Inspector Wensker dared to take the step. Out of the Ruhrpott, out of Herne to Bavaria and there as the head of a small police station acting. Herne was no longer his, a rocker group made his life difficult and so he looked for a new future with pubescent daughter and dog. The request from Aicha vorm Wald came just in time. Here one found since one year no new leader for the local office.
Right on the first day he noticed the congenial but also goofy duo of experienced police officers in his office. Unfortunately, they were both also 50% of the team and the good 50% at that. He sighed, but would make the best of it. The two were called Rubert and Schaller, there was also a junior colleague who was usually beside himself and a young and dedicated policewoman who was not always taken seriously by her colleagues. Wensker thought she was the most talented of the four. As soon as he was on duty, the first case called, the capture of a snowy owl. Probably the case of the year, if not of the last few years in this small community, where at most Fifi disappeared or a farmer landed in a ditch with his tractor. Usually after an extensive barn party.
"What happened, colleagues?"
"The Huber-Ernie has had one of his snowy owls fly away, the Lisl."
"Isn't that, if anything, a matter for the fire department?"
"We only have one volunteer and the Schorschi is still taken from yesterday, his nephew's cow had calved yesterday, that was a celebration!"
"Ok good, then we'll take care of it, so I'll see you in action."
"I'll stay here though, it's bitterly cold out there and I didn't bring my glasses. How am I supposed to tell snow from snow-owl?" asked Berno.
Wensker sighed, then just nodded and told the remaining three to get ready to visit the "crime scene".
Once they arrived, Huber-Ernie stormed off at the policemen: "Well, thank God, at last! After all, the Lisl is one of my best, just last week I won the prize for the best snowy owl in all of Passau."
"All respect, how many of these owls take part?"
"You mean besides mine?"
"One, from Pfungerer-Bernd, I had sold him once. And now the bastard is stealing my thunder. But this time I beat him. I just put up signs to divert him and he went straight into the falconry's territory. There was quite a feather ruffling, hilarious. Haha."
Wensker found this rather disconcerting, then got a description of when Lisl was last seen and noticed a charismatic scent. This, he learned, came from the owl.
"The matter is clear, we follow the olfactory trail. Schubert and Waller, how about that?"
"No problem," Rubert replied, "I'm sort of an expert on that. Watch Jeremy on YouTube regularly and read the Parfumo ticker."
"Great, let's do it!"
A sweet fresh scent was perceived, which quickly turned green and bitter. "Is that critter chewing mint and Bounty or what's that smell, Huber-Ernie?"
"Every morning it rubs itself briefly with mint and coconut husks, that's why it smells so fresh here. But because it's so cold and snowed in, you don't notice any of the coconut."
"I see," Wensker replied. "And by snow you mean what? Well, it smells more like rocks and leaves and everything in the snow. Now it's getting bitter green, too, like the smell of broken green plant stems."
"What do you think is on the ground here under the snow?"
"Well, I guess that's true. We have to go this way, that's where the smell is coming from. I hope it won't smell like mouse carcasses later."
So the five of them walked along the trail of the owl, passing the village church. Pastor Hubertus Maier was sitting outside on the bench in the garden of the church. "Pastor, have you seen my Lisl? We are looking for you."
"Well, not seen but this trail here seemed suspicious to me."
"Ah," Schaller interjected, "the trampled iris bed here, sure thing."
"Not necessarily, I was thinking more of the dead mouse and the bird tracks."
"True," Wensker conceded, opening a mate drink first which was followed by the fizzy, aromatic taste of tea. More dominantly, though, it smelled floral and herbaceous, almost lovely. Father Maier opened a communion wine.
"Did you burn any resins here, Father?"
"Of course, the incense has been empty, so I tried galbanum. The oil. Wasn't successful. But what can you do, with this snow, my incense supplier can hardly get through."
After some further banter, they followed the owl's trail up to a tree. That's where the owl was sitting too and it was olfactory. It smelled sweet thanks to the vanilla, which was rather clean and pure. The owl had gotten that from god knows where. Further on it smelled mildly animalic, the tons of ambrette drowning out the almost skeletal civet cats and musk animals, it was more floral fresh.
"Would I like to know why there are carcasses hanging in the tree?"
"Then I'll say: Mr. Huber, there's your owl, the Lisl. Obviously she has been providing her own food and catching animals that shouldn't even exist here in Bavaria and are far larger than she is. I also notice her nervous twitching, as well as her hunting rifle. I don't question that here and now. It doesn't smell like the animal corpses that are vegetating here either; I can't make out more than an olfactory background noise. In this respect: have a nice day and I end with a poem to distract them so Rubert can disarm and arrest you:
"Deep in slumber All lies
Guarded only by the moon
A white owl flies
Silently through the night
Like a flag of death it glides
She passes close by
Bringing with it a quiet shiver But not terror.""