“Fadhel, son of Yahia, favorite of the Caliph Haroon-al-Raschid, was so generous that he almost eclipsed his master, and, because of his virtues, he was sung by all the Arabian poets. Thus, on the birth of his first son, they composed in his honor, and that of the new-born child, a multitude of poems. But not one of these poems obtained his praise. He asked the celebrated Demeschki if he would not try to produce something better. Demeschki did so: his poem obtained a general success; and Fadhel recompensed the author with a present of ten thousand pieces of gold.”
Jeff looked at his technical notebook for the next hour to determine what the solution to the puzzle would be. Several questions ran through his mind.
“Did someone accidentally pick up my notebook and leave theirs behind?”
“Did someone purposely swap notebooks?”
“Is someone playing some sort of sick joke on me?”
“Did I accidentally pick up someone else’s notebook?”
None of the questions resulted in a positive thought. Jeff had no enemies and surely there was not a single lab employee who would play a trick like that. The janitors and maintenance men are not allowed in the lab without one of the lab staff being there.
Jeff sat at his workbench while he looked at the sketch of the beautiful Arabic women. After a time he thought he saw something. Was that writing beneath the sketch?
Jeff is now faced with finding his own notes beneath the sketch. A completely different set of questions suddenly arise.
“Should I try to erase the sketch?”
“Would I erase my notes in doing so?”
“Is there another way to see my notes?”
“Can I lift the sketch with tape – – – sticky note pads – – – transfer paper?”
“Is there an imaging solution such as x-ray or photo-shop?”
“Why can’t I get that story ‘Ten-thousand Pieces of Gold’ out of my mind?”
“Will I have enough time to solve this before The Director returns?”
Luckily Jeff had plenty of time – – – due to the fact that The Director either;
- forgot about his problem or
- did not really care about it or
- thought that Jeff was losing touch with his sensibility.
Jeff himself was thinking about the sensibility question.
TOMORROW: 11. The Recompense