Eddie Quiggle and the Case of the Missing Petpet: Part One
Also by melbman
Chapter One - A New Case
I should have known that dame would be trouble the minute I heard her sweet and seemingly innocent voice at my doorway.
“Detective Quiggle?” she purred. I looked up from my overcrowded desk to see the striped Aisha staring down at me over her dark sunglasses. I studied her for a moment. She was a lovely looking creature, with piercing blue eyes and a small pouting mouth. Around her neck swung an expensive jewelled collar, accentuated by a large diamond letter “A”. Looking back I should have realised everything about her spelt danger, but who would think such a sweet young Aisha could land an experienced green Quiggle in trouble.
“Yeah, I’m gumshoe Quiggle, Eddie Quiggle,” I replied, casually standing up. “Take a seat, Miss...”
“Ava Aisha,” she replied, stepping into my office. Swinging her tail purposefully she sashayed to the front of my desk and perched herself delicately on the edge of a chair.
“Well, Miss Aisha...” I paused to pull a piece of Fyora Gum from my silver case. I held the case out, but she refused my silent offer with a quick shake of her head. I popped the piece of gum in my mouth.
“What brings you to my office?”
The Aisha reached into her red coin purse and drew out a photograph. Holding it out for my inspection she explained, “This is my petpet Charlie. He went missing three days ago.”
I took the photograph from her shaking hand and studied it carefully. The pink Kadoatie in the photograph appeared to be quite pampered. He was plump and well-groomed, wearing a jewel encrusted collar to match his owner's. I recognised his solemn expression to be that of Charlie Kadoatie - one half of the famed “Kadoatie Brothers” Neovision act. His snatching had steamed the front page of the Neopian Times. Looking up at Ava I noted that she didn’t seem too disturbed by her petpet's disappearance.
“I heard the snatch was in broad daylight, right in Neopia Central.” The dame didn’t even flinch as I muttered the facts. She nodded gravely and waited for me to take the bait. I played it out a little longer.
“Well, dollface, what do you want me to do about it? This is a case for the Defenders of Neopia and I believe they’ve already got the suspect in their sights.”
“Detective Quiggle, that suspect is my brother, Michael Kyrii. He could not possibly have petnapped my Charlie.”
It was no secret that Ava’s brother had been jealous of his sisters’ petpet - even though his Pirate Albat, Orson, was the other half of the Kadoatie Brothers duo. However, it seemed that all the fame and riches had gone to Charlie and Ava, while Michael and Orson were broke and virtually ignored. And it was something that had irritated the Kyrii no end.
There had been plenty of rumours circulating the Neoboards that Michael had grown disillusioned with being overshadowed by his sister’s popularity and wanted to disband the Kadoatie Brothers to concentrate on a solo act for his Albat.
I was also aware of an alleged contract that bound Orson Albat to the Kadoatie Brothers until Michael and Ava both agreed to the dissolution of the act. And so far Ava had refused her brother's requests.
Jealous brother. Revenge petnapping. Plain and simple. Open and shut case.
“It doesn’t look too good for your brother, Miss Aisha; that sap has “guilty” written plain across his face. It’s a fact that Kyrii was green over your Kadoatie's fame. And as far as I see all the evidence –”
“Which is ALL circumstantial,” the Aisha interrupted coldly. “I am telling you, Mr Quiggle, my brother is innocent. I know him better than anyone; we have been close to each other our entire lives. And Michael knows for a fact that without Charlie, the Kadoatie Brothers are down the drain, and all his invested neopoints with it.”
“Calm down, Miss Aisha. There’s no need for the hysterics. I’m not trying to point fingers at your brother. You need a case solved and you’re asking me to do it. But right now I have nothing to go on. What you need to do is point me in the direction of your suspect so I can grill them on the whereabouts of your precious petpet.”
A look of uneasiness passed across the Aisha’s pretty young face as she stammered, “I – I don’t know who could have stolen him. I mean look at him, He’s only the most famous Kadoatie in the whole of Neopia, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who’d want to cash in on that fame and claim him for themselves. Every day I received hundreds of fan neomails begging me for Charlie; any one of them could be thieves.”
