Who Will Finish, "Who Stole Stonehenge?"

While searching through Phil Farmer's basement for more unpublished gems to print in Farmerphile we discovered a folder with this uncompleted Ralph von Wau Wau story. The folder contained the first two pages of the story (typed double spaced), and four single spaced pages of typed outline notes along with some handwritten notes.

The beginning of the story is shown below. If you would like to enter the contest and complete the story you need to email Mike and ask for the outline. We are doing this just so we know who is at least thinking of completing the story. Here is a bit of advice, even if you follow the outline and do a fine job writing a story, you will not win the contest if you are not familiar with Phil's other Ralph von Wau Wau stories; A Study in Scarlet and The Doge Whose Barque Was Worse Than His Bight. The winning version of "Who Stole Stonehenge?" will probably be the one that feels the most like it was written by Philip José Farmer.

If you do not have these stories, they are both available (or will soon be available) in PEARLS FROM PEORIA. Also collected in this volume is Phil's biography of the fictional author of these stories; Jonathan Swift Somers III: Cosmic Traveller in a Wheelchair. Anyone really wanting to pay close attention to detail will want to read this as well.

The deadline for story submissions is December 31st, 2005. The winning story will (should anyway) be printed in the April 2006 issue of Farmerphile. Now onto the story:

Who Stole Stonehenge
By Jonathan Swift Somers III

“I am afraid, Weisstein, that I shall have to go,” said Ralph as we prepared to eat breakfast one morning.

“The bathroom door is open,” I said.

Ralph von Wau Wau looked surprised, then he laughed.

“An excellent pun,” he said. “Possible only in English. You have a pawky sense of humor, doctor.”

As it happened, we had been speaking only that language instead of our native German for a month. In two weeks we would attend the annual meeting of the International Private Detectives’ Society in London (at Baker Street, of course). My distinguished colleague, as guest of honor, was to give a speech. “I meant,” he continued, that I must go now. That is, travel immediately.”

“Go! Where to?”

“To Wiltshire, England; to Stonehenge.”

I was not surprised. Indeed, my only wonder was that he had not already been mixed up in this extraordinary case, which was the main topic of conversation and TV news through the length and breadth of the world. For the whole previous day my companion had trotted about the room, a faraway look in his eyes, deaf to my questions and remarks. Yet, I knew what it was over which he was brooding. There was but one problem before the public which could challenge his powers of analysis, mental and olfactory. That was the singular disappearance of the ancient British National Monument of Stonehenge.

When therefore, he suddenly announced his intention of setting out for the scene of the mystery, it was only what I had both expected and hoped for. “I should be happy to go across with you if I should not be in the way,” I said.

“My dear Weisstein, you would confer a great favor upon me by coming. And I think your time will not be misspent, since the case is unique. We have, I think, just time to catch the Zeppelin. I made reservations yesterday while you stepped out for a drink. I will go further into the matter during our journey. You would oblige me by bringing along your very excellent field glasses."

And so it happened that an hour later I found myself in the corner of a first-class cabin soaring along en route to Salisbury. We were in our favorite incognito of blind man and his seeing-eye dog. This may have been why the other passengers seemed startled when I unfolded the newspaper I had purchased at the airport and held it before me. Actually I was using it as a shield so they wouldn’t see me talking to Ralph.

I suppose that they may also have been surprised because Ralph sat by me. But he had a right to do so. He’d paid for the seat.

That is where Phil leaves off, and where you can begin. As we say above, email Mike and ask for the outline if want to enter the contest and finish this story.