Extremely Average #33: Henry Wood Detective Agency_Tuesday

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Blog entry by Ecocandle posted 02-04-2010 05:27 AM 1700 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 32: Thanks Everyone Part 33 of Extremely Average series Part 34: Henry Wood Detective Agency: Wednesday »

The next day Henry arrived at his office bright and early. Francis wasn’t in yet, as he preferred to roll out of bed at the crack of noon. It was quiet and Henry took out the pencil and a pad of paper. He looked at the pencil again and then used it to write down 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 23. He added the number s up and they equaled 41. Next he assigned each number a letter, a, b, c, e, g, y. Leaning back he pondered his first two attempts, scratched his head, and dismissed them.

Twenty minutes and three more dismissed theories later, the sound of heels on the hardwood hallway floor caught Henry’s attention. He was a bit of an expert on the gait of people. He could tell when it was Francis, he could tell when Big Mike was coming, and he could tell that it was a woman who strode with confidence. The door opened. She stood there momentarily, as if to say, I am here, take me in, I am marvelous. Wearing a Dior dress she had a figure that made an hour glass self conscious and she knew it. She walked in and set her tiny purse on the corner of the desk and asked, “Are you Henry Wood?” in a voice that was dark and hypnotic.

With a nod Henry motioned to the chair. She sat down and crossed her legs. Boy could she cross a leg. Henry got up and checked the thermostat. “It seems you have me at a disadvantage?”

“I am Miss Culberson. I need your help and your discretion.”

“What exactly do you need help with?”

“My father recently passed away…” she said with a pause for a respect full sigh.

“I am sorry” Henry said.

“It is ok, it has been a month now, I have grown accustom to the emptiness of the house. The reason I need your help, is that there are some issues with the estate.”

“Issues?” Henry said with the voice he reserved for those occasions when he knew he was being fed a line, but didn’t want the feeder to know. It was slightly lower with just a smidgeon of empathy.

“Mr. Wood, my father may have occasionally been creative with his books, but he was a good man. There is a man at the law firm we use, who seems to have it out for my father and now me.”

“Which firm is that?”

“Smith, Havershome and Blickstein in town and the man is Mr. Alexander, I think he is an accountant or something.” She said, with a casualness that was a bit too casual. Henry considered taking offense at her remark about Manhattan being ‘in town’, as if Brooklyn wasn’t, but her legs were really well crossed.

“Why do you think he is out to get you?” Henry asked while trying not to look at her legs and intrigued that yet another person is looking for Mr. Alexander.

“He has been keeping a journal.”

“An accounting journal, being kept by an accountant that seems pretty standard, wouldn’t you say?” Henry said, hoping to pry something out of her.

“I believe he had found some irregularities in my father’s books, some tiny little omissions, and he wants to ruin my father’s good name and me in the process.” She said with another, albeit sadder sigh. Apparently the thought of losing her inheritance was worse than losing her father.

“Why don’t you just go to the partners and ask them to straighten him out? Surely they wouldn’t want to lose you as a client.” Henry asked, knowing that she would have a polished and prepared answer, but he liked to hear her talk.

“They don’t know where he is. It seems he didn’t show up for work yesterday. I need you to find him and get that Journal!” She said, this time, with an air of entitlement.

“What makes you think I can find him?”

“I have been told that you are looking for him already. I just ask that when you find him, you bring the journal to me. I will pay you five thousand dollars. Here is half now and half when you deliver.” She said and stood, handing Henry a plain envelope, grabbed her purse and left.

Now he had one job, two clients, and six crazy numbers. The rest of the morning consisted of a trip to the diner for a cup of joe and lots of dead end ideas regarding the pencil clue. Shortly after noon, Francis was coming down the hall with his buddy Don, a photographer at the Brooklyn Daily News. Henry popped his head out and said, “Hello Gents, any good news today?”

