Sam and Zone were in their room. Sam had
stopped off at the Casino gift shop and bought some dry shorts, a tee-shirt and
He pulled out his laptop that he had stashed
in the back seat of the car, and then he downloaded the pictures from his
cellphone to the computer. He motioned for Zone to bring a chair over to the
desk so he could explain what happened at Turner Falls.
“OK. There were three things I found at the
Castle. The first one was three Hobo Symbols, the kind that were used back in
the Great Depression. They mostly deciphered as warnings for ‘Danger and Bad
People About’. I don’t think they have any bearing on our quest.”
Zone just looked at the picture in silence.
Sam continued, “Secondly, there was a ‘Kilroy
was here” on the wall. Kilroy was a World War Two Symbol, and it was in use
approximately ten years or so after the Hobo Symbols. That got my attention. I
looked closer at Kilroy, and he was looking down and to the right instead of
forward. I took that to mean he was showing me where to look for the clue I was
actually there for, so I searched the rocks on the ground. It was dark and the
standing water made it difficult to find, but I eventually got the rock I was
Sam brought up the third picture. On the
bottom of the rock was written the following cryptic text:
dvhod la dlld llo hvos l hvov
ahlv sdv oalss ldva sls sdv avov
olss odls olvv ahlv vasvhlhlvas
lhlool dlss llo olavh olvas
olashlos olssvho ldloovs llll
ahl al oll
llavhavvas llo la sdv osvlh
avs laalsavvvas llo ol svlh
up a text file and carefully copied the text into the file, thereby getting an
electronic version of the cryptic text. Zone sat there drinking a Coors Beer
with a distinctive “deer in the headlights” look on his face.
Sam suspected that this was a simple
substitution cypher, and the key was on the back of the Half Dollar “Hobo
Nickel” he took from the subterranean hide-out during the flooded meeting with
the Mayor of the Hobo Underground. He took out the Hobo Half and viewed it
again. On the back side of the half dollar coin was carved the following:
Sam took the laptop and opened up a Google
page. He searched for “Substitution Decipher” and about five webpages came up
immediately. The Decipher Algorithm had two windows, one for the cryptic text
and one for the key. He carefully typed in the cryptic text from the picture he
took at the Castle, then he typed the key into the other box. He hit enter, and
to his dismay it didn’t work! However, an error message came up that stated
that the key must be 26 characters long. The existing key was 8 characters long
so he repeated them two more times. Now the key looked like this:
Sam needed two more characters! Zone suggested
“63” for the year of the assassination. It didn’t work. They tried “35” since
Kennedy was the 35th president. It didn’t work. They tried “TX” to
represent the state where he was shot. No good! They tried many different
combinations, all negative. Sam was about to give up when he decided to simply
repeat the first two letters of the original key. The final attempt used the
following key code:
Sam tried one last time. After he hit enter,
there was no longer a garbled message in the answer box! What appeared was the
the perch on high was just a ruse
bangs from the knoll when lit the fuse
the kill shot came from underground
the grassy hill was cover sound
the contract killers whisked away
no fbi no cia
the government was in the clear
but fed involvement was so dear
Sam slapped his forehead. Zone just stared
slack jawed at the screen. Sam took a screenshot of the webpage and saved it to
his hard drive. Then he highlighted the solved text, copied it, and pasted it
to a word file which he also saved. Then he opened up his E-mail program and
mailed both files to his personal Hotmail account.
Zone looked at Sam and said, “Man, I think
we’re in big trouble!” The manic smile and crazy eyes he got back from Sam sent
shivers up his spine!
Then Sam, as he was prone to do on just such
occasions, completely switched gears on Zone. “I feel lucky,” he said, “let’s
go throw some bones!”
Sam realized that they had just made a huge
breakthrough, and that Zone was about to freak out on him. He also knew that
they would need their minds sharp to try to figure out what this new clue
actually meant. He needed to clear his mind, and a rousing game of craps was
just the ticket.
Zone was indeed about to freak out, but he had
known Sam long enough to know that whatever he did right now, he would just be
dragged downstream in Sam’s wake. It was better to aim the canoe with the flow
and just hang on!
“Craps?” was all he could muster in response.
“I’ve been waiting for some time now to feel
hot, to feel the love! We just had a breakthrough! I finally feel lucky, and I
can’t think of a better location to feel lucky than a craps table!” Sam
proclaimed, his eyes alight with a burning fire.
“We’re going to go play craps then, eh?” Zone
Sam just sat there grinning his manic grin.
‘How can we possibly lose?’ Zone thought to
himself. They left the room and walked toward the elevator.