CASE LOG #80. FILED UNDER: “NON-STANDARD ENTITY; PRACTICAL JOKE.”
CALL TO ACTION: “Hello, I’ve been having some problems with the automatic ice maker in my freezer. When I go to get ice in the morning, I find it has less ice in it than it did the night before. I wasn’t sure if I was remembering correctly, so I started taking a picture of the ice bin before going to bed and comparing how full it was the next morning. No one else in the house would admit to taking it. I set up a laptop and webcam on the kitchen counter overnight. Nothing disturbed the freezer or refrigerator the entire night, but ice was still missing. As puzzling as it is, the amount of ice disappearing has increased over time, and I’m at my wit’s end for a solution. Please help if you can, detective.” -Iced Out in Corpus Christi
BEGIN LOG TRANSCRIPT.
Admittedly and unfortunately, in recent days I have not had much time to see to my usual caseload, so imagine my surprise and joy when I found that this particular call to action was solved quite by accident.
I’ve spent the last few weeks preparing—as I’ve spent the last few months preparing. The difference is that before, I had no idea what I was preparing for. Now, with my mind clearer than it’s been in a long time, the path is easy, and I know what I must do.
But I can’t do it alone, so I invited my old friends to my house. (We could have met elsewhere, of course, but… the place has been quiet since Frank disapp—went away).
Before everyone arrived, I set up the dining room. It hasn’t been used in months—at least, not properly. It’s a shame. But at least now I know why I’ve got such a big table. I had to open both the leaves and everything! It was nice to have people over. It’s been quiet here.
Amelia was the first to arrive, scarves and shawls billowing as she tossed her carpet bag on the floor and flung her arms around me. It was surprising, but not unwelcome. “I’m glad you’re back, old sport,” she said. “I’ve missed you horribly.”
“I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t get us into any more trouble.”
“That would be your first mistake.”
Next, the Twins arrived—simultaneously, of course, though it was unclear if they had traveled together or if that was just how they operated. Diana seemed cautious to enter, and did a quick examination of both the doorframe and my irises before she allowed herself over the threshold. Apollo, by contrast, was right at home, and strolled in carrying an ornate ice bucket.
“I brought ice,” he said, teeth just a little too sharp for a librarian. The bucket rattled as he set it in the center of the dining table.
“So that’s where that’s been going,” I said (I made myself a quick voice memo while Apollo made himself at home with my glasses and grape juice in the kitchen. Diana stared at me, and didn’t stop once all night. But such was her way).
After the juice was poured and the ice distributed, we sat around the table, and all at once Something clicked back into place, some part of my universe that had been missing but now was home again. Though that feeling was short-lived. It was impossible to ignore the one empty chair. But that was why we were here.
“Why are we here, old sport?” asked Amelia, stirring her juice with a fork.
“Oh, that’s easy,” I said. “We’re here to make things right.”
“Are you sure we can?” asked Diana, ever practical. And she was right. I wasn’t sure, but it didn’t matter. We had to.
“Of course,” I said, opening my briefcase and setting my plans on the table. “Don’t you know we can do anything?”
Apollo raised his glass for a toast, and as we drank and set to work, we hoped it was true.
END OF LOG TRANSCRIPT.