Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Chapter 1

"Mac Mystery, The Code" by Mili Palmer, with help from other MacSTACers
Chapter 1 (Mili)

When he stood on his tip toes, Ben could just see the light from outside the building filtering into the windows of the Library meeting room where 25 Mac enthusiasts had concluded their monthly Thursday meeting one hour earlier. Ben, in a hurry to get home before the storm, had left his iPod shuffle on top of the piano. Just as he was about to shut the self-locking door, he remembered his player. The large room held just enough light for him to see the edge of the piano across the empty room. He pulled the high windowed door open from the hall and entered. Confident he could see his way to the piano, he traversed the large empty room without turning on the light and laid his hand on top of the antique upright piano. He slid his hand back and forth. He felt the small mechanism against his thumb knuckle but too late to stop the sweeping motion. It fell noisily to the floor. He thought about using the light at this end of the room but then thought of the storm. He got down on his knees and began sweeping again in wider circles. He saw the reflection of light from the nearest window glance off his treasure and picked it up carefully hoping the fall had not damaged it. He squinted to get a better look but was distracted by a noise off to the rear of the room. It sounded like it came from the kitchen behind the swinging door. He hesitated, held his breath for a moment to hear better. All was quiet once again. He pulled himself up with the help of the piano bench and walked back across the room. He waited for just a moment, thinking the sound was not familiar, and maybe the Library kitchen had attracted a mouse in from the cold. It was late and he was tired. Sue waited in the car with engine warming the air. She probably had the seat turned up to 75 degrees on a cold night like this he thought. He closed the hall door and walked to the Library entrance where he pushed the locking bar on the door. He was greeted by a blast of cold air and the lights of the car that Sue had positioned toward the sidewalk for him. He shivered, let go of the door behind him, and turned to check if it had locked. He felt responsible as the last one to leave the Library. Sue greeted him with a leftover cookie from the snacks they brought to the meeting and asked if he found it. "Yeah" he said, "right where I put it. Was a good meeting don't you think? Yes, but I wish more had paid their overdue Membership fees." It was a good turnout though and they seemed to enjoy the presentation. Ben drove the car slowly passed the railway Station, around the median and out toward the parkway. He signaled for the truck coming toward the exit to go first onto the highway. At 10:15 there weren't many cars on the road. A predicted storm was late in coming and for that, Ben was grateful. They arrived home 30 minutes later and had just emptied the computer paraphernalia from the car when the first wisps of snow landed on the hood, the house, the road, and the field.

Chapter 2

Chapter 2  (Mili)

Nancy had to use the tiny shovel from her car to clear a path to the Library entrance. Her shoes were already wet from walking to her garage an hour earlier. Regretting her decision to come early to get the Holiday decoration started before the 9 AM opening, Nancy fished for the Keys in her coat pocket, opened the door, entered the hall and pushed the steel lock bar down. She then unlocked the library door to the left. It was cool in the room full of books, computers, tables and chairs. She clicked on the light above the large Check Out desk area, squish padded behind the counter and pulled a bag from a small cubicle. It contained a sweater, socks, a pair of underpants, a box of Kleenex and a pair of slippers. She wriggled out of her heavy coat, put it on a hook in the back cubby hole and sat down to change footwear. She began her morning routine going into the rest area and making 10 cups of coffee., While it was perking she shuffled to the Children's section and checked the thermometer. It was a cool 64. She retraced her steps went out the door into the hall and headed for the large kitchen. Passing the entrance doors, she noticed a car pulling into the parking lot. Nancy hastened her pace not wanting to confront a patron that was an hour too early to enter. Why didn't she park the car around back as usual, she thought. Too much shoveling was her mind's quick answer. It was even cooler in the hall way leading to the kitchen door. She pushed the swinging door, reached her hand to the wall's light switch and lit the room. She squinted her eyes to read the numbers on the small device that controlled the entire library temperature. It read 63. Someone had turned it down. It would take at least 2 hours to bring this whole place up to 70 she thought as she reset the numbers. Before turning off the light, she glanced toward the swinging door leading to the Large Meeting Room. There was the overfilled garbage can and something behind it. She couldn't quite recognize it until she moved to the right and saw the shoes and bent knees. She froze, not knowing if someone had fallen asleep in the corner, passed out or been put there. When she caught her breath, not moving, she softly said Hello.....then louder, No response. She pushed the door out and ran back to the main room. Her slipper fell off just as she rounded the corner of the desk. She grabbed the phone and hit 911. After breathlessly answering questions for one minute she dropped the phone. Maybe the person was attacked, maybe. Dropping the phone, she grabbed her purse and ran toward the front door. Her heart began to pound as she fumbled for the key to the main entrance. She pushed open the library door to the hall. The passage way seemed darker and colder than before. Where is that key? Then, she remembered the push bar. With heart pounding louder the librarian pushed the bar which opened the entrance door. She felt the cold snow on her shoe less foot and threw her weight to the other foot as her slipper slid on ice. An arm caught her.

