The name is Ace. Fred Ace, Chrono Detective. Fred Ace II, if you want to be technical about it, but I got sick of all the jokes about "Fred Ace the Second, that's not much time at all! Ha ha ha!"
Yeah, ha. That's why the door just says "Fred Ace, Chrono Detective." You may think my door should just say, "Time Cop." You'd be wrong. There's a difference. Time Cops are jerks, all shooting and no brains. There was a movie about them once and, no surprise, everything went badly. You know what a Time Cop is good for? Killing time. If your time goes missing, and you want it found alive, you call a Chrono Detective.
It was almost a year ago that a dame walked into my office with a tough case. I knew from the moment I saw her that she was trouble. Dames always are, in the Chrono Detective business. Y'know, they say dames are a lot like clocks; you look at their hands moving, but you think about something else.
She had come to me saying some time had been stolen. Nobody knew where it went, and it happened in the dead of night at around 2 a.m. -- which suddenly became 3 a.m. when the time went missing.
For weeks, I couldn't get to sleep at a reasonable hour. Something had to be done. I traveled all over the country looking for that missing hour.
After around six months, I found a friend of mine to set things aright, the son of a German chancellor named Konrad. Konrad II is a good guy. He may be a Second like me, but he knew
The dame, meanwhile, disappeared. Y'know, they say dames are a lot like swallowing a wolverine; even when they disappear, they still tear you up inside.
Anyway, that all ended half a year ago. When I woke up this morning, I noticed immediately -- someone had stolen that hour again. I had to get it back or Konrad's generosity would have been for nothing. I needed a drink and a clue. One of them I knew where to find.
Down at the bar, I overheard someone say that the local music department was holding 4 minutes, 33 seconds. It wasn't the whole hour I was looking for, but maybe they were part of a time-laundering operation. I've never trusted musicians; they always do things in weird time signatures.
I headed down to the local college, where I decided to check out the office of the head of the music department. The door was locked, but there was a note that said, "Out getting a Handl on my Chopin Liszt, Bach in a fugue minuets."
I put my ear to the door to listen for the 4 minutes 33 seconds, but I couldn't hear anything. I needed to get into that office. I also needed some ice cream.
I made a quick stop for a large vanilla ice cream cone with jimmies. Y'know, they say dames are a lot like a large ice cream cone. I'll let you work that one out for yourself.
Anyway, I jimmied the lock, and there on the desk was a receipt for one plane ticket to Arizona. It all made sense. The hour had been stolen from everyone ... except the residents of Arizona. Coincidence? I didn't think so. Looked like I had a plane to catch.
Fred Ace was on the case.
Seth Brown is a humor writer, the author of "It Happened In Rhode Island," and wants his hour back. His work appears weekly in the Transcript, and weakly on RisingPun.com.