Smuggling is fun – A Salmmy Shortstory
Strangely enough Salmmy was already awake when Molly walked down the wall from her apartment to turn the lights on in the office. He hadn’t bothered to turn the light in the main office on, or unlock the door, or make coffee. She wasn’t surprised. As soon she turned the lights on he called out to her asking for coffee. She sighed as she walked toward the bezzera.
Today was her second birthday, not that anyone knew it. Although technically newts are adults at a year and a half old no one takes you seriously or trusts you to rent a car so she went out of her way to hide how young she actually was.
‘We’re out of coffee.’ She signed as she set the mug on his desk.
“Why!!!?” He screamed at the roof before throwing himself to his knees beside his desk.
“Why hath thee forsaken me coffee gods? I’ve been a true and loyal acolyte in thine service!”
There was probably more but Molly had already left the office, his insane overreaction to things had become a regular part of her life. A few seconds later she heard him apologize and hang up the phone. It occurred to her at that moment that she had never actually heard it ring any of the times he had been on the phone when she arrived in the morning. It was especially odd because she lived above their office and would definitely hear it if it actually rang. That and that the phone calls were always followed by a mysterious case that turned out to be an elaborate ruse to get ice cream or something.
“Molly grab your coat, there’s been a train heist!” He seemed far too excited about it. Molly was suspicious.
‘Someone robbed a train? Wait, who is our client?’
“My coffee guy, we have to hurry before the police muck up the scene.”
‘You have a coffee guy?’
“You don’t?” He asked suspiciously.
“Where have you been getting the beans then?” He demanded.
‘Nevermind, let’s just go.’ She signed reluctantly.
“Molly this is important, I’ve been drinking that coffee!”
She grabbed her coat from the rack by the door and headed down the stairs to the car knowing he would follow when he was done complaining to no one in particular.
They pulled to a stop in the train yard and got out. A half dozen police detectives were milling around the first car, writing things down, interviewing people, and looking for clues. Normal detective stuff that Molly had noticed Salmmy never seemed to do.
Salmmy walked past the group investigating the first car, headed back to the fifth car, and opened the door. The car was entirely empty except for coffee beans scattered around the floor. Salmmy picked one up and eyed it suspiciously before putting it in his mouth and chewing thoughtfully.
‘What can you possibly tell by tasting the beans?’ Molly asked.
“Nothing, Why?” He tossed up another bean and munched it out of the air.
She handed him a worn and frequently handled card from her pocket. It read I HATE YOU.
Before risking another conversation with Salmmy she took a moment to breath deeply to calm down.
‘Why are we looking at this empty car?’ She asked.
“Follow me.” He said as he walked up the outside of the car and stopped on the roof.
When she got to the top he pointed at a hatch on the roof.
“The paint on the handle is a different colour than the train car is, if it had been opened at full speed it would have smashed into the roof and left a bit of paint behind.”
‘Ok, so the hatch was left open. What about it.’
“If it were left open it would have rubbed on the roof, same effect. This was opened after the train arrived. They only use these to fill trains with grain and stuff.”
“Coffee is transported in bags not poured in. Unless a bag was torn there wouldn’t be beans scattered all over the floor. Also if the doors had been opened the wind would have moved them around, it didn’t.”
“So someone with claws must have torn a bag while stealing it through the roof. There aren’t any feathers so it’s probably not a bird, but only something that flies would use the roof hatch.”
‘What the hell does this have to do with the robbery, there is no way that many officers are here for stolen coffee beans!’
“Of course not, if they knew what was in this car I’d already be arrested.”
‘Arrested, for what?’
‘What the hell are you smuggling!’ She signed at him, but he had already turned around so he couldn’t hear her.
-Tim’s Note –
Molly actually giggled while typing that, I think she’s been spending too much time with Salmmy.
The police chief, a turtle named Franklin stopped them on their way back to their car.
“What are you doing here Salmmy? This is a crime scene.” Franklin asked.
“What crime?” Salmmy asked innocently.
