Madeline remains at large.
I know she’s still out there, somewhere, and there have even been unconfirmed sightings by ALERT CITIZENS like you. Also the psychic I hired assured me that Madeline is “near a large body of water” (Sounds like Cape Ann, right?) and then she told me that my long-dead uncle Tommy wants me to place some bets for him at Suffolk Downs. She handed me this long list of horses and a racing form, but no money to bet with. Yup, that’s Tommy all right. No doubt about it. So we’re assuming she’s right about the bike too.
For my part, I have executed the search up to this point using the investigative techniques I learned as a kid growing up in the late 70’s and 80’s who was allowed to watch way, way too much television. Based on the lessons imparted by unending episodes of cop shows I have done the following:
1. Talked to “Spleen.” Spleen is a buddy of mine and he knows the used bike scene in Gloucester. Though he had no leads and assured me that there is no “word on the street” regarding my bike, rule one in 70’s cop-show investigations is start with a dude who has a weird nickname.
2. Worked the cab drivers. They see everything and know everybody. In this case they had seen nothing and new no one. It’s more of a general principle than an effective strategy.
3. Hung with the homeless. They have time and tend to be pretty aware of what’s going on in the street. A surprising finding in this case is how much they know about bikes. A couple of the guys I spoke to asked me pretty sophisticated questions regarding frame size and sprocket sets. Thought for later: some kind of bike rally to benefit the homeless would be pretty cool, but of course I need my bike back first. Shelved.
4. Went to the most crime-riddles establishment in town and bought a drink. That would be the rainbow slush I bought at the Maplewood 7/11. No sign of the bike nor any persons of interest (though there were some interesting persons). They were also out of those awesome straw-spoon combos and I had to use a regular straw. Got one of those “brain freeze” cold headaches. Left.
5. Drove around looking accusingly at anyone one a bike. I have checked out every bike that remotely fit the description, peered over fences and into alleys, under fire escapes, I went to the Cape Ann Museum in search of Fibonacci Sequence-based messages encoded on the backs of the Winslow Homers in case a cult-like sect of bike thieves had it in a secret chamber under Harbor Loop as part of some ancient, mysterious ritual. Was asked to leave. Think they are hiding something.
There are a couple of things I have not tried, but are indicated when using the “Starsky and Hutch” method:
1. Roughing up a pimp. I don’t know any pimps and don’t want to (isn’t that all on Craigslist now?) If I see one riding my bike be assured I won’t hesitate in roughing him up. Otherwise, I’m just going to let that one slide.
2. Jailhouse conversation. Are there bike snitches? Is there a guy on the inside who used to roll with someone who carried a pair of industrial cable cutters and had a notable disability when it came to judging which bikes have actual value and which ones are 80’s relics with new tires and a couple of stickers? Does he want some time off his sentence or, more realistically, some Doritos from the snack machine?
3. Car chase. I drive a Subaru and the all-wheel-drive system makes it impossible to squeal around corners. So that’s out.
The investigation has hit a wall. I still need the help of ALERT CITIZENS to help me find Madeline and return her to our family lest I begin drawing elaborate maps that connect the site of the greasy pole before its collapse, the bike rack where Madeline was stolen from, the Fitz Hugh Lane house and the building in Anisquam where Alpheus Hyatt wrote “Evolution of the Cephalopoda”. Don’t you people see how it all fits together? How it all makes sense? (No, I will not calm down)Can’t you see what it’s leading up to? ARE YOU BLIND?
Anyway, at that point I’ll have to turn over my badge and then finish it “my way”. I know we all want to avoid that, so if you’ve seen my bike please let me know.