It was a mid-October morning, with rain covering the sunless skies above the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue blazer, dark blue shirt, white tie, light blue handkerchief, black brogues, and black wool socks with dark red clocks on them. I was neat, clean shaven, sober, and didn’t care who noticed. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. All I want today is to solve a mystery.
Suddenly, the phone bellowed from my pocket.
“I really wish it’s about the lottery ticket from three days ago.” I murmured to myself. At least a billion hopes ran inside my head. All the time wishing for a vacation from this dirty business.
“Mr. Strade, you better report to 337 Maple Lane. NOW!” Ordered Chief McDougall, rattling me.
Chief McDougall is the kind of guy who “thinks” he knows everything. He rarely ever even talks to me. The only time the Chief talked to me was 4 years ago. Even that was on an important case on gas leaks and explosions erupting across Rhode Island. That case made me be on cloud nine since the day I solved it.
During my ride to 337 Maple Lane in my decked out black and white Audi TT, I had to yield at several intersections. However, none of the traffic lights actually worked. The whole community was chaotic. Everything and everyone was malfunctioning. I saw authorities on every corner. Yet, none of them seemed regular.
I then saw Chief McDougall alone at the deserted crime scene.
“Oh, is that Mr. Tim Strade?” the Chief questioned. “You were supposed to be here 3 minutes ago. Please show some dedacation in your work!”
“With all due respect, it is pronounced dedication.” I corrected.
“Oh, do you think you have enough experience to correct me?” He argued.
“Here it goes again.” I spoke to myself.
“When I was 6, I reported bullying in my school and got a pencil as a reward. When I was 7, I reported a kid littering in the bathroom and got French Fries as a reward for my hard work. When I was 8, I reported an adult smoking next to a kid, and got a ring pop from Dollar General as a reward.” Chief McDougall bragged.
Blah, blah, blah, and when he was 54 years old, he reported cyberbullying activity on Facebook, and got to be an Inspector as a reward. I probably heard this story at least a million times a day.
All if this reminds me of the time I met Sherlock Holmes.
There was desert wind blowing through tonight. It was one of those hot dry storms. A storm that comes down through the mountain passes, curls your hair, makes your nerves jump, and your skin itch. On nights like this, every booze party ends in a fight. Anything can happen.
I was thirty-five nautical miles inland from the coast of Rhode Island, a fifteen-year-old about to meet Sherlock Holmes for the first time. I walked the Sussex Downs with my nose in a book, and almost stepped on him.
“Oh, sorry.” Mr. Holmes apologized, and continued to say: “Hello dear sir, my name is Sherlock. How are you?”
“Good morning sir. My name is Tim.” I replied.
After 3 minutes of staring at each other, I finally noticed an ID card in his pocket. “Um, where do you work sir?” I asked.
“I am a police officer.” He answered.
“Do you want to go to a coffee shop?” I offered.
“I don’t see why not.” He replied.
Again, we went silent. It was like everything around us was standing still. We started walking to the Starbucks across the street. Once we got there, I really wanted to know what cases he was working on at the moment. I was interested in police investigations. But before I could even say anything, he started to explain his current case without request. Well it wasn’t exactly an explanation, it was just important events. He wouldn’t go into details. Sherlock explained:
“Riley is handcuffed in the police station for being drunk and cutting out his tracking chip. He learns of another person, Danika, who cut out her chip as well. Then he escapes custody and hacks into the police database to get her phone number. Riley meets with Danika, both share stories of the strange powers they recently acquired and promise to stay in touch. Danika sneaks into the backseat of Riley’s car as he drove to a marina. Riley however, finds her when he looks back to back out of the parking lot.
They heard a news story covering the actions of a person who had similar powers over the car’s radio. The two head over to the location mentioned on the radio, and end up finding a dead body under a bridge. Riley swipes the dead man’s laptop, phone, and wallet hoping to find more information. The wallet had the name Charlie Henderson on it, the phone was worthless, and the laptop had information regarding a top secret project in the private sector: a machine called the “Fire Finder.” The files indicated that the machine was meant to find people like Riley, Danika, and sadly Charlie, people with powers. The police chief had tracked the two of them to the murder scene, but did so with a lot of commotion, which allowed the two to immediately leave the premises safely.
