23 May 2006

Section 1: I was fifty-five when I decided to become an acrobat.

In this section, we open with Dag hanging out a window six stories above the Seattle waterfront with one foot on a telephone wire. We don’t know how he got there, but he proceeds to back up to the beginning and introduce himself as a private investigator. He doesn’t go into how he became a PI, but we gather that he likes the freedom, he is single, and he is pretty happy with his job. He’s not a depressed boozer trying to forget the past. He does more shuffling paper in his investigations than footwork, doesn’t carry a weapon, and is dealing with all the problems of aging into his mid-fifties. He introduces the start of his story with the entrance of his client, in classic detective story prose. Something like:

She walked into my office without knocking, smelling like a spring breeze in a lilac garden. Her maturity and command presence made you forget that we live in a world that idolizes youth and beauty. She was the kind of woman that made you want to stand up straight and say “Yes ma’am.”
“Are you Dag Hamilton?” she asked looking me square in the eye.
“Yes ma’am,” I said, standing behind my desk. I completely forgot to say “Who’s asking?”

So we get the commission from the lady to find her missing husband. She has a box full of clues (to be determined) that lead her to believe he was not completely in his right mind when he left, even possibly under duress. But, of course, the police would think that was the obvious complaint of a woman in denial over her husband leaving her.

We get into the first phase of the investigation and Dag discovers that this isn’t going to be a simple matter of checking flight records. He’s going to have to go into some places at some times that he doesn’t trust. On one such outing, he discovers he’s walked down a blind alley. Realizing his mistake, he starts to retrace his steps but is clobbered over the head and is knocked out. End of Section One.