I would like to thank my sister-in-law Mel for unwittingly giving me the name of this stories villain. So without any delay.
Lollipop Jones & Pecan Sandie
The Case of the Vanishing, Invisible, Imaginary Friend
Lollipop Jones and Pecan Sandie sat in their office. They had just finished another case and were filing it in their cabinet. “Excuse me.” A small voice said from behind them.
Turning, the detectives saw a little girl standing in their doorway. The child was dressed in a pink frilly dress with her hair in pigtails. She looked to be around eight years old. “Hey little girl.” Lollipop answered. “Are you lost?”
The child shook her head. Having been trained as a warrior by the Fighting Sisterhood of the Closed Fist, Lollipop did not have a great deal of experience with children. Most of her encounters with them had been asking if they were lost and then taking them to parents. Since this one wasn’t lost, Lollipop did not know what to do. She looked at her partner, Pecan. The giant mountain of muscle that was Pecan Sandie, shrugged his shoulders. “I want to hire you.” The child announced.
Pecan raised an eyebrow. “Have a seat.” The large man grumbled.
Going to the first chair that she saw, the little girl climbed into it. Lollipop went and sat behind the desk and looked at the girl. Pecan stood off to the side, watching. “Okay.” Lollipop started. “Why do you want to hire us?”
“I need you to find Princess Toofy.” The child responded.
“Who’s Princess Toofy and who are you?” Lollipop asked.
“I’m Samantha Smith and Princess Toofy is my best friend in the whole world.” Samantha answered.
“Is Princess a pet?” Pecan asked.
Samantha just shook her head. “She is my imaginary friend. Something came and took her. She was ab ducked.”
“Abducted?” Jones ventured.
Samantha nodded her head. “So your imaginary friend is missing? Why don’t you just imagine her back?” Lollipop asked.
“I’ve tried, but she won’t come back.” Samantha explained.
The little girl started to cry. Pecan and Lollipop both shared an expression of terror. Ninjas, gangsters, Bigfoot, leprechauns and street gangs, they could handle, but neither of them knew what to do with a crying child. Thinking quickly, Pecan hurried to his desk and opened the top drawer. He returned and held out a red, blue, and gold wrapped treat to Samantha. Looking at the candy, she stopped crying and giggled. “I love these!” She exclaimed, taking the chocolate egg and unwrapping it.
“Tell us about Princess Toofy.” Pecan growled, feeling idiotic saying the name.
Swallowing the sugary confection, Samantha nodded her head. “We had just went to bed and were talking about Ethan, he’s a boy in my class. Something big passed by the window and tried to get in. Princess Toofy told me to close my eyes and keep them shut. I did. Something opened the window and I heard Princess Toofy say ‘pancake cookie’ and then she was gone.”
“Pancake cookie.” Lollipop repeated.
“Yeah. Can you help me find her?” Samantha asked.
“Uh . . .” Lollipop started.
“We can try.” Pecan replied. “What’s Princess Toofy look like?”
“She’s invisible.” The girl answered.
“So you can’t see her?” Lollipop questioned.
“I can just kind of see her outline, but she’s really nice. She once told me that she loves wearing big hats.” Samantha offered.
“Okay.” Pecan replied, not sure what help that information would be.
“Samantha Smith!” A woman exclaimed from the door. “What do you think you’re doing?”
Standing in the doorway was an older, taller version of the girl in the chair. This must be her mother. “Hello ma’am.” Lollipop said, smiling at the woman.
“Hello.” The adult replied sharply. “Samantha, what have I told you about running off?”
“But these people are going to help me find Princess Toofy!” The girl pleaded.
“Oh for the last time.” The mother said exasperated. “I’m sorry if she wasted your time.”
“Not at all.” Pecan stated.
Taking her daughter by the hand, the detectives watched as the mother escorted her child into the hallway and out of sight. “That was a new one.” Lollipop stated. Taking a sucker from the top drawer of her desk, she put the sugary orb in her mouth. “How do you think she found us?”
Pecan shrugged. “Kid’s dentist floor below us.” He offered.
“Right and since her friend was missing, come to the private detectives.” Lollipop concurred. “It seems odd that someone actually came into the house. So what do you think? Overactive imagination?”
“Don’t know.” Pecan replied. “Maybe.”
“Well at least it’s lunch now.” Jones smiled. “Ready for some food.”
“Always.” Pecan rumbled.
The duo made an odd pair on the street. A hulking gorilla of a man and the petite, graceful warrior that escorted him down the sidewalk. They noticed a child crying on the sidewalk. “What’s wrong?” They heard a mother ask.
“Someone took Spotsy.” The child responded. “He said pancake cookie was coming and then someone took him.”
