The phone rings. He struggles to open his eyes. He rolls over to see his alarm clock. 10:27 pm. Could it really be that early? Next to his clock is a bottle. He drank himself to sleep again. It was becoming a habit.
“Hello,” he mumbles into the phone with a raspy voice.
“Basil, we got a new case. Corner of Main and Tomorrow. You’re not gonna like this one.”
He responds with a grunt that his partner has learned to take as an affirmative response over the years. He slowly picks himself out of bed, takes another swig from the bottle and heads out the door.
20 minutes later he arrives at the scene.
“What have we got Dawson?”
“Possible homicide. Multiple stab wounds, signs of struggle. And uh...”
Basil notices in Dawson’s voice that this case is troubling him.
“...high profile vic.”
Basil lifts the cover from the victim. He immediately recognizes her. He’s not surprised. Nothing really surprises him anymore. He’s investigated hundreds of murders. Seen a lot of stuff he could never understand. Hell, some of his investigations have ended with the victims coming back to life. He still doesn’t quite get what happened to that pirate.
But Basil has been able to move on from his previous cases. He’s not entirely sure how. The alcohol helps. But he could tell this case would be a bit tougher to move on from. This case would change the entire Disney landscape.
“Who would do it,” Dawson asks. “Who would kill Tinker Bell?”
Basil looks up and slowly turns his head to Dawson. He gives him a look that Dawson has seen before and interprets to mean... this is easy.
“...Hook,” Dawson says, almost to himself.
“Looks like this case...” Basil says. “Will be fairy easy to crack.”
Dawson closes the door. Basil looks over a file before looking up across the table where Captain Hook sits patiently with a smirk on his face.
“Where were ya last night Hook?”
“The Caribbean,” Hook replies sarcastically.
“Do you really want to test his patience,” Dawson intervenes. “It runs very thin these days.”
Hook’s face becomes a bit more serious. He can see that Basil isn’t going to take jokes lightly.
“Look, what’s this about?” Hook asks. “I’m supposed to be meeting Silver in Adventureland.”
“I’m sure there’s a disappointed bottle of rum with your name on it somewhere,” Basil responds.
Basil sits back in his seat. Relaxes a bit. He pulls out his pipe and lights it. Dawson rolls his eyes.
“I’m clean,” Hook responds. “Six months sober. And from what I hear, that’s more than you could say right now Basil.”
Basil smiles. He knows Hook is right. He could go for a drink right now as a matter of fact. It doesn’t bother him. He stays on task.
“When’s the last time you were in Tomorrowland, Hook?”
Hook sits back. He reacted to the question, but not how Basil expected. He looks puzzled.
“Tomorrowland?” Hook asks. “Haven’t been there in quite some time. Don’t care for the place. It’s too... loud.”
“How about Main Street,” Basil asks immediately, not giving Hook a second to catch his breath.
“Main Street?” Hook asks again. “What is going on here Basil?”
Basil slams his hand down onto a folder. He opens it and grabs a picture. He holds it in front of Hook. He immediately recognizes her. It’s a picture of Tinker Bell from a few years back. Hook, now completely confused, stares at the picture. He looks at Basil and sees anger in his eyes. Maybe even hate. He can feel his gaze burning a hole in his head.
Then he realizes what’s going on. He sits back in his chair. His look of confusion quickly becomes that of concern.
“Is she dead?” Hook asks.
Basil puts the picture back on the table. His gaze doesn’t break. Dawson on the other hand, exhales loudly.
“Uniforms found her last night in an alley on Tomorrow Terrace,” Dawson says.
Concern becomes overwhelming sadness. Hook breaks down. Years of his villainy and hatred for that fairy and he had never imagined something like this. He never wished anything like this on her. He was never that kind of villain.
Basil leans over the table. Hook is beside himself, and he knows he’s never been much of an actor. Basil’s knows he’s innocent, but he needs the proof to get Dawson and everyone else to believe him.
“Hook,” Basil says intensely as he leans closer. “Where were you last night at 9 p.m.?”
Hook tries to catch his breath, breaks from sobbing and looks up at Basil, tears streaming down his face.
