Formerly Mumford got Bit by the Big Bad Bug of Covid, as orJean put it when he called in sick mid-spring. That’s the bad news. The good news is he recovered from it four days later, so far with no long-lasting effects and no real trauma during his dalliance under the covers in the “time of the virus.” Yes, he was vaccinated. Yes, he was boosted. Yes, he took Paxlovid. Yes, he ate Shirl’s chicken soup; yes, he ate Khaki’s sponge cake; yes, he ate all the sandwiches Mallory sent him from Gentlemen’s Meats. Yes, he took time off. But not much. And now Formerly’s back on the job.
Who’s Shirl? I’ll leave you to wonder, though one major clue is right in front of you. More on Shirl at some later date. Let’s not get sidetracked.
The staff took on an even dozen cases in the year now closing and resolved eleven of them. The twelfth is ongoing. Two or three of the cases might be worth the telling, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You shouldn’t forget that most of the investigations that Pro Bono Detection Services pursues are highly sensitive and must remain confidential, some perhaps forever, others for a period of years. That’s why the tale so far published was about a sequence of events that happened some years ago. And why we—me, the Author; and T. R. Softly, Mallory Greenstock, Khaki Blumenthrace, orJean Tomkins, and others—spent many long hours spread over many weeks, scattered over most of twelve months, exploring what tale can next be committed to paper and sold to an avid public. We’re still debating it, though I’m permitted to say that the odds are we’ve narrowed it down to an episode you may or may not have paid attention to at the time, the inside details of which are finally being declassified. Plus it engaged the attention of the whole gang, and a broad supporting cast, some of whom are new. You may be skeptical when and if you ever read it in its entirety, but I assure you it’s every bit as real as the tale in Everything Is Jake.
A couple of months back an old friend called from the heartland, wanting to know how often I talk to the characters who populated Jake. No, he’s not a shrink; he’s just an old friend who was curious. I will tell you what I told him. I talk to them almost every day. It’s almost telepathic. I mean, they’re in the neighborhood, you know. We all live nearby. I haven’t ridden the Metro since Covid blew into town, but my car works, as do theirs. We occasionally meet for lunch, though lately I confess that Zoom is the more frequent meeting place. We have a group session once a month. Thursday nights at ten, so don’t try to call me then. Last week, just three days before Christmas, TR asked me to send along greetings from the whole bunch, with best wishes and a hearty, happy new year. TR thinks 2023 will be a good year. He’s not anticipating any birthday ending in zero.
More to come when the cold snap snaps.
The Author, on behalf of T. R. Softly and the entire crew
I can’t wait to keep reading and to meet all the new characters. Please give my best to TR, Mallory, OrJean, and the rest of the gang.
TR may not be anticipating any birthday ending in zero this year; the real mystery is how come the person to whom he owes his lifeblood is. I hope to meet up with TR and his old and new friends again before that momentous event, but I’ll be equally entertained even if he misses that quasi-deadline.