Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jack Tracer Mysteries: The Case of the Gummed Up Railways

Investigate along with the hardboiled detective, Jack Tracer, as he unravels the mysteries of the body.  Can you guess the disease?  The conclusion and answer to the mystery will be posted on Saturday.  Leave your guesses in the comment section below!

Get this and get it straight, disease is a sucker’s road, and those who succumb to it end up in the gutter, the hospital, or the grave.  It happened like this…

            “So there I was, talkin’ to the city controller right in front of ‘em railway workers,” hollered a grungy man at the bar.  From the sound of things, he had a pint full of nutrients and quite the tale to tell.  Just your typical bar room drunk that handled stress with a strong drink and a loose tongue.  I tried to focus on enjoying my little corner table in the back, but his boisterous voice made his story impossible to ignore. 

“And I told him straight up that all these problems we’ve been having with movement have been because some peoples have been slackin’ off and ain’t been doin’ their jobs properly.  Then, I looked over at that big shot ring leader of ‘em railwayers, you know the one.  I looked him straight in the eyes and I says to him, I says, “We can’t exactly be expected to get our passengers to their destinations on time with all these rails getting gummed up, now can we?”  Hahahaha, oh you should of seen the look on his face!  Those wild eyes of his just kept getting’ bigger and bigger and his face turned as red as my Mama’s hemoglobin!”

            “Yeah, that’s right, you tell ‘em Bones!” the rowdy gang concurred as they gathered around the storyteller.  By their similarly grungy exterior, I deduced they must be some of his buddies from wherever it was he worked.  “What happened next?” they encouraged.

            “Well, with the city controller standing right there, all he could do was bite his tongue! You should have seen him sayin’ ‘Yes Sir’ and ‘No Sir’ as he got this big old lecture about keeping on top of the maintenance!  He was fit to be tied!! The city controller kept sayin’ he was tired of having so many problems at the main joints and that they’d better make working on the metro-tarsal section their main priority since that’s where all the main hold ups have been!”  Bones laughed, thinking himself mighty clever for getting one up on his rival.  Little did he know, he wasn’t the only one at that bar tonight trying to blow off a little steam.  

            Bones’ buddies nudged him to quiet down, but not soon enough.  One big, rough hand landed firmly on his shoulder and a deep voice belonging to the previously maligned railway’s leader, John Jointman, boomed out, “Boy Bones, you sure do know how to tell a story… too bad it ain’t got a lick of truth to it.  You might ‘of had upper management fooled, but I know very well that all these problems we’ve been having are because you guys over in the Moving company haven’t been doing your job!”

            Shrugging off John’s hand, Bones glared up at his challenger. “Well, how can we when there’s all that inflammation in the way?!  It’s painfully slow!” 

            “If you would just clean up your act and not pound so hard on the railways when you’re moving…”

            “If you guys would just keep everything clean, it wouldn’t…”  A swift punch to the face stopped Bones before he could finish his sentence, but he wasn’t about to leave it at that.  Soon, an all-out brawl ensued between movers and the railwayers.  So, I decided it wasn’t the place for a man just trying to enjoy his drink and took it as my cue to jet out of there.

Leaving enough on my table to cover my tab, I carefully made my way around the ruckus and towards the back door.  As I was pushing the door open, a loud shriek caught my attention.  I turned back to see a young woman shoved back from the fray and right into my arms.  She was a kind of woman that belonged at home curled up with a good book and a warm, cozy fire.  The kind that had no business seeing the crueler side of life.  She looked up at me with big, beautiful brown eyes and a question mark painted over her features.  “It’s ok honey.  The name’s Tracer and I’m a detective.  Let’s just get you out of here and let the police break that fight up, huh?  There’s nothing we can do for them right now.”


            After a short walk to the coffee shop next door and a cool glass of water to calm her nerves, the damsel in distress looked up at me and tentatively broke the silence, “Um… pardon me, but did I hear you say your name was Tracer?  Are you the Jack Tracer, private investigator?”

            “That I am honey.  Does that mean anything to you?”

            “Well, I’ve been worrying about my husband, Johnny Jointman, quite a bit lately Mr. Tracer.  He just hasn’t been himself with all of the pressure he’s been getting at work.  I… I just wanted to help, that’s all… So I, I looked through a few of his things and your name stood out.”

            “Never heard of him.”

            “Oh, my Johnny would never have actually called you unless he was absolutely desperate!  He’s loyal to his core and wouldn’t have wanted to hurt his bosses!  Plus, if they knew he’d hired a private investigator instead of talking to them about what he’d seen, they’d fire him right on the spot!”

            “Ah, so there’s more to this story than meets the eye.  Why didn’t he lay out all his worries to his beloved employers?”

            “Oh he’s been trying to Mr. Tracer, they just haven’t been in a listening sort of mind.  Plus, who’d believe him if they heard what he’d seen?”

            “What did he see honey?”

            “Crystals Mr. Tracer.  Large, sharp, needle-like crystals all over the metro-tarsal railways.  Listen, could you help my husband and look into it for him?  I don’t have much to offer, but I’ll do whatever I can to cover your fee.”

            “Giant crystals you say, eh?  Alright honey, you’ve hired yourself a detective.  But uh, how about we just wait and see if I can get to the bottom of this before talking payment huh?”

            “Oh Mr. Tracer, I don’t know how to thank you!” 

            “Thank me when it’s over honey.  Just go home and take care of that husband of yours.  Oh, and tell him to lay off the strong drinks for a while will ya?  Or else next time he might need a little more than tender love and care to fix him up.  I’ll be in touch.”

Can you guess what disease is at foot?  What do you think is going to happen next?  Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, then click here to find out what happens next in The Case of the Gummed Up Railways…


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