Eddie Quiggle and the Case of the Missing Petpet: Part Three
Also by melbman
Chapter Three – A New Suspect
Ava must have perceived the disbelief in my eyes, because before I could respond, she said in a cold tone, “I’m telling you, Detective Quiggle, he is the one who has my dear Charlie. He has made countless public threats and has made many attempts to have Charlie taken away from me.”
All of Neopia Central knew about the very public beef between Miss Ava Aisha and the Petpet Protection League. Some rather heated words had passed between them regarding Ava’s rather controversial handling of her Kadoatie.
It had begun with the PPL’s claim that Ava Aisha was exploiting her petpet. They maintained that it was unnatural to force a petpet to perform tricks and work long hours performing for Miss Aisha’s own personal gain. Miss Aisha responded by trying to discredit the PPL, calling them interfering do-gooders who took petpet security to the extreme.
The name calling and slanderous banter had continued to bounce back and forth between the agency and Miss Aisha. Things came to a head when Greg Techo had announced that they would be confiscating Charlie Kadoatie under PPL’s “exploitation act”. A warrant was signed and a team of Defenders of Neopia stormed Miss Aisha’s Rainbow Lane mansion and Charlie was removed to PPL’s care.
Miss Aisha had retained the services of Lawyerbot, Neopia’s finest Lawyer, who successfully fought for the order to be overturned. Subsequently Miss Aisha regained custody of Charlie, and the PPL’s reputation was tarnished.
I recalled a later interview in the Neopian Times where Greg Techo had sworn this defeat was a minor setback. He further advised the matter was far from over and that the PPL would undertake any means necessary to ensure the safety and well being of this and every mistreated petpet in Neopia.
And now, Ava Aisha was adamant that the PPL, and in particular Greg Techo, was behind the snatching of her Kadoatie.
“Detective Quiggle, Greg Techo’s credibility was shattered when my lawyer secured Charlie's return to me after the PPL’s failed order. I am certain this petnapping is his latest vendetta against me. He’s doing this to pay me back for ruining him. He even admitted he’d go any length to take Charlie away from me again. You have to interrogate him.”
It was true that the PPL had a history of being rather extreme in their handling of petpet welfare. But were they extreme enough to take matters into their own hands and pinch an innocent petpet? Perhaps Greg Techo’s bitterness over losing the case and losing face had sent him into a vengeful fury.
I had no further leads so far, so I had no choice but to investigate this one. What better place to start than with grilling Greg Techo?
I informed Miss Aisha that I would examine her latest lead the next morning, but I couldn’t promise the results she was after. The PPL was a very powerful and well respected organisation, and in reality this controversy over Charlie Kadoatie had only impacted slightly on their reputation. However, no stone could be left unturned, so I would make the appropriate arrangements to track Greg Techo.
Before making contact with the PPL, I headed back to the Neopian Times for a little background research on the agency. A thorough search turned up various articles of interest, including a number of allegations involving Greg Techo, and some rather controversial extractions of Petpets supposedly being poorly treated by their owners. Many of these claims were apparently unfounded, but they seemed to be too frequent to be deemed as coincidental misunderstandings.
Mr Techo proved a difficult man to get personal with. His prominence within the PPL meant he was a constant target for disgruntled Neopians who sought revenge for their petpets being seized from them. At all times he was protected by his two hired goons – fearsome, burly Werelupes who weren’t afraid to bite anyone who ventured too close.
Even at my appointment, I was given the pat down before I was allowed an audience with the Techo. And the menacing Werelupes didn’t leave his side the entire time.
“Mr Techo,” I began, “I am investigating the matter of the vanishing of Charlie Kadoatie, Miss Ava Aisha’s petpet.”
Greg Techo smiled grimly. “Yes, detective. I am aware of this petnapping and my heartfelt regrets go out to Miss Aisha over her loss.”
I nodded gravely and continued. “Mr Techo, Miss Aisha has informed me of your past confrontations with her over the alleged mistreatment of Charlie.”
