Minute Quiz – December 16, 2020

Considering a career change?

All you amateur slooths sluthes defectives dictectors private dicks out there, put your eyebones to work on the image above.  See what that image tells you.  A professional interpretation follows this brief flash fiction interlude.

Pill Popper

Ward is six feet four inches of tuned muscle.  That suits his work as a facility attendant.  Some residents here can be a handful.  Despite his brawn, Ward is usually pretty sharp.


Imagine Ward’s co-workers’ astonishment, coming into my room to find me beating the pants off Ward in Pinochle and Ward docile as a lamb, slouched into one of two chairs at the tiny table.

“Ward!” one said.  “Didn’t you hear the three-tone assistance call?”

Sleepy-eyed Ward responded, “Not sure. Maybe. Why?”

“Whyn’t you respond?”

“Playing Pinochle with my bud, here.”

“You on drugs, Ward?”

“Nah.  I’m fine.”

Ward’s economy-sized coworker pals helped Ward to his feet and spirited the wobbly man away to get a medical assessment – to determine what the hell got into him.  I knew exactly what got into him.  Didn’t tell them. Ward won’t remember much of it, so I can tell you. On the Q.T.  Plan to do it again.  Ward, you see, came into my room…

“Hey, Shooter!  Pill time! Here, put’er down, good buddy.”

It was the pink and black one. It would put me out so fast Ward would have to tuck me in for the evening before he left.

“Open.  Show me your mouth is empty.”

Not opening my mouth, I showed my tongue to Ward.

“No, Shooter, open wide, so I can see, like this.” And Ward opened his mouth illustrating what everyone here knows. 

When he did, I popped the black-pinkie into his mouth at the same time I poked him in the chest with the flat of my other hand.  Ward inhaled sharply.

In thirty seconds, Ward was as carefree as a six-year-old and as pliable as al dente vermicelli.

Minute quiz professional interpretation

Dectective Police Sergeants Sheila Kuffem and Yancy Mirandize of the San Bispo de Oratorio Dicteco Deetec Police Department offer their expert opinions.  How well do your conclusions match up?

  • It’s a matchbook cover, indicated by “close cover before striking.”  That’s how one lit cigarettes and campfires in the years before Bic butane lighters if you couldn’t afford a Zippo.  This further suggests:
    • Whoever had this was a likely smoker, camper, or arsonist.
    • It appears to be sheared and lying flat, so it no longer is functional.
  • It dates from the early to mid-60’s because:
    • The suggested earning range is less than $3.50 to $6.00 per hour.  Hardly a recent minimum wage.  Certainly not that a highly trained “professional” would earn any time after 1970.
    • It propositions “experienced men,” clearly not a phrase acceptable today.  It would have passed muster until about 1970.  No need for matches now, the insinuations therein are incendiary.
    • “Mail coupon inside” certainly now such a come-on would furnish a www something or other.  At least a one-eight-hundred number.  Toll Free.
    • “Free booklet”?  Nothing after 1970 was ever free.  There was money to be made and just getting the booklet would set you back serious jack. After 1970.
    • The “course” was likely a rip-off because only the military and schools based in California or Grenada offered coursework “at home.”  In the olden days, people went to school.

How’d you do, Shamus?  You come to the same conclusions?

Officer Sheila recently completed Quantico’s profiler training.  She further submitted the following psycho-physical profile of the matchbook owner:

  • He – he because clearly males were targeted – likely sent the coupon in, accounting for the missing back cover.
  • If he completed the course, he likely:
    • Is now a retired computer professional of some sort. As computer professionals age, they deteriorate so they can only hold positions as Analysts, Project Managers, MIS Directors, and CIO’s.  His title at retirement may be misleading.
    • Is a touch-typist after years of pounding keypunch and computer console keyboards.
    • Talks of weird things like bauds, hexadecimals, octals, alphamerics, ASCII, EBCDIC, half- and full-duplex, NRTZ, and fully half the “words” he uses are acronyms.
    • Besides a troublesome cough, has poor vision from staring at computer screens in his later years.
  • For the fact we’re looking back some sixty years, Computer Programmer or not he is well over eighty and living in a home. If you’re trying to track such an individual down, check rehab centers and asylums.

Published by spwilcen

Retired career IT software engineer, or as we were called in the old days, programmer, it's time to empty my file cabinet of all the "creative" writing accumulated over the years - toss most of it, salvage and publish what is worthwhile.

8 thoughts on “Minute Quiz – December 16, 2020

    1. Erm, no. Under the glass cover on my desk. Actually, I remember the day I lit a cig with that book of matches. I was in Sleuth II class for U1108. Struck me odd. Now (sans “strike”) it strikes me odder in a melancholy sort of way. Thanks for popping by, Sir Hobb.

    1. Yessir. Fiction most usually has basis in fact. Rondevouz with planet Alepha maybe a stretch, but too far afield, the reader cannot identify. Thanks for looking-in.

  1. Brilliant there Inspector! So they made 7.000€ a year! Hmmm…life must have been pretty cheap. Good story there SP, so they really fooled the strongman! Always enjoy reading your work my friend. Take good care and all the best!

  2. Seemed like a lot then, for an E4. Ward, incidentally, recovered nicely, but watches me very closely when he has the evening shift on my floor. Thanks for stopping in to flatter the old codger. Do well!

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