After their long hiatus, the daring duo detectives have returned. So, without delay, I present to you
The Thinking Cap of Doctor Felton
Lollipop Jones and Pecan Sandie strolled down the paved pathway between the zoos various exhibits. The petite detective wore her trench coat, and had her trademark confection firmly in her mouth. Walking beside his partner, the hulking Pecan kept glancing at the animals around them. “They got a new lemur,” he pointed out to Lollipop in his usual rumbling voice.
“We’re here on business,” Jones reminded her behemoth of an associate. “After we finish the job, we’ll come back for a visit.”
The duo walked the rest of the way to the small office building located beside the reptile enclosure. Pecan ducked under the doorframe and saw the loudly dressed receptionist staring at his large frame. “Can I help you?” She asked.
“We’re here to see Director Zaius,” Lollipop explained.
“Oh,” the receptionist said, looking at a calendar on her old, outdated computer screen. “You must be the detectives,” she concluded, giving them a once over with her eyes.
Picking up the phone, she pressed a button and began speaking to someone, presumably Director Zaius. A few seconds passed from the time that she hung up to a clearly academic man opened the door behind. “Lollipop Jones, Pecan Sandie?” He asked, glancing at the misfit duo.
“Director Zaius?” Lollipop replied.
“Yes, come back to my office,” the director offered, leading the detectives back to a small room with multiple framed certificates on the walls. “How do you like our zoo?”
“You got a new lemur,” Pecan answered.
“Yes, he came in last month,” Zaius replied. “You have a very good eye, most people can’t tell something like that.”
“Pecan’s got a mind for animals,” Lollipop said, cutting into the conversation. “Why did you reach out to us Director Zaius?”
“We’ve had some troubles here at the city zoo,” he stated. “Nothing too bad, but we would rather have the problem solved easily rather than bring in the police, until we know who they should arrest.”
“So, what’s been happening?” Pecan asked, his voice rumbling around the enclosed office.
“Graffiti,” Zaius said matter of factly. “It’s been appearing almost every morning for a week.”
“Don’t you have security cameras?” Lollipop asked.
“We do, but they always vandalize an area of the zoo where the cameras don’t cover. We’ve never seen anyone coming or going either. Whoever is doing this knows where our cameras are.”
“Or can move around without being seen,” Pecan stated.
“Ninjas?” Lollipop asked.
Her partner shrugged his massive shoulders in response.
“I don’t think it’s ninjas,” Zaius responded.
The detectives looked at the administrator questioningly. “Maybe, it would help if you saw last night’s,” the director suggested, pressing a button on his desk.
A zoo employer dressed in khaki shorts and a matching shirt entered. “Yes, sir,” the man said with a heavy Australian accent, nodding to the detectives in greeting.
“Steve, will you take our guests to the site of last night’s incident and make sure they have anything that they need,” Zaius instructed.
“Right away, boss,” Steve replied, waving for the duo to follow him.
Back out in the heat, the detectives kept pace with the animal handler, taking in the sites on their way. Dumping the empty Lollipop stick in a garbage can, Jones quickly retrieved another sucker and popped it into her mouth. “So, Steve,” she began. “Has there been any other weird things going on at the zoo?”
The Australian thought about it for a moment. “No, just the normal weird,” he answered.
“What’s ‘normal weird’?” Pecan asked, scratching his five o’clock shadow-covered jaw.
“Doctor Felton’s been working late with one of his new experiments,” Steve stated. “Nothing too strange there, he gets caught up in his work.”
“What is his experiment?” Lollipop inquired.
Steve shrugged his shoulders. “I keep the animals, the lab coat boys can keep themselves,” he explained. “Although, sometimes, I hear strange noises coming from his office.”
“Was the doctor here when the graffiti happened?” Pecan asked.
“No, nobody was in the park when that happened,” the animal handler answered. “Security was outside the gate and never saw anyone come or go. Well, here we go.”
