Saturday, November 14, 2009

1. Curious Case...


Ready for another action-packed adventure?


Here goes--from my casebook:

"The Curious Case of the Clandestine Clam".


Saturday, October 31, 2009

17.The mystery is solved

So there it was.

The mystery was solved.

The meaningless but symbolically meaningful scrawls decorating the mollusk shells of our neighborhood had been placed there by this young crab tagger for his own selfish reasons--a fact that (he was right) I would NEVER understand.

That the mollusks of the neighborhood had worked a lifetime to make their shells as beautiful as they could was not a consideration for this young tagger.

He would mark them--cowardly
and unknown at night--so the good residents of the neighborhood would fear the something that prowled at night.

He was the opposite side of the coin from me I guess--I worked to bring a little peace and happiness--he wanted to bring fear and anger and frustration.

Well, so it was.

I thought my way was better and he, no doubt, thought his way was better--strange isn't it?

So--though I had solved the mystery--I had failed to find a solution.

But they say "failure is a better teacher than success"--so at least I had perhaps learned something from this case.

Constable Crab


Friday, October 30, 2009

16.. The Tagger Explains

"But," I said, "What does it MEAN?"

"You won't EVER GET IT!" The young tagger-crab said to me with a suitably surly expression. "It simply means---ME!"

"You?" I asked, "Why you?"

"Look Pops--I told you, you'd never get it--and you won't! Just LEAVE IT, Pops!"

"But no-one knows who makes these signs--and they are not in any readable language--how can anyone know YOU are the one making them? Is is some kind of advertising?"

"ADvertising? Look Grampa! I don't WANT anybody to KNOW who does it--it's a MYSTERY, see? I'm like a phantom! I'm EVERYWHERE but NO-0ne knows WHO I AM! SCAREY, huh?"

"So you want to scare people?"

"Yeah, but that's only PART of it! I also want everybody to understand WHO rules this neighborhood! I DO!!"

"But nobody knows who you are..."

"You're not totally dim, Pops. But you'll never get it! You are just too OLD!"

"Oh." I replied. This young crab was right about one thing--we could not communicate at all.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Reality Check

It not only happens in Constable Crab's imaginary neighborhood--here is an example in my own neighborhood in Escondido, CA.

(Tomasito photo, 2009.)


Monday, October 5, 2009

15. A Tagger

"What in the WORLD are you doing?!" I asked the young crab.

"Making my mark--tagging, of course." He replied without batting an eyelash.

"But, WHY on EARTH? What does it MEAN?" I asked .

"What's it to ya, Grampa?" He replied.

I was feeling a little flustered. "I am Constable Crab--I am partly responsible for the welfare of this community--so, what are you doing?"

"Oh, yeah. I heard about you--you are the do-gooder lawman who snoops around this area. Well, I am a tagger, Pops--and what I do is TAG. Get it?"


Saturday, October 3, 2009

14. Caught in the Act

It was not far to the shell opening.

I was quickly out--ready for anything.

Anything, that is, except what I found!

Cooly painting one of the mysterious signs on the broad, white side of my borrowed used shell--was a young crab--a crab of my OWN KIND!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

13. Snooze

Waiting in the nicely-appointed used shell, I lay down on the built-in and very comfortable bed.

Very nice!

I was more and more convinced that the hermit crabs--who are always looking for a better shell it seems--are really on to a good idea!

In fact, the bed and the quiet and the snug security of the shell worked on me like a tranquilizer and I soon fell sound asleep!

I had no idea how long I had snoozed when I was awakened by a very soft swishing sound--the sound a paint brush might make painting a mysterious sign on a mollusk shell!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

12. Stakeout

In the evening I ambled down to the Opihi Colony and saw that--true to his word--Al the Used Shell Salesman had arranged for a nice shell for my stake-out.

I didn't want to be seen moving in so I quickly backed into the shell and waited for a few moments, listening.

I was pretty sure I had not been seen--so now all I had to do was wait.

I felt sure that whoever was responsible for the peculiar signs on the other mollusk shells would definitely be tempted by the clean white exterior of this shell! Al had chosen right!

Meanwhile I took the opportunity of looking around me.

This shell looked pretty good to me. Everything necessary and nothing unneeded. Safe and snug.

Not bad.

Maybe the hermit crabs had a good idea after all!

I settled down for what I hoped would not be too long a wait.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

11. Disguise

As I expected, my old friend Al the Used Shell Salesman popped up as soon as I got close to his shell lot. He smiled broadly and welcomed me warmly, also as I expected--I guess used shell salesmen are all pretty much alike...

"Constable Crab, you old son-of-a-gun! Good to see ya again! REALLY GOOD! Now--What can I do ya for?"

"Al there is something suspicious going on around here and I want to get to the bottom of it!"