The detectives looked at each other as they kept walking. Finally, after the third child referencing pancake cookie, they stopped and asked the latest crying child. “Who’s missing?” Lollipop asked.
“I beg your pardon.” The mother started. “This is none of your business. His imaginary friend’s missing, no one real.”
Lollipop nodded her head and stood up. “Should we be worried?” She asked Pecan.
“Yup.” Her partner answered. “Imaginary friends are important.”
“You didn’t have one did you?” He asked, already knowing the answer.
“The sisters weren’t big on imagination, really they were only big on combat and church.” Lollipop replied. “So what’s the big deal with not real friends?”
“Imagination is the life blood of creativity. It helps children develop confidence and feel like they have a real friend, even if adults don’t believe it. To the kids, it’s as real as you or me.”
“When did you become some kind of psychologist?” Lollipop joked.
“I became interested in psychology after I saw ‘What About Bob?’” Pecan explained.
Lollipop instantly knew why, her partner the man of few words had become interested in psychology, Bill Murray, the comedic genius that Pecan Sandie was zealous about, had starred in the film. “So Bill Murray made you study psychology?” Lollipop responded.
“No.” Pecan answered. “He made me curious. Just like Groundhog’s Day made me look into philosophy.”
“Wow. So how did that go?”
“Okay.” Pecan answered. “We’re getting off topic. The missing imaginary friends?”
“Right. So how do we try and track down something that we can’t see?” Lollipop asked. “Is this going to be like the Leprechauns?”
“No.” Pecan responded. “All you need is an imagination for this.”
Closing his eyes, Pecan focused for a minute. When his eyes opened, he had a different look about him. “Well?” Lollipop asked.
“This might work. Can you see it?” He asked.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, so probably not.” Lollipop answered.
“It’s gone.” He stated.
“What’s gone?” Lollipop asked, getting confused.
“We need to find a kid to help with this one.” Pecan announced. “I can’t hold my imagination in focus for that long and you apparently don’t have one.”
“Well why don’t we go talk to our client?” Lollipop suggested.
Knocking on the door to one of the townhomes, the detectives were greeted by the mother they saw earlier. “Can I help you?” She asked, looking suspiciously at them.
“We need to see Samantha.” Lollipop answered, giving her best smile.
“Princess Toofy is in trouble.” Pecan rumbled.
“Of course she is.” The mother said, rolling her eyes. “I don’t think you should be here. Good day.”
As the door slammed shut in their faces, the detectives looked at each other. “Break it down?” Pecan offered.
“I don’t think that will help our cause.” Lollipop stated. “Give me a minute.”
Looking at the outside of the building, Lollipop saw that the mortar between the bricks had worn down. With three quick hops, she had climbed the outside of the townhouse and was perched on an upper window sill. “Something’s wrong!” Jones called down. “Count to five and then knock again.”
Pecan gave a slight nod as Lollipop lifted the window and entered the house. The room she had entered looked like it belonged to a little girl. It was all pink with lace accents everywhere. This was a life that Lollipop Jones had never known. Taking the empty sucker stick from her mouth, she dropped it into the wastebasket and retrieved a fresh one from her pocket. The room was not ransacked or disturbed in any way, but something was wrong. It took another survey of the room, before Lollipop realized that the room was too neat. Opening the closet, Lollipop saw that everything was hung in a neat and proper fashion. All the toys were put away in their place. A crash from downstairs announced Pecan Sandie’s arrival within the house.
Lollipop stepped from the room into the hallway. “Up here.” She called.
A moment later, she heard the heavy treads on the steps and her large companion met her. “Nobody’s down there.” He stated.
Looking around the hallway, they saw all the doors were open except the one at the end of the hall. “After you.” Lollipop said, gesturing at the door.
Three quick steps and a kick later and Pecan had shattered the door, revealing the master bedroom. Samantha and her mother were tied up sitting on the bed. The window opened by itself suddenly. Pecan rushed towards the open window and looked out. Lollipop removed the gag from Samantha’s mouth. “It’s Pancake Cookie.” She exclaimed.
“Out the window?” Pecan asked.
Samantha nodded her head, as Lollipop untied the mother and child. Pecan leaned out the window and dropped towards the ground. There was a loud sound like a log hitting a side of beef. The window and the bulk of the wall exploded as Pecan hurtled through it and bounced off the ceiling onto the floor. Pecan Sandie hopped up growling as if nothing had happened. “What hit you?” Lollipop asked. In all their years as detectives, Lollipop had never seen anything handle Pecan Sandie like that.
“Don’t know.” Pecan answered. “Can’t see it.”
