#14: The Case of the Sabotaged Taping
With plans to catch up on several hours of Must-see TV, Peter and Jenny seated themselves in front of the television and popped a tape into the VCR. Instead of canned laughter and wacky high jinks, the tape contained six hours of the Weather Channel. How had that happened? So started another mystery for the Shut-In detectives.
Peter and Jenny considered several scenarios. Jenny suggested a power failure. Peter suspected a break-in. “Or perhaps,” Jenny wondered, “you blacked out on the couch with the VCR remote under your backside and accidentally pressed ‘record,’ as you’ve done several times before.” Peter countered that this was unlikely, as he only passed out after eating carbs, which he had not done that day.
Two possibilities remained: 1) Peter was lying about the carbs; or 2) Somebody was attempting to send the detectives secret encoded messages through the television. The investigation was suspended when Peter and Jenny decided they would rather watch the weather tape than solve their mystery. It proved remarkably soothing and soon the detectives were fast asleep, the remote safely on the coffee table, where it belongs.
#15: The Case of the Hombre Mysterioso
One evening Peter and Jenny were practicing their synchronized dance routine when their roommate Angela interrupted. “I just got another call for ‘Humberto,’” she stormed. “That’s like the hundredth time this year. Who is Humberto, and why do I keep getting his calls? By the way, you two look like jerks.”
The dancing sleuths had another mystery on their hands. Squeezing a reluctant Angela in the middle of their funk sandwich, they began their questioning.
“Do you get these calls during the day, or at night?”
“Both,” Angela answered.
“Do the callers sound attractive?”
“How would I know?”
“Do they ever ask what you’re wearing?”
“No. What kind of questions are these?”
“Is there anything else you can tell us?”
“Yes. Humberto gets more calls than I do. I gave my phone number to two men last week, and the only call I got was from my alumni association.”
“That’s it!” Peter cried. “My dear, you’ve solved your own mystery. Obviously, when you’re out in the bars, giving your number to anything in pants, you are so drunk that you forget your own name. You must be introducing yourself as Humberto. These mysterious calls are, in fact, for you.”
Angela protested that she is a teetotaler, and that the gentlemen recipients of her phone number were, in fact, co-workers, but the detectives concluded these objections were lies. The cousins further concluded that Angela was lying about their routine looking stupid, because they are really, really good dancers.
#16: The Case of the Ambiguous Complexion OR What Season is Peter?
Recently the Shut-Ins invited a few close friends over for an evening of card games and refreshments. Peter wanted to look his best. There was one question: What should he wear?
Jenny recommended his long-sleeved olive T-shirt, because it complements his coloring. Peter disagreed. “Olive makes me look sallow. But my baby blue polo shirt will bring out my eyes.” “Don’t be silly,” Jenny returned. “Blue washes you out. You’re a classic fall.” Peter shook his head. “I’m a summer. However, my sister insists I’m a spring.”
The cousins realized they had another mystery on their hands. They immediately set to work, holding fabric swatches up to Peter’s face. He looked equally good in the cool teal tones of the summer palette, the coral hues of spring, and the warm golds of fall. When the swatching failed to narrow the field, the detectives daubed Peter’s face with makeup. Still, no clear season emerged.
It was time to consult the textbook. There they read that summers are calm and delicate, falls complicated and mysterious, and springs fanciful and fun-loving.
The mystery was solved. Peter was a spring. But he decided to wear the fall olive shirt because it hides stains well. He also wore a little makeup, because everyone likes to feel pretty.
#17: The Case of the Big Night Out
One recent evening the Shut-Ins were prevailed upon to join their friend Mr. G— in a rare night on the town. Halfway through a screening of Dude, Where’s My Car?, Mr. G— disappeared. Where had he gone? The detectives set to work.
“Could it be,” Peter asked sotto voce, “that Mr. G— left because he could take no more of the intoxicated young lady in the fifth row, who is now conducting her fourth cell phone conversation? The subject of which is, yet again, the fact that she is in a movie theater.”
Jenny thought it was more likely that Mr. G— left because he could take no more of the same young lady yelling, “Dude, where’s my car?” every five minutes.
At this point the investigation was suspended, because the movie became extremely compelling. Twenty minutes later, the mystery was solved when Peter, answering nature’s call, found a food-poisoned but otherwise sound Mr. G— lying on the floor of the men’s room. Peter stepped over his fallen comrade and returned to the theater, whereupon he and Jenny loudly offered possible solutions to the far more entertaining mystery of the titular car’s location.
#18: The Case of the Uninvited Visitors
Peter and Jenny were awakened one weekday morning by their doorbell. When Jenny looked out the front window, she saw a pair of neatly-groomed young men in dark suits.
“Don’t answer it,” warned Peter, rubbing his eyes. “It’s much too early to be defending ourselves against ruffians. If we stay very quiet, they will surely depart.”
And so the detectives chose prudence over curiosity, and returned to their beds. When they awoke several hours later, the detectives discussed the identity of their mysterious visitors. Jenny concluded that since they were wearing black they might be entertainers, or perhaps publicists. And if they were, in fact, “in the biz,” might they be in a cult? But which cult?
The detectives immediately ruled out Scientology and est, because the young men didn’t look very self-actualized. They couldn’t be Satanists, because they weren’t eating babies. The lack of literature left on the doorstep left the detectives befuddled. Who were these mysterious guests?
The solution, it turned out, was obvious. “My dear, we’ve overlooked the most glaring clue,” Peter announced. “Our mysterious visitors rang the doorbell at 8 AM. Only one sort of person would do that: an asshole. Identity discovered. Mystery solved. Case closed.” And with that, our intrepid sleuths retreated to their rooms for a well-deserved and much-needed nap.