I got a call this morning from a fellow named Rick, who is the manager from a ski lodge up in the high country.
He told me they had a thief in their midst and he wanted me to smoke him out before the word got out and tourists started finding another place to lodge.
I took the red eye up there and met with Rick the next morning.
He told me about some crazy fad for snow boats with customizable stars on them.
He promised me a tour of the lodge just as soon as he could get some free time. In the meantime, I just sat back and observed the ski bums in their natural habitat.
I was sipping on some hot cocoa when I saw a cute, young ski instructor approach Rick and gave him a piece of her mind.
She had trouble written all over her face and when she finally walked off it was obvious to me that Rick had danced with trouble and he was now paying the price.
She was wearing the snow boots with the stars. Her stars were arranged to spell out her name, Cyndee.
After she left, a waiter with a head full of dreadlocks walked up from the cafe and got in Rick’s face.
Rick had just fired him but he refused to leave. I thought this guy was going to tear Rick’s head off but he finally left.
He wasn’t wearing the boots but as I looked around the room just about everyone, young and old, was wearing them.
I spotted a bored looking teenager with boots the read “Shredder” and figured I could get a little inside scoop on the boots for him.
“Some dudes are so stoked about them boots that they wait in line for hours to buy them.” My young friend informed me. “They even buy them online for 2 or 3 times the normal price. That’s pretty stupid if you ask me.” He continued.
“So how much did you pay for your boots?” I had to ask. “I don’t know dude! My parents got ‘em for me.” He said.
“I know this one guy that got his boots jacked right off his feet. He had to walk a mile back to the lodge and almost got frost bite.” He told me.
“What do you know about the thefts that have been going on here?” I asked. “Well there’s a lot less people here this year cuz of it. And that’s cool by me. This place gets too crowded.” He said.
“What do you know about the waiter with the crazy hair?” I asked.
“That dude shreds!” He screeched, “But I don’t know much about him. He never talks to anyone, he just free-styles all day.”
I got up to see if I could catch the waiter before he got too far. I found him just outside strapping on his snowboard.
When he saw me coming he quickly took off down the slope. I spotted a snow mobile idling in front of the lodge and hopped on it.
This guy wasn’t gonna get away that easily.
The nappy headed waiter was a master free rider. He shot between trees and flew over moguls like he was an Olympian with a sad story to overcome. I had the snow mobile at full throttle and his kid was still way out ahead of me. He even took the time to do a few fancy skull-cracking moves. Since we started at the lodge we didn’t have far to go before we were at the bottom of the mountain. I waited until he slowed down and then I pulled up next to him and tackled him.
“Get off me man!” He shouted as he struggled to get away. “What do you want from me?” He whined.
“Who’s stealing the boots?” I demanded. “I don’t know! “ He said trying to head-butt me. “What’s your beef with Rick?” I asked. “He hurt Cyndee!” I could see the pain in his eyes when he said that.
“So you like her.” I directed. “I love her! And she loved me too before he came. Look at this note she wrote me.” He kept it in his back pocket.
The note was sweet but evidently she had evidently she had moved on since she wrote it.
He was steamed because as far as he was concerned Rick had stole his girl, used her up and dumped her
I had my number one suspect pinned down in the snow but I needed to talk to Cyndee before I could make a call on this one.
I found Cyndee in the cafe reading a book of French phrases.
“So I take it you’re the detective?” She said as I pulled up a chair. “That’s right. So why don’t you tell me what you know?” I said.
“Do I look like I go around stealing people’s boots? I’m so sure.” She said rolling her eyes.
“So who is it?” I asked. “ If you ask me it’s Craig.” She said.
“Who’s Craig?” I shoot back. “The waiter with the hair.” She rolled her eyes again.
“The one you liked?” I said. “Liked? Are you kidding me!” She laughed in a mean way. “What about the note you wrote to him?” I asked her. “I didn’t write that note. That was Shredder messing with his head.” She told me.
“That local kid?” I said. “Local? His parents own this place. He hates Rick. He’s been trying to get him fired but his parents love Rick because he’s boosted business over the past couple of years.”
She said with a scowl.
I was curious as to why she thought it was Craig stealing and not the kid.
“I gotta go teach some dumb tourists how to fall down.” She said standing up. She left so quickly that she dropped her passport.
I looked inside and found that this girl had been all over the world. Well, at least to places where they ski.
I made a few phone calls to some friends in ski resort towns. I asked if they’d experienced a star-boot fad.
As it turned out most of them had and all of the towns that did had been visite3d by Cyndee.
More or less, I knew what was going on here so I followed Cyndee home. She changed clothes and then made a beeline to Rick’s place
The second he opened the door, they kissed and disappeared into the bedroom.
I went back to Cyndee’s place and jimmied the lock. I was guessing that she had a stockpile of boots somewhere and I was right.
I went back to Rick’s. “What can I do for you?” He said looking a bit disheveled.
“Well, I think I’ve solved your mystery.” I said. “Great! Who is it?” He pensively asked.
“You” I said. “And your little friend in there.” I added.