Rip Can Crinkle

Story #17 for Story A Day Challenge May 2106

17 Rip Van Crinkle s

Rip Can Crinkle

Detective Gozen wandered into the M.E.’s office. “Got anything for me, Doc?”

“Not much to tell from my end, Tomoe. He’d been out there so long, all I can give you now are the basics. To start off with, he is definitely Mr. Rip Can Crinkle, the actor. Any news on your end?”

“I’ve done a little research. Our Mr. Can Crinkle here disappeared more than 26 years ago.”

“Any relation to the famous Tin Woodman?”

“Yes, a family with a long acting tradition. They are also a family with a history of health problems. He needed a heart transplant.”

“Well, he didn’t get it,” Doc said, “I can tell you that from the autopsy.”

“No, he just disappeared, never to be heard from again. Until now.”

“Any family left?”

“A daughter, near San Francisco. I chatted with her yesterday. I also talked to his agent, who is retired.” Detective Gozen checked her notes. “He said Mr. Can Crinkle took it pretty hard when he didn’t get the part for one of the droids in the Star Wars movies. His last performance was in the off-off-Broadway musical of Tin Can Alley.”

“Never heard of it.”

“Neither had I. Turns out the show didn’t last very long, according to the agent. Critics said his voice was too nasal and sounded too tinny and hollow. And those were some of the nicer statements.”

“Not an easy life, that one.”

“Indeed, not. His last gigs were non-speaking roles, bit parts in museum documentaries, standing in hallways next to medieval suits of armor, or low-budget time travel movies, things like that. Doc, any idea about cause of death?”

“Not really. I can tell you what didn’t happen. No dents in the head or elsewhere to suggest blunt force trauma. No gunshot wounds. The oil cans you found next to him are still in the lab. One of them still had some fluid in it, but toxicology reports aren’t back yet. Unless they find something there, I’m afraid we probably won’t ever know cause of death. We can call an M.E. if you like.”

“Why would we need another medical examiner? We have you.”

“Not medical examiner. Metallurgy examiner, a specialist.”

“I bet that doesn’t happen unless you rule it a homicide. Besides, budget cuts, you know.”

“Tell me about it.” Doc sighed. “Unless something shows up in the toxicology report, it looks like Mr. Rip Can Crinkle just took a few too many nips of the oil, went to sleep, and never woke up.”

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