Getting Close…ish Now

I have never been afraid of sharing my writing in draft form (draft means may have errors, because I was watching [adult swim] and couldn’t be bothered to proof read.  Tonight’s rewrite stuff is an especially horrific example.  I am considering first names for Sylvia Culberson and Luna Alexander’s fathers.  Naming shouldn’t be that hard, but I am sure that Waldo and Snowflake aren’t good ones.  So please forgive the place holders.

This will be at the end of Henry Wood Detective Agency.


Henry, Mr. Culberson and Mr. Alexander, gathered at a dinner, it was 5 am and most of the morning crowd hadn’t arrived yet.  They had been up all night, celebrating their reunion with their daughters and the end of the nightmare of the previous few weeks.  Henry still had a few questions.

“What I am having trouble wrapping my head around, is how you found me and knew I would be up to it.”

Mr. A, “We had been worried for most of December and finally Mr. C said we needed a plan, in case we were discovered.”

Mr. C, “Which we were.  I was busy coding the information which L had found, when he called me and said someone had been through his office.”

Henry, “Who?”

Mr. A, “I don’t know, somebody at the firm, I suspect, but I have no idea.  As you figured out, I am meticulous and the journal was always kept hidden.  But I made a mistake, when I overheard a couple of the lawyers discussing some work they were doing for Tommy.  I went back to my office and quickly wrote down all the details, though I didn’t include names, and put the piece of paper in my right desk drawer, under three files, and placed a tiny pencil sharpener near the bottom right, such that it was approximately one inch from each edge of the corner.”

Henry, “And if the sharpener was moved, you would know someone had opened the drawer?”


“But isn’t it possible someone could just be looking for a pencil or something?  Couldn’t it have been completely innocent?”

“Oh yes, it is rare, but sometimes my secretary will put something away, or look for a file.  On this occasion though, she was with me, taking dictation for the interview with the new client.  We were in the meeting for two hours and the first thing I did upon returning was to get ready to head home.  When I opened the drawer, careful not to do it too quickly, and thus, move my marker.  I noticed it was gone.”


“Well it turns out someone went through the drawer, lifting up the files and finding my paper underneath.  They refolded it and returned everything, but the sharpener.  It was in the back of the drawer, under the files.”

Mr C, “He called me immediately and was rather frantic.  I told him to tell me what they had seen and he read me the notes.  The notes were very general and didn’t mention Tommy at all, so I calmed him down and we decided to meet to discuss our next move.”

Their food arrived.  Henry had a patty melt and fries and listened intently to them tell their tale.  “What was your next move?” he asked while salting the fries.

Mr. C. took a bite of pancakes and chewed it slowly, while Mr. A smiled, knowing he wanted to tell the next part, because it was his idea.

Mr. C, “I was worried about the safety of our daughters and from the beginning I had been contemplating this day arriving.  Winston knew a little bit about their plans and I told him our next move.  We blew up the lab and I went into hiding.”

Henry, “Why didn’t you tell your daughters?”

“They are both strong willed women and well, we were worried about telling them.  Their safety came first and we both greed that if they knew, they would be in far greater danger.  I made Winston promise not to tell Sylvia anything and I went to a hotel.  I had plenty of cash and moved every day for a week and then decided it was best to get out of the city.”

“Where did you go?”  Henry was on the edge of his seat.

“I ended up taking the train to DC.  I met a man who had a place for rent and he travelled back and forth a couple of times per week.  He was very helpful in our plans.”

Looking at Mr.  A, “So you were still going to work?”

“Yes, every day while we figured out our next move.”

“What was that?”

“We needed someone to entrust with the Journal.  But we needed to know they were smart and honest.”

“Is that why you kept the codex and Journal separate?”


Henry finished his fries and started to work on his patty melt. Mr. A, “The first clue was my idea.  I reasoned that if you found it, and made it to the address where we hid the journal, you were clever.”

Henry, “but what if someone had bought the cabinet before I had found it?”

Mr C., “Somebody did buy it.  Me.  I purchased it, paid cash and gave them an extra hundred to hold on to it.  I told them I was going to be out of town.”


Henry, “So how did you pick me?”

They looked at each other, with sort of blank expressions.  “It was fate.  I just happened into a guy in a bar one night, and he was telling the bartender about this great detective who had helped him out.  I asked him who it was; he fumbled through his pockets and dug out your card.”

“Was that the card Sylvia gave me?”

Henry couldn’t stand it anymore; he had to ask the one question which had been bothering him, more than any other.  “How does the closet work?”

They both looked at each other.  Mr. A, “What closet?”

“Where you sent the stuff?”  Henry didn’t say from the future, as there were people in the booth next to them.

“Which stuff?”

“The books and the DVD.”

Neither man knew what to say. Finally Mr. A said, “What’s a DVD?”

Henry could tell they were being genuine.  He had assumed the explosion had been part of some sort of time travel experiment.  His guess was that Mr. C had been hiding out in the future, but now those theories all seemed to evaporate.  He decided to brush off their question, “How did you get the clues to me?”

Mr. A, “I did the pencils before I went into hiding with Mr. C.”

Mr. C, “The clever bit in my library, well I had Winston take care of that for me, with instructions not to help.”

Mr. A, “The clue we had at MOMA, well that was a very clever one.  I decided it was worth the risk to come back into town…”

Henry, “The clue at MOMA, what clue at MOMA?”

Mr A, looking disappointed, “You didn’t find the instructions, behind the bear display in the gift shop?”

Henry, “No.  What are you talking about?”

Now everyone was confused.  Mr. A, “I gave specific instructions about where to hide the clues.”Now both Mr. A and Mr. C were arguing about clue placement and that they shouldn’t have trusted the guy from DC.  They were both getting very upset until Henry pointed out that he had figured it out anyway. This seemed to satisfy them and Henry was glad they didn’t ask how he had done it.”

They finished their food and went their separate ways.  Henry was tired, too tired to worry about how the closet worked or who had sent him the clues.  If the person or persons wanted him to know, they would tell him.  Maybe he would just have to wait until he got to the future to find out.