Military Musical Chair Mystery

Safely on the ground and a little worse for the wear, Robert
Ford, cargo plane owner and Carolyn Hanes, authoress are greeted
by uniformed men by the score. They are cordial, but seem to be
distracted, like they had just seen a ghost.

“Can we inspect your plane?” One of many asks a question without
inflection, giving it a demanding slant. “Standard procedure.” As if
they would know the difference.

Military Quonset Hut

“Yeah, I guess, but you won’t find anything,” Ford says as they
are led to a large Quonset hut. He whispers to Lyn along the way,
“Act as if we didn’t see anything.

Before she can even so much as nod, there is a huge explosion,
accompanied by a plume of smoke. The sound reaches them seconds
later. “. . . . one thousand six, one thousand seven,” Ford times the gap
between sight and sound. “One hundred miles northeast, hmmm.”

“What did you say, Ford,” asks a nearby Air Force officer?

“I was telling Miss Hanes that we covered the last hundred miles
with ease. Must be the desert air?”

“Sergeant Smith will guide you from here.”

Without hesitation, the officer joins an armada of military vehicles
racing off to the north and east. It is clear that they were not expecting
the blast. Two helicopters are dispatched to the scene. They will be at
the expected crater long before the ground vehicles.

In a weak moment, Sgt. Smith slips, “Some strange things going on around here these days.” Sometimes one can only shake one’s head. “Come this way.”

____304 Gwendolyn Hoff

They have entered an infirmary type building and are shunted into an empty room, save a table, five chairs and two guards.

“Musical chairs is one of my favorite party games and I believe
we need more people to play. How about you guys?” Lyn is trying to
ease the mounting tension. The guards will have nothing of it.

Smith directs them to the two chairs facing the other three, with
four feet between them. “Before we begin, I need to warn you that
this woman may not have anything to say. She pops in and out of
reality. It affects the way she communicates. One minute she seems
perfectly normal, totally out of it the next. We have had our best
psychological people examine her. The only thing they agree on is
that she is missing more than her memory.”

“Missing what?” Lyn wonders.

“One kidney and part of her frontal lobe,” contributes the newest
addition to the room. He is dressed mostly in white, distinguishing
himself from anyone else they have seen. “With no signs of surgery,
I might add. I have heard of people being born with one kidney, but
the human brain mass never deviates from its shape. Content maybe,
but not shape.”

“And you are . . . . who?” Lyn is losing her patience. “We have
flown across country, at your invitation and all we are getting are silver
streaks, explosions and what seems to be a military runaround.”

“Excuse my oversight, folks, but this case has me baffled. I used to
think my name was Ben Wright, now I’m not sure.” He instructs the
guards, “Tell the attendants to bring the patient.”

Military Musical Chair Mystery

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