Ebert and the Mysterious Encounters and Finds
There was a man, who had eight friends. One was a friend still from his childhood, four he had met where he worked, two were his neighbors. And there was one friend who showed up when this man, Ebert, found himself on a curious adventure.
Ebert was sent to a neighboring community to open a new branch, with those four co-workers who were his friends, for the business they worked for. This community was a little distant, tucked in a valley that did not have it on any route going further, and neither Ebert nor his friends had ever been there. But the supervisor who sent them had lived there for a short while, many years ago. He talked about that community fondly.
The branch opening up in Winding Downs was for those workers to assemble and distribute the Perpetual Assistance desktop storing and cleaning units. Ebert and those with him, Lenny, Roger, Terry, and Dan, had long hours there, but during the work week they were housed in a company building with each having their own suite. But the manager there started watching Ebert very carefully.
Ebert knew his job, and he did it well enough, in the process of assembling, and when he was managing the distribution, especially so when he realized he was being watched closely. At length, when nothing was changing, Ebert saw no resolution which he really desired would come without him going to the manager to confront him about his careful monitoring.
The manager, Jordan, surprised Ebert when he said, "I saw posters of a wanted felon, and your face looks like what was shown on them. I looked at your employment history, I don't see any problems in it suggesting that you are that felon with an alternate identity, and you show you are a good worker. But I want to be very careful, that I am not fooled by those things. If you were this felon, I want to be able to catch that, so that you would be turned in."
Ebert did not have anything to say, other than he really was Ebert, after all. But he went away after that thinking that the manager's explanation meant he had not excluded the idea that Ebert was really that wanted man.
At the end of that work day, Ebert went to Lenny, Roger, Terry, and Dan and told them there was a felon loose that looked like Ebert, but was someone else, but their manager Jordan was suspicious of him because of this.
"Well," said Lenny, "if that felon gets caught, you would be in the clear. It may be more likely if you and some of us helping you would look so as to find him, to have him caught. If he is in this area, we just need to find the one looking like you in the area."
Ebert answered, "I will have to go ask Jordan where the posters were seen. Then when we have the name of that felon, maybe one of you can go to the police station, without me so I am not mistaken for him, asking where he was seen last. You don't have to ask more, but we could then know if he is likely here in Winding Downs."
Jordan, the manager, had not left. Ebert caught up with him and asked him, "Where were the posters you saw of the wanted felon you thought might be me?"
"The one I remember seeing last just before seeing you was at city hall. Even though you are not him as you say, the face is just like yours."
"Well, it isn't me, and I never have been in trouble with the law. But thanks, I should know about the posters."
Ebert turned to go, still feeling sure Jordan was watching after him as he left. When he came again to the corner, where Lenny, Roger, Terry, and Dan were waiting. "There are posters of the felon at city hall. We should go there."
They went to the city hall of Winding Downs. The city was really small, the building of city hall here was small likewise, not much more than a modest house. As they wandered in, the four looked to the walls to see any posters. There notices of all kinds. Then Ebert spotted a face on one, and coming near he saw it was like his.
Ebert walked all the way up to the poster. There were just very small differences in features from what he would expect looking at his reflection. The face in the poster wore his hair rather differently with it combed down over his forehead, Ebert didn't have a shirt like that one in the poster, either. Ebert motioned to his friends to come there and look. The felon was identified as Raul Weckland. A reward was shown of 2500 bucks.
"Do you remember this name now?" Ebert asked. "I am writing it down," Roger answered him.
"Then you can go to the police station, and ask in what locations he has been seen. I will wait at my suite in the company building instead of going with you and being mistaken for that felon, and be taken into custody."
Ebert walked back by himself. He looked around himself going along the residential avenues, self-consciously, thinking now any might mistake him for that wanted felon, It was a very quiet community though, and he didn't walk up near to anyone, and after twenty minutes he came to the company building, and went in peace to his suite.
He made a simple burrito for himself, and took one of his containers of natural cola, as he waited with concern until his friends would come back.
Ebert worried about what he would hear, but it was not for very long. Before the day was almost gone, he heard the knock and went to open up, and he let Lenny, Roger, Terry, and Dan in. "That felon, Raul Weckland, had been seen in this community, last year, but then in five other communities and villages most of which were in this regional area," Roger told Ebert.
