Robert Thornhill
Lady Justice and Good vs Evil


Lady Justice and Good vs Evil

Walt has a mysterious box hidden in his safe. He has been told it contains a device that

can beeither a blessing or a curse to mankind depending on who possess it.

    A Dr. Skinner comes to Kansas City and convinces Walt that he will use the device

for altruistic endeavors.

    But others covet the device for more clandestine purposes.

    It is the classic confrontation of good vs evil.

    The question is: which one will possess the device in the end?

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    I had just parked and was heading into our local Buy Mart to pick up a new supply of toilet paper, toothpaste, and a list of life’s other essentials when I spotted two young black men standing toe-to-toe with two elderly men.

   It was quite obvious that it was not a pleasant confrontation.

    One of the young men was poking one of the old guys in the chest.

    “I don’t give a damn if you are some kind of retard! That don’t give you no right to stick your nose in other people’s business!”

    Being an old fart myself, I usually make it a practice not to get involved in volatile situations, but this looked like it could get ugly fast and the old dudes were scared to death and at a definite disadvantage. 

    I decided, against my better judgement, to intervene.

    “Uhhh, excuse me. What seems to be the problem here?”

    The guy poking gave me a scowl. “This ain’t none of your business. Butt out!”

    The man not being poked offered an explanation.

    “My friend here is autistic. Sometimes he says inappropriate things. He doesn’t mean to be hurtful. He just can’t help it. I tried to explain, but ---.”

    “What in the world did he say?”

    The other young man spoke up. “He disrespected us. He said we looked ridiculous. He ain’t got no right to say stuff like that.”

    It was then I noticed that the two young men’s pants were hanging below their butt cheeks, exposing most of their colorful boxers.

    Unfortunately, the first thing that popped into my mind was the words to the song introduced by Larry Platt on the TV show, American Idol.


    Pants on the ground
    Pants on the ground
    Lookin’ like a fool with yo pants on the ground 


    I had to agree that they did look ridiculous, but I wasn’t about to say so.

    “Look, I’m sure this gentleman didn’t mean any harm. If he apologized could we make all this go away?”

    He thought for a moment. “Yeah, I guess.”

    I looked hopefully at the man. “How about an apology?”

    “Absolutely not!” he replied haughtily. “I’m not about to apologize for stating the truth.”

    “See!” the kid retorted, “he’s disrespecting us again!”

    I could see this was going nowhere. I decided to explain the situation in terms the kid could relate to.

    “Did you ever have a friend get totally wasted and puke in your car?”

    I could see the wheels turning. “Yeah, so what?”

    “Did you rough him up for disrespecting your ride?”

    “Course not! He couldn’t help it. He was drunk.”

    “Well, that’s what we have here. This gentleman just puked on your ego, but just like your friend, he couldn’t help it because of his condition. You’re a bright guy. Surely you can see it’s the same thing.”

    The second kid pulled on his sleeve. “I remember you pukin’ in DeAndre’s car. He didn’t do nothin’ but gag a lot.”

    The first kid pondered the situation. “Yeah, I guess. Let’s get out of here Jerome.”

    Without another word, they turned and walked away.

    “Well, that was unsettling,” the man said. “Thank you for your help. My name is Jacob Watson and this is Dr. Buford Skinner.”

    “Doctor?” I said, a bit puzzled. “I thought you said ---.”

    “Yes, Dr. Skinner is autistic, but he is a world-renowned neuroscientist. He’s what is known as an autistic savant.”

    “I see,” I replied, handing him my card. “Walt Williams. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

    Dr. Skinner grabbed my card, read it, then gave me the once-over. “Hummph! Private Investigator. Aren’t you a bit long in the tooth for that kind of work?”

    “Dr. Skinner!” Watson moaned. “I’m so sorry Mr. Williams. As you have witnessed, one of Dr. Skinner’s quirks is blurting out what he believes to be the truth. It can be quite embarrassing.” Then he looked at the retreating men with baggy pants. “And sometimes even dangerous.”

    “Not a problem. Call me Walt. Actually Dr. Skinner is spot on. I’m seventy-five which is indeed unusual for a private investigator. I’ve tried retiring three times. I’m just not very good at it.”

    Watson looked at his watch. “My goodness! We have an appointment in fifteen minutes. We must run along. Thank you again for your intervention. I’m not sure what would have happened without your assistance.”