"Why sure, Consatable! I'm yer man--as always! Shoot yer request!"

"It is simple, Al--I need to borrow one of your shells."

"Surely yer not gonna become a HERMIT crab, Consyable? Not after all these years as a lawman!?"

"No, Al--much simpler than that! I need a shell to use as a DISGUISE. I am going to have to go undercover to find out what's going on!"

"Anything I can do, Constaboil! I'm yer man, as I said before! No charge! Free Gratis! Take yer pick! I suppose yer wants one of the latest models? Right over hear I've got some DOOZIES! They're LOADED!"

"Just something simple, Al. And I expect I'll only need it overnight. And could you deliver it over to a place near the Opihi Colony, please?"

"Natch, Constabibble! I'm yer man! How about that white number over there at the back of the lot! It's NICE! When shall I drop it off?"

"That will do just fine, Al. If you drop it off this evening before nightfall, please. I would like to be snugly installed inside it before dark..."

"DONE, Constabill! It shall be there or my name is NOT Al the Used Shell Salesman, Ha! Hah!"

We shook on the deal and I went off to prepare for the night's adventure.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

10. Going Undercover

These markings were too much and too many! Something definitely had to be done--and this was MY beat.

I was going to have to take action.

Evidently some young crab was up to something fishy and it was up to ME to find out WHAT and WHY.

Since the deed seemed to be done while the good residents of this part of the sea were asleep--I was going to have to go undercover--and that meant a trip to my old friend Al the Used Shell salesman!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

9 Footprints

The area where the opihi's rocks stood was, as usual, near the high tide mark since opihis like to live submerged sometimes and high, but NOT dry sometimes.

And, very lucky for my investigation, the rocks were surrounded by nice, yellow sand.

Almost immediately I noticed footprints--faded in the moving water--but still visible in the sand surrounding the opihi's rocks!

And these footprints I could easily identify--because to my great surprise, they were CRAB footprints!

Crabs of my own kind--but young! Younger than me, for sure!

Was it possible that a CRAB was making the mysterious marks on the mollusk shells?!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

8. Surprised Opihi

I walked over to the largest Opihi shell and knocked.

"Hello, deah!" answered the opihi and looked out of his shell. "W'at's happenin' Bro?"

"Good morning." I replied, "I am Constable Crab and I would like to know the meaning of the markings on your shell--and on the shells of all your colonist friends."

"Ain't no markin's on US, Bro!"

"Oh, but there ARE! Just look around at all of your fellow colonists!"

"Well, pop my makas! They ARE marked--but I got NO idea what it all means, Bro! We nevah done nothin' like dat befo' !"

"If it is all right with you, I would like to look around here a bit--there is some mystery going on in this area--several of your mollusk neighbors have also been marked and I would like to get to the bottom of it!"

"O' course, Bro! Look around all you like! We got nothin' to hide!"


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

7. A Marked Opihi Colony


What I saw in the Opihi Colony was BEYOND BELIEF!

Opihis are small sort of volcano-cone shaped mollusks from Hawaii and they had been coming to our part of the sea in increasing numbers lately.

What I SAW was that practically EVERY opihi shell in the colony was marked with the same strange characters I had seen on the other mollusks!

I had literally NEVER seen anything REMOTELY like it in my entire life!


Saturday, September 5, 2009

6. Sally Scallop

You couldn't miss the strange markings on Sally Scallop's shell.

It was perplexing, but I thought I should ask her what she thought about it--and since she was just setting out on a slow scallop stroll, I walked along beside her.

"Do you have ANY idea about these shell markings--what they mean or who is responsible for them?" I asked her.

"No, Constable--I really haven't the foggiest--but if you think My case is odd, you should take a look at the opihi colony down at the end of the sandy path! They take the cake, as they say, for MARKINGS!"

So I hurried on down the sandy path.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

5. Perhaps a Clue

"Now that is wonderful strange, Constable! Because just yesterday I was noticing some peculiar markin's on Sally Scallop's shell when I dropped by to pass the time of day!

She hadn't the foggiest notion as to HOW they got there-- any mor'n I do about how I got the markin's ya' say I have got now!

She lives just the other side o' this big rock, Constable--why don't ya' ast HER about HER strange markins' ?"

"Thanks, Bill, I will!" I said. "I want to get to the bottom of this mystery!"

And I set off around the big rock.


Friday, August 28, 2009

4. Sailor Bill Abalone

The next day I was walking--in the early morning again as is my habit--when I was astonished to see the same strange markings on an abalone of my acquaintance!

"Ahoy, there, Sailor Bill!" I called, knocking rather loudly on his shell since he was a bit hard of hearing.
"What are these peculiar marks on your shell?"

"Avast there! Leave off the shoutin' and racket!--oh, it's YOU, Constable! Nice to see ya' this fine mornin'! And what might I be doin' fer ya?"