"Which place was the last known place he was seen?" Ebert asked.
"It was in Washing Walls, but that was at the beginning of this year, he was not seen since," Terry said.
"I still think we might maker a trip up to Washing Walls then on our weekend, and we could just look around there then," Ebert offered. "We could still be watchful here in Winding Downs. It would not be so hard for you to spot him if you were to go where he would be. You would first wonder to yourself if that was me, but he wouldn't be wearing the same things I wear!"
"We probably cannot just overcome him when we see him," Dan observed.
"No, that should not be our plan," Ebert answered. "We should just note exactly where he is seen, and notify authorities immediately, that he can be apprehended. He should not notice that any of us have observed and identified him, until they come and apprehend him."
Lenny said, "We can all do that, and be watchful around here, patrolling around Winding Downs a little bit after work each day this week, until this weekend if nothing changes." Roger, Terry, and Dan agreed to that.
The four still hung around together for a part of the evening, each having brought small treats to share. They talked of their hometown, that they liked to return to on the weekend. But with this plan to find the felon who was such a lookalike for Ebert, they would skip that coming weekend going back. But they could still communicate with friends and family they had back there, and let them know they needed to skip coming back on this weekend. But Ebert himself just had three friends only back there, and there was no immediate need for them to see him. He let them know, but he was as much with friends here.
This community though was much smaller than their hometown. Winding Downs had just less than fifty homes or residence buildings, with a population determined a few years ago to be of just over four hundred. There was the city hall and a small court house, a police station, three gasoline stations, five grocery stores, one tool shop, one furniture and reupholstery location, the water agency, and one small park with a very small pool.
The following days Ebert's four friends there in Winding Downs were especially alert after they left work. They would separate from one another, going around in an inconspicuous patrol each in the four directions from the center of that community. Ebert himself did not want to be spotted by Raul Weckland, the wanted felon, which could tip him off that some people would be friends with a lookalike who would know about him and watch for him. So he went from work right back to his suite. He even stopped going to the nearby grocery store, to not give any chance to being seen. It was good that his friends also were willing to stop at the store to bring items Ebert needed. But the weekend came without any seeing the lookalike Raul around there, though the four were looking carefully.
That first day off, Ebert and the four went together up to Washing Walls. It was a larger community than Winding Downs, with the population of people determined a few years ago to be fifteen hundred forty, out of that valley and around the low mountain to one side of that valley, up against its steep side.They went first to a small hotel, where they would rent two rooms there. "Who knows, we might even find Raul staying right here," Roger said, "he has to stay somewhere in the community he is in, he wouldn't be likely to stay in a home he has here, I think."
"He might be here, but we can't know for sure," Terry said, "we will just have to go out to look right after we eat. And Ebert would stay in here too, and he could watch from the windows to see if he spots Raul going by at all."
Ebert agreed to that, and his four friends planned how they would divide to patrol inconspicuously again, here in Washing Walls. It would be a larger outing, they realized, as Washing Walls covered more area. They were soon done with the submarine sandwiches they had there, and Ebert's four friends with him went out, and divided in four directions. Ebert watched them leave from where he looked out of the window, and he hoped that Raul would be found before they would go on to still look in other cities and communities. He did not want the problematic suspicion of him remaining in the place where he worked.
Ebert's four friends were soon out of sight from where he watched. It was left to him to watch this area central to where the friends dispersed from. He made himself comfortable at his seat there to watch for a long time. There was for quite a while just the routine passing of ordinary strangers, with just some interesting ways some wore things for somewhat different appearances. It occurred to Ebert that he could be sitting there a long time to watch, and he should have something more for snacking on while he watched. He hurried away from the window to grab a jar with nuts that he had brought, and a bottle of water, and came right back. He saw then that something was happening below. A vehicle below had stopped, with another parked or stalled in the cross direction in front of it. The one in the first vehicle, a large man, had come out from it and walked over to the other vehicle, speaking loudly at the one in there. Ebert looked at the man still sitting in that other vehicle. And he realized that man seemed to look like himself.