The Adventures of Podunk Jo: Adventure 1 – The Beginning

Podunk was just spending her Sunday afternoon at a local teashop in Nine Rivers.  It was after church and she was enjoying a nice cup of Tetley while marking some papers.  Grades were due the following Wednesday.

She noticed another foreigner had entered the teahouse.  He came over to introduce his charming self.

“Hello.  My name is Colgate.  Crest Colgate.”

Podunk privately wondered what kind of person would punish their child with a name like that.

“Hello, I’m Jo.  Lovely to meet you.”

“So, What are you doing in Nine Rivers?”

“I’m a teacher here.”  She holds up her marked papers. “You?”

“I’m touring China.  Trying to catch local culture as well as the landmarks.”

“Ah.  Lovely.”

Someone shouts from the doorway. “Oh, there are my friends.  Nice meeting you.”

“Certainly.  Ta.”

*** 

The next morning, upon reading her China Daily, Podunk discovered a horrendous crime had occurred during the might.  All of the toothpaste in China had mysteriously disappeared.  Podunk’s thoughts immediately turned to the odd foreigner she had met the previous day. 

 ***

As she was washing dishes later that day, the phone rang. 

“Hello?”

Silence.  “Podunk Jo?”

“Yes, this is Jo.  Hello?”

Silence.  Then more silence.

“Hello?” tried Podunk again.

“Yes.  This is Long Yagao.  I need your help.”

“How can I help you?”

More silence.  Must be a bad connection.  “Uhh…You know all of the toothpaste in China is missing?”

“Yes, I’d read that with my morning tea.”

“I want you to take the case, Podunk.  With your help, we’ll nab this crazy thief pronto.”

“Well, right now I need to finish my marks for the term.  Teaching is a very serious business, you know.”

“I understand.  When can you arrive in Beijing?”

“Well, marks are due this week…”

“So you can arrive tomorrow?”

“No I couldn’t possibly be their before Wednesday…”

“Good.  I’ll expect you Wednesday afternoon.  Goodbye.”

Podunk was left holding the phone.  And the bag.

*** 

Lucky for her, SUPAwaiban was available for her last-minute train ticket needs.  She arrived in Beijing Wednesday at 3:30 pm.  Strangely, no one was at the train station to meet her.  Odd.  She had at least expected one of Long’s henchman.

No matter.  She turned to her well-worn Amity Survival Guide under the section labeled “How to reserve a hotel room in Beijing at short notice when there is no toothpaste and officials have left you stranded at the train station.”  With book in hand she confidently hailed a cab and made her way to check in at a hotel.

*** 

After quickly getting settled in her room, she went to ask directions to Long’s office.  However, a male foreign surprise greeted her at the reception desk.

He flashed his minty whites.  “Hello Jo.”

Just the person I was looking for… “Crest.  What a surprise.  What are you doing in Beijing?”

“Well, it’s the capital.  What tour would be complete without it?  It’s my last stop though.”

“Ah.”

“What about you?  What brings you so far from Nine Rivers?”

“As you say, what’s China without Beijing?  The term is over, so I’m on holiday as well.”

“Excellent.  I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around then.”

“Quite.”

*** 

After an episode at the reception desk, Podunk finally made her way to Long’s office.  The front desk was empty, so she wandered around for a bit.  No one seemed to be working that day.  In fact, the entire building seemed unnaturally quiet.  At last she found Long’s private office.  She walked in to find…

(Continued next episode)

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