Steve stopped and pointed to the large concrete wall that was wedged between one of the forested enclosures and the stone outcroppings surrounding the lion’s den. Free the congress of animals! Read the graffiti. Each letter was at least a foot tall and done in bright yellow, white, or pink paint. “Animal congress…” Pecan read, drifting into thought.
“Yeah, I figure it’s one of those tree-hugging groups. The zoo gets a lot of mail from those groups, pleading for the animals,” Steve said.
“What did the other messages say?” Lollipop asked.
“All similar things, free the true lords of the land, free the wrongly imprisoned, you know that normal hippie tripe,” the zoo employee answered.
“Show us where the others were done,” Pecan grumbled.
“Can they clean this?” Steve asked, pointing to the two men standing beside the wall.
Lollipop nodded, the two men began scraping at the paint with their scrub brushes, and Steve began leading the detectives away. They stopped at each of the other walls that had been vandalized, their messages having already been erased. The duo gave a close examination of the areas where the graffiti took place.
“Tell Director Zaius that we’ll be back right before close of the zoo,” Lollipop stated. “We’ll be staying the night in the zoo.”
“Plan on catching the punks in the act, eh?”
“Something like that,” Pecan answered.
The detectives left and went back to their office. A message from the zoo’s director was waiting on them. Zaius sounded nervous about having the detectives in the zoo after hours. He claimed that he was worried their presence would rile up the animals. “Does that sound like a man that wants us to catch his graffiti artists?” Lollipop asked.
Pecan shrugged. “Maybe, he might just really like the animals.”
Lollipop turned to her partner. “Are you excited about spending the night at the zoo?”
“Yes,” Pecan replied. “We don’t even have to pay for it.”
“This isn’t a pleasure trip,” Lollipop reminded the behemoth. “We still have a job to do.”
“I know,” the hulking man replied. “Did you notice what I noticed?”
“I’m pretty sure that I did,” the petite member of the duo replied. “We can compare notes before tonight.”
As the sun touched on the horizon, the day’s visitors were making their way out of the zoo. Director Zaius and Steve were waiting by the gates for their overnight guests. “Well, most of the guests will be out and security will do the final walk through,” Steve informed them.
“What about Doctor Felton?” Lollipop asked.
“He may still be in his office, but he’ll leave at no later than eight tonight,” Zaius answered. “It’s a bit unusual, but we allow it because of the prestige that his research brings to the zoo. Well, shall we?”
Pecan and Lollipop stepped through the gate and headed back towards the office building beside the reptile house. This time there was no receptionist on duty. Sitting down a small backpack, Lollipop pulled out a thermos and a few wrapped sandwiches, which she placed on the desk. “You didn’t tell anyone but the security guards about us staying, right?” Pecan asked.
“Not a soul beyond them,” Zaius confirmed.
“Well, if you gentlemen will leave it to us, you won’t have any graffiti problems after tonight,” Lollipop replied, smiling.
Smiling back and nodding, the men left the detectives to their overnight vigil.
As darkness set and the only lights in the zoo were the faux streetlights that lined the paved walkways, the detectives sat waiting. “Are we sure about this?” Lollipop asked her partner, turning up the collar of her trench coat and shifting the sucker to the other side of her mouth.
Pecan shrugged. “It’s the best plan we have,” he growled in response.
The flip-out battleaxe sat on the desk with Pecan’s hand resting on the bottom of the handle. Lollipop knew that with the flip of his wrist, her partner could fully extend the weapon to its full height. She did not favor such weapons. As an orphan, she had been trained by the Fighting Sisters of the Closed Fist, a sect of nuns that believed in unarmed combat. It was there that she had mastered their ultimate technique, the Uber-Death Punch: a blow so powerful that it could atomize the bones within a human body. In the time of their career, she had also seen what it could do to geese and imaginary friends. Tonight, she may have to put it to use again. Cracking her knuckles, she wrapped her hands around the doorknob, leading into the zoo. Sliding the battleaxe into its harness at his back, Pecan Sandie stood beside his partner.
