The Mysterious Bookshop

Harold Who's Revenge

The twenty-eight foot Chris-Craft skated over the choppy waters of the Sound, rattling its passengers in a pleasant way. It was a pleasure cruise along the briny deep, when on a sunny summer’s day Brand, Avery, Costello and Miss Slidell from Krock’s Kandy Kompany were in for a day on the water to get away from the office for a while and try to forget the sordid business of confectionery espionage and the untimely passing of Mr. Krock, the founder, in what actually was an accident. Neither Avery and Costello could quite believe that it really was a mishap and that Krock had simply slipped and fallen into a vat of his own chocolate, but it was true.  At any rate, everyone needs a little R & R now and then, and they had invited the comely if coldly efficient Miss Slidell along for company and eye candy.  She certainly looked charming in a wetsuit, even though they weren’t doing any fishing or diving.  Now that was interesting, mused Brand.  Why was she attired as though they were searching for the Loch Ness monster? His reverie was interrupted by the voice over the loudspeaker.

‘And on our right, along the riverbank, is the mansion of the Late Archibald Krock, who founded the eponymous kandy kompany with his uncle and stepbrother, and who tragically met his end, being inadvertently included in one of his own batches of chocolate.’

The impossibly young-looking tour guide was speaking into a microphone from the bridge, perched above the lounge area for the boaters. The revelers were seated on benches in a semi-circle, with plates & cups of beer, wine, soft drinks, sandwiches and fruit at their feet.  The idea was for a lazy day of meandering about the Sound, soaking up some rays and not thinking about anything too much, even though the water was a little too rough for simply floating along.  Presently the youthful tour guide clambered down the ladder to where her customers were.  ‘Hello, folks!  I’m Missy What, and I’m here to assist you in making your boat tour as pleasant as possible.  Anything I can do, just say!’

Brand and Costello spoke simultaneously.

‘Is there any more beer?’

‘What kind of a name is Missy What?’

Although young, Missy What was used to such inane questions and had a strategy for dealing with them.

‘It’s the kind of name you write on checks, put on your mailbox, introduce  yourself with, you know, that kind of thing.  I will bring the rest of the beer from the hold, but remember, that’s all there is!’

But when she opened the double doors to the hold to fetch the beer, a rotund figure burst out, bowling over Missy What and standing with a kind of fat triumphalism on the poop deck among the revelers.

Nobody said anything at first, for what was there to say?  Then Avery spoke.

‘Well, I’ll be darned!  Harold Who broke out of the slammer!’

‘I did not!’ yelled Harold Who.  I’m seventeen, and even in this state they don’t put seventeen-year-olds in with the hard cases!’

‘In your case, maybe they should.  What are you doing here?’

‘I told you that you couldn’t do that to me and that I would get even, and here I am.’

‘I don’t remember you saying that you’d get even.  Wait a minute!  Get even for what?  You were guilty of all sorts of stuff! Too bad if you got caught.’

‘I didn’t do anything wrong! Do you know how long mother lectured me when she picked me up from the precinct?’

‘Not long enough.’

‘It doesn’t matter what you think!  I’m in charge now, see?’

The others were openly laughing over the B-movie dialogue Harold Who was spouting, but the hilarity dried up when Harold Who brandished a spear gun that he had grabbed from the hold while he was hiding in there.

‘All of you--over there against the side!’

Grudgingly Brand, Costello, and Avery slowly lined up along the starboard side of the boat, followed momentarily by Miss Slidell.

‘Now you.’  And Missy What picked herself up off the deck and joined them.  ‘Now holler for the captain to come down,’ said Harold Who.

‘But then who’s gonna steer the ship?  We need a pilot.’

‘We’ll anchor here. AHOY, CAPTAIN BLIGH!  THROW THE ANCHOR!’

The boat stopped, out in the middle of the Sound, but there was no accompanying splash of the anchor being thrown overboard.  They were simply drifting.  Presently the Old Salt came down from the bridge.

‘What are you doing, chunky?’  If there was anything Harold Who didn’t like being reminded of, it was his weight.  A cold glare came over his face, and he gestured menacingly (well, as menacingly as an acne-scarred, overweight seventeen-year-old with thick glasses and a hole in his trousers could, anyway) with the spear gun and said, ‘Over there.’

With a big smile, the captain casually strolled over to where the others stood.  ‘I don’t throw anchors on the say-so of fat kids. Can I have a sandwich while we re-enact Moby Dick?’  He helped himself to a roast beef from the cooler without waiting for an answer. Meanwhile Harold Who had sidled up to Missy What and started barking orders, keeping one eye on her and hoping desperately to impress.  ‘You!  Take that board and stand over there.  You! Hoist that board onto the side!  You! and You! Hold tight on the board.’  Now he looked Avery straight in the eye.  Avery didn’t flinch.  ‘Ok, copper, up on the plank.  You’re going to walk it.’  



Has Harold Who turned pirate?  Will anyone actually walk the plank?  And what of Missy What?

 

Get your sea legs on and check out some of these seafaring mysteries:

 

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Questions/Comments/Pieces of Eight?  mike@mysteriousbookshop.com




Written by Ian Kern — July 07, 2016

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