As I promised on facebook last week, the dynamic detecting duo have returned. So it is with great pleasure that I bring to you:
Lollipop Jones & Pecan Sandie
The Case of the Headless Lawnmower Man
Lollipop Jones and Pecan Sandie sat in their office, facing each other. Things had been quiet since the massive monster brawl that had occupied their time in October. The day was bright and beautiful outside with birds chirping happily. “Is it me or have things been kind of quiet?” Lollipop asked, shifting the stick of the ever-present sucker in her mouth.
The hulking behemoth across from her just shrugged, as he ran the wet stone over the blade of his flip-out battleaxe. “Too hot.” Pecan Sandie commented.
“Yeah, it is.” Lollipop agreed, lowering her hat over her eyes and propping her feet up. “I’m going to take a nap.”
Before the detective could get comfortable, hurried footsteps in the hallway drew their attention. Someone stopped outside their door and knocked. The duo shared a questioning look and then straightened up, making themselves look professional, or as professional as someone can look while sucking on a sugary confection or being a giant in a t-shirt. “Yes?” Lollipop called.
A very generic looking man entered. He was wearing a sweater vest over a polo shirt with khaki shorts and a pair of white canvas Keds. “How can we help you?” Pecan growled.
“Are you the detectives?” The man asked.
“Fantastic.” He replied. “I’m John Smith.”
“Suiting.” Lollipop stated, a perfectly normal, boring, generic name for a perfectly normal, boring, generic man.
“My neighbors and I have been having a problem. We called the police, but they said it was outside of their expertise. The chief told me to see if it might be more within your scope.” John Smith offered.
Police Chief Alyssandra Mendez was a close friend of the detectives and had called them in on several strange cases over the years. A recommendation from her always peaked the detectives’ collective interests. Leaning forward in his chair, Pecan towered over John Smith. “What’s the problem?” He asked their client.
John Smith seemed to shrink back from the rough looking character. “Don’t worry sir, Pecan Sandie is perfectly professional. We need to know what’s going on so we can help?” Lollipop Jones stated, trying to calm the man.
John Smith smiled, but still seemed incredibly nervous under the watchful eyes of the detectives. “It all started back in the 1950’s.” John Smith began. “I live in the Fancy Hills Country Club community.”
The detectives nodded, they suspected as much from the way John Smith looked and talked. Fancy Hills was the area where the wealthiest citizens of the city lived. If they had made a complaint, the police chief would have personally gone to see about it. “Back then, there was a gardner by the name of Maximilian Ludvisk. He was a German immigrant and an amazing engineer. As the sole caretaker for the community and golf course, he had a great deal of work. By all accounts, he was incredibly happy with his work, but felt he could be much more efficient.” Smith continued.
“He created his very own riding lawnmower, I’ve heard stories that it was better built than anything available for sale at the time. It seems that at dusk one night, he was cutting some of the residential yards when there was a mishap.” Their client paused and was happy to leave the story there.
“You should probably finish the story, so that we know what we’re dealing with.” Lollipop stated as she dropped the empty sucker stick into the garbage can and procured another from the drawer of her desk.
“Ah, yes.” John Smith replied as he continued. “According to the police report from the time, an empty clothesline had shifted down the pole and in the dim light Maximilian could not see it. The lady of that house saw the entire incident from the window in the kitchen. The line caught the poor man and with the power in the engine of his creation, it was a perfect combination to separate his head from his body.”
“Wow, you don’t hear about that too often.” Lollipop commented.
“What’s this have to do with your trouble?” Pecan asked.
“Well you see, there had never been anything more than rumors before, occasionally someone’s lawn would be cut differently, but now things are getting much worse and its been dangerous.” John Smith told them, as if his words had explained everything.
“What?” Pecan asked, raising his eyebrow in confusion.
“Why are things getting more dangerous?” Lollipop asked.
“He’s back.” John Smith said. “Maximilian Ludvisk and his deathmower are terrorizing our community.” An ominous peal of thunder echoed in the distance as lighting crashed, rattling the windows. Naw, I’m just kidding, it was like a super nice day outside (see the third sentence up there), but you know, I felt it added ambiance. Sorry, I’ll just rebuild that fourth wall.
“So Max and his lawn mower are what?” Lollipop asked. “I mean he was a gardener right? So is he attacking the new landscapers?”
“No.” John Smith stated. “At night, you can hear him riding up and down the neighborhood. My neighbor was almost run down while walking his poodle. If something isn’t done soon, he might kill someone.”
“Did he intentionally aim for your neighbor?” Pecan asked, crunching pecans in his hand and picking out the nut to much on.
