Henry’s head was still throbbing from ringing in the New Year. He looked at his calendar, a present from his brother in Manhattan, a New York Giants fan of all things. The calendar had a team picture of The World Series Champion Giants, who swept the Cleveland Indians in 4 games. It was galling for him to look at and he mumbled to himself, “At least the damn Yankees didn’t win their 6th in a row.” For though Henry didn’t care for the Giants, the previous two years had seen his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers beaten by the Yankees, and he could barely stand it. But looking at Jan 1, 1955 filled him with hope and optimism. This would be the year for Robinson, Hodges, Reese, Koufax, Newcomb, Campanella and the boys. His day dreams were interrupted when there was a mouse like knock at the door. He started to yell, “Come in”, but then lowered his voice and mumbled, “Yes?” His head ache made him wince in pains.
The door opened slowly and a tall svelte woman eased herself into his office. Her dark hair was pulled back in a bun. She was really quite striking, but obviously shy. He guessed librarian. “May I help you?” He asked, trying not to sound miserable.
“Are you Henry Wood, the detective?”
“Yes, and you are?”
“I am Luna Alexander, and I am afraid my father has gotten into a sticky situation. I need your help. I am sorry to bother you, and I didn’t think you would be here, but…”
Henry was a detective by day and a woodworker by night. To be truthful, he was a moderately good sleuth, but a subpar craftsman. Just two days earlier he had been gluing up a jig for his router, to cut perfect dados, and the squeeze out had gotten everywhere. It had been a sticky situation, in its own right. He turned his attention back to Luna, who he was sure wouldn’t be interested in his gluing issues.
After she had told him about her father, his background and when she had last seen him, she asked if she might sit down. When she took a seat, it seemed as if the weight of the world was threatening to crush her. She looked defeated and sad. “Will you help me?”
Henry was about to say that it sounded like a missing persons matter for the police, but instead said, “I would be happy to take your case Luna.” She gave the slightest smile, stood and shook his hand. Henry wasn’t sure, but he thought he caught the briefest glint of hope in her eyes. She handed him an envelope and said, “My address and number are in there, along with the retainer. Please let me know as soon as you find out anything.”
As the door closed, he took out his little notebook and jotted down the details. Her father, a senior level accountant with Smith, Havershome and Blickstein Law firm and had been working for them for 20 years. Lately he had seemed distracted. He and Luna lived in a modest flat in Brooklyn and he took the train into the city. Luna worked at a bakery and was always up and gone before her father, but also arrived home several hours before him. She described him as a meticulous man. He liked routine and always came home at 6:22 each evening. Lately however, he had been getting home at all sort of odd hours, would skip dinner, not even bothering to listen to the radio. He loved his job, he loved radio mysteries, and he loved routine. She mentioned that she first started to notice something strange, when her father didn’t even react to ‘The Shadow’ going off the air.
Henry wondered if ‘The Shadow’ knew what lurked in the heart of Mr. Alexander. He headed back to his tiny little house and into the basement. He checked his magic closet which had a time portal to the future, and occasionally a new and wonderful tool would show up. The Bosch router had arrived just a month or so earlier with a magazine describing all sorts of things it could do. The story of the portal was a mystery that Henry had not been able to solve, but since it hadn’t sucked him into an abyss, and often gave him presents, he didn’t care. Today it was empty. The glue up, from the day before, was ready for him to start the next step. He found that woodworking helped him mull over his cases.
The instructions, in the magazine by Woodsmith, indicated that the dimensions are rough, but Henry figured he needed the practice, so he devoted a bunch of time to precision. After cutting two pieces he realized he hadn’t accounted for the kerf of his circular saw and had also made a measuring error of 2 full inches. He found it amusing that his attempts at precision had been such an abysmal failure. Henry had anticipated just such a result and had purchased plenty of extra lumber. On the upside, he had gotten much more comfortable with his circular saw. Henry was a glass half full sort of guy.
He took a few photos of the glue up and then went upstairs to call Mr. Alexander’s firm. Then his foggy brain remembered that it was Saturday and also January 1, so he would have to wait until Monday. He returned to his jig and thought about Luna.
-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com