Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Case of the Stolen Umbrella

A most harrowing incident, which because of the complexity of incidental details will have to await elucidation at a further time, required my personal presence in the Empire of Nippon. Watley declined to journey with me, explaining that he would be busy eating breakfast for the next year or so, and so I set off on my own for the remote island of Quarterborough. After a sea voyage of some length, I at last arrived, older and more brilliant by several months.

As it was the Plum Season, marked by heavy rains, the ryoukan where I was lodged most hospitably provided me with an umbrella, whose handle was marked with mysterious glyphs 職員会館.

I set out in the morning for my scheduled appointment with my client amidst a caninical-felinical downpour, grateful for the use of this Oriental parapluie. Arriving at the building where my meeting was to take place, I saw several umbrellas carefully set just inside the doorway. Inducing that the Nipponese were most attentive to maintaining a comfortable interior space, I concluded that wet umbrellas should not be carried beyond the threshold, lest they sully the interior with moisture. After some moments of deduction, followed by a lengthy period of induction, and at last postceded by a fleeting instant of reduction (for good measure), I decided to place my own umbrella beside the others. As I did so I congratulated myself on my cultural sensitivity and general sharpness of intellect.

However, when I emerged from my meeting several hours later, my umbrella was nowhere to be found. But then I asked myself: how do I know it is my umbrella that is nowhere to be found, and not some other poor fellow's umbrella that is nowhere to be found, and that this fine umbrella right here is not mine? Unable to resolve this conundrum, I concluded that I must take that umbrella, which might as well be mine for all I knew, and carry it off with me. Sadly, just as I was about to triumphantly carry out this scheme, my extraordinarily competent mind revealed a key memory, which perhaps you, dear reader, will understand better if you cast your eye back to the very near-beginning of this tale. You will, I'm sure, be shocked to be reminded that my umbrella was carefully marked with several mysterious glyphs, to wit: 職員会館. I however, knowing the great power of my own faculty of recall, was not shocked, merely disappointed, for logically I was forced to conclude that it was indeed my own umbrella that was nowhere to be found. Not wishing to run afoul of the Oriental police, I set the umbrella in my hands back down, and stepped into the heavy rain with only my deerstalker to protect me.