    “Glad to help. Have a good day.”

    As they walked away, I heard Dr. Skinner. “Watson! Surely you agree that anyone with a lick of sense would think such attire is ridiculous!”

   Indeed! I thought. But most people with a lick of sense would keep their mouth shut!



      After distributing the purchases I made at Buy Mart, I decided to take a quick siesta. A self-employed gumshoe with no clients can do that.

    The moment the word siesta entered my mind, I thought about a joke my tenant, Jerry, had told me one day. 

    “Two Mexican guys were talking. One says to the other, ‘Are you going to siesta today?’ The other guy replies, ‘Not today. Her husband is home.’”

    Jerry is one of the tenants in my apartment building and fancies himself as the second coming of Rodney Dangerfield. He’s always trying out his new material on the rest of us in preparation for his weekly amateur gig at the Comedy Club.

    Well crap! I thought. Once Jerry’s stupid joke started rattling around in my mind, I just couldn’t fall asleep. 

    Since I couldn’t ‘see Esta’ I figured I might as well do something productive.

    My wife, Maggie, is a real estate agent with City Wide Realty and I knew she would be working late with an out of town client.

    I decided to prepare my signature dish, tuna casserole, and have it piping hot on the table when she arrived. It never hurts to build up brownie points with the missus.

    I was just pulling it out of the oven when she walked in the door.

    “Hmmm,” she said, sniffing the air. “I smell tuna casserole. Walt, what have you done now or what lamebrain thing are you planning to do?”

    Unfortunately, on more than one occasion, I had prefaced some uncomfortable conversation with my tuna casserole.

    “Absolutely nothing! I just wanted to have a nice hot meal ready for my hard-working wife.”

    She looked skeptical. I had used that line a few times before as well.

    “Why don’t you get comfortable and I’ll pour us a couple of glasses of Arbor Mist?”

    She rolled her eyes. “Arbor Mist too! It must be pretty bad.”

    “I’m innocent! I promise!”

    “Sure you are. We’ll see.”

    When we were seated, she looked me in the eye. “Well, let’s hear it.”

    “There’s nothing, I swear. Tell me about your day. Did you meet your new buyer?”

    “I did,” she replied, shaking her head, “and it was quite interesting. There were two of them. Two men. They had the strangest request. They were looking for a secure building to start a business of some kind.”

    “Secure? What kind of business?”

    “I still don’t know. They were very secretive. They just said it had to be a secure structure to protect their product.”

    “That is a bit strange.”

    “That’s not the strangest part. One of the men was some kind of autistic savant.”

    I almost choked on my tuna casserole. “I don’t suppose your buyers were Dr. Buford Skinner and Jacob Watson?”

    Now Maggie almost choked. “How could you possibly know that?”

    I told her about my encounter with the two men at Buy Mart. “They hurried off saying they were late for an appointment. I guess that was you.”

    “Unbelievable!” she replied. “Hearing your story about Dr. Skinner’s quirk explains what happened to me. As we were parting, he very matter-of-factly stated that I had a very fine ass for a woman my age.”

    I had just taken a swig of Arbor Mist which squirted out my nose as I was overcome with a fit of laughter.

    “I suppose you think that’s funny,” she asked, indignantly.

    “No, not at all,” I said, trying to compose myself. “Watson said that Dr. Skinner will say anything he believes is true even if it’s inappropriate. In this case he is absolutely correct. You do have a very fine ass!”

    “You’re incorrigible!”

    “If it’s any comfort, he told me I was too old to be a private investigator.”

    That made her smile. “Well, maybe he was right on both counts.”

    “So, did you find him a building?”

    “Actually, I did. I found a location where a bank went belly-up. As soon as they saw the huge walk-in vault they were sold. They wrote an offer right on the spot --- cash!”

    “Congratulations! I’m still curious about what kind of business would need a bank vault.”

    “Me too. Maybe we’ll find out more when they close escrow.”

    After the supper dishes were done and the left-over casserole put in the fridge, I made my move.

    “Dr. Skinner made a very bold statement about you. I think it is only fair for a third party to verify his hypothesis.”

    “I don’t suppose that third party would be you? He also said you were too old to be an investigator. Are you sure you can handle the job?”

    “Never know till we try,” I replied taking her hand.

    I’m proud to say that I satisfactorily completed my investigation and verified that Dr. Skinner’s hypothesis was spot on!