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1] Mother Provides

Ant Detective: Case of the Partially Missing Barber

Posted on 05 March 2019

“Kowalski! Get your arse in here!” Rumour had it that the fire department, which had the dubious honour of being nestled directly adjacent to the police precinct, ran a bingo board for whenever the pleasant tones of the Captain drifted through their walls. What Kowalski didn’t know was that the centre square was a particularly unflattering picture of his own already unlovable face, featuring bloodshot eyes and a weeks worth of unchecked stubble. His latest mugshot.

That space was always one of the first to go.

Kowalski rose unsteadily from his chair and made himself presentable, which consisted of tucking his shirt in and rolling his sleeves up to hide some indeterminable stain on the cuff. With what was meant to be a confident swagger, but ended up more of a spastic stagger, he turned the knob and swept into the room.

Something smashed to bits on the wall beside his head.

He ducked away and almost fell into the only thing in the room sorrier than himself - a potted blade of grass so in need of a drink it reminded him of himself around happy hour. It had been a gift from the Captain’s ex-wife, and if plants could scream this one would have its own depressing bingo board in the fire department’s kitchenette.

A quick glance at the floor confirmed Kowalski’s worst fear. A broken pill bottle and fifty tasty looking treats littered the dingy carpet near the door. The Captain was off his meds again. Kowalski said as much. Tactfully.

“Shut up Kowalski, those are blood pressure pills! And they clearly don’t work, because right now I feel another heart attack coming on!” With a deep breath and practiced effort the Captain calmed himself. His antennae quivered with restraint. “You’re on probation Kowalski, what are you doing back in my precinct?”

“I saw the news and figured you needed me.” There had been large scale anti-royalist protests on the streets the last couple of days. Kowalski, not wanting to add unnecessary guilt to the Captain’s already generously portioned plate, added, “Besides, all white walls and sitting around talking about our feelings, it wasn’t much of a holiday.”

“Holiday? You were in rehab!” The Captain’s frayed temper burst at the seams, and he slammed his weary desk for emphasis. “I should send you back in cuffs! But…” And there it was. If frequenting the plentiful stripper-ant establishments down by the docks had taught Kowalski anything, it was that no matter how many times you got thrown out there’s always a butt to be found. “But, Detective Spelter lost his partner last week and he’s got cases piled so high he’ll need a ladder to get started.”

Kowalski frowned. He’d been raised to not think ill of another ant, but Spelter was the crusty scum that floated to the top of the sewage tank. Tedious, judgemental, two doughnuts short of an emergency bypass, and most of all judgemental. All qualities that Kowalski thankfully lacked.

“Where’d he lose him? In the drive through of the Burger Queen?” Kowalski chuckled at his own joke. He could be damn funny when he was sober-ish.

“Damn it, Kowalski! That’s a dead cop you’re talking about! And he was taken by the great Va’kuum, so show some respect.” The name of the enormous white beast that roared across the cotton wastes was not to be spoken lightly, and Kowalski felt nauseous just from the hearing of it. Or maybe from the week old burrito he’d had for breakfast. With a long suffering sigh the Captain continued, “What happened to you, Kowalski?” Kowalski closed his eyes - here it came. “Mother would be so disappointed to see you like this.”

“Come on Cap’n, don’t bring Mother into this. She’s got enough to worry about. Like our four million brothers and sisters.” Kowalski had a difficult relationship with his mother. She, on the other hand, didn’t even know who he was. Kowalski would be appalled to learn, as would any ant, that all their mother thought about was sex, sex, and more sex.

“Look, just try not to make me regret this,” the Captain said as he reached into a creaky drawer and pulled out a badge. Kowalski sucked in a breath and licked his mandibles. To him, it gleamed bright as gold. To everyone else, well it was actually painted gold so it did gleam a bit too. The Captain put it on the desk with a satisfying click and slid it towards him with a less satisfying scraping sound.

Kowalski, being ever the diplomat, said, “No gun?”

The badge stopped its slow journey and for a moment looked like heading back the way it came. Then the Captain chuckled. Incidentally, the Captain chuckling had never once appeared on the fire department’s bingo board - partly because they wouldn’t be able to hear it through the walls, but mostly because no-one thought he knew how. “If you get gunned down in an alley I might enjoy my paperwork for a change. Mother provides.” He slid the badge the rest of the way to Kowalski.

Before the Captain could change his mind, Kowalski snatched it up and mumbled his own, “Mother provides.” He was out the door before he thought to ask anything about the case Spelter was working. It wouldn’t be until later that he heard about the half a barber found in front of the mirror of his own shop. And it wouldn’t be until much later that he got to make a joke about taking too much off the top.