It was true. Here was a missing Kadoatie - a species that was the pride and envy of all of Neopia. Its rarity alone was enough to put it high on any petnappers list. The fact that it was also extremely talented and had been at the top of the Neovision Charts for a very long time made it all the more a target.
I stood up, walked around the desk and placed a hand on Ava’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, Miss Aisha,” I responded as reassuringly as I could, “I’ll look into it for you and see what I can find. And I’ll also talk to Michael Kyrii first thing in the morning.”
The Aisha daintily stood up and turned for the door. I halted her with some parting advice.
“In the meantime, doll, see if you can come up with a list of who may have wanted to take your petpet. Any leads you can give me will help to clear your brother’s name.”
She nodded, and exited without a word.
I needed a place to start. So, I grabbed a hot cup of Borovan and headed down to the Neopian Times archives. Surely there’d be something in back issues that could give me a clue.
The grey Kau at the front desk of the Neopian Times peered suspiciously at me over her specs as I flashed my ticket identifying myself as a private investigator. Those newshawks are always wary of us Gumshoes; they don’t like it when we come snooping around for information. Kinda ironic, ain’t it?!
When it was ascertained that I wasn’t investigating the Neopian Times, the Kau softened a little and led me down the back of the building to the archives. She kindly pointed me towards the Virtupets 2000 sorting machine that allowed me to input any keywords and would bring me articles of relevance.
I settled in for the long haul as I slowly typed the words “Charlie Kadoatie, Kadoatie Brothers”. The sorting machine whirred to life and began chugging through the archives searching for articles relating to my terms. It felt like an eternity as the machine slowly processed each back-issue and collected all the articles.
I remembered the old Kau at the desk mentioning something about it possibly taking a long time because there’d be a ton of articles on the Kadoatie Brothers. I felt my stomach rumbling and noted it was time for a snack. So I headed down to the Coffee Shop and picked up a Sludge Frappucino and Tigersquash Swirly Cake.
By the time I returned, snacks in hand, the Virtupets 2000 sorting machine had finished processing my request. In front of me were maybe a hundred articles, dating as far back as Y6 when the Kadoatie Brothers shot to fame.
I started with a back-story on the Kadoatie Brothers, and how their humble beginnings as an opening act for the 2 Gallon Hatz led to their discovery by famed talent scout Gavin Lupe and their subsequent sign-up by Lou Poogleman to The Shoyru Company – “The Music Company of the Stars!”.
After hours upon hours of sifting through news articles, press releases, advertisements, and editorials my list of suspects still started and finished with Michael Kyrii.
The only thing I’d gleaned from all my reading was that the career of the Kadoatie Brothers was steadily in decline. Over the past few months their newsworthiness had gone from the front pages of the Times to the fourth page of the entertainment section. It was only the mysterious disappearance of Charlie Kadoatie that had incidentally brought the act back to the front page.
Which brought to mind a nagging question: Who could possibly want to snatch a petpet whose celebrity status was rapidly being replaced by newer and fresher Neovision acts? And why would they wait until now to petnap? Why not do it at the height of the Kadoatie Brothers' stardom when they would have everything to gain?
The only conclusion I could surmise was the jealous brother wanting to put an end to his sister’s fame and fortune. But Ava was certain of her brother’s innocence. I would need to speak with Michael Kyrii and see if I could figure out what made his sister so positive he didn’t do it.
To be continued...
(Next week “Initial Interrogations” begin...)
Detectives Speak 101 - a quick lesson on the slang and terms used by Detective Eddie Quiggle.
- Gumshoe – Detective, Private Investigator
- Dame – Female, Lady
- Snatch – Pet Napping
- Steamed the front page – Made headlines, breaking news.
- Green – Envious (eg.“green over your Kadoatie's fame”)
- Sap – Fool
- Grill – Interrogate, Question
- Ticket – Private Investigators License
- Newshawks – Reporters