The first note arrived at The Morning Star through the after-hours mail slot on a hot July Thursday. It just so happened that on this particular Thursday night, for reasons that now escape me, I stopped off at work after hours, and saw the envelope on the floor.
Two words were handwritten on the envelope: ROGER KNOX.
Inside was a computer-generated note that read the following: Hi Roger. I presume the team asked to have these made up because of their consistently short seasons. I thought you might enjoy using it. As an astute crime reporter, I’m assuming that you will be able to find out who gave this to you. It was signed A friend.
Inside the envelope was a Montreal Canadiens golf tee.
Years of covering police and crime immediately led me to realize a couple of things: the handwriting looked like a man’s; the person knew I golfed; and they knew I liked the Montreal Canadiens.
And that’s about as much thought as I gave it. Until the following Thursday.
That’s when a second envelope showed up with another Canadiens’ golf tee enclosed, along with a longer note.
The following Thursday, a package arrived at work, postmarked fromVernon. This one contained a note which made references to things I’ve posted on Facebook – a clue as to who is behind this! – and a special gift: a rubber duck with a Montreal Canadiens uniform and helmet.
A couple of weeks passed before another package arrived at work. This one came from Stratford, Ont.
It arrived on a Thursday and contained not only another rubber duck, but also a column of colleague Richard Rolke about transit.
Richard’s face was defaced (his glasses were coloured in and they gave him a more Bohemian-looking goatee), and the person had atually taken the time to take words from Richard’s column, and underlined them to make another subliminal message:
‘“One has to wonder if you’re not at the mercy of people who don’t want the benefits of a routine. That leads to people who think outside the box.”
I would receive one more duck postmarked from Whitehorse, three Montreal Canadiens notepads (from Vernon), a mysterious phone call from a woman left on my work voicemail, asking if I’d received any more rubber duckies in the mail and, the day before my birthday on Wednesday, one apparent final package, postmarked Vernon.
It contained three Montreal Canadiens golf balls in a cool carrying case, adorned with the Habs’ logo; a Canadiens puck and – this is, by far, the most perplexing part of the entire mystery – 20 Doug Gilmour hockey cards, though not one of them with Gilmour in a Habs uniform.
The note in this package indicated it would be the final gift, that the person wasn’t going to reveal themselves and they wished me a happy birthday.
I deduced, based on the line in the note confessing as much, that the person is a friend of mine on Facebook, and I have 700 friends there. Every note was correctly spelled, which eliminates half the friends, and more than $30 was spent on postage alone, again, eliminating a vast majority of the 700 people on my friends’ list.
I accused two of my best friends and at least six co-workers of being the masterminds, all of whom adamantly denied any involvement.
Finally, after fingerprint dusting, DNA sampling and using my Sherlock Holmes-like investigative powers, I figured out who is behind this mystery.
It’s Professor Plum, in the conservatory, with the lead pipe.
Fine. I have no clue who has been sending me the stuff, not that I won’t give up trying to solve what has been a very fun riddle.
What I do have is some pretty cool swag from a pretty cool friend. Whoever it might be.