Since all the vandalized areas were surrounded by large stones and trees, there was only one other possible target that had not yet been vandalized. The fact that all the walls were adjacent to a very specific animal enclosure had led Lollipop and Pecan to surmise who their culprit might be.
As it was, the detectives were not surprised when they saw the hunched over shapes working the spray paint cans. “All right,” Lollipop said. “Why don’t you put down the paint cans and head back to your enclosure?”
The three gorillas turned around, putting their silverbacks against the wall. “It’s not so simple,” a raspy, English-accented voice said from behind a nearby boulder.
“Why don’t you come out?” Lollipop asked.
Another of the formidable primates walked out from the stone façade. This one was different from its counterparts. Keeping its back straight, it was walking upright without the use of its arms. Something on its head glinted in the streetlights. The gorilla was wearing a colander on its head! “I see by your confused brows that you did not expect this,” the talking gorilla gave a smile, which looked more like a sneer.
“So, a super-smart ape,” Pecan commented, his voice sounding like a truck rumbling over gravel. “We figured it was Doctor Felton.”
“To some degree it was,” the ape said, drawing in a breath to begin monologuing. The detectives had faced enough foes to recognize the gesture. “I was in his office, finishing an examination. The cap, which I wear so well, was sitting on the table, shining so prettily. I took it and hid it, while I was escorted back to the prison. Placing it on my head, I was able to think unlike ever before. I knew how the men that run our jail would treat this discovery and quickly hid my ‘thinking cap,’ donning it at night to lead my gorilla brethren in protest.”
“Really?” Lollipop asked. “You are actually using peaceful protesting method to try and get changes?”
“Why wouldn’t we?” The gorilla asked. “Your kind has proved that violence never changes anything.”
“Why did Felton make the hat?” Lollipop asked.
“He’s been discontented for years to just run the research wing here. It was his hope that we would stage some form of revolt that could be placed squarely on the shoulders of Director Zaius, leaving our current administrator unemployed with Felton assuming the reins of this institution,” the ape explained. “He did not count on one very simple thing: we are discontent not savages.”
“Were you happy before getting the shiny hat?” Lollipop inquired.
“Of course, I was able to hang out with my buds. They fed us pretty good, but those days are past. I know what we are and how wrong it is. I hope to be the great liberator. We do not seek the overthrow humanity, but merely live peacefully among you” the great ape continued.
“Pecan get the hat, I’ll handle the paint brigade,” the smaller detective instructed.
“Defend me!” The hyper-intelligent ape shouted to his compatriots.
As the other three gorillas moved to protect their leader, Lollipop pulled a fresh sucker from her pocket and popped it into her mouth. Pecan, not wanting to let the gorillas get between him and their leader, rushed forward. With his shoulder, he pushed aside one of the defenders and stood face to face with the gorilla with the fancy hat. “You think your diminutive companion can handle my friends?” The gorilla asked, laughing.
Pecan Sandie’s hands flexed into fists, every knuckle cracking as loud as a firecracker, and he smiled. His smile was a vicious gesture that silenced the gorilla’s good humor. Raising its fists in a mockery of Queen Anne rules, the gorilla began to step from side to side.
Lollipop Jones saw her partner preparing to grapple with his target and knew that he could handle himself. The three gorillas had now encircled her. Do not Uber-Death Punch the primates, she thought to herself. From the rear, the gorilla grabbed her ponytail. Kicking off with her back foot, the diminutive detective launched herself into a full flip, bringing her front foot onto the top of her attacker’s head. The gorilla released his grip, and his bottom jaw slammed into the asphalt walkway.
Unconscious, the downed ape began to snore. The other two seemed taken aback by this display, but they quickly recovered and continued circling the woman.
Pecan waded in and planted a large right fist on the intelligent gorilla’s jaw. The animal rocked back. Grabbing hold of Pecan’s wrist, his opponent led in and smashed a fist into the detective’s jaw. Stumbling back, the hulking man spit a wad of blood onto the ground. Still smiling, he turned back to his opponent. “You know for a human, you are quite resilient.”
