In search of the missing blue

René von Tiger – Consulting Detective

Chapter 1 – The Egg Experiment

I was sitting at breakfast and my thoughts were circling around something that my esteemed colleague Hercule Poirot always got wonderfully annoyed about: “I only want a three-minute egg and a four-minute egg for breakfast. It can’t be that difficult!”

“I really can’t,” I thought and set about cooking two eggs. One three minutes and one four minutes when suddenly the phone rang. Continuing to keep a tiger’s eye on my boiling eggs, I picked up the phone and I couldn’t believe my fluffy ears when I was greeted with an unmistakably French – er, sorry – Belgian accent: “Bonjour, mon ami! I ‘ope, I don’t disturb you enjoying your breakfast eggs.”

“How did he know…?” flashed through my mind, but I immediately realized: “Humbug!” He couldn’t have known that, it had to be a coincidence. So I discreetly diverted the conversation away from the egg topic. Otherwise he would have become unbearably arrogant again and would have portrayed this fluke as the genius fruit of his little grey cells. Belgian show-off! Pah!

But as is the case with brilliant detective colleagues, he quickly got to the real reason for his call: “It’s a catastrophe! Mon Dieu! A diplomatic catastrophe!” he said in despair as he described what had happened. Apparently seven countries had gotten into a dispute over something important going missing and were blaming each other. Because he kept breaking off into French out of sheer rage again and again, I had trouble following him at first.

“So what exactly has been lost?” I asked, finally getting to the point. “Sacré bleu, le bleu!” he cursed. That really wasn’t any help, even if the holy blue was twice as blue today. “Now calm down and speak slowly!” I tried to slow him down. “Sacre bleu or Harricots verts, that’s far too colorful for me.”

“Nothing colorful! Le bleu est parti. The blue is gone. That’s the problem,” he stated.

“What kind of blue?” I wondered. “How can a color disappear?”

“The blue of the river is not where it should be. Have you never heard of the beautiful blue Danube? This waltz man from Vienna wrote a song about it, a Monsieur le Bouquet, or something like that. And now someone has noticed that the blue of the Danube is gone and diplomats from seven countries are at loggerheads.”

Geez! Maybe he should get his little grey cells to formulate his sentences more clearly. But the way I interpret it, when he says Messieur Bouquet he probably means Johann Strauss, who wrote the famous waltz “The Blue Danube”. And the Danube is suddenly no longer blue. Very mysterious. “And why haven’t you started investigating long ago?” I ask him when he finally let me speak again because he was so excited.

“Pas encore! Not again! I just had a difficult case where I was on the Nile. I’ve had enough of the rivers for now. If I see so much water at the end of the world again, it’s still too early. Comprenez-vous mon ami?”

So he was fed up with water and his little grey cells said to him: “Just ask the tiger! He loves water so much. He’ll be happy.” Geez! I think his little grey cells were slowly rusting away into little rusty red cells. Water is disgusting! Ugh! But well, if the diplomatic peace of half of Europe depended on it, I was going to solve this urgent case. Water or not. So I assured him of my full support and wanted to set off straight after breakfast to inspect the crime scene, i.e. the Danube. Speaking of breakfast: how are my three-minute egg and my four-minute egg doing?

Wow! That was an ultimate fail. It seems that it is not so easy at all to cook two simple breakfast eggs to perfection – at least not when an excited Frenchman – er, sorry – Belgian calls and distracts you. The eggs are then probably only useful as tea infusers.

How I began my investigation, I will tell you shortly in the second chapter about my search for the missing blue…

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