The Strange Disappearance of Police Detective Ridder




            One day, police detective Ridder was out on a case when he noticed he was being followed by a short, stocky man in a longshoreman’s cap.  There was something oddly familiar about the man, but he was a block and a half back and detective Ridder couldn’t quite make out who he was without turning around and staring, which would have been conspicuous.  However, he was sure the man had been following him for three blocks at least.


            Detective Ridder knew what to do in a case like this.  He suddenly turned into a busy street full of early morning market-goers and people rushing to work, fell into a light sprint and put some distance between himself and his tracker, who, he could see, was doing his best to keep up.  Detective Ridder cut around as many people as possible and presently found what he was looking for: a man about his own height, wearing a light grey suit like his.  Zigzagging, he managed to put this man between himself and his pursuer, who got confused and began following the other man.  Detective Ridder let him pass and then began following his would-be pursuer at a safe distance.


            The other man in the grey suit caught a trolley.  Hailing cabs, his pursuer and detective Ridder followed him all the way to the airport, where he boarded a flight for Tokyo, Japan.  The short, stocky man in the longshoreman’s cap boarded the next flight available, and detective Ridder followed on another airline.


            The other man in the grey suit had entered a contest and won a trip around the world.  The man who thought he was detective Ridder was an ex-convict named O’Shaughnessy who had a grudge to settle with the lawman for getting him arrested for petty theft.  Detective Ridder, who had many enemies, was anxious to discover who had been following him.


            Unfortunately, ex-convict O’Shaughnessy never quite caught up with the other man in the grey suit, who unwittingly led his pursuers a merry chase across the Orient until they ran out of money.  As police detective Ridder had less money in his pockets, he was stranded in Bangkok, Thailand; while the ex-convict made it as far as New Delhi, India.


            The other man in the grey suit stopped over in Bombay, then continued on to Cairo, Egypt, where he became enamored of a cheap camera in a tourist shop and took lots of pictures of the pyramids for the folks back in Poderosa, Oklahoma.  A British lady he’d met on the flight over from Bombay obligingly took a magnificent shot of him on a camel standing next to the Great Sphinx.  “I must have enough for a hundred slides,” he thought.  “That’s a lot of lemonade and cookies.  Won’t Aunt Agatha be pleased !”


            She certainly was, and every member of the Ladies’ Auxiliary with her !  The traveler fell in love with one of the younger members and they got married and went to Niagara Falls on their honeymoon.  Eventually they had three children: two girls, Rosalind and Priscilla; and a boy, Gerard, Junior.  Gerard, Senior never forgot his wonderful trip around the world.


            But police detective Ridder and ex-convict O’Shaughnessy were never seen again.