It was a dark and stormy night. The wind cracked against the stones of Leonard Hall and rattled the windows in their frames. The rain fell in sheets and threatened to wash us all away. It was the kind of night when bad things happen. The kind of night teenagers prowl and 1920s gangsters make shady deals in a Speakeasy. It was the kind of night that makes you long for the morning.
I walked into the store at the usual time a little shaken from my lack of sleep, a little pale from my lack of breakfast, but mostly relieved that the sun had returned and the storm had retreated to the heavens to threaten us from the clouds.
That’s when I saw her. I could tell right away that something was wrong. Her usually luminous face held a twinge of concern.
“Pam, what’s wrong?” I asked, hanging up my hat and coat.
“It’s our sign.” Choking back tears she added “it’s gone!” I hated to see her like that, tears glistening at the corners of her eyes.
“It can’t be! Who would do such a thing?” I cried “Trinity? Some Frat? George Sumner? Some of the rowdier Wycliffe students?” Accusations abounded. It was clear that we were going to have to get to the bottom of this and fast. The boss would be coming in any minute.
I took action.
My first stop was the scene of the crime – the sign itself – and much to my disappointment there was no evidence of it. A quick check of the perimeter quickly revealed that the damage from the storm would surely have washed away any fingerprints. Things were looking bleak. I set my superior intellect on it and I immediately thought of motives. Who would want to take our sign? Did we have any grudges? Was it jealousy? I stopped thinking and looked around some more. That’s when I saw them. They caught my eye like a red dress at a rodeo. A tiny pile of rusted nails. They were our nails. They were the Crux Books sign nails and they were piled neatly in a corner. What fiend would do such a thing. What cruel mastermind would taunt us with the certainty that our beloved sign was not merely blown down in the storm but STOLEN!
“I don’t know what to tell you Pam – it doesn’t look good”
“What doesn’t look good?” It wasn’t Pam who answered. It was Cindy. Our much loved, highly regarded, boss had arrived.
“It’s our sign. It’s missing” The look on her face was heart breaking. Those signs don’t come cheap and that one had been with us at Crux Books since before the Spice Girls split up.
“I will figure this out. It is too early to panic.” Always level headed she headed to her office to get to the bottom of this catastrophic caper. It was too late for me. I was lost in the panic and the intrigue of it all.
“Come in here for a minute” she called. I couldn’t tell if there was amusement in her voice or despair. “I found our sign.”
“Where was it? Who did it? I will see that they pay for this injustice! We will persecute them to the full extent of the law! This is a matter beyond campus police this is a matter of national security! This is a matter for someone with a badge and an impressive title! This is a matter for…”
“When Dave came in this morning he found it hanging from one nail so he took it down. He was worried it might hurt someone.”
“A likely story! Where is the sign now?”
“In his office. He doesn’t have keys to the store and he didn’t want it to get stolen.”
“Oh. That was very nice of him. Are we getting a new sign?”
“We will have to but it is not our first priority. Our first priority is making sure we give excellent customer service and offering theological books at discount prices to our loyal customers”