The behemoth started to take a step forward and fell down on one knee. “Pecan?” Lollipop asked, concern evident.
“Those are some noisy birds?” Pecan explained. Lollipop tilted her head and stared at him, confused.
“I might be concussed.” He stated.
Staring for a moment, he started to grin. “Are you okay mister?” Samantha asked from the bed.
“I can see imaginary things.” Pecan stated.
Stepping to the hole in the wall, Pecan looked down. “Gotcha!” He exclaimed as he leapt back down.
The sounds of a fight began to reach the second floor of the townhome.
Lollipop hurried and finished untying the mother and child. “Stay here.” She ordered as she went to check on her partner.
Looking down, she saw Pecan wrestling with an invisible foe. “Okay, this day keeps getting weirder and weirder.” Lollipop stated.
Effortlessly, Lollipop stepped from the wall and descended to the ground below. Her trench coat billowed around her. As her feet touched the ground, she bent at the knees and pushed off the ground into a leaping attack at Pecan’s unseen foe. Her foot touched something solid. Whatever it was, wrapped around her leg and swung her like a club. She hit something that felt like a brick wall and was dropped to the ground. The sound of retreating steps was the only sound she heard while she stared at the sky, trying to regain her senses. Looking beside her, she saw Pecan doing the same. It must have been the brick wall, Lollipop thought.
Samantha and her mother hurried into the back yard with the detectives. “Are you two all right?” The mother asked.
“Maybe.” Lollipop groaned as she sat up. “Pecan?”
The large man growled an affirmative response. “Why’d he come back?” Pecan rumbled.
“I don’t know.” Samantha answered. “He said that I needed him since Princess Toofy wasn’t ever coming back.”
“Well Pancake Cookie seems to be a very fitting name for him.” Pecan replied. “He looked like one.”
“Pancake Cookie?” The mother asked, her face going pale.
“Yeah.” Lollipop answered. “At least that’s what your daughter told us.”
“He took Princess Toofy.” Samantha explained.
“Oh no, it can’t be.” The mother said in a hushed voice as she sank to the ground.
“What’s wrong mom?” Samantha asked, wrapping her little arms around her mother’s shoulders.
“Pancake Cookie was my imaginary friend, when I was little.” The mother explained.
“Wonderful.” Lollipop stated, standing up.
“Any idea where he’d keep the other imaginary friends?” Pecan asked.
“No.” The matron answered, still shocked.
Pecan and Lollipop walked to the end of the townhomes and hailed a cab. “Well what do we do now?” Lollipop asked.
“I’m still concussed.” Pecan responded. “I might see something of value.”
“Okay.” Lollipop replied, telling the cab driver to just drive around.
After passing several city blocks and a few random turns, Pecan told the cab to stop. Stepping from the vehicle, Pecan walked towards a street corner, talking to something that Lollipop couldn’t see. Watching intently, the warrior nun trained detective watched as her partner lifted something into the air and shook it. Finally, Pecan headed back towards the cab. “Third and Montrose.” He instructed the driver.
“So what was that about?” Lollipop asked.
“Saw a pig wearing a trench coat, backwards ball cap, smoking a cigarette. Awful odd behavior from a real pig.” The behemoth explained.
“So he told you where Pancake Cookie was?” Lollipop questioned.
“Yup,” Pecan grinned. “Old apartment building at Third and Montrose. Before we go in you need to do two things.”
“All right.” Lollipop agreed.
“First, you need to make a phone call. And we’ll worry about the second when the time comes.” Pecan answered.
Standing outside the building, Pecan waited. Lollipop hung up the payphone and joined him. “Okay phone calls made, what’s next?” She asked.
Pecan dropped his fist onto her head. “OW!” She shouted and stumbled backwards until pecans large arms steadied her.
“Had to be done.” Pecan said, holding his hands up in surrender.
Lollipop struggled to stand and rubbed the large knot forming on her head. “What did you do?”
“Gave you a concussion.” Pecan explained. “An adult’s imagination is too limited. With a concussion, the subconscious is able to reveal the imaginary world.”
“What about Bob?” Lollipop asked, annoyed.
“I told you Bill Murray helped me expand my horizons.” Pecan reminded. “Now can you see it?”
She blinked, trying to ignore the pounding head ache. Looking at the building, Lollipop was shocked by what she saw. The building, which had looked like an old rundown apartment building, was now brightly colored with a giant sign reading Pancake Cookie’s Hideout. “Convenient.” Lollipop commented.
“Let’s see if he’s home.” Pecan said, taking his flip out battle axe off of his back.
With a flick of his wrist, the handle unfolded and the axe was at its full height. “Do we think he has any henchmen?” Lollipop asked.
