Previously: The building of amateur detectives were gathered at the 20th Precinct on West 82nd Street to listen to Detective Bruce, a former Blank Panther who claimed that he could solve any mystery. Bruce, who recited Langston Hughes, announced that he had found Alyosha. The group waited for details.
Detective Bruce stood in front of the room, an imposing man, addressing his crowd with all the presence of a Shakespearean actor. He measured out his sentences, and he carefully looked at every single one of them, to make sure they were all paying close attention. “There’s a famous poem by the Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka,” he began. “Know what you’re looking for. You’ll find it more easily.”
Mrs. Israel, clipboard in tow, her pen held around her neck by a handmade pen holder, modeled on her eyeglass holder, spoke first. “Can I have the poem for the record I’m keeping?” she asked.
“Of course,” Bruce replied. “I’ll mail you a copy.”
“A handsome ex-Black Panther who recites poetry,” Pin Ball shouted. He was dressed Gladys Knight today. His eyelashes were particularly spectacular.
“Does no one here care about where Alyosha is? We’re not here for a poetry lesson,” Charles replied. “We were led to believe that he was found.”
“It’s a side benefit,” said Naomi. “Who would have guessed? A literary detective. Maybe what we should do next is write a TV show. Eve can play the police chief. We can all have parts. What does everyone think?”
Richard, as logical as Mrs. Israel, responded first. “Not that other ideas aren’t interesting,” he said. “But come on people. Where is Alyosha? Tell us please, Detective Bruce.”
“He will,” said Richard two. “He’s building up to letting us know.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen and everyone else,” said Bruce, with a special nod to Pin Ball.
Pin Ball curtseyed, a deep low seductive curtsy. Bruce watched him carefully. “I thought you would have guessed by now. Alyosha himself is right here.” And then he clapped twice, a proficient game show host. A clue for a thin handsome man with a moustache, a man they all thought they knew well although they’d never seen him in the flesh, emerged. He twirled, he glided, he pranced.
“Let them hear where you were, in your own words,” Bruce asked, and Alyosha stepped to the front of the room, to stand next to Bruce.
“I am grateful for all your efforts,” he said. “I didn’t know that Albert cared so much about me. How sweet he is. What actually happened,” he began, “is this. One night at the Electric Circus, I was dancing, dancing, and suddenly, a very handsome man came up to me just like that. ‘Come home with me,’ he said. And while I’d heard those words many, many times before, I knew this was different.”
“After the first night,” Bruce confessed, “I broke my vows never to live with anyone.”
“Don’t go home,” I told him. “I’m a detective. I know how often people vanish. Chances are, no one will find you. If what you really truly want is to begin a new life. He did. And so did I. So it was really and truly ironic that you all came to me. To find a man I knew was right in my house.”
No one said a word. Not a word.
Then Pin Ball suddenly clapped. And they all joined in.
“Mystery solved,” said Bruce, and he and Alyosha walked away, holding hands.