Changelog
  • "I saw the news and figured you needed me." There had been large scale anti-royalist protests on the streets the last couple of days. Kowalski, not wanting to add unnecessary guilt to the Captains already generously portioned plate, added, "Besides, all white walls and sitting around talking about our feelings, it wasn't much of a holiday."
  • "I saw the news and figured you needed me." There had been large scale anti-royalist protests on the streets the last couple of days. Kowalski, not wanting to add unnecessary guilt to the Captain's already generously portioned plate, added, "Besides, all white walls and sitting around talking about our feelings, it wasn't much of a holiday."
  • "Holiday? You were in rehab!" The Captains frayed temper burst at the seams, and he slammed his weary desk for emphasis. "I should send you back in cuffs! But..." And there it was. If frequenting the plentiful stripper-ant establishments down by the docks had taught Kowalski anything, it was that no matter how many times you got thrown out there's always a butt to be found. "But, Detective Spelter lost his partner last week and he's got cases piled so high he'll need a ladder to get started."
  • "Holiday? You were in rehab!" The Captain's frayed temper burst at the seams, and he slammed his weary desk for emphasis. "I should send you back in cuffs! But..." And there it was. If frequenting the plentiful stripper-ant establishments down by the docks had taught Kowalski anything, it was that no matter how many times you got thrown out there's always a butt to be found. "But, Detective Spelter lost his partner last week and he's got cases piled so high he'll need a ladder to get started."
  • Kowalski frowned. He'd been raised to not think ill of another ant, but Spelter was the crusty scum that floated to the top of the sewage tank. He was a bit of a fatty too, which happened to be the one vice Kowalski had shown little aptitude for.
  • Kowalski frowned. He'd been raised to not think ill of another ant, but Spelter was the crusty scum that floated to the top of the sewage tank. Tedious, judgemental, two doughnuts short of an emergency bypass, and most of all judgemental. All qualities that Kowalski thankfully lacked.
  • "Damn it, Kowalski! That's a dead cop you're talking about! And he was taken by the great Va'kuum, so show some respect." The name of the enormous white beast that prowled the cotton wastes was not to be spoken lightly, and Kowalski felt nauseous just from the hearing of it. Or maybe from the week old burrito he'd had for breakfast. With a long suffering sigh the Captain continued, "What happened to you, Kowalski." Kowalski closed his eyes - here it came. "Mother would be so disappointed to see you like this."
  • "Damn it, Kowalski! That's a dead cop you're talking about! And he was taken by the great Va'kuum, so show some respect." The name of the enormous white beast that roared across the cotton wastes was not to be spoken lightly, and Kowalski felt nauseous just from the hearing of it. Or maybe from the week old burrito he'd had for breakfast. With a long suffering sigh the Captain continued, "What happened to you, Kowalski?" Kowalski closed his eyes - here it came. "Mother would be so disappointed to see you like this."
  • "Just try not to make me regret this," the Captain said as he reached into a creaky drawer and pulled out a badge. Kowalski sucked in a breath and licked his mandibles. To him, it gleamed bright as gold. To everyone else, well it *was* actually painted gold so it did gleam a bit too. The Captain put it on the desk with a satisfying click and slid it towards him with a less satisfying scraping sound.
  • "Look, just try not to make me regret this," the Captain said as he reached into a creaky drawer and pulled out a badge. Kowalski sucked in a breath and licked his mandibles. To him, it gleamed bright as gold. To everyone else, well it *was* actually painted gold so it did gleam a bit too. The Captain put it on the desk with a satisfying click and slid it towards him with a less satisfying scraping sound.
  • The badge stopped its slow journey and for a moment looked like heading back the way it came. Then the Captain chuckled. Incidentally, the Captain chuckling had never once been on the fire department's bingo board - partly because they couldn't hear it through the walls, but mostly because no-one thought he knew how. "If you get gunned down in an alley I might enjoy my paperwork for a change. Mother provides." He slid the badge the rest of the way to Kowalski.
  • The badge stopped its slow journey and for a moment looked like heading back the way it came. Then the Captain chuckled. Incidentally, the Captain chuckling had never once appeared on the fire department's bingo board - partly because they wouldn't be able to hear it through the walls, but mostly because no-one thought he knew how. "If you get gunned down in an alley I might enjoy my paperwork for a change. Mother provides." He slid the badge the rest of the way to Kowalski.