“Hook’s alibi checks out,” Dawson says, approaching Basil’s desk. “Funny, I would never have pegged Hook for one to take a moonlit stroll through the Hundred Acre Wood. But Robin confirmed he saw him there at about 9 o’clock.”
“Hook’s turned over a new leaf recently,” Basil says without looking up from his desk. “Stopped drinking, even started with some charity work.”
Basil shuffles through papers scattered about his desk. He already has his next move in mind, maybe a couple of moves. He does have some self destructive tendencies. But when he works on a case, he immerses himself in it. It becomes everything.
“Basil, Dawson. My office in five.”
Basil still doesn’t look up. He anticipated that Chief Quimbly would be calling them in soon. A case with a high profile victim like this is sure to draw a lot of attention. Certain people would prefer it were kept as quiet as possible. Certain, very important people, would want the case solved as quickly as possible.
“Looks like the Chancellor just stepped into Chief’s office,” Dawson says to Basil, looking a bit concerned.
Basil looks up at Dawson, stone-faced.
“Well, I suppose that’s our queue.”
“Mr. Chancellor,” Chief Quimbly says before being cut off.
“Please, no need for the formality,” the Chancellor interrupts. “Call me Mickey.”
This isn’t Basil’s first time meeting with Ol’ Big Ears over a case. He’s been very active in seeing that cases like this are solved quickly. Crime deterrent has always been a high priority for him. But then again, there haven’t been any cases like this. None of the victims in previous cases have been as famous as Tink.
“To what do we owe the pleasure of a visit from Steamboat Willie himself?” Basil asks, easily dispensing with the formality and even professionalism.
“Detective Basil, Detective Dawson,” Mickey says, acknowledging their presence. “I’m sure you’re aware of the uh... sensitivity that surrounds your current case.”
Of course they were aware of the sensitivity. As if he didn’t know exactly what Mickey was going to come in and tell them. Solve it quickly and quietly, this case is personal to him, the work we do is important to the fabric of our society so it is imperative that we show discretion.
“I’m confident that you are the best men for the case,” Mickey started. “So I just wanted to personally ask you to solve this case as quickly and as quietly as possible. We don’t want this getting any more attention than it already has.”
Basil shoots Dawson a sarcastic look, but sees Dawson nodding and listening intently. He wasn’t sick of the charade yet, still loved the sense of importance bestowed upon him. Basil rolls his eyes.
“This case is personal to me boys,” Mickey continues. “The work that you two do is-”
“Yes, yes, quite important,” Basil cuts him off. “We’ll be sure to practice some discretion.”
Basil gives a nod to Quimbly and leaves the room.
“Basil,” Dawson says in disgust before turning to Mickey. “Apologies Mr. Chancellor. He’s... been under a lot of stress lately.”
“No apology necessary Dawson,” Mickey responds. “It’s a high pressure job you two have. Stress is an unfortunate consequence. Commissioner.”
Mickey leaves the office and joins two body guards just outside the door. Dawson looks to the commissioner, then takes a step toward the door.
“Dawson,” Quimbly says, stopping Dawson in his tracks. “Don’t let him slip.”
Dawson saw the look of concern on his face. He knew exactly what he meant. Dawson simply nodded and left the office.
Dawson gets back to Basil’s desk, where he has gathered some ruffled papers into a folder and appears ready to leave.
“Care to tell me what the hell that was all about in there?” Dawson asks.
“Dawson, don’t you ever get sick of hearing the same spiel from that rambling rodent?” Basil responds.
“I absolutely do not,” Dawson says, with a hint of anger in his voice. “And I would advise that you show him a little bit of respect.”
Basil says nothing. He didn’t have a response for Dawson. He had no reason to dislike Mickey, no past experience creating hostility. Perhaps it was just stress from the job. Or from the fact that he hadn’t had a drink in almost a full day, a new record for him in recent weeks.
It could possibly be even the slightest touch of jealousy. Everyone wanted, in some fashion, the attention that Mickey Mouse received. The status that came with his name. Basil was never one for fame though. Sure, he enjoyed the recognition he got from his work. But he never wanted anything of that scale. He couldn’t come up with a legitimate reason not to like Mickey.
