Did I ever tell you that for a few days, back when I was ten and emboldened by the stories of Donald J. Sobol, I had my own detective agency? Problem was, no one needed anything detected and I soon had a going-out-of-business sale. Which, quite frankly, was made up solely of a homemade sign; I wasn’t allowed to sell the purloined dining room chair and folding table.
No one bought the sign.
You could argue that, as a novice business owner, I ignored one of the most important tenets of a successful entrepreneurship: Location, Location, Lotion–wait. Location. You might even suggest that an open garage set back from the street and out of the view of most passersby wouldn’t be an ideal office. You could even say a lack of advertising in the local rags failed to stir interest in my detecting endeavor. And if you wanted to be a real Santa-killer, you might even tell my ten year-old self that real life ain’t like it’s painted in fiction.
Whatever. All I’m saying is that the next time you drive by a child’s detective agency, you stop the car, get out, and offer the poor kid a few bucks to find a lost puppy, your way in life, world peace, a real job, something, anything, and if you do it the great god Encyclopedia Brown will bless you and all your progeny for generations.
Or until the end of the book when Bugs Meany finally confesses to his dastardly deeds.
Actually, here’s a thought about that: the eternal turmoil raging inside Batman is the notion that, unless he kills the Joker, countless Gotham citizens will be murdered by the king clown of chaos. Yet, Batman doesn’t kill because he’s all noble like that–or he’s never seen Die Hard and doesn’t have the appropriate slogan.
Either way, Encylopedia Brown is Idaville’s analog to Bats. Would Idaville be a more pleasant place to hang your hat if Bugs wasn’t there to rig a race, steal a few coins or terrorize the local school? Should Brown and his brawn, Sally, take Bugs out for good?
Right, right, shake your head. But c’mon, that book would sell like hotcakes and you know it. Plus, it would have made my novice detective agency a much more interesting place to work if I also had a license to kill. Frankly, I’m not even sure whether I can get one of those now. The state of Kansas only recently allowed shipments of wine to be sent directly to your house–who knows how the wheat state’s bureaucracy handles 007 responsibilities, thus disappointing aspiring yet bloodthirsty little kid detectives of all ages.
Way to go, Kansas.