THE GOLD WATCH
By Forrest Wayne Schultz
I had always wanted a gold watch – a watch with a beautiful face and hands and numbers enclosed in a gold case that opened when you pressed that special button at the top – a watch like my father had when I was a boy. This fond childhood memory suddenly surfaced when the lawyer placed such a gold watch before me, informing me I was inheriting it from a benefactor who had died a few minutes ago. I was also inheriting all of this man’s other wealth – his magnificent house and land, his BMW, his stock portfolio, and his bank account. In fact, all of these had been put into my name a number of years ago. As per his instructions, I was just now finding out about this. In return for his largesse, this man asked me – but did not require me – to undertake a certain task, namely, that I prevent a woman from being murdered!
The matter became even weirder as the lawyer unfolded the details. The benefactor does NOT know who the woman is or any facts about her except that she will soon be murdered unless I prevent it! And, one more thing – somehow (he knew not how) the Gold Watch will help me to prevent this murder. After signing the pertinent legal documents and receiving the keys to the house and BMW, I thanked the lawyer, told him I would try to prevent this murder, although I do not see how I could do so if I did not even know who the intended victim was, plus I have no experience in criminology. As soon as I left the lawyer’s office, I went to check out my new house and the ten acres of land surrounding it.
My adventure began after I sat down in one of the chairs in the yard behind the house. It was a beautiful sunny day. I pulled out my gold watch, which looked especially gorgeous in the bright sunlight. After I closed the case and was about to put it back into my pocket, I suddenly heard, emanating from the top of the hill adjacent to the back yard, a shriek followed by a thump as a man standing there placed his hands over his eyes, and then fell and rolled down the opposite side of the hill into the river at its base. By the time I ran up the hill and looked down the other side I saw him being devoured by an enormous crocodile. Noting the position and brightness of the sun and where I was sitting holding the watch, I concluded that the sunlight must have bounced off of the case of my gold watch into the man’s eyes, temporarily blinding him and causing him to fall. I then noticed that near where he had been standing there was a picnic table on which there was a briefcase. When I opened the briefcase I found in it a document containing information about a woman: her name and address, photos, and a biographical sketch. Was the woman referred to in the document in the briefcase the woman who was to be the victim of the planned assassination? That is what it looked like.
If so, this answered the question of the identity of the woman who was the intended victim of the murder, and the role of the gold watch in helping to prevent her murder. But I did not know if the man who had died was the assassin or the man who was on his way to deliver the information to the assassin. (And I did not know who the party was who had hired the assassin.) And, why was the man standing on the hill behind my house? If he was the assassin, why was he not proceeding on his way to the house of his intended victim (which was several miles north of here)? And, if he was the info delivery man, why was he not going to meet the assassin? Had this man been placing me or my house under surveillance? (And, if so, why was he standing there is broad daylight where anyone could see him?) I was getting hot standing here in the sun, so I took the briefcase with its document with me and walked down to my house and sat down in the study there to ponder the situation and to try to determine my next move.
My pondering was unproductive. I was reminded of an expression which was popular back in the sixties: “I am getting nowhere fast!”. Immediately after I gave up, I received a phone call from my old friend Jenna, whose voice brightened my day. Jenna is an excellent FBI agent whose fine qualities were exhibited in the episode I recounted right after it occurred in 2008 (see The Strange Old Man and The Purple Ring). She began her conversation by quickly telling me that our mutual friend, Corrie Belle Adams, would be receiving her Ph. D. degree in June. Then she got to the main reason for her call.
I was utterly astonished when she told me that the FBI had uncovered a plot to assassinate a woman here on my property this afternoon, namely the Welcome Wagon lady who would be visiting then. AND, when she told me the name of this woman, I almost had a heart attack: it was the SAME woman named on the document I found in the briefcase!! I was so stunned I could not speak, which was good, I guess, because Jenna continued non-stop telling me the details of the op planned by the FBI which would be put into place as soon as they arrived here, which would be in about ten minutes. Then she hurriedly said “goodbye” to which I replied with my own “goodbye”.
I was so nervous I could not relax so I went into the back yard and sat down again in the same chair I had earlier and decided to calm myself and get my mind off of this latest revelation by getting out my watch and enjoying its splendor and beauty. AND THEN – I know you will NOT believe this, but I swear it really happened: the same thing that happened before – the sunlight bounced off of my watch blinding the eyes of a tough looking man standing on the hill (who looked like the other one), after which he shrieked, fell down the hill on the other side into the river and was devoured by another crocodile!! Then I remembered one thing Jenna had said in her conversation: the leaders of the bad guy assassin gang were called THE TWIN TOUGHIES. I calmed myself quickly and did solve part of the puzzle of all this – from where each of them stood they could not be seen from the house, and from where I was sitting in my back yard they could not see me or my chair.
From this I concluded that each of these two “toughies” had been surveilling my property from the spot where I was standing, which is the ideal vantage point for this purpose. And then, using my binoculars, I saw a surprising thing. Near the top of the tallest tree in the front yard was an old tree house which appeared to still be in good shape. Immediately thereafter I saw a man climbing the tree and entering this tree house in a prone position, which was necessary because (although the tree house was quite wide and long) it was not high, which is to be expected since it was made for very small children. The man then, from the case he was carrying, withdrew the parts of a sniper rifle which he rapidly assembled. He positioned himself so that the rifle was aimed toward the walkway leading to the front of the house.
Fortunately, I could not be seen by this man, but, nevertheless, I walked very slowly and quietly toward and then into the back of the house. I was so nervous I was having trouble holding my phone steady enough to call Jenna. I finally calmed down enough to try to make the call, but then she called me. My voice was shaking as I told her of the sniper. She was very excited and super-happy, exclaiming, “You just did the first part of our job for us: we do not need to look for the sniper!”. She was profuse with thanks, which I greatly appreciated but was still very nervous.
Based on what I had told her, she decided to keep all of the agents off the property except for herself and one other agent, who entered the property from the footpath at the peak of the hill, so as not to be observable by the sniper. They then each positioned themselves where they could easily aim their rifles to take out the sniper. They decided to fire simultaneously at exactly 12 Noon (a few minutes hence) when the nearby camponile would begin its loud chiming. And, thus it was. Both shots were “spot on”, and the sniper was taken out. And the sound of the rifles’ firing was masked by the camponile.
Jenna then divided her crew into two teams: one team to recover the body of the sniper and his rifle, and to take them to headquarters; and the second team to search the house and property to be certain no criminals were present. (None were found.) This team then was organized and posted around the perimeter of the property to prevent any criminals from entering. None did. And, the Welcome Wagon lady’s visit at 3 PM went off without a hitch.
In the meantime the FBI learned the location of the criminals hideout but when they arrived they found that the four remaining criminals in the gang had committed suicide when they learned that the sniper had been taken out. And someone, it is not clear who, spread a rumor that the Toughie Twins had fled the country – I have no idea how that was done, but ANYWAY there was no more threat to the lady.
I never told anyone about the Gold Watch, so it did not get any credit but it told me it did not care – it had satisfaction in knowing it had done right and accomplished a great feat. And, of course, it must not be forgotten that silence is golden, right??!!
And, of course, it was so good to see Jenna again, and to learn the good news about Corrie Belle, so I was rewarded in that way as well as from the property I inherited.
Grantville, Georgia, USA, Earth, Solar System, Galaxy, Universe
April 18, 2015