From: Chris Reuter
Subject: Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Mongol Hordes
Date: Tue, 5 Nov 1996 09:17:24 GMT
Organization: spiky, black, hard-edged
In article <email@example.com>,
[*] Angel of Rivers <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>Here---I'll help you out. Since you can't get your own idea, you can
>have one of mine that I'm not using. Instead of `things in my
>wallet,' why not write a 300-word article on one of:
> Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Mongol Hordes
In every city and town across America, crime was a serious problem.
Except in Idaville.
There, the forces of law and order were in control. Crooks
knew better than to try anything. If they did, they were certain to
be caught. Even if they didn't do anything, they were likely to get
caught. No one, child or grownup, got away with breaking the law in
How did Idaville do it?
Only three persons knew, and they weren't telling.
Apart from doing in crooks, Idaville was like most seaside
towns. It had lovely beaches, three movie theatres, two
delicatessens, and a live-sex show. It had churches, a synagogue,
several isolationist cults, a drug lab and four banks.
The chief of police was Mr. Brown. People called him a
genius, but he knew better.
True, he was an excellent police chief, and his officers were
honest, brave and experts at not leaving marks. But the _real_ genius
behind the town's war on crime was Chief Brown's only child,
ten-year-old Encyclopedia--America's Sherlock Holmes in sneakers.
Whenever Chief Brown came up against a mystery he could not
solve, he took the proper action. And if a suspect of the appropriate
racial group could not be found within the vicinity of the crime
scene, he drove home. At the dinner table, he went over the facts
with Encyclopedia. Before desert, Encyclopedia had the case solved.
Chief Brown wanted the President to proclaim Encyclopedia a
national resource. That way, he could be declared top secret and
those other stories would never get out. He hated keeping his son
undercover, but what if X Industries came looking for him again?
In any case, who would believe that the mastermind behind
Idaville's amazing police record was still outgrowing his pants?
So Chief Brown said not a word to anyone, and neither, of
course, did Mrs. Brown.
For his part, Encyclopedia never mentioned the help he gave
his father. He didn't want to seem better than the other fifth
graders. They would only pick on him more, making it that much harder
to keep his awesome dark powers under control.
But there was nothing he could do about his nickname. No one
except his parents and his teachers called him by his real name,
Leroy. Everything else called him Encyclopedia.
An encyclopedia is a CD-ROM filled with facts from A to Z and
a whole lot of low quality video and sound files which nonetheless
take up most of the disc, leaving very little room for text. So was
Encyclopedia's head, except that playback was not as good. He had
watched more educational TV than anyone in Idaville while hiding in
the basement. His pals claimed he was more fun than a PC. He didn't
short out when they held him under water, thrashing for air.
At the dinner table Saturday evening, Chief Brown picked at
his roast beef. They knew the sign. The food sucked.
At last, Chief Brown put down his fork. "The old Quinn Farm
was attacked by a band of rogue Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
officers last night. The buildings were looted and burned, and the
occupants raped, murdered, mutilated and dressed as mimes."
Encyclopedia let out a whistle. Mime artists in Idaville were
regarded less esteem than the "untouchables" in India.
"Why not go over the case with Leroy, dear?" Mrs. Brown
suggested quietly. "He's never failed you. Except that time he
accidentally let go of that truck."
Chief Brown sighed heavily. "All right, but I don't have a
single clue except for one sketchy eye-witness report." He put down
his fork and told Encyclopedia everything he had learned about the
Late last night, a few hours before dawn, an officer on patrol
had noticed the farm in flames. After calling for backup, he had
investigated the site. The buildings had all been torn down before
being doused with kerosene and set ablaze. The horses, cattle and
even the dog had been rent to pieces and barbecued.
"I'm told dog's not bad if you've got a good sauce recipe,"
Mrs. Brown interrupted. "A bit gamey, but tastes a bit like chicken."
Chief Brown regarded his untouched dinner and went on with the
There was a Mongol horde setting up camp next to the farm.
Their leader, Ghengis Khan, could speak some English. He explained
that his horde of six thousand had come to the Quinn farm to buy milk.
The Quinn milk was famous for its light yet rich flavour and was
prized by ice cream manufacturers from as far away as Mongolia.
As they had approached the farm, Mr. Khan had heard shouting
and the sounds of things breaking. Then suddenly, the farmhouse, shed
and barns had started burning. Three black vans had sped out of the
driveway. He had been unable to make out the license plates, but the
letters BATF were clearly visible on the sides of the vans.
"Did you raid the local BATF offices?" Mrs. Brown asked.
"Yes. We got them by surprise, but we haven't been able to
beat confessions out of any of them. They all have alibis," answered
Chief Brown. "They've even managed to bully all of the neighbours
into corroborating their stories."
Mrs. Brown seemed ready to give up. With such a tight network
of lies, could he get a conviction?
The boy detective had closed his eyes. He always closed his
eyes when he did his deepest thinking.
Suddenly his eyes opened. He asked one question. Usually he
needed but one question to solve the most puzzling case.
"Did Mr. Khan's horde include only warriors or were there
women, children and elderly as well, Dad?"
Chief Brown drew a small notebook from his breast pocket. He
flipped the pages. "Here it is...The horde consisted of armed men and
a large contingent of women, children, elderly and those cripples
capable of surviving the harsh winter."
Never before had Mrs. Brown appeared disappointed in
Encyclopedia's question. She was disappointed now, however, a
disappointment mixed with the faint hope that her son might turn into
a normal boy after all.
"How can the socio-economic makeup of the horde be relevant,
Leroy?" she asked. "You can hardly arrest Mr. Khan just because his
horde doesn't fit your favourite anthropological model."
"It's obvious, Mom." Encyclopedia finished buttering a roll.
"The real pillager is--"
WHO PILLAGED THE QUINN FARM?
(Press space for the solution to "Encyclopedia Brown and the Mongol
It was the Mongol Horde, of course. Sheesh--how stupid can
people get? An army of men legendary for their looting and pillaging
show up on your doorstep and you wonder if they might be up to
something? It's pretty obvious, isn't it. Just arrest them all and
test their weapons for blood stains.
* * *
Oh, alright! When Encyclopedia asked about the presence of women
and children, he was trying to determine if the horde was nomadic or
an expeditionary force. If they were actually from an
agriculture-based society, they would have left the weaker members of
the tribe at home. Since they took everyone, the horde was clearly
nomadic. A nomadic society gets its nutrition by hunting and
gathering. Thus, they obviously would not have kept cattle and so
would not have drunk milk.
As it generally requires many generations of milk drinking to
develop the ability to digest milk as adults (as happened to the
Europeans), Ghengis Khan's horde was obviously not at the farm to buy
milk. Confronted with this lie, the horde confessed and gave
themselves up peacefully.
ObAttributionDammit: Borrows^H^H^H^H^H^H^HSteals heavily from Encyclopedia
Brown Sets the Pace by Donald J. Sobol.
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