Danika secretly copied the files from Charlie’s laptop, and took off to Breckenridge after reading them. Her target, Dr. Henry Bradshaw, a scientist studying Charlie and his power. Riley had the same plan and bumps into her at the airport. The two of them then come up with a plan to meet Dr. Bradshaw together. The plan does not go exactly as planned, but they got to know about “Thor’s Hammer,” a machine built by the doctor to find powered people (just like the “Fire FInder”). Riley and Danika spent the night together, got to know each other, and snuck into Dr. Bradshaw’s house the next day to copy his computer files.
Riley promised to mail Danika a copy of Dr. Bradshaw’s files, but Danika knew he wouldn’t. So she goes to his house, explodes with anger, and zaps Riley with her power over electricity. In Dr. Bradshaw’s files, Danika learns that he and Charlie were working to make Charlie’s power stronger. That’s apparently what Riley wants too, so by using his power, he can take down the shields around the country that keep him in the Secure States of America. Danika however, wants to get rid of her powers. She killed her fiancé years ago with her powers.
Riley sends Danika home. She ends up calling Dr. Bradshaw from the airport, and from the way he talked to her, she knew he was in trouble. Then she convinced Riley to go back to Breckenridge with her, where they find Bradshaw murdered. They take “Thor’s Hammer,” but they were stranded in Colorado due to bad weather and spent the night together. Danika finally tells Riley her secret, and they make love. But Riley can’t have a woman in his life, since he plans to leave the country soon. Riley tries to sneak out of the room without saying good-bye to Danika.
Soon after Riley left, a dangerous man found Danika as she prepared to leave the room. When Riley returned to the room, Danika and Riley defeat the bad guy without a sweat. Riley then found a way to track where the bad man came from, and who hired him.
Riley thought about his future, about how nice it would be to have a special woman in his life, and decided he can stay in this country, if he had Danika and a mission to live for. He invited her to go to Florida and lived with him as they researched their powers more.”
“Then what’s the point of you investigating.” I inquired. Then, suddenly, Mr. Holmes looked at his shining gold watch and just walked away, not looking back. I decided to follow him.
Mr. Holmes walked to a dumpster and hid behind it. It seemed like he was expecting to see a criminal, and sure enough, I was right. A group of tall, grey looking men walked up, and the man who looked like the leader of the clan spoke up:
“You’re no angel, you know how this stuff comes to happen: Friday is payday and it’s been a gray day sogged by a slow ugly rain and you seek company in your gloom, and since you’re fresh to West Table, Mo., and a new hand at the dog-food factory, your choices for company are narrow but you find some finally in a trailer court on East Main, and the cued circle of bums gathered there spot you a beer, then a jug of tequila starts to rotate and the rain keeps comin’ down with a miserable bluesy beat and there’s two girls millin’ about that probably can be had but they seem to like certain things and crank is one of those certain things, and a fistful of party straws tumble from a woven handbag somebody brought., the crank gets cut into lines, and the next time you notice the time it’s three or four Sunday mornin’ and you ain’t slept since Thursday night and one of the girl voices, the one you want most and ain’t had yet though her teeth are the size of shoe-peg corn and look like maybe they’d taste sort of sour, suggests something to do, ’cause with crank you want something, anything, to do, and this cajoling voice suggests we all rob this certain house on this certain street in that rich area where folks can afford to wallow in their vices and likely have a bunch of recreational dope stashed around the mansion and goin’ to waste since an article in The Scroll said the rich people whisked off to France or some such on a noteworthy vacation.”
Quickly, Mr. Holmes just pounced on the leader with a pistol in his hand. The rest of the gang just ran away, but Mr. Holmes wouldn’t give up. No. I did what I had to do: run away. I ran as fast as I had ever run before. I ran all the way home (the whole thirty-five nautical miles).
After I reached home, a light bulb went off in my head. I ran to my flat Dell desktop and searched up Sherlock Holmes. Guess what? He is Rhode Island’s best inspector, who graduated from the same law school as I did. “I thought I knew who he was.” I thought to myself. From that day, I’ve always tried to live up to him. Now, I finally have the chance to make an impact on the world.
“Happy Birthday!!!” Everyone yelled out. Chief McDougall came closer and said he wished I would like for 100 years. That was a lot, coming from him.
So, today’s case was all a surprise birthday party, sponsored by Rhode Island.