“Right then,” Basil finally responds. “Shall we go?”
“Where do we start?”
Basil and Dawson arrive at the enormous and somewhat gaudy front gate of Cinderella’s Castle, the center piece of Magic City, and home to its mayor.
“Hello, we are hoping to have a word with Ms. Cinderella,” Dawson says, approaching one of the tow guards at the gate.
“I’m afraid the Mayoral Princess is not expecting any visitors,” The guard responds in a stern voice. “You will have to set up an appointment.”
Basil laughs to himself. Cinderella he did have a reason not to like. Since she received her title, she has run Magic City nearly into the ground. And her title alone was enough cause for distrust. When Mickey appointed mayors to the four eastern Disney cities, he did it to ensure that they were run properly. Not to instill a sense of entitlement into four individuals. Cinderella quickly adjusted her title from Mayor to Mayoral Princess, to give herself more of a sense of royalty. As if the lavish Castle didn’t already display that enough.
“Well perhaps she will make an exception for the MCPD,” Basil says, flashing a badge to the guard.
He turns to the other guard, who nods, before turning to the gate to open it.
“What can I do for you boys?” Cinderella asks without ever stopping what she was doing. “I’m afraid I don’t have much time to help you. You see, I’m preparing for a grand ball tonight.”
Surprise. Another party for the egotistical Mayoral... whatever she calls herself. The city’s money was poured into these parties more and more these days. Meanwhile two of the six boroughs slip completely into poverty.
Adventureland and Frontierland have become known as the slums of Magic City. Liberty Square, the governmental district, wasn’t much better. The overcrowded district has a population of 999, with room for maybe one more. Two of the others, Main and Tommorrowland, were barely keeping afloat. Fantasy on the other hand, was doing just fine. It doesn’t shock anyone. Of course Cinderella would favor the borough that was home to her stuck-up friends. She’s done everything but install a billboard saying “Welcome to Fantasy, home of the 1%.”
“We won’t take up much of your time Princess,” Dawson says, pulling out a small notepad.
“Ah-ah, that’s Mayoral Princess,” Cinderella responds, still not making eye contact with either detective.
“Right, of course. Mayoral Princess, I’m afraid there was a bit of a tragedy that occurred last night, not far from your castle,” Dawson says carefully.
“Ah yes, the fairy girl,” Cinderella responds casually. “I heard. It’s quite sad.”
Quite sad? What’s quite sad is that she would refer to such a beloved icon of this city as ‘the fairy girl.’ She knows damn-well what her name is. She just refuses to refer to any citizen by their actual name. Another result of her power trip, Basil expects.
“Uh, right, yes. She was killed shortly after her performance here,” Basil responds. “We were hoping you might have heard or seen something.”
Basil lights his pipe. He knows what her response will be, and it’s not going to be helpful.
“I’ll thank you not to smoke in here,” Cinderella says to Basil. “And I’m afraid I cannot help you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to prepare for the ball.”
Dawson puts his notepad away and heads for the door. Basil is already half way through the door.
“Ah yes Dawson. We mustn't take up too much of the Mayoral Princess’ time,” Basil says before leaving. “I’m sure she has some shoes to windex.”
“But I don’t understand,” Dawson says to Basil, as the head down a hall to the front of the castle. “She didn’t give us anything. You’re giving up that easily?”
Just as Dawson finishes his sentence, Basil turns right, up a narrow staircase leading to a door. Dawson follows him, uncertain of what his plan is. Basil opens the door to a small platform on the roof of the castle.
“This is where Tink takes off from during the show,” Basil explains to Dawson.
He points his finger up and slowly arcs it down and into the distance, mimicking her flight trajectory. He points behind a building in Tomorrowland.
“She lands there, behind Tomorrow Terrace,” Basil explains. “Dawson, check the area for signs of a struggle.”
The two detectives examine every detail of the platform. The railing old and outdated, the floor a bit rusted. But nothing is out of the ordinary.
“Nothing here,” Basil says as he looks back in the direction of Tomorrowland. “Do you know what that means Dawson?”
“That our trail went cold,” Dawson replies.
