THE BARGE

(CONT’D) “I see. To solve this enigma we need to see the barge.”
“Sure. You can get to know my partner.”
An hour later they approach a man who is next to an old barge moored at an East River pier. Sirens of tugboats and steam boats are heard. The man in the sailor cap makes the introductions: “This is my partner Tommy Grunter. These guys are from a detective agency.”
“I guess you are here because of Bob’s mysterious disappearance…” says Tommy.
“Tell us how it happened.”
“We were sailing to Greenburgh when I suddenly turned around and he was gone. I thought he had fallen into the river. In fact, I gave up on him until yesterday when he showed up at my cabin.”
“Let’s get on board.”
The four of them get into the barge.
“I know that there are usually mice in boat,” Michael says, “but this is a bit much!”
“Mice is the merchandise we usually transport. There is a company in Greenburgh that commercialize them.”
“Do they sell mice?” asks Michael puzzled.
“They paint them in yellow, teach them how to sing and make them pass off as singing canaries.”
“A clever scam! Have you noticed the disappearance of some mouse lately? I mean: have you been staring at a mouse and suddenly “plop!”, it has vanished?”
“I’ve witnessed this several times, now that you mention it.”
“Didn’t you find it strange?”
“Well, I thought their time had come.”
“The time comes for all of us. But we don’t make “plop!”. We simply die.”
Suddenly there’s a shout that makes them shudder.
“He has done it again!” Jacob is repeating on a loop. “He has gone to eat gherkins in Arkansas!” (TO BE CONTINUED)

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