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Trigonometry Lesson for the Ancient

June 18, 2016 • By 12 833

            “You don’t have enough points, sir,” Stew said.

            “Why? How many do I need?”

            “Well, three, sir. That’s why it’s called triangulation.”

            “Oh, all right. Well then, you find me a third point, kid,” Joe retorted.

            “I can’t, sir, it doesn’t work that way.”

Indeed, it didn’t; but the whole concept was beyond him, way out of reach although Joe was a police inspector of high renown. He once was the uncontested yardstick of kick-butt inspectors. Some time back, forever ago.

The only kicking permitted to Joe now was the bucket for he had climbed the ladder of old inspectors in every possible way. Besides his not-getting-any-younger physique, Joe dressed with a straight-out-of-the-London-Museum antiqued long tweed coat and a démodé deerstalker, and he smoked a moribund calabash pipe. The horse-drawn carriage had just been upgraded to a dented two-door 1967 Datsun that Joe drove by dint of great pains every day … None of these points were rather flattering to his dust-covered portrait, himself a bygone society relic. Mr. Dweeb Bigwig.

That was what Stew, his young and charismatic assistant, liked to call him. Fully aware that he would be promoted to inspector ere long, Stew sometimes wondered if he could shorten the process by flicking the crumb off the table. While Dweeb couldn’t be considered a fixture of this police station, he certainly was rooted deeper than a great oak. Someone kick the man upstairs already!

The most amazing part about Dweeb was that he even knew what a cell phone was in the first place and that he had just gotten one of his own. For all Stew knew, Dweeb needed the help of a telephone operator to make a switchboard call. The telephone operator woman being Stew.


            “How does it work?”

            “I’m not sure you’re ready for it, sir.”


True words. How could someone show the World to a man who could very well have just woken from a half-century hibernation, mysteriously preserved all this time in the confined warmth of an iced coffin. Dweeb Bigwig belonged in a retirement home, in a madhouse, or a wax museum. Not in a precinct.


            “What are you doing, sir?” Stew was doubtful, and a bit scared too, to be completely honest, as Joe had unplugged the antenna wire from the TV, had stood on his desk and was now holding the cable high above his head.

            “What does it look like? Giving us a third point, kid.”

            “You’ve got to be kidding.”


Well, at the very least, Dweeb had somewhat of a notion that triangulation had to do with antennas. Stew pictured him with a metallic funnel on his head. It was totally improbable though that this man, this man right here looking like the Tin Woodman, the statue of Liberty or God knew who, was his superior.


            “Isn’t it possible, really, to discover where the missing point might be?”

            “Do you need me to get you your magnifying glass? It can’t be far away. The missing point, that is.”

            “Don’t make fun of me, young man.”

            “I wouldn’t dare, sir. No offense, but we might as well play hide-and-seek together. You and me, whaddaya say, sir?”


Stew felt his brain get sore. He felt he was tilting at windmills. He felt for Dweeb. There really was no point. Literally, no point. They were wasting their time, their captain’s money and a few brain cells along the way. They needed to deal with the real issue, not some stupid missing point.


            “You know what we should do, sir?”

            “I’m all ears.”

            “Do you have a violin too? For mindful meditation, I mean.” Joe didn’t bother answer. He just threw a glacial glance at Stew and descended from the desk. “Well, anyway, I’ll leave you to your mindful thoughts and you try to remember on your own where you put your phone.”