The sky this morning is overcast an there is a 60% chance of rain today. It has pretty much rained all week. I don't know how many inches of rain we've gotten, but it has to be quite a few. It is also cooler. It was in the lower 60s yesterday.
Wednesday was busy but lots of fun. We had Blanket Day here. We had half a dozen girls over to sew flannel rag quilts to give away to children in crises. Since the blankets could be small, we were able to get 10 done. The girls worked hard all day and loved laying out yet another quilt. I had boxes of flannel scraps from my grandma and there were so many cute fabrics to choose from. I still have the flannel out so I can hopefully work on a few more, but it was great to get so many done in one day.
As far as writing goes, I babysat on Saturday evening and then on Sunday I finished writing the last part of this story so I could post it today. I was busy Monday evening, on Tuesday night I worked on trying to get ideas for "Ria and the Gang," Wednesday I was really tired after a full day of company and only chatted to a few heart-sisters. Last night I probably should have written, but I was almost at the end of a good book, so I read instead. :P Tonight I'll be at Game Night at a friend's house, but maybe I can write Saturday night. I told you I was busy.
This story, "Mystery at Random" is based on a true story. I discovered the idea in a newspaper last summer and thought, "this would make a great story!" Quickly I jotted a few ideas down on an index file card and dropped it into my "story idea box." I had thought about it off an on, but never was in the mood to write it. Well, a few weeks ago, not feeling in the mood to write "Triple Creek Ranch," or "Ria and the Gang" or the other story I'm working on, and having looked at the instructions for the two short stories I had, I sighed. "I don't want to write any of those," I thought. Pulling out all my notebooks, and my "story idea" box, I flipped through some pictures without finding inspiration and then casually looked at my file cards. I didn't have many ideas that hadn't already been written but there was this one. "Hmm," I thought. "I guess I could give it a try." After trying to decide how long I should make this story, I finally decided to just write it and see how long it became. I kind of wanted to write a longer mystery; one that wouldn't be over in two weeks. Well, I did. This story is 8 Fridays long! I hope you will come back for each part. :)
Mystery at Random
Officer Ezra Erikson brought his patrol car to a sudden stop. Turning his head, he stared out the right window a minute before opening his door. His face was grim. This thievery had gone on long enough! It was time to put an end to it once and for all. Striding over to the police memorial, the corporal stood silently, his eyes searching, noticing every detail about the marble monument as though memorizing each bud and full blooming flower, each weed and each stone in the walk around it. “Huh,” he grunted at last, turning back to his car. Starting it, he drove at once to police headquarters.
“Chief Gallant, Sir, they are missing again today.”
The grey haired man looked up from the papers on his desk to the grim face of the officer. “All of them?”
“Who put the last ones out? And when?”
“Officer Hollister. Last night twenty-hundred hours.”
“I noticed a small footprint in the flower bed, sir.”
When Officer Erikson hesitated, his chief tapped the desk impatiently. “Come on, Erikson, out with it. Do you have any ideas or haven’t you?”
“I do have one idea, sir, but--” Again he hesitated.
“I gave you an order, Sir,” Chief Gallant reminded his subordinate curtly.
“I think it might be that gang of kids who run about the town.”
The chief’s eyebrows drew together, his grey eyes grew stern and his jaw firmed; all sure signs that something was going to happen. Officer Erikson waited in silence.
At last his chief spoke. “You are referring of course to that gang who call themselves The Okeefenokees.”
Pressing a button on his desk, Police Chief Gallant spoke. “Lewiston, send Officer Hansen to me as soon as he gets in from patrol.”
“Yes, sir,” a deep voice replied and the chief leaned back in his chair. “Hansen ought to be able to find out, isn’t his son a member of that gang? I thought so. You’re right. We’ve got to put a stop to this stealing here and now.” His fist thudded the desk. “If we don’t, those kids will start stealing from stores and who knows where it would end. Keep your eyes open, Erikson, and report anything else you discover.”
“Yes, sir.” And Officer Erikson departed, puzzled and wrathful over the recurring thefts, but thankful the chief was going to do something besides fume over it.
As for Chief Gallant, he scowled at the papers before him. Thieves in Random who stole not just once or even twice without being caught, but four times; who stole the emblem of the United States, Old Glory and from a memorial set up to honor the memory of gallant officers of the law! It was all shameful, positively shameful. But they would catch them. Of that, Chief Gallant was certain. Had there yet been a case of thievery in the small town of Random that had not been solved since he had become chief? They would hunt these thieves down, to their lair if necessary, no matter how long it took and--
His thoughts were interrupted by a knock and a voice saying, “You wanted to see me, Chief?”
Gallant looked up to see Hansen standing before him. “Yes. The flags are missing again.”
“Again. And Erikson reported a small footprint in the flower garden surrounding it.” The Chief paused and watched the officer’s face. “Erikson thinks it may be the Okeefenokees.”
Opening his eyes wide with astonishment, Hansen was at a loss for words.
“Your son is a member of that gang, isn’t he?”
“Yes, sir. But I don’t think they would do such a thing,” Officer Hansen protested warmly.
“I hope not,” was the chief’s brusque reply. “See if you can find out anything. Erikson is going to keep his eyes on the memorial as that’s in his beat. I’ll have Thompson do the same when he comes on. But you have a way to the inside of that gang. See if you can find out anything. It may or may not have been the whole gang.”
Much as he doubted the Okeefenokees to have committed such a crime, he told his chief he would do his utmost to find out all the gang knew about the affair. With that he was dismissed and drove home just as puzzled as Officer Erikson.
Sitting at the supper table that night, Officer Hansen ate in silence, listening to the chatter flowing around him. He wasn’t really listening, he was trying to figure out a way to ask about the missing flags that would seem natural, for if the Okeefenokees did have something to do with their disappearance, Hansen didn’t want to scare them out of telling the truth. Suddenly his thoughts were brought back to the conversation. His son was talking.
“. . . and I probably would have hit a home run, except the ball hit the police memorial and Levi caught it. I did make it to third though.”
“Jeff,” Officer Hansen had a questioning look in his eyes which his wife noticed. “When were you all playing ball?”
“This morning,” Jeff promptly replied. “Since school is out we can play early now.”
“Did you notice if there were any flags on the memorial?” was the next question.
Jeff scrunched up his eyes in thought as he shoved his last bite of hamburger in his mouth. With his mouth still half full he mumbled, “Nope, . . . yes, . . . no that was yesterday . . . I think.” Reaching for his glass, he gulped down a large mouthful of water before answering. “I can’t remember, Dad. You want I should run down and take a look?”
Officer Hansen shook his head. “No, it wouldn’t do any good now. I was wondering about this morning.”
“Well, Levi might know. Or Tammy, she notices things. They didn’t have a lot to do in outfield. Or Pam and Red might remember.
So, what did you think of this first part?