Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chocolate Dragnet

Welcome to the city. Two million people live here. It never sleeps. When it fails to snooze for illegal reasons, I get involved. My name is Bob Tuesday. I’m a police detective. I carry a badge – but not necessarily a red one of courage.

8:32 a.m. October 12. My partner, Detective Fred Jones, and I were assigned to the Chocolate Division. We started our morning meeting with Mayor Seymore Thinley and members of the organized chocolate syndicate. They included Don Ghirardelliano, Peanut Clusterini and Willie Wonkarino. With the exception of the mayor, these men were not nice people.

Today, they were more riled than usual. The mayor called the meeting to order. “As you know, a ban on chocolate has been in effect within the city limits for the past 11 months. Working with the chocolate syndicate through plea-bargain agreements, we have drastically reduced the chocolate trade and the waistlines of our once obese youngsters.

“But during the past three weeks, something has gone drastically awry. We have serious reason to believe illegal chocolate trade is inundating even our quaintest neighborhoods. I noticed this about a week ago, when my son, Seymore Junior, began to chunk out after losing 35 pounds. Only one thing can cause this phenomenon – devouring chocolate between meals.

“We have to get this situation under control before the feds halt financial subsidies to our city coffer. Besides, the city doesn’t pay me enough to buy Junior new britches.”

Peanut Clusterini was angry enough to throw rotten Cadbury eggs at enemy mobs. “This smells like Almondo Joie is behind this. You just can’t trust those gangsters dealing in Swiss chocolate.”

“Joie is French,” Don Ghirardelliano set the record straight. “But, I think German chocolate may be the culprit. I never did trust Don Hersheygut.”

Willie Wonkarino wanted to give his fellow criminal element the benefit of the doubt. But, he too had strong feelings that crossed lines of the underground chocolate turf. “I have reason to believe Mario Nestleoni’s family is involved – specifically, his nephew Ralph. We all know Ralph doesn’t think with his noggin. When the chocolate ban went into effect, he was the first to get busted. Why? Because he can’t resist wooing the women with heart-shaped boxes filled with assorted chocolates. It wouldn’t have been so severe had he done this in February – the month of love and Valentine’s Day. But no, it was January when he used chocolates to steal a few hearts.”

Wonkarino’s theory led the mayor to suspicion. “Wait a minute. Willie just reminded me of something Junior said during breakfast this morning. I was having toast and chocolate milk. He was eating a bowl of Chococrisps. We spent quality time together this morning because Junior was in bed when I got home last night after the City Council meeting.”

“Yeah, go on,” Sgt. Jones insisted.

“Well, Junior said that a few weeks ago he and his friends were playing near the Nestleoni warehouse down the street from the elementary school they attend. They saw the school nurse, Clarice Godiva, leaving the establishment with Ralph. They were walking to a black stretch limo parked in the alley. Junior thought he saw Clarice holding a piece of chocolate. But, he couldn’t tell for sure. He was distracted by her long blond hair hanging down around her knees.”

I jumped into action. “Fred, we better go to the school and have a talk with this Lady Godiva.”

Tom ta tom tom! Tom ta tom tom tom!

10:42 a.m. Fred and I drove to the elementary school. We announced ourselves to the principal. Then, we headed straight to the nurse’s office. But, we had to wait 15 minutes to question Lady Godiva. She was attending to three children complaining of belly aches. The belly aches came on right after recess. Fred and I suspected illegal chocolate consumption was involved.

“Why do you want to to talk to me, sergeants?” The nurse asked innocently.

“Where were you about 3:47 p.m. on September 19, Miss Godiva?” Fred queried. “It is Miss isn’t it?”

“Well, I can’t be too sure. But, I think I was getting my hair trimmed. I do that about every six months. Otherwise it hangs down way below my knees. My husband doesn’t like that.”

I explained our line of questioning. “Some students here think they saw you that afternoon, Mrs. Godiva. And, you were not at the beauty parlor. You were spotted in the alley outside the chocolate warehouse with Ralph Nestleoni. The boys thought you were clutching contraband chocolate.”

“Why do they think it was me, sergeant?”

“One kid thought he recognized your hair. But one thing is for sure, he knows you were holding something, and you had your right pinky finger extended. So just give us the facts, mam. When you left with Ralph, were you or were you not holding a chocolate truffle?”

“OK, I was with Ralph at the chocolate warehouse. I like Ralph. He gives me what my husband can’t. Ralph has access to chocolate. My husband can’t provide that because Mayor Thinley banned chocolate within the city limits.

“Please don’t tell my husband. After all, it is not what it seems. I was eating that truffle because I would never be caught carrying surplus chocolate. I don’t want it to get into the wrong hands.”

“It already has, mam,” Fred replied. “We have reason to believe someone is selling stolen chocolate to children at this school.”

Lady Godiva seemed baffled. “What? Hot chocolate?”

Tom ta tom tom! Tom ta tom tom tom!

3:58 p.m. Fred and I decided Lady Godiva appeared genuinely startled. We doubted if she was the campus chocolate pusher. We decided to pay a visit to the mayor’s house. We wanted to interview Seymore Thinley Junior. As luck would have it, Junior answered our knock at the door. Something was smeared all around his mouth. It looked like chocolate.

We showed Junior our badges and invited ourselves inside. There on the coffee table beside a glass of chocolate milk and four chocolate chip cookies was a mound of evidence. It appeared chocolate-covered nugget, chocolate-coated almonds and chocolate Santas were being weighed and packaged for sell in clear plastic baggies.

“OK, OK,” Junior admitted his guilt. “My friends and I weren’t playing outside the chocolate warehouse. Two of us were standing guard while our pal went inside and stole some candy. We were only going to sell enough to earn money to buy Christmas presents. Our idea was to keep the rest for our own consumption.”

4:52 p.m. We handcuffed Junior and took him downtown where he was fingerprinted and booked for possession with intent to sell a controlled substance.

The story you have just read may or may not be true or false. The names may or may not have been changed to protect the innocent or not so innocent. In a moment, you will read the results of this story.

On October 31, Seymore Thinley Junior appeared in juvenile court where he was found guilty of breaking chocolate laws. He was sentenced to serve up to two years in juvenile detention or to lose 35 pounds, whichever comes first.


"The Angel Academy" play written and directed by Chris Berube
Next Stage Theater
1523 N La Brea Ave #208 (just northwest of Sunset Blvd)
** $20
** The sign visible only from above the door of the theater on the second level is actually a banner that states: Berubian Players

So You Think You're Funny Show
Produced by Cornelius Grant, original musical director for The Temptations
Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center
4305 Degnan Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
**$10 cover for clean show at 7:00 PM (I'm doing the clean show only)
**$15 cover for clean show at 7:00 PM AND blue show at 10:00 PM
** No item minimum purchase required