Encyclopedia Brown was happy that is was once again summertime. He walked over to the garage and hung up his sign: “Brown Detective Agency. 13 Rover Avenue. Leroy Brown, President. No case too small. $50 per day plus expenses.” (Oh man, talk about inflation! I remember when he used to charge just 25¢ per day!)
Encyclopedia Brown powered up his computer as he waited for a customer to walk in. (If his character was created recently, he would have probably been named Wikipedia Brown.)
The morning passed and not one customer entered the garage. Business was slow. (Must be the recession…)
In the corner, next to the bicycle, was a backpack that Encyclopedia Brown had found the day before as he rode through the park. He had meant to figure out who the owner was so that he could return it, but had forgotten about it the afternoon before, as he parked his bike and he rushed off to get a drink of water.
Encyclopedia Brown inspected the backpack. Inside was an iPod, a digital book reader, some hand gloves, a container of Visene, and some energy bars. Nothing contained any identifying information.
But wait! In the front pocket was something that looked like a business card. Encyclopedia Brown pulled it out. What and odd looking card…it had a drawing of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, “DIG IT” in large pink letters, and a message saying that there was a reward if found. Below that was a phone number. “(415) 555-”
Unfortunately, the bottom right corner of the card had been ripped before it was placed in the pocket. The last four numbers were missing.
But at least he had an area code to work with. 415. San Francisco.
Encyclopedia Brown started trying to decipher the business card. With the Leaning Tower of Pisa, maybe it belonged to a travel agency specializing in tours to Italy. A few minutes later, with the help of Google, Encyclopedia Brown had a list of ten travel agencies in San Francisco which matched the requirements.
He called all of them, but not one reported a missing backpack.
It was time to move on to the next plan. “Dig it.” Maybe this card belonged to a landscaping company! In just a couple of minutes he had a list of Italian-owned lawn care companies in San Francisco. Ghilotti Brothers, Romano Yard Care, and so on. Luckily, this list of names and phone numbers was much shorter that the previous one.
He called all of them, but no one reported a missing backpack.
What to do? Encyclopedia Brown was stumped, which does not happen very often.
Just at that moment, Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy entered the garage.
“I need you help in finding…” Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy said – but was interrupted by Encyclopedia Brown before he could finish.
Encyclopedia Brown pulled out a non-disclosure agreement and a retainer agreement from a drawer, and placed them on the desk. “Please, in this day and age I need you to sign these forms before we can go any further.” (Wow, Encyclopedia Brown really has changed since I was young!)
Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy signed the first form. Before he could sign the second form, Encyclopedia Brown said: “There is no need to sign the second form. I know exactly what you are looking for!”
Encyclopedia Brown picked up the backpack and slid it across the desk.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy was elated to be reunited with his backpack that he had forgotten in the park the day before!
How did Encyclopedia Brown know that the lost backpack belonged to Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy?
Encyclopedia Brown was never one to give up. As he continued to envision the business card in his mind, he thought once again about the clues that were on the card.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa. Leaning. Slanted. Crooked.
Pink text…why was the text pink? Red. White. Pink. Pinky.
Dig it. Dig it? Or was he reading this wrong? Maybe it said digit. Yeah, that’s it! Number? Finger.
As Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy signed the first paper, Encyclopedia Brown saw that the last digit on his left hand was curved – and then everything fell into place!
The images and the text on the business care were a riddle for “crooked pinky finger”!
(And in case you are wondering…Encyclopedia Brown still did charge his fee. I told you he’s changed!)
I was a huge fan of Encyclopedia Brown when I was in elementary school – I just loved the concept of having to figure out the mystery in each chapter. It was always so much fun.
So today I thought I would have a little fun.
You see, two days ago I woke up and noticed that the pinky finger on my left hand had curved inward – seemingly overnight. This small finger now overlaps the neighboring ring finger.
I have no idea of this is permanent or temporary.
Yesterday the pain and swelling in this finger did increase significantly. (To be honest, I have never experienced so much pain in a finger before.) In my physical therapy sessions we are spending a lot of time on this finger. They even showed my how I could use medical tape to try to straighten it out – although after an hour, I can’t bear the strain that results from doing so.
For the time being, I’ll just work my new crooked pinky finger into my life…and I won’t let it stop me from having fun!
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!