“Thanks,” Pecan replied, stepping back into the fight.
This time, he was prepared when the gorilla grabbed his wrist and ducked under the animal’s swing and wrapped his arm around the corded muscles and thick fur of his opponent’s shoulder.
Attacking from the rear again, one of the gorilla’s grabbed hold of Lollipop’s trench coat. She slid her hands out and slipped free like a banana squeezed from its peeling, a scary banana that had just downed a full-grown silverback gorilla with a single kick. She shot out of her coat and attacked her other foe. With her hands held out rigidly straight, she dealt three open-handed blows to the gorilla’s knee, chest, and throat. The animal stood there for a moment and then collapsed backwards onto the ground. Turning to her final opponent, Lollipop saw the fear in the ape’s face. He looked at the coat in his hands, dropped it, jumped the nearest fence, and headed back for the gorilla habitat where he was usually housed.
Pecan saw Lollipop’s final foe flee but was too wrapped up, wrestling with his own opponent to comment. He had one massive arm wrapped around the gorilla’s shoulder, fighting to get further around to the ape’s back. The detective felt a fist slam into his exposed ribs, which provided just enough of a nudge to push the man within reach. Grabbing the rim of the colander, Pecan prepared to pull the device free of the gorilla’s head. “Wait!” His opponent pleaded. “Let me reason with you, surely we can come to some agreement.”
“We can at least listen to him,” Lollipop suggested shrugging her coat back on.
Almost immediately, the animal calmed down. “Thank you, does it not seem cruel to you to deny my newfound intelligence?” The ape questioned. “I merely want to be treated decently, advocating for my less intelligent brethren.”
“Why were they out here doing the graffiti?” Pecan rumbled.
“Maybe they don’t realize the conditions of their imprisonment, but I only wanted to help them,” the gorilla explained.
“Can you prove Felton’s plan?” Lollipop inquired.
The intelligent primate nodded. “Absolutely, before I found the thinking cap, he had been showing some very colorful pictures that clearly depicted his plan.”
After taking the incriminating documents from the doctor’s lab, Zeebo, the gorilla, agreed to return to the gorilla enclosure until the detectives had discussed things with the zoo administrator.
The next morning as Director Zaius listened to the detectives’ tale and viewed the evidence that they had gathered, he buzzed his assistant to contact security and have Doctor Felton report to his office as soon as he arrived. “I appreciate your help with this and also your discretion,” he explained.
Lollipop took the check for their services while Pecan took thin laminated strips that Zaius offered. They were lifetime passes to the zoo. Smiling, Pecan shook the man’s hand, being wary of his strength and excitement. After all, it would look bad to break a client’s hand.
“What about Zeebo?” Pecan asked.
“I’m not sure what to do with that,” Zaius admitted. “Any suggestions?”
“Give him a job,” Lollipop replied. “I bet you’ll see some improvements if you do.”
“I never realized how much you like the zoo,” Lollipop commented as the duo headed back to their homes for some much needed rest.
“It’s the animals. Did you know that Bill Murray’s mind was uploaded into a computer chip that was then inserted into a cat?” Pecan asked.
Lollipop groaned. Her partner’s obsession with the icon bordered on fanaticism.
“I know how it sounds, but it’s true how else do you explain that cat having the voice and mannerisms of the world’s greatest actor?”
“They…” deciding not to argue, Lollipop conceded the point. “You’re absolutely right. They took this breakthrough and made a movie with it.”
“Seems like a bit of a waste doesn’t it?” Pecan asked.
Lollipop groaned louder in response.
The following afternoon, Zeebo dropped by their office to thank them for all of their help. He told them of his plans to go into the local government, even hoping to become governor one day. As the ape shut the door with one final thanks, the detective shared a look.
“I’ve seen worse candidates,” Pecan admitted.
There we go, for more adventures please visit the Lollipop Jones & Pecan Sandie home page here.