"I would like to know what these strange markings on your shell mean, Bill?"

"Market? Nah--I ain't been ta the market, Constable. An what would I be doin at the market anyhow?"

"Not MARKET, Bill! MARKINGS! I would like to know about these MARKINGS on your SHELL!"

"You are jokin' Constable! Ain't no MARKINS on MY shell!"

"But the ARE, Bill!"


Thursday, August 27, 2009

3. Mysterious Markings

A lady mollusk shyly opened the shell.

"Yes?" she asked.

Good morning, Ma'am--I am Constable Crab. I noticed some marks on your shell and was a bit concerned. They look almost like words--but not quite--so I was wondering what they meant..."

"Marks?" She said. "I am not aware of any marks. And of course you know that we mollusks can't see the outside of our own shells. It's the way we're built."

"Of course, Ma'am--but I assure you that there ARE some strange marks on your shell. Do you know how they got there--or why they are there?"

"I'm afraid I don't know anything about it, Constable. What do you think I should do?"

A few shrimp had gathered nearby to see what was happening so I asked one of them to confirm for the mollusk the fact that there was indeed some marks on her shell before I replied.

"Oh yes, Mum." stated one of the shrimp--"There is indeed some strange markings on ya's shell! Never saw anything like it!"

"As to what you should do about it", I continued--I guess nothing. If it doesn't bother you--well, it is no trouble to me either. Thank you for your cooperation and have a pleasant day!"

And I continued my early morning walk.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

2. A Marked Mollusk

I was taking an early morning stroll in the rocks on the beach when I saw something odd--something I had never seen before.

One of the mollusks clinging to a large mossy rock had some strange marks on its' shell.

When I approached more closely--I was astonished to see that I could practically READ the marks!

This was strange, unnatural and bizarre!

I went over to the mollusk and politely knocked on its' shell to see if anyone was home.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

1. New Adventure: Marked Mollusk

Well, Hello!

I see you are ready for a new adventure and have I got a doozy for you!

This next case from my casebook I call: The Strange Case of the Marked Mollusk.

SO--hold on to your hats and get ready for a VERY strange story!

Monday, August 17, 2009

28. Wrap Up

Well, that's about it.

The Case of the Last Sardine, as I've named that case from my casebook--and--as it turned out--the missing sardine--the last sardine--turned out to be a new friend.

That's the way I like my cases to turn out!

If you enjoyed this case, be sure to be on hand when I begin the next case from my casebook.

See you soon then,

Constable Crab


Saturday, August 15, 2009

27. Mable's Song

We were seated quickly and efficiently at a small table--front and center again--right below the cozy club-sized stage. ( VERY different from the immense arena stage at the clam shell, of course, but also VERY nice.)

The audience was in a thrill--waiting for what they expected would be one of the memory-making experiences of their lives--the debut of a new act: "The Mable and Cody Show"!

Starry and I were eager too.

The house lights dimmed and the stage lights came up--red plush curtains parted and the crowd burst into applause.

Mable, alone at first in a single dazzling spotlight, looked totally stunning holding a silver microphone and gazing
smilingly out at the packed house--Cody looked dashing and pleased as he soon took his place behind the keyboard.

"Dear Friends!" she said, and at her first words the audience hushed to absolute silence. They didn't want to miss a single sound from this famous sardine!

"Cody and I thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your applause and for coming out to welcome us here this evening..."

"We loves ya Mable!" shouted a lone voice from somewhere in the darkened room.

"And I LOVES ya too--Alls of ya!" Mable laughed back happily..."But we are going to start our program with a new song I wrote for a certain special Crab--he knows who he is--without whom we would not be here."

As Cody played a few introductory notes I must admit I blushed when she glanced down at me. Then she began to use that marvelous, unusual voice of hers to sing:

"A friend is one who is always there--
Who picks you up when you are down--
Who lets you know that someone cares--
Who smiles when every else will frown.

And even when you make
Some dumb and selfish mistake
Will stay by your side

'Til the change of the tide

A friend in need--

That friend indeed--

My friend!

"My friend!" She quietly spoke these last two words looking right down at me and it WAS one of those memory-making moments which life sometimes brings.

The audience was silent for a moment and then there was a storm of applause. Mable and Cody were a sensation!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

26. A Special Table

At Father Neptune's Restaurant I caught Alfonse The Waiter's eye and, rubbing his claws together, he hurried up to greet us.

"Ahh, 'Allo, Monsieur Crab! It is delight to see you zis evening. As you see we are crowded with overflowing--all are, how you say, agog, over debut of Mademoiselle Mable avec Monsieur Cody!

Mais--I will set up a small private table for you and your starfish friend next to the stage, non?

is too good for Monsieur Crab and his friends!"


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

25. Good Show

And so it went.

