Previously: “Episode One“, “Episode Two“
“Rusty in a Problem”
Police sirens filled the air as the cars turn onto the street in front of Handy Manny’s Repair Shop. Citizens of Sheetrock Hills fill the street as officers begin to block of the area with police tape. Nothing quite so disturbing happens around town, and individuals are curious and nervous all at once.
A detective in uniform, just that morning promoted by the mayor, walked up to Manny. “Good morning, Manny. I’m officer—I mean Detective,” he stands a little straighter, proud but still nervous, “John Carlson. Can you tell me what happened?”
“Si, yes.” Manny said, beginning his statement with how he always started the day. “And then I began the song, counting the tools as they jump in my tool box, and one is missing. I do a quick roll call, and then begin the search for Rusty.” At this he gets a little choked up, the other tools are moping in the tool box. “I find him in the alley near a dumpster, covered in a bloodstained cloth.”
“Any idea when he might have been taken?” The detective asked. “Any of the tools see anything?”
“No,” Manny said, looking at the tools. “They were all sleeping, they think, when he went missing. They’d just woken up when I came in this morning.” He noticed the way the officer looked at them. “They are muy triste, very sad. And worried about Rusty.” He told the officer. “I am sure they’d be glad to talk to you once they learn more about his condition.”
“That’s fine, Manny. I can speak to them later.” Detective Carlson told Manny. “We are going to collect some evidence, search the shop for any clues. If you remember anything or find anything out of place be sure to let us know.”
“Si. Yes. Gracias. Thank you.”
As the officers and Detective Carlson search the shop, Kelly Krenshaw, Manny’s friend and fellow shop owner walked in. “Oh Manny!” She called out when she saw him. When she reached him, she gave him a friendly, supportive, awkward hug. “Elliot called me!” She told him. “He said he’d called you for help with the lifeguard chair, and you never came! Then I saw all the police cars! What happened? Are you hurt?”
“No, Kelly,” he said sadly. “It’s Rusty!”
“Rusty? What happened?”
“I’m not sure yet. I came in this morning, and he wasn’t among the other tools. We went searching and found him outside next to a dumpster, covered in blood and wrapped in an old cloth like he was discarded.”
“Oh no!” She gasped and put her hand over her mouth. “Is he alright?” she asked in a worried whisper.
“I don’t know. They’re with him now.”
Within minutes, Detective Carlson stepped up to Manny again. “Manny,” he began. “Rusty is unconscious. He appears to be okay, but we need to talk him in for evidence. The blood on the cloth and on him is not his, so we need to thoroughly examine him for any trace evidence.”
“You can’t do that here, now?” Manny asked. “If he wakes up somewhere strange he’ll be asustado, frightened.”
“Manny,” Kelly, said, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Its best. They need to find out who did this.”
“Si. Yes.” Manny agreed, reluctantly. “Can I see him before you take him away?”
The detective led Manny, the tools, and Kelly to the gurney where the motionless form of Rusty the wrench lay.
Tears began to well up in Manny’s eyes, and he looked away. Kelly and the tools were silent as well. “Por favor, please, contact me the moment he wakes.” Manny asked Detective Carlson, who nodded as they carted Rusty away.
The officers finished their search, and just before he left, Detective Carlson spoke to Manny once more.
“We’ve completed our search, and we’ve collected samples and a few possible bits of evidence. But I have to admit I don’t think we’ve found anything that could lead to an arrest. We will have to go over the evidence, but we will keep you informed.”
The police officers and Detective Carlson cleared out of the shop, leaving Manny, Kelly, and the remaining tools alone to their thoughts.
After a few moments of silence, Manny expressed his disbelief at what had happened. “Who would—or could do something like this? Rusty would never hurt anyone?!” He sighed, rubbing his face with a gloved hand.
“I don’t know, Manny,” Kelly consoled. “Someone would had hand to get into the shop to get to Rusty, wouldn’t they?” She asked.
“Si, yes. But I always lock the door. The police found evidence that someone had picked the lock.” He walked over to the door, and showed her the scratching around the keyhole.
Kelly leaned in for closer inspection. “It looks like they had trouble figuring out how to do it.”
Manny walked through the shop, silently tracing the steps the offender took. Kelly and the tools followed him without a word, wondering what he was up too. “The tools were all here, like they usually are, when they go to bed.” He was standing at a counter in the back of the shop, where the toolbox stood.
“We didn’t hear or see anything, Manny!” Pat the hammer said. “We were all sleeping!”
“I remember, Pat.” Manny looked around the shop area, in the path that the individual would have taken to get to the tools. There was scuffing on the bottoms of some counters and some furniture seemed out of place. “He or she must have stumbled as they made their way back. Unfamiliar with the shop layout.”
Kelly and the tools looked at each other, and back at Manny. “Someone who isn’t in the shop a lot, you think?” Kelly asked.
“Si, yes. I think so.” Manny continued his own investigation by walking further back into the shop. He stopped and stared at the back door, remembering that just that morning he’d discovered Rusty, just a few feet from that door. Instead of continuing out it, he turned back and looked around. He was about to speak when his eyes landed on a chair that he’d been in the midst of repairing. Their on the arm, was something he’d not noticed before.
Leaning down to take a closer look, he picked up the long white hair. He looked at Kelly and the tools. “I think I’ve found something.”
Moments later he was dialing the detective he’d me that morning. “Hola, detective, it is Manny.” He greeted. “I’ve found something I think you need to see.”
Continued in “Episode Four: Treasure Those Idol Moments“