“Is there ever?” scoffed Don. He spent most nights prowling the streets looking for seedy scoops. Francis just shrugged.
“Hey let me you ask you guys something?” Henry nodded towards his office.

“Sure Ace” what is it. Don called Henry and everyone else Ace. He was bad with names.

Francis, Don and Henry filed back into the office and Henry read off the numbers. Francis shrugged again. If he couldn’t eat it, he just did care. Don said, “They are all prime numbers.”

“I hadn’t noticed that.” Henry said, giving Don a nod of appreciation.

Don looked at the pencil and mused, “I wonder why there are 4 missing primes?”

The confused look on Henry’s face, told Don he should elaborate. “11, 13, 17 and 19, are between 7 and 23.”

“There are 4 missing numbers.” Henry said out loud, but mostly to himself. “I wonder…” and his voice trailed off.

Don and Francis could tell that Henry’s wheels were turning so they headed across the hall. Henry needed some wood time, so he grabbed his overcoat and hat and headed home.

When he got there the closet was empty, as it was most days. He took a piece of oak and rubbed his hand over it. What would this be good for? Henry thought to himself. He grabbed a ruler and a non-clue pencil and made some marks. The wheels were still turning.

The little piece of wood seemed to want to be turned into a tool holding device. Henry wanted to use the rare earth magnets he had bought some time ago, so he decided he would combine them with the oak and hang it on the wall. He carefully marked out the spots. He would use his Fostner bits, to drill out holes for the magnets. A quick practice hole in a piece of scrap and he was ready. The seven holes drilled out easily. Henry screwed in a magnet holder and was inches from plopping in a magnet when he realized that once it was in, he wouldn’t be able to get it out. Those suckers really stick together and the screw would have been hidden under the magnet. It was almost a blunder, but his brain was thinking several steps ahead, just like Mr. Alexander seemed to be doing.

Henry sanded the board for an hour and now was considering if he should stain it. He had some General Finishes Georgian Cherry Gel Stain that had mysteriously appeared in the closet. He wasn’t sure exactly how to use it, so he decided to think about it for a day or so.
Like a bolt of lightning out of a clear blue sky the number 17 jumped out at him. He felt like the fog was slowly clearing. He was suddenly overcome with hunger and set out to find some dinner.

He sat down at the kitchen table and pondered out loud, “Mr. Alexander knew I would go to his office. He knew I would notice the pencil. He is a cautious and meticulous man. He wouldn’t just write down the clue. He would hide the clue.” Henry was now convinced that the real clue was 11, 13, 17 and 19.

-- Brian Meeks,

17 comments so far

View sras's profile


5036 posts in 3459 days

#1 posted 02-04-2010 05:51 AM

Now I have to start over with new numbers!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4320 days

#2 posted 02-04-2010 06:15 AM

So, I guess you know I can’t go to bed now until I read this blog. And, I’m already depressed because Monk quit on me. (I was usually about 92% sure who done it about 85% of the time.) Now I read this and it’s about an accountant who seems to have done it and I’m an accountant too. Right now I’m only 75% sure that the projects Henry works on are what you’re working on about 60% of the time. (If that’s right, be sure you don’t accidentally strike your rare earth magnets too hard with the metal tools because they can shatter rather violently I’m told.) And I’ve got no clue who done what. Anyway, I’m just wondering if this is a mystery like the season 1 or 2 Monks that you could figure out if you paid close attention to the details as the show went on but, who done it was sort of unexpected. Or, is this like the last two or three seasons where you new up front who done it and the mystery was in how Monk was going to catch them. I much preferred the early Monks so I could figure it out before the wife and kids. But, if this is an early Monk, I’m going to be really depressed because it’s just not clicking. So, Brian, should I be breaking out my Excel and plotting alphabet numbers forward and backward, reading some numerology sites, and checking out some cypher books at the library or what?