Stepping up to the door, Lollipop pushed on the neon pink entrance. It opened smoothly. The carpet was bright orange shag and the walls looked like they were made out of strawberries. The doors to the apartments were cell doors like in a prison and creatures of all shapes and sizes peered out at the detectives. “Where’s Pancake Cookie?” Pecan asked.
The imaginary creatures all pointed to the far end of the hallway. “We’ll be back for you guys.” Lollipop stated, as her and her partner walked to the closed door.
This door was far less colorful than everything else in the building. It appeared to be a heavy oak door. Pecan knocked it from its hinges with a single kick. Stepping through, the duo found themselves in, what appeared to be a high school gymnasium. Cardboard cutouts of kids were sitting on the bleachers. Standing in the middle of the basketball court was Pancake Cookie. This was Lollipop’s first time seeing the villain. He was large, round and thin. And he appeared to be a cross between a pancake and a cookie. He shouted at them and she could smell pecans and maple syrup. Examining her foe, she saw that he had pecan teeth and maple syrup saliva. Explains the smell, she thought. Long white hands and feet adorned the body, ending in white gloves and shoes. “He looks like a flat Mr. Potato Head.” Lollipop commented.
Crossing the distance quicker than was possible, Pancake Cookie slapped Lollipop Jones. Her face swung to the side and her sucker sailed across the room. As quickly as he had attacked, Pancake Cookie retreated. Lollipop popped her neck side to side as she stared at the half eaten sucker now lying on the gymnasium floor. She took another sucker from her pocket. Pulling the wrapper from the sugary treat, she placed it in her mouth and shrugged out of her trench coat. Pecan let out a low whistle. “Now you’ve done it.” He warned.
“Do you think I’m scared of you two?” Pancake Cookie said. His voice sounded like Laurence Fishburne after inhaling a dozen helium balloons. “I have friends you know.”
And at that dozens of shadowy forms rose from the floor. The shadows wavered and took shape. Several lizard men and knights in armor stood between the detectives and their target. “Pecan.” Lollipop whispered.
A fierce grin appeared on the hulking man’s face. With a rumbling cry like thunder, Pecan rushed towards the obstacles. His battle axe raised high, his enemies rushed to meet him. Lollipop followed in Pecan’s wake. She silently strode the distance towards the confectionery fiend. One of the armored knights slipped past Pecan. Unleashing an Uber-Death Punch, the greatest technique of the Fighting Sisters of the Closed Fist, Lollipop knocked the knight into the bleachers. Hitting the wooden seats and scattering the cutouts, the knight vanished entirely. Those that had been foolish enough to attack Pecan Sandie had also vanished upon their defeat. Seeing nothing else to fight, Pecan stepped aside and let his much smaller associate pass.
The assured look had left Pancake Cookie’s face. “All right, well I don’t need them. I beat you once.” He proclaimed.
“I can see you this time.” Lollipop confirmed.
She leaped into the air and began attacking the imaginary abductor. She was like a baker, if the baker specialized in breaking bones. Several times she delivered an Uber-Death Punch to the large doughy villain. Each blow hurt him, but without any bones the attack could not put him down as it did most opponents. “Pancake Cookie!” Someone shouted from the door to the apartment building.
Lollipop stopped, her fist drawn back to knock another of Pancake Cookies pecan teeth to the floor. Samantha’s mom stood in the doorway, staring at the beaten and battered (HA!) kidnapper. “Suzie?” He asked. “You can see me?”
“Of course, I can always see you. What happened?” Suzie asked. “My Pancake Cookie wouldn’t be doing this.”
“You gave me up.” He stated. “Don’t you remember, you gave me up? What was I supposed to do? What good is an imaginary friend without a child?”
“I’m sorry.” Suzie apologized. “I was growing up and I made real friends. You can understand that can’t you PC?”
A smile crossed Pancake Cookie’s face. “PC?” He asked, remembering his old nickname. “Can I come home with you Suzie?”
Suzie thought about it for a moment. “Only if you let all the imaginary friends go and play nice.”
“Okay.” He stated. “I knew if none of the other kids had imaginary friends and I was the only one left, then at least one of them would want me. I’m sorry.”
Pecan Sandie and Lollipop Jones just stood there, watching the conversation. “So, if things are settled and it sounds like Samantha’s going to get Princess Toofy back. We’re going to the hospital, we seem to be concussed.” Lollipop stated.
Pecan chuckled to himself. Pancake Cookie walked over to Suzie and with each step, he shrunk and his features softened. By the time he reached his old friend, he was no taller than her daughter Samantha. “Well that’s a happy ending right?” Lollipop asked.
“Yeah.” Pecan agreed. “Which way is the hospital?”