Master-Mind Mysteries #1

Tired of repeating how boring my life is in this blog, I’ve decided to mix it up a little bit.

As a child, I loved reading Encyclopedia Brown stories—tales about a youth who solved mysteries that you, the reader, could actually solve along with them. So here below is my first attempt at something similar.

Lloyd Grugby, like most people, despised his job, but instead of looking for a new one, he simply spent more and more time imagining that he was an awesome crime-fighting detective. As well as imagining that he was better looking. As a five foot nine, thirty-three year old man with a cast iron-pot belly (ignore the “cast iron” and focus on the “pot”), he was no Adonis to behold.

He worked as the Southwest regional’s manager’s assistant’s assistant’s secretary’s data enterer (sharing this title with his other thirty-five coworkers) at Undone Do—a hairspray manufacturer—commonly confused with Nun Done Dues—a sisters’ convent that does tax work for very reasonable pricing.

And at this point in Lloyd’s life, there was little motivating him to wear his underwear on the inside of his pants.

He and the other hairless, pink monkeys worked in an assembly line of sorts: each employee elbow to elbow at a long row of computers in the tiny office building. One could hardly sneeze without jabbing the person next to him.

Speaking of sitting next to, on Lloyd’s right sat Preet, an Indian man who had been mistakenly called Pete on the first day, but had never bothered to correct anyone since. On Lloyd’s left sat Rebecca. She was okay, but so was everything else in Lloyd’s life. And that was the problem.

However, to add a glint of a wet match’s unsuccessful spark to the dark gloom of Lloyd’s life, he took everyday occurrences and turned them into mysteries. Mysteries that only the great Lightning Lloyd (a pseudonym he had created) could accurately solve. Or in truth, trivialities that most people wouldn’t even notice if they didn’t so thoroughly begrudge their existence.

And fortunately today, Lloyd had one of these trivialities, er, mysteries, present itself.

Recently, Lloyd had decided that he deserved to spoil himself for all the hard work he had been doing—hard work in the sense that it took a great will of effort not to scream obscenities every time he sat down at his desk—and so he bought himself a fancy and luxurious looking pen.

It could write upside down.

But while sitting at his computer in the long row of employees, Lloyd buried his face in his hands for a minute—he believed that if he couldn’t see his life, maybe his life couldn’t see him and would attach itself to someone else. However, when he pulled his hands away from his undisturbed yet disappointing meditation, his new pen, lain in front of his computer, had been moved.

By someone other than himself!

Quickly, looking to his right and left, he saw that both Rebecca and Pete had handwritten notes in front of them. But when he questioned them about who had used his pen, they both denied it.

However, after careful deliberation—or as careful as minimum wage allowed him—Lloyd knew which coworker must have used his pen.

Can you figure out which one and why?

Author: jdt

Jake writes weekly posts every Wednesday on the intersection of psychology and philosophy. To learn more about him, or to propose a topic you'd like him to cover, go to

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