-- Jim

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3395 days

#3 posted 02-04-2010 06:42 AM


I am sorry to have become a pediment to your sleep. I know how cats love their naps. I had two magnets find one another tonight and the one did break into 4 pieces. I was careful after thant. Yes, the woodworking bits are my real projects. It is just more fun to tell my woodworking stories this way…I hope.

As for what is to come, I am not saying. It seems that people are enjoying the story, so I may let it run a while. I will occasionally have posts like yesterday, to take days off from the pulp.

Don was very clever in figuring out the ‘missing numbes’ a couple of days ago, so I decided to include him in the story, as the photographer. I hope he doesn’t mind.


-- Brian Meeks,

View Bill729's profile


241 posts in 3411 days

#4 posted 02-04-2010 07:37 AM

To be honest, i really want to focus on your woodworking content—but the story gets in the way for me. I am interested in your woodworking experience because we are both sort of beginners at that. I know I’m not your only reader so keep having fun, if you are (it looks like a lot of work!). I’m looking forward to seeing the results of your next efforts even if you just do experiments with new tools.


View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3395 days

#5 posted 02-04-2010 07:42 AM


I appreciate that feedback. If there are other people out there who are tired of the story, I can wrap it up. I am flexible. :-)

So leave a comment. I am listening, so to speak, I am actually reading, but you get the idea.


-- Brian Meeks,

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 4043 days

#6 posted 02-04-2010 08:10 AM

Lets not be in to big a hurry to kill off the story just when we get a nice little conflict of interest and the potential for a little fem fa tale peeking around the corner.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View Dez's profile


1167 posts in 4407 days

#7 posted 02-04-2010 08:30 AM

Brian, I enjoy the story as well as the woodworking. As for me keep up the good work! Both kinds.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View stefang's profile


16665 posts in 3664 days

#8 posted 02-04-2010 12:38 PM

Please keep the story going Brian. Any numbers above 3 tend to give me a headache, but I’m willing to make the sacrifice for the sake of the entertainment value.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3438 days

#9 posted 02-04-2010 04:36 PM

I will share a little anecdote, as I believe it relates to the question of your blogs Brian.

Those out there, that may still remember the Marx brothers should be familiar with Harpo, the silent, buggy horn blowing harpist. When he was young, he found an old harp that belonged to the family and taught himself to play it. He had no musical training, he just experimented. Years later, he decided he wanted to know the proper way to tune and play the instrument, so he hired a musician to teach him. His tutor spent a session watching him tune the harp and adamantly refused to teach him anything. Why? Because Harpo’s style and methods were so unique he did not want to spoil that magic by teaching him conventional methods.

So, in that spirit Brian, I would have to say don’t change a thing. We all have our methods of working and exhibiting our work. I would have to say your method is one of the most unique and creative of the lot. So I, for one, would not want to suggest anything that would interfere with that process. It is your mojo. You use your magic as you see fit.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View wayne's profile


6 posts in 3386 days

#10 posted 02-04-2010 04:41 PM

I too look forward to the ‘stay tuned for the next installment’ .. Thanks also for the woodworking as well,,

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3395 days

#11 posted 02-04-2010 04:42 PM

It seems that the votes are leaning towards ‘remain on course’. The polls are still open if you wish to chime in.

-- Brian Meeks,

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4215 days

#12 posted 02-04-2010 06:24 PM

Keep it going, ‘remain on course’.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3395 days

#13 posted 02-04-2010 07:48 PM

Thanks to my Mom, who correctly pointed out that I used ‘gate’ and not ‘gait’. She is so smart.

-- Brian Meeks,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4490 days

#14 posted 02-04-2010 08:06 PM

David—deep and powerful story.

Here’s to “mojo”.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3445 days

#15 posted 02-04-2010 08:11 PM

Hmmmm don´t take away one of my little 5min. of break
then I only have 3 left they are better than the television
so please let it continue I hate to change channel
it´s too much work to go from the chair and get the

have a plesent day with the wooden pen
I don´t hope there will come any dust in
the ink


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