“On the contrary Dawson,” Basil says. “This narrows our search.”
“I don’t under-” Dawson starts, before being interrupted.
“This means that our victim’s struggle did not begin here and she was not followed by a fellow flyer,” Basil explains. “She was met by the killer where she lands, on a platform in Tomorrowland that not very many have access too.”
Dawson looks again in the direction of Tomorrowland. Now he understands. The killer is a VIP, with a working knowledge of the district.
“So,” Dawson starts. “Off to Tomorrowland?”
“Off to Tomorrowland,” Basil confirms.
“Do you really think he knows anything,” Dawson asks Basil, as they walk through the streets of Tomorrowland.
“Nothing happens in Tomorrowland without Sullivan knowing something about it,” Basil replies. “It’s as good a place as any to start.
The two walk toward the department of energy office building, where they can see cigarette smoke coming from the alley next to it. They approach the building to see a hulking, shadowy figure in the alley. When they get close enough, they can make the figure out to be James Sullivan, a former hero of the city, turned criminal, turned police informant.
“Ahhh, Basil. Took you long enough,” Sullivan says. “You’re moving a little slow these days huh?”
“No time for games tonight Sullivan,” Basil responds quickly. “I need to know what you know about the murder.”
“Which one,” Sullivan asks. “Not exactly a rare occurrence around here.”
“I said no games,” Basil responds aggressively. “You know what I want to know.”
Dawson can tell that Basil is getting frustrated. This case was beginning to wear on him.
“Alright, alright. You broke me,” Sullivan says with a smirk. “There was one door that led to the platform where your vic landed. I hear that door wasn’t broken into, but it was unlocked.”
“Who has the key,” Dawson asks.
“You said you wanna know what I know, Basil,” Sullivan says. “Can you get your secretary to give me chance to talk?”
Dawson looks at Basil, who returns a look as if to say “let me do the talking.”
“That’s better,” Sullivan says, again with a smirk. “Now, not many people have the kind of access. You’re killer is somebody important. And get this, a very high profile mental patient was released recently.”
“You mean Lightyear,” Basil reacts. “Murder isn’t exactly him MO.”
“No, but he has gotten a bit violent in the past,” Sullivan says. “And his wife says he went off the deep end again, shortly after getting home. Says he took off a few days ago and she hasn’t seen him since. Plus, the key that opened the door was left there. It belonged to the Ranger”
“Is that it,” Basil asks.
“I just handed you gold and you’re asking for more,” Sullivan asks, sarcastically. “You’re a piece of work Detective.”
“Let’s go Dawson,” Basil says. “A pleasure as always, Sullivan.”
“Detective,” Sullivan calls out to the two as they walked away. “Go easy on her. She’s not taking it well.”
Basil turns and nods before walking away.
“Where are we going,” Dawson asks.
“To speak to Jessie,” Basil responds.
“I’ve already told the police, I haven’t seen him in days,” Jessie says to the detectives, visibly distraught.
The three sat in her living room. Dawson sipped from the tea that she offered and remained quiet, letting Basil do his work.
“I understand, and we’re very sorry for the pain you’ve suffered,” Basil responds, delicately trying to get any information he can. “But if you can help us in any way, we might be able to find Buzz and get him the help he needs.”
“No...” Jessie mumbles under her breath. “No you won’t. You just told me he’s a suspect in you investigation. You don’t want to help him! You just want to put him away!”
Jessie was starting to scream, getting more upset with every word. Dawson stood up and took a step towards her, but Basil held up his arm to keep him back.
“He’s not a monster!” Jessie continued. “He’s not violent! He doesn’t want to hurt people! He’s just sick! He doesn’t know what’s real anymore! He needs help!”
She broke down and started to cry. This wasn’t the first time she has had to answer for her husband to the police. Buzz has had a long history of mental illness. And Jessie has been there every step of the way. It has worn her down over the years.
“Jessie, we want to help,” Dawson says breaking his silence.
Just then, they hear a crash come from behind the house. All three of them jerk their heads around toward the back. They hear a low voice coming from behind the house.
“Dawson,” Basil whispers. “Wait in the front.”
