I am concerned that Hick might secretly be a member of those Sisters in Crime, the women's mystery-writing group my mom warned me about.
Last evening, he had some scathingly brilliant idea that involved a surveillance sting at a local lake development where we own property. I did not inquire about the details. Sometimes, it's better not to know. However, he let it slip that he wanted to use Genius and his electronic know-how. Genius was not home at the time, and upon my telephone inquiry, emphatically stated, "No way!" Which left Hick to his own devices. I cautioned him that he was not a private investigator, and that slipshod snooping could get him chopped up and dumped into a septic tank. Still, he set out on his own.
We used to go to this lake quite a bit, since our property ownage and the accompanying annual fees allowed us access to the main lake, several ponds, a pool, and various other attractive nuisances. Our attendance has fallen off in recent years. Hick's older boys were just the right age when we had a little pontoon boat, and got our fishing licenses every year. Then we had our young 'uns, who were not pontoon friendly. Nor fishing-pond friendly. Some years, Hick even forgot until the last minute to go pick up our card to hang from the rearview mirror to gain entrance at the guard shack.
I was in my basement lair when Hick returned. He went about his business, and I mine. The fact that I had not been summoned to bail him out of the county jail was a good sign. I watched some late-night TV. Fell asleep in the recliner. And ascended the stairs in the wee hours. As I went to the kitchen to plug in my cell phone, I spied a paper plate message. That's how Hick communicates.
"Did you pay Lost Lake dues they took my card and said my access was denied he took my card he checked the computer & it just said access denied"
See? The first thing this do-it-yourself-detective does is blame the bill-payer. I swear. I am the bad-news Chuck Norris. Everything is my fault. I went to elaborate lengths to not pay our association dues, just so Hick could not solve his mystery. Guess that draft will go into his bottom drawer.
The thing is, had he only asked when he got home, I could have told him in less than five minutes. The records were within arm's reach of my perch at my basement control center. But since he chose the paper plate route, I had to respond in kind. I left a reply on the bottom half of the plate.
"Too bad you didn't mention this last night so I could look it up. I'll have to find the old check register that goes back to November, which is downstairs in last year's taxes, which is right beside where I was sitting for several hours after you got home. Maybe "Access Denied" referred to the computer access to those files."
Smartly, Hick did not add any further message to the paper plate. I just have a hunch that guard shack lever-lifters don't have access to the financial records of the lake association. And that when Hick insisted that the guy look him up and see that the fees were paid, the guy said, "It tells me 'access denied.'" Meaning the files.
Anyhoo...I looked it up this morning, and sent Hick an email with the check numbers, date paid, plat and lot number, owner ID number, and street address of the lot. Of course he did not respond. Are you kidding? It wasn't in his paper plate medium. So I called at noon to see what was going on. Well. Hick is not in the same building all day every day. So his email was unchecked. Is that any way to run a business? I think not. And no way to gather material for a Sister in Crime, either!
Hick had work business towards home this afternoon, and he went back to check on his denied access. Oh. They saw that all fees had been paid. Had no explanation for why the guard shack dude took Hick's card. Nor why the mass emailing or snail-mailing of something-or-other in the records did not include Hick. Unless, perhaps, it was because he had not come into the office to pick up his entrance card for the year.
I think that Sister is gonna need some help in tying up the loose ends of his mystery.