“This where they keep it?” Wakanabe asked, shifting the pouch of Bandit to the other side of his mouth, letting that smooth wintergreen tobacco taste freshen his head.
“This is where they KEPT it,” the raisin of a man said, staring from the safe to Wakanabe to the safe and back again like it was supposed to mean something.
“I understand tenses,” said Wakanabe, “and I understand your concern. What I don’t understand was the what.”
“What what?” Raisin man said.
“What was in the safe? You know, what was capered.”
“Are you for–the sauce! The sacred
sauce!” the raisin man took a turn for the worse, went prune.
Wakanabe bent his wide load down and peered into the gun metal maw of the safe, “You keep sauce in here? Don’t it spoil? I mean, it’d be better off in a fridge, I’d reckon.”
“No no no, not the sauce proper, it’s the–it’s the recipe. The sacred recipe for the sacred sauce!”
“And which sacred sauce is that?” Wakanabe coughed his Bandit into his hand, pocketed it in his London Fog, resisted sucking another. It was early yet, not even brunch time.
“The secret sacred sauce! You know, for the Moses Burger.”
“Uh huh. That the one that leads your hunger out of Egypt?”
“Yes, that one. The sauce is very important to the whole creation. Essential. Ten very specific ingredients as handed down to our chef from the hamburger God himself, Crispy Dan Natkins!” The prune went south, looking more like pickled gristle.
“He’s that grill guy that disappeared into the desert, weren’t he?” Wakanabe grunted, starting to notice just how close to brunch time it was.
“His exodus was as mysterious as his knowledge of barbeque, but that’s not important. What’s important is the retrieval of the recipe for the sacred sauce! If it isn’t found we’re done as a burger joint! Do you understand?! DONE!!” The pickled brine flopped down onto the floor like a puddle of gravy that had been left in the sun for forty years too many.
“Don’t fret yourself, buddy, I’ll find your sauce.And the owl that filched it. Or my name isn’t Ding-Dong Wakanabe!” He stared off, feeling his detective spirit soar, seeing his future self in the future time. This would be the case that put him back on the map. And out of his parents basement.
The puddle of gravy gandered up, staring at the fat, gallant form of the gabardined shamus standing there, looking off into the distance. And for a second, nay maybe less than that, he thought he heard a voice. A whisper on the wind like a moustache in the night.
S’okay guy, this guy. This guy’s the guy. A real guy’s guy, guy.
And inside he knew it would be alright.
Because that voice was Crispy Dan.