“Bounty” or why chasing after girls is never a good idea


The knock at the door told me I had visitors.
As did their silhouettes behind the glass.
I asked them to come in and take a seat,
surprised as anybody when three pigs
squeezed past the threshold.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised.
That they would leave the safety of their brick house
to come see me of all detectives
reeked of trouble.

Sure, I was the best in the business,
but their visit meant the piggies
were scared enough to ignore
my lung capacity.

Huffing and maybe puffing a little bit
(I was allergic to pig hair),
I took a hit of the only inhaler within paw’s reach
and insisted the swine tell me their story.
They all began speaking at once.

“Well there we were,
asleep in our Upper West Side apartment,”
I knew the place. With exposed brick walls,
the triplets had a taste for the ostentatious.

“Cozy as pigs in a blanket.”
I let that one go.

“When all of a sudden,
this cherry-red hoodlum
with a scarf ’round her head
sneaks down our chimney.”

“An’ she just stars packing up our things
in a weird rucksack…”

“It was a picnic basket.”

“Right, in a picnic basket. She just grabs
everything that will fit and then up and leaves.”

“Didn’t even have the decency to use the front door,
just scuttled right back up the chimney.”

I had to interrupt, “And you didn’t do anything to stop her?”

“Not this one. I’d heard about her before;
she’s called Red.”

“They say she robbed Mother Goose
while she was putting children to sleep.”

“And that she even stayed to write
a dirty nursery rhyme in the Lullaby Book.”

“I heard that she leaves breadcrumbs behind her
just to tease the authorities.”

“Yeah? Well I heard that she can put animals to sleep
just by leading them to a mossy rock in the woods.”

“That’s nothing. They say her basket carries stolen golden eggs
taken twice by giants and giant-killers alike.”

I had enough, “Enough!!!” I wheezed,
spraying the insides of my ungainly around the room.
“If she’s truly as bad as you say,
what can I do to help you?”

“We heard you were the best.”

“That you’re never thrown off the scent.”

“That you can track a sheep across the continent
with just a scrap of wool to guide you.”

The last bit was true. I was particularly proud
that Bo-Peep referred me,
especially since she failed to mention
the sheep that I didn’t return.

The largest pig dug out a scrap of red cloth
from his overalls. As rich as they were,
the triplets needed some style guidance.
“We’ll set you up with a mansion by the Hudson
if you can recover our stuff.”
They were, after all, in the real estate business.

“And as a show of good faith,” he oinked,
laying a fat wad of cash on the table,
right next to my inhaler,
“she was last seen in Central Park.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”
Grabbing the money,
I left the office.
This job would be over before you could say,
“Grandmother, what big…”

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