The Techo sighed impatiently. I was mesmerised by the wobble of his grape coloured chin. “Detective Quiggle, everybody knows of the Petpet Protections League stance on Miss Aisha’s treatment of her petpet. It’s no secret that we are outraged and horrified that this innocent creature is worked to the bone for Miss Aisha’s financial gain.”
“Yes, Mr Techo, those matters have been made very public in the past. However, Miss Aisha believes that the PPL may have some involvement in the disappearance of Charlie.”
I had the impression Greg Techo was losing composure; his rotund body was trembling furiously, and I found myself suddenly craving a Jelly Ham. I wasn’t the only one who sensed this, as his Lupe goons suddenly drew themselves up and appeared to stand even more tall and intimidating. One of them snarled and bared his pointed teeth at me.
“What exactly are you alluding to, Detective?” the Techo questioned pointedly, his eyes narrowing to tiny hostile slits. I glanced uneasily at the formidable Lupes either side of him, and pressed onward.
“Mr Techo, Miss Aisha believes that the PPL, and you in particular, have organised and carried out Charlie Kadoatie’s snatching.”
This allegation made the Techo laugh, however his laughter was not a free and easy, genuinely happy one. It was a strained, and forced type of laughter with an underlying hint of irritation.
“I admit to you that we would like nothing more than for Charlie to be removed from Miss Aisha’s care. I am certain you are aware that the popularity of the Kadoatie Brothers has been well in decline for some time. We maintain that Miss Aisha has been exploiting her petpet in a sad and pathetic attempt to kick-start the failing career. Her greed and hunger for fame and fortune has led to her mistreatment of Charlie Kadoatie, and we at PPL have been very much against this and are working very hard to try and bring her to accountability. I thoroughly believe Miss Aisha doesn’t deserve to own such a remarkable and wonderful petpet. However the PPL has not had any hand in this petnapping. In fact we deplore this kind of action as it contravenes the very concerns we fight for. ”
“Mr Techo, what of your open threats to use any means necessary to remove Charlie from Miss Aisha’s ownership?”
“Detective, I am a representative of an upstanding organization that has made a vow to protect the health and welfare of petpets all across Neopia. We do promise to use whatever means necessary to secure their safety; however, those means are always within a legal capacity. I assure you we would never resort to such underhanded methods to fulfil our oath.”
He heaved a sigh, shuffled some papers on his desk and motioned to his Werelupes who suddenly seemed to loom over me.
“Detective Quiggle, I am a very busy Techo, so if you have no further questions I would appreciate it if you could let me get back to my work.”
It was clear the conversation was over, so I thanked Greg Techo for his time and left his office.
As I exited the building I revisited the conversation in my mind and Greg’s reactions to my questioning, and his implication in the petnapping.
I didn’t know what to think about Greg’s protests of innocence. I was certain that he truly had Charlie Kadoaties best interests at heart, however I was not confident that he didn’t have an involvement in his disappearance.
There was something about his answers that made me uncomfortable; they had seemed contrived and too easily spoken, as if they had been rehearsed. The more I thought about it, the more likely a suspect he appeared to be.
He had become really prickly when I reminded him of his threats to use whatever means necessary. And his efforts to deny employing devious methods didn’t reassure me in the slightest.
And while I still had my suspicions regarding Michael Kyrii’s participation, Miss Aisha was steadfast in her belief of his innocence. And it wasn’t inconceivable that a sister could so well know her brother that it would be impossible for him to deceive her.
Ava Aisha met me at my office door once more. Her pretty face was pallid and drawn. Her Pocket Neomail device wavered in her hand. I began to tell her about my meeting with Mr Techo.
“Miss Aisha, I have-”
“Detective Quiggle,” the Aisha interrupted her voice devoid of emotion, “I have something you need to see.”
I held up a hand to halt her explanation.
“Miss Aisha, first let us seek shelter from prying eyes and ears and enter the privacy of my office.” She nodded, and I unlocked the door and motioned for her to step inside.
To be continued...
(Next week “The Ransom” is made...)
Detectives Speak 101 - Lesson 3
- Beef – argument, quarrel.
- Goons – security guards.
- Pat Down – searched, checked for weapons.