"Where did you say we're headed, Joe?'

" I told you five times already Benny. We got a call from the Bakery on the corner of South and West. You know the one with the glazed yellow doughnuts."

Joe turned the Police car onto the narrow street leading to the South and West intersection. He ignored the red stoplight.

"Yeah, but what are they missing glazed doughnuts?" Benny laughed hard enough for his protruding stomach to bobble up and down in the seat.

"Hey, this is serious business. Some papers are gone missing. From what I hear, there are some pretty pricey words on the papers."

Benny stopped laughing and looked curiously at Joe. "Well, you dont say."

"Well, I kinda did say just now. "

Joe pulled the car to a halt in front of the Bakery. It had a bright neon sign flashing a huge image of iced cakes.

There was a crowd gathered out front.

Benny and Joe came out of the car quickly and pushed through the crowd.

"What's going to happen now?"

"I enjoy the double fudge double dunk."

"It's a shame."

The loud murmurs of the crowd captivated Joe and Benny.

"It ain't murder folks," Joe said raising his hands to part the crowd.

"You had one jelly doughnut, you've had 'em all," Benny said.

"But it's not a Jelly doughnut. It's the double fudge double dunk." Someone up ahead said.

Benny and Joe looked ahead to the Storefront.

Nan, the shopowner stood with a large polka dot apron dusted with white flour and sprinkles. Her face was also partially patched with flour to match. She fixed her oversized glasses on the bridge of her tiny nose and ushered the officers in.

Once inside, Nan began to pace the store while wringing her hands. She seemed to be rather good at it too.

"So what's the story?" Joe asked.

Benny was fixated on the display case and the shelves of doughnuts. He tried to draw his eyes to Nan and Joe but the rows of yellow, pink, and brown doughnuts were too enchanting.

" kind of makes your mouth water doesn't it?" A male voice sounded from behind the display case.

Benny was so stuck on the goodies he missed the employee standing there.

"Hi, I'm Richard. I'm not a glazed doughnut ." Richard smiled and waved at Benny.

"Are you being smart on the lip young man? Have you ever seen the inside of a cell?" Benny threatened. He was a little thrown off. He wanted to maintain his control in the situation but his eyes betrayed him and he returned to the glazed doughnut shelf-for just a fraction of a moment.

Just then a door swung open and another young man came through. It was the kitchen door. He had a large tray of doughnuts, cookies, and muffins in hand.

Benny's belly lurched forward and a small sound escaped from it.

"And who are you?" Benny asked quickly hoping to hide the escaped stomach lurch.

The two employees stared at Benny, then at his stomach region.

"Good question. Who are you two?"Joe asked. He wasn't aware of the situation but Benny was grateful non the less.

Nan stopped pacing for a moment.

" Oh, these are my staff. I would never suspect them. Never at all." Nan said pulling her fingers almost out of the sockets.

"Can we start from the beginning please. ma'am I need your name and theirs also."

"Yes of course. I am Nan. I own the bakery. These are my faithful workers Tom and Richard."

" Ok, that's a start. Now, what's the problem. you called the station and said some important papers went missing."

Joe said.

"Yeah was it a Will or a Land Ownership paper?" Benny asked. He was struggling to keep his eyes off the glazed temptations.

Nan laughed aloud hysterically for a moment. Then she stopped abruptly.

"A will? Officers this is far more precious than that?" She laughed again, this time more like a madwoman.

Benny looked at Joe and Joe looked at Benny.

"What exactly are we talking about here?" Joe asked.

Nan hung her head down and shook it back and forth.

Benny and Joe were both enthralled until the clatter of tray falling to the floor broke everyone's concentration.

Benny ran over to the display case where Tom was bent over picking up crushed muffins and cookies. The glazed were piled up in a mess.

" You bumbling fool. Couldn't you have been more careful?" Benny asked uncontrollably.

"Hey, I tripped. It was an accident. What's with you?"

"Dont take that tone with me, young man. Have you ever seen the inside of a cell before?" Benny threatened.

"Can we get a little focus here please. Nan whats the papers about?" Joe asked.

"It's a secret."

Joe looked at Benny and Beny looked at Joe.

"We came down here from the Station and you cant tell us what's going on? Lady are you well?" Joe asked incredulously.

"No no, I don't mean that I cant tell you. I mean what was stolen was a secret. It is a secret recipe." Nan said the last sentence in a whisper.

Benny and Joe looked at Nan for a long time before either spoke.

"You misplaced your doughnut recipe and...?'

" No no not a doughnut recipe. It's a cookie recipe." Nan said the last part in a whisper.

"Why are you whispering? The whole dang street seems to know already."

Benny said.

"Well, I kind of ran out of the shop screaming about it when I discovered it wasn't in the safe."

" You keep a recipe in a safe?" Joe asked.

" Well yes, it's worth a lot you know?"

Joe looked at Benny and Benny looked at Joe.

Then Benny stole a glance at the glazed doughnuts on display.

"Well, Nan did you trace your steps when you went into the safe last?"

"Do you think I am crazy? Of course, I did."

Nan retorted.

"Could you just replay them for us then please?"

Joe asked.

" well, I opened the safe this morning at 5 a.m. to look over the recipe and ensure that I had all the ingredients. Then I went to the kitchen to start measuring. Then I took the milk from the fridge and that's the last time I remember seeing it."

"The fridge you say. And did anyone check the fridge?" Benny asked.

"Oh wait a second. There was some old paper that someone left in the Fridge this morning. Hey, I threw that out." Richard said smiling. Then he stopped smiling.

"Wait...paper in the fridge...you placed it there? I threw it...out." Richard's eyes opened up like saucers.

"Yikes!" Nan screamed. She ran past Benny and Joe as fast as she could and out the kitchen door.

Richard took off behind her.

Tom watched the two run off; then he shrugged his shoulders and followed.

"Well looks like our work here is done."

Joe said

" Not quite. There is a call i need to answer." Benny said.

He walked over to the display case, reached in, and took out a fat yellow and red glazed doughnut.

" Have you ever seen the inside of a cell before?" Benny asked the glazed doughnut.

December 11, 2020 19:40

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