Chapter 3

Chapter 3  (Mili)


By morning everything was covered in white. Even the picket fence leading up the brick walk held dollops of snow on their points. Sue was grinding beans for the coffee maker. The kitchen, unlike the rest of the house, was warm and bright. The smell of fresh ground coffee beans tempted Ben from the cool bedroom into his chair at the head of the table. The bread baking in the oven had warmed the kitchen and the early morning light bouncing off the snow outside lit the windows like floodlights filling the room with sparkling beams from the bay window kitchenette to the windows overlooking the fields. "Good Morning, Sleepy head" she said, "Breakfast in a half hour. You want eggs poached or scrambled? When are you getting rid of that ratty bathrobe?" "Over easy and never." The telephone punctuated his statement. I'll get that he said as she poured the bean powder into Mr. Coffee. "Yeah, Hi Rich, I was hoping you'd call this morning. Two things to tell you other than we missed you at the meeting." He waited a minute then began again. "I hope you're feeling better soon, this Flu had both Sue and I down for a couple of weeks. Yes, thank you, the meeting went well. Some were quite impressed with your new computer. I wasn't too familiar with all the nicks and tricks but was able to give a decent presentation of its features. John was surprised at its memory capabilities as was I. I 'll be bringing it down to you today in the afternoon when the roads are clean. We haven't seen the plow yet out here in Woodland. Hold on a minute, I have another call coming in. Oh, It's just a Vestal number. Hello, Hello. They hung up. Looks familiar but I don't recollect it right now. I'll call them back . Maybe it's the Library. What did we do now? Rick, the other thing I wanted to speak to you about was the Holiday Party . We should get together some ideas for raffling and auctioning to raise more monies for the items we'll need for future presentations. The new products coming out are spectacular as are their prices. Wayne was hinting at new products and larger price tags in future at last nights preview of Things to Come. I wanted to talk to him after the meeting but he got a cell call and had a concerned look as he rushed out the door. I wondered what that was about." Ben motioned for Sue to pour him some coffee. "Tes, Chuck, Chris, Joan and Jerry asked the same question. I'll check it out later. Ben listened for a while nodding his head in agreement. They concluded the call with a tentative plan to bring new topics to next Tuesday's Board Meeting. Sue put the eggs with toast, coffee and Sunny Dee in front of Ben. The Snow's Plows engine began the climb up the road where Ben and Sue were eating breakfast. The purr gradually grew to a roar as tons of snow were shoved off the road into the gully and onto the drive engulfing the rear of the BMW. Sue watched the parade of two plows and a sander come and go following the roads creating a waterfall of slushy snow banks on the edge. Even the Police are out behind the Town trucks. The White Vestal Police car with it's green and gold logo stops at the edge of the road. A Policeman and a heavy set man in dark suit climbed out, took the path least snow, jumped the gully and headed up the walk. Sue knitted her eyebrows and said "What do they want?"