A Tom Swiftly Detective Story: "The Case of the Million Dollar Collar"( pt 2)
First let me apologise to anyone who read the original hub and was left hanging waiting for an ending to the story. I have had trouble coming up with what I felt was a suitable ending as well as composing Tom Swifty puns to fit the story that weren't "stomach churningly" corny.
I still don't know how long it will take me to finish the story but at least I have completed a second chapter that I hope you find interesting.
*Due to my inability to come up with an ending I decided to issue a new Hub Challenge. If anyone is interested please go to the following forum post:
- Short Story Challenge
Short Story Challenge Discussions in the HubPages HubPages Tutorials and Community Forum
The Case of the Million Dollar Collar Continues
by John Hansen © 2015
The Kendrick-Ward mansion was certainly in the most opulent suburb in the city. Parkview Drive was populated by movie stars, celebrities and the mega-rich. As Rita pulled her ten year old Corolla up to the towering iron gates Tom looked at the huge home at the end of the driveway, "I feel like a fish out of water," he gurgled.
Rita pushed the button on the intercom set beneath an imposing lion sculture and when it buzzed Tom leaned over her announcing their arrival, "Tom Swiftly, private detective.. here to see Mrs Kendrick-Ward." Without a reply, the gates slid open and the car proceeded up the long cobbled and hydrangea lined driveway.
The Corolla eased to a stop in front of the mansion's main door. A short stocky man in an expensively stylish suit was already standing in the doorway as Tom and Rita alighted. Taking in his appearance (as detectives do) Tom noted that the man was obviously the butler but he didn't fit the "Jeeves or Benson" stereotypes. He looked more like a bodyguard or hired heavy.
"Tom Swiftly and Rita Smart, Swiftly Solved Investigations," Tom offered once again as they walked up the wide marble stairs. The butler just nodded stoney-faced and said, "Follow me," in a gravelly voice before ushering them through to the back garden.
As they were escorted through the rear door onto the back patio, the investigator's eyes were met by an amazing clover shaped swimming pool. They waited patiently as Jody Kendrick-Ward completed swimming a lap of the pool, when the butler knelt down and announced that she had visitors before excusing himself and retreating back into the house
The lady of the mansion rose out of the water, climbing up the. steps in front of them. She was wearing a skimpy black and green leaf bikini and to Tom's surprise was obviously much much younger than her husband. "Mrs Kendrick-Ward?" Tom questioned politely as he tried to keep abreast of the situation.
She stood in front of him, flicking her wet hair from side to side and splattering him slightly. "Yes I am, what can I do for you?"
Once again Tom introduced himself and Rita. "Your husband hired us to..."
"Yes, I know. My husband hired you to find Ginger?" she espoused, frustration in her voice, "Or should I say, to find his precious collar?" Jody Kendrick-Ward added as she reclined on a banana lounge and placed a pair of Raybans over her eyes. She motioned for Tom to sit on a pool chair across from her, basically ignoring Rita who took this as an opportunity to to wander around the pool area and back garden looking for clues.
Her attitude began to mellow as she was left alone with Tom. She seemed more than willing to answer all his questions "What do you want to know?" she offered, almost pleading, "Anything.. as long as it helps you find her.
Jody turned onto her side affording Tom a full view of her cleavage. He did his best to avert his eyes, or at least not appear obvious. If he didn't know better he'd think she was trying to come on to him. Then again, he thought, what's so strange about that. He was an attractive guy, kept himself fit, and could be quite charming when he wanted to. He shook his head..get back on track..solve the case.
"Do you mind if I smoke?" Tom asked, drawing back a little.
"No, go ahead," she said leaning forward, "as long as you offer me one." He obliged.
"When and where did you last see the dog?" Tom asked, composing himself.
"The last time I saw Ginger she was here in the garden chasing a ball," she said playfully. "I had been swimming laps when Clark, the butler, came and told me there was a call for me on the home phone. When I came back outside, she was gone."
"Who was on the phone?" asked Tom.
"Oh, it was just my husband Alastair. He was phoning to say he would be late home due to a business meeting."
"Was there anyone else in the garden at the time.. when you went inside?"
"Only Jim, the gardener. He was trimming hedges. But when I returned from taking the call he was still at work and Ginger was gone. He said he never noticed she was missing."
What is a Tom Swifty?