The crowd was enthusiastic and gave the Seven Sardines huge applause after every number.

And most surprising--I found myself enjoying the sardine music too!

It wasn't classical whale singing, but it DID have it's place for the standard musically untrained fish and seemed to serve a purpose. After all--the masses need music too--and this was obviously THEIR music of choice!

When the concert was over, but before we left our seats, I asked Starry how he liked it.

"Great! Wonderful!" he enthused, "and I am SO glad you invited me to help you occupy these excellent seats!"

"But did you miss Mable's autoharp?" I asked him.

"Autoharp? Mable? No--now that you mention it! The music sounded just fine as they played it! I didn't notice any difference at all! Isn't that strange?"

"I suppose it is." I said, smiling inwardly. "But shall we stop by Father Neptune's restaurant before we call it a night--just to see how Mable and Cory are doing with their new gig?"

"Good suggestion, Constable! We shouldn't drop them flat as a flounder! By all means--let's go!"


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

24. My Sammy Sardine

I'll say this for the freebie seats we were enjoying--Starry Starfish and I-- for the Seven Sardines Concert at the Clam Shell show--they were first class!

Front Row Center--and for one of THESE concerts it doesn't get any better!

The enormous crowd was lively and restless--there were all sorts of denizens of the deep there--mostly young, of course as I expected. There were even a few squid off in a far part of the balcony--and THAT surprised me since I know they are NOT partial to the sort of "music" produced by sardines!

There were young crabs there, of course--since there are young crabs everywhere these days.

Just a few minutes late and before the crowd got too restless, with a musical flourish, the lights on the stage blazed up and the Seven Sardines launched into their signature number:"My Sammy Sardine".

THIS tune was so popular that even I knew it--though it is a LONG way from my classical whale singing!

Most of the crowd delightedly joined in singing the chorus and most could even hum the stanzas.

I did too! The mood was absolutely infectious!

Surely you know it too--

My Daddy don't like him
He says he is lazy--
But he's so CUTE
It drives me crazy!

My Sammy--My Sammy Sardine!

My Momma don't like him
She says he's a bum--
But if he should whistle
He knows I will come!

My Sammy--My Sammy Sardine!

My sister don't like him
Neither does my brother--
But he's the only sardine
I want for MY lover!

My Sammy--My Sammy Sardine!

There are lots of sardines
They say, in the sea
But there's only one
Sardine for me!

My Sammy--My Sammy---
Oh, You're so CUTE, Sammy--
Oh, Sammy--you're so NICE...
(etc. as it fades.)


Sunday, August 2, 2009

23. Some Changes Save the Day

I had a lot to do before the dress rehearsal in the afternoon because I had an idea of how to ease the pain for Mable of getting fired from the Seven Sardines.

First I needed to pay a visit to my favorite restaurant, Father Neptune's, where I was having dinner when this whole affair began as you will remember--not for lunch, but because I wanted to discuss a business proposition with the restaurant's owner, Antonio Vivaldi--a halibut friend of mine.

But I was back at the stage door entrance of the Clam Shell Concert Hall in time to intercept Mable and Cody--catching them just as they were about to go in.

They did NOT look happy!

"Oh, Constable Crab! How could Sharko DO this to me?" wailed Mable grasping my claw.

Cody, in a tightly controlled voice, said: "We heard it on the Gossip Grapevine that Mable was OUT and another sardine was IN, Constable--is it true?"

"It is true." I answered simply. "I never even had a chance to tell him about your contract wishes, Mable.

Sharko had already picked a replacement for you when I arrived at his office this morning. It was a fait accompli! There was nothing--absolutely nothing--I could do about it...BUT, I continued, "I DO have some GOOD news for both of you!

My friend Antonio Vivaldi, the owner of the fine restaurant, Father Neptune's, wants BOTH of you to come and work for him as entertainers for his after dinner guests at the restaurant--starting this evening!

He is willing to pay you what you are making now and will raise your salary if the crowds--which I assured him you would draw--do indeed come in!"

There was a gasp and a moment of shocked silence-- then Mable squealed: "Oh Constable Crab! You are SUCH a DEAR!

It is a wonderful offer--and we'd be fools not to accept! Thank you a million times!"

She dropped my claw and grabbed Cody by the fin.

"Come on, Cody! Let's go down to Father Neptune's NOW! We'll show that shark what we can do!! Who needs those six common sardines--from now on it's just US:

The Mable and Cody Show!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

22. The Sylvia Surprise

Now I was in for it!

I had stuck my head
out a mile!

How was I EVER going to convince Sharko to cater to the whims of Mable Sardine?

I didn't sleep much that night and the next morning I walked slowly down to the Clam Shell, where I expected Sharko to be, thinking about how to tell him about his "missing sardine".

I went to his office and, bracing myself, knocked on the door.

