Short Story: Knocks the P.I. – The Case of the Golden Engine (Part 1)

This is the first part of a three part short story

Knocks leaned back in his chair and put his feet up on his desk. It had been slow lately at the agency he was the sole employee/employer of, but that allowed him time to sit back and relax. Relaxing was rare for him. Graphing, not so rare, but relaxing, yes. A slight breeze from his open window rustled the trenchcoat on the coat rack. Knocks barely looked up. There was a rasp on his office door. He barely looked up. Someone walked in. He barely looked up. A feminine voice, full of inquisitiveness and passion, spoke. He looked up.

“Mr. Knocks?” said the lady who had entered the small office of Knocks, whose mother had a sense of humor and whose father was just happy to have a son after 3 girls. Knocks sized up the woman. Well-dressed for her age, so obviously she has money. Speaks in an accent from outside Canopy City, maybe lost in the big, bad city. A look of trepidation, caution on her face. And she has huge ears. Knocks was a sucker for female Dirigibles with huge ears. And Knocks knew that he would be a sucker for anything this lady asked of him. Directions, a meal, what pi is to a thousand places.

Knocks took his feet of his desk and sat up. “It’s just Knocks, no mister. Other than that, it is indeed me, ma’am. What can I do for you?”

The woman stepped further into his office. “I’m Malory Towers. Are you a P.I.?”

Knocks pointed to the glass on his door. “That’s what my door says. ‘Knocks: Principle Investigator.’ Since I am Knocks, that must mean I am a P.I. as well.”

The look of unease on Malory’s face collapsed. So did Malory herself. In a quick motion, Knocks sprung from his chair, over his desk and caught the falling Dirigible. He placed her in the guest chair, which meant it had the least amount of duct tape on it. He went to get the smell NaCls. As he waved them underneath her nose, she came to. Her ears twitched. Knocks tried not to stare.

“Oh my, that was embarrassing. It is just that I have been under so much stress and pressure lately,” Malory moaned.

“A pretty girl like yourself under duress? Why, that is a crime against nature!”

“You would think so, but I deserve it. I am the lead on a development team over at Westview Aerocorp and my bosses have been on me to upgrade our internal combustion engines. Our current system keeps encountering unstart problems at different altitudes. It has a very limited range of use. I have done the usual song and dance, talking about bypass ratios, piston efficiencies, and the like, but they want more. No, they want new.” Malory shook her head. “I’m a scientist in industry. I don’t do new.”

“So you called up the best P.I. in town to investigate a new engine type?” Knocks asked.

“Yes. But he already had another case, so I came to you.”

“Damn that Mit,” exclaimed Knocks

“So, can you help, Mr. Knocks?”

“Please, call me Knocks. No one considers me a mister ‘round here. And yes, I can help. Can you pay?”

Malory looked shocked. “My, you are direct!”

“I have to be in this field. Too often my investigations are cutoff prematurely when the money stops trickling in. Leads to unfinished results, which leads to unfinished thoughts, which leaves me with bad dreams.”

Malory opened her purse and fished out a checkbook. “Luckily, we have room in our budget this financial year for this sorta activity. It is so uncouth that a woman of stature must come to a P.I., but it is an acknowledged avenue of research. How does this amount sound?” Malory scribbled something on a check, tore it out of the book, and handed it to Knocks

Knocks looks at the check. “Sounds like I’ll be having a good time at the bar tonight.”

Once again, Malory looked shocked. “So you are going to spend it all on booze then? What about my engine?”

“I’ll only be at the bar tonight because I’ll be celebrating another case closed. This is more than enough to help me come up with a new engine for you, Mrs. Towers.”

“Good.” Malory got up and headed for the door. Before leaving, she turned around and winked at Knocks “And it’s ‘Ms. Towers.’ I’m not married.” Malory left the office after that remark, twitching her ears.

After a few minutes, staring at Malory leaving then staring at his feet, Knocks walked over to his trenchcoat and put it on. He then walked over to his closest and from a varied collection of fedoras picked the one that would most clash with his trenchcoat.

With a grin on his face, Knocks remarked, “To the library!”

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One Response to “Short Story: Knocks the P.I. – The Case of the Golden Engine (Part 1)”

  1. Tweets that mention Short Story: Knocks the P.I. – The Case of the Golden Engine (Part 1) « Creative Bender -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sean Nixon, The Baffling One. The Baffling One said: Starting early today, since I will be out of Twitter contact later. New #HollowOakUniversity story, starring #KnocksPI: http://bit.ly/cFvpR7 […]

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