A Tom Swifty is a” Wellerism” in which an adverb relates both properly and punningly to a sentence of reported speech.
The quip takes its name from Tom Swift, a boy's adventure hero created by the American writer Edward L. Stratemeyer under the pseudonym Victor Appleton. He published a series of books featuring the hero called Tom Swift. Tom Swift rarely passed a remark without a qualifying adverb such as: "Tom added eagerly" or "Tom said jokingly".
In a true Tom Swifty, it is an adverb that provides the pun:
1. "Elvis is dead," said Tom expressly.
2. "I swallowed some of the glass from that broken window," Tom said painfully.
But sometimes the pun occurs in the verb, and there may be no adverb at all.
3. "My garden needs another layer of mulch," Tom repeated.
4. "You must be my host," Tom guessed.
Occasionally the Tom Swifty is neither a verb, nor an adverb, but a short phrase:
5. "I've only enough carpet for the hall and landing," said Tom with a blank stare.
6. "Don't let me drown in Egypt!" pleaded Tom, deep in denial.
(source: www.fun-with- words.com)
Meanwhile as Rita was strolling through the extensive and well manicured surrounds she happened upon an Aboriginal man weeding one of the garden beds.
"Hello," she said rosily, "what beautiful gardens you have here."
He grinned and nodded shyly, "Thanks Lady."
She kneeled down on the lawn, "My name is Rita Smart from 'Swifty Solved Investigations' and we're trying to find the Kendrick-Ward's toy poodle Ginger."
He nodded again, "I'm Jim. I do the gardenin' here. Nice dog that one, didn't bark much."
"Nice to meet you Jim. Were you working in the garden when Ginger went missing?"
"Yeah, I was trimming all dem hedges. The Missus keeps me busy.. Missus Kendrick-Ward that is. One minute the dog was there, next thing the missus was running around looking for her."
"You didn't notice anyone hanging around, or that Ginger had gone missing?" Rita asked.
"Nope. I was using an electric hedge trimmer and wearing earmuffs. Health and safety crap, you know? I couldn't hear nuthin'."
"Thank you for talking with me Jim. What's the name of that tree with the purple flowers?" Rita asked pointing as she stood up.
"That one's called the Jacaranda, Lady. Pretty flowers dem purple ones, hey?"
"So you have a butler, Clark, and gardener named Jim," Tom continued digging for information. "We'll have to interview them. Do you have any other domestic employees?"
"Of course,"Jody said a little condescendingly, "I don't cook or do housework, The cook's name is Doris and the housemaid, Marcia. Clark is also my husband's personal assistant. He can give you the staff's full names and addresses."
Tom stood up, "Well, I guess that's it for now," he said tucking a notebook into his jacket pocket. "I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions Mrs Kendrick-Ward."
"Jody, please call me Jody," she chimed in smiling provocatively. "It was my pleasure, especially if it helps you find my dear little doggy." Tom felt that if she had a tail she'd be wagging it.
Tom turned to look for Rita before leaving, but stopped, "Oh, one last question .. Jody. Your husband said the dog was microchipped. Can I have the name of your veterinarian as well? If Ginger was dumped somewhere there's a chance that anyone finding her may report it and the chip will lead back to you."
As Tom thanked Jody Kendrick-Ward he saw Rita approaching the pool yard from the garden. They discussed what they'd found out while walking back to the house to interview Clark.Tom wondered if there was any truth in the popular saying "the butler did it"? If so it would serve this case very well and make solving it so much easier.
~~~ to be continued ~~~
What is a Wellerism?
Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable defines a Wellerism as follows:
"Sam Weller in Charles Dickens' "Pickwick Papers" (1836-7) was prone to producing punning sentences such as: 'Out with it, as the father said to the child when he swallowed a farden [farthing]'. This type of verbal play, involving a metaphorical and a punningly literal sense, soon gained popularity under the name of wellerism, and a craze for devising such expressions rapidly sprang up on both sides of the Atlantic."
Examples of wellerisms are:
- "So I see," said the blind carpenter as he picked up his hammer and saw.
- "We'll have to rehearse that," said the undertaker as the coffin fell out of the car.
- "Much noise and little wool," said the Devil when he sheared a pig.
- "Simply remarkable," said the teacher when asked his opinion about the new dry-erase board.
© 2015 John Hansen