Private Detective Stone Cold recently returned to
Alderson from Alaska where he had been investigating Sarah Palin. As
you might recall, Stone has agreed to investigate the International
Brotherhood of Walnut Heads on a worldwide basis. Stone told me that
his investigation of Sarah has revealed that she is not a Walnut
Head no matter how she has been portrayed in the press. He did say,
however, that Sarah loves the spotlight and he believes that she
will continue to travel around the country giving speeches as long
as she can draw a crowd. He said that Sarah appears to be a little
ďflightyĒ at times and he doesnít think that she is ďpresidential
timber.Ē He said Sarah accomplished many wonderful things for Alaska
while governor, many things that the people of Alaska are very
thankful for. Most importantly, she was able to deal with the oil
companies in a manner that brought quite a bit of revenue into the
coffers of Alaska. She only got into political trouble after she
tried to have the ex-husband of her sister removed from a state job.
Stone indicated that he spent quite a bit of time with Sarah during
his investigation and he said that at one point he thought he was in
love with her. However, he told me, quite reluctantly I might add,
that he was quite surprised when he realized that it was only
Stone is quite anxious to continue with his investigation of Walnut
Heads and he has only returned to Alderson to ďhook upĒ with Pretty
Penny. Pretty and Stone are close friends with benefits. Pretty, who
has also recently arrived in Alderson for a brief stay, is a
beautiful athletic woman with an infectious smile who turns heads
when she walks down the street. Pretty is a multi-talented woman,
who like Stone, is skilled in the martial arts and shape shifting.
She is fluent in five languages including Mandarin Chinese and she
holds degrees in English literature, geology, physics, and economics
as well as medicine. Pretty is a retired Secret Service agent who
has served her country well and who, over the years, has taken part
in many clandestine operations, often putting her life on the line.
Pretty was a little late in arriving in Alderson to meet Stone due
to the fact that she was called away to perform delicate brain
surgery on a small child.
Boozer met Stone and Pretty for the first time one morning over
coffee at Rossís gas station, backroom eatery and gossip point. They
agreed to have lunch together later in the day at the Big Wheel to
enjoy each otherís company and to get to know each other. It was
over lunch at the Big Wheel where the mystery began.
It Started at the Big Wheel:
Boozer, Stone and Pretty Penny met up at the Big Wheel for lunch and
they were in a booth at the back of the restaurant when Alice Ann
Asbury came in. Recall that Alice is the twin sister of the recently
deceased A. A. Asbury who died in Scotland while searching for
Wireís teeth, a search he was conducting on behalf of the Freemasons
of Alderson. Alice immediately spotted Boozer, so she came over and
Boozer introduced her to Stone and Pretty. Alice joined the group
and after a few minutes of ďsmall talkĒ she spoke up.
Alice: I have something important to tell you that I donít think you
are going to believe. Last night, I woke up from my sleep and saw
the ghost of A. A. standing at the foot of my bed.
Boozer: Come on Alice, what have you been smoking? And, by the way,
donít you want Stone to investigate the Controllers?
Alice: No, Iím not interested in the Controllers at the moment. I
need for you to take me seriously. What I have to tell you is that
A. A. spoke to me. Well, he didnít actually speak, but he was able
to somehow transmit his thoughts to my mind.
At this point Boozer, Stone and Pretty were looking at Alice,
shaking their heads in disbelief.
Alice: The thoughts of A. A. were garbled. It appears that there was
some kind of interference, a kind of static, so what he had to say
was often not very clear. The only things that I seem to remember
clearly are, June bugs, Half Way Island, Pugh, the numbers
37,43,34,80,36,00 and a dead Y.
Boozer: Well, I know where Half Way Island is; itís just up the road
a bit toward Fort Springs and there used to be Pughs who lived in
Alderson, Pete and Bill. Both, however, are no longer with us.
Stone and Pretty now started to take an interest. If Alice was being
truthful, then there seemed to be a connection among the thoughts of
A. A. and the things that Boozer knew about the Alderson area.
Stone: Alice, whatís a June bug?
Alice: I didnít know until I asked my grandmother about them this
morning. She told me that they were small green and apparently
harmless flying beetles that were about the size of your thumb nail.
Grandmother said that when she was young she used to fly them.
Pretty: Fly them?
Alice: Yes, grandmother said that she would catch a June bug and tie
one end of a piece of light sewing thread about 3 or 4 feet long to
one of its back legs and the other end to one of her fingers. She
would them pitch the June bug into the air, where it would fly at
the end of the thread. Thatís what she called flying a June bug.
From what she said it seems that a lot of young people in those days
flew June bugs.
