Henry woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep. The furniture warehouse didn’t open until 8 am, but the clock said it was 3 am. He had been asleep for 4 hours. He laid there for another hour and decided he might as well get an early start. An egg sandwich, cup of joe at the diner, and some pleasant conversation with Mable; the sassy little waitress and he had killed an hour. He rolled into the office at around 6:30 and made a list.
Call Luna and ask if she has heard from her father and bring her up to date.
Call Miss Culberson and tell her as little as possible. Henry didn’t trust her at all.
Buy groceries and some 1×2’s in maple. Henry hadn’t done any shopping in a while and his cupboards were looking as bare as 1113 17th street.
And lastly and most importantly, check out the furniture warehouse and the Frid cabinet.
He tore the list off his pad and folded it neatly before putting it in his jacket pocket. Henry smiled at himself; he couldn’t remember ever folding anything neatly. Mr. Alexander seemed to be rubbing off on him. He picked up the phone and 15 minutes later had updated Miss Alexander and reassured Miss Culberson that he was hot on the trail of a clue.
He walked down stair and out onto the street. His car was parked in the alley. The street was now busy with morning hustle and bustle. Henry could smell trouble at 100 paces. They sat in their car, reading the paper, but not turning the pages, just holding them there, it was a dead giveaway. There was a third thug leaning against a lamp post, also not reading a newspaper. Henry decided that they could tail him for a while. He would go poke around the lumber yard, buy what he needed and then lose them.
He found some nice hard maple 1×2’s and picked up four 7 foot lengths and bunch of screws, washers, and other miscellaneous items. He loved the lumber yard. It was a big place almost maze like. He knew everyone there and when he went up to the counter he whispered to the manager, “Hey Bill, could you put this stuff on my tab? I need to lose my friends. I will pick it up later.” Then at normal voice, “Oh wait, I forgot something.” And he whirled around and headed back into the yard. The thugs followed, trying to look casual. Henry made a couple of quick turns and then up some stairs and into the manager’s office, which had a convenient back door. He winked at Bill’s secretary as he strolled past. She smiled. The thugs got back outside in time to see the tail lights rounding the corner two blocks away.
Henry took a circuitous route to the furniture warehouse, just to be safe. After some words with the man in charge, he was allowed to take a look at the cabinet. He opened the cabinet it was empty. He looked into the drawers and admired the dovetail joints. Each drawer was carefully removed and each one was magnificent, but held no clues. The old man who had showed Henry to the chest asked what he was looking for, and Henry explained that he thought there might be a message from a friend. The old man wasn’t one of those people who suffered from being curious and just shrugged.
“This cabinet does have a secret drawer.” And he carefully showed Henry how it opened.
“That is incredible; I would have never found that.” He said in awe.
“That is why it is called a ‘secret drawer’.” said the old man with a wink and a smile.
Henry pulled it open slowly and there it was, the journal that Miss Culberson was after.
“Would you look at that? It wasn’t there before. I guess your friend did leave you a message.”
“I guess he did.” said Henry with a grin, a wink and a nod. He didn’t open the journal past the first page; he saw the meticulous handwriting and knew that it was the work of Mr. Alexander. He just tucked it into his jacket and thanked the old man, slipping him a twenty, to forget that he had been there. Henry decided it wasn’t safe to go back to his office and he wasn’t sure about the lumber yard, so he went to the library. He could bury himself in the stacks and give the journal the once over.
Henry took out his neatly folded list and turned it over. Page by page he slowly looked over all the entries. There weren’t any names, and the numbers didn’t make any sense at all. With each turn He found page after page of neatly written and obviously coded financial data. When he turned the last page, there was a note, neatly taped onto the back of the last page.
You are as clever as I had hoped. It will soon be noticed that I am missing. I cannot tell you where I will be when you find this. I myself don’t know. I just know that the little book you are holding has all the financials to put a very powerful and dangerous man behind bars for the rest of his life. I went to the police and told them everything just before Christmas. This was a mistake and I should have known better. It has gotten out that somebody at the firm was going to turn states evidence. They didn’t know who it was at first, but as soon as I don’t show up for work, they will put two and two together. I gave Luna instructions to find you, if I ever stopped coming home. You need to make sure she is safe.
I can’t come out of hiding to testify as he has men everywhere. I need you to get this journal to the district attorney. After you do, I will need you to find the key, so that the book can be decoded. It is too risky to keep them together. Once the DA has both of them, he should have all he needs.
Henry was suddenly worried about Luna. He hid the journal among the books at the library. He knew every floor and ever section of the library. The section on economic theory was generally ignored by the reading public, so he slid the journal behind several volumes by David Ricardo. He skipped lunch and drove straight out to see Luna. Suddenly he worried that the thugs he had shaken, might have gone their next. He couldn’t worry about the groceries, or lumber, or woodworking, he had to find her and get her to a safe place. He just hoped he wasn’t too late.
-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com