(Editor’s Note: This is our fourth mesmerizing installment in the serial about the missing bees. You can read the first installment here and the second part here and the third installment here, if you are new to the gripping mystery.)
After dinner, Holmes and Watson returned to their rooms in the hotel. At the doors of their respective rooms Holmes said, rather loudly Watson thought, “Watson, we are tired from our journey. I believe we should sleep late in the morning and meet in the dining room for lunch.” As he said this, he silently handed Watson a folded piece of paper and whispered, “Read this as soon as you are in your room.” With that, Holmes disappeared into his own room.
In his room Watson opened the note and felt the thrill of action upon him. The note said, “Meet me in one hour by the corral. Bring your revolver. Insure that you are not seen! The game is afoot!”
As he waited for the appointed time to meet Holmes, Watson took out his laptop to read about the disappearance of the bees. He typed “colony collapse disorder” into Google and, feeling lucky, was taken directly to the wikipedia page.
But he found that discouraging. It was a long article, full of long paragraphs and he knew there was not time to read the whole thing before he had to meet Holmes. “If only,” he thought, “there was some blog that summed it all up for me that I could read quickly!” He picked up the house phone and dialed the front desk. The beautiful, mysterious woman from dinner answered.
“I say, is there a good nature blog I could read?” Watson asked.
Watson went to that blog and was astounded to read that he and Holmes were in the process of solving the very mystery he wanted to read about. He quickly read the entries all the way up to the time when he was reading the entries. That was when he realized it was time to meet Holmes.
Meanwhile, the Lone Ranger, Tonto, and the man named “Bond, James Bond” sat at the campfire. A whip-poor-will called. Bond said, “What was that?”
Tonto responded, “That was the plaintive call of the Whip-poor-will. That bird is an ‘accidental.’ They are not found in the Rocky Mountains. You are much more likely to hear the Common Poorwill here, but only during breeding season. The only place their ranges overlap is in southern New Mexico and southern Arizona. The Common Poorwill is the only species of bird known to hibernate. The calls are quite different. The Common Poorwill’s is slower and ends on a descending note. If you make it out of here alive, you can read this blog entry and see pictures of both. They look much alike.”
Bond sipped his martini. The Lone Ranger had stirred, not shaken it before he had time to stop him but still, it wasn’t bad. He thought of the woman. . . .
The Lone Ranger interrupted his thoughts. “When you were at Nonsanto’s ranch, you say the smell of tobacco was strong?”
“Yes,” said Bond. “I remember that quite clearly. Cuban, I thought. But I still don’t know what that has to do with the word ‘Round-up.’ We know that it some kind of code-word Nonsanto uses but we don’t know what it means.”
“Out here, a round-up only happens in the Spring and Fall when cattlemen move their stock. And it is summer now so that makes no sense,” said Tonto.
“Perhaps it has nothing to do with cattle,” suggested the Lone Ranger.
“Someone had scratched the letters “IAPV” on the wall in the dungeon where they kept me,” said Bond. It might have been 008 before they killed her. If they did. We don’t know what happened to her. Nor do we have a clue what the letters mean.”
The evergreens shuddered, black against the grey of the star-filled night sky. The down-canyon breeze stirred and sparks from the campfire bristled skyward. A Great Horned Owl called in the distance. The planet spun on its axis and midnight approached, the time when, according to Shakespeare, “churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out contagion.”