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He Stole More Than Christmas

Mark Darby is a nurse practitioner with several professional publications on health and spirituality. He writes fiction when he can and can be found at MDarby.com.
"One Fish," came the whisper
"Two Fish," I replied
"Are you My Mother?" came the whisper.
I was puzzled. "That's not a Seuss book," I hissed back.
A large elephant came out of the alley in a tight trench coat which barely covered his trunk and a Fedora which somehow fit over the top of both of his ears. Despite the comical look, Detective Whit Burke knew he was facing the most dangerous killer in New York, known only as Horton. "I had to be sure you were a cop," said the elephant looking over his shoulder into the night fog. "If the Cat finds out, he will make green eggs and ham out of me."
"Cat, huh?" I said suddenly beginning to understand. "He gonna send Thing 2 after you, would he?" The elephant shuddered. Thing 2 was the maniac of that pair. He liked close killing. I wanted a little fear in the pachyderm. A little fear is better than a 38 with 6 full chambers when you are dealing with a mad elephant who, despite his size, could kill quickly and leave a crime scene as neat as a pin.
"What have you hurt, Horton?" I asked him
"Not what. Who."
"Horton hurt a who?" I asked, not clear on what he was talking about.
"I haven't hurt anyone, I heard someone." He replied.
"Horton heard a who?"
"Exactly." The elephant replied. He jumped a little to a noise in the dark fog.
"What who?" I asked, trying to get to the point of this night meeting. I should have been home drinking milk but I was wasting time with peanuts here.
"The who," he replied and said nothing else. He was letting it sink in. I began to realize which who he was talking about. I could not believe it.
"You're not talking about the who I think you are talking about are you?" The elephant nodded. I went over it in my mind. Max had turned state evidence over 30 years ago. After the trial, Max went away to witness protection. I had heard a rumor Max was now resting in a box with a Fox in Sox in a graveyard in Connecticut but I thought it was old age. Could it be?
"What do you want Horton?" I asked.
"Immunity." He said. "I want to come in before he gets me."
I chuckled. "With what you've done, you want immunity?"
The elephant looked even more desperate. "All right Burke, no immunity. Just no death penalty. I want to live. After he deals with the Cat he will come after me. I'll tell you everything. I can even give you the skinny on who killed the Lorax. With that you can put him away for long time."
"I thought the Lorax committed suicide. "
"No, it was him. It was the Grin--." A noise like a throwing knife came through the air. There was a thunk like steel going through elephant hide and Horton stiffened, went silent and fell forward.
I watched the blood leave as his heart shrunk 3 sizes that day. I pulled my gun and considered the fog. There was a cackle. My blood went cold.
I knew I should but I could not. I would not go after the Grinch alone.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

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