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The Case of the Incontinent Curate - VI

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 04, 2005

Further adventures of our fearless sleuthette.

Chapter Seventeen

The door of the old garage opened with a creaking noise, and the beam of Nancy's flashlight caught the reflection of a shiny auto.

"Looking for something?" The unexpected voice from behind her made Nancy start and give a little cry of alarm. She turned to find a young policeman carrying a notebook in his hand.

"Beg pardon, Miss," said the officer politely, touching the bill of his cap, "I didn't mean to frighten you. May I ask what brings you to the Phoenix Auto Pound at this time of night?"

What's that thumpy sound?"I'm investigating the Mystery of the Episcopal Pizza," replied Nancy, relieved, "And I was told I might find a pepperoni and extra cheese in the back seat of the bishop's Pontiac here."

"Beg pardon, Miss. That's a Buick," the policeman corrected her.

"But what about the Indian hood ornament?" countered Nancy, puzzled, pointing her flashlight toward a prominent projection at the front of the gleaming vehicle.

"Beg pardon, Miss. That's a stray pedestrian the bishop T-boned on his drive home," he explained. "Tends to be absent minded. Tell the truth, he couldn't remember copping a plea with the DA three days after he cut the deal. You could ask Dale Evans for the details."

"Good gracious!" Nancy exclaimed. "Who is she?"

"Beg pardon, Miss," said the blushing policeman. "He. Number two man. I forget his real name, but we on the Force call him that because he likes to sing, with chaps."

"I see..." murmured Nancy, though in truth she was somewhat bewildered. "But what I want to know is, how can I get the number of the bishop's bat phone, and will that help solve the riddle of the tippler's tip --?" Nancy stopped and stared as the policeman gasped and fell backwards against the wall of the garage, his eyes opened wide in horror. She spun around quickly and gazed into the darkness. As by an unseen hand the trunk-lid of the auto was opened, and a filmy figure glided out and paused before her, in features resembling the deceased former Bishop of Phoenix.

"I am the Ghost of Christmas Past!" wailed the specter. "Look upon me!"

"You're in the wrong novel, sport," Nancy said crossly. "This is a wholesome tale of adventure for pre-teen girls of average reading ability. And besides, you're violating copyright. Bugger off."

"Remember: everyone who rises must converge!" chanted the spirit, giving Nancy a knowing wink. "Follow the money." Thereupon it drifted back into the trunk, and the lid closed silently.

"Goodness!" exclaimed Nancy, resuming her tone of girlish astonishment, "This may be an important clue!"

She helped the stunned police officer to his feet and wrapped her cornflower blue foulard loosely around her neck as she made her way out of the musty garage. "I wonder," she mused to herself, "whether there aren't some odd goings-on in Phoenix lately ..."

To be continued.

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