It seems the tobacco tin full of questionable tobacco that sent the Council of Old Guys into the ozone belongs to Art Song. When Chief Wells went to question him about it Monday morning, things seemed out of place. Art’s front door was open and the house appeared to have been ransacked. The bedroom showed signs of a struggle, and the glass of Art’s gun cabinet was shattered. Looking in the back yard, the door to his tool shed was laying on the ground and there were signs of a recent fire in his trash barrel.
Considering some of the stories Art has shared about his misspent youth, Officer Wells felt rightly worried. She went ahead and opened a case, issued APBs, interrogated witnesses, trawled the river, released the hounds, and all the other usual cop things you do in a missing persons case. She reluctantly contacted the Sheriff’s office and got into a bit of a tussle with the Sheriff, wherein each accused the other of being incompetent, petty, and I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I.
By mid afternoon they had exhausted all their local leads. “Exhausting” a lead is another term for asking the same ten questions for a tenth time when you already know the answer is going to be “I don’t know. I was asleep/drunk/watching netflix at the time!”
By early evening, the Sheriff called Wells at the diner, and after a few pleasantries with Edna, informed “OFF-ic-er Wells” that Art had been seen in the next town over around midnight. He had a flyrod and a violin case, asking around the bars for anyone heading south toward Coos Bay. It seemed he ran into an old friend at a joint called The Muskee, and that was where things left off. There were some very reluctant and officious words that vaguely passed as thank-yous, and Chief Wells was off to her office in a whirlwind of Big-City Cop Drama activity.
This morning, she widened her dragnet as she searched for a weapon, a motive, and a body. She faced the whiteboard in her office, taking notes and linking details, all the while, bouncing ideas off her receptionist Tom. “It has to be a trick,” she sighed, “None of this lines up, like a barrel of red herrings!”
At that moment Tom (actual Tom) walked in with coffee and pastries. Seeing this, Wells whipped around to see whom she’d been speaking with this whole time. She was startled to silence by the unexpected presence of Art, just hanging out in front of the whiteboard, examining her notes.
“I don’t know,” he said as he reached out to take the only cherry turnover on the plate, “If I were going to take a wild guess, I’d have said the culprit was Colonel Mustard in the Drawing Room with the Pipewrench.”
Well, after a rapid succession of hugs, accusations, and bewildered questioning, Art was admonished to stay out of trouble. It was also recommended that he avoid ransacking his own house to find the key to his shed, tearing the door off it when he couldn’t, and after not finding what you were looking for, taking off on foot for the southern half of the state and making everyone worried sick about him.
In his defense, according to Art, he did leave a note on the front door, but the wind must have blown it off.
So, what was so important in Coos Bay that he needed to send the whole town into a tizzy?
“Well, we have a special guest. He showed me something. Maybe. Not sure. But if it’s true…Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There is science to do first.” was all we got out of him before he tipped his hat and raced out of Edna’s heading off toward the quarry.