Basil gets up and creeps toward the back door. He looks out a window as he sneaks past, but he can’t see anything. The voice gets louder.
“DON’T HURT HIM!” Jessie screams.
Whoever is in the back scrambles and Basil rushes for the back door. He gets outside to see a ladder up against the house and a shadowy figure rushing onto the roof. Basil screams to Dawson that someone is coming and he begins to follow him up the ladder.
Dawson vigilantly checks both sides of the house but sees nothing. He steps back and awaits whatever may come.
“THE ROOF!” Basil screams.
Then Dawson sees the figure step to the front of the roof of the 3 story house. He steps back and watches, not knowing what he can do. The figure raises one arm to his chest and the shadows of wind sprout from his sides.
Basil gets to the roof and rushes toward the figure. But just before he can get to him, he hears two words in a low, sad voice.
Then the figure jumps. Dawson looks up in horror as Jessie rushes out onto the lawn. For a second, he soars, becoming perfectly silhouetted by the moon. Then he drops, crashing to the ground with a sickening thud. His helmet shatters and doesn’t move.
Jessie drops to her knees and buries her face as Dawson rushes toward the body. He checks the pulse. Nothing. He looks up to Basil who is now standing where the figure jumped from. Dawson shakes his head, and Basil drops his.
“Coroner says Lightyear didn’t have any keys on him,” Quimbly says to Dawson. “And the uniforms we sent to search the house didn’t find it either. Jessie said there was a break in a few days ago and some things went missing.”
Distraught, Dawson didn’t want to join in the conversation. But he knew the Chief was looking for him to put the pieces together.
“So Lightyear broke into his own home and took the key and whatever else he would have needed for his latest ‘mission’?” Dawson says without looking up.
“That is how it looks,” Quimbly says. “You should go get some sleep. Where is Basil?”
Dawson knew where he was. But it wasn’t something he wanted to say out loud.
“I’ll find him,” Dawson says before leaving the room. “Before this night gets any worse.”
A thick cloud of cigarette smoke. Quiet tones of “You’ve got a Friend in Me” playing from a juke box. The smell of stale beer in the air. Dawson hadn’t missed any of these. It had been a while since he had to drag Basil home from one of the bars he frequented. But he knew that the events of the night had broken him, pushed over the edge again.
It was difficult to see through the smoke, but he found him. Sitting alone, at the end of the bar, a drink in one hand, a dart in the other, his head hung. Dawson sat on the stool next to him with his back to the bar.
“Lightyear didn’t have the key on him,” Dawson says to Basil quietly. “It went missing from the house a few days ago.”
Basil didn’t look up. Dawson had seen him broken down at this bar before. The look was always the same. His face always looked as though the word ‘quit’ was written all over it. His eyes would show a broken spirit. A dead expression with absolutely no movement at all. And with what he had just witnessed, it was understandable that he would slink back to this state.
But Dawson noticed that this was different. Basil’s lips were moving slightly.
“Basil,” Dawson asks cautiously. “You in there?”
Basil didn’t move. Dawson could hear Basil mumbling to himself now. He tried to get him to look up, but nothing budged. He leaned closer to try to hear what he was saying, but he could only make out a few words.
“Too loud.... grand ball... more attention...,” Basil mumbles.
Then he stops. Basil’s eyes widen and his head slowly starts to lift.
“More attention,” he mumbles again. “More attention... more attention...”
Dawson’s face shows a look of pure confusion and he reaches for Basil’s drink. But Basil shrugs his hand off and fires the dart, hitting a bullseye without ever turning his head to look.
“More attention,” Basil shouts now.
“Basil,” Dawson responds. “Are you okay?”
Basil stands and grabs his jacket, almost completely smiling.
“I’ve got it! Ah! Dawson, when did you get here,” Basil frantically asks. “Call the chief, I’ve cracked the case!”
“Yes, Basil,” Dawson responds quickly. “We cracked it earlier. It was Lightyear.”
“No,” Basil shouts on his way to the door. “That’s how our killer would like for it to appear. But it was not Lightyear. Call the Chief and have him set up a meeting with the Chancellor for the morning. We can let him know... we found our killer.”
