Saturday, November 12, 2005

Missing in the Math Lab (part 1)

Thursday. Lightening flashes outside, rain drops collect on the window like engineers to the Clyde building, starting off individually, but grouping into masses and falling and failing and failing...
It has been two days since my last case and it is already beginning to show. Papers are stacked on my desk, pencils laying on the floor, the bulb of my desk lamp flickering, I sit lounged, with my feet on top of my desk, taking in the Fedora atmosphere and procrastinating already late research. I could grade papers. I could study. I could...
A shadow appears from behind the door, walking forward with caution. As it approaches my desk, I see that it is a young woman.
"Are you...are you the man I hear is a private investigator?"
It seems word has gotten out to campus already.
"Yes. I am. My name's Jack Brown. Please sit down."
She takes the chair in front of my desk. Hunched over she searches for something in her purse-a tissue. The glisten in her eyes gieves away that she had been crying; her face is drained of any energy. Wrinkling the tissue in her hands, she sits knees together, shaking as if she is cold. She's beautiful. Her dark hair falls carelessly on her shoulders.
"How may I help you? Would you take my coat?"
"No. I'm fine. It's my brother. He's missing."
I pull a small notebook out from under a pile of papers, and removing my feet from off the desk, I reach for a pen.
Leaning foward, I ask, "Can you give me a description of him? Where he was last seen?"
"His name is Daniel. Daniel M. Hendrickson. He's about 5'10", dark hair, green eyes. He's a communications major, but was taking Math 110 for a GE requirement. That's where he disappeared. He went to the Math Lab last Monday and never came home."
"The Math Lab, eh? Sounds like a risky place. I'll get right on it Miss Hendrickson."
"Oh. Thank you so much." Her face loosens up, but her eyes are still pleading to me.
"No problem. This is what I do. Could I have your number so I can reach if I come across something?"
She scribbles her digits on a post-it.
"Thank you for being so kind."
"No. Thank you for coming to me," I pause, "It's getting late; would you mind if I walked you home?"
"Oh. I'm fine. I'll just call Safe Walk." Standing up to leave, she offers her hand, switching the tissue from her right to left.
"Goodnight, Mr. Brown."
"I'll be calling you."
And with that, she turns to the door, her silhouette swaying in the doorway until the door clicks shut.
Ooh! Foiled by the University Police and their Safe Walk again!
Alone in the room, I gaze at the flicker of the lamp and turn to watch the gathering of the raindrops. I scrawl on a manilla folder: Case 2: Missing in the Math Lab.
(to be continued...)

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