Last time, you’ll remember, private eye Nick Nesbitt was close to cracking the case, when a mysterious man in a Hazmat suit appeared with a clue that changed everything. But before Nick could act, he was shanghaied by the henchmen of evil tycoon J. Milner Minor. Now being held in a windowless room somewhere on the outskirts of town, Nick is fast running out of options.
What will…what can…our hero do?
This Week’s Installment: “Curves In The Road”
Dawn was breaking as I made my way to the main road back to town. J. Milner Minor’s thugs had made three mistakes; they weren’t very good at tying knots, they forgot to lock the door, and most importantly, they didn’t kill me when they’d had the chance.
Apparently, it’s hard to find good henchmen these days. Lucky break for me.
I stuck out my thumb and hoped that one of the early risers on the road would throw caution to the wind and pick up a hitchhiker. The few vehicles on the road all passed me by. A couple of them actually sped up.
I decided to put the time between vehicles to good use. Digging through my pockets, I pulled out the letter that had started this whole caper. Clicking my favorite pen to life (“Make the ‘WRITE‘ choice—Fenske’s Meat Emporium”), I jotted down a list of what I knew so far.
It was not much of a list.
The list of questions was a lot longer. What was the motive for stealing a mastodon? Who had the means and methods to pull off the heist? What was the connection to J. Milner Minor? Who was the joker in the Hazmat suit? And just exactly what was his whole deal?
The sound of an approaching car edged into my consciousness. I stuck my thumb out without looking up. To my surprise, I heard it slowing down. I looked up in the dim morning light. It was a red sports car, a foreign job. I couldn’t make out the driver, but none of Minor’s goons could fit in this sweet ride, so I figured I’d take a chance.
I climbed in and before I could fasten my seat belt, the driver hit the gas.
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By the time I got my breath back, the speedometer was climbing past 80. I was pinned to the bucket seat, but I managed to turn my head toward my benefactor. With the reflected light of the dashboard and the slowly rising sun, I made out a shape in the driver’s seat. A shapely shape. She kept here eyes on the road, but I ran mine over her. Her slinky dress accentuated the curves that matched her car.
“Thanks for the lift,” I offered. She nodded slightly. Hmmm…the silent type. Well, we’d see about that.
“So, where are you headed?” She pointed straight ahead with a well-manicured finger.
“Toward town, eh? That’ll work.” She remained voiceless.
Fine by me. I didn’t have time for romance anyway. I was on a case. Getting back to my office was all I really wanted…for now.
We raced along without talking for a few miles, then suddenly she broke the silence.
“Need gas.” Two short words, but for some reason they seemed to deliver a much, much larger message. Before I could reply, she veered off the road and skidded to a stop at a rundown service station. I was sure my seatbelt had left a mark as she opened her door and got out.
“Fill ‘er up. I’ll be right back.” With that, she walked into the station.
I climbed out and grabbed the gas pump. I couldn’t see where to fill the tank, so I moved around to the back of the car. I reached under the lid of the small trunk and found a latch. The trunk lid popped open, but before I could find the filler pipe, I became aware of a searing pain.
Not for long, though.
– – – – – – – – – – –
Gradually I came to. The pain was still there, banging against the back of my head like a jack hammer. I was folded up like a pretzel, and from the sound of things, I was in the trunk of the sports car. The proverbial tight spot.
Only my right arm had freedom of movement, and not much at that. I groped around the dark, and my fingers hit something. It felt like an article of clothing, but it wasn’t cloth or silk. It was made of something else.
It was a Level B Hazmat suit. So bulky and shapeless that evened a seasoned detective could mistake the wearer for a man. The silent doll behind the wheel just got more interesting.
A lot more interesting.
How can Nick escape the trunk? And just who is the curvaceous kidnapper? What’s her connection to the missing mastodon? Is she in cahoots with J. Milner Minor? Or a competitor?
For the answers to these questions and more, don’t miss our next thrilling installment!
Thomas Edison had 5,000 pet birds.