B. Craig Grafton
The neighborhood watch committee was conducting an inquiry into the most recent carnivorists attack on the chicken coop on Farmer Dell's farm. Four dead. Well actually eaten. Luckily no more as the carnivorists had their fill and left before anyone came to the rescue. Well actually no one came to the rescue and that was the reason for the inquiry, to find out who fouled up that night.
The first witness called was Homer Homey, a homing pigeon, not a stool pigeon, though some believed him so, director of the FBI, the Fowl Bureau of Investigation.
Mr. Peter Peacock was Chairman of the committee and conducting the inquiry and this was his chance for him to strut his stuff. He's the guy who took selfies of his tail feathers all puffed out and sent them to young pea hens to let them know that he was available.
"Now isn't it correct Mr. Homey," began Peter, "that you have looked into this matter and found no evidence of any intent of wrongdoing by Lauralee Leghorn?"
"Yes, that is correct," answered Mr. Homey.
Lauralee Leghorn was the cluck hen who was on neighborhood watch duty the night of the so called carnevorist attack. Well actually it wasn't an attack she said. Just a group, not an organized pack, of some indigenous meat eaters who had been watching a commercial for chicken wings on tv and got all worked up.
"Now the girls in the hen house tried to call Ms. Leghorn while the raid was taking place but they got no response, did they?"
"Yes, that is correct," answered Mr. Homey.
That was because, as Lauralee Leghorn did her neighborhood watch rounds, she campaigned. She was running for President of Barnyard Security and she just couldn't bring herself to stop campaigning. Her time was too valuable to take calls.
"And isn't it true that Farmer Dell had given her and all the animals walkie-talkies so that they could communicate with each other if there was any kind of a problem?"
Farmer Dell had provided them with walkie-talkies. He was too cheap to buy them cell phones.
"And isn't it true that there is a recording device on these walkie-talkies that records everything said into and received by them?
The recorder taped everything and it didn't allow for anything to be erased, like eighteen minutes for example, as it was a new state of the art Anti-Nixon Watergate recording device.
"And you listened to that tape and found no evidence of any intent of any wrongdoing by Lauralee Leghorn. Isn't that correct?" repeated Peter Peacock for the umpteenth time.
"Yes," answered Homey. "No reasonable persecutor would proceed with a case without evidence of intent."
"But now you say there is new evidence. Is that correct?"
"And why's that?"
"We have been provided some additional tapes."
"And do you have those tapes now, Mr. Homey?"
"No I do not."
"They were given to me by one Rita Ratones and when she asked for them back, I was obligated to return them because they had not been subpoenaed."
"That's all for now Mr. Homey," said Peter Peacock. "You're excused but don't go flying the coop. You're subject to being recalled."
Homer Homey didn't fly away home. He flew up to the rafters and remained above it all.
"This Committee now calls Rita Ratones."
Rita Ratones scurried to the witness stand.
Rita Ratones had worked for and was a former confident of Lauralee Leghorn and today she was going to rat her out her former boss in exchange for a permanent stay of execution for she had been convicted of the crime of verminity--that is being vermin on a continual and repeated basis--and sentenced to death by rat trap next Tuesday.
"Ms. Ratones you found some additional tapes that you gave to Mr. Homer Homey didn't you?"
"Yes," she squeaked.
Well she hadn't exactly found them. She had taped everything her former boss had said and squirreled those tapes away for a rainy day, like today.
"And after Mr.Homey had listened to those tapes and announced that he found some new evidence on them you then asked for and got them back, didn't you?"
"Why did you want them back, Ms. Ratones?"
Rita Ratones squirmed in her chair. "Ms. Leghorn told me to get them back or else."
"Or else what?"
"Or else Terry the Rat Terrier might be coming to pay me a visit."
"But you didn't return them to her did you?"
"No I didn't."
"Why didn't you?"
"Well after I got them back I decided to keep them for myself for my own personal security reasons. So I decided to hide them in a safe place and since I live next to the manure pile, I decided to hide them there because no one ever goes through manure looking for stuff. But next morning before I got up Farmer Dell had already loaded up all the manure and spread it out on the south forty. So I guess you can say the evidence has gone gone south, kind of."
The audience of feathered fowls cackled out a communal laugh.
Homer Homey then flew down to Chairman Peter Peacock and whispered into his ear.
After a brief consultation between the two of them, Chairman Peacock announced, "I've just been informed that the FBI has been scratching and sifting and poking its nose through all that manure trying to put the pieces of the tape back together again. All the agents on the case I have been informed are highly qualified and trained having all graduated from the Humpty Dumpty School of Evidentiary Science. Ms. Ratones you're excused for now."
Rita Ratones squirmed out of he chair and ran down the nearest rat hole.
"This committee is adjourned until tomorrow morning at which time it will then recall Mr. Homer Homey to give us an update on all the manure he's been through."
But the committee never did reconvene. Homer Homey was nowhere to be found. Some said he had flown the coop. Others said Famer Dell's wife fixed squab for supper that evening.
And as for Lauralee Leghorn, well she didn't get elected.
Her opponent promised to get to the bottom of all this right after he took office but never did because Farmer Dell's wife fixed a fried chicken dinner the following Sunday.
B. Craig Grafton is a retired attorney. His latest two books published by Outlaws Publishing under the pen name of Bryan Grafton are An Old West Texas Attorney and the 8:10 to Chicago and An Old West Texas Attorney: The Apache Custody Case. They are available on Amazon.