"Well, I don't know where they possibly could be" the woman stated without hesitation. If she did know the location of the umbrellas, she wasn't telling me. I had ransacked the entire house and found both the lights and the bulbs, but the umbrellas, the final pieces to the kit, were nowhere to be found.
My only lead was the woman standing in front of me. She was a middle aged dame with a mother's face. It'd seen joy, laughter, good times and bad. Her birth certificate read Elizabeth Ann, but around these parts she was known as Liz, AKA Lizzy, AKA Dizzy, AKA Big L. This broad had more handles than a broom shop, but to me she was known simply as "Mom".
And today "Mom" was fresh out of answers. I had grilled her for a good twenty as to the whereabouts of the umbrellas but she was steadfast in her argument that she hadn't seen them.
She wasn't lying. At least not to her knowledge. I know lying.
Jesse B and the case of the Fortunate Cookie
It was back in aught six when I got an urgent telegram from a Mr. and Mrs. Ying. Their daughter had been missing for a month and they wanted me to find her. Sure, it seemed odd that a well to do Chinese family would offer me a sizable amount to find their daughter, but times were tough and the heat still had to get paid. When you ain't got two pennies to rub together for warmth it's time to get off your ass and make something happen.
I spent two weeks searching Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi looking for Lai. Turns out the sassy skirt had run away from dad's overbearing discipline and turned up working wangs for a few Yuan at a local gentleman's club. While a decent number of the men in that town had gotten their happy ending, the Yings never did get their's
The trail had run cold. I had given up and gone to price replacements, but with economic times being what they were I wasn't ready to drop 60 clams on a pair of rain shields for a small project about a silly chair.
Dejected, I took the top down on the car and went for a drive. Maybe it was out of habit, or maybe it was 20 years of following my gut, but I ended up back at my parent's house.