight cylinders and I was temped just to put her in park and turn off the engine. If only life was that easy.

“Do you think,” I said, now rubbing the back of my neck, “that this could be your lost little lamb that was splashed by muddy water?”

“Huh?”

I could see I was up against a brick wall with this ditzy dame and decided to try a different course of action. “Wait here a moment Miss Mary,” I told her.

“Mary,” she corrected me.

“Yes, that’s what I meant to say; please have a seat. I believe I can find your lost little lamb,” I told her as I stood up. “But I’m going to have to have a word with this black lamb out back. OK?”

“You’re not going to rough him up, are you?” She asked a bit alarmed. “He doesn't look dangerous or anything. Please don’t hurt him.”

“No, no, sister,” I assured her. “I’m just going to ask him a few questions in private.”

My partner I noticed was still shaking his head in utter disgust. “Tiny, could you keep Mary here entertained while I go out back?” He nodded and I led the black lamb out the rear door. Off to the side was a spigot and hose, which I turned on. Holding onto the four-legged ball of cotton, I proceeded to douse him several times, rubbing his fleece gently with my hand. “Nice banjo,” I commented, as I bathed the little flea-bag.

“#BAA#,” it responded in a very harmonic tone. I believe it was in B minor.

After ten minutes or so, I reentered my office, trailing a very white little lamb with a gleaming banjo strapped to his back.

“Sparky!” Mary exclaimed with joy. “Where have you been?”

“Sparky?” I mumbled. “The lamb's name is Sparky?”

“Yes,” she answered, on the verge of either laughing or crying. “I’m so happy I could just cry,” unfortunately, she proceeded to do the latter, letting tears flow everywhere.

Tiny tossed me another towel, which I put on the floor at Mary’s feet. “So, beautiful,” I said with a grin, “have we found your special lost little lamb?”

“Oh yes, yes! How can I ever repay you?”

I had a few ideas of course, all of them involving Jell-O, a bed and our naked bodies intertwined; but knowing where that would lead I just asked for a couple tickets to Sparky’s next gig that Friday at The Meadows Club with the three little pigs.

As Mary and her white little lamb were leaving, she turned with a glowing smile. “Maybe I’ll introduce you guys to my sister Terri.” She said happily. “We’ll both be there.”

“Maybe.” I replied, reaching once more for my bottle of Scotch. “Maybe.”

THE END

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