“I tell you I am innocent…just ask the baker or the candlestick maker…I’ve been framed I tell ya, framed!”
I will say that Mr Blue looked rather upset, but I have found the guiltiest of criminals usually act rather innocent. This man with the boyish face was well-known to me. He was only just brought in last month for losing a head of cattle at farmer Browns. Asleep he said, but was that really the reason. he got off on a technicality, but I kept his file open.
“Look I am not here to point a finger Blue, but it is a bit coincidental that the cattle disappeared on your watch and now The Peep ranch has lost a number of sheep. It all stinks I tell ya.”
Blue looked as sheepish as they came. He knew the Peep’s daughter Bo, in fact they had been seen earlier in the day getting comfy on a nice soft tuffet. Luckily Miss Muffet saw the whole thing and was more than cooperative with the details of the rendezvous. I stared him down as he tried to look me square.
“I just want the truth Blue.”
“I tell you I don’t know about no sheep. Sure Bo and me were close, been close for a couple of years, but you gotta understand I love her. There isn’t a candle I wouldn’t jump for her.”
“Like Jack? I know all about Jack and his nimble acrobatics.”
“That was a lifetime ago, I swear. Sure Me and Nimble were troubled kids, but both of us gave up the candlestick thing when we was teens. I swear, ask around”
I already had and was told the same thing. Jack Nimble was a small time con who like to jump candlesticks for cash. The betting was high and the stakes were higher. One slip and jack would never live to see a payoff. Blue worked the crowd. They were busted and both given probation. Jack fell off the radar and hadn’t been heard of since.
“So you tell me who is framing you?”
“Ain’t it obvious? Old man Macdonald. He has been after those sheep for years. I mean Old Macdonald has this farm…”
“eya eya oh! Come on I’ve heard this before. Crazy Hubbard accused him of trying to lure her dog away two months ago. We found no evidence of any of it.”
“Well I tell you he is a smart one. Talk to Boots, he’ll tell you a story of a depraved old farmer who thinks all animals should be on his farm. I’ve heard strange tales of weird training habits. You can’t tell me you don’t hear it at night!”
I had heard the strange noises that came down from the old guys farm, but as he said, what’s wrong with training animals. I wasn’t convinced of Blue’s story.
“You know what I think? I think you may be working for him.”
“The Black Sheep.”
Blue gulped, always a sign of something not being told. I moved in closer. I wanted him to see the look in my eyes.
“You know something!” I yelled at him.
I saw him break. His eyes got all glassy and his hand trembled. He looked at me with a forlorn look in his eye.
“If I spill any beans I want protection.”
Now I had him. I sat down and placed my hands on the table. I put on a smile and talked softly.
“I will do what I can…after I hear what you have to say.”
Blue’s eyes darted back and forth as if someone was going to jump him. He took a deep breath and finally spoke.
“I always thought the Black Sheep was a myth. I mean until i met him. It was after the cattle went missing, seemed you weren’t the only one who thought I was lying. I was bagged by a Sandman and brought to the cottage of the Black Sheep. He introduced himself as Baba and offered me quite a bit for each head of cattle. I explained I didn’t know about the cattle, but he was pushy.”
“Pushy. What do you mean?”
“He threatened me. Told me that I was a liar…said he’d blow my horn if i didn’t sell…but I couldn’t, I really was under that haystack fast asleep. I was dismissed, but given a warning.”
“Let me guess, you owed Baba a favour?”
“Yes! I didn’t understand until I was told to steal the sheep….but I swear I didn’t. I wouldn’t want to lose the only thing that matters to me…Bo.”
The bulb went off in my head. This guy was nothing but a dupe. He wasn’t the smart criminal mind I was looking for. He was being framed, but not by old Macdonald…I wanted to talk to Bo Peep. For some reason I was starting to get a picture of a smart woman with a brilliant plan. I only hoped Mr Blue would be able to handle the truth of his love.
Sometimes I hate this job.