She smiled at me. Her pink sweater gave off a soft glow in the morning mist as the sun tried to break through the clouds. We both entered the train, car number three, and took a seat at table number one.
It was the first Monday in August, and my petite French friend, Amie Dubois, seemed restless. Usually, Mondays brought a happy face, but something was amiss. Her smartly bobbed dark hair framed a look of sadness instead of her trademark pleasant smile.
As the Coaster train left the Carlsbad station, I asked, “You seem down this morning, Amie. Anything wrong?”
She thought for a second. “Do I look depressed? I’m not sure what’s wrong other than I’m bored. My mind craves a challenge. TV is in reruns; the newspaper has old news, my friends are on vacation, even my cat is bored. She didn’t even greet me at breakfast.”
I smiled. “Here is a test for my favorite sleuth. What did I do this weekend?”
Amie chuckled. “A challenge from my friend Monsieur Cory London. Well, let me see.” Her face brightened. She stared at me for a moment and then said, “I see you were early to the train station and excited about something, so much so, you missed breakfast. Whatever you are excited about revolves around an item you could only get at the station. Noticing the white paper on your seat, I would say it involves the Coastal Times, the local community newspaper. Seeing your half-empty coffee from the train station mini-mart, you have already read the article in the paper and are hoping for my help with the contents of the white legal envelope containing a cold case from your father.”
“You amaze me. You are right as usual, but I have no idea how you knew I read the article in full and that I missed breakfast.”
“You’re an open book, Cory. The crumbs on the side of your mouth from a granola bar indicate you were eating on the run, without a napkin. Your photo-gray glasses are clear, which means you were sitting under the roof of the train station outside the mini-mart for a considerable period. Since you walk from home to the train, they would be dark gray if you had just trekked up as you usually do.”
“And the cold case. How did you know about that?”
“The off-white color and thin monogrammed edges are a dead giveaway of a government-issue envelope. Since your dad is a sheriff’s detective, it seems most likely that it would involve a case–one that involves a train–since you take one every day and help him with cases from time to time. The envelope indicates it is cold and filed away. I remember you saying that he mails inactive cases involving Amtrak or Coaster trains. If it was active, you would have it in an email. Whatever the case is about, it probably relates to an article in the local paper.” “There,” I said with a laugh, “I made you think. Did that little exercise liven you up?”
Get the rest of the story in a PDF (Opens in a new tab). Click Here