"OPEN IT!" Growled Sharko's unmistakable voice--and I did.

"CRAB!" Sharko yelled--and was that his happy tone of voice?

"CRAB, ya old rascal! Get in here and meet da newest sardine sensation--Sylvia! Sylvia Sardine! Da NEW seventh Sardine!!

My knees felt weak.

"But Sharko--I've FOUND Mable--the seventh sardine!"

"Dat has-been?" Sharko snorted! "Who needs HER?? We got da real thing here, Crab! Silvia here sings like a angel and dances better'n Ginger Rogers--besides being such a CUTE li'l thing an' she plays the accordion like nobody else on earth--" (This last he said with a sentimental quiver in his voice.)

"Accordian?" I said, "But I thought you needed an autoharp player!"

"Crab--ya got a lot to learn about this moosic bizness--da marks what buys tickets to dees concerts don' know a bass drum from a clarinet--dey come fer da noise an da mob scene! An dat's da troof!"

"But Mable said she was willing to perform tonight with a just few small changes in her contract..."

"Ahhh--Nuts to dat dame! She was gettin' too uppity fer her own good anyway, if ya ast me! Good riddance ta dat bag a trouble! We GOT A REAL WINNER HERE wit' Sylvia!!"

"Well..." I began feeling somewhat relieved.

"Ya did GOOD anyway Crab! How much do ya want fer yer services?"

"Well..." thinking that I really had not done very much!

"Tell ya what, Crab! I'll comp ya a couple a' FREE tickets to t'night's show--they're worth BIG BUCKS--an' we'll call it square, OK?"

Why not?

"Sure Sharko--that's fine with me! I really want to see the show. I'm looking forward to it very much!"


Friday, July 31, 2009

21. Deal!

Oh me!

I suspected--no--KNEW--that Mable's contract demands would certainly be hard on a LOT of people.

I thought that the first big problem would be to sell Mable's ideas to Sharko--and hammerhead sharks are not known to be easy to deal with even on the best of terms! Giving in to these egotistic demands by a sardine--even a sardine so obviously different as Mable--would NOT be easy for a shark!

AND even if he agreed, how would the rest of the "Seven Sardines" take it?

There was bound to be some hurt feelings to say the least!

And how about the thousands of people who had already bought tickets for tomorrow night's Clam Shell show? Would they be happy to see "Mable and the Six Sardines" or would they want their money back?

But I would have to try.

"OK, Mable!" I said quietly, "I don't think it will be easy--but I will do my best to convince Sharko--the other sardines in the group and the friends and customers--that YOU are different and worth the changes you want. I will do my best and I will be responsible for EVERYTHING!

But I want YOU to promise to show up for tomorrow's final dress rehearsal for the Clam Shell concert--on time and ready to perform!"

"DEAL, Crab!" Mable said with a smile. Cody and I will BOTH be there and ready for business! "You have my word of honor as the World's Greatest Sardine!"


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

20. Mable's Ultimatum

"You certainly are YOU, Miss Sardine--but just WHAT does that have to do with your 'disappearance'?"


"I'm sorry to be dense, but I don't see the connection."

"Oh, let's GO, Cody! I Knew this wouldn't work!"

"Hold on, Mable!" Cody interjected desperately, "Break it down! Constable Crab will understand if anyone will!"

"OK, I'll try one last time. Look, Constable, I am ME-- Mable Sardine! I am ONE of a kind--and NOT just one of the Seven Sardines! If it wasn't for MY talent and MY voice--there wouldn't BE Seven Sardines. I AM THE SHOW!!"

This sardine WAS pretty hard to handle--and I could certainly see why Cody thought 'Some sardines were more trouble than they were worth', BUT hearing her most unusual voice and sensing her overwhelming personality--I began to see her point--she was NOT just another sardine!

"I begin to understand. So what do you want, Miss Sardine?" I asked very politely and calmly.

"Ahhh, Call me Mable, Constable--everyone else does.

What do I want? Number one: I want top billing! I want MY name in lights, like this: Mable and the Six Sardines.

Number two: I want more money than the rest of the sardines put together.

Number three: I want Cody here to be MY personal choreographer.

Number four: I want to chose ALL the music I do with ANY group--including the other six sardines--and have I got some terrific numbers I personally wrote!

And that's what I want OR you won't see ME at the Clam Shell Concert Saturday night. Period!"


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

19. A Unique Sardine

"That HORRIBLE CONTRACT, Mr Crab--is the reason I have "disappeared"! Mable exclaimed with much feeling.

"What do YOU think about when you hear the word 'sardine' Constable Crab? She asked me pointedly in her very unusual, VERY sweet and disarming voice.

"Well..." I began.

"Exactly! When you hear the word "sardine" you don't think of ANY particular fish, do you? NO!

