“Come along, Tree,” DCI Barnabas said. “We’re off to Piddling Froth.”

“Is that even a real place, Sir?” Sergeant Tree asked. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Welcome back to Tuesday’s Tale, a weekly feature where we collaborate to write a story. Previous Tuesday’s Tales include Sign Here! and Meaningful Looks. We follow the basic rules of the “Yes, And” improvisational game – accept everything written so far as part of the story, and add your own paragraph (or so) where the last addition left off – except you needn’t begin your addition with “Yes, and.” I’ll start the story….

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Editor’s Note: Once again Tuesday’s Tale spoofs the long-running British mystery series Midsomer Murders. In this case, imitation is most definitely the sincerest form of flattery.

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“Of course it’s a real place, Tree,” Barnabas said as they climbed into Tree’s car. “It’s right across the lake from Trifling Tryst.”

“Ahh, I know where that is,” Tree said. He paused and looked at his boss. “Not that I’ve … I answered a call there a few years ago, Sir.”

Barnabas smiled. “I’m not worried, Tree.” He pointed out the windscreen. “Except by your driving.”

Tree looked forward and jerked the car back into his lane, ignoring the shouted complaints from the driver of a milk lorry whose tires were spraying gravel at the side of the road. “Sorry, Sir.”

“Perhaps you might apologize to the other driver, Tree,” Barnabas offered.

“I will when I see him again, Sir,” Tree said. “Why are we going to Piddling Froth? A stolen bicycle? Handbags at twenty paces?”

“No, this is serious,” Barnabas replied. “The ale in the Barking Heron isn’t living up to the town’s reputation.”

Tree parked in front of the pub and looked up at the sign. “Have you noticed how many of our county’s pubs are named after wading birds, Sir? There’s the Black Swan, the White Swan, the Golden Goose, the Wobbling Duck. But do herons actually bark?”

The pub’s namesake strode up, eyed Tree, spread its huge wings, and made a sound very like barking. Tree hurriedly followed Barnabas into the pub.

“Welcome, one and all,” Pete the publican said.

His wife Willie echoed the greeting. “What can we get you?”

“Answers, I hope,” Barnabas said, flashing his badge. “We’ve received a complaint that your ale doesn’t … froth.”

“It dern’t make us piddle either,” a patron muttered from a stool at the bar.

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Have fun!

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia, Fair Use as Parody