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It had been a pleasant week for Heinz Noonan, the “Bearded Holmes” of the Sandersonville Police Department. Occasionally — and only occasionally — the Sandersonville Commissioner of Homeland Security, Edward Paul Lizzard III, sent him on an assignment of merit. In Noonan’s case, ‘assignment of merit’ meant an assignment which actually involved a crime. Heists were best and the more twisted the better. But, alas, most of the assignments were those of a political nature. ‘Political’ in this sense meaning Noonan chased down absurd, conspiratorial fantasies which turned out to be absurd, conspiratorial fantasies which the Commissioner metamorphosed into front line headlines in the local paper which he used to prove to Washington D. C. there was real concern about homeland security on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. …


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When it came to the holy, Noonan always spelled it holey because, in his world, it was holes that mattered. Holy was left to another power. His, Noonan’s, was what would stand up in court. If there were holes in your argument, very bad people would continue to walk the streets. So, when it came to the holy — in Noonan’s world holey — the words sounded the same, were spelled differently and had totally different outcomes.

He was thinking of both holy and holey this day because the two coincided in a phone call he received from an unknown caller. As implausible as it seemed, someone was digging holes through the Holy shingle roof of the St. …


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If there was any one thing for which Heinz Noonan, the “Bearded Holmes” of the Sandersonville Police Department, had a soft spot, it was for dogs. Not puppies, which he hated with a passion, but ‘not-puppies’ who had been housebroken, taught not to bite to show affection and beasts which could distinguish between a leather chewy and a $150 pair of shoes. That being said, what was odd this Monday morning was his conversation with the canine coroner of Russel, Montana.

“With one l.”

“With one ‘l?’”

“Russel. With one ‘l.’ Not like Charlies Russell the painter. He had two ‘l’s’ Our town is named after the Civil War hero, Cabot Russel. …


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The Matter of the Rubber Duckie Debacle

The Matter of the Rubber Duckie Debacle

The nearest Captain Heinz Noonan, the “Bearded Holmes” of the Sandersonville Police Department had ever come to a rubber duckie was a $25 check. One rubber duckie was worth about $.99 but as a participant in the Sandersonville “Feed the Homeless” Fundraiser they were $5 apiece. Six for $25 and for each of the six rubber duckies he was given a number. …


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The Matter of Ten Thousand Hard Rubber Combs

Heinz Noonan, the “Bearded Holmes” of the Sandersonville Police Department, always wondered if the real Sherlock Holmes — as in the detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle — had a beard. A. Conan Doyle had a luxurious mustache which, in the mid-1800s, was called a “cat smeller.” It was half a beard, so to speak, and the legendary Sherlock Holmes was, as per the 1904 portrait by Sidney Paget, beardless with a receding hair line. Padget’s Watson had a mustache. Basil Rathbone, who portrayed Sherlock Holmes in 14 films, two by Twentieth Century Fox and a dozen by Universal Pictures, was beardless and wore a deerstalker hat. Noonan noted there was no reference to a deerstalker hat in any of the Holmes stories by Doyle. …


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The Matter of the Skedaddling Sundogs

Heinz Noonan, the “Bearded Holmes” of the Sandersonville Police Department was dreaming of Alaska this morning. It was not unusual for him to hunger for Alaska in July. Afterall, in Anchorage in July it averaged a sweltering 75 in both sun and shade. It got cooler in August and in September it was time to be out of the Northland because October was coming. As Alaskan humorist Warren Sitka was fond of saying, “The Alaskan calendar only has three months and they all begin with the letter J.”

But here he was, in July, in Sandersonville, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where it got up to 85. And while 85 was not bad, the humidity would lurch into the 90s. High 90s. When it was into the high 90s you didn’t walk to the beach, you swam to it with your shirt plastered to your body like the sheet on a ghost. …


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The Matter of the Missing Floor

Heinz Noonan, the “Bearded Holmes” of the Sandersonville Police Department was enjoying his first cup of coffee of the day when Harriet, his administrative assistant and office common sense matron, burst into his office.

“Day’s starting early,” she said breathlessly.

“Crime never sleeps,” Noonan said sleepily.

“Yeah,” Harriet said as she pointed at the ancient phone on his desk, one with a wire. “You’ve got an emergency phone call on Line 1. A group of protesters have sequestered themselves on the third floor of a two-story building and are demanding sanctuary.”

Noonan was now awake. “Really? How can you be holed up on the third floor of a building that only has two floors?” …


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The Matter of the Vagrant Tombstones

Heinz Noonan, the “Bearded Holmes” of the Sandersonville Police Department was relaxing in his office but shaking with fear because he was living one of his own adages: “Whenever things are going well, bad news is dialing your number.” The only philosophical adjustment to the words he would have made was to insert the word “speed” before “dialing.” But he never got the chance because the phone rang before he finished the thought.

Worse, it was bad news incarnate: the Sandersonville Commissioner of Homeland Security. The Commissioner was referred to as “His Majesty” by the staff of the Sandersonville Police Department who were, on paper and in the budget line item, listed as “His Department.” In reality they were “His serfs” and the only blessing was he only ‘came down’ from his throne room on the Third Floor in the form of phone calls. …


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The Matter of the Six Death Chickens

Heinz Noonan, the “Bearded Holmes” of the Sandersonville Police Department, was just about to bite into a chicken salad sandwich when Harriet, the office administrative assistant and common sense guru burst into his office and snatched the sandwich from out of his hand.

“What was that for,” snapped Noonan as he reached for 100% of his noontime repast as his wife had him on a strict diet.

“Some chicken gave its all for that,” Harriet growled. “It deserves better.”

“I was about to give it better!” Noonan shouted in return. …


The Matter of the Larcenous Phantasm

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The Matter of the Larcenous Phantasm

Captain Noonan, the “Bearded Holmes” of the Sandersonville Police Department, was in the process of packing for a well-earned vacation when he was stopped on the way out of his cubicle by Harriet, the office common sense maven, with a question: “What kind of a pistol does a ghost use to rob a bank?”

“Good question,” Noonan said blankly as he was locking his desk for a week in New Orleans. In February. With vacation pay. “I don’t have the slightest idea.”

“Ask the man on Line One,” Harriet said. …

Steven C. Levi

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