--they are all exactly alike, yes?

"Well, I never..."

"RIGHT! You never thought much about sardines at all--did you? Because if you've seen ONE SARDINE, or HEARD one sardine--you've seen 'em or heard 'em ALL!



Saturday, July 25, 2009

18. Mable Talks

"Then, Mable--you are no longer missing?" I asked.

"I have never BEEN missing, Constable Crab--except to a few fairly unimportant people."

"Unimportant people such as your business manager and the rest of the members of the Seven Sardines entertainers--and all their friends and contacts--such as MY friend Starry Starfish--and perhaps even ME?"

"Well, maybe I am being a little too strong about the unimportant, Constable. And I am sorry if I caused some people to worry and even to call YOU in to locate me. But, as you can see, I am in no danger and am quite all right!"

This young sardine was quite a talker AND quite a charmer as I COULD see. But I DID have a job to do and a client to answer to--Sharko! So I continued with my questioning.

"Where HAVE you been? And WHY did you disappear just now when you have a very important date and a contract to fulfill?"

"I have been in seclusion at a very private place Cody Cod and I know about in the Kelp Forest--as for WHY--well the contract for the huge show at the Clam Shell with the so-called Seven Sardines are the reason I have chosen to "disappear".


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

17. The Missing Sardine

"Is THAT any any to talk about some of your dearest friends, Cody Cod!" said another quite remarkably delicate but robustly female fishy voice--and I realized that I had let TWO strangers into my apartment.

Because right behind the cod--shadowing him you might say--was a small sardine!

"Oh, all right, Mable," Cody spoke to the petite sardine behind him, "But you'll have to admit that SOME sardines can be almost more trouble than they are worth!"

"NOT my friends! They are great--and SO AM I!"

"Then YOU, I take it, Miss, are Mable the missing sardine?" I inquired of the sardine politely.

"In person, Mr. Crab--and NOT a moving picture!"


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

16. Cod Opens Up

I am not in the habit of bringing my work home--but this was definitely an exceptional case in every way.

My work had literally come to me at my home!

I opened my door and welcomed Cody Cod with a gesture.

He was a cod of average size and shape but as he entered my apartment he certainly seemed nervous--even distraught.

"Please calm yourself, Cody," I said in a soothing tone, "and sit down if you like and tell me what can be your purpose
in visiting me here at this late hour."

"It is those SARDINES!" Cody gasped. "I wish I had never heard of ANY sardines and most especially those SEVEN sardines and most extra especially that SEVENTH sardine-- MABLE!


Monday, July 20, 2009

15. A Visitor


I ate a light snack and then lay back on my comfortable moss covered stones to read a bit and listen to the classical music I loved best--the lovely deep singing of the whales---when I heard a light tapping at my door.

Who could it be at THIS hour, I wondered as I went to answer the door.

"Constable Crab", I heard a fishy voice whisper, "Please let me in--we need to talk."

"And WHO might YOU be?" I asked through the door.

"Someone who desperately needs your help. Cody Cod!"


Friday, July 17, 2009

14. Rest Time

Cody was gone.

There was no way we would ever find him in the kelp forest!

And I felt it was pointless to return to the Clam Shell to talk to the rest of the sardines--besides I was tired and it was time for me to go home and get some rest.

I knew Sharko would not be pleased about any delay--but I really felt this was the best thing for me to do--so I promised Starry and Sharko I would return to the Clam Shell Concert Hall early the next morning and went alone, slowly and thoughtfully, back to my place.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

13. Gone

Unfortunately for us--and lucky for the cod--the Kelp Forest began close to the main gate of the Clam Shell auditorium.

Though we raced out of the showplace, Cody Cod had already vanished into the impenetrable kelp.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

12. Cod Chase

"QUICK!" Sharko yelled at the cleaning shrimp, "Where's the COD?"

"I dunno I'm sure, sir--he were HERE not two minutes ago--but he took off like a shot when he heard you-all comin', as it were..."

"AFTER HIM!" Sharko shouted flipping around and back out the dressing room door like lightning--and those hammerhead sharks CAN move like lightning when they need to. "If we can only catch him before he reaches the kelp forest--we'll make him squeak--but if he beats us there he'll vanish like a ghost in a snowstorm!"

I thought that was a very poetic simile for a hammerhead--but it was true enough--if the cod reached the kelp forest first we would never catch him, so we put on all our speed in a real chase mode!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

11. Cody Vanishes

Sharko seemed to know the way to Cody's dressing room very well and we were soon standing outside the closed door.

"Open up, Cody!" Sharko bellowed, banging on the door,
"We gotta Talk!"

After a short pause the door opened a crack and a timid face appeared--a shrimpish face--and NOT a cod at all!

"What's goin' on?" Sharko asked, and NOT very politely. "Who're YOU?"