“He came straight at him and never tried to turn. Poor Mr. Snuffles still has problems leaving the house. Have you ever seen an agoraphobic poodle? It’s tragic.” John Smith explained.
Pecan and Lollipop chuckled. Neither of them had ever seen an agoraphobic poodle, but they thought it would be hilarious. “Okay. This does sound like a case for us.” Lollipop said, regaining her composure. “What time does Max normally show up?”
“Around ten.” John Smith replied.
“Why didn’t your neighbor make the report?” Pecan asked.
“I’m the president of the home owner’s association. We thought it might be better if I made the report.” He informed them.
“We’ll be there tonight around nine thirty, so let the guard know to let us in.” Lollipop stated.
“Thank you.” John Smith said standing.
As the door shut behind him, the duo looked at each other. “Rich people are weird.” Pecan commented.
“Yeah.” Lollipop agreed. “Did you think he was holding something back?”
“Yeah.” Pecan replied. “You know Bill Murray became an expert gardener while working on Caddyshack.”
“No, Pecan. I did not.” Lollipop sighed, pinching the arch of her nose. Her partner’s fascination with the actor was that of a zealot. Still, she knew better than to call him out on the veracity of his statements.
“He was able to produce a hybrid of grass that the golf course still uses. They say it is the greatest grass that anyone can ever play on. Bill Murray has secretly been sharing the technique with golf courses around the world to avoid litigation.” Pecan finished his fun fact with a grin.
“Good to know.” Lollipop replied. “Let’s get lunch.”
The Fancy Hills Country Club was a rolling expanse of beautifully manicured lawns and perfectly designed houses centering around the large facility that was the country club proper. It had horses, polo fields, Olympic-sized training facilities and one of the top rated golf courses in the country. Needless to say that Pecan Sandie and Lollipop Jones had never been anywhere close to the facility before. Lollipop parked her large, monster-wheeled, truck by the sidewalk and climbed down. Pecan just dropped from the cab and landed on the sidewalk with a solid impact.
The uniformed security guard from the gatehouse stepped out. “You can’t park that there.” He informed them.
Pecan growled at the man. The glint of metal from Pecan’s back, made the guard jumpy. Nervously, the man pulled his sidearm. Lollipop realized that the situation was getting bad very quickly. As a trained member of the Fighting Sisters of the Closed Fist, a warrior sect of nuns, Lollipop crossed the distance to the man quickly. Placing one hand on the slide of the weapon, keeping it from firing, she gave a quick tap to the guard’s neck. His entire body went rigid. “I know you can’t move.” Lollipop told the man. “I’m going to take this gun out of your hands and put it back into your holster. We are expected here. Mr. John Smith said that he would be telling you to expect us.”
Pecan Sandie lifted the man and carried him back to the gatehouse. Lifting his clipboard from a peg on the wall, Lollipop scanned the name. “See, we’re right here. Lollipop Jones and Pecan Sandie.” She announced, pointing at their names on the list. “We’ll just go on up. We’re expected.”
Pushing open the gates, the duo took in the expensive looking facades of the houses. Pecan let out a low whistle. A golf cart was coming down to meet them. It was John Smith. “Glad to see you made it.” He greeted them. “I’ll take you up to the area with the most problems.”
Lollipop climbed in beside him as Pecan sat on the rear. The small motor groaned at the additional weight. “Do you always have those?” John Smith asked, pointing to the sucker in Lollipop’s cheek.
“Not when I sleep.” She replied.
“Right.” John Smith said as they stopped in front of a cul de sac.
Pecan stepped off of the cart, causing the vehicle to jump at the absence of weight. “What makes this place so special?” Lollipop asked.
“This is the section of the neighborhood where he had his accident.” Their client informed them.
“Good place to haunt.” Pecan stated. “Very nice.”
“Yes, well thank you, but we’d really appreciate it if you could stop him.” John Smith reminded them.
“We’ll do everything that we can.” Lollipop stated.
Climbing back onto his golf cart, the President of the Fancy Hills Country Club Home Owner’s Association drove away to his comfortable house. The detectives stood in the middle of the street for a moment. “How do you stop a ghost?” Lollipop asked.
Pecan shrugged. “Not like an imaginary fiend.” Pecan grumbled.
“We can try our normal method first.” Lollipop offered.
“Works for me.” Pecan agreed.
The duo walked the street, waiting for an appearance of the ghostly gardener. Behind one of the houses, they heard a small choke, like an engine starting. It was followed by the steady hum of a lawn mower engine. Rushing towards the sound, they saw a spectral figure running over the grass. An old contraption that had not been seen for several decades rolled easily over the green of the lawns. It was much different than modern riding mowers, this one had a large round wheel of blades in the front rather than under the body. Sitting at the controls, dressed in coveralls was a headless man. “I need to get over the blades.” Lollipop informed her partner.
