I investigate insurance fraud. The chef at the Ambassador East in Chicago had put in a claim that appeared to be shaky. I went there to do my job and inquired where to find Pastry. I must have chuckled when I said his name, because a black man as big as Goliath glared at me.
“Laugh at my name and you’ll be sorry,” Pastry said, holding up a heavy metal whisk.
Holding back the guffaw I felt coming, I blurted out, “Okay, Pastry.” I almost lost it when I spoke his name, but eyeing the heavy kitchen tool in his hand, I continued our conversation. “Is there another name I should use?”
“Shadow, call me Shadow.” He gave me a look that dared me to laugh.
I eyed the rolling pin lying on the table and wondered if I could get to it before he whacked me with the heavy metal whisk he held.
To divert his attention from my snide laughter, I said, “My name is Sam Snead.” I looked up at his sweating face as a sweet aroma of baking cinnamon rolls washed over me. “Smells good.”
“Yes siree, cinnamon rolls made here are the best in the world.”
His anger subsided as he talked about himself. “Any chance of sampling one?”
That compliment would get him into a better mood. He poured coffee into a white mug set it on a table in a corner of the baking area of the humongous kitchen, and then scooped a fresh baked roll from the oven. He placed it on a dish and set it beside the coffee. I couldn’t resist, picked up the hot roll and it melted when I put it in my mouth. I gobbled it down in three bites and glanced at the oven.
“One free is all you get. Want more, you have to pay.”
I wanted more, but I had a job to do. I went to the metal sink and washed my sticky hands. “We received a report you’re claiming a sexual dysfunction you’re experiencing is due to your job?”
“Is this a privileged conversation, like when I talk to my lawyer, anything I say is confidential and can’t be used against me?”
It wasn’t, but if he was stupid enough . . . “Of course it is,” I lied. “Go on, tell me what happened.”
“Well, I had a kind-hearted woman I loved more than sweet potato pie. She knew anyone who touched my pie had to die. Turns out, she wasn’t so kind after all. I saw her with him and he was eating my pie.”
Was he using metaphors, or did he mean it literally? All I could do was to listen and try to find any holes in his story.
“Once I saw that happen, sunlight turned shadowy and I hid behind my door. That’s when I changed my name to Shadow. Night came, and I loaded my gun. It was time for the shadow to have some fun. Out from behind my door, I went slinking through darkening gloom to kill the one who touched my tart. I found him sulking in fear from the darkness spreading from me to him.”
This guy was confessing a serious crime. If I report him, it’ll mean I’ll have to testify to what he told me. I didn’t want to get involved in a murder trial. “Don’t leave me hanging, tell me what happened.”
“I decorated him with my pastry gun.”
When he said that, I let out the breath I had been holding. All the while, I thought he meant a firearm when he said gun.
“I drew stars around his eyes and a circle around his lips.”
Great, this guy draws stars and circles with icing. He must be nuts.
“As soon as the acid hit him, he screamed louder than a stuck pig, and believe me, I’ve killed enough pigs to know how loud they scream.”
“Hold on. Acid? You said you had a pastry gun.”
“Yeah, filled with muriatic acid.”
“Where are you going with this? What does this have to
do with your disability claim?”
“I’m getting to that. Here have a piece of fresh meat pie.” He set a dish in front of me with the steaming pie on it. The luscious aroma compelled me to sit and start munching while he continued.
“She started screaming when she saw his lips melting away. Guess she knew he wouldn’t be eating anymore pie. I decorated her with my pastry gun too.”
I licked my lips to gather up any remaining crumbs from the delicious pie. “Okay, now tell me what this all has to do with your insurance claim?”
“After their screams died out, I became worried. I didn’t want anyone to see them walking around with burnt out eyes and holes for mouths, so I did the humane thing and ended their lives.”
Definitely a nut case. I couldn’t wait to turn him in, but I was dying to know how his disability was connected. “Then what happened?”
“Not much. I cut them up, brought them here, and scraped all the meat off the bones, put them in that big caldron there and dissolved them in acid,.” He pointed to a huge metal pot on legs with a spigot on the bottom for draining.
I could sell this story to one of the tabloids before I called the police. “Whatcha do with their flesh?,”
“You just ate the last bit of it in your meat pie.”
I puked on the floor and looked up to see him sharpening a cleaver.
“I created a demand for meat pie, and I’m fresh out of meat. So I’m happy you dropped by.”
The clever guy hit me in my Adam’s apple. My last thought was, How does this connect to a disability claim?