"I'm only Mister Cod's cleaning lady." said the face, opening the door a crack wider.

"Well, git outta da WAY, cleaning lady! We wanna talk to Cody Cod NOW!" Sharko yelled and he pushed the door open. We all followed him into the small dressing room--but it was plain to see that there was NO COD or anyone else besides the cleaning shrimp in the room!


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

10. Sardine Rehearsal

We immediately went down to the huge stage where the remaining six of the famous Seven Sardines were just finishing a rehearsal.

The entire group came over--thrilling with excitement--to greet us.

One rushed a bit faster than the others and arrived breathlessly first.

"Is this the famous Constable Crab which is gonna track Mable down? Is it Sharko? Tell us QUICK!"

"Hi, Shoiley!" Sharko growled to the impetuous young sardine, "Yeah he's the one."

"Oh Constable Crab! We have heard SO much about you! Are you going to find Mabel and get her back before our big show?"

"I will do my..."

"Come on you sardines!" Sharko interrupted, "We got work to do!

"Well, at least you could introduce us!" sniffed the young performer.

"Shoiley, Crab.
Where's Cody?" continued Sharko in the same breath.

But by this time the rest of the sardine performers had arrived and they wanted to be introduced too.

"We ALL wanna meet the crab!" They squealed.

"OK! OK! Hold yer horses! Crab, this is Dagmar and Dougie and Sylvia and Ralph and Isabelle! Did I miss anybody? Now Come on! We got serious biznes. ya know--now WHERE'S CODY?!

"He was takin' us through our new routine just a minute ago." Shirley murmured cautiously--"I think when he saw you-all coming he excused himself and said he would be in his dressing room if he was needed."

The other musical sardines glanced at each other meaningfully.

"Well, he's needed NOW!" Sharko barkeled. "Come on Constable and Starry--lets see what dis character has to offer by way of info!"

And we headed backstage with Shirley tagging along behind us at a discrete distance.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

9. The chase begins

"And where may ask is this "Cody Cod" person? If he IS the last to see Mabel, perhaps he can..."

"Ya wanna see Cody Cod does ya? Well 'ats no problem. I seen him down ta the Clam Shell rehearsing wit' da SIX sardines justa little while ago. He's probly still dare!"

"Then I think, my friends that we should go down to the Clam Shell as quickly as we can!"

And Starry, Sharko and myself hastened to that famous theatrical venue.


Monday, June 22, 2009

8 Sharko Blabs

"Dis is Monday, roight Mr. Constaboil Crab? And we got dis huge concoit at da Clam Shell on Satoidy, also roight? An deres several tousand tickets sold awready fur da show, also roight Mr Crab? An da customers wanna see dair fav'rite perfoimers da Seven Sardines, roight?

BUT da trouble is--DIS ONE SARDINE SKIPPED TOWN a couple a days ago! We got only SIX SARDINES!"

"All this I know and understand, Sharko. But I need some solid information--like who saw the missing sardine last? And, by the way, what is the name of this missing sardine--and what instrument did he or she play which is so important to the group?"

"Da sardine's name is Mable--an she's a girl sardine--and she plays da autoharp like no one else on dis planet!" Sharko was
more enthusiastic and animated than I had ever seen a hammerhead.

"An I'm purty sure the last one to see her was the choreographer fur da show, dat
creep Cody Cod !


Friday, June 19, 2009


"Jist a minute." said Sharko in what I saw was the only voice he had--a deep, loud, growly sort of voice--"What's dis gonna COST us, Crab?"

"Nothing--if I cannot find the missing sardine--and if I DO help you--you can pay me whatever you feel is right for the return of your musical friend."

"Oh--! That's mighty sharkish of ya, Crab. I always thought all cops was on the take--if ya don't mind my sayin' so--but you're a regular guy! Just like me!"

I considered the shark was giving me a huge compliment--so I merely said: "Thank you! Now let's get down to cases. I need to know everything YOU know about this sardine business."

"HAR!" Sharko ejaculated. "An' a foul, mixed up biness it is, Mister Crab!"


Thursday, June 18, 2009

6.Outside Father Neptune's

Outside Neptune's I was a bit surprised to discover that Starry's friend--the Manager of the Seven Sardines--"SHARKO" by name-- was in fact a hammerhead shark--not the prettiest denison of the deep, perhaps--but one that gets a LOT of respect. I

"Crab!" rumbled the shark, "Pleased ta meet'cha, I'm sure."

I could tell he was using his best manners and--what the heck--any friend of Starry's is a friend of mine.

"Likewise." I replied simply.

"Do this mean you're wid us?" Sharko asked.

"I will do everything I can to assist in finding your missing sardine." I said, formalizing our compact.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

5. Need Some Facts

"I suppose, old friend, the first thing to do is to gather some facts as to the sardine's disappearance. Where do you think we should start?" I asked.