Cupping his hands together, Pecan nodded at the small detective. Running, Lollipop placed her foot into Pecan’s improvised launch pad. Throwing her into the air, Pecan watched as she soared in an arc towards the target. Lollipop’s trench coat flapped about her like brown wings. Preparing the ultimate attack of the Fighting Sisters of the Closed Fist, the Uber-Death Punch, she waited until she was on top of her opponent. Her fist struck out, passing through the ghostly man. The blow would have atomized the bones of a normal human, but the ghost did not have any reaction to the strike.
Baffled, the detective looked to her partner. Pecan had the handle of his axe in his hand. With a flick of his wrist, the weapon extended to its full length. Striking at the mower, his axe head wedged in between some of the blades. The driver turned off the engine of the lawnmower and pantomimed scratching his head, only their was no head for him to scratch. He stepped off of the vehicle and both disappeared. “Did I do it?” Pecan asked.
“Maybe.” Lollipop answered. “Keep in mind I’ve never fought a ghost before either.”
From another yard, the lawnmower revved to life. “Guess not.” Pecan stated.
For the rest of the night, the duo watched the headless lawnmower man. He was not doing anything other than cutting the lawns. The detectives were puzzled. All the information that they had been given seemed to indicate that the ectoplasmic being was dangerous, but this looked like he was still on the job. “Weird.” Lollipop stated.
“We need to talk to some people.” Pecan stated, putting his axe up and cracking his knuckles.
Dawn broke on a lovely morning, with dew over the fresh cut grass. People were stepping out onto their freshly mowed lawns. It seemed that the neighborhood was filled with the people you would expect. There was Overweight Bald Man, Old Lady with Too Much Makeup, Trophy Wife and Mid-Life Crisis Guy, all watching the detectives. Rounding out the group was John Smith, riding in on his golf cart. “How’d it go?” He asked, stepping from the tiny vehicle.
“Well, we didn’t get rid of Max.” Lollipop replied honestly.
“All he did was cut the grass.” Pecan stated. “He isn’t dangerous.”
“He almost killed me and Mr. Fluffles.” Protested Old Lady with Too Much Makeup.
“The guy doesn’t have a head.” Lollipop retorted. “What do you expect?”
“Oh yeah, well he butchers my rose bushes, all the time.” Overweight Bald Man insisted.
“And that’s dangerous?” Pecan asked.
“If we have improper yards, we’ll lose our status amongst Rich People Neighborhoods Digest. Currently, we’re ranked number two, but we might drop if this keeps up.
“Look, you people suck, but I might have a solution.” Pecan stated. “We’ll go back to our office and be back tonight.”
Back at their office, Pecan Sandie sat down at his desk. The items that they had purchased on the way laid out before him. Picking up a paring knife, he began to slowly carve the butternut squash gourd before him. “What are you doing?” Lollipop asked.
“He needs a head.” Pecan replied.
“Wouldn’t a pumpkin be more appropriate?” Lollipop asked (clearly a stickler for Irving).
“You see any pumpkins?” Pecan asked. “They come into season much later, what we’ve got is butternut squash.”
With a few deft flicks of his hand, Pecan had carved a happy face onto the gourd. Opening a Mr. Spud Head figure, the large man took pink plastic ears and stuck them in at the appropriate places. “All right.” He informed his partner. “We’re ready.”
Armed with the gourd, Pecan Sandie and Lollipop Jones waited. This time when they rushed towards the lawnmower sounds, they had a plan. Stepping in front of the on-rushing spectral vehicle, Pecan hurled the gourd at the ghost. It hit the neck and stuck. Amazed the duo watched as the carved eyes blinked and squinted. Taking a pair of glasses from his pocket, Maximilian Ludvisk placed them on his new head, resting the arms against his plastic ears and waved at the detectives. Waving back, they stepped aside so that he could continue his job.
The next morning, as the neighbors came out, they marveled at how good their lawns looked. Even John Smith was impressed. “He did a really good job.” The President commented. “What did you do?”
“Gave him a head.” Pecan commented. “Where’s the grass on your golf course come from?”
“I’m not at liberty to say.” John Smith replied.
Satisfied that they had done a good job, and even more satisfied that they had overcharged the rich neighborhood, the detectives went off to see what other adventures might await them.
Still in Fancy Hills Country Club community, on moonless nights, you can still hear Maximilian Ludvisk run over that guy’s rose bushes.
Hope you enjoyed. Continue checking back to see what other adventures these two will get into, or just follow my own misadventures.