Rain splattered across the roof of the car. I was knee deep in files for various cases, but one in particular had been weighing on me.
“Why hasn’t Bryce Harper or Manny Machado signed yet?” I mulled this question over in my mind as I took a drag of my cigarette. They should have been Phillies by now. The construction worker should have closed the deal for Manny, and a Bryce signing has been imminent for months. It was a case that had perplexed even the best agents. I had been asking questions, too many I guess. No one would talk. I needed a drink.
That’s how I found myself in a smoky bar on the 7th of February.
“Gin and tonic,” I said to the bartender as I lit another cigarette. He went to the back and returned a few minutes later. He handed me the drink and gave me a wink. “Much obliged, sir.” The first sip went down smooth. That’s when I noticed the note.
Underneath my glass was a napkin with a message scribbled on it. It was indistinguishable, but the green fur told me just the dame who sent it. I looked up at the bartender, and he pointed over to a booth, so I walked over and took a seat.
“Phoebe Phanatic, I half expected to see you here.”
She looked at me with half amusement and half dread. Something was awry. She pointed at a file on the table. I reached for it, and she slapped her hand down and shook her head.
“Don’t open it here, I understand,” I surmised. She had her reasons for confidentiality, none that I felt like arguing with anyway. I took the file and went back to the car.
Forces are at work to hinder Harper and Machado from signing. You know of whom I speak, The Sources Who Must Not Be Named. If you wish to know more, meet me at the docks at half past midnight.
If what the file said was true, the PFO agency had its work cut out for them.
When I arrived at the docks I found Phoebe again. The rain poured over my hat and blocked my vision, but I know a Phanatic when I see one. “How come it isn’t ever nice out when we meet?” I asked as I approached. She pointed above my head. “Yeah, bad weather follows me around I guess,” I concluded in response to her gesture. “But why all this backdoor communication, Mrs. Phanatic? What’s really going on here?” We spoke for a little under an hour. What she told me was big…real big.
The Sources Who Must Not Be Named have been haunting the agency for years. They’ve been behind some of the most audacious reporting in recent memory. From leaking that Jimmy Butler is a terrible teammate to claiming that LeBron chose LA as a basketball decision, and they’ve grown more active as of late. Their plan was simple: tear Philadelphia apart from the inside out with rumor after rumor of a signing being imminent. Their end game? The Long Free Agency, one with no end. I needed to solve this mystery, but Phoebe Phanatic didn’t have a lead. I left with more questions than answers.
The rain finally stopped when I got back to the office. I pulled out a cigar and lit it. The Long Free Agency would ruin baseball, and I needed a lead to follow. I put my hat over my head, kicked my feet up, and started to think.
That’s when I got the phone call.
“Look at the latest Harper odds,” a voice said.
“Who is this?” The line was dead.
Then a figure in all black appeared out of the corner of the room with a phone in his hand.
“You ask too many questions, detective,” he said as he fired a tweet into my chest.
The last thing I saw before I went out was this: