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Dragnet Mystery Theater: "Who is Professor Lightning?" Starring Lpgeoteacher

Some days hung over Diecast city like a huge black hand, slowly tightening it’s grip, squeezing the city until you could harly breath. It was Friday, eight-thirty AM, and my headache had increased considerably. I had not one, but two corpses, their images burning holes into my brain the shape of twin question marks. I also had a name in connection with the two deaths: Professor Lightning, engraved on a small brass lightning bolt that was pried from one of the victims hands. A victim, I might add, who was electrocuted while being held in one of our own jail cells. As if on cue, chain lightning leaped from one dark thundercloud to the next outside my office window. I gazed at my partner, Frank Smith, who was seated in front of my desk. My name is Joe Friday, detective sergeant. And though there are days when I wish it were otherwise, I wear a badge.

"What have you got there?" Frank asked.

I handed him a book: "The Dynamics of Diecasting." The author’s name was Professor Lightning. "Way I hear it," I said, "this book is supposed to be the best in the field."

"Any luck tracing the author?"

"The book was put out by Hankster Press, strictly a small press outfit, went under about three years ago when the owner/publisher passed away. I spoke with his daughter who says most of the records were destroyed in a warehouse fire shortly thereafter."

"How convenient."

"Yeah, for Professor Lightning. Anyway, the daughter says we can go through whatever files are left gathering dust in her attic, but we have to wait until tomorrow when she’s home. Hope you don’t have weekend plans."

Frank shook his head, which looked as if it suddenly wanted to roll off his shoulders. "Fay won’t like it. She’s been spending too many weekends with her sister."

"I suppose that’s why I never married," I said. "Most women aren’t as patient as Fay."

"Don’t I know it."

"Any luck finding a Professor Lightning on the Hobby talk roster?" I asked.

"No, but I did find a teacher. Lpgeoteacher. Real name: Chris Thomas, teaches geology at Diecast High School over on LaPort Avenue."

All the electricity in the air caused blue static sparks to roll off my fingertips when I reached for my hat.



The Diecast High principal, Mr. Gibson, must be a customer at that store I’ve seen in town for men who were big and tall. His starched white shirt hung loose around his paunch in hopes of hiding his bulge. It didn’t. Below the pillow of his belly, his pants would’ve given new meaning to the name low-riders. The way he hiked on them to keep them up, I suspected his belt wasn’t helping much. When he gripped my hand his palm was dry, almost reptilian.

"Sit down," he said. His tone was bossy. I figured he liked making life miserable for his students. Probably taking revenge for his own childhood tribulations. His chair groaned as he fell into it. Frank and I lowered ourselves into the two chairs facing his desk.

"I’m afraid I can’t be of much help," Gibson said.

I had a feeling he would say that. "Anything you can tell us about Chris Thomas would be appreciated, sir."

"I spoke with the administrator," Gibson said. He opened a folder on his desk in front of him, just a enough to peep inside, then closed it quickly, as if he might be hiding state secrets. "This is confidential, you know."

"We can subpoena those records if we have to, sir. That will certainly waste more time and tax payer’s dollars."

"I hope you can appreciate the difficulties of my position."

"Yes, sir."

He played with his wedding ring while he wheezed over the matter a minute or two. I wondered, if this guys wife laid a pillow over his face in the night, would any court convict her?

Finally, Gibson snatched up the folder from his desk and handed it to me. "Here. You won’t find much help there anyway. Thomas had a good record. The only problem he ever caused was when he left us without notice."

"Why did he leave?"

"Who knows. This was nearly three months ago. Didn’t even pick up his last paycheck. I held it personally in my desk in order to give him a few choice word when he showed up for it."

"I’ll bet you were pretty sore when he didn’t," said Frank.

"Wouldn’t you be sore?" said Gibson.

"Suppose I would be," Frank said with a shrug.

"I personall stopped by his apartment, this was about a week later. Neighbors said they thought he moved. No one has seen nor heard from him since."

The weekend crawled by like snails marching up a mountain. Frank and I two days sifting through the shoe-box memories of Hankster Press without a single referance to The Dynamics of Diecasting, or the professor. It was Monday, nine o’five AM. It was still raining. The puddles in the streets were littered with chewing gum wrappers and Styrofoam coffee containers, scummed over with motor oil--the sweat of Diecast city. We tried to keep the details of the murders from the newspaper, but someone leaked the information. Professor Lightning was lighting up the headlines in black neon.

A man came limping across the bullpen on crutches. He was asking for me by name.

"I’m Sergeant Friday. What can I do for you?"

"My name is Chris Thomas," he said, "alias Lpgeoteacher."

His tan jacket was covered with a fine black gravel that clung to the fabric as if he had washed it in a road-side gutter. His trousers were stained with muddy and a multitude of diverse back-alley miscellanea. He needed a shower like a trout needs a brook. And above all other smells, there was the odor of cheap whiskey. I showed him into my office and sent Frank for some hot coffee.

Thomas held his coffee cup between trembling hands as he stared at The Dynamics of Diecasting, which was still laying on my desk.

"Y-you looking for the man who wrote that book?" he said.

"Professor Lighting," I said. "Know him?"

The teacher nodded. "That is, I know who he really is. Not many do. A few diecast collectors maybe. It’s a secret that got me this." He pointed to the cast on his leg. "I got away lucky. If he knew where to find me, I’d be toast, just like poor Bobby."

A thunderclap interrupted him. He looked around the room as if the boogieman might appear out of a dark corner. An electric boogieman, hurling bolts of lightning.

"I-I’ll tell you what you want to know for five dollars. Cash."

My gaze shifted from Thomas to Frank, then back again. Thomas was obviously living in the streets. Three months ago he was a respectable teacher, now he was making deals for cheap booze like a common pan-handler.

"We can put you in a safe place," I said.

"No. I’m doing just fine staying alive on my own. I plan on staying that way, see? Just give the five..." His eyes met mine. "Please?"

I took my wallet from my back pocket, removed a five dollar bill. I placed it on the desk, but kept my hand on it. "First, the name of the professor."

"It’s...h-his name is Nigel Greene. Used to teach over at Diecast University. He was kind of a maverick, a genius really. He’s taught classes on everything from philosophy to aerobics. These classes broke enrollment records at the university every year. He’s that good at whatever he touches. He settled on mathematics. I sat in on one of these math classes. It was entitled deductive dactylology."



"The problem is fairly straightforward," said Professor Greene to the class. "You must picture yourself standing in a hallway inside a school at the beginning of a row of lockers. From there, you must determine who--Dinah or Karen--will be assigned the locker farthest from you, and what her locker number will be."

The class listened intently. So did I. I wanted to see if this guy was as brilliant as his reputation.

The professor went on. "There are a dozen lockers in the row. And besides the two girls, you are to assign two boys--Luis and Ned. Now, for some peculiar reason, the school does not allow any boys to occupy adjacent lockers. To mitigate the complexity of the problem, you may assume the preassignation--and therefore the pre-occupation and temporary ownership--of any locker, the number of which is an aliquote of twelve."

The professor cleared his throat. "Aliquote," he repeated the word. "That means a number which can be divided evenly into another number. You may assume that one of the boys will occupy locker number ten. Also, no one’s name has the same number of letters as there are in his or her locker number, and Dinah’s locker has a lower number than Ned’s. That should be all the information you need to solve this problem."



Chris Thomas looked up from his coffee cup. "You seem like an intelligent man, Sergeant Friday. Do you think you could handle the professor’s course in deductive dactylology? Who gets the locker farthest from you, and what is it’s number?"

The first one to come up with the right answer gets to meet Professor Lightning in person. Or at least meet him in the next story. Be afraid. Be very afraid!
 

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Actually the course was the Philosophy of Areobics. An interisting look at the mind exercsses of the mentally fit. Can I get my 5 dollars now? **Treembling hand is out** I'm going to the "Y" for a shower ...Honest...Please?!
 

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Dragnet_Supporter said:
Chris Thomas looked up from his coffee cup. "You seem like an intelligent man, Sergeant Friday. Do you think you could handle the professor’s course in deductive dactylology? Who gets the locker farthest from you, and what is it’s number?"
Well, the locker numbers are counting down from where I am standing and the farthest one away from me would be Luis' locker #1. You see, Luis is the class bully and he wanted the closest locker to the lunch room so he booted the original occupant from that locker on the first day of school. :freak:
 

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Dragnet_Supporter said:
Some days hung over Diecast city like a huge black hand, slowly tightening it’s grip, squeezing the city until you could harly breath. It was Friday, eight-thirty AM, and my headache had increased considerably. I had not one, but two corpses, their images burning holes into my brain the shape of twin question marks. I also had a name in connection with the two deaths: Professor Lightning, engraved on a small brass lightning bolt that was pried from one of the victims hands. A victim, I might add, who was electrocuted while being held in one of our own jail cells. As if on cue, chain lightning leaped from one dark thundercloud to the next outside my office window. I gazed at my partner, Frank Smith, who was seated in front of my desk. My name is Joe Friday, detective sergeant. And though there are days when I wish it were otherwise, I wear a badge.

"What have you got there?" Frank asked.

I handed him a book: "The Dynamics of Diecasting." The author’s name was Professor Lightning. "Way I hear it," I said, "this book is supposed to be the best in the field."

"Any luck tracing the author?"

"The book was put out by Hankster Press, strictly a small press outfit, went under about three years ago when the owner/publisher passed away. I spoke with his daughter who says most of the records were destroyed in a warehouse fire shortly thereafter."

"How convenient."

"Yeah, for Professor Lightning. Anyway, the daughter says we can go through whatever files are left gathering dust in her attic, but we have to wait until tomorrow when she’s home. Hope you don’t have weekend plans."

Frank shook his head, which looked as if it suddenly wanted to roll off his shoulders. "Fay won’t like it. She’s been spending too many weekends with her sister."

"I suppose that’s why I never married," I said. "Most women aren’t as patient as Fay."

"Don’t I know it."

"Any luck finding a Professor Lightning on the Hobby talk roster?" I asked.

"No, but I did find a teacher. Lpgeoteacher. Real name: Chris Thomas, teaches geology at Diecast High School over on LaPort Avenue."

All the electricity in the air caused blue static sparks to roll off my fingertips when I reached for my hat.



The Diecast High principal, Mr. Gibson, must be a customer at that store I’ve seen in town for men who were big and tall. His starched white shirt hung loose around his paunch in hopes of hiding his bulge. It didn’t. Below the pillow of his belly, his pants would’ve given new meaning to the name low-riders. The way he hiked on them to keep them up, I suspected his belt wasn’t helping much. When he gripped my hand his palm was dry, almost reptilian.

"Sit down," he said. His tone was bossy. I figured he liked making life miserable for his students. Probably taking revenge for his own childhood tribulations. His chair groaned as he fell into it. Frank and I lowered ourselves into the two chairs facing his desk.

"I’m afraid I can’t be of much help," Gibson said.

I had a feeling he would say that. "Anything you can tell us about Chris Thomas would be appreciated, sir."

"I spoke with the administrator," Gibson said. He opened a folder on his desk in front of him, just a enough to peep inside, then closed it quickly, as if he might be hiding state secrets. "This is confidential, you know."

"We can subpoena those records if we have to, sir. That will certainly waste more time and tax payer’s dollars."

"I hope you can appreciate the difficulties of my position."

"Yes, sir."

He played with his wedding ring while he wheezed over the matter a minute or two. I wondered, if this guys wife laid a pillow over his face in the night, would any court convict her?

Finally, Gibson snatched up the folder from his desk and handed it to me. "Here. You won’t find much help there anyway. Thomas had a good record. The only problem he ever caused was when he left us without notice."

"Why did he leave?"

"Who knows. This was nearly three months ago. Didn’t even pick up his last paycheck. I held it personally in my desk in order to give him a few choice word when he showed up for it."

"I’ll bet you were pretty sore when he didn’t," said Frank.

"Wouldn’t you be sore?" said Gibson.

"Suppose I would be," Frank said with a shrug.

"I personall stopped by his apartment, this was about a week later. Neighbors said they thought he moved. No one has seen nor heard from him since."

The weekend crawled by like snails marching up a mountain. Frank and I two days sifting through the shoe-box memories of Hankster Press without a single referance to The Dynamics of Diecasting, or the professor. It was Monday, nine o’five AM. It was still raining. The puddles in the streets were littered with chewing gum wrappers and Styrofoam coffee containers, scummed over with motor oil--the sweat of Diecast city. We tried to keep the details of the murders from the newspaper, but someone leaked the information. Professor Lightning was lighting up the headlines in black neon.

A man came limping across the bullpen on crutches. He was asking for me by name.

"I’m Sergeant Friday. What can I do for you?"

"My name is Chris Thomas," he said, "alias Lpgeoteacher."

His tan jacket was covered with a fine black gravel that clung to the fabric as if he had washed it in a road-side gutter. His trousers were stained with muddy and a multitude of diverse back-alley miscellanea. He needed a shower like a trout needs a brook. And above all other smells, there was the odor of cheap whiskey. I showed him into my office and sent Frank for some hot coffee.

Thomas held his coffee cup between trembling hands as he stared at The Dynamics of Diecasting, which was still laying on my desk.

"Y-you looking for the man who wrote that book?" he said.

"Professor Lighting," I said. "Know him?"

The teacher nodded. "That is, I know who he really is. Not many do. A few diecast collectors maybe. It’s a secret that got me this." He pointed to the cast on his leg. "I got away lucky. If he knew where to find me, I’d be toast, just like poor Bobby."

A thunderclap interrupted him. He looked around the room as if the boogieman might appear out of a dark corner. An electric boogieman, hurling bolts of lightning.

"I-I’ll tell you what you want to know for five dollars. Cash."

My gaze shifted from Thomas to Frank, then back again. Thomas was obviously living in the streets. Three months ago he was a respectable teacher, now he was making deals for cheap booze like a common pan-handler.

"We can put you in a safe place," I said.

"No. I’m doing just fine staying alive on my own. I plan on staying that way, see? Just give the five..." His eyes met mine. "Please?"

I took my wallet from my back pocket, removed a five dollar bill. I placed it on the desk, but kept my hand on it. "First, the name of the professor."

"It’s...h-his name is Nigel Greene. Used to teach over at Diecast University. He was kind of a maverick, a genius really. He’s taught classes on everything from philosophy to aerobics. These classes broke enrollment records at the university every year. He’s that good at whatever he touches. He settled on mathematics. I sat in on one of these math classes. It was entitled deductive dactylology."



"The problem is fairly straightforward," said Professor Greene to the class. "You must picture yourself standing in a hallway inside a school at the beginning of a row of lockers. From there, you must determine who--Dinah or Karen--will be assigned the locker farthest from you, and what her locker number will be."

The class listened intently. So did I. I wanted to see if this guy was as brilliant as his reputation.

The professor went on. "There are a dozen lockers in the row. And besides the two girls, you are to assign two boys--Luis and Ned. Now, for some peculiar reason, the school does not allow any boys to occupy adjacent lockers. To mitigate the complexity of the problem, you may assume the preassignation--and therefore the pre-occupation and temporary ownership--of any locker, the number of which is an aliquote of twelve."

The professor cleared his throat. "Aliquote," he repeated the word. "That means a number which can be divided evenly into another number. You may assume that one of the boys will occupy locker number ten. Also, no one’s name has the same number of letters as there are in his or her locker number, and Dinah’s locker has a lower number than Ned’s. That should be all the information you need to solve this problem."



Chris Thomas looked up from his coffee cup. "You seem like an intelligent man, Sergeant Friday. Do you think you could handle the professor’s course in deductive dactylology? Who gets the locker farthest from you, and what is it’s number?"

The first one to come up with the right answer gets to meet Professor Lightning in person. Or at least meet him in the next story. Be afraid. Be very afraid!
Okay, I'm a little fuzzy on the thinking here (Can you blame me,Carnut's using my mind as a doorstop :lol: )I can't explain why, But I'll say Ned will get locker #2. I hope that I understood the question correctly.

*edit* I wass afraid I'd mis read the ?, guess I was right.
Dinah, in locker #1.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Clarification (without all the fancy words). There are 12 lockers. You are standing in front of the first locker, and from the clues given about the locker numbers and letters in the name, plus the fact that I tell you one of the boys will occupy locker ten, you must figure out "who" (of the four) will occupy the locker farthest down the row of 12 and "what" number that locker is.
 
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