No input from anyone whether or not they like the comic book covers, which have nothing to do with the story, so I guess I will just continue posting them.
“I know what the first board is, I don’t know know anything about the other ones.”
Andrew looked over at Gary.
Gary looked at the other two. “This is the Dancing Men code from the Sherlock Holmes story.” He said motioning towards the board.
“Okay, I have only seen the TV show and the Robert Downey Jr. movies, what are the Dancing Men?”
Sharon answered. “It was one of the original stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”
Andrew looked it over closer. “Okaaaay, does anyone know the code?”
“Well it is an easy code all you need is the book, but I already know what the first word is.”
Andrew looked at him. “And it is?”
“My name, G a r y.” As he moved his finger across the four first characters.
Andrew though the guy was about to cry, what the heck was going on, and how had he gotten mixed up with this, all he did was come in to get his comic books. Then he remembered his friend, the older Gary was missing. Friend might be too strong a word, acquaintance was too weak of a word, maybe mate. They shared some laughs, helped each out when they could. Mate might be the right characterization of their relationship, between him and older Gary.
“Does your Dad have that Sherlock Holmes books upstairs?” Sharon asked coming alongside Gary.
Andrew watched the two of them, they were close, and he found it hard to believe they were not dating. He knew that if he Gary was not so crazy about her, and Sharon about him, he would have been tempted to go after Sharon himself, pretty and she obviously liked comic books and smart. He shook his head, boy was he tired. Gary had just said he was going upstairs, that left him alone with Sharon, the first time tonight.
“Gary seems like a great guy.”
“Yeah he is.” She said distracted, as she examined the next board with the resistors on it. “Something is wrong here.”
“You mean besides the fact that it is,” Andrew looked at his watch “almost two in the morning, and we are looking at secret codes behind a secret compartment behind a shelf filled with comic books, for some clue to where the owner the comic book store and his best friend are?”
Sharon laughed. “Well that is a little strange I give you, but something is not right with these resistors, something is wrong with them.”
Andrew looked at the board a little closer. Then he looked behind the board which was hanging on the wall by a couple of nails. “Well they are not hooked up to anything. No electricity to the board. They are just mounted there, like they were on display or something.”
Sharon had moved on to the next board nearest the hinge. Andrew looked it as well. Just a white board with a five by seven rows and columns of boxes on the board marked in black thick magic marker. “Maybe if it is a code the answers from the resistors go into the boxes.
Sharon backed up and looked at both. “But the resistors are lined up five by five and the boxes are lined up five by seven.”
They were both staring at the boards when Gary came back down. “I found the book.” Gary grabbed a notebook from the counter and a pen. He grabbed two chairs and moved them close to the first board, he laid out the book on one chair and sat in the other. The other two came over and looked over his shoulder. He first counted out the letters and then laid out spaces on the sheet with the same spaces across the sheet. He looked up at the two standing over top of him. “This might take a little while, why don’t you two take a seat.”
Sharon looked at Andrew and he shrugged. They both grabbed seats, Andrew pulled out two and put his feet up on one. Sharon got a tablet out from behind the counter and started to do her own labeling looking at the resistors. Andrew shrugged, he was terrible at puzzles, they always made him feel stupid. It was not that he was stupid, heck he did alright in school, and his job in Army reserve as an Air Traffic Controller was hard, but it had rules, rules that made sense to him. Codes and ciphers seemed to make up rules that only applied when the person wanted them to apply. Andrew got up and got one of his comic books out of his box and started to look at it.
“Andrew wake up.”
He woke with a start. Oh yeah he was in the comic book store with Sharon and Gary.
Gary was standing over him. He yawned. “Sorry must have dozed off.”
“No biggie, took longer than I thought, than I dozed off for a bit myself.” Gary replied while walking over to Sharon, who was at the other end of the room bundled up in one the easy chairs in the corner, underneath Gary’s coat. He kneeled down and got close to Sharon. He said something quietly which he did not hear and gently touched her on the shoulder.
Sharon woke smiling. Damn Gary was lucky Andrew thought.
“I solved it.”
“Well let’s look at what it says.”
The all gathered around the table, and Gary read his handwriting out loud.
Gary, I am sorry for everything I missed in your life, please know I love you but I am flawed. Thanks for going this far. Please continue working on these puzzles. They will lead you to us.
“Well we know we are on the right track.” Sharon said.
“These puzzles, do you think he just means, these two,” and Andrew motioned towards the other boards. “Or do you think there is more to it.”
Sharon shrugged. Gary did not respond he just stared at the other two boards.
Andrew looked at his watch. “Holy crap, it is almost 6 am. Hey guys, it has been fun, but I have got to get home, I promised I would take my little sister shopping in at the big mall in the city and I told her we would leave at seven and grab some breakfast on our way.”
“Can you help me close this back up real quick.” He said as he motioned towards the bookshelf and the big table.
“Sure, sure no problem.”
It was two hours later that the shop was back to normal. Gary had rung up Andrew for his books, Andrew had promised to be back if not tonight then tomorrow, he wished Sharon a Merry Christmas then he was gone after loading the final box into his trunk. After they arranged the comic books back on the shelves Gary tabulated the receipts from the previous day and Sharon ran the vacuum and both of which they had not done last night in due to the search for the clues. They turned off the lights knowing Gary was going to have to open it again in an hour. They walked hand in hand to Sharon’s apartment, they did not talk much, knowing this was going to be their last time together for a while. Gary helped her carry her bags down stairs and they waited on the porch for her brother who unfortunately was right on time.
“Gary this is my oldest brother Mark.”
Gary stuck out his hand, and the older guy did the same. He kind of gave Gary the hairy eye ball and squeezed Gary’s hand hard during the shake Sharon caught his actions and yelled at him. “Mark you big dumb lunk get in the car Mark.”
“Nice meeting you.” Mark said as he turned away and placed Sharon’s bags in the back of the SUV.
“He doesn’t like me.” Gary said as Sharon hugged him.
“He was just doing the ‘big brother’ thing. He will like you because I like you.” She stated only inches away from his face. “Don’t go solving those next clues without me.”
“As if I could, I don’t have any idea what the resistors mean.” He replied, then stopped and looked at her and realized how happy he was at that moment. Then he leaned towards her and they kissed, a little bit longer than last night.
“I will see you on New Year’s Eve.” Gary said trying to sound suave, but thinking he came of a little pathetic and needy.
“You betcha Tiger.”