The day had been long. Henry’s flash of genius was looking more like a flash of imbecile. Henry had remembered that Francis was working on a story about a restaurant on 17th street. He was sure that the missing numbers were an address. A map, a list, and 12 hours driving around the 5 boroughs, had been less than promising. He was sure that there would be another clue, something that wouldn’t be obvious to most, but would jump out at him. Maybe he wasn’t as clever as he thought.
Doubt had crept into the equation. A couple of dozen stops and nothing, well he had found an address across from a great tool store. He popped in and there were a bunch of guys watching a demo of jigs and accessories for making woodworking easier. His favorite was a clever device which would aid in making wooden hinges. Henry knew that if he couldn’t stay too long, he noted the address so he could find it again, and continued on his way. With only one address remaining the possibility entered his mind that 11, 13, 17 and 19 may not have been the clue at all, maybe he should reconsider the original numbers.
His car rolled up outside 1113 17th, an apartment building in the warehouse district. There was a bit of a chill in the air. Henry walked up the steps and into the building. He glanced at the mail boxes. When his eyes landed on apartment 19, and he read the name, he almost stopped breathing, Tage Frid. Henry didn’t have time to ponder the implications of his DVD from the future and his current case; he just knew that coincidences like this were never coincidences. He stood for a moment outside apartment 19. He thought about the wonderful furniture created by this man. A deep breath and then he knocked. No sound. He knocked again and nothing, not even a peep, so Henry slowly turned the knob. It was locked.
Henry looked around, nobody in the hall, so he quickly picked the lock. He leaned his head into the apartment and was both disappointed and sure he was in the right spot. When he saw the name on the box, he figured that the real Tage Frid might be waiting to give him a message, or maybe Mr. Alexander was staying with him. What he found instead was an empty apartment. It wasn’t just empty; the vastness of the empty was stunning, and obviously the work of a meticulous man. Henry couldn’t find as much as a speck of dust. He looked in the cabinets and they were bare.
Pacing back and forth didn’t seem to help. It was getting dark and Henry was tired. What was the clue? What did the emptiness mean? He took out the drawers in the kitchen. He looked behind the ice box. He even checked in the vents. “Focus” he thought to himself. Henry walked to the window and looked out. Across the street was a warehouse. It did strike Henry as interesting that it was a furniture warehouse. Henry wondered what type of furniture they stored.
The street was empty. There were a few lights on in the warehouse, but it seemed as if most people had already left for the day. Henry tried the door, it was locked. He decided to look in the window. There was a lot of furniture. Bedroom sets, kitchen tables, chairs, and lamps for as far as the eye could see. Henry’s eye went to one piece. A cabinet, a Tage Frid cabinet, was sitting against the far wall. Henry decided he had done enough breaking and entering for the day. Sometimes it is easier to just wait until regular business hours, than to be super sneaky, plus he was hungry and tired.
He swung by John’s deli on the way home and picked up a couple of sandwiches. After dinner he decided to give his magnetic tool holder a bit of color. This was his first attempt at staining anything. He sanded a practice piece of oak and tried it. Since there weren’t any disasters he grabbed the tool holder and went at it. Henry didn’t have any idea about technique and simply lathered it on with the wooden paint stirrer. As soon as he had one side done, he wiped it off. It only took a few minutes to get the entire board covered. The gloves he wore were pretty messy and leaving marks, so he changed them for a new pair, and wiped every inch one more time, and then set it down to dry. It looked better than he had hoped for. He preferred to take black and white shots, but he had a roll of Ektachrome and decided it to go with color today. Tomorrow he would revisit the furniture store and try to figure out where to hang his new tool rack.
-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com