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Where is Mel?
by Patricia Crandall

      A shrouded figure slipped silently along the catwalk of the vast heating chamber in the Nelson-Clarke Museum. With gloved, deft fingers, Mel Grady tampered with the intricate system and dropped a flannel sack into the deep shaft. A siren shrilled and circling lights prismatically shimmered over his lithe form as he sprinted around the corner of the wall, fading into the night.
      Next day, a security guard stood at each entrance of the Museum. Inside, wearing a denim coverall, Mel Grady whistled as he climbed onto a scaffold to do masonry and repair work on the heating system. Below, two assistants watched speculatively as he cemented loose cinder blocks together to cover a gaping hole in the wall.
      “Percy,” Mel called to the long-haired, scruffy man standing directly below him. “Get a chisel out of the truck, will you? I’ll need a clean scraper. How about a Diet Coke while you’re at it? Thanks, bud.”
      As Percy left to do Mel’s bidding, the second man, Theo Bunns, glanced all ways, then gave Mel the go-ahead sign. Swift as a cat, Mel dropped into the recess
of the lower shaft. With a flashlight and quick hands, he retrieved the diamond necklaces, earrings and bracelets he had dropped into the deep well on the previous night. He tossed the pouch and it sailed over the edge, falling into Theo’s outstretched hands.
      Late in the afternoon, no person was any wiser to the fact only the upper shaft remained open in the noisy, vibrating furnace. The Maintenance Inspector was satisfied the problem had been corrected and the heating system was once again in perfect working order.
      Percy and Theo beamed as they exited with the elated gentleman.
      “Where’s Mel?” He asked.