Dawson opened the door to the Chief’s office to see Basil and the Chief waiting. Basil was anxiously tapping his foot, while the Chief just look disappointed over being called in for a meeting this early. Dawson closed the door behind him and took a seat next to Basil.
“Dawson,” Quimbly asks. “Can you tell me what this is about? Basil won’t give me anything and if this is a waste of my time...”
“In due time,” Basil interrupts. “In due time.”
A knock at the door stops the conversation. Dawson opens the door to Mickey Mouse.
“Mr. Chancellor,” Dawson says nervously. “Please come in.”
Mickey steps into the office and gives Basil and Quimbly an approving look.
“Boys, I hear you have done some more great work,” Mickey says. “It’s a shame what happened to Mr. Lightyear, but once again the city owes you a debt of gratitude.”
Mickey nods, and takes a step toward the door.
“It is a shame,” Basil interjects, stopping Mickey in his tracks. “It’s a shame that an innocent man nearly had such a heinous crime pinned on him, even after his death.”
Mickey stepped back toward Basil, a confused look on his face. Dawson watched intently, while Quimbly started to get visibly angry.
“Basil,” Quimbly says, a ferocity in his voice. “Where are you going with this?”
“I’m glad you asked Chief,” Basil responds. “My problem with accepting that Lightyear was our killer was a lack of a motive. Why would he want Tinker Bell dead?”
“He was completely crazy, Basil,” Dawson responds. “You saw that first hand.”
“Yes, Dawson. This is true,” Basil says. “But does a crazy person deliberately unlock a door to kill a specific target? No, this was a planned act. This was someone carrying out a well thought-out plan.”
The three waited very impatiently. Dawson could tell that Quimbly was losing his patience, but Mickey seemed very interested in what Basil had to say.
“So who would want to kill the most beloved fairy that Disney has to offer,” Basil asks. “The obvious first choice was Hook. But his alibi checked out. So I had to determine a different motive.”
“Get to the point Basil,” Quimbly said, seconds from ending the meeting himself.
“That’s when I thought of something you said Mickey,” Basil said, pointing to Mickey. “We don’t want this getting any more attention than it already has.”
Mickey straightens up and Quimbly takes a step toward Basil.
“Right,” Mickey responds. “Of course I wanted to keep this case quiet.”
“As well you should,” Basil says. “But you weren’t talking about the case, were you?”
Quimbly takes a few more steps toward Basil, looking like he is ready to throw him out.
“What,” Mickey asks nervously. “What do you mean?”
“You were talking about the victim herself,” Basil answers. “You did not want Tinker Bell to get more attention than she already has.”
Quimbly stops. Dawson sits back in his chair, pressing back nearly hard enough to fall backwards. Mickey smiles as if to shrug off Basil’s theory.
“You were sick of sharing the spotlight with her increased popularity in recent years. You wanted all the fame for yourself,” Basil says, taking a step toward the chancellor. “So you waited. You waited until you could find the perfect person to pin it on. That’s when Lightyear snapped, creating the perfect opportunity.”
Dawson slowly turned to look at Mickey, who was no longer smiling. The theory fit, but how could Basil make it stick? It wouldn’t be easy to find proof. Mickey would have been careful enough to clear his tracks. But that’s where problem comes in for someone that’s not accustomed to a life of crime. When faced with the accusation, the pressure makes them crack.
“... I didn’t want to hurt her,” Mickey says in a broken voice. “But she kept getting bigger and bigger. The fact that she capped off every night in Magic City was too much. This is my city. Why do people forget that this is my city?”
Quimbly turned toward the Chancellor and cuffed him.
“Mr. Chancellor,” Quimbly says. “You’re under arrest.”
Quimbly escorts Mickey out of the room while reading him his rights, and it’s like the oxygen instantly got pumped back into the room. Dawson stands and his legs feel barely strong enough to support his weight. Basil exhales.
“How,” Dawson asks. “How did you put that together?”
Basil smiles and looks at Dawson.
“It was quite simple really,” he responds. “We merely lost sight of one thing.”
“What’s that,” Dawson asks.
“That it was all started by a mouse.”