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The Case of the Missing Jockey

Old Mother Combs Mystery

By Mother CombsPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 6 min read
Nightcafe creation

It was a beautiful Spring day at the Myrtle Downs. The sky was clear, the flowers were in bloom, and the horses were at their finest. Mother Combs was excited to be at the racetrack with her excellent friend Rick Henry Christopher, who’d invited her to the opening of the new racecourse. Mother Combs was glad that she had decided to accept the invitation from her old friend since they were having a lot of fun and catching up on each other's lives.

They decided to check out the horses in the stables before they made any bets, so they headed that way. There was a commotion at the stables, with the police asking questions of some of the jockeys and horse owners. Mother Combs and Rick heard someone calling out to them, and turning towards the voice; they noticed Inspector Clark motioning for them to come over to her. So they headed towards her.

“Hello, Inspector Clark, it’s a pleasure to see you here today,” Rick Henry Christopher greeted the detective.

Mother Combs leaned forward on her cane, “Hello, Marie, what brings you to the races today?”

“Hello, Rick, nice to see you, also,” Inspector Marie Clark responded, “Well, Mother, we have a missing jockey, and no one seems to know where he is.”

“Oh, no!” Both Rick and Mother said in unison. Mother added, “Is there anything we can do to help?”

“Well, as a matter of fact, there is, Mother,” the Inspector said. “Could you look over the last place the jockey was seen and tell me if we are overlooking anything?”

“Sure, I’d be more than glad to,” Mother answered the Inspector, who then led them to the stables inside.

Mother Combs checked the stables thoroughly. She looked through the stalls, poked at a hay pile, and even kneeled on her knees, looking around. Rick pointed at some drops of liquid on the wall of the stall of the jockey’s horse, and of course, Mother had to sniff and taste it, the strange woman that she is, upon which she immediately motioned for the Inspector to take a sample for forensics testing.

When Mother was done crawling around on the stable floor, she asked if she could question any of the witnesses to get her facts straight.

The Inspector was more than happy to allow the ever-vigilant Mother Combs to question everyone, so the Inspector agreed to bring everyone in individually for her to examine. Rick and Mother interrogated all ten witnesses unassumingly for the next two hours. When they were done, they conferred together briefly, discussing the case in detail, speculating plots and outcomes as only writers of a kindred soul can.

Finally, Mother Combs was ready to proceed with her findings, sure she knew the answer to the whole case at this point. So, calling the Inspector and the witnesses back in, Mother and Rick waited for the others to join them.

Mother Combs was doing her customary pacing when the final officer had joined them. She continued pacing for another moment before stopping in front of a stack of hay in the corner of the stable.

“Earlier today, I noticed this stack isn’t as neat as the others. After talking to everyone, I’ve learned there is no reason for the stack misaligned due to the Stable Master’s OCD. Since this is where I believe the jockey to be hidden and that this is now a life or death situation, I will get to the motive and the deed in a moment. If some of you younger men would be so kind as to begin carefully removing these bales, we will find the injured jockey immediately,” Mother Combs paused as two younger men set to quickly but carefully move the haybales from the stack. Suddenly, there was a gasp of shock, for tied and gagged in the middle of the pile of hay was the missing jockey, who was knocked completely out.

Paramedics removed the jockey from the stables, telling the Inspector, Mother, and Rick that he looked only to be concussed, but the ER doctor would update them as soon as possible.

Turning to Mother when the paramedics were gone, Inspector Clark had one question to ask, “Why did this happen?”

“That answer is easy, Marie,” Mother said as she grabbed a water bucket and a rag, went to the jockey’s horse’s stall, and proceeded to scrub at the horse's foreleg; the white markings on the horse began to rub off. Mother Combs continued rubbing down the horse as she gently talked, not to startle the nervous horse.

“This morning, Jeremiah Johnstead came in to exercise the champion thoroughbred, Winstead Brambles, and to ready him for the races this afternoon as per usual for the jockey.

“He was seen arguing with another jockey about a bet they had made between them. The other Jockey, Jasper Jiggins, stormed off, muttering something about killing Jeremiah.

“The only female jockey, Stella Singleton, was seen talking with Jeremiah. Jeremiah seemed very agitated, and Stella was crying. Sadly, Stella is missing, and no one has been able to question her. I do not feel that the problem between Jeremiah and Stella has any bearing on this case. If I’m not mistaken, it’s a family matter.

“Jeremiah was seen yelling at a stablehand for clumsily watering the prized stallion. The jockey was heard to have shouted that the idiot was trying to give the beautiful beast colic or, worse yet, pneumonia with all that ice-cold water.

“The jockey was seen being yelled at by the horse's owner. Mr. Frances Johnson seemed not to feel the horse was doing well enough, even though Winstead had won the last four races.”

Mother Combs paced and gathered her thoughts some more. The Inspector was quiet, knowing how her mind worked. Everyone was waiting for Mother Combs's Verdict. Jasper and the stablehands were extremely nervous. Mr. Johnson was smirking at everyone, sure he knew the answer as to what had happened to the jockey. No one seemed to notice that a completely different horse now stood before them, and Mother Combs stopped pacing and went back to rubbing the horse down.

“Y’all see, a jockey knows his horse. An owner only sees the money the horse will bring.”

Gasping, Mr Johnson realized that Mother Combs had figured out his crime, and he turned to run out of the stable as quickly as possible. Before he made it five feet before the stable goat butted him, knocking him into a big pile of manure.

“You’ll find Winstead Brambles in the stall this poor little thing came out of.

“Mr. Johnson was replacing them so that he could place a bet on another higher handicapped horse and rake in the cash when it won against his Winstead. He injected Winstead with a horse sedative to keep him docile about going into a different stall. The only thing standing in his way was the bond between the jockey and the horse, so Mr. Johnson had to get rid of the jockey before the race or the whole thing would be for naught.

“He didn’t account for that; everyone knew how regularly this jockey stuck to a schedule when caring for his horse. Plus, everyone liked Jeremiah Johnstead and worried when he had just disappeared.

“Come along, Rick, I hear the horn for the next race,” with that, Mother Combs and Rick Henry Christopher left the stables.

Nightcafe creation

**Thanks to Rick Henry Christopher for the prompt idea!

investigationinnocenceguiltyfictionfact or fictionCONTENT WARNING

About the Creator

Mother Combs

Come near, sit a spell, and listen to tales of old as I sit and rock by my fire. I'll serve you some cocoa and cookies as I tell you of the time long gone by when your Greats-greats once lived.

Admin for the FB Group ViM

Mike Judey Dharr

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Comments (6)

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  • Grz Colm3 months ago

    Great series Detective Combs! 😁

  • Lamar Wiggins3 months ago

    Nice!!! How did you know I love horses and horse racing. There’s a race track twenty miles from where I live. I cant wait to go again. Loved your mystery!

  • Ewwww, why would you taste it?! Lol! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Loved your story!

  • But where's Stella? Stella!!!!!!!! (Quoting from the musical, Bombshell, "Mumble your words unless they're, 'Stella!'") Enquiring minds want to know. A whole lot of fun, Mother.

  • I rather enjoyed being your sidekick old Mother Combs!!! What a fine mystery this was!!!

  • Ode' to horse racing . Love this . I actually bet on the horses during my early college years in 70s . I paid rent that way.

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