The Investigation of Prof. Elwood Gerrits: Part I

As I groggily awaken, slumped over my desk after another night of paperwork and Jameson, my throbbing head reminds me I need an assistant. With a little hair of the dog I can begin my long wait for another case. Maybe I’ll spend some of the bountiful pittance Mrs. Shaftsbury bequeathed me for returning her poodle on an office cot.
I’ve been relegated to “dog-catcher!” I use to DO things. Between the Cold War ending and those “sanctions,” I thought I’d get back into the action in private investigations, but apparently I watched too much Rockford Files in college.
It’s been eighteen nightmarish years now, almost as long as I was an agent, and for what?! I spy on adulterers and hunt pets. The most excitement I’ve had was busting a teen drug cartel distributing powdered Altoids. I could have been retiring soon. Now most of my meals come in frozen plastic trays. I’ll just head home for today. That phone’s not likely to ring for at least a week, anyhow.
“What?!” Okay, I can be wrong.
“Harris Dueller, PI. How can I help you?”
“This is Marta Jenkins from Miskatonic University. We’d like to discuss a possible case with you. Could you come to our office?”
She sounds scared. I’m interested already. Plus, universities have money, “I’ll be over this afternoon,” right after a nap and a cold shower.
Arriving at Miskatonic, I immediately notice the careful preservation of antiquated, vaguely unnatural looking architecture throughout. It’s over a century old, so I’m sure it’s had renovations. They must take great pride in it not to modernize.
There’s no time for tours, though. I’m heading straight to Crowley and starting on things. There’s reception, “Hello, I’m Detec—“
Mr. Dueller, we’ve been waiting. Go right in to Dean Crowley’s office there.” So, ix-nay on the tective-Day; it must be serious. That better translate in billing.
“Dean Crowley? I’m Mr. Dueller. Fill me in; discretion is assumed, so tell me everything.” He won’t.
“Well, there’s not much to it,” uh-huh, “We haven’t heard from Professor Elwood Gerrits, our head of Ancient Studies, in over a week. We’d like you to find him and see that he’s alright.” He’s awfully fidgety for such a refined looking older gentleman.
I’ll dig around the side, “What have you told his students?”
“He has none, presently. He’s studying new inventory at Pickman Memorial Museum and helping catalog,” He twitched, “They haven’t seen him either, which is why I’m concerned. It’s probably nothing, but they’re displeased.”
‘Probably nothing?’ He’s down-playing it now, either for money or fear I’ll be scared off. “You call the police?”
Crowley’s composure strained, “No, for worry of media attention. Professor Gerrits has a … reserved personality.” You mean secretive. It’s not money.
This just went from interesting to exciting. “I’ll call you when I find him.” And whatever you’re hiding.
“You’ve no other questions?” He almost seems genuinely disappointed.
“None I expect you’d answer openly.” I’ll answer them myself.


    Well, it's a bit later than I'd hoped, but technically still Thursday. WOO-HOO!
    This has been very interesting already. I havn't worked with a word-cap since high-school, and I'm surprised how many single words I can find to replace entire phrases. I really am verbose in my usual writing, often intentionally. I feel it creates a certain "old-timey" feeling in characters' speech, but since this a more current setting than most of my wriing, I'm not too concerned.
    I'm fairly happy with how this came out, and I look forward to both continueing it and receiving commentaries on it.
    BTW: I really hate html sometimes, and google too. I would consider wanting to use tabs and hard returns to be "common," but they never appear in html quick-sheets I seek out. It bothers me that I had to put this up without what I would consider proper formatting, but I spent half an hour already trying to figur it out, and the thing just needed to be posted. So if anyone can throw those tags at me, I may edit them in later.

  2. Great opening, Evan! This is going to be a fun story to follow.

    Yeah, the word limit was way more of a challenge for me than I expected on my first entry. I had to rethink what I could actually write in that little space.