“The train was robbed, the entire dockyard payroll was stolen.”
“No it wasn’t.”
“Damnit Salmmy, there was over twenty eight grams of gold in that car!”
“No, there wasn’t.”
“What the hell are you talking about Salmmy?”
“Moll, take care of this for me I’ll bring the car around.”
She was a little irritated that he pawned the job off on her, but strangely proud. It was technically her first case.
She looked at the first car. The locks were destroyed. Someone had bashed them off with a rock that left white marks on the door. The floor of the car had dust on it, undisturbed by wind. She inwardly thanked Salmmy for pointing that out with the beans. The dust bugged her though, it wasn’t right. She realized that there were also no scuffs from loading or unloading the crates full of gold. There was literally no way that the gold was ever on this car.
She handed Franklin a note saying as much, it didn’t take him long to arrest the conductor who admitted to switching the cars at the overnight station.
‘So where are we going now?’ She asked when she arrived back at the car. The momentary joy of having solved her first case so easily fled when she remembered the thing about the smuggling.
Salmmy started the car without answering. She knew he would pretend not to see her signing at him as he drove so she pulled the little metal disk thing he had given her out of her pocket and began clicking it at him angrily as they drove.
Salmmy pulled off the main road and into a small clearing of trees and got out of the car.
“Give it back and I won’t tell them about the rest of it!” He shouted to no one in particular. The field, unsurprisingly, didn’t answer.
“I’m not kidding Volan, Now!” He shouted angrily.
A small brownish blue salamander with a yellow chin and flaps of skin between its arms and legs fluttered down from the sky holding a bag almost as big as she was and handed it to him.
“Be more careful next time, they might hire a decent guard one of these days.” Salmmy said while he held out his arm.
The tiny thing grabbed his arm, flipped up and then jumped into the air somehow gaining altitude and coasting off into the trees.
‘What the hell was that!?’
“A little dragon, they’re nomads. It’s best to ignore them, they steal a bit.”
‘What’s in the bag?’ She asked suspiciously.
“Nothing, don’t worry about it.”
He set the bag carefully in the trunk and drove back to the office pointedly ignoring Molly the entire way home. By the time they reached the office she was absolutely furious.
He bounded up the stairs ahead of her. When he reached the office door he began twisting the knob rapidly and whining.
“This door is broken!”
‘It’s locked.’ She signed with a scowl knowing full well he had followed her downstairs and therefore locked the door himself.
Her hands were busy unlocking and opening the door so she couldn’t yell at him until it opened. As soon as it did he slipped past her and headed to his office. On the way he tossed the bag into the air and caught it with his tail. Somehow he had removed his jacket and hung it on the tree by the door while she was watching the bag. He set the bag carefully on her desk and walked into his office closing the door behind him.
Ever so slightly more curious than angry she examined the bag on her desk. It seemed fairly ordinary, some kind of scratchy material with weird writing on it. It looked like every other bag of coffee she had seen in the office. When she picked it up she realized that it wasn’t heavy enough.
‘Maybe some of the beans fell out.’ She thought as she opened the bag. Inside was a smaller bag with writing she recognized. It was still coffee, but coffee from her home town. The governments of Callay and Ghara had sanctioned each other and officially blocked imports, so technically speaking the coffee was smuggled. Beneath the second bag was a card.
Happy birthday Moll
She was annoyed by the fact that he refused to even spell her whole first name, that it was coffee she would just end up making for him, and that he somehow knew it was her birthday. But it was still a sweet gesture in a way.
She made coffee and brought it into the office setting the mug on the desk.
‘Why do you call them little dragons? Are there big dragons?” She asked.
The smile dropped from his face, he stared down at the cup for a long time before answering.
“Yeah Moll, there are.”
He stood up and opened the curtain to his room.
“It’s been a long day Moll, I’m gonna get some sleep.”
He closed the curtain.
Looking down at the cup Molly shivered involuntarily as she realized that she had never seen him turn down a cup of coffee before.