"I am SO relieved you decided to come on board on this investigation, Constable!

I think we should start NOW, because every minute we delay could have very grave consequences! And as for facts--I was so hopeful that you would help find the missing sardine that I brought the person with the most facts right with me--the Manager of The Seven Sardines, Daniel Sharky!

He is waiting right outside this restaurant and will he ever be happy to see YOU and to know that you are going to find that sardine!"

Now hold on, Starry," I cautioned, "I will do my best of course. but..."

"No "buts", Constable Crab! With YOU on the case--we'll find that sardine! Come on--lets go!"


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

4 Find the Sardine

"I don't know, Starry--I am extremely busy with my other duties as you know..."

"Constable, I don't ask you for many favors--but this is VERY important to all of us music lovers. The Seven Sardines are bigger than just about any other musical group in our time--they are LIVING CLASSICS!

You've just GOT to help us FIND THAT MISSING SARDINE!"

I had never seen poor Starry so upset. One sardine missing among the millions and trillions of sardines in the sea? Really!

But I also realized that I couldn't let this old friend down in what he thought was an emergency.

I pushed myself back from my excellent dinner--signaled Alfonse the Waiter for my check and rose from the table--touching my old friend affectionately on the shoulder.

"All right, Starry. I'm with you. Let's find that missing sardine!"


Monday, June 1, 2009

3. A Friend in Need

"I am distressed to hear it." I answered urbanely, "But why are you so excited and what difference could one sardine musician possibly make to me?"

"I am a BIG FAN of the Seven Sardines, Constable!

Their music is really much better than you think!

They are booked to play at the huge
CLAM SHELL CONCERT in just a few days and HUNDREDS of tickets have already been sold!

Their manager,
Daniel Sharky, who is a friend of mine, is desperate! He has to have ALL SEVEN SARDINES or his show will be a failure and he has requested ME to ask YOU to help find the missing sardine!"


Saturday, May 30, 2009

2. A Sardine is MIssing

I was having a leisurely dinner at my favorite sea-food restaurant, "Father Neptune's" when my friend "Starry" Starfish (you will remember him from my "Twisted Claw" story) hurried up--looking very distraught.

"Hello, Starry." I said. "Is something the matter?"

"Something certainly IS the matter!" Starry said. "You have heard no doubt, Constable, of the famous rock music group, "The Seven Sardines" ?"

"Yes, I have, though I must admit I am not overly fond of their music." I honestly replied.

ONE OF THE SARDINES IS MISSING!" Starry blurted excitedly in one breath.


Friday, May 29, 2009

1.The Mystery of the Last Sardine

And THAT was the "Strange Case of the Twisted Claw".

You must admit it was QUITE a thrilling and unusual adventure.

But since you are still here, I suppose you are ready for another story--so I will thumb through my casebook for another one...

Ahhh yes! THIS one will do quite nicely!

It was one of my most intriguing cases.

I call it: "The Mystery of the Last Sardine".


Thursday, May 28, 2009


You will want to know about Polly Polyp and "Starry" Starfish.

Polly rewarded Starry and I with big hugs for our brave journey to rescue her.

"I will forever be grateful to both of you for helping me!" she said, giving us each a very nice hug.

(It was the first time I had ever been hugged by a polyp and it was quite charming!)

I think Starry hoped to renew his earlier more intimate friendship--but he had to be satisfied with the hug because Polly waved goodbye and was off on a swift sea current.

We both knew that Polly WAS a solitary polyp in her heart and could not change her nature--which was to simply be alone most of the time.

So Starry and I made our way back home with the very good feeling that we had not only accomplished our mission--but had done it peacefully without hurting anyone.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lobster's New Life

Crawly Crustacean--the most feared of the lobster tribe--started a new life as an elder friend of Jellyfish.

He was much in demand as a story teller.

Young Jellyfish especially would crowd around begging to hear more tales of his exploits as a dashing young lobster.

And the last we heard of Crawly, he was well-liked by all, living an exemplary life and was starting to write his memoirs.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Polly Explains

Though Polly was a "solitary" Polyp, she had made many friends among her Jellyfish relatives and she lost no time in explaining to them her problem--that is-- Crawly Crustacian's problem.

"Crawly is not really bad", she told them, "he has had some bad habits in the past but now he's just a lonely blind
old lobster with a twisted claw.

He needs some friends and I am moving on--would some of you be willing to look in on him from time to time--and maybe read to him and occasionally bring him little presents for friendship's sake?"

Well everyone knows how soft hearted Jellyfish are!

They immediately agreed to befriend Crawly and promised Polly that she need have no fears about that.

They said being friends with old lobsters was one of the things they liked best of all and they could hardly wait to hear some of his stories about the old days when he was the terror of the seas!