Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Case of the Uncertain Thing - Part II

Young Chan paced back and forth pondering the mystery that confounded him. His sharp senses, normally his forte, had gone flat. Was it the beauty of Madame Wu that befuddled him? Was she playing him for a fool? She seemed like a most upright woman.

"Young Chan," she said, gripping her fan tightly, "You must take action!"

Then, Young Chan heard the tiny voice in his head again: Questions are keys to door of truth.

"Madame Wu," he asked, "Do you not know the name of the thing or how it appeared?"

"I do not know the name," she said. "I never saw it, only heard it. Grandfather told me that he received it as a gift from a foreigner with whom he traded many years ago. He has kept it hidden in his parlor since the Cultural Revolution. He said, it was to come to me when I marry. But, this morning, he ran out of his parlor crying and saying, 'No more chopping! No more back!' I did not know what he meant. But, he showed me the empty space in his parlor."

"What did you do next?"

"I ran outside."

"What did you see?"

"Four men pedaling a cart far down the road. But, I did not know what I was looking for."

"Do you know which direction they were going?"

"Mai Wei."

"Probably by Bing," said Young Chan to himself, as he made for the door. "No time to lose, Madame Wu. I'll explain later."

* * *

An hour later, Young Chan appeared at Madame Wu's home, leading four bruised and limping men in chains and a cart with the prized possession. Madame and her grandfather came out to meet them, and Grandfather smiled and clapped his hand. "Chopsticks!"

"Madam Wu. Honorable old man," said Young Chan, "These bandits will move this back into your parlor, or I will see them bruised much worse. Then, I will take them to the magistrate. You see," he continued, "They took your possession in order to take it apart, see it's inner workings, then use this knowledge to build many more like it to sell back to foreigners very cheap. They are part of the notorious Pearl River Gang."

"Oh, thank you, Young Chan!" said Madam Wu. "I knew you had the skill of your uncle -- a great sage of China."

Yes, thought Young Chan as he bowed to Madame Wu, thank you, Uncle: I now see how wise you were in many things, such as dropping the "g" from our sirname to conceal our Korean heritage.

Yes, honorable nephew. Reverence for ancestors most commendable.


Grateful acknowledgements to Aphorisms 0f Charlie Chan.

6 Comments:

Blogger Gone Away said...

Delightful story, most agreeably told. Thank you for brightening my day.

1/12/2005 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought they might be swinging on a (Chinese) star.

1/13/2005 12:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Piano.

1/14/2005 03:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to state that the riddle-solving "Anonymous" and that of the inscrutable remark previous to it are two different people. Just to give credit where credit is due. You may call me Red Clinkers, to recall an infantile sibling color rivalry with one of your co-bloggers.

1/14/2005 03:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

D'oh, now I really am Red. Just clicked on the last link of the story and got to the piano website. I swear I figured it out beforehand from the clue-stuffed narrative, but pride indeed goeth before the fall, and I am autumnal.

1/14/2005 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

Anonymous said...

"I swear I figured it out beforehand from the clue-stuffed narrative...."

Yeah, right, Anonymous -- we know who you are.

(By the way, who are you? The first Anonymous or the second?)

1/14/2005 03:53:00 PM  

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