Pretty: Have you ever seen a June bug?
Alice: No, not a live one. Grandmother got a small match box from
her dresser drawer this morning. She slid it open and showed me a
small green bug inside that she said was a June bug. Why she had
kept the bug over the years is a mystery to me. Maybe it was for
some sentimental reason. Grandmother said that she hasnít seen a
live one in years. She said, like butterflies and lightning bugs,
they seem to have almost, if not completely, disappeared. She did
say, however, that a few lightning bugs can sometimes be seen on a
summer night and the sighting of a butterfly is now fairly rare.
Boozer: O.K. We have June bugs, Half Way Island, Pugh, the numbers
37,43,34,80,36,00 and a dead Y. We know something about the first
three, but, Alice, do you have any idea what the numbers
37,43,34,80,36,00 and a dead Y might mean?
Alice: No idea whatsoever! Itís a mystery to me. In fact, I donít
know what A. A. had in mind with any of it.
Boozer: Well, letís think about it. Maybe something will come to one
At this point they finished their lunch and left the Big Wheel. Each
promised to contact everyone else if he or she came up with a good
idea about what the thoughts of A. A. might mean.
Pretty Penny Has an Idea:
Stone and Pretty were out walking early one morning, when a thought
flashed through Prettyís mind.
Pretty: Stone, I have an idea about the mystery that Alice presented
to us. Letís call everyone together and Iíll tell you about my idea
Stone and Pretty phoned Boozer and Alice and they all met up at the
Pretty: Alice, you mentioned several things that A. A. told you when
he appeared at the foot of your bed: June bugs, Half Way Island,
Pugh, the numbers 37,43,34,80,36,00 and a dead Y. Is it possible
that you misunderstood A. A. and that Pugh was really Poe and June
bug was gold bug?
Alice: Well, I guess so. Remember, I told you that A. A.ís message
was a little garbled, so you could be right.
Pretty: Maybe A. A. was trying to point us toward a buried treasure,
just as in Edgar Allen Poeís story ďThe Gold Bug,Ē where a treasure
was found using a little solid gold bug. And there was an island in
that story too and the treasure that was found was one of Captain
Boozer: Oh, I remember that story, it was required reading in Stella
Nelsonís English class at Alderson High School. But you know how
disappointed A. A. was because he was unable to find Wireís teeth.
It could be that the spirit of A. A. is troubled by the thought that
he let the Freemasons of Alderson down. Maybe, he has given us a
clue as to where Wireís teeth can be found.
Stone: Could be, but I believe that if we are to get to the bottom
of this, then we will have to visit Half Way Island.
Half Way Island:
The next day Stone, Pretty, Alice and Boozer drove to Half Way
Island. Boozer had indicated that the island is separated from the
road by part of the Greenbrier River which is only about the size of
a small creek. The main part of the river lies on the other side of
Stone parked the car and since the water in the river was low, they
were able to wade over to the island where they began to walk around
taking in the length, breadth and foliage of the island. After
several minutes of tramping around, Pretty spoke.
Pretty: People, this will get us nowhere. We need to use the clues
that A. A. gave us.
Boozer: Iíll go along with that, but we only have the numbers
37,43,34,80,36,00 and a dead Y left. We have pretty much used
Stone: Wait a minute, maybe the numbers 37,43,34,80,36,00 are meant
to help us locate something. But they donít give a starting point,
so I donít see how can use them to locate whatever it is that we are
supposed to find.
Alice: Could the numbers be Global Positioning System numbers?
Boozer: Alice, I think you may have something there.
Stone: I have a portable GPS device in my car. Iíll go get it.
After Stone returns with his GPS device, they begin to walk around
the island and they eventually find a point on the island that reads
Lat: 370,43í,34íí N, Long: 800,36í,00íí W on Stoneís device.
Stone: Well, this seems to be the spot indicated by the numbers, but
I donít see anything unusual here.
The group now found itself standing at the base of a large tulip
Pretty: This rings a bell with me from my English lit days! It was a
large tulip tree in Poeís story, where the little gold bug was
dropped through the eye of a human skull that rested on a dead limb
in the tree. The point where the bug hit the ground marked the spot
where the treasure was found at a depth of five or six feet in the
Alice: O.K. So why donít we try the same thing here? Boozer will
have to climb the tree and find a spot on a limb where he can drop a
small rock or something.
Boozer: Me? Why should I be the one to climb the tree? And how am I
to pick a limb to drop a rock from and how in the heck do I pick the
correct spot on the limb?
Stone: Boozer, youíre the youngest, so you should do the climbing.
How to pick a limb? Well, climb the tree and have a look around as
you go. Maybe something will stand out.
At this point, Boozer reluctantly agreed to climb the tree.
Fortunately, the limbs on the tree were nicely spaced, so climbing
wasnít too difficult. Boozer climbed about fifteen feet above the
ground and stopped.
Pretty: Boozer, see anything unusual?
Boozer: No, nothing.
Pretty: Well, go higher.
Boozer: I canít thereís a dead limb above me.
Pretty: Do you think itís rotten? Hey, wait a minute, one of the
clues is a dead Y and you have found a dead limb. Boozer you must go
Boozer: Well, Iíll try, but if I fall, you all will have to pay my
At this point, Boozer climbs to the dead limb and sits down at the
base of the limb next to the treeís truck.
Stone: Boozer, now do you see anything unusual.
Boozer: No, not really.
Alice: Describe the limb to us.
Boozer: Itís just a dead limb, but it does have the material for a
nice sling shot at its end. But it would be a fairly large one.
Pretty: A sling shot?
Boozer: Yes, I used to make them when I was a youngster. I would
find a small limb on a tree that had two smaller limbs that branched
off from it to form a V shape and Ö
Boozer was quickly interrupted by Pretty.
Pretty: You have two limbs forming a V at the end on a dead limb,
so, hey, doesnít that fit the a dead Y clue?
Stone: Sure, exactly.
Pretty: Boozer, you are going to have to slide yourself to the end
of the limb and drop a coin or something through the V in the Y.
Boozer: O.K. Iíll give it a try, but this is getting more dangerous
all the time.
Boozer carefully slides himself out on the dead limb to a point
where he can just reach the V on the limb.
Alice: Boozer do you have something that you can drop through the V?
Boozer: Yes, I have a quarter.
Pretty: Well, itís not something gold as in Poeís story, but at
least it might contain some silver.
Boozer reaches into his pocket, withdraws a quarter and reaches to
drop it through the V. But before he can complete his task the limb
breaks and Boozer begins to fall toward the ground. Fortunately,
there were quite a few vines that had grown among the limbs of the
tree which served to break his fall. Boozer landed on his rear end
and due to the vines and the soft ground he came away a little
scratched up but unfazed.
Alice: Well, it isnít a gold bug, but only Boozerís golden butt that
marks the spot to dig for treasure.
Boozer: Funny, Alice, Funny! My rear end hurts.
Stone: All right letís give your rear end a rest. Letís go for
coffee at the Big Wheel and come back tomorrow to do the digging.
Stone, Pretty Penny, Boozer and Alice returned to Half Way Island
the next morning with shovels. They dug a hole in the ground that
was approximately six by six feet at the spot previously marked by
Boozerís golden butt. When they had reached a depth of around five
feet, Boozerís shovel hit something solid.
Stone: Boozer, what do you think it is?
Boozer: Let me clean it off. Well, it looks like a chest of some
With some difficulty, a steel chest was lifted from the hole and
Stone broke open the, by now, rusty lock. Inside was what appeared
to be a blank piece of paper and a small rock. Stone looked at the
paper, crumpled it up and threw it away. Examination of the rock
showed nothing unusual.
Pretty: Looks like we hit a dry hole.
Alice: I guess so. I wonder what A. A. could have been thinking when
he gave us the clues leading to the chest?
Stone: Seems like there is nothing new here, but I want to keep the
Stone: To remind me of my adventure with you guys. Iíll clean it up
and use it as a door stop.
At this point the group returned to the Big Wheel, disappointed that
they hadnít found a treasure as in the story written by Edgar Allen
Stone: I think Pretty and I will head to Minnesota tomorrow.
Boozer: Are you going to investigate Tim Pawlenty to see if heís a
Stone: Could be, but I donít think thatís very important now that he
has dropped out of the race for president
Stone and Pretty Head for Minnesota:
The next morning Stone and Pretty loaded the car and headed north
toward Minnesota. Stone had decided to put his investigation of
Walnut Heads on hold, at least temporarily, and he was a little
disappointed that Alice hadnít asked him to investigate the
Pretty: Why do you want to go to Minnesota?
Stone: Because of the rock. Didnít you notice the faint carving on
Pretty: No, what did it look like?
Stone: Well, I believed itís a hooked X.
If so, it may be connected to
the Kensington Rune Stone found near Kensington, Minnesota in 1898
by Swedish American farmer Olaf Ohman. That stone was a 200-pound
slab of rock covered with ancient Swedish alphabetic characters
known as runes. The stone seems to suggest that Scandinavian
explorers were in America long before Columbus.
Pretty: So what?
Stone: The discovery of the hooked X in this alphabet connects the
Kensington Stone with the Medieval Cistercians, with the Knights
Templar and with modern Freemasonry.
Pretty: The Medieval Cistercians?
Stone: Yes, they were a medieval order of catholic monks and nuns. I
believe that the connection to the Knights Templar might lead us to
the fabulous treasure that the Knights unearthed in King Solomonís
Temple in Jerusalem.
Pretty: Do you think this has anything to do with Wireís teeth.
Stone: Definitely. The clue contained in Wireís teeth dealt with the
location of the Templarís treasure. Some believe that these Knights
brought the treasure to the New World and, in fact, it is rumored
that this treasure is mentioned in the Presidentsí Book of Secrets.
It is also a rumor that our government firmly believes that this
treasure is hidden somewhere in America, but those in government who
are ďin the knowĒ about the existence of the treasure have no idea
where it can be found. These government officials now refer to it as
the National Treasure, apparently in hopes that if it can be found,
then governments of countries from the Middle East cannot lay claim
Pretty: Do you think we can find it?
Stone: Well, I donít know, but it wonít hurt to look and if we can
find it, then there will be a very large finderís fee. Not only that
but if we can find the treasure, this might also lead us to the
location of Wireís teeth.
Pretty: Do you remember the piece of paper that you threw away when
you opened the chest on Half Way Island?
Pretty: Well, itís not paper, itís parchment. In Edgar Allen Poeís
story, heat was applied to a piece of parchment and this brought out
a secret message. I kept the parchment from the chest, so when we
get a chance, if we apply heat to it, then this may also bring out a
Stone: Pretty, what would I do without you!
Pretty: But what about Boozer and Alice. They helped us and it was
Alice who laid out this mystery for us in the first place.
Stone: Sure, if we find the National Treasure, then everyone will
get an equal share of the finderís fee. I didnít mention the hooked
X on the rock we found because I simply didnít want to get Boozerís
and Aliceís hopes up. Also, if finding the treasure leads us to
Wireís teeth, then we can give them to Alice who can present them to
the Freemasons of Alderson in memory of A. A and Wire.
Pretty: Stone, what do you think of Boozer? I myself sometimes think
that his plumb bob is hanging a little off vertical.
Pretty: Well, there are stories about him going around Alderson. He
thinks he fell down a rabbit hole and thatís where he met Alice. He
also believes that this encounter was somehow connected to the story
in the book Alice in Wonderland. To add to this, he believes that he
and Three Eight Ball had an encounter with Elvis Presley in a hollow
located a short distance from Alderson and to top all this off, he
thinks he and his friend Fuzzy actually split an atom using only a
sharp pointed chisel and a big hammer.
Stone: Yes, that does sound a little off the wall. Are you sure that
these tales arenít just intended to pull everyoneís leg and told
maybe just for a bit of fun?
Pretty: Thereís no way to tell, but I guess he could just be joking.
But hey, letís get back to the important stuff; letís find the
Stone: Oh, by the way, did we fill in the hole on Half Way Island
before we left?
Pretty: Gosh, I donít think so. You know it was really short sighted
of us to leave a big hole on the island that someone might fall
into. Do you think we should have Paul Bland, who is at this very
moment writing this story, go back and rewrite the dialogue so that
it reads that we filled in the hole before we left the island?
Stone: No, never mind, thereís no need to bother him with that. Iíll
call Boozer on my cell phone. Heís a good lad and I donít think
heíll mind doing that job for us.
Well, what do you think? Do you think itís possible for Stone and
Pretty Penny to find the National Treasure and maybe even Wireís
teeth? Is the hooked X really a clue and should Stone and Pretty try
to gain access to the Presidentís Book of Secrets to hunt for clues?
And will new clues emerge if heat is applied to the parchment that
Pretty has? Could it be that the Freemasons of Scotland and the
Knights Templar hid the treasure until after Columbus discovered
America and only then decided to move it to the New World? Is it
possible that the treasure was not hidden in America contrary to
what our government believes? Might new clues lead Stone and Penny
to Oak Island in Nova Scotia, where a fabulous treasure is thought
to be buried in the Money Pit.
Due to unanswered questions such as these, it is entirely possible
that Stone and Pretty will spend the rest of their lives hunting for
the treasure and we may never hear from them again. If Stone and
Pretty are unable to find the treasure, then maybe other adventurous
souls such as Boozer and his friends Alice, Fuzzy and Three Eight
Ball, will take up the quest. However, one thing is clear; the
history of America will be incomplete until the treasure has been