The Missing Disc Mystery
By Jeff Baker
“Take this down,” Detective McNulty said.”
“Yessir,” young officer, Cowell said, pulling out a metal box from the back of the squad car.
“Tracked suspect through Benford, Missouri. Lost his trail at junction of…what are you doing?”
“Typing,” Officer Cowell said.
“Shouldn’t you be doing that on a laptop?” McNulty was trying to find his I-pad in his pockets.
“Sylvan County Sherriff’s Department is too cheap to spring for those. I’m lucky to have the car. This portable typewriter was mine when I was in college. It was my Dad’s before that.”
“Suspect was described as black, white, male, maybe female, anywhere between 5’5” or 6’2”, early 20s, maybe 30s or 40s…” McNulty said.
“In other words, didn’t get a good look at him. Or her,” Cowell said. “What did he do?”
“Stole a couple of computer discs. Bunch of customer credit card information. Passwords. Numbers. The whole deal.”
“Okay. Got it. Now what?” Cowell said.
“E-mail it off to…to…” McNulty’s voice trailed off.
“Got a stamp?” Officer Cowell asked. Just then, McNulty’s phone rang.
Detective McNulty answered his phone. He said hello but mainly listened. After a minute, he blurted out “You’re not serious! How could they lose him?” He listened a few minutes, then put the phone back in his pocket. “That was Warren and Haid. They caught up with the guy but couldn’t find the discs. Searched his car, searched him. Couldn’t find them. They did say that he’d stuck them in some decorative wooden box he’d brought into the store with him. They couldn’t find him either.”
“Where’d they apprehend him? The suspect?” Officer Cowell said.
“Near the on-ramp to the highway. Over on High Street outside of town.”
“Just one question; you didn’t grow up around here, did you?” Officer Cowell asked.
“No, I moved here a few years ago. Hey, are you the detective or am I?” Detective McNulty asked.
“You are,” Cowell said grinning. “But I think I know where the discs went.”
A half hour later, Detective McNulty stood on the bank of the river while Officer Cowell surveyed the scene with his binoculars.
“Yes! I see it! Right there!” Cowell said pointing.
“What is that?” McNulty asked, a little surprised that he hadn’t known about the river outside of town.
“That’s a beaver dam,” Cowell said. “They build it every year. Blocks the river. Our perp tossed that wooden, airtight box out of the car and counted on it getting caught in the dam. He was going to get it later.”
“Not now he won’t,” McNulty said. “I’ll have Haid and Warren go get it.” He shook his head. “City kid. I’ve never seen a real beaver dam before.” He grinned at Officer Cowell. “You wouldn’t be trying to make Detective would you?”
“No, sir,” Cowell said.
“Well, you should!” Detective McNulty said.
For this month’s Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, ‘Nathan Burgoine drew a mystery involving a typewriter set at a dam. I usually plot out the mysteries I write out but I largely improvised this one. Also the word count came in pretty short! Fans